Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Valles Caldera

by Michelle Holland

The young, Walatowa ranger talks about his discovery,
a gangly tangle of twin elk calves in late spring.
The prairie dogs chirp and scurry, stand and stare
beside their dark tunnels. Under the curve of sky,
the miles of fescue and June grass, blanket flowers,
and marsh irises roll out the landscape that healed the wound
of a monstrous explosion, which left a vast rim of caldera,
inside a bowl of high altitude meadows, aspen copse, and ponderosa,
filled with elk and bear, mountain lions, native coyotes
and floating turkey vultures. A swooping kestrel
catches an unsuspecting frog and flies off,
while the lone mallard in a small pond sends smooth ripples
that push gently against the cat tails near the shore.
His hen must be close by, because the ranger said they mate for life.


  1. Beautiful. Makes me long to be up there.

  2. A very captivating description of the life inside the wound.