Sangre de Cristo

Sangre de Cristos

I can only imagine standing
on that dusty road, looking toward
the jagged Sangre de Cristo, some
shining at the top in snow and clouds
like I wear this silver upon my head.
In my mind I can smell the earthy breath
of those greasewood brush waves
in muted shades of grey and green
with maybe a pinch of purple, and
how they can burst into flame at sunset,
and never once catch fire.

But I’ve stood next to my mountains,
old and some hunch-shouldered
from bearing millennia of ocean, ice
and the cutting tools of Man.
They’re where a sea of evergreens
laps against sun-flashed slashes of lakes,
each another window with views of skies
of blue, white and even the cool flames
of sunset to the west, out where
the greasewood waits to cut shadows
so sharp they once more
bleed red the Sangre de Cristo.

This piece was somewhat inspired by the photographs my friend, the writer Leland Dirks, posts daily on his Facebook page. He lives in southern Colorado within dreaming distance of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost range of the Rockies. Sangre de Cristo is Spanish for “Blood of Christ.” Leland has generously allowed me use one of his brilliant photos to illustrate this piece.

One thought on “Sangre de Cristo

  1. The Sangre de Cristos are beautiful. I’ve seen them many times and the smells in those mountains are just as you described. One of my very favorite places on earth is Taos, NM, east of the Sangre de Cristos. I’ve always wanted to see the mountains in the eastern and northeastern U.S. Now you’ve given me a comparison so if I ever get to go, I’ll know what to expect.

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