photo by Susan Marsh

The Spring Melt is revving up here in the Rockies. For a few precious weeks, the creeks up in the mountains are leaping and hopping, while down in the valleys the rivers are running fast and high. Susan Marsh helps us appreciate all this bounty in her poem “Mountain Water,” from Deep Wild 2022:

Springing milky-sweet

From the glacier’s hem

A slap of newborn water

Clear and bold as single-malt

At 37 degrees, with notes

Of lichen, dolomite and moss.

It numbs the tongue.

Against its chill

Teeth tighten in their sockets.

This water is a sacrament

A concentrate of geologic time

Of gravity and friction

Slowly carving a gorge

Into the mountain. Stand

In its fine spray, bear witness

To the birth of a great river.

Lean into a mica-bright pool

Cup both hands, lift and drink.

Slurp without grace or shame

Greedily, hungrily, gratefully

Lips locking fishlike in your palm.

You would climb all day for this moment.

Artist, writer, and inveterate hiker Susan Marsh lives in Jackson, Wyoming. She is one of the 53 writers and artists whose work is featured in the 2022 issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, forthcoming this June. To learn more, and to order a copy, visit

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