Hiking in Switzerland with a bad back
and doctor’s orders not to fall,
through meadows of bluebells and buttercups,
daisies and tiny orchids of pale lavender,
tiger-striped mossy rocks, forget-me-nots,
even the thistles tender in their bristly buds.
But danger lurks in beauty of the shining rock
slippery with summer melt when here the trail
juts from the narrow ledge, and the town
has plummeted. I have climbed too far
into a sudden sun, the floating clouds
shredded by crags, peaks under snow.
And then I see them, walking high
above where I no longer dare,
a couple, elderly, making their way
with careful footing—she in front
and he, knapsack on his back,
a blind man, arms outstretched
his hands upon her shoulders.
Without fear or stumbling,
steady in interlocking motion
they ascend: illumination
as in an early hymnal
what free will and faith
and more than these
what love can do.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.