Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I've got gold here in my pocket
Warm, soft, smooth
Mellow gold of sunsets in the fall

A blessing to know it's there
To be used or passed on
It's fate unknown

But now safe as a cuddled baby
Smiling in fuzzy blankets
Rich to the heart

For a nugget is much nicer
Than a palmful of dust
That eventually falls through
Cracks in the boomtown saloon floorboards
Spilling forth from the slighted hand of madness
As the rays of sunrise over the Sierras
Pierce through silver cloud gaps
Casting light across the fruited valleys

I bet this nugget would make
A good skipping stone on the waters
At mountain's foot
Cast across bounding as the sun's rays

Just found it lying there anyways
Gleaming in the creek's gravelly ford

And just look at the magnificient
Ripples on the water that shine
Brilliant sparkling reflections of gold
That grow until touching others
Ringing with joyous bells
Blending harmonies of beaming light

Yes much better than that
Precious in my pocket
It was just sitting there anyways
Warm and protected
But just sitting there none the less

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Acorn Drops in the Dust

The way dust settles
After an acorn falls from above

The way the sweet scent of sugar from the coffee
Lays upon the mind

The bite of acid on the tongue
From the wild grape gardens draping towards the shade

The trickle of the stream
Through the willows

The way river smoothed granite
Grips the fingertips

The wisp and swoosh of silence
Through the grass

The feeling of structure from the scent of cedar
Baking in the heat of summer

The tug of the pack strap against
The shoulder ascending a hillside

The scratch of crumbling granite
Under the boot

The way the brook trout hang in the
Slow roll of the shallow sanded creek

The silence of dragonflys
Hovering over the water

The give and pull of the axe
As it bites into the log laid upon the earth

The sweep of the honed blade
Through layers and fibers

The scent of woodsmoke
From the lakeside campfire

The way these memories blow across
My windswept mind and settle on the surface

The way the dust builds up in
Layers making a soft earthy bed for acorns

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Humbled Again

Zeus delivered another
Mountaintop sermon yesterday morning
Casting bolts of resolutions
Across the hills and fruited plains
8 hours of prophetising
Of his worldly issues

On the ride home
As my mind wandered
Towards the lofty peaks
Now shrouded in waves
As the monsoon breaks
Upon the shores

I think back to my afternoon
Of studying company history
By the daylight coming
Through my office window

Left me half gridded out
In the mid-afternoon
Remnants of humidity and humility

I was humbled again
Without power

Reduced to natural lighting
As the sermon's lessons soaked in
Enjoying every holy minute of it

It was a simple pleasure
Delivered straight from the pulpit

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bear Creek and the Hidden Peaks

Photos from October 2010

What was once sprang forth
Is now wanted back
As the Earth holds on dearly
Forever calling to return

She has asked for help
From brother moon and her planet friends
And from waters and winds
That are the means

She yearns for tinder for the flames
Of her lakeside campsite sanctuary
To bask in the glow
And warm her soul

The charging hooves that ride the clouds
And shallow pools and lodgepole roots
Do all they can to loose the grips
As the bent granite now breaks

From jumbled blocks and mountain tops
Into the air and streams
They hitch along their crooked steps
Smelling the roses along the way

Return the dust unto the seas
To be brought back through the cracks
The shiftings of the sands of time
Turn to stone again

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paradise Creek

One day
Long ago
Three old friends
Went to the snow

Up the creek
Called Paradise
But what we found
Was not as nice

Winter's beauty
Was all around
A little snow
Upon the ground

No ticks that stick
No rattling snakes
Just soft and fluffy
White snow flakes

No poison oak
No black bear
No worries neither
No not a care

Up the hill
Of broken dreams
Through swiftly flowing
Shallow streams

Up high until
One got cold
Feet too wet
From winter's hold

Not me mind you
I came prepared
With winter boots
My feet were spared

For I've had trouble
With this creek
From snakes and ticks
That creep and sneak

Every ten steps
Ten ticks to brush
Not now though
In winter's crush

Must build a fire
Right now and here
To warm the toes
To shed the fear

For feet too cold
Won't go too far
Won't make it back
To the car

We gather twigs
We gather sticks
One small fire
For feet of bricks

Feeling returns
No more numb toes
Warm hearts and souls
And sniffy nose

Away we go
We're outta here
Never to return
To this creek of fear

But after a while
By no luck's stroke
Turns out I got
Some poison oak!

