Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lilley Mountain

Standing on a lonely hillside
Distant views in the blowing breeze
Hills ramble and roll
To the far off flattened expanse
Of the fruited valley below

Here on long embedded outcrops
One stands firm upon the earth
As thoughts are sparked
Drifted on the winds
Gazing upon the table tops

Inland seas and ghosted shorelines
Sparkling ever so gentle swells
Rolling in the sunlight
Appear to rise out of the mist
To vanquish the forest now planted
And replace with coastal graces

Seaside scrublands now wooded
With oak and inland pine
That have travelled and bloomed
From places and days of far off

Ocean breezes now dusted
Dried but with sweetened scents
Of hardwoods on the hillside
Heating in the slanting afternoon sun

At last I turn away
To return to the hollows in the rocks
Among manzanita brambles
And deer brush roots in the duff

Where views are much closer up
For there's a greater richness here
In the immersion of the deep woods
That far off thoughts cannot wash away

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Return to the Fountains of Youth

Sometimes plans for bushcrafting may go wrong
Sometimes things get in the way
Of knife and hatchet play
Sometimes enjoying the campfire glow
Is not at hand
Sometimes you are reminded
Of other responsibilities
And sometimes you are shown the light
Beyond your own humbled flames

Daybreak brought breezes that scattered the leaves
Running hurriedly along through the air
And busily across the ground as to a lively tune
From Gaelic fiddles floating
And wavering on thin air

The rustling of leaves
And of awakened hearts
Bright yellows and orange rusts
Wipe the dew from the brow
And rub sleep from the eyes

Signs on life’s many paths
Of the relentlessness of youth within
That grow in new morning illuminations

This was the start of our 2 day journey
To the glorious mountain valley of the Yosemite
Though the fountains mostly dry now as bare rock
Autumn is lingering still in the higher elevations

To bask in all the wonderous glory
And fervor of the season is a joy
Laid easily upon the mind
Warm fireside family time
Filled with hot cocoa and playful cheer

Dreams of mine now
In the latter 30’s of life
Easy comforts that blow lazily
Before my clouded visions

However ‘twas not to be
For a couple of small beings
Reminded me of the days of old
And the days now to come
And that my longings to be comfortable
Are for a later time

For a return to the joys of youth are called for
Now that aches and pains come more easily
And it may take a little longer
To get up from the ground as it used to
But how it now makes sense again
As it all did before

To be young again
These past few months
Have been a reminder to me
Of the burning pulsing energy of youth

Churning more like it
The hot stoked engine blazing
Through the frozen North country
Speeding through black ink forests
Upon blue rails of icy steel

No lingering lazily on the banks of the river
Admiring its peaceful roll and slow tumble
No nostalgic family picnic in the wooded glen solitude
No patience for family photos
Or movie making for old time’s sake

Youth is on your toes
Poised with arched back and eyes wide
Ready to leap in a single bound
Constant alertness
In tune with the ringing of the bells of chaos
In the swirling motion of youthful energy

Take some action shots and move on
And of new landscapes in the moonlight
Where the cool waters run deep black with night
As the giant granite walls watch from above

Buzzing with the internal energy of Mountains!
Glorious Mountains!
Beaming with light and unrelenting power
Boasting to others that they have earned the right
To sit and enjoy the scenery
And watch campfires shine like scattered lamps
Along the valley forest depths at their feet

Seldom now are the days of enjoying the fading light
Of the glow upon the rocks
Seldom now are the days of comfort
In the moonlit camp chair
Seldom now are the days of watching
From a distance to the pine needles
Swaying among the deep woods

Seldom now and with good tidings
But not forgotten

Life is line driven towards deep left center
As I wheel and turn towards the fence
Caught flat footed
Trying to enjoy the scent of leather in the hand
And the fresh cut outfield beneath my feet

Trying to catch it
Diving in full lay out
With arms outstretched
As it whizzes through the air within reach

For here in these great mountain halls
Amongst parched bare rock fountains
One man’s words of interest
Ring and echo forever true ‘till the end

Stay thirsty my friends”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Daylight breaks on the peaks and high rocks
Warming stone upon stone
Gleaming gems of black mica
Set in white quartz crystals
A whole mountain range of jewels
Radiate with the shimmering of fiery energy
Of being born in the inner mountain forges of long ago

Now sparkling abundance in the morning light
Still exposed from winter's tardiness
Where nighttime freezes sleep snows
Only among the shaded crevices
As the rocks wake up and rest easy
In the warmth of the growing sun

Lichens stretch awake with creaks and groans
Later in the lazy mid-day beaming rays
Unfurling along their outer bands
To spread slow over ages upon rocky holds
Clinging to the stone ever on
Not to be undone without reason

Here among the peaks the rocks wait
Poised and succumb to the deep silence
Of standing still in the breeze
Not to be moved by the high rock lizards
And marmot tricksters of shaded caves

Rock sparrows fly as arrows
Up, down, around, buzzing the high peaks
With a quick chirp and blinding speed
As to surprise and confuse any who stand witness
To their aerial acrobatics

On the eastern edge, the bighorn rams
Roam the airy rock precipices
In search of clinging grass tufts
And sweet high mountain succulents
Dried and dusted with desert views
And sweeping vistas all with the clang and chatter
Of stones strewn from above with trickle down echoes
And ricocheting crashes among the ramparts
Only to remain standing proudly
With sure footed substance
On regal toe holds far above their realm

And as the sun dips to the West
As dusk settles in the shadows
The peaks are last to remain
In sparkling orange and golden rose
Glowing as if of flames in the distance
Or campfires in the far off lakeside woods

