I climbed as a woodpecker beat dead oak.
Iced needles cracked. Boots pounded a steel bridge.
Frost burdened branches of young ash trees broke,
Snapped, amid the pitch pines along Millbrook Ridge.
Wallkill River stirred. Hudson Highlands slept.
I knelt under a stone face of great height.
While I hesitated, wintergreen crept
In a cathedral of crags and moonlight.
A map pointed to heaven where black wings
Fled fractured eggshells. A mustached mate soared,
Over a sky lake, fed by mountain springs.
Across the frozen valley morning poured.
Legs shook, then stiffened, atop the watch site
As a hawk circled high above in flight.