Published Volume XXIII, Nos. 1&2

The sun has warmed us through the thin, high mountain

air, and, panting a bit, we hasten to find shade

in ponderosa pine and spruce before continuing

along the sunlit path that winds among the fossil beds

of Florissant. We’ve admired the fallen giants’

huge remains—Eocene sequoias turned

to stone, the limbs long gone but the base still upright,

petrified after tides of volcanic fire and ash


roiled across the valley, more than thirty million years

ago. There are signs here, too, of paleo-Indians,

mixed with artefacts of Uncompaghre Utes and Apaches

of the Jicarilla tribe, who left their potsherds

scattered in the redwood ruins; too, abundant shale,

imprinted with the brittle, delicate debris of ages

even earlier—times I cannot imagine—

when sediments, compressed, solidified, took hostages—

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