The fields . . .

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The back field rose high like a wall
in August planted with corn
up and down the rows dark in the middle
we ran
the scary edge of amusement in our youth

left for the farmer now

across the ditch of tiger lilies
we walk along rusted barbed wire, weathered posts
meadow milkweeds going to seed
and sections of tumbling stone wall built of years
of rocks from the field.

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Butterfly . . .

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At some point in life when the
exuberant brightness of youth
has flickered down a bit,
you realize
you will never be as
beautiful
or as full of possibilities
as many other butterflies, yes –
but more poignantly:
as your younger self.
Does this matter?
Only some days
in the mirror
and other days
in your soul.

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Petrichor & shinrin-yoku . . .

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There is a word for the scent of rain
fresh upon dry earth

but not for the moistness of tears
upon your face
or for the hesitation
as you catch your breath
in awe of
the utter loveliness of your beloved
when he or she enters the room.

There is a word for the soothing therapy
of trees
as you walk beneath their benevolent canopies
but not for that of an embrace
after a long wearying day
away
from all that really matters.

There is no word for
the shivering creep of loneliness –
only perhaps lonelier
as you walk in gentle rain
a few streets from home
to the woods at the edge of the park
attempting deep breaths
thinking: if a tear falls
in a forest
and no one sees or hears
is it really crying?

If a tree
bows its branches down
in empathy
after decades of feeling its own sap coursing
through tremulous limbs
no less than in the veins of the gods
and entreating them to give legs or perhaps wings
yet knowing in its core
that hopes do not always take flight
that feelings
are sometimes all that live
and sometimes
not even those

you might imagine
as you walk the trodden dirt paths
beneath fresh greenery
of maples
backlit low
in the early evening rainfall.

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Evening, summer.

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In soft steps of humid air
I feel evening
creeping there

gentle breeze
beneath sorbet sky

we float
towards night
on crickets’ lullaby.

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I am water.

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Walking along the winding stream
misted
face and arms

I too am water

with depths that quiver
beneath the trees

I too am water

in sound that refreshes and soothes
sunlight
in browns and blues

watercolor that runs
and cools

I too am water.

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Strive . . .

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I can’t wrap my arms around
any political party
careless or criminal,
crass, crude, or spineless –
yet independent is mostly
alone
uncomfortable between the impossible
shouting and the groans
galling and strident
powers that be
or pretend to be
serrated and circular as they are,
truth masked
gagged, bound

but this I know:
to care about
our earth
including the water, the air
the creatures living there
including all people and peoples
including small humans
cannot be wrong –
(you know you’d save baby seals
from mass slaughter, admit it )  –

if it uplifts
it is good,
I hear Reverend Dr. King say, in a dream

so I strive to be
better

find an inner peace
break
away
– or shall I say: I have already broken –
and stray from
the flash veneer and manufactured perfection,
that pervasive mode of the day
self-serving, narrow
with shrinking heart and colder
soul –

do we have souls, these days?

Imperfect human, I
rummage around
reach
inward

for a vague noble goal that glows,
faint light
at the end of a dank murky tunnel

on this our
beautiful haggard planet.

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Street Fest . . .

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Close the windows before leaving
leave the heat outside
fill a bottle with cold water
and bring the sunscreen

the music can be heard blocks away

I follow it.

Couples on porches
he painting spindles
she watering window boxes,
he sitting on the steps with a beer
she with arms crossed
hopping up to follow a toddling child
on the scrub grass

steel drums
and sway

sun
pushes you away
take cover in the tent today

metal
light
rhythms tight

sink into a chair and
stay
awhile

then wander

small shops
cool hits
proprietors sit at the counters
fans at their backs
books, dresses, tropical trees
No Sandwiches on Sundays
in case you are still hungry
after the festival food has found you

samosas
jerk chicken
banh mi

aromas fill me

children play in sprinklers in the street
older ones toss water balloons to each other
parents line the sidewalk
backs against the bricks of the liquor store
hoses, squirt guns, soakers,
there is nowhere to walk
dry
so I scoot by

the music
and laughter
fade

cold
water
my breath lost for a moment

I turn to see
as he brandishes the empty bucket
yells maybe cheers
and runs away

I wave
in case he meant to be cooling or inclusive

two men kindly ask if I am ok
I am
soaked
but on the bright side no longer hot

walking home
wet
my hat, my hair, my back
satchel and purchases
drying in the late-afternoon sun

I imagine steam
rising

I imagine samosas for dinner
with lemon iced tea

a woman carries a stack of boxes to her car
moving only several blocks away, she says
we belong here now

thankful for a day of sunshine
and less moving
tomorrow.

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