My Wilderness: Tamera Lenz Muente

By Tamera Lenz Muente

Tamera Lenz Muente writes of a favored pond near Teklanika River in Denali, as part of the park's call for "Your Wilderness Stories."

The Pond Near the Teklanika River

is covered in islands of algae, rimmed
with dead branches and tall grasses,
bordered by wildflowers. Moose feed
on underwater flora, their big heads
dip down to pull up soaked green sod.
How many of these dead spruce were girdled
by porcupines, their big yellow teeth
digging into hardy bark?

Mosquitoes circle, miniature hovercraft,
their dangling legs touch the surface,
send out ripples that spread perfect arcs
to the water’s edge. A clear blue sky buoyant
with clouds reflects in the pond’s corners,
until wind blows in a blanket of gray that drops
heavily over the mountains.

Sunlight breaks through and reddens
the bottom of the shallow pond, sparkling
on the wet algae and willow leaves.

Two butterflies, white and buttercup yellow,
fly over, tousling as they go. A spiderweb
shines between blades of grass as bees hum
on goldenrod. A sparrow bathes at the far edge,
splashing his wings and shaking his feathery head.

Bubbles rise in columns from the pond floor.
Light rolls across the valley, illuminating
in succession the willows, the spruce,
the emerald hillside and the rocky peaks.

Everything is quiet and alive.

About "Your Wilderness Stories"

2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. As part of that celebration, Denali asked visitors to share their stories, to help in building a collection of stories about what wilderness means to you!