Visiting

There, at the far end of the long, ramshackle yard,

Where grandpa’s garden starts,

And the apricot tree:

Pilfered Mockingbird delights,

For us, the watch from a circle of chairs

Some Sunday afternoon.

.

But that was before the rain,

And the wind, and shuttered windows,

Only to peek, to scratch its belly,

We knew when to stay in

And dash out,

Before the water came

Or in between.

.

Then we were graced with the long showery spring,

Great stories I was since told, in thunder and sun,

While I huddled in fear of night and flashing sounds,

In the time of peas,

And chicken manured spring gardens.

.

The San Joaquin would run high that spring

Into the summer

When the first zucchini bloomed,

And we rinsed the last of the mud from our socks.

Like it always was,

Back there, where the water still was.

Central Valley River

All these days start with hope,

Optimism,

And some serpentine skepticism

That stays put

While the water lies flat and glassy.

.

This valley fog,

Soured and pressing,

will harken feelings of home,

Summoning some seasonal, familial promise.

.

This is a cold morning:

River hosting winter,

Almost a thing of the past,

On the shortest day of the year,

Defining the deepest place of then,

Like the hottest sequestered August afternoon:

When, as kids,

We were shut in,

And left wanting for a calling evening breeze

Never to come.

Or, now, just a brief parting sky:

A blue never seen.

.

This is the Great Valley: Tethered in the cliche

Of fog

And heat.

.

In both:

Rain is forgotten,

In the wretched gossip,

That orchards will tell.

.

But here,

When the gentle boils of this big river

Still breathe steady,

The scope of years, lives and old people:

No matter how unreal,

Or long,

Turns, now, slowly into view.

They lived this,

And danced to the sound.

.

Hunker down, into this patient water,

Fish, sands and winter bugs still crawl.

Feel this breeze:

What should be gentle and pleasant,

Is biting,

Up along the fetch of a journey,

That is not ours,

But must be.

This chill is almost enough,

We should turn away.

.

Ultimately, though, this grey sky grabs me

Takes me,

Stretches me,

Into the fading call,

Of a day that just got started.

.

Postnote: this could be the San Joaquin, the Merced, the Tuolomne, the Mokelumne, the Feather, the Sacramento, or a whole host of small streams that drain the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. All these rivers regain their magic during magnificent California winters and were once home to people that lived in a truly splendid place now fading into a soon-to-be-forgotten glorious past.

Home is where the water runs from the hills.

The Infinity of Real Numbers

Across the low, grassy plain lies a river,

Some great promise,

Wandering easy,

While storms pass over.

.

I remember this,

Scrambling through the intricacies

Of sculpted earth:

A dinosaur sailor,

Piloted by the distant empty,

Blind to the piercing stillness.

.

This river goes to where it came from,

And back again.

Watching from the hill,

Or floating through the soft boils,

The sun always casts the morning,

The creases,

Breaths,

Shadows,

Stones,

Mud, squeezing between toes,

Drying into the dust

That will soon color the sky gold.

.

Rivers and Funerals

 

The world tilts far enough now

Where summer is almost a secret,

And lifetimes can easily pass in the still air.

.

During our walks, then,

Over brilliant orange, gold and new sky,

Her sadness came to be:

Neatly placed

Into the yielding grasp

Of a freshly fallen maple leaf.

Then, sealed into a shiny blue envelope:

Scribbled on,

When short notes were a thing

Of long Sunday afternoons.

.

Moving water is still great at counting time now,

And will soon lap at the stone steps

Of a clapboard church out there,

Hosting the wailing choirs

Of straggled people turned sane again.

Week of Dry Flies

When the weather watchers start to confer,

Be wary,

…..Be wary of day jobs, partners,

And farm animals needing attention.

The caddis only happen once

And this might be your best

Or last:

Should you be the fatalistic type.

Sketching the Klamath in November

The River is now a great bridge:

The one constant stretching morning

Across the entire day

All the while folding it,

Neatly

Gently,

Back into night.

.

In between:

Freshly poured green water,

Water of life,

Calling water.

Water that hides things

And

rarely reveals them.

.

Even the rocks revel in their newfound tones

Shining on their neighbors with the latest

Deepest

Hue of translucent

stained

Distant

blue.

.

Born of morning,

All the shadowed eddys,

Boxes,

And dark watching spots,

curiously,

Slowly,

Lengthen day’s best work,

In their icy stillness.

.

Dinner is jars of old elderberries,

And struggling greens, lost

Between the miseries of heat

And bugs and thirst

nearly quenched,

While seeing the path ahead,

Pitted, dense,

Still tough..

To where winter will set stride.

.

Cravings of sweets

in the soft, cloying dampness.

Chilled, but

cleansing.

All this:

From vistas of feet

on velvet landscapes,

To the endless jostlings,

Riding across this great bridge.

The Elusive 5th Dimension

.

.

.

That threads it all together

.

.

.

Can words match it?

The way letters are cast into thoughts

And they grow from there

Spiraling into new places

If thoughts could occupy space.

And maybe time can bring us closer?

Like visiting our birthplace

Where the vistas remain

But the ground is changed.

.

Help us all

All of us help

Forge letters into

Ideas

That are rivers

And life and movement.

The PMD Chronicles. Page 1.

April 20, 2021

Western North America

Before the wind blows, the morning will hang raw and sunny. There is a bare urgency that hangs in the leaves of a cottonwood looming over everything here. The trembling leaves now might tell us the waiting is nearly over. The air has a stretched stillness to it, about to break time’s pace open to its whims.

We will participate, now into this day hammering into every crevice of the bank, through every stone, and seeping into our bones. The sun still shines warm and bright, the sky can easily pull you away.

Later, thunderstorms will build over the hills ringing the valley, deepening our backdrop, focusing our will into the hope that change will happen. This will turn, and leave us again in stillness. And we move with the water’s rhythm, pushed by wind into the next bend. Here we might stop and see the first of evenings bugs pulled upward, or tumbled along the water’s steady surface. A trout might even take a grab here or there, teasing us with their sudden disappearances after we think we’ve figured them out. We lean and ponder, search water, feel wind, absorb a big sky alive with later afternoon. This is where all else falls away.

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.