Ansel’s Winter on the Merced River by Ruth E. Walker

Award-winning writer Ruth E. Walker’s first short story submission won $1,000 and publication in Canadian Living magazine. With poetry and fiction in Canadian, U.S. and U.K. journals, Ruth hasn’t looked back since. Her novel Living Underground is in second printing, she’s a sought-after editor, popular workshop leader, and facilitates writing retreats at lakeside locations.

Ansel’s Winter on the Merced River

Black and White Photograph 1938


It falls a frozen moment

seen from Sentinel Bridge

January snow frames banks, skirts

longing pines

limbs edged in white

water verged on the cusp of ice


Half Dome waits – slice-sheared granite

cranium grey and white

Merced runs to it and away

             a picture doesn’t lie

             and never tells the truth

             never gives up the sounds

whispers of cloud

crack of avalanche or the long ago

split – the fall away of igneous rock

birthed up and out to be torn apart

evidence released and scattered to riverbed


Have mercy on this receiving watershed

that asked nothing but a path

to or from – it never mattered

hold compassion for this shattered mind

that only asked for existence

instead was cut in two and

left for a photographer’s eye

to escape and find its way to this

page in shades of grey

shadows of white and black


Ruth E. Walker




Ansel Adams (Feb. 20 1902 — Apr. 22, 1984) was a photographer and environmentalist. Born in San Francisco, California, his black and white photographs became symbols of wild America. Adams was renowned for his technical mastery but his passion was for preserving the wilderness, particularly the Yosemite National Park. For more information about Ansel Adams and to see the photograph that is the subject of Ruth’s poem, follow the link: