Poem: Getting Out

The nuts and bolts of breaking a late-season elk camp.

Getting Out

Breaking camp in Big Sky
Hunters all gone,
the last
trucked out at dawn
Bucking it out
against the coming storm

Packing, rigging, loading,
to pack it yet again
down-trail, at the creek
Nine miles to where trucks wait,
silent, oil thick as tar,
cattle racks and trailers frozen in

No time for reflection
on the turning
of another season
Shots missed, things seen,
gear and outfits broken
against the teeth of cold

Sometimes spirits too
The dreams of those who come
for what’s not here
Looking for adventure,
missing it
before their eyes

Time now only to collect and carry
Strapping down, frozen fingers
counting, checking lists,
leaving cans of beans and coffee
in unlocked, unchained cabins
The law for the lost
Four riders load and lead
eight horses, packed
slipping, scrabbling out and down
Curses, laughter, times forgotten,
broken lead-shanks, patching,
looking back, saying goodbye

The mountains say nothing
nor need to
Centuries of hunters, prospectors,
loggers too have come and gone
A needlepoint of light
against the sun of Mountain Time
Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.