Is there anything more uplifting to see than free-range kids still running around barefoot and playing with sticks and plants?
Acrylic on Canvas 16×20– The light is getting so beautiful this time of year… there is less of it, but when it makes that low sweeping arc across the southern sky, sunrises go on for over an hour. Did you know that the huge path the crescent moon will trace across the sky tonight is the same our sun will take six months from now?
(I haven't posted a poem in a while... This one came to me while backpacking in the Thousand Lakes basin over a year ago.)
These tall granite peaks (the ones sitting in a magnificent circle here with a basin of mirrored lakes at their toes. which are creating rock and pine tree Rorschach tests on their distant shorelines for the deer to contemplate)…
These immense castle walls (with the hollow bone-like echoes of the last of this years snowmelt channeling through their crevices and caverns and then springing to the surface to be filtered by spongy wildflower gardens)…
These eroding ancient pyramids (falling apart as boulders, pebbles, and sand slowly disassembling into the most complex jigsaw puzzle on the planet)…
Yes, these very mountains are breathing.
I heard them myself, inhaling a breeze up this warm moist valley up up up to their snowy tops, where they are exhaling it, right now as puffy white cumulonimbus outbreaths.
So strong, when the mountains breathe, that I can help but feel the wind sucked from my own lungs as it joins the flow to the peaks.
Gardeners of the world unite! Let’s slip out in the full moonlight with seeds in hands and watering cans And garden spades stashed out of sight!
For our first organic plot, lets sneak into a parking lot and plant fruit seeds so folks won’t need To go indoors for apricots.
Street medians we will reclaim, This public land won’t look the same, We’ll line each route with herbs and fruit Overflowing into the lanes.
Three sisters: corn and squash and beans, Are now sprouting outside Dairy Queen, They have no clue, that it was you, And nice touch with those collard greens.
And if we have any luck, Children will soon learn to pluck free string beens, climbing the swings, And extend recess and save a buck.
Once we’ve pulled out all the stops, Who’ll want those corporate monocrops? No genetics here, And we’ve got beer- Once we harvest that creekside hops.
We’ll pry concrete with fig tree roots, We’ll enlist scrubjays as recruits to plant an oak at every stroke, And give new meaning to “grassroots.”
Let’s plant city parks and vacant land, With a living, humming garden stand, Let’s teach the youth with food and truth, That what sustains them is in their hands.
Let “Compost! Compost!” be our cry, It’s a freedom none can be denied, To love the ground, and help it rebound, Gardeners of the world, unite!
You can’t daydream and sharpen a pencil on a rough, damp, streamside boulder at the same time.
It takes too much concentration not to shatter the brittle graphite cone with a careless stroke. But it is worth the effort! You get a much different point: roughly worked wood, smelling of fresh cut cedar, topped by a scratch black pyramid of carbon...
This is a point more appropriate for writing about a natural canyon with spirits whispering through willow trees, the culinary uses of wild plants and ground squirrels, or for sketching the observed mating stance of a dragonfly than, say, doing geometry homework.
Conveniently, this rustic point feels quite at home out here in the woods where pencil sharpeners are seldom found- and okay, I admit it... I forgot mine at home.
I can see your damp body print in silhouette on the bath towel, and the tooth marks you left on the tight cap of the new toothpaste tube. A couple of loose hairs lie tangled in the hairbrush. Damp feet mopped up the light rain of last night’s dust on the wood floors and apparently navigated around littered baby toys before turning left towards the what appears to be a nesting area... On hands and knees now, the light just right I see the subtle depressions of your feet on the carpet, the fibers slowly standing back to their usual upright position. Here, the tracks meet those of a much smaller creature. I see ghosts of small lips and handprints on the sliding glass mirror and in it’s reflection, a stuffed white rabbit, over-loved and re-restitched, wrapped in a blanket by small, uncoordinated fingers. Drips of drying milk lead back to a feeding area and the scattered remains of finger-painted oatmeal... still luke-warm. I trail the crumbs of cold pumpkin pie on the counter to the well-worn “one minute” button on the microwave which begins your morning ritual with a digital “beep.” I smell fresh coffee on a breeze from the west. Hot on the trail, I follow my intuition through a slightly swaying side door. No less conspicuous than a stick snapped in the wilderness silencing sparrows, I hear the hum of a clothes dryer stop with the creaking of its door. Slowly I stalk, fox walking, hawk-eyed, ears perked up like a deer, into the garage and- There I find you... throwing a warm soft towel, hot and fluffy from the dryer over our daughter’s head... our hysterically laughing coyote pup with those five-toed muddy tracks that grow too quickly. Funny that you should think it’s time for us to clean the house.
Setting Traps What do the string around my finger, the note in permanent ink fading on my hand, the time-capsule buried in damp mulch beneath the oak tree eight years ago, the post it on my steering wheel, and the alarm clock set to detonate at 5:30 am have in common? Why did I hide my car keys again? ...and where? There is a freedom in forgetting and a pirate thrill in digging up lost memories. But most reminders tend to make me think, remember, plan, in the everbusy buzzing of my mind. More than ever, I need DE-minders, for when I’m lost up here replanning and premembering in nowhere land. Do they sell daydream alarm clocks or watches that lie? Sometimes I can be nothing but grateful for bee stings, stubbed toes, seagulls with good aim, and cold shivers: things that wake me, unaware, from the cavern of routine. Thank you, headache, for reminding me I have a head. Tired of waiting for grace or luck to bring me to the present, I’ve mapped out my Monday blind spots, hidden along my well-worn game trails between the bathroom, the computer, the teapot... And here I am setting traps for myself, camouflaged in regularity and custom to catch me in oblivion. Won’t I be surprised to find this bucket of ice water suspended from the doorway as I come into work tomorrow morning?