• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

2009: Poet Diane Weddington

Diane Weddington is a native of North Carolina. She has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old, and began writing poetry for the National Park Service during a residency in 2001 at Badlands National Park. She has been a writer-in-residence at Grand Canyon North, North Cascades, Canyon of the Ancients, Hubbell Trading Post and Capitol Reef. She also led a writers' retreat at the Wyoming Fish and Game Center. She studied writing at the Spoleto, Italy Writers' Workshop. She is the author of five non-fiction books including a guide to early stage Alzheimer's. She divides her time between teaching public policy at Duke University in Durham, NC and journalism at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California.

Below you will find some samples of Diane's poetry written while in residence at Great Basin National Park.



 
Cave drop

Soda Straw Dripping

NPS PHOTO

One single glittering drop
revealed by unnatural light
continues the steady process
of decorating the cave.

Geologists call these ornaments
stalactites
stalagmites

Children see mermaids
cauliflower
sea horses.

The decorations change
grow
fall broken
get carried off.

Rock
made live
by single glittering drops.



 
Fall colors at Great Basin

Fall colors at Great Basin

NPS PHOTO

Instead of wondering
whether the world will endure
look at the lichens
stubbornly rooted on rock faces
and sagebrush
blooming
in deserts.

Instead of giving up
or giving in to fears of growing old
look at bristlecones
which sprout new life
from dying trunks
and stars
which radiate a light
born billions of years ago.

We say we
cannot solve our problems
have lost our sense of wonder
grow distant from each other
and do not know what to do.

Instead of constant talk
and endless debate
about things which always seem important
seek the place of total silence
and listen to peace



 
Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine

NPS PHOTO

What is important in life
is hidden.

Desert owes its life
to sagebrush roots

Caves preserve
painted reminders
of ancients
who left no words

Fallen cones enclose
seeds
which dispersed and rooted
become new bristlecones

Just so, the human heart
buries its sense of awe
in daily drudgery.

The sky, the wind, the water
wear away at the facade
of rock and heart alike

Did You Know?

Snow on Wheeler Peak

Precipitation patterns are highly variable in Great Basin National Park. The wettest year on record at Lehman Caves was 21.2 inches of precipitation in 1982 and the driest year was 7.4 inches in 1953.