The bone was picked clean, easy to see

sharp contrast of white against the mountain ground

there were no other bones, just the

spine and pelvis and I had to get closer

stepping from rock to rock

tip toeing on the soil careful not to disturb

spring wildflowers trying to bloom.


Up close I snapped a picture

unprepared for how this bone made me


realized I walked on sacred ground

and was in the midst of spirits

a large animal, an elk or moose

perhaps her

bones scattered on the mountain.


I remembered the time I visited Pompeii

and the most popular attraction for

tourists were the preserved bodies

twisted in pain or panic.

I felt this was not something

that should attract a crowd.


I’m well aware the mountains can be cruel

offering life as well as death

and this was not something

I hadn’t seen before.

Still I bowed my head

awed and disturbed

by how nature has her way

let myself mourn this once living animal

and whispered to myself

rest in peace.