High up the side of Little Si,
in filtered light through firs that hide its size,
rises a face of sheer rock,
the direct route to the summit.
There climbers cling to ledges and clefts,
slowly slip ropes into clips
that glow gold in the morning sun.
Blocks of basalt, some large as buses,
are scattered about the cool base of the wall.
Upon them lichens and mosses
mark the rate of nature’s change.
For less hardy hikers,
a rustic trail snakes toward the top.
Suddenly, a painted bench
with a tarnished plaque
for someone lost on Everest.
No one sits on the bench.
Decaying logs suffice for the living.