Tag Archives: rain

AT SUNSET AFTER CHRISTMAS RAINS

Last flash of limbs

in a pagan dance

as shadows crawl

across the creek

to pull night’s curtain up

into the stars.

 

The canyon has come to life

with promises of spring—

birds and trees are talking

above the bulls’ primal bellowing—

tension spills with energy.

 

Shrill yips and howls

in every draw ignites

another all-night

canine celebration

to exasperate the dogs.

 

Even the old flesh perks up

with fresh strategies,

just in case the market’s up

and we get more rain—

just enough to do it over again.

THE GOOD SIGNS

There were no wild turkeys here

when we were boys—no Great Egrets either

mimicking Blue Herons

statuesque in the pasture

waiting for the earth to move

a varmint cleaning house after rain.

 

Scattered atop the ridges,

we haven’t seen the cows and calves

in weeks, the young bulls longer

through December rains.

They don’t need us now,

they don’t need hay.

 

Lifeline of the canyon, the creek

arrived on Christmas Eve

running muddy, coloring the river

with streaks of chocolate

under the new bridge

it took years to finish.

 

And when the Tule fog

leaps and claws up canyon

like a lion to wrap us in a gray

cocoon that shuts the world away,

there’s nothing to do but wait

until the sun burns it off.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Long dark shadows in the canyons,

cattle hard to see.  They don’t need us now,

heads down somewhere on the mountain,

 

ground too wet to help them anyway—

all the excuses I need to write poetry.

We fed hay all last year, filled the barn

 

three times waiting for a rain. These Christmas

storms: miracles to rejuvenate the earth

for man and beast, birds and insects,

 

steep hillsides begging to explode in leafy

salad greens—iridescent gifts in the sunlight,

like the old days, for years in a row that

 

have since gone dry and farther in between.

Nothing stays the same, just ask the skeletons

of old oaks where the natives ground acorns.

FANTASY

Last night’s rain left a glistening

on the leaves of limbs at dawn,

 

beads upon the redwood silver

twinkling like a Christmas tree.

 

White icing shines upcanyon,

dark chocolate in the creek flow,

 

first light ignites the sycamores

and cottonwoods to flames,

 

aged sorrel geldings buck and slide

in mud like fresh colts finding legs.

 

Last night’s rain left me dreaming

beyond this canyon—all a fantasy.

Winter Solstice – Wagyu X Branding

Though no one dares complain about the rain, we’ve been working towards a branding between storms as the corrals dry out.  Yesterday began cold and foggy as the sun broke through occasionally.

With an exceptional crew of neighbors, it was fun and relaxed for our first branding of the year, a good opportunity for Allie (Fry) Fox to sharpen her skills.  She’s been part of this ranch since she was a baby.

 

It’s always a pleasure having Douglas Thomason in the pen bringing his quiet and calm expertise to the party.  Bodie, his young son below, looks ready to follow in his footsteps.

What a great day!  Robbin and I are thrilled. Thank you all!  With wild and varied predictions of rain (Atmospheric River) through New Years beginning this evening, we’re ready to enjoy the holidays. 

RAINBOW

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?

Rain and Snow

Sulphur Peak

2.16” of rain the past two days and snow down to about 2,000 feet yesterday have been a game changer for Robbin and me.  So long dry, it’s not been easy to think in any other terms than drought, but we’re getting there as the south and west slopes fill in with green.  Forecast for more rain on the way through Christmas. 

DECEMBER 14, 2021

I’ve worked hard on my imperfections:

hobbled anger to the point of giving up

my passion.  The drought has beat me up

into a zombie retracing small circles

from house to barn for hay to cattle

and back home for years, it seems.

 

I gathered ghosts and local wild gods

to hope upon a waxing moon for rain,

for a superfluous verdancy to untrack me,

clear the air and make mud of dust—

it’s beginning now, a standing ovation

of applause upon a metal roof.

JUST IN TIME

Gray silver rain,

burnished coins

upon the green—

first leaves of filaree

like faces waiting,

hands open expectantly.

 

The ground sighs

just in time and we,

with wood stacked,

breathe freely now

 

as cows down from ridgetops

collect babies waiting

for breakfast

and old enough to listen

for their mother’s voice.

 

She slipped easily away

under clouds like these.

I hear phrases now—

her knowing

and all her demons

haunt me delightfully,

words that fit

and suddenly

become my own.

 

She would be pleased for us,

gray silver rain

upon the green.

LIKE ALWAYS

Beneath clouds

the forecast rain peters out

to a light mist, heavy dew, a sip

to hold greening hills a week—

like always, I’m disappointed

wanting more

security for cows.

 

Today, we’ll cut skeletons

of brittle manzanita

into woodstove lengths

to bring Blue Oak coals

to flame each morning.

 

We’ll take the dog,

put out salt,

check cows and calves—

stack the brush

load the Kubota

and let her sit between us

all the way home.

 

Through the years

we have worn cow trails of our own.

Like always, we’ll see something

we’ve never seen before.