Revised Idioms

     Revised Idioms 

If we’re clever, we can feed two birds with one scone.
After all, there’s more than one way to pet a cat. 
Let’s provide the straw that seasoned the camels snack.
Let’s leave all our eggs in the nests and save the basket
     for those lovely lemons life keeps dealing us.  

It may seem like we have to wait ‘till the cows go roam,
     or until we finally let the pigs fly, 
but changing our ways will be 
     easier than shooting 
     pictures of fish while surfing in a barrel,
     which is to say, 
difficult.  

But let’s start seeding around the bush.
People who live in glass houses should really grow seedlings.
Let’s turn under an old leaf
     making rich fertile compost.  
It’ll be like taking candy from a baby 
    and replacing it with a healthy homegrown peach.
To err is human. To try again, divine.
A switch in mind takes time.
After all, Rome didn’t topple in a day.
Curiosity took but one of the cat’s lives...
     the other eight died of boredom and apathy.

Trees don’t grow on money, you know.
A fool and his free time are easily parted by money. 
A penny slaved is a moment burned.
And that guy with the bird in his hand is a swindler,
     the two in the bush are priceless.
Life boils down to survival of the fittest. That is,
     those that fit the best on this beautiful, interconnected planet
     persevere indefinitely.  
Don’t put all your legs in one casket.
Divide and conquer? 
Rather, unite and concur!  
It’s a dog greet dog world. 
Splints and salves can mend our wounds, but words can truly heal us.
When it comes down to it, 
     laughter is the best medicine
     and he who laughs last 
laughs alone.

So let’s go out on a limb and watch the sunset.
We’ll talk of how the proverbial glass is completely full… 
     half clean water, half fresh air.
Come, the hour’s getting late.
Who cares if the shoe fits... 
     bare it!

Seven Falls Poem and Painting

Seven Falls

Time is a thin veil here, 
      where the mountain plays catch with the creek
      tossing it into the air seven times and bringing it to rest in
      seven cold emerald pools.
      It is fun to imagine all of the others 
      who have climbed this sandstone jungle gym 
and slid down these mossy water slides…

Look at these shadows of Chumash kids laughing here 
      hundreds of years ago 
      as if it were yesterday.
            What do they call the “cannonball” 
            in a world of stone tools, I wonder,
      as they leap from that ledge with a splash
      long before Fremont’s soldiers pushed cannons 
over muddy San Marcos Pass.   

Look at those Franciscan monks  
      sneaking upstream from the Mission below
      through the oaks and sycamores
      to strip down and lighten up 
      long before the city sprouted below 
and oil platforms invaded the horizon.

And look now at the evolution of the swimsuit styles
      that the swimmers have donned here for the last hundred years,
      from striped long-underwear to bikinis
      on the families of ranchers, fishermen, oil workers and 
      now suburbanites and college kids.
      They appear and disappear in strobe light flashes 
like an old grainy filmstrip before these lovely pools.

Different swimmers on common ground…
We’re all still here in one form or another, 
      the natives and the pioneers.  
We’ve all come to bring out our inner amphibian—
      to dive beneath the cold living water 
      with our much older ancestors
      the frogs and salamanders… 
Feels so good, doesn’t it?
      …to crawl out on our bellies 
      and warm our blood 
      on these radiant sandstone benches 
freckled here and there with fossils.
Seven Falls

Home on the Range

cover

Home on the Range

Oh, give me a home
where the windows won’t close,
and there’s wall-to-wall carpet of weeds no one mows,
where the lighting is solar, when the ceiling’s not stars,
and you can get there by foot, but there’s no path for cars.

And let me rest in a bed,
of dry leaves and duff,
and think of how nothing can be more than enough.
Let my only plumbing be rocks and a spring,
and the only evening news be what the birds sing.

Let me leave boards for fences
inside of the trees.
Let wild space be my blinds when I want privacy.
I’ll dig in the humus and see what roots linger,
when I want the whole World Wide Web at my fingers.

Sure I can’t own a place,
that already owns me,
but I’ll still mind the mortgage compassionately.
So before I die, I can write in my will,
“Kids, you were born with nothing-- you have most of it still...”

Games

How about a game of hopscotch across these stream cobbles 
         with a clover chain for a lanyard-
         -wet feet settling any dispute 
over who stepped out of the lines?

Or maybe we should play follow-the-leader
         on our bellies,
         trailing the ants on their various adventures.

Or, if nobody’s around, why not play a game of hide-and-seek
         all by yourself
         in a wild place
         that tickles your curiosity but also triggers
         the electric chill of the alarm hairs
         on the back of your neck
and see what comes seeking?

Let’s play pick-up sticks with lumpy sticks or tiddlywinks 
         with living winks.

Let’s collect wet marbles,
         rounded by the ten-thousand-year-old 
         riverbed rock tumbler,
         and play an old-fashioned game of ringer.
Let’s play steal-the-gold on a five acre wooded court
         in the snow...
         The gold: a crown of fallen aspen leaves
         hidden towards the top of the tallest tree.

Let’s play full-contact, cross-country, miniature golf,
         or if you are feeling mellow,
         a game of checkers:
         acorn caps vs. walnut shells
         worn like little hats on frogs and lizards...
         pieces that move on their own.

Or, let’s not.

Rather, let’s think of games we could play
         as we rest in this boulder,
         sunning ourselves like blue-bellied skinks.

Nature is a Gardener

Nature is a Gardener

Plants are her purest expression,
      spending their days eating sunlight and
      expelling a dazzling display
          of scents,
          colors
          and flavors.
Gophers are just tools to plow the earth.
Birds and squirrels sow the seeds.
Deer are nice quiet lawnmowers.
Owls, snakes and ladybugs?   Pest control.
Goats do the pruning.
Beavers are merely complex irrigation systems,
      and bees... the hardworking genetic engineers.
Everybody does their share of the fertilizing
      and composting
      at one point or another,
      but other than that, I have to ask,
“What kind of gardening tool am I?”

lawnmower

Advice from my Six-year-old Daughter


“The secret to finding four leaf clovers,” she tells me, “is this-
         If you look for them, they disappear, 
         but if you DON’T look for them,
               they DON’T disappear.”
She should know, she finds them all the time. 
"I’ve been not looking for them my whole life," I tell her.
         “Maybe you haven’t been not looking hard enough.”

“Another way to find them,” she tells me, pitying my misfortune,
         “Is to wait until you feel really lucky-
         like I just did when that moth let me touch her.  
         Then, you KNOW one is nearby and you find it.”
I smile at her, so sincere with sunny freckles, 
         her eyes squinting in the light.

I’m feeling so fortunate 
         there’s no need to bother even looking down
         at the meadow of shamrocks 
         that must be there now,
sprouting between my toes.  
feetbw

Insurance Policy

cairnbw

Insurance Policy

You can’t break the china if it’s already broken.
Can’t say nothing wrong, if you still haven’t spoken.
If you have no watch, you have nothing but time,
There’s still something to share, if you can’t spare a dime.

You can’t be lost if you don’t have a home.
New hairstyles happen when you don’t have a comb.
Can’t be out of touch, when you don’t own a phone.
There’s nothing to lose if there’s nothing you own.

When you don’t have a means, your life has no ends.
When you love those around you, you’ve nothing but friends,
No knickknacks to dust, if you don’t have a shelf.
When you’re part of the world, then where is your self?