Monday, October 30, 2006

The bones of the trees

trunks bared by fire and years of wind and sun
shine like bones above the green brush,
radiant cream tufts of dry and faded rabbitbrush,
and luminous leaves of the wild rose now lit
with the fire of the lowering sun

between me and the horizon
hills and ridges flow in undulations
down to the valley as if down to a sea
and on the far side of that indecipherable white haze,
a blue line, the tops of mountains forty miles away

the sky glows white and rose and copper,
turquoise and deeper blues,
from rim to rim, and the half moon
floats thin and high in the darkest blue
just there among the bones of the trees

standing in the evening wind I am both small
and at home, held by season
and time, between earth and sky,
aware of breath and heartbeat, and of how
death is always standing just behind
the wild rose, the rabbitbrush, and me

Click on photos to view larger.


Blogger la vie en rose said...

wow...the words...the photos...what a lovely monday treat...

10/30/2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous marja-leena said...

This is very moving and lovely! The photos sent me back to the hills of the Peace country of northern BC.

10/30/2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger alan said...

You brought me seasonal thoughts...bones...ghosts...the stories they can tell if people only listen!


10/30/2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

i gasped at the panoramic photo at the bottom! Oh MB!!!! you take me to beautiful places. thanks!

10/30/2006 1:31 PM  
Blogger charlie said...

T'aint no sin
To take off your skin
And dance around in your bones
(Ode to the beautiful bones of a beautiful tree)

10/30/2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

I could see "the tops of the mountains forty miles away" before I scrolled to the photo. A mixture of beauty, pollution, and the somber end for us all. Looks like the "perspiration" paid some dividends!!!

10/30/2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

death is always standing just behind
the wild rose, the rabbitbrush, and me

That's always a useful thing to be aware of.

10/30/2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

You make us feel both our smallness when set against the majesty of the world, and the limitless quality of the inner world.

10/30/2006 5:35 PM  
Blogger mermaid said...

Something about that time change crown darkness over light. I enter the darkness again, but this time I have something I didn't have before. Thank you for reminding me of my bones.

10/30/2006 6:12 PM  
Blogger Sky said...

MB, this reminded me of how i felt in the presence of mt st helen, staring at the light ashy colored tree trunks - no limbs, no leaves - just tall, mishapen, wooden columns rising in the air, reminders of what happened when events took a stark turn and choked life from the earth.

10/30/2006 11:40 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Word-painting as nice as the views...

Nothing as wonderful as a wide-open place. (Have you read Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces?)

10/31/2006 2:23 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

The last lines reminded me of Forrest Carter's reminder in the Education of Little Tree: "Know that death in life is here with every breaking day, that one without the other cannot be..."

Beautiful words and pictures.

10/31/2006 4:05 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

I am always surprised by how many of the same paths you and I walk down, mb. I just googled "tree bones" the other day, inspired by the skeleton of old trees stark against a blue sky. I absolutely love the line between me and the horizon, it has the promise of everything.

10/31/2006 6:55 AM  
Blogger Fred Garber said...


10/31/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger polona said...

beautiful words complemented by gorgeous photos, and fantastic sobering last stanza. Love it!

10/31/2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Such a spare and stark land.

10/31/2006 4:25 PM  
Blogger BendingPeak said...

Wonderful pictures!

10/31/2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Again, breathtakingly gorgeous colors, and sensuous light, with atmosphere and depth...I am amazed!
And isn't it true that we are more aware of death at this time of year, when so much falls away around us...

10/31/2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger floots said...

wonderfully observed and captured
(without taking away any freedom) :)

11/01/2006 11:37 PM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

what a wonderous surprise to come across your beautiful poetry. thank you

11/02/2006 8:59 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

...and death's lurking in the shadows provides the "quickening" that brings the "bones to life"...and makes moment upon moment so precious.

11/02/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Michelle, that walk was a lovely treat for me! Thank you.

Marja-Leena, I've never been there. Perhaps I will someday. BC has a lot of beautiful country to it from what I've seen! Thanks.

Alan, it's funny, I hadn't even thought of it that way until you mentioned it, but it's true!

Snowsparkle, I'm glad you saw it that way. I thought it was a pretty incredible view, too. Thanks!

Charlie, I enjoyed your little ode very much. Thanks!

Pat, thanks. Like it or not, a little sweat often pays off! ;-) I don't often get to experience the benefits with this blog... one of the tradeoffs.

Dave, I think it is. Being out in the wild is a good way to remember it, too.

Patry, thank you for your insight!

Mermaid, thanks for your wise comment.

Sky, these photos are of an area that burned ten years ago. Some other photos I didn't post show the new trees and groundcover that are coming in underneath the bones of the trees. It's pretty amazing recovery for an arid, steep landscape with such poor soil.

Lori, thanks. There is something easy about the wide open spaces, isn't there? I've always loved the way they make me feel.

Pauline, thank you!

Robin Andrea, how wonderful that you just googled that! Thank you for telling me.

Fred Garber, thank you very much.

Polona, I'm glad you enjoyed it all.

Zhoen, welcome to the desert. Not that different from SLC, you know.

Bendingpeak, welcome! Thank you.

Firebird, the light fascinates me. I love the way it plays over the forms of this land and changes the colors this time of year.

Floots, thanks for coming to look!

Bluebird of paradise, welcome! Thanks for visiting.

Chuck, it makes every moment a gift. If only we could remember that more often.

11/02/2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger garnet david said...

I hope you publish soon. Reading this, I enjoy the words, the flow, the meaning, the images, and the message.


11/02/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger MB said...

David, deep thanks for such a kind comment.

11/07/2006 5:25 PM  

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