Friday, June 9, 2017

William Tell Ravine

(a tributary of the North Yuba River, Sierra County, California)

Before he'd heard anything about Switzerland, Schiller,
Rossini & stuff, he'd looked across the river from the house
at the long white beard of William Tell Falls. The sheer-drop
ravine seemed perpendicular.  No home for trout.  Im-

pulsively, as usual, he decided to hike up there when he was
17. He headed out, crossed the river, climbed straight up,
more laddering than walking. Ravine was path as rock
and manzanita brush walled the sides. He made it

as far as the flat pool the falls slapped in a-rhythmic
pulses. Sounds of that constant collision careened
around the stone box. There was no climbing further.
In soaked jeans and wet boots, legs loaded up

with lactic acid, he slithered down like an arthritic
snake, satisfied to have spied on a geologic scene,
to have introduced himself to William Tell Ravine,
and to have seen water and rock in their own time.

hans ostrom 2017
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