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Field Notes by Michael G. Smith: Back Country

#Haiku Happenings #6: Miriam Sagan presents a #haibun by Michael G. Smith!

Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond

Yellowstone backcountry, early July. Green abundance. Snow remnants in north-facing mountain peak ravines. Blue sky. A poem from A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters sparks a realization.

No sharp sword
can cut it open;
No iron hammer
strike it out.

Our destination six miles down the trail is a rare campsite in one of the park’s Bear Management Areas. Extensive tracts of wilderness with many elk and bison carcasses the large number of grizzly bears feed on, BMA’s intentionally have few trails to protect bears by minimizing conflict with humans.

Grizzly sighting –
four-inch claws
rake dry mud.

The trail climbs and weaves through meadows and forest understories teeming with wildflowers, Gifts freely and unselfishly given by earth, air, waters and sunlight. Patches of wild iris in lowland sagebrush meadows. White phlox, blue flax, maroon-red Indian paintbrush, stinky Bob, prairie smoke and late spring’s remaining arrowleaf balsamroots in higher…

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