It’s that time of year when the mountain gods are rumbling and roaring and messing with the minds of mere mortals. Eric le Fatte takes us above treeline in a tempest and into the dubious shelter of a nylon tent.

photo by Eric le Fatte

Storm over Beartooth Plateau

These are rumblings of gods.

Clouds gather like assassins.

The wind has shed its empathy.

We heed the old advice:

stay low, find shelter,

get to the tent.

In the shufflings of millennia,

we’ve learned how to ruin a planet,

but cannot rule the hail and rain.

Under the cover of ripstop nylon,

we cross our fingers,

count the seconds,

and try to play cards

between canyons of thunder.

Lightning shatters the granite like glass.

Probability decides who survives.

We hope for the best,

but the elements

are not in our hands.

Eric’s poem appears in the current issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, along with the wild work of fifty other writers. To find out more, visit

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