Tuesday, February 04, 2014

February 4, 2014

I live under the elliptical of a family of bald eagles.
Each morning they circle the jagged line that divides land and sea.

I live among the slums of gulls, crows, pigeons and ravens.
Each morning they raid our dumpsters for spoil.

I live on the woods’ edges with the robins, thrushes, juncos, sparrows, warblers and wrens.
Each morning they flit and flutter to warm themselves while grazing the trunks and grasses for morsels.

And I live among the silent trees that were spared, and the sapsuckers, woodpeckers, owls and hawks that make their living in them.
Each morning the sun christens the upper branches before kissing my cheeks, while the hawks, owls, woodpeckers, sapsuckers, wrens, warblers, sparrows, juncos, thrushes, robins, ravens, pigeons, crows, gulls and bald eagles weave a new day into being.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Every Year

Every year, I fly home to Yorba Linda, California for Christmas.
The golden sun sets melt into the ocean beyond the horizon.
I breathe in the smell of California: a mix of rain, cement, and dust in a sun-soaked land.
I walk through the doorway I’ve walked through hundreds if not thousands of times.
I clear a space in my old room-turned-storage.
We bring another chair to the crowded dinner table.
We sit and eat and talk and laugh and argue and soak each other in.
We hug and pat and plan and bicker and photograph. 

I go on long walks in the neighborhood where I became a human being.
Sometimes I go alone, sometimes I bring the dogs.
Eucalyptus hedgerows are all that remain of the orange and avocado groves that my house replaced.
Each street, corner, house tells a different story about friends, enemies, fiascos, near misses, mischief and boredom from the endless Southern California summers of my childhood.
Places have changed, signs updated, businesses changed, shaggy waste places developed.
Waste places that used to be my own tiny wildernesses.
Places where I would stalk lizards and slithering snakes.
Places I feared cougars, and caught glimpses of skittish coyotes.
Now, I walk those places in silence.
I watch birds: circling hawks, gliding turkey vultures, warbling warblers…
I speak the names of the few trees I know, and stare at the ones I don’t.
I relax and think, read and plan.

In Yorba Linda, I occupy a space that is not now but once was home, familiar but uncomfortable.
Like a prom suit, church shoes, a punk jacket, a raccoon skin cap.
I find stashes of old books, photographs, projects, junk in this house,
The container that my first 20 years filled to the brim,
Then spilled out into the world: the Dominican Republic, Utah, Connecticut, Utah, and now Vancouver, BC.
But every year, I fly home to Yorba Linda, California for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Contemplation at the shore

Descending the gritty staircase carpeted with wet maple leave, I can hear the hush of waves getting closer.
I scale wind and water smoothed logs and hoist myself onto a boulder at the edge of land and sea.
I look out into the grey fog.
Sea and sky are blurred.

With my beads, I mumble the Jesus Prayer 100 times.

Meanwhile, the ocean eternally laps at my feet.
Stones imperceptibly lose their edges as the sea pulls them closer to her.
Gulls and cormorants fade into being from the right and then the left.
Slosh and crash…Slosh and crash in stochastic eternity.
Fog horn bellows punctuate my contemplation and the waves.
I begin to climb the gritty staircase once more, the hush of waves getting dimmer.