The granite beams with the deep
Churning warmth of the day's lofty exposures
Waiting patiently as is its ways
For winter's snowy blankets to be laid to rest again

Friday, November 8, 2013

Down in the Mellow

Early November mornings
As the sun crests over the mountains
Chilled air sweeping down across the plains
Nip to it but the sun's fire warms

Baking in my truck through the countryside
Jacket on and sun through the windows
Early November mornings of the past
Come flooding back to me

Now is wonderful more than ever
But good is the past early Novembers as well
Sitting in the sunlight heated through and through
As a sort of numbness of comfort permeates within
While a slight chill remains on the fringes

New winter wheat sproutin' up
New season's upon us
Soon the mountains will be blanketed white
Soon the comfortable heat will be gone
And the waiting is well enough

Pleasant slow changes among the seasons
Down here on the fruited plains
Autumn waits until early December
Then stays on 'till Spring
While Winter smiles from above

For Winter washes in fresh from the ocean waves
Then perches on the mountain tops
And rests among old glacial beds
Preferring to keep its distance
Until the summer heat forces it to rush downhill
To flush the bottomland soils in abundance

But that is business for another time
For now we relish in the comforts
Of this in between mellow glow

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

O'er The Greyrock Mountains

For Brother David and Cousin Dave

Loosely schemed to Tolkien’s Troll Sat Alone On His Seat Of Stone

Trail tolls and the cold wind blows
And the granite  holds onto its folds
Billy goat bones among tumbledown stones
And high rock passes a groaning
Yes the granite holds with craggily moans
And darkening stones and bones be atoning

Storm clouds roll in and brew trouble
Raindrops begin to soon double
Lightning advances as thunders rumble
Rivulets form between the stumbles
Yes rising waters swarm as thunders rumble
Wary travelers are soon to humble

The path grows dim as darkness nears
Tributaries flush with flowing tears
Soils are drenched and soaked with fears
Of landslides soon from under
Yes the path grows dim and cloaked in fears
And the rivers swell with their plunder

Now travel they be with clothes a drenched
Boots, packs and tools tightly clenched
For onward they go not to be wrenched
From their path over yon mountains
Yes up high rock passes not to be wrenched
Through streams flowing from high fountains

For at last darkness was all around
They could not see path upon the ground
Here suitable campsite was to be found
So the tarps came out to hide them
Confine them
Sublime them
Yes suitable campsite was finally found
For campfire warmth did dried them

First thing they did was dry their clothes
And then their boots to warm their toes
Then brewed coffee to hearten the nose
And cooked and baked a great deal
A real
Grand meal
Yes they sipped coffee to fight frozen nose
Out came the potatoes and veal

The bubbling pots and roasting steaks
Patted heaps of dough to bake their cakes
Stirred the stews of savory makes
And enjoyed the feast they created
Yes they stirred up scents of savory makes
‘Round campfire they all congregated

Then broke out their pipes and lit a smoke
Deep coals they stirred with sticks to poke
Sat ‘round and told many a joke
As the storm raged on all around them
Surround them
To drown them
Yes deep coals they stirred among the smoke
And nary a one had a frown them

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I Have Found the Terrapin Station

Please allow me to jump off the deep end with this one
Full blown gone in an instant
A little trip to the water's edge
To dip my finger in the starry lake of the cosmos
And watch the ringlets glow and bounce
In the light of the brand new crescent moon
As the crickets and cicadas sing

I have found the Terrapin Station

Tucked away in the old swamplands
Of Robert Hunter's California
A wind blown whistlestop
On the edge of the one time
Sunbeaten prairie valley swamp

Near the old ghost lake of legend
Who's crystal clear waters
Would reflect the sky so
That terrapins seemed as if to float
In midair amongst the clouds

A soldier came from the east
To build a station in the sun
Where all the migratory birds
Of the west fly low and fast
Over the scrubland grass
As the ladies with their fans
Chase away the stifling vapors

100 years ago this station rose
Out of the dust and alkali ashes
Of civil and racial unrest
Injustice and unequivocal inhumanity
Towards a race separated only in skin color

A shame and abomination still laid upon the land
As the war had been won
But society's ills were still hell bent
On inequality and prejudice towards itself
Traces of these feelings can still be found
Both on the fringes and rooted deep
Within the world today

This phoenix born in the sun and dust
Rising briefly but shining bright
As so Venus in the night sky
Was spurred on as a place of peace and respite
A watering hole for the soul to live free and thrive
A city of angels amongst
The backdrop of the demon's inferno

Directly across the waters from the old Terrapin Bay
The banjo and tambourine jams
Gospel revelry drifting across ancient waters
Organ pipes churning out hymns to the winds
Praises drifting gracefully to the starry expanse above

Dreams of new beginnings
Alongside old terrapin stomping grounds
Beside freshly laid ivory tracks
For rosewoods wheels to spin away

Rails of transportation to bring
The masses to the holy fireside gatherings
Of this ghost oasis in the sands
And oh how the sands of time
Did wear away here at the station

The terrapins' home is dried and gone
Well waters ran dry
And the town mostly moved on
As the soldier died - the dream grew dim
But memories live on in song and hymn

And the old ghost lake
Likes to show itself now and again
As the new crescent moon and Venus
Hide behind silvery broken storm clouds

Robert may not have been thinking
Along these lines when he wrote his
But hey - it sorta fits right?

Scrubland grasses as far as the eye can see

Slivers of the old ghost lake still remain