Tag Archives: Wood Ducks




Gray canyon rain,

café au lait rivulets

overfill vernal pools


spreading to the creek

just begun to run

at the end of December.


She stayed overnight

and all day, lingering

to leave us extra rain,


as if we were old lovers

trying to give the past

a second chance—


she offers nourishment

to thirsty earth, bare slopes

a cover of color come spring:


a team of sunlit Wood Ducks

at the edges of water pooled

grazing with horses. 











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 low, rocky ridge,
a Roadrunner moans for a mate
in declining octaves—first awake

February mornings, ever hopeful
for a better day of circumnavigating
barn and garden. Then returns

to hear his song carry to the creek
that has found the river now
for the first time in years, tying

dry ground, this canyon together—
breathing easier, whole again,
it spreads coolly through us

as Wood Ducks skip upstream
to feed beneath the canopies
of old oaks and sycamores.

We have learned the call,
draw him closer with an answer
only more rain can bring.



IMG_4080 - Version 2


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 ☺


Dry Creek


The two Wood Duck pairs in the raft of leaves at the down water gap are only 100 yards above where the creek has made it down the channel. No raging torrent, the creek arrived here this morning. We’ve been watching its progress two miles upstream for the past six weeks or so, drying back with high temperatures near 80 degrees as the sycamores began to take on water to support new leaves. Typically, the creek is usually running by December, some years without the benefit of recent rains. The creek is the physical and psychological lifeline for all life in the canyon.



It’s estimated that the creek carried 20,000 cubic feet/second during the Christmas Flood of 1955. The USGS gaging station was washed away during the Flood of 1967, relocated before the larger Flood of 1969 that measured over 14,000 cfs. According to the USACE Hourly Reports USACE, current flow is 5 cfs. Though paltry, we’re tickled to see it.