Tag Archives: Live Oak

SIDE BY SIDE

Lesley Fry Photo

Spectacular weather yesterday on the Paregien ranch. Above 2,000 feet in elevation and twenty 4 x 4 minutes from the asphalt, it is a magic place rich with native and anecdotal history.  Currently, the feed is short but still greening since the 1.45” we got on the 6th, 7th and 8th of this month. The cattle have left the flats for the slopes and ridges where the new grass is growing faster, protected from frost by the remnants of old feed. Early last week the prognosticators canceled today’s rain, but have now forecast a significant amount for Thursday into the weekend.  (We’ll see.)

 

While pumping water, looking for the neighbor’s errant bull and measuring the corrals for a much-needed makeover, Robbin and I spent the morning with the Fry/Fox family cutting Manzanita and Live Oak deadfall for our woodstove because of my tendonitis. With our many hands, what fun we had!

 

It’s been several months since I carelessly cut a tree in the road that knocked me down, damaging the rotator cuff of my right shoulder. And about a month since compensating for it to pop a tendon, sounding like a gun shot, in my left forearm.  Enlisted now in medical protocol and procedures, it’s taken a couple of weeks to confirm the damage with an MRI.  Apparently surgery and long recovery is my best option. I see the Dr. again in 4 weeks, meanwhile I’m supposed to do nothing.

 

I am amused that only children and seniors measure their age in half-years, kids because they want to be older, and seniors, I suppose, eager to numerically reassure themselves of their existence. I’m 74 ½ and need to act my age.  My life, our life, on this ranch has always been physical and it’s been too easy for me to forget I’m no longer fifty or sixty building fence or bucking hay.  But to have our good friends and neighbors volunteer to help us get some firewood in was truly a wonderful gift on a beautiful day.  Thank you Chuck and Lesley Fry, Katy and Cody Hanson, and Allie and Shawn Fox.  You guys are the best!

 

THE LIVE OAK

 

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Long dead,
it sheds its limbs
atop the knoll

where generations
of women bent to
grind granite

for acorn meal.
No longer shade,
a bony spire

for our pair
of crows to make
feather-quivering love

balanced in the light,
has finally succumbed
to gravity. Perch gone

we hope and trust
they’ll stay on
another season.

 

AFTERWARDS

 

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Two centuries of women
gone beyond
healing and grinding,
needing shade
away from men—

dead Live Oak place
to roost for years,
our pair of crows
make familiar
flutters of love
balanced on a branch,
know one another’s
every feather,
preen and quiver
with how it feels
into the gloaming
afterwards.

 

PROMISE

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We waited through dry and dusty years
and prayed the only way we knew—
like tithing, throwing hard-bought hay

to the gods on the ground everyday.
Our muttered mantra clunked along
like an old machine, inhaling pauses,

exhaling groans until it came to turn
the earth around with a covering
of iridescent green, teasing the dead

and dying oak trees—like us or like
the cows we raised and had to sell—
with rain and one more promise.

New life lands on the open beam
that holds the roof and sings
in the sudden rain—a black and gold

Oriole on the edge of its Southwest
range—a happy song delivered quickly.
A sign in this downpour, an omen

I am to remember when season’s over
and the grass turns blond and brittle—or
just a promise of weather never normal.