Journey to the Rain Latitudes

The pink clouds are a surprise.

A glowing refreshment,

Then a long exhale

Of a wearied man having trudged so long

Through dust,

Succumbed to the dull stone,

Scraped in thorns,

Pasted in stickery sweat,

To a vista:

visited before,

Briefly.

.

The slow release into newness,

And old places returning.

.

This thirst will not go,

It’s scratching, clawing,

Snatching nights,

And holding fast in the haze of dawn.

.

Give me the sweet smells of loam,

And damp leaves.

Passing edens

Languishing

In the softness of decay.

.

My long exhale,

Reprieves from these gasping anxieties,

Before I sit and listen,

To the sharpening air,

As the first water

Falls on the dry grass.

Anniversaries

And Summer’s Dwelling.

Now:

The soft urgency of evening comes as a call of light.

Light in windows,

And the closing edge of shadows,

Where far off night calls for tomorrow’s respite.

The last places fold themselves into corners,

Where sounds hide,

Descending,

Slipping into a quickening stop now,

While yielding to the hills beyond

Staring down at our polka dot splendor,

While they wait their turn.

.

Now, the calendar gets marked,

Not in numbers and squares,

But in these lines,

Those corners,

And the rough shapes of passed time.

.

Now I remember this path,

Where it led,

How it was worn somewhat,

But tread in new shoes,

At a steady pace,

To the whims of clarity,

And the luxuries delivered

From the old shadows

Lurking all the while

Among the familiar.

How Fall turns to Winter

After the rain came,

In a great pulsing return,

Like old friends reconvened,

Their hiatus, of generations,

Watching salmon move on

From the filling pools,

Only to falter in skinny water,

And return to the quiet depths,

And hopefully sweeter respite.

.

With storm winds fading over night,

Days resume their routine:

Morning’s great bridge aglow,

Providing free passage,

To the quiet witnesses

Of nights reclaim.

The Topography of Rain (a rewrite)

These are songs we rehearse

Only to ourselves.
Feigning patience,
In the thick stagnation
When the wind fell away,
And the sun is all that is left.
.
This time of smoke
And old valleys
Sitting low, in their once verdant chairs,
Bosomy ranges now creaking, tight,
Under their own thirsty landscapes.
.
In this time of waiting,

Rhythms are scribbled across a dry creek bed:
Brittle choirs of sand and pebble,

Playing to a listless audience,

Muted in dust.

How the Rain Might Visit

These are songs we dare speak

Only to ourselves

While we wait

Patiently

Through the thick stagnation

We encounter somewhere

Between summer and fall

When the wind falls away,

And the sun is all that is left.

.

This time of smoke

And old valleys

Sitting low, in their once easy chairs

Of coastal ranges gone tight

And creaking

Under their own thirsting landscapes.

.

You can just about hear the memories:

Water-worn tales amidst the dust and rounded gravels,

Once verdant glee,

All gone brittle,

In this time of waiting.

November on the Klamath

Night’s silent choir,

Patiently gathered around the roots of trees,

Inside the river’s long bend,

And in the shadows of boulders,

Passing time under morning’s great bridge.

.

Across:

The orange of maples.

Ahead:

Paws of a lone bear.

Behind:

Tracks of a fisherman’s boots

Through the damp, grey sand.

.

These might be cobblestone dreams

On a lazy afternoon,

But that was October’s rhythm:

Summer’s back porch, shaded

In creaky planks

And sliced tomato gluttons.

.

Now, the soft arc of light,

Chilled in air gone stiff and still,

Begging for hunched voices,

That dare not stir old winds,

From behind sedge and willow.

.

A conversation,

The groans and gripes of water on rocks,

Goodbyes of frogs and leaves and liquored blackberry sunsets,

The gratitudes of full moon clouds,

A gift of rain.

.

Hurry,

The long gaze of night

Will soon turn us to pebble and stone,

Smooth and round, barely colored,

In the fading light.

Slipping through narrow places

Wild, curly haired kids still chase candy-colored rocks

Across old sea floors, dotted with dandelions,

And the long yawn of summer gone stale,

All gathered up, into a lone rusty pail.

