Monthly Archives: April 2019

UNEVEN GROUND

 

 

Beyond the snowline,
roofless remains of rock houses,
high desert sage, pastel willows

and old cottonwoods
that surround Olancha—
fifty miles due east of green,

five hours by car,
five days a foot,
no short cuts.

 

CLOSE TO HEAVEN

 

 

Not to be weaned after years
of grazing cattle between her breasts,
we know the warm shelter of her flesh
apart from unkind men and women
striving for inane advantage

and choose to stay long after death,
stirred and interred between the rocks
where the native midden rests,
where horses hang their heavy heads
awaiting work, where all the gods

have been welcome. The eagle
on the skyline knows our minds,
deciphers gestures, understands
what few humans he’ll ever know
as witness to our wishes.

 

A FAR CRY

 

 

What sweet perfection, this planet blessed
to feed itself, whose wildness beckons men
to tame her, to milk her flesh for comfort,

for the glory of brief accomplishments—
lost cultures and civilizations, our crumbling
emulations of rocky crags with razor teeth

scraping stormy skies as man’s connection
to heaven. We have been fruitful, hungry
for her bounties hobbled by ignorance,

arrogance and greed. Mother to us all,
she is a stranger to our children, a far cry
from the hard and generous woman

she once was—her distant whine
on the wind from town begs relief
and a certain change in direction.

 

American White Pelicans

 

(click to enlarge)

 

While photographing the wildflowers in Greasy last Sunday, I noticed the shadow of birds dancing on a patch of poppies. We found and watched them wheel and circle well above Sulphur Peak (3,400 feet) for ten or fifteen minutes, glinting in the sunlight. They are apparently migrating to the Northern Plains and Canada. During the latter part of the recent four-year drought, there were nearly a hundred in the gravel pits below Lake Kaweah, and from what I’m told, on the lake as well. Audubon Field Guide

 

TO SULPHUR RIDGE

 

 

Where wild remains
heavenly in spring,
where deer dance

and Golden Eagles nest
close to a generous sky.
Only God knows why.

                             for Earl McKee

 

Sulphur Ridge

 

 

Robbin and I spent most of yesterday checking the cows and calves in Greasy, scattering salt and mineral beneath the Golden Poppies on Sulphur. Colder and under quite a bit of snow this winter, the grass and wildflowers are just getting started. Note all the drought-killed Blue Oaks in the foreground.