The Marmot

The marmot lies on gray rock,

a mass of skin and soft fur;

he rests,

soaks up sun.

He wears a blanket

of his own silvery-brown comfort,


in heavy afternoon light.

I follow the footpath

a narrow stripe

across miles of forests

and stark mountains.

My backpack and my steps

propel me down

through open, rocky land

with vast sapphire lakes.

The marmot extends

his sharp-fingered feet,

spreads himself over the boulder,

surrendering to the Earth.

I stop to watch

his display of absolute calm,

and his glossy black eyes

gaze at me.

He seems to wonder

if he should scamper down,

hide behind a far off rock.

But he has melded with his perch.

I stare at the marmot,

his brown face,

ears tucked inward,

his two protruding teeth.

He looks at my face

that shines with sweat

before narrowing his eyes

into a tranquil squint.

I continue walking

along the path

toward dark spikes of trees

in the valley ahead.

And the marmot rests,

splayed against warm rock,

steeping himself

in sunlight.

Later I lie

beneath a glimmering expanse

of stars and galaxies,

enshrouded in my sleeping bag.

I think of the marmot

who enjoys the sun

in his fur,

such simple peace.

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