Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

in the thinning light
of mid-winter we watch as
the year's end takes flight

My best wishes for the new year to each of you!
Thank you for reading — those who comment and those who do not — you're all appreciated.

Click on a photo to see a larger version.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What is to give light

"What is to give light must endure burning"

— Victor Frankl

Click on the photo to see a larger version. The quote is thanks to Heron Dance.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Finding a tree

A snowy afternoon and the light in the canyon really was blue.

On our way into the woods, we surprised three deer.

We walked down the snowy road and found the tree on a small bench above the river. It was growing with a number of other small fir trees, overtaking a stand of ponderosa pines.

The dog watched with great interest.

Trudging back in the dropping temperatures of late afternoon, we watched the long black wings of a bald eagle rise up from the river through the trees, and head downstream before of us. A thermos of hot cocoa waited for us in the car.

We drove home watching the sliver of moon slide down the ridgeline, following the evening star to the southwest.

Click on the photo to see a larger version. It's worth it!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's snowing!

sky writes a poem
spinning itself out into
sentences of white

Stock photo

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


a very kind artist named Lori
lovingly takes inventory
of her pantry's contents
to make Christmas presents
of apricot-dancing rum-glory

the multi-talented Witzel,
well, you wouldn't believe how she puts all
the rum she can bake
into fruity fruitcake
to get all her blogfriends kerschplitzelled

she warned me her fruitcake would ooze
with apricots, pecans and booze
I didn't believe her,
but the overachiever
bakes the best cakes — how could anyone refuse!?

Lori, thank you!

Folks, if you haven't, be sure to check out Lori's blog. It's well worth a visit.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Life sometimes manifests as confluences of currents that combine to increase the overall sensation of speed. Perhaps you've already noticed. I have. I will be busy enough this next week or so that posts here are likely to be sparse at best. We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, I send out wishes for warmth and cheer to all!

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Just a few

Petals fell onto the piano. Ah, week's over.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


the way you used to touch my hair,
the words you once used for me,
baskets, pottery, antlers,
shards and discards,
sound of your voice,
remains of a day,
dust on a shelf

there is a certain finality I cannot face
I never have done this well —
brought the end into focus
cut, trimmed off
and left hanging
raw or, worse,
empty —

I want to feel the continuity of
the thread that courses through everything
I don't want to let go
I want to feel

forgetting — the blackness of
the extinguished
dusty vortex
of loss

is unthinkable

Click on the photo to see a larger version. It's worth it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rumi on being human

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

— Rumi

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fable of dark silence, part two

in the silence the woman stood still
listening to the stolen landscape
absence of footsteps
absence of wingbeats

the river's song rising to nothing
the stones standing mute
the fluid hills stilled
the air no longer moving at all

she raised her head, gazing out
letting her eyes soak in
the stain that dimmed the air
listening to silence, she found

the rhythm of her blood
and something small began
to spin into the open air
following the beat within

a warmth, low and indistinct like
the first slip of melting snow
a mere breath, it crept from her lungs
spread up her throat and past her lips

a sigh that grew in shape and form
solidifying into flow like water
lifting into air like color
like soft light beneath the moon

she filled her lungs and
felt the breath caress her voice
a movement from the warm secrets of her body
a bright vibration moving into open air
this is how silence births song

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fable of dark silence

a dark silence glided across
the hills like a black bird,
silent and steady, barely noticeable
unless one were specifically watching

the silence landed on the clouds
and draped them across the low
angled sun, pulling them together
into a long shroud to dim the light

the silence landed in a tree
and waited as the leaves crinkled
and fell, faded and dry, into still
piles below the spreading branches

the silence landed on the river
where the water chilled and slowed
and its song grew high and thin into nothing
and the rocks drew within themselves

all the songbirds flew away
the fox burrowed deep to sleep
the owl fluffed its feathered coat into thickness
the woman walked more quickly

the woman kept her head down
the wind did not sing with the leaves
and the river did not sing with the rocks
the silence took a deep breath

stretched and arched its back
slid its shadowed eyes across the land
and, opening its bottomless mouth,
let slip its inaudible darkness

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The things you do not have to say make you rich.

Saying the things you do not have to say weakens your talk.

Hearing the things you do not need to hear dulls your hearing.

And things you know before you hear them, these are you, and this is the reason you are in the world.

— From William Stafford's Crossing Unmarked Snow, quoted by John
O'Donohue in Beauty, the Invisible Embrace

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I rake the leaves

I rake the leaves up every fall,
gather the piles in a garbage can,
tote the can and dump them all,
and start the process over again.

The compost pile, high and brown,
rests all winter without care,
until in spring, I dig down
to mine the wealth that's buried there.

That sweet-smelling black gold,
warm from the bottom of the heap,
is like a story still untold,
or the dreams of leaves asleep.

And when I shovel it out upon
the garden where tomatoes grow
and morning glories bloom at dawn,
I think of what the garden knows

of leaves and dreams, how they transform
from lifeless stuff that's hidden deep
into the green and real, newborn.
Dreams grow from my compost heap.

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Friday, December 01, 2006

November's green

the dog hesitates,
slinking low with claws spread wide
on the narrow pack bridge
high over the broad Salmon river

once on the other side, we make our way
up the side canyon where we see
a fire burned over the summer —
the woody brush is blackened and
the grass bunches are scorched to stubs

rounding a bend, I turn over in my mind
the way green and brown
must have turned to red and orange
and then to black and white

and back to green again —
for between the icy creek rushing
down its glossy, moss-lined bed and
the elk tracks in the muddy trail,
a surprising green covers the ground

growing soft as spring
under blackened trunks,
plush and inviting,
a sweet spot for a nap
on a still November afternoon

beneath and between the new shoots,
silence of stark white snail shells
vacant on the fertile, black char