Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Knowing Gardener

The Gardener

The knowing gardener is thankful
for the willingness of weeds
and wouldn't choose to cut
fresh flowers from their roots.

Best practice is to tend to loving,
to till and seed the ground for mettle.
We bend, then fold into the twilight;
no pride, no shame, in fading.

In loving dedication to our Elders, all.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Drawing lesson: change of plane = change of value

The Canada Geese are gathering and honking overhead, again - it is one of my favorite transitional signs of the season, stirs my restless soul, and makes my vocal cords want to vibrate with theirs.

I have always loved the migrations of birds. Their movements have moved me, and I've made paintings and poems with the energy they've imparted to me in their flights; here's one, written around 1990, while I lived in San Francisco:

 *  *  *
Long sluggy trails scallop the shore
Bodies of foam stranding the sea

At equinox geese will fly again
Marking the sky with pure intention

Each pair of wings will beat a V
So many birds; one direction

 *  *  *

The earliest migratory birds I can recall were the American Goldfinches, when I was very small, in Nassau County on Long Island; after that, the Robins in spring. I first experienced large migrations of waterfowl when living in the Arkansas Ozarks though, near enough to the Mississippi River, as the goose flies.

The poem above was actually inspired by the Brown Pelicans I enjoyed at Ocean Beach, my city refuge, the western edge of our continent. In California, one of the few times we ventured out of San Francisco to explore the state was inland, to the Central Valley at New Year's, to see great clouds of migratory waterfowl. That was one of the most exciting and yet peaceful journeys I've ever enjoyed; I will never forget the thousands of swans in their mute flight, which took my breath away -- or the flock of silent Sandhill Cranes on the ground, watching me as steadily as I watched them, and somehow, mysteriously, imperceptibly, slipping further and further from me, without appearing ever to have moved at all.

Now I'm on the east coast again, in New Jersey, not far from the Delaware River, near the Atlantic Flyway along the shore. Yesterday I realized something that I would have done well to have learned a couple decades ago: Life and me, we have this thing going on - 'til death do us part, I might say.
Life is like me, fallible, and I've held it to a standard of perfection too long. Why would I not want to forgive you, Life, for having let me down at times, when you are the best mortal friend I could ever imagine, and I love you?