FARM HANDS

We keep the old alive,
youthful in our minds
so clouded with time

we cannot find the facts
anymore—all the young
questions that can’t

imagine old wrecks
as useful, the flathead
Fords and rusty relics

in a designated row
behind a grove of fruit trees—
boneyards marking

a feeling of many
shoulders at night lifting
a much slower wheel.

 

IT SMELLS LIKE RAIN

Dark-thirty black under clouds,
it smells like rain—summer’s dust
settled, each particle swelling to stick

to the thirsty redwood rail,
to one another, to unite us
with each breath of hope

after years of drought, though
not a drop, not a sign of wet—
it’s there in the dark, damp air.

 

THE WHEEL

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Yesterday’s reflection,
could it be the wheel
attracting wild attacks?

 

 

NIGHT SONGS

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Come songs of nightfall,
we are drawn outside to see
how to frame the world.

 

 

WPC — “Nighttime”

 

New Trough

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We’ve accomplished much this week with son Bob spending some of his vacation time on the ranch, yesterday helping me install a new water trough on the Paregien Ranch to utilize our new solar pump. Ever optimistic, we anticipate some fence work for the gathering field it will serve when it rains enough to soften the ground to dig and drive posts.

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“Zero Percent Water” — The Drought West of 99

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This story was written by Alan Heathcock. It was edited by Mike Benoist, fact-checked by Ben Phelan, and copy-edited by Lawrence Levi. Photographs by Matt Black for Matter.

This is an exceptional read about the water problems in the Central Valley of California. Though we’ve seen little else but dust for the past eighteen months, though we’ve had to reduce our cowherd by 40%, the impact of the drought on us pales alongside the water problems west of US 99.

“Zero Percent Water”

 

SEPTEMBER GLOAMING

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Last light rising
on a bare yellow hillside
forsakes the dead Live Oak

shading the gossip rocks
where women talked
long before we came here.

 

 

KIND EYE

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Looking into the bigger picture,
who are these beasts
with a kind eye?

 

 

THE SONGS WE NEED

 

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It begins with
what small device,
what detail rings
into a melody
unfolding?

The hint of cloud,
the breeze, the scent
that rallies synapses
to soar into song—
poor words dressed

in new clothes,
the common tongue
revived to reverberate
from the soil—
what small device?

What catalyst
will change our appetite
for more, what selflessness
will help us see
that more is before us

beneath our feet
to feed us all
the songs we need
to find humility
and awe?

 

 

WPC(3) — “Endurance”>

IN THE CLOUDS

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Down the Sierra’s spine,
they sneak-in and loom,
cumulus over the ridgeline.

No storm clouds, but friendly.
We know now we’ll never be
the same, never assume

green feed and water
always. We will pray
in our own way, kneel

before the cotyledons
breaking through the clay,
stare rain in the eyes.

And when the chant of pagans
sing, we will make love upon
soft petals of wildflowers.