At their feet, I must leave home—
the house, the canyon, to see them.
At the overpass between Exeter
and Visalia, when at cloudy dawn
they became my mother’s rumpled
bedclothes as she courted death,
the Sierras cloaked in a gossamer mist
that embraced me. Or just south
of Lemon Cove, up the Kaweah’s long,
open throat, sharp-toothed peaks
of granite scree reach for the sky,
changing moods in every light.
A man must have mountains
to shed the nonsense to get to—
a distant and steep ascent
for the spirit, soul and flesh—
a place safe to wander fire to fire,
star to star, to drink from snowmelt.
Wide arms open, they welcome me
as I come home from town
to lay down at their wrinkled feet.
Black, no stars—a mist before the storm
stacks-up against the Sierra Nevadas—
rises and rains just in time for grass
struggling with hard, thirsty clay.
We, too, have grown hard
with no deep moisture, roots dry
and brittle as the Live Oaks offering
boughs full of brown medallions.
The problem bears have moved
to town, followed the Kaweah
down into backyards and alleys,
packs of hungry coyotes behind them.
Slow and gentle would be best
for the red, south and west slopes,
any kind of puddles for the flats—
but whatever we get, we’ll like it ☺
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2014, Ranch Journal
Tagged Drought, Dry Creek, Kaweah, photographs, poetry, rain, Sierra Nevadas, water, weather, wildlife, Wood Ducks