Stop Here. Stop. This is Highway 12


Stop and get gas in Naches.
Stop and say hello to the mother of those soldiers in Iraq.

Once on the way up the hill,
once on the way down.
Stop once going each way.
Stop and take a picture of that morning light.
Stop at the Naches Ranger Station.
Stop to look at the feeding elk at Oak Creek.
Stop anywhere and say thanks.
Stop on Highway 12 where you've never stopped.
Stop so that you're not racing to the ski lift.

Stop so that you get all the light you can from this day.
Stop so that you hear that song one more time.
Stop and ask yourself about basalt columns.
Ask yourself how that basalt cooled.
Stop for the frozen lava.
Stop before the climbing rock.
Remember the hike with Lacy Dreamwalker
and the time with rattlesnakes.
Stop for toast and eggs.
Stop for a milk shake.
Stop and take a pee.

Stop at the Little Red Schoolhouse Ski Shop.
Get a mask for bad weather.
Stop for the beauty of the snow.
Stop for Big Horned Sheep licking salt off the highway.
Stop to take off your jacket.
Stop for that truck throwing rocks at your windshield.
Stop and call Karen.
Stop and look at the Tieton River. Look.
Stop for the ice on the Tieton.
Stop and remember all the places you've camped.
Stop here because you've never stopped here before.
Stop here because you've only stopped here once.
Because the last time you didn't get it.
Because you didn't get it all.
Because you'll never get it all.
Stop at the Ranger Station on the way down.
Stop and get a map.
Stop and remember those firefighters that didn't make it.
Remember Dan telling it.
Stop and remember the parents grieving in the newspaper.
Stop and put your hands on that memorial. Stop and read the names.
Stop at the Wildlife Refuge, gift of Esther and Ron Bauguess.
Stop here even though there's no place to stop but you have to.
Stop and look at those cattails in water.
Stop for those 22 acres preserved for wildlife in 1983.
Stop because the map doesn't help.
Stop here because it's the Wenatchee National Forest.
Here, where Karen's car went off the road with Paul
on the way to White Pass.
Stop here at Bear's Canyon Trailhead.
Stop because the river's icing up.
Stop here because you belong here.

Stop because this hill is your mountain.
Stop where the Tieton runs into the Naches.
Stop for that truck full of hay.
Look in your rear view mirror. Always something to stop for there.
Pull over for the beauty and stop.
Because you promised to say thanks,
pull over and say thanks.

Stop here because you belong here.
Stop because you are both a young mountain and an old mountain.
Stop for the high school kids who drove off this highway drunk,
through the railing into the Tieton River, the friends of your children,
your students. Stop because they are still in the river.
Stop and remember the corner you couldn't look at for years.
Remember how the ice came from your son's mouth
and the mouth of your son's friend, the brother,
and from the music that came from their tape decks.
Stop and remember the poems and the music.
Remember how it all comes out sideways and raging.
Stop, too, because it has to be this way.
Stop and honor the way it has to be.
Stop for this semi sliding off the road in front of you this morning.
Stop for the immigrant driver learning about ice.

Stop before you get to Rimrock.
Stop by Tom's cabin. Stop and rememberTom.
Remember what he gave you. What he gave those kids.
Stop and remember his dream. Remember the school with his name.
Remember you're helping him live what he didn't get to live.
Stop and remember that.
You know that Tom is a mountain.
Stop and remember his Jeep.
Stop before Waterfall and remember the times.
Remember the kids the two of you brought up this mountain.
Remember their ski clothes changed ski fashions forever.
You're still grateful for that.
You don't have to remember Tom's cancer.
The cancer is nothing. Nothing at all.

Stop and remember the snowmobile crashing.
Stop and remember the phone calls. The cries from your daughters.
Stop and remember the father holding his son. Your friend.
Remember the silvers your friends have taken from Rimrock Lake.
The number of smoked silvers you've eaten with your fingers.
Remember the son's blood on the father's hands.
Remember the flesh you've sucked from the bones of the fish.
Because you can, stop.
Remember the father's tears.
Stop here because you have all day.
Stop here because you're in no hurry,
because everybody else is going on.
Maybe they're in a hurry and maybe they're not.
You don't know.
Stop and let the skiers go past.
Stop for that song.
Stop and write in your notebook.
Stop here because you've never stopped here.
Stop here because maybe you've lost count.
You can't say it too often.
Stop because Division Ridge holds all the sun there is to hold.
Stop because you've been thinking about this for a long time.
Stop for fallen rocks on the highway.

Stop at Wild Rose, Hause Creek, Bethel Ridge, Soup Creek.
Even stopping is dangerous.
Nobody wants anybody to stop.
Wild Cat Creek by Rimrock Grocery.
Rimrock Grocery wants you to stop.
Stop before the tunnel where grandkids hold their breath.
Don't stop in the tunnel but honk.
Honking helps kids hear the echoes.
Stop for the rainbow. Stop for any promise.
Stop at Horse Shoe Cove, Indian Creek Corral, Clear Lake.
Stop at the school bus stop.
Stop to remember the time your son had to pee so bad
and you couldn't stop, it was too dangerous,
and you handed him the bottle and he peed in the bottle
spilling on his hands crying. Remember telling your grand kids.
Remember them giggling at their uncle.
Remember them asking you to tell it again.
Stop for the slow vehicle turnout.

This hill is your mountain. Stop wherever you want.
Remember eating oranges with your children in the car,
remember singing songs with them after skiing.
Remember how you never wanted it to end, this ride home.
Stop because you're on this mountain. You'll never get down.
Stop and laugh at those who say you must come down.
You can't stay on the mountain forever.
Forgive them as you laugh.
You're not from here, but this is your mountain,
North Dakota boy--old man--even those plains you come from
are mountains becoming you and you'll never get off.
Stop for those mountains. Stop for these. Stop for mountains
forever being mountains. Stop for the rivers running from them.
Stop for these mountains on this highway. Stop on Highway 12.
Stop and say thanks. This is the Highway 12 Stop Rule.

Jim Bodeen
January, 1971--14 January 2011


  1. Mr. Bodeen, there is no stop in you.


  2. should add, i loved this ride. k