Category Archives: Photographs

“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests.”

Art of Quotation

“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt, statesman, president, political figure


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OCTOBER

 

 

The crows are back
to claim their roost
on the service pole above
pump and water trough.

The quail are scarce
since the Sharp-Shinned hawk
has come to spend
winter above the fog.

The Sycamores have quit
drinking from the dry creek bed,
quit pumping moisture
to their yellowing leaves.

Even the old bucks think
their necks are swelling
after the first rain smelling
primeval, basic and good.

 

IN THE GLOAMING

 

 

Evening conversation dwells
on a thin cow, vaccine
protocol and the dog’s limp

without a hint of politics
beyond the barbed wire—
beyond this ground and grass.

We don’t want to know
what makes the news—
what makes the outside world

tick with greed and power.
Evening conversation dwells
on more important things.

 

FORWARD

 

 

After a rain, everything is clean,
summer dust washed from leaves,
from the hides of cows and calves
gathered for church in shady shelters
to pray for the sweet scent of green.

We begin again to watch the sky,
look to heaven for perfect storms
and wait—dream of thunder
and draws of muddy water—
leaning forward into the future.

 

First Rain

 

 

Our small part of the world is almost perfect with last week’s rain as cotyledons break the duff and dirt, a magic time that California natives, men and beasts, eagerly anticipate. Albeit a bit early, our beginning of grass will need another rain soon, but with plenty of old feed to protect the new, that window is open longer.

 

 

My niece and family have been visiting once a month to help us deal with the Kaweah River watershed’s implementation of the Groundwater Stabilization Act, 2014 legislation designed to improve water quality and sustainability in California. As a more interesting outing, Robbin and I took them up to the Paregien ranch yesterday as we checked on our cattle.

 

 

Her husband Neal is a videographer who is always looking for room to fly his drone. Though I’ve often thought of applications for a drone on the ranch, such as checking fences and looking for missing cattle, I wasn’t quite ready for the visual reality.

 

 

Robbin’s ready to record barking dogs and other assorted cowboy sounds to help us in the gather.

 

SEPTEMBER 29th

 

 

Summer falters, stumbles
into October with rumors
of rain, weak weathermen

wishes for a change,
not enough to start the green
nor mildew the old feed—

just a welcome change
for cattle and coyotes,
ground squirrels and us.

Manes and tails float
in a sky blue sea,
acorns and oak leaves

litter the landscape,
long shadows reach across
the canyon like ground

burnt by fire, cordwood
waiting under every skeleton
the drought has left behind.

 

CHANGING TIMES

 

 

Not sure of normal,
I wake at five with
no poems pressing—

as if that early morning
well is going dry. But old
poems charge in the evening

now wanting to be rewritten,
wanting perspective on
an even more imperfect world

begging some new balance
we shall call truth, despite
the science of what we know

as the latest interpretation
of the facts, of reality, of what
we have to deal with now.

 

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX 2018

 

 

At six a.m., there is no ridgeline
to separate day and night, work
and sleep, dreams of what could be

and reality, balanced before my eyes—
no reasons sure without possibilities
I nurture and respect, keep alive

like cattle, a herd apart from madding
throngs beyond these hills, that become
my flesh, tended by these plodding girls—

that I believe at times that I am one
among them, ruminating in the shade
of the wonders before us, this perfect world.

 

THE LAST GASP OF MANIFEST DESTINY

 

 

Rivers of cars and trucks compressed
between houses stacked like cordwood,
between parking lots and mini-malls
ready to serve anonymous strangers

usurp more earth, sterilize and seal it
from the sun and rain—level the landmarks
for living histories of neighbors and families
lending a hand, sharing labor, teaching

one another how to give and live together
without the siren’s wail I hear
in the shrinking distance—from the lights
at night that blot out constellations.

My anger has become a sad acceptance
of human ambition, the relentless waves
of wealth and debt that may go hungry with
no landscapes left to feed their souls or flesh.

 

ON RIDGES

 

 

It could be an old photograph
beneath a younger oak tree
standing in wild oats—almost
anytime before I was born.

The sound of change
travels uphill, follows the slope
from the bottom of canyons
like an amplified alarm.

Here’s where natives rest
when the flesh gives in
to peace with the world—
you can only feel them near.