Beneath my gloves
Upon my wrist
The devil's wrath
Sure did exist

Right there I vowed
Never to return
For fear my skin
Would puss and burn

Or tick disease
Or even worse
A snake's venom
The devil's curse

No I will not go
Even with snow and ice
Up that Hell creek
Named Paradise

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Canyon Creek and the Boulder Creek Lakes

Little did I know that a solo trip into the very heart of the Trinity Alps many years ago, would turn out to be both the most exhilarating witnessing of Nature's raw power, and potentially the most dangerous situation I have ever put myself into. One of the most dangerous anyways, for in my younger days, I had a knack for these types of things. The invincibility of youth took over for common sense the majority of those times.

A trip to the high country was in order. So what if the weather called for a storm to roll in off the Pacific for the first night of the outing. It was supposed to be gone by morning, and this being early October, it would not be so wet even for the Pacific Northwest standards. Besides, I was a grizzled veteran of these forests now, right? Most of my camping in Northern California had been in the rain. Usually you can time it to be hiking under cloud cover, but have camp set up before the first drop hits the ground. So what could go wrong, right?

The flow of Canyon Creek runs straight as an arrow south from the holy bosom of the high peaks of the Trinity's. These surrounding peaks, although made of mostly granite, shine white like an island of marble surrounded by an emerald sea. Gleaming temples of beauty fit for the Trinity for which they're named. On a grand scale with Zeus' Olympus mountain top. Fitting since for on this night, he would be in attendance projecting his fiery authority for all to obey.

My destination were the Boulder Creek Lakes at 6,000 feet, which spur west off the main canyon, and sit in a hanging valley overlooking Canyon Creek, with a beautiful full view of the jagged Sawtooth Peak and Range in all it's glory. The trail began at 3,000 feet through a majestical oak hardwood forest mixed with conifers.

I had to stop about a mile in, not out of tiredness, but just to bask in this magical woodland. All around was so green with yellowing touches of autumn. The creek down below could barely be seen, but what a wonderful deep woods rest. Reminded me of, although I had never been there, of the woods of old England, or of travelling through some uninhabited shire. A wood spirit wonderland. I let these feelings soak in through my pores for a short while. Immersion is a tonic to be drank in good times.

A little further on I could hear the roar of the creek down below. Here lied the lower falls which I had to see even though it is steep travel to and from the trail. As the clouds began to roll in overhead from the west, I made my way to a good view of the falls. Small walls of water sheeting off into glistening pools in glades of moss and emeralds to delight the souls of weary travelers. Temptings of the sirens' calls of relaxation. But not today fair ladies of the wooden glen. For loftier elevations are in store and the sky is slowly disappearing through the grayness rolling in.

Onward through fern covered meadows, I could hear others camped on their edges. Not a bad idea as the wind had now picked up into small, gradual, bursts of gusts in between the calm. Curious breezes that told of the fresh from the ocean brewing going on overhead. A few light drops here and there in the meadows, but nothing substantial.

At last I had finally reached Boulder Creek dropping in from the west. This was the place of Middle Canyon Creek Falls which sent it's waters tumbling down giant steps in the granite. The steady but very light drops of rain kept me on my hurried path upwards towards the lakes.

As I ascended Boulder Creek, the winds increased, but the air was still warm. I remained in t-shirt and shorts for the duration of the hike. The clouds overhead rolled over the high peaks to the west with increasing speed. The combination of warm air and an oncoming storm smelled of pending doom in the back of my mind.

