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At this height
my vantage point
is vast
expansive:
staring out
over
a sea of sage
wild grasses
pine
aspen
alwaysIMG_4523
shifting
swaying
clouds
reflected
cresting
waves
dark
transluscent
rainbowed
shifting
changing
always.

Here
the shore:
vertical
peaks
firm
on
the valley’s
edge
sharp
piercing
full
raincloudsBE938F1C-BE43-42C3-AD45-915212D5FCCB
for
sheer
joy of hail
rain
dew
fog
snow.

I stand
not unlike
the ground squirrels
hands
in prayer
scenting
the air
in utter
amazement:
free
lightIMG_0139
soaring
falling
beyond
the long
day’s light,
waiting
for the cool
night sky
star
dance
when
my tired eyes
might
finally
rest.

 

After the Rain

IMG_4507 (1)

The storm comes
down from
back of the bench:
sudden
thunder
barely audible
wind
clearing
the porch
of chairs
rain
in sheets
none here
but behind
us
blackening
the hills.
The dog
stiffens
shakes
rattles,
his old bones
quaking
like aspen,
closes his eyes
as lightning
flashes
down
racing
toward
the river.

It won’t last,
never does
comes
as easily
as it goes,
all the bravado
petering out
into a refreshing
clean summer eve
grasses
glistening
barely wet
from
this quick shower,
wildflowers
smelling
sweeter
growing
taller
as we walk,
night air
coming in
cooling
ending
a summer day.

We walk
to feel
the night breeze
he and I,
funny crooked gait
of his
now proud,
fear gone.
The road
deep brown
muddy
dust
gone.
Sage reeking
sour
sweet
white crowned
sparrow
perched
singing,
so clear
crisp
as the air
I breath
deep
into my lungs.
In the valley
coyotes
sing
joyous
shrill
howls
celebrating
this sudden
cleansing
their summer
golden coats
free of mites:
but he’ll have
none of it –
tail high
he forges
into the sage
barking
snarling
like
an old coot
wanting
to start
a fight
he could
never win.
I walk on,
laughing
to myself:
if only they knew….

Yes – that’s their official name,
my daily July entertainment,
cinnamon rough
fur5A4DF814-61A7-4DAC-AF58-7CB7F00CF5CA
kissed
with bronze
across the bridge
of the nose
pale beige
buff ring
around
brown eyes
white splash
at the end of their
stubby tail
loud chirp
of a song
quick jokesters
who slither
down
into their winter
maze of tunnels
in a flash;
pranksters
standing
proud sentinels
mothers
with tired teats
little brood
daring
to dart
to and fro
testing
grasses
for sweetness
devouring
wildflowers
careless
knowing
she’s there
tall
watching
turning toward any sound
that brings
danger.

These sentinels
are part of71EBB7F4-AF98-4A57-94DA-EDA63DA18551
the “marmontini”family,
proud cousins
of slovenly marmots
who sun on boulders
laying their waste
where they live.
Not my little
friends
who I watch
in utter
amazement:
they live in darkness
curled
hibernating
in a tight ball
vertical
their heart
beating
lightly
a flutter
of life
for 7 months,
these” 7 sleepers”
emerge
weak
thin
in the blaring light
and make up
for lost time:
these furry
vegetarians
search out
seedlings
delicate
wild flowers
feasting
and greeting
each other
nose to nose
kissing.
In a short time
they
groom
mate
re populate,
their
little ones
foraging
for themselvesEEEAC1BB-1497-4A70-8518-EA1F6CC2DE27
out of the nest
in a mere 4 weeks.

But July
is best
for viewing
their antics:
sadly knowing
the dog
will
chase
a youngster
whose wandered
too far into the prairie
and pounce
like
his own
devil
wild
ancestor
wolf,
shake its neck
and prance away
his chase over
as fast
as it began.
I console myself
seeing
another
nose pop
up fromC6115CB1-57CC-4A51-8E4D-04FF0097DA56
the burrow
lithe
torso
following
standing
staring
at the world
so in the dark
of winter
he will
dream
of green grass
summer wind
and the sound of rain.

