MY VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE BARN

Some maples are red and others bright yellow. Either one can catch my breath.
Some maples are red and others bright yellow. Either one can catch my breath.

 

October is one of my favorite times for sitting and working in the loft of the barn. The sun no longer turns its air intolerably stuffy but rather adds some welcome comfort. I can still leave the loft door open for natural light and fresh air, if I want. And just look what’s happening around me!

 

Our season of outdoor dining is just about ended.
Our season of outdoor dining is just about ended.
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PLAY BILL

They didn’t even know they dwelled in a landscape laced with caves – some of them running right under the campus. As a geology major, Leon Cody could have explained the workings of this underground. As a geography major, Dikran could have related the importance of flowing waters to the human condition. As a transportation major, Bruce could have linked underground energies to great subway systems. Indeed, had they effectively put all their studies together, there would have been a tremendous convergence. They held the potential of redirecting society, any way they united.

The ’oozers could have learned a lot from Leon’s collection of geodes, the bumpy brown rocks he collected in the surrounding countryside; they often appeared ugly, even repulsive, until cracked open with a geologist’s hammer. He always hoped they’d be hollow, their interior cavities filled with crystals that would appear even more wondrous when viewed under the ultraviolet “black” light. The ’oozers could have estimated people like geodes, anticipating whether they would be stone cold through and through or whether their heads and hearts would glimmer and astonish.

“Sometimes girls can be like that, especially when they’re both constantly on the go. They’re only roommates,” Mitch would have retorted.

Or females, beginning at the other end with Spencer’s mother. How far could you trust an old-boys’ network?

“See what you’re missing, Love!” her son whispered, betrayed by his own feelings of being left out of a movement that simultaneously disgusted and seduced him. He had buried too many yearnings – too much life force – for too long.

“Intellectualism is merely extensive rationalization,” Nita shrugged. Teak-wick! “The library is just footsteps and bells.” Teak-wick! “Did you catch the spring buds when they were taut, cracking in rainfall?” Teak-wick! “Gray branches exploding in bloom?” Teak-wick! “Earthworms mating on the rain-washed sidewalk?” Teak-wick!

~*~

For more from my THIRD RAIL collection, click here.

FIELD GUIDE

When you walk into the expanse, keep going. Maybe you’ll meet a dwarf at creekside. Maybe a bear. If you do, you must speak respectfully and listen closely to the reply. Even if they call you a yokel, as Kokopelli did.

~*~

A dust storm — sandstorm — and they close the highway.

You must wait. Cover your mouth and eyes.

~*~

On high ridges, bachelor Basque shepherds follow their flocks all summer. Each one and his dogs rarely encounter anyone who speaks Human.

~*~

Wilderness is about clouds, too.

Now what were you dreaming?

~*~

Guides do appear. Sometimes among fellow practitioners. Maybe even your landlord. Or Kokopelli.

~*~

“Who’s standing on my head?” a totem pole figure wonders.

Just like a typical office.

~*~

Blinking in my field of karma, the reminder:

PENDULUM
swinging
back
winter
NIGHTFALL

It’s not the first time.

Be faithful and wait.

~*~

Sometimes a lover becomes a place you want to enter.

Sometimes one’s the space the other envelops.

~*~

Where would I have been without her in that desolate expanse?

~*~

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

TRIANGLE

the pack, as in cards or dogs or the one after Enigma Variations but it’s snowing and there are no birds finally, a female cardinal teapot and cup beside a four-poster bed with the long shadows of sunrise on a plank floor I love you truly madly deeply mountain laurel and a Cigar Store Indian […]

OF THOSE EMPLOYED THE OTHER HOURS

Sometimes Night Owls & Early Birds show up on the same shift. Not everyone, after all, works the standard 9-to-5 weekday.

Police, firefighters, hospital nurses and doctors, paramedics, retailers and restaurant staff, truckers, airline personnel, railroad crews, actors and musicians – the list continues.

As I newspaper editor working nights and weekends, I could spot them all, even when they seemed to be playing hooky in midday.

These poems arise in that awareness.

~*~

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

MORE THAN A QUESTION OF IDENTITY

What would you be if you weren’t Quaker?

I usually pose it in terms of religious affiliation, skirting the bigger issue of what we’d be without that particular spiritual discipline and nurture.

The question often illuminates an individual’s leanings within the Society of Friends, and it’s one that can be telling in many other denominations as well.

Many of us come to where we are from other religious traditions, and even among Christians the variations can be vast. And then there are yogis of all stripes, Buddhists, Native practices, arcane and pagan seekers, non-theists, agnostics, and much more. Neo-Muggletonians, anyone?

Some Quakers are very drawn to the social activist side of our community; others, the meditative worship. Some are quite Biblical; others, anything but. (Shall we mention the Gospel of NPR?) And that’s before we get to the full spectrum of today’s Friends, from ultra-univeralist to evangelical to alternative Christian to, well, we’re all over the map. And yes, many of us do miss music in our worship.

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