We trudge the fetid jungle,
Thinking our green way
Must be an overgrown trail.
Dampness pervades our clothing,
Soddens our shoes,
Drips from leafy branches,
Fails to cool us in the tropic heat.
We ascend gingerly,
Hoping for cooler air,
Realizing the immensity of time,
Of memory moving on ahead.
Shrieking birds unseen
Foretell dooms imagined:
Snake and lizard fangs,
Feral creatures' claws and teeth,
Unseen traps waiting to inflict
Sudden deaths or slow.
Silence arrests us,
As we stumble to a cliff,
Gasping for air,
Longing for coolness,
Stopped in our breath as we see....
Climbing the ranges ahead of us,
Above, and arching up and down,
The great dragon's crenelated back
Undulating over the mountain ridges,
Disappearing into the past.
My recollection of seeing the Great Wall of China just outside of Beijing