Prairie Meditation

Some days are like this:
you move slow,IMG_4691 (1)
meander down the dirt road
old dog in the lead,
like the patriarch
he is:
gait slightly crooked
tail high
so last night’s coyotes
that trash talked him
can smell
every drop
of his endless pee
trickling
methodically
lifting his leg
every few feet:
leaving his message:
“I have been here,
and now I’m gone,
but I’ll be back…”

It’s that perfect day
filled with free
floating thoughtsQy3egV_PBzi1CQGsiZzsnNTu7lqXUQur5ZLAqK-9buUfw-Fg8sv5wsho45JkhzWIVWr9W90=s159
the song
of the meadow lark
ringing
through purple
wildflowers,
baby prairie dogs
darting from their
mounds
into bounty
under mountain sun
feasting
in tall grass
finally
out of their dark
tunneled world,
painted kestrel
swooping
dangerously close
but focused
on her young,27-american-kestrel-ira-runyan
landing
on the nesting box
diving down
into her deep
protected
lair
where I imagine
she patiently sits
on her clutch
of redish brown
molted magenta
eggs.
Today
one
of her distinct tail feathers
floated down:
a message
as I sat
in the tall grass
mesmerized
by the wide horizon
little creatures
crawling
over my seemingly
giant legs
creepy crawlies
making me laugh
and wish
I too
might have a cool
dark
underworld
from which I could
escape
into the light:
“oh”, I think to myself
“foolish woman,
that’s just what you’ve done,”
here so far
from these
days of chaos
under this
radiant sky…..

2D174A82-89D5-4B5F-B383-982F00129081Yes, maybe I have
said it all,
no more images
similes
turn of a phrase.
Like songs
sung too often
losing
their meaning
refrains
of mumbled
jumbled
sounds
tripping off the tongue
like an over ripe
melon
gone
sweetly sour.

Maybe
it’s
best to fall silent
where
there’s space
and light
left
untended
wild
undefined
dark corners
blurring
images
cascading
un named.

It’s in the pause,
I can fly
wild
unscripted
word free.

In silence
my heart
bursts
into
prayer
free falling
into the setting sun
my raven wings
spread
and
on fire.

Winter in June

BE938F1C-BE43-42C3-AD45-915212D5FCCBIn the mountains
they have a tried
cliche,
“if you don’t like the weather
wait 10 minutes…”
Here,                                                                                                                                                      there are no accurate
weather predictions
to be made…
none,
the skies
are kings,
the wind
demons
and the sun
our queen.
We live at
the mercy
of their game:
clouds
descend
envelope
creating
an afternoon
of
sudden rain squallsAE566AF7-CF43-4A7F-A3AA-64530ACA6253
hail
wind
so incessant
I wish
I could bottle it
and drop
it deep
down the ground squirrel
burrows
to see if
they might run
insane
maddened
to the next
bench:
more effective
than coyote piss.

It’s all part
of the rhythm
here:
always expect
nothing
accept the unknown
laugh
at the challenges
knowing
nothing is as serious
or permanent
as death.

Tomorrow will bring
more change:
maybe sun
or blinding fog
mud beneath your boots
grinding cold
but
the” whistle pigs”
will dash
boldly
into high grass
gorging
while they may –
this you can bet on.

 

 

It’s blowing today
my favorite comboFullSizeRender_3
of sun
and 30 mile an hour wind.
Yes, it happens up
here on the bench
on dry June days
when the drifts
are so huge
they move the clouds
into the best of shapes:
so many creatures
in soft cumulous clouds.
Laying on the sweet
early summer grass,
I watch in total stupefaction
like a child,
eyeing dinosaurs
mice
long space snakes
billowing tufts
of ice cream
melting into
one sole dot.
I love the song
of the summer wind:52913A99-CC5D-4831-9EB2-91682AA221B2
it flows
into long notes
that lull
the earth
so alive beneath me
with creepy crawlies
who sometimes
nip at the static
giant
moored
in their
rippling
grass sea.

When I squint
I can pull every last
drop of sky
into my dull
mind
like a potion
soothing
this internal
chaos
and ever changing
mood
of life.

D020715F-10EF-4BE5-9179-095C935EB8ED
Beneath me
birth happens
death happens
yes,
from where we came
hence we go…
So I lift
this heavy body
rise
face the east
flail my arms
like a long lost
sailor
at sea
knowing
one day
I will fly
like
a swift
over the river
and
into the ethers.

 

84203574-0C8E-4F60-8BB4-0E8071FCB3C1

This is the third June
she’s nested between
the porch’s metal roof
and the weathered wood:
in the southeast corner
right by the door
and near
the last of the picture
windows facing the Madison range.
If I stand by the window
and torque my head
like a giraffe
I can watch her
come and go
in the afternoon
wind,
but mostly I stare
at her in stupor
on these days
that drag on like
a bad film
I can’t escape
trapped in the grip
of zombies
and gratuitously violent
scenes of
murder and mayhem:
like a nightmare
in which
I desperately try to open
my lids
tightly shut
glued
forced
to walk
a tightrope of a merciless
history we all
must stand witness to.

