Respite at Rock Creek on the Oregon Trail

Rock Creek Today

Rock Creek Today

After weeks of subsisting on bread and bacon,
beans and biscuits, corn mush and scrapple,
and barely edible pilot bread dipped in coffee,
Emily Towell and her company crossed over Rock Creek.

Three men took pails to the creek for water
and found the stream brimful with trout,
a boon as rare and unexpected as the quail
that dropped out of the sky to feed Israel’s camp.

The weary travelers raced for buckets and bowls,
dishpans and pails, any vessel would do,
in a mad dash to scoop up the silvery shimmery fish,
a miraculous respite from dietary dullness.

Soon, the paradisial sound of crackling grease and the
blessed aroma of frying fish wafted over the wagons,
the succulent sweetness an unexpected godsend,
a moment to be savored in the stark, sterile landscape.

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

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