On the edge of fog, we’ve been gathering Greasy to brand Thursday, while the forecast for rain varies from from a few hundredths to a quarter-inch from a half-dozen Internet weather sites. Above the fog, we shed all the jackets it took to get there, a true inversion layer. Time to fish or cut bait.
Where the inversion layer dissipates into crystal mist at dawn,
pixies rise in the canyon, float towards the light, or so it seems
for fleeting instants sparkling in the haze of fog lifting—
the dread of the San Joaquin cloaking lowlands, where dark-gray
silhouettes of cattails once encircled swamps now drained
with ditches to furrows, gravity flow—with just a little rain.
Come awake blinking, heart and mind flicker together
within this ascension beyond the flesh to pagan possibilities
fit for the earth-bound, praying always for something fresh.
Almighty God is too busy with too many and too much
nowadays, not to let the ancient surrogates work the wild
and open territories to tame the natives with a little magic.
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
– Wallace Stevens (“The Snow Man”)
Always the backdrop
of deep pipe songs
awakening at dawn—
Roadrunners in rockpiles
like coyotes at night
finding one another.
Or the late November chill
of sequestered bulls
pacing the barbed wire,
their primal trumpeting
echoes up and down canyon
searching for the company
of work, sweet work.
The quiet moments
in between are cold
before and after
a good hard rain
when fog rolls in,
spilling over ridges
to wall the world away
in opaque gray
to leave you lost,
with only the thought
of becoming nothing.
No day to gather
cattle in a sea of fog—
just wait by the fire.
WPC(2) — “enveloped”
But traces in quiet fog:
ridgeline of the barn roof,
cold parts of the corral
float in and out of gray
closing in upon our fire—
forms of horses look
for hazy movement
in this fuzzy moment
shut away from hills
and towns beyond, the world
and its miseries. All
we have accomplished near
at hand, close to fading
and I am relieved
of the weight of urgency—
to change a thing.
Dear Dawn, I await you in a cavern
of wet blackness, upstate exhaust hangs
between me and the suns and stars
of my reward, (or as far as I have seen
of infinity), as the dew from the last rain
clings to each unhealthy particulate,
camouflaged to look and feel like fog.
I have missed your smile, bright eyes,
and warm touch across the landscape
of my face, but we inhale this wet veil
holding clay slopes damp, moistening
each cotyledon struggling to break free
from the earth’s grip to make grass,
turn hills green with the circumambulation
of black dots—cows and calves grazing.
Another ugly day without you, feeding
hay in gray, but it ain’t all bad—
I’ll see you when I can. xxooxxoo, J.
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2014, Ranch Journal
Tagged bad air, Calves, cows, dawn, Drought, Dry Creek, feeding, fog, photographs, poetry, rain, water, weather
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
– William Stafford, (“The Way It Is”)
Out on Highway 99, silhouettes of semi-trucks
appear in the fog, grow into tiny lights ahead
or leer, big-eyed from behind in a blind rush –
up and down the Valley – like trains submerged,
caravans tunneling this thick and gray resistance
to time’s unfolding as the road grows longer.
The Real Birds came visiting in their Cadillac
and laughed at how I measured miles to Fresno
by the clock, grinning from a grounded dimension.
Our thread is not a straight line connecting cities,
but meanders more like a creek with gravity –
with the flow or against the current to its source.