I’d like to spend a morning in the boots
of Jedediah Smith out pioneering
before the carpetbaggers in cahoots
with industry showed up for profiteering.
I’d stand atop the continental peak
and whisper not a clue that it divided
a nation burgeoning with ripe mystique.
I’d plant a “Keep Out” sign before it’s blighted.
But how could I usurp another first
to scale a virgin summit as she crested
above a crystal lake and quench the thirst
for worth where never other eyes had rested.
The value of the vista they’d behold
transcends the weight of Rocky Mountain gold.
2022 Mary Boren
For those who think America’s history began with the arrival of white settlers. “After 75 years of obscurity following his death, Smith was rediscovered as the American whose explorations led to the use of the 20-mile (32 km)-wide South Pass as the dominant point of crossing the Continental Divide for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.”