Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bless the Whistle Pigs

It may stem from a deeply anti-social vein
in me, this wish to see

Instead of blacktop and three
color traffic lights and a tangle
of telephone wires, to see

wide expanses of native grasses, beetles, and the
harmonious networks of earthworms

Bless the burrowing creatures
for they labor and rest in their own time

Instead of 1.5 acre outparcels with potential
restaurant or retail site, to see

the wide arms of an ancient oak
almost as wide as it is tall
above which circles a patient hawk

Bless the creatures of the air
for their keen eyes and for balance they restore
to the fields

Instead of the repetitive molds
of houses and their attendant towers
clustered against the edge
of a forest, to see

rivers aged into meandering curves
and the silent horizons of rocky ridgelines
shining in fading light

Bless the fish hidden in dark waters
for they have not witnessed a world
stripped of mystery

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


for Janisse Ray

Some people thirst for big weather--
Fat, ballooning raindrops,
roiling clouds and wind
that rips through trees

I like that too, but
to be a hovering witness to the thunder
and crack at the tip of the top
of a Longleaf pine seared by lightning bolt
and follow the seam of fire racing
down massive trunk to the tinder
of bluestem grasses at the base
of a proud grandmother pine--

(where, upon igniting in a dance of flames
passion of dry spark, nest of inferno,
there is only unquenchable heat)

this would bring me a radiant type of joy

This violent healing unleashed
over endless miles of generously spaced trees
doted on from an understory of wiregrass,
pitcher plants and the peculiar silence
of Saw Palmetto
to bring the next generation of Longleaf--
extending roots deep in the sandy soil

The once familiar Bachman's sparrow,
the red-cockaded woodpecker,
the Eastern indigo snake, and the gopher tortoise
so at home here, even with fire

Or even cougar, elk, and woodland bison--
now, names in a book, struggