Crawling between the cobbles,
the creek begins to run again
lifting a discarded cover of leaves
into fragile rafts downstream
in the prolonged undressing
awaiting a freeze. White flesh
shows on some, bare limbs
reaching outward like flashers
in open russet trench coats
having shed their blush of crimson
weeks ago—slow and deliberate
provocations for hundreds of years
here, of frolicking sycamores, naked
nymphs dancing across the creek
when no one is looking.
Three hundred rings along the creek,
five months dry—another chance
to live, another chance to die
marked with autumn’s fleeting
splendor. Soon naked and lithe,
these old sycamores will cavort
the winter long, memorize and
improvise each lunge and pirouette
until the dance is crystalized
within my mind. Blessed be
the seasons as examples of
yet another chance to get it right.
Not quite déjà vu, Saturday’s sun set under clear skies after another half-inch rain, illuminating the sycamores again, but with less intensity. This is the perspective I wanted for yesterday’s post, but by the time I got to this position, the light was gone. When you’ve got grass and rain, you’ve got time to think about other things.
The light changes quickly after breaks in the weather. We had just received a half-inch of rain by Tuesday evening as the sun was setting behind the ridge. Overcast in the canyon but clearing in the valley west of us, the sun found a thin slot between the ridge and clouds to spotlight the sycamores along the creek, our dancing girls.
On the weather map,
a week of storms
four days out
to a heavy mist
to quell the flames
before the downpour,
wind and rain—
a tame disrobing
before a shower
of leaves that leave
the road between
barbed wire fences
full to the hubcaps
Show starts at two
across the road
with wind and rain—
in a slow strip tease
of fire exposing
long white limbs
in a chorus line
of dancing nymphs
along the creek
all ready to go
or high water.
Coffee and cigarettes in the cold outside,
counting cattle on the hillside, black dots
on green, we wait for the sun to rise—
to break through the fringe skeletons
of oaks atop the ridge with blinding shards
of light. I lean into the shadow of the post
that holds the beam and roof together,
edging north towards the Solstice
most mornings in December, unless
it’s raining blurry streaks of gray
from a dark sky. Half-dressed sycamores
await the creek to run again, flash bare limbs
before the dancing tangle of nymphs
and hobgoblins. In the middle of a miracle,
I am awash with it while staying dry.
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2014, Ranch Journal
Tagged Blue Oak, Drought, Dry Creek, photographs, poetry, rain, sunrise, sycamores, weather
December 8, 2010
The green struggles in the clay.
Sycamores stand half-dressed
beside an empty bed exposing
white limbs as the sun sets.
The shadow of the ridge behind us
becomes a long, dark stage
for a chorus line of dancing girls,
arms entwined, kicking high
at the gate as we leave home
for a fire upstream—turkey
trimmed with camaraderie.
No traffic on the road to see
these celebrations along the creek
as the canyon waits for rain.
All of the young bucks
know their place and wait
for business to pick up—
for the boss to be gone
with work of his own
calling him away, far
enough that he won’t know
what they’re up to.
They spar a little, rattle
thin horns, bide their time
in the thick of November—
like it’s always been.