Tag Archives: gods


A promise from forgotten days of rain,

bold whites and blues and greens

flush the flesh clean as a hawk’s cry


in spring.  When we were children

here, we walked within our dreams

of endless rivers crashing and cascading


from the Sierra snowpack into the Valley

ditches and furrows, row upon row

to fill the cornucopia of the world.


But we have pumped the ground dry.

Is this a harbinger of better times, or

have the gods returned to say goodbye?


                                    Around here all the gods live in trees.

                                                – Jim Harrison (“The Whisper”)


It’s been tough on the woodpeckers: dry year,

no acorns in the oaks, yet

they still flap and squabble over bugs in the bark.


I can’t see the owls in the dark of dawn

as I wait for the black to disappear, yet

their mournful presence is good company.


Robbin likes the flock of little bushtits

flitting tree to tree, or washing-up at six o’clock

when the timer sprays the Mexican Sage.


Above it all, they’re smarter than the rest of us

to fly where they want—or most needed.

But around here we irrigate the trees.





In the dry and dusty years,
we did not ask much
from our night dreams

of brittle details to get by
day by day—no pastoral
pipe dreams, no comedy.

But we indulge the gods
because we must endure
their sense of humor.






Bumper crop of acorns,
warm monsoon rains.
The redbud bloomed

confused, drawing butterflies
for weeks—the season’s
last hatch of Monarchs

swarming crimson, orange
and black-trimmed fairies
to the front door.

All a sign of something
unusual, uniquely beautiful—
that superfluous imbalance

charged to an unknown
future—a fleeting gift
to remember the gods

before leaving us
four years dry and begging
for something normal.



Weekly Photo Challenge: “Weightless” Monarchs


Weather Journal 2011-12

Rainfall History






Eight inches gentle rain, yet
the creek shrinks up canyon,
drawn back by thirsty ground.

Hills slick in shadows stretched
up draws, yet not a trickle
leaks to cobbled beds.

Slow sips, four dry years
not yet quenched, the gods
have been merciful—

brought dusty flesh
back to life with grass
green between the feet

of dancing naked trees
along the creek. Our hearts
pump with its flow—

though nearly idle soaking now—
pound with its raging
promises of spring reflections:

Wood Ducks courting
beneath long-limbed canopies
of sycamores dressing.

I yearn ahead, scout
the moving parts
we’ve yet to play

as I write this
moment’s gift
of today.






On the weather map
watching the storm slide
slowly down the Sierras,

a green right arm wraps
around San Jose,

headed toward this warm
midsection, and I wonder:
with an upper cut of cold?

—wet inch down already,
as if the gods are on a mission
to treat us squarely—

as if there is a plan
to anything,
or just random rolls

we learn to adjust to
moment after moment
never seen before!






Alive, up-canyon ridges grip like fingers
into the creek bed, pulling from either side,
tearing flesh in a flowing furrow slowing

near the river, spreading fines in the flats
mixed and gathered from granite peaks
where natives search for signs of rain—

for hope, for the ultimate escape
to sit and talk with all gone on before,
to watch the earth unfold—to perhaps

even walk with gods. No allure
of alabaster shine or golden thrones
beyond the clouds compels the wild

heart or the keen eye, satisfied
with working for a woodstove
or making shade to shed a rain.






Errant gods return
to paint earth and sky, bring
dark light after dry.






As always, we don’t know
what’s coming
or when, but we prepare

for rain and cold
with odds in our favor.
There is no election,

no debate, no polls.
The fickle gods
write their own rules

and grin like hell
when we object
to their unfairness.

We were gods once
when we were children
with scraps of wood

and leaves for sails
cheering ships
floating down a furrow.





We could be cattle, days
with no names like ticks on a clock—
each dark silence, welcome escape
from two years of want,

or stampeded substitute gods
overrun with adulation,
bringing feed and water to
damned-near everything.

Only now, with well-timed rain
and drizzles freeing cotyledons
from the clay, watching the young
bulls get acquainted with cows,

do we forget the drought
to see our future grass
and heifer calves—sure
that tomorrow is Tuesday.