Some day when you want to get some altitude
make the time to climb Nose Hill
up to Turtle Rock or the dead willow
skeleton on the summit bent
opposite the prevailing north
wind, misshapen by age and weather
into its finished form
brittle, gnarly, grotesque
but still there

This ground is rough
wild with scrub and rock
abandoned by glaciers, in winter
corps of waxwing reconnoitre the terrain for berries
but nothing can hurry the tilt of planets
Wait until late April to catch the crocus
gopher heads up from tunnels testing the morning
May is buffalo beans, wild anemone, columbine
curling back its petals, blue and purple
and green just starting
You get the sense the eastern slope is waiting
its brief tempestuous fling with a slow rotating sun
here, all must happen quickly or not at all

At the top, take a moment
breathe, stop the thumping of your heart
look out over the city
stand still and listen
voices will tell you it’s all right
everything is all right
the universe is circling as it will
Or go up at night
before the stars come out
with only the harvest moon and the sky
so huge all else falls away
you can give up the burden of desire
you can let the hill and the sky
take over

Child of the north learns early
not to count on anything but
the earth turning on its axis
and maybe not even that
so much can happen between seed and fruit
each new birth a triumph
So imparts meaning on the angle of planets
the snowy owl appearing
where it is not supposed to be
why a small deer landing
splayed legged and quivering
on the path before your eyes
stops the heart

~ Cecelia Frey

Cecelia Frey lives and works in Calgary where for many years she has been involved in the literary community. Her latest novel, A Raw Mix of Carelessness and Longing, was shortlisted for the Writers Guild of Alberta Fiction Award and she is a three-time recipient of the WGA Short Fiction Award. Under Nose Hill is her latest book of poetry.

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