Let others praise
The grand peaks, the waterfalls,
The gorges, the mighty rivers,
The palm-shadowed lagoons, the deepest canyons.

I sing forgotten gulches stuffed with chokecherry on talus,
Lava outcrops whitened by packrat rime,
Two-step creeks clearer than air with water skippers striding,
Sunny cottonwoods where great horned owls are sleeping,
Countless hills draped in wildflowers and velvet sage—

The quiet places often passed by,
Where grow tadpoles and columbine
Golden currant and willow
Meadowlarks and bitterroot
Aspens and phoebes and snowshoe hares.

Every breath I breathe there
Exhales as a song.


Dana Stewart Quinney is an outdoor biologist, having worked in desert and rainforest, tundra and prairie, reef and stream. Large things are important to her, canyons and mountains and dreams. Small things are equally important; last night she saw an owlfly on the back door, eyes lit golden.