Tag Archives: Fire

HELPLESS

 

 

On the other side,
all the current dangers rage
unseen that words cannot

assuage. Isolated here,
hands busy with simple
tasks, we cannot breathe.

On the other side,
an unknown future waits
to reshape us to survive.

Fifty years ago,
I was afraid
I would become proficient—

integrate guilt and hate
into my young soul
to become the best

at squeezing death
before a soldier’s
impromptu grave.

On the other side,
we pray for clarity—
for humble purpose.

 

RED DAWN

 

 

Eleven thousand
lightning strikes, three hundred fires:
smoke in the canyon.

 

‘TIS THE SEASON

 

 

                       There’s a dragon with matches that’s loose on the town
                       Takes a whole pail of water just to cool him down.

                                 – Grateful Dead (“Fire on the Mountain”)

After rain,
willows aflame,
green on black:

photographs
of germinating
truth taking root

after fire—after
the smoke clears
and dust disappears

with seasons changing—
we begin again
with grass.

 

AFRAID

 

 

                  When I got a little older, I changed.
                                    Maria Lisa Eastman (“War Bridle”)

Summer winds breathe fire
with a bouquet of hollow wild oats
bent on chance and luck—
but we cannot look away
or ever dream relaxed.

One would think with age
and long experience, a man
would become emboldened
with skid-steer-bladed
firebreaks and phoschex

that always help, but time
has proven reason often
beyond the comprehension
of some of us who wait
for the smell of smoke.

 

Fire Season

 

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About 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, an arsonist started a grass fire about a quarter-mile north of the house, 110°. After calling CalFire, I got to the head of the fire with the skid steer as the first engine arrived.

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Fortunately, the fire break we built in April kept the blaze along the road and off the hills, leaking only north and south. After unlocking the gate for the crew from Modoc County familiarizing themselves with the local terrain and responding to smoke, I returned south as Air Tac dumped Phoschex on both ends of the 3 acre blaze.

A wake-up call and good practice for us all as we enter fire season.

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BE HERE!

 

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Vanity is absence.

                                       – Wendell Berry (“Praise”)

 

 

Within the unfolding
              Be here!
among waves of leaves
shed like rain
for a moment
of poetry—

somewhere other than
distant histories
and posed reflections.

              Be here!

to witness miracles
while the mundane dance
within the grace

of animated metaphors
in the half-light
of dusk and dawn.

              Be here!

on our knees
bringing life
with gentle breath
to dry twigs
upon dying coals—
to shadows melting
around our fire.

 

YEAR OF THE BEAR

 

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1.

Don’t care,
go anywhere,
eat anything—leave little

evidence behind, but
barefoot tracks,
whole berries in black scat.

 
2.

Drought and fire,
slim pickin’s high,
bears lumber off the mountain,

hundreds in canyons
trying to make a living
on damn few acorns—

grubbing for bugs,
trashing trash cans
taking pets and an occasional calf.

Shaggy invaders
from the past
like science fiction.

 
3.

Oso,
Ursus arctos
own the moonlit mountain town
on Halloween,
rummage door to door,
wait on the porch for more
of anything to eat.
Trick or treat.

 

AMONG THE GODS

 

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The old ways fade
and disappear into the dust—
we leave few tracks

in the mountains,
in the canyons—
our hands are rough.

Red rivers run
through our hearts,
love and logic pulse

our slow ascension:
young horseback souls
grown old and weary,

we inhale the pitch
of pine, the cedar
smoke, silhouettes

facing one another
around the fire.
Red cinders rise

to join the stars
of forgotten time
among the gods.

                                    for Amy

JULY 1, 2015

 

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Summer harbinger:
a lightning strike beckoning
red shiny engines.

 

 

Rough Fire

151,493 acres
85% containment

BRAND OF LIFE

 

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We ride for a brand
of life in open spaces
while the iron is hot.

 

 

WPC — “Symbol”