The creek still runs dry,
spends itself as it shrinks upstream
on oaks and sycamores
despite the goosenecks,
despite the cowboys
hauling calves to town—
despite the busloads,
despite the caravans
of weekend Christians
looking for God in the pines.
The County had to move the road
after the Flood of ’55
and rebuilt bridges in ‘69
where the canyon narrows
and the creek runs dry.
Still talk of a dam
every election year
as if it could make water.
Light dusting this afternoon down to 2,500′ on Dry Creek. Exceeding the forecast, just shy of an inch of rain overnight and this morning. It’s wet out there.
Crawling between the cobbles,
the creek begins to run again
lifting a discarded cover of leaves
into fragile rafts downstream
in the prolonged undressing
awaiting a freeze. White flesh
shows on some, bare limbs
reaching outward like flashers
in open russet trench coats
having shed their blush of crimson
weeks ago—slow and deliberate
provocations for hundreds of years
here, of frolicking sycamores, naked
nymphs dancing across the creek
when no one is looking.
At the Fall Banquet of the Tulare County Cattlemen’s Association last night, our dear neighbor Jody Fuller (2nd from the right) was awarded Cattleman of the Year. Usually a poorly kept secret, she was totally surprised. In an insightful and humorous presentation, Craig Ainley (far right) highlighted Jody’s history and accomplishments on Dry Creek. In addition to a beautiful belt buckle, she received commendations from County Supervisor Mike Ennis and Clarissa Henderson (far left), representing Congressman Devin Nunes.
Our “Thank You” for a wonderful dinner and evening provided by all the usual suspects, both in front and behind the scenes.
Last Friday, I underwent knee replacement surgery. I was able to walk with a walker by Saturday. Rehabilitation will undoubtedly be slow and posts to the blog may be less frequent.
Silt and sediment have settled
with the senses, clear water calm
in the canyon, low whispers
of the Solstice among the cobbles,
the easy pulse of our lifeblood
returns the churned edges
of the creek to house-hunting
killdeer pairs, not quite ready
to commit to gravelly real estate,
not quite sure of the shoreline
as we gather for another branding:
little bunch of big calves, slow
dance of old people and horses,
buck and bawl of calves before
the fiery altar of yesteryear.
Winter’s long-entangled dance
carefree of leaves for centuries
beckons partners of the flesh—
a mood rooted in this ground
of fortitude that rules the air
we breathe, the space between
the touch of branches. Slow
gather of cattle among them—
graceful rhythm for a branding.
Each appendage strives for grace
angling its long reach for the light
dressed within summer green
canopies that shade the pools
along the creek. But some trees
drink too much, consume
more weight than limbs can hold
before snapping like rifle shots
that echo in the canyon.
Gray chorus line of winter nymphs
locking hands, dancing naked
at a distance, up close show
the scars of younger appetites
for growth, blueprints for bigness
that challenged gravity—yet
decomposed broken bones
leave open holes for nests
to incubate a clan of Wood Ducks.
Clouds cling low,
I tend the fire:
stir red coals—dry
branch of manzanita
crack of air
to the woodstove—
and wait for words
that hide behind
along the creek
too deep to cross,
the flood of news
for pleasant poetry.
Dry Creek – 1,675 cfs @ 4:00 p.m.
Dry Creek – 2,520 cfs @ 5:00 p.m.
Dry Creek – 2,951 cfs @ 6:00 p.m.