But for a few distant, hearty shrieking birds, complete silence enveloped my sub-zero trek through knee-deep snow in ankle-high boots. Without evident pattern, one foot would merely skim a soft powder surface and the next would crunch heavily downward through an icy layer glazed gold by a setting sun.
It was the gold of pirates’ treasure, and the treasure of endless waves–striated sun and sky and sea, fields and mountains made nearly indistinguishable. A speck of me standing in one frigid golden fold among it all.
To poet Robinson Jeffers, “The Treasure” is life more than life. A single life is but a “flash of activity” within the forever-cycling treasure.
A life decades longer than my husband’s is itself but “a notch of eternity,” though, to be sure, “nothing too tiresome”:
Mountains, a moment’s earth-waves rising and hollowing; the earth too’s an ephemerid; the stars—
Short-lived as grass the stars quicken in the nebula and dry in their summer, they spiral
Blind up space, scattered black seeds of a future; nothing lives long, the whole sky’s
Recurrences tick the seconds of the hours of the ages of the gulf before birth, and the gulf
After death is like dated . . . .
Enormous repose after, enormous repose before, the flash of activity.
Surely you never have dreamed the incredible depths were prologue and epilogue merely
To the surface play in the sun, the instant of life, what is called life? I fancy
That silence is the thing, this noise a found word for it; interjection, a jump of the breath at that silence;
Stars burn, grass grows, men breathe: as a man finding treasure says “Ah!” but the treasure’s the essence:
Before the man spoke it was there, and after he has spoken he gathers it, inexhaustible treasure.