"I should not be climbing higher," I thought. "Go back to the meadow below where the others were camped. They were the smart ones you jackass who hikes in storms!"

Invincibility was winning out, as common sense was tossed out the window. For the sirens were really calling from the lake filled bowl above! Not the wooden glens and falls of the water spirits below. I was trapped! My mind was caught in their sweet singing and offerings of luxurious pleasures. This was stupid! This is how those sailors of Ancient Greece never returned from their voyages in their Mediterranean paradise. I could not stop until I was fully wrapped in their arms...................or lightening!

I had heard the low rumblings of thunder to the west as I climbed evermore towards the hanging valley of the lakes. Now I had entered the bowl.

As I crossed a small creek which came down from the aptly named Forbidden Lakes up above, I thought to myself, "Being in this bowl will protect me from the lightening. If it was to strike, surely it would strike along the peaks and ridges rising another 2,000 feet above."

The sirens had now wrapped their legs around my head by this point. All reasoning with them was gone. The lakes were within sight now, but just as I crossed that little side creek coming from above, a flash of light and a simultaneous thundering CRACK blasted somewhere above my head! As a sudden downpour immediately followed the blast, I quickly deployed by tent among the boulders about 50 feet from the creek. For up here in the granite bowl was just that. Granite. With a scattering of sparse groves of conifers.

As the down pouring cloudburst quickly subsided, I was nice and dry inside my tent, peering at the shiny aluminum external frame of my backpack.

"You know," I thought, "Metal and lightening sure don't make a good combo for one who doesn't want to get fried! I need to distance myself from this pack! Stat!"

But of course never contemplating distancing myself from the whole present situation as nightfall was now making itself known. I left my tent, took a water bottle and some jerky with me, and laid down on a flat boulder near the creek. So gone was my reasoning now by the sirens' soft musings that a calmness settled in. I was away from that metal pack, so surely I was safe, right?

As I laid there on that rock with the calmness slowly creeping in through the heightened exhilaration of what was now happening, I witnessed one of the most amazing feats of Nature's fury! Raw, I mean just breastplate filleted open, exposed heart pulsating with youth driven angst driving electricity at the core of climactic rawness undulating, gyrating, and spasming in endless ecstasy!

Ghostly energy as if 40,000 wolves in orchestra howling in unison and rhythm to Mother Alpha's driving persistence, with sweat pouring down stern brows, dripping past frown and grimace and snarling teeth as she conducts her song! Rolling. Rolling! Rolling without end! Not in waves like the sea, but a constant river flow of electric clouds tumbling and fighting and grinding their way downstream due East over the jagged toothed ridges!

A fury of black and gray and pinks and oranges with silver streaks bending at sharp angles and running throughout without ever reaching the ground below! 3,000 salmon gathered at the rocky waterfalls of the Earth reaching, heavenly bound! Fighting to jump the falls upstream past the gaping jaws of death by grizzly! Struggling with the incessant drive and fury to reach the holy breeding grounds! The pure essence of Nature's Salmon Energy! John Spivey touches on the Salmon Energy within us all. But that is a different matter completely when compared to Mother Alpha growling and bearing her teeth! Pulsating crackles whipping through! Explosive rumbling reverberating back skyward off Earth's exposed granite peaks, bowls, and bones!

I was not one with nature. I was humbled by it's power. Gave new meanings to many things.

The fiery show went on for hours as I just lay there. All with just a few drops of rain here and there. Eventually I grew tired, and not wanting to sleep out in the open in case it did decide to rain, I filtered some water from the creek, placed my pack away from the tent as if that would protect me, crawled inside, and drifted off to sleep as the rumbling overhead died down. Peace amongst the fury. Zeus had proclaimed his rightful place at the top and was satisfied with his sermon.

