Monthly Archives: December 2022




The jobs I’d rather do

crowd first in line

to steal my mind away


from the more mundane

and routine responsibilities

to climb inside the Cat


skid steer, feel its hydraulic

strength pump to load

a ton or more or move


a five-ton stump

closer to the coals—

clean-up the tangled mess


Edison left to cover

their derrières

beneath the wires.


Seven-day burn,

4-foot thick eucalyptus,

I scoured the pasture


for fallen-limb kindling

to keep the flame

alive inside me.








Gray canyon rain,

café au lait rivulets

overfill vernal pools


spreading to the creek

just begun to run

at the end of December.


She stayed overnight

and all day, lingering

to leave us extra rain,


as if we were old lovers

trying to give the past

a second chance—


she offers nourishment

to thirsty earth, bare slopes

a cover of color come spring:


a team of sunlit Wood Ducks

at the edges of water pooled

grazing with horses. 








Oil by Myrtle Sue Redford


Dirt track before asphalt,

ruts in mud, December sycamores

after a rain waiting to undress,


like always—it feels the same

to escape upcanyon in your painting,

leaving main roads behind


before it was engineered

for 18 wheels to haul gravel—

town politics behind us.


Before the flood of ’55,

Terminus Dam in ’61,

much has changed


except for the feeling you’ve captured

of peaceful adventure

at every beginning of our road home.


                      for Myrtle Sue Redford






Stacked in the valley

and thick as milk gravy,

it spills over the ridge


in slow-rolling waves

eclipsing the daylight

to swallow you up


in cold cottony gray.

Easy to get lost in the fog

when you can’t see


your horse’s wet ears—

find something dry

to start a fire


and wait for it to lift—

or trust he knows

his blind way home.








                        This is not scripture it’s a dream,

                        a dream, the stuff our life is made of.

                                 – Jim Harrison (“A Dog in the Tomb”)


Wild apple on a stick, we pray

it’s tart and tasty in our veins,

then to our hearts to play


on the cinematic screen

in our brains while we sleep—

when we check out of the mundane.


Wild apple on a stick, we pray

it’s fresh and full of mysteries

left to address, our flesh enlived.






After peeking beneath the eve,

the sun dives south beyond the ridge

near the Solstice. Time’s quick departure


into darkness begs moments stolen

around a fire, glass of wine,

2-for-the-price-one thin tri-tips


browning above hardy Manzanita coals

flicking blue and yellow tongues

into our eyes to clear them—


like standing in a gate opened

to a pasture of possibilities

yet ungrazed at this late date.






Inside, the basic tools,

wrenches, pliers and ratchets

under the back seat


to take things apart

and put back together

fixed, or so we hope


when working on ourselves—

but only if we know

how things work.








A mile from any cattle

a gang of three bulls

unloaded at work

on Friday, cows

strung out on hay

before it rained

and muddied roads

to not haul them,

were sparring on Saturday,

bawling and plowing

the new green brown

while the cows

rode one another.


Witness for over fifty years

I have my theories

where there is no proof,

I leap to speculation

like Sherlock Holmes

just for the entertainment.


The girls and babies

have climbed the mountain

for the new green

protected by old feed

to grow taller,

and the boys too cavalier

or lazy to follow after

their nine-month vacation

on alfalfa.


We breed for almost everything

these days: birth weights

and scrotal circumference,

marbling and tenderness,

weaning weights and dollars

(gentle purebred generations

of artificial insemination)

for everything but sex drive.



Slow Rain

The Shy Goddess has come and gone after a 2+”, 6-day slow rain from the 2nd to the 7th, only to return Saturday with another inch, enough to push Dry Creek down canyon. Quite a welcome sight, water in the creek, sycamores afire and green; the way it ought to be!




Damp and cold, her breath

slips through the door cracked

to push the smell of smoke


through the house while it rains

lightly.  I steal deep breaths,

pretend I’m young again


before I light another.

Though I miss the real storms,

the overbearing trepidation


that escapes its banks to flood

with heroic tales and wonder

when its over, I am now lifted


out of time on her breath,

this gentle rain, hillsides

running green—reborn again.