Thursday, August 30

Now Forager

grackles have invaded our woods
abandoned their cornfield
bade farewell to the evicted scarecrow
as he wobbles away on dusty stalks

they bully their way to the feeders,
these creatures who are shadow and noise
they have their own politics
the solitary red-winged blackbird holds back
dares not cross the invisible line

the ground boils with them
a seething cauldron of black oil
their iridescent heads dazzle
in the morning sun

a sudden shift in the wind,
a foreign sound and they rise in tandem
drawn swiftly upward
by the invisible hand of a puppeteer

all is quiet
all is still

the songbirds return

Sunday, August 26


they bow in unison at the seed font
fly through each other
sing their hollow bones over the field of reeds,
drought has turned them to ether

on our morning walk
she finds them first,
nudges them with her nose
the ones who have fallen from the sky,
who lie still with their breasts plucked out

I cannot accustom myself to these small deaths.

my cupped hands are filled with slightness
feathers who knew only flight
leave their host,
trail behind me
for one last ride on the wind
as I return their bodies to Paradise

Saturday, August 18

A Lesson in Living

Smudged outline of shrinking water;
sticky black mud
holds delicate hoof prints
of doe and fawn,
drawn to the water’s edge for a drink
before dawn

Hours later, we pause at the same bank
to soak through our pores the thrumming
of cicada song, the sighing of a breeze
through tips of branches high above our heads
we go about this in our own way…
the little brown dog and me

I stand head cocked with my ear
tuned to the forest, eyes wide open,
rocking gently from side to side.
She gingerly walks the shoreline,
stopping to savor shoots of young, tender grasses,
follows the scent of loam and decaying leaves
to a deep, cool drink of water and hoof prints.

She buries her nose in the impression,
draws a deep breath and looks up, eyes shining
She bows down, rubbing her face
in the sticky black mud, along the line of
young, tender grasses fluttering in the breeze
like green eyelashes

Ecstatic, she runs to me
buries her wet, muddy muzzle between my breasts
and exhales into my heart

if only we, in our cinched and censured world
could surrender to the wildness that dwells within.

Thursday, August 9

And on the same day

as the silent scream, there was an incident of mistaken identity by a little hummer who looked a lot like this:

I was standing outside the chapel listening to the wind chimes when I heard the rapid fire beating of hummingbird wings coming from the right and it was getting louder! If you haven't heard it before, imagine the sound of a bumblebee on steroids. I froze. He hovered so close to my right ear, I could feel the breeze from beating wings on my cheek. Not happy with what he found, he threw it into reverse and tried a full frontal approach, making me go cross-eyed. Still dissatisfied, he darted to my left ear. I was braced for a little hummingbird tongue action, but instead he let out a few chirp-chirps and flew away.

Now I have an inkling of what it feels like to be a flower.

Photo Courtesy of: Colors of the Garden

Wednesday, August 8

Silent Scream

My neighbor emailed to let me know the zero at the end of our street number on the new mailbox was missing. This mailbox situation is beginning to get a bit tedious. I walked down to the road and sure enough the zero at the end of 1440 was gone. Considering how hot it's been (103 is predicted for today) I imagine the glue on the back of the peel and stick number liquefied.

I looked around the base of the mailbox, didn't see anything, expanded my scope, still didn't see anything, moved the tall grass with my foot and there it was, lying face down. As I reached down and picked it up my stomach lurched, sending a signal to my brain to recoil my hand.

Have you ever had one of those moments when your view of the world looks like the reflection in a mirror that has been broken into a thousand pieces, then glued back together by a 4 year old? This was one of those moments. Drawing the number closer, my eyes were finally able to focus on what I was truly seeing and a feeling somewhere between yuck and fear washed over me.

Have a's the front of the number...notice the odd, curvy bulge on the right side:

Flip it over and what do we find?

Yes, that's a snake...a baby snake.

a closer look reveals
this little fellow had a stroke of bad luck,
stuck in mid slither,
dying with its head raised,
jaw open wide
in a silent scream

Sunday, August 5


that's what we shall be
if Mother Nature
looks unkindly on thee,
thirsty, quivering, weeping tree.

You cast off your garmets
as if it were fall,
but it's summer my friend
do you not hear the call
of the whip-poor-will?

Saturday, August 4

Hide and Seek

August 1st is an anniversary of sorts for me. That's the day I became resident staff at Penuel Ridge Retreat Center and began my journey as a self-proclaimed writer. It's a natural time to pause, look back, recognize life lessons and become very clear about what I want to experience in this life.

This blog began as a way to take my friends and family along with me. I've enjoyed chronicalling my experiences in photographs and words, so it's a natural place for me to 'look back' and set my sights for the coming year.

Can you guess what I noticed, after reading nearly 400 entries?

You've been cheated.

I've only shown you the pretty things (except for the heartbreak of 2005). There are pictures of and stories about flowers and barns and countryside and local color and the wonder of creation.

I haven't shown you and written about drought, the sagging remains of once vibrant farms now used as junkyards for broken down equipment, cars and trash. You don't know about the systematic blowing up and scraping away of mountains to feed coal power plants that belch tons of carbon pollution into the air or that once rich delta farm land is being subdivided into luxury riverside homes or that the cycle of poverty is imprisoning the rural youth or that it's me that has to move fresh kill on the land.

I'm not saying all is lost or that I've sunk into the dark well of depression. What I am acknowledging is that I have cheated myself from seeing and experiencing all that is before me. So...get ready 'cause my eyes and heart are fully open. I believe this is what is referred to as "balance."

Happy Anniversary.

Summer of 2007.

What's beyond the reach of the water sprinkler's arc dies away.

Top Photo:

Summer of 2007

Retreat House Lawn - Green
Tractor Shed - Brown

Wednesday, August 1

Friends and Neighbors

The smiles and embraces say it all.