Desert Notes

With each step the rocks are new

Pink sunset, blue distance, pale but not brittle

Against all my judgement I have the feeling that the rocks are alive

We all move in the sun

Naked, curled trees; one smooth branch of juniper in a slot canyon

Raven on the sandstone gluck-gluck-click

I am not alone here

20161008_103927

 

The First Stream in Utah

You never loved the water more.
You blink at the stream and feel that you are home,
but even the cottonwoods are darker, and carry the bulk of firs.
The stream is not so shaded that you can’t see your reflection
and the naked mountain behind your head.
This is your great river now; this is your shore;
that is what you think, in the quiet above the shallow waters, and because of that, you are home.

The Magnificent Frigatebird

I am the one who glides; where the air has become cold–that is what I call the sky, and I stay below it, among the shadow-birds, and at nightfall we  slow, so the wind moves faster than us, a silken pulse that bristles our feathers, that carves away the shadow-birds until they are the spray of the sea, and when I am alone in something gray and boundless, I look to the shore, and the sky, and I see the birds again, but this time they are not shadow, they are light, and I am glad not to be alone again.

DSC01530

The Scent of Water

There is a certain wind that comes off the water; a wind that smells like rain as it’s drying; peach-colored mist on wood or pavement. Something, yes, remarkably dry, wrapped in all the smoothness of water, like roots beneath the earth, bundled and secret. This wind is new in its ancientness, like it may have lain undiscovered for thousands of years, stunningly silent, a black and white television on mute, unstirred except by the airbeats of robins–until now. This wind that carried the first rains to the lifeless oceans, this wind that now rises with the chill of the creek, is so distinct, and so instinctual that when you turn a corner and hear nothing, and see nothing, but feel that wind, you know immediately that there is water nearby, and, without thinking, you run to it.

Dear Sky

20130511_091536

 

In the sky we find deep water

Much like the glazed place on the open ocean;

you know your reflection is there

but you cannot see it.

We call it the wandering place

those of us who know what will happen to our questions,

how they won’t be answered but swallowed into carpets of light,

and pressed firmly between damp-rock carapaces.

We are the ones who ask anyway.

We are the ones who would not have them answered,

but stirred, and braided, and returned to us

at some dawn that smells of quieted campfire smoke,

to see it floating there, our startling question, muted, and somehow brighter still,

the last glimmers of Jupiter before sunrise,

to reach out and grab it,
to have it back,

and know, somehow, that we are changed because of it.

 

 

 

Dusk Is Not A Summer Word

20130628_205050

Dusk is not a summer word
Because when the sun is behind the mountains
the sky still holds,
high up, stretching onward and onward,
even once it is fully night
the light holds on,
into a silence, cool and echoing,
like the moment when the sun has left your skin
as the lingering warmth drains away,
and you ask the wind to push the clouds along.

Lost is the Daylight Moon

 

There are times when I see the moon during the day,
a grey-white cloud like the dying blossom of a wild 20121007_102520onion,
thin paper, peeled off, fragile and flickering and left behind in the dark autumn wind,
and I stare, feeling that this moon is better suited to my sorrows,
and I ask where I might find my night,
my late-sunset sea that holds on to colors like stars,
and perhaps, too, the feeling of plant-filled quietness thereafter,
and the steady glitterings of evening birds.
I stare up for a while longer
at the sun-bleached valleys,
until the moon falls low,
and we both continue to wander.

The Robin’s Reflection

20150919_140216The robin flies into the window
because glass does not shine like water;
and there is another bird there,
flat and strange and shimmering.
This is the robin’s land of
damp creeksides and
there’s the nest among the maple towers,
so he sings a song, beautiful and weaved of trills,
and the sun moves along with his notes,
until at long last the other bird has gone.