Tag Archives: Drought

JUST TO BEHOLD

 

 

Two coyotes lope across the road in the rain

in their retreat from the swollen creek, roaring

like prolonged thunder distantly—unafraid

 

for they are fat on rodents curled in flooded

burrows, tailings fresh.  The herons and egrets

will appear with the sun, stand guard like statues

 

in garden nurseries look alive.  Too wet to fly,

the sheltered hawks in the limbs of leafless trees

will spread their wings until their feathers dry.

 

And we too wait.  Some days it’s too wet—

too hot, too cold, or too dry to work—but once

in a while it makes more sense just to behold.

 

 

THE BUENA VISTA

 

 

Rising from the saddle

beneath Sulphur,

a full wolf moon views

 

            first break in the rain

            for over a week

            as if to assess

            a rare miracle:

 

            green slopes leaking

            rivulets spilling

            into draws into creeks

            foamed like Irish coffee.

 

We are drunk with it

wanting more, another

warm sweet storm

 

            to validate

            a lifetime—this

            wild existence:

 

            grass and rain,

            cows to graze

            our blurred exposure.

 

 

RAINBOW

 

 

No word of the whereabouts

of La Niña 3, one more dry year

waiting in the wings to sell cows

 

and feed more hay—instead,

8 days rain out of 9 and more

to come, bare canyon green.

 

We are helpless, flood or drought,

her fickle Nature always serving

what she wants, anywhere, anytime.

 

 

NATURE IN CHARGE

 

 

After a decade, we gave-up prayer,

swallowed our appeals to pagan gods

and goddesses that might be listening—

 

we forgot the feel of tall green feed

wet upon our knees, resigned ourselves

to do without—to adapt to drought.

 

Wettest December in a century,

but for the floods of ’55 and ’66,

I don’t regret what I wished for.

 

 

RETURN OF THE SHY GODDESS

 

 

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.

 

 

 

SHY GODDESS

 

 

It’s quiet now, she’s come and gone

without a sound, spent the night

without a word as we slept

 

deeply by the fire.  She kept it dark

without the stars, hid the pregnant moon

that shed the rain lightly through the clouds.

 

We don’t know her name, shy goddess—

but we will leave the light on

with pomegranate jelly at the door.

 

        –          –          –          –         –

0.63″ plus bugs

 

CHEER

 

 

Nothing near, the long-term forecast

changes on the hour as we look out

over Christmas color, out of storage early,

 

at independent calves at water,

and our persistent green still breathing

with each dawn’s dew. Almost everything

 

we need is near-at-hand before Thanksgiving

with a welcome splash of cheer

as we wait for rain, like always.

 

 

HEARTWOOD

 

 

 

Chain saw heavier, I cut arms

off skeletons littering pastures

and canyons after years of drought,

 

a battleground where old oaks lost

touch with water—most barkless now

tipped-over or in tangled piles

 

beneath authoritative trunks

begging purpose, begging cremation

or stacked close to the woodstove.

 

Old habits and rituals finally slow

as the limbs grow heavier despite

the pleading of the heartwood.

 

 

 

WINTER FIRES

 

 

Color comes with cold and wet

within the canyon, even before

the creek flows or sycamores burn

 

leather brown to shed their clothes—

white bodies tangled in a pagan dance

to gods unknown.  Orioles return

 

as sparks in the brush, levity

in the pink overcast of dawn.

We glean the fallen skeletons

 

of oak and brittle manzanita

to fill the woodstove. Curious cattle

come to wonder what we’re about.

 

GOOD FORTUNE

 

After a slow three-day rain,

clay dust dark brown and firm,

we think we see a tinge of green

 

before wet seed has time to burst

with open-handed cotyledons

through the saturated dirt.

 

Yesterday, on the optometrist’s screen

I see my eyeballs and optic nerves

that anticipate such good fortune:

 

bare ground, sloping hillsides

carpeted with short green—

a start to change our luck.

 

                                    for Terence Miller