.

This,

After swings in trees,

and secret swimming holes,

down long, easy roads,

Soothed in watermelon dreams,

While holding hands, with our heads in circles, catching the sky.

Her eyes, sparkling stars of night and oceans blue,

Whisper ice cream cones and a first kiss, too.

.

Now, sun in smoke, searing

Cicadas singing,

That long dusty road of angst and dearth

All dried and sharp,

Our once cherished mirth.

.

Hurry!

Bring us giddy hopes of weather and water,

and grand tales on the coming of storms,

Let times soon turn, and days delite

Those same stories,

Sparkling in that honey-colored light.

October 19th from the eyes of a 19-year old.

This is what I wanted to say

Before I fell muttering over sour coffee:

.

On october 19, at sunset,

A bright glow traces the place where summer ends

And the promise of winter begins.

.

Never quite seen then.

Sure, we’ll get the hope, But

Only see how summer has gone woefully stale,

Even wrong.

.

After a few more years,

The rhythm plays loud,

Then, the time will come,

And catch us muttering,

As we look far across the field,

Into the bright October sky.

.

The Way Summer Turns to Fall

It carries on the last bit of her laughter,

That last breath hanging in the air,

Just for a moment.

When every piece of her

Comes forth in smile and laugh,

Like some restrained ecstasy

Seeming ready to burst.

Then floating off,

Then, stillness.

She moves with purpose now,

But with a strange habit of

Great drifting circles and musings,

Like a big river, meandering, eddying, floating,

And, in time, maybe, finding itself again

Where the wandering currents combine,

And move onward to far off places.

She tells the story ever so carefully,

A story told again and again,

A story of places, a story of movement

All the while,

Her arms carry it along,

Her hands bring life to those places,

Her voice fills me.

Then, the long pause in her eyes.

Long after the last piece of laughter

Had vanished into a long wait

A fear comes over me,

If only I could sit still then, instead I’m frozen

Again.

This is my one chance, before I miss it all.

Again.

You see,

Hers is a story of the way things are right now.

Not what will be, as I want to think.

Nor just the way I remember it.

In that kind of way that memories can become.

Maybe,

Someday, I say, I will get the joy,

The essence, see that moment

when her laugh never stops.

Enter her stillness where we trace those circles,

Recounting the stories again, all full of life

And look out from her eyes

Onto the way things really are.

Time again…

 

Darkness sets in on arguably some of the best steelhead fly fishing on the planet this time of year ... all whipped to a frustrating froth by a wind that refused to ease up at sunset.

Right on schedule … mark calendars … Fall has begun and now is the time to convene at the river…

All the willow trees, blackberry bushes and dried grasses are almost the same as last summer. Except the blackberry crop this year is late, owing to the late rain and cool summer. This probably also explains the lack of algae along the rocks in the faster sections of river; the streamflows were likely high and fast enough into the summer to preclude the development of slippery substrates through much of the faster moving water. In places, the river bed is stunningly clear. Water quality is correspondingly improved as well (except for temperatures which are their usual late summer stressful levels). The relatively stable footing on the clean riverbed is an entirely new sensation for these parts at this time.

Right on time, as in years past, a weak front moved through yesterday moderating water temperatures and raising hopes of a windless afternoon. No such luck. The winds were strong and unabating into the evening making Slate Creek a “wind whipped hellhole” as I was prone to calling it long after the sun had sunk below the ridge. Despite this, the fish did come on the bite as darkness started creeping in. All half-pounders, with a back-to-back hookup at one point. Maybe four fish to hand and a few more LDR’d on a floating line. Very difficult conditions in the wind to control line, swing and patience. Regardless the fish are here. Did a quick pass through house-sized and sea-monster early with nothing. No fish showing on top at Slate Creek until near darkness, but difficult to see and hear in the wind-stirred froth. Now, from here on out, it’s all a matter of watching water temperatures, prospecting windless afternoons and reminding the boss that I will be scarce until at least November. All social and domestic obligations will be thrown aside. The time has come to convene at the river…