Thank God for her song
which penetrates
my broken heart
with its operatic trills
and melodious range.
How can such
a tiny feathered diva
fly so effortlessly
at this high range
in these long summer
squalls of churning windbird-4614647_640
her tiny plumes
ruffled
to show
a tiny
golden brown
chest
which holds
an even tinnier
ribcage
the size
of my thumb
in which
the largest
sweetest
heart
is held
a loving prisoner.

In the afternoon sun
she often lights
on the sun bleached
railing,
her tail feathers
swaying
to the drifts:
opens
her gold lit throat
to sing
a mantra
of unspeakable beauty
and grace:
a song that speaks
of love
of hope
of days
in which we will once again
walk in light
away from our shadow selves
with cupped hands
blessing ourselves
with the water of life.

Often,
I aimlessly walk
edges of this room
trying to find reason
sourcebird-4614643_640
meaning
words
fail me,
and I find myself
on the porch
searching
for my littlest
of angels
calling her
like the laughable
earthbound
human I am.
I think she pities me
singing
in full abandon,
as I watch star struck.

The other day,
for a brief
sudden
amusing moment
she flew
right into the house
landed on the loft ladder:
magical slight of hand,
only to vanish
into the dusk air,
a tiny apparition:
this
my little messenger
of hope.

Within these walls
I’ve found myself
again:
had to stop
not dead in my tracks
but
very much alive, IMG_2525
listening to spring
rain
its drum
beating
pounding
keeping
my prisoner heart
in tune
with life blooming
around me:
my window
a portal
to growth
and change.

The walnut
has dressed
its winter limbs
in
eye popping
green,4D7A998A-7A71-48A2-8C7C-728562388898_1_201_a
like time lapse photography
its leaves
unfold,
and now the sweet
shoots
squirrels
risk their lives
to gorge on,
tiptoeing
onto the smallest
lightest
baby limb,
have hardened
turning into
shells
to harbor
the bitter
black walnuts
which later
in summer
tired
mama squirrels
will collect for fall
their broods having
sucked
their teats
dry
wondering off
in search
of perfect
hideaways
for winter booty
little pirates
their golden tails
waving
in the summer breeze.

Goldfinches,
warblers,
bushtits,B1385D2D-4A07-4F7A-B16B-0697FC4E68D1_1_201_a
nuthatches,
even a Townsend’s warbler
have feasted
on sunflower hearts,
each
dining at the feeder
in turn
as nesting
came and went.
But now,
after
her second brood
no doubt,
mama squirrel65C0D52C-0ED6-4340-A73A-8DEC0B281BE4
has learned
the perfect jump
onto
the caged
diner –
she clings
trapeze artist
upside down
her tongue
flicking the edge
of the feeder’s tray
to suck in
the luscious seed
one paw
reaching in
scooping
seed to her waiting
gaping mouth.

Today
two hummingbirds
flew rings
around the feeder
like a gyroscope
I played with
as a child,
a crow watching them
with disdain
from top
the neighbor’s fir tree,
ruffling his black
neck feathers
cawing
like a disapproving
uncle.

Tomorrow
at dawn
I’ll turn.
coffee in hand
to my window
blessed
for the warmth
and
lessons learnt
as I find myself
once again…

 

Once again the walnut tree
offers me solace:
bent bough
leaves
big as boats
heavy with spring rain
likeIMG_2525
hope.
At dawn
fog
lifts,
the city
sickly silent
but
for geese
overhead
free
to fly
away,
from
days of fear
their long
necks
grazed
by wind drifts
plunging
headlong
into
the unknown;
they welcome it
with grace:
honking wildly:
beauty
to the guillotine.

It’s not for me
this heartache,
my soul trapped
in a tired ribcage,
but for the babies
so pure in joy
whose
touch softens
my journey
like milk white down.
Somewhere in the wind
I hear their cry:
lonely
searching
for their pack
their tribe
in this darkened world.
I am here
to soothe
to soften
to witness,
but cruelly
only from afar.

In the coolness
of the morning
I sing a song
in a language
filled with longing
to wrap them warmly
in the early light.
Knowing how easily
things may vanish…..