The morning greeted me with barely a trace of what went on during the night. I awoke to a near cloudless sky, blue as the Aegean. The whole of the day was spent exploring and relishing in the glory around the Boulder Creek Lakes with their islands and peninsulas and white gleaming granite cliffs that rose towards the deep blue. I had survived the sirens' trappings in this Mediterranean paradise of the mountains.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Yokohl Creek

Dusk on the open road
Dust and haze that linger
Oranges and roses
Hue the countryside

Wheels strumming along
To the grooves of the sliding guitar
Slick and guttural
As the lines of the floating classic

The dog days of summer
In the August sunset that thrives
And the heat waves that beckon
The call of migrations

All this movement along the surface
Wisps the clouds up on high
Golden rose in their flames
Toast their goodbyes

No particular time frame
Enjoying the means not the end
As the hills tumble along
Parting for oak shadings

Some barren but for grasses
As if only for sunshine and herbs
Dry as the ridges
As waves in the deserts

Oh how they roll by
As we float through on fumes
Of flaming nostrils
And churning combustions

A little sideways departure
On the way to the ranch
Of American dreams
As the vultures circle round

Thoughts of supper pending
Ribs and tips on the spits
Bacon and beans that drip
Fresh from the stocks

A rumbling through the canyons
Can be heard by those awaiting
Over the twangs of the slides
And the harp's sharp buzzings

Smoke from the oak
And the fat that drips
Send their scents aloft
Drenching the ranch lands

Hot August nights
And cold libations that coat
And sweet melons that sweat
Dripping with freedom

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Four Words and Backwoods

The moan among the willow jungles
As the wail of a distant harmonica
Emanates from a far off woods cabin

Flats and draws
Hollers and hilltops
Occupied dilapidations
Tucked in the creases and folds

Riversides and floodplains
The first to wash away
As words left unspoken
Avoided and buried in the silt

Low sloped roofs and railroad trestles
Amongst the drooping jungles
Fringed with bobcat trails
That lead in and never out

Old fenceposts in the shade
Stand upright amongst the brambles
As the oaks lean and taunt

Fenced out and frowned upon
While the elderberries sweat and swell
Vines laced with thorns
To stick in your sides

Cattle shoots and water troughs
The green algae that coughs and spits
Which oak tree can I run around
If that old bull comes a chargin'

Thoughts that come quick
At a rustling in the bushes

Pressure like the tension
Lying under the surface
That bubbles to show it self occasionally

Persevere and survive
'Till death's boney hand grips in the night
Filled with heat vapors in the stillness

Fix it 'till it can't
Be fixed no more

Bearings worn and seals gone
Belts disintegrate like old bones
As only iron and rust remain
Relaxing now weary and tired

Visions and soundings of riffs yet unheard
From the pedal steel of the water wheel
And the bow strings long since stretched
Pushed to the brink

Land of parched corn and stews
And meat that falls from the bone
Fresh cracked bread
In the sunlight through the window

Textures and flavors
Both sweet and savory
Stuck in my craw
Like the wild grape that drapes
All in the exuberance of sunsets

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Swede Lake '08


Old friends long lost but now again found
Cross paths in the wilds as the winds point the way
Catch up on old times and what's happened since
And cast a few lines in deep shaded pools

We sit by the fire and gaze
At the flames that flicker and fan
Soft pine that sparks and the coals that glow
And the ashes that remain from times gone by

The packable skillets and aluminum pots
That sizzle and bubble with the essence of the heavens
The kick of a log and the stoke with a stick
Sends sparks towards the sky to join their starry brethren

Gazing at their depths with squinted eyes
Searching the wonders that lie beyond their shine
The lodgepole that make up the walls around
That glow in the firelight providing a sense of home

And how we've returned to a place deep down within
Slight edges of cold on the back remind of where we've been
To be here now all present and aware
Alive as the shaman dances upon the flame

We listen to stories told of long ago
As the words soak in and absorb
We feel their power as they transform
And allow the wilds to roam free within our souls

The reflections of the moon off of the lake
That shimmer and quake with anticipation in the tranquility
The cool winds that blow upon our backs
Push us towards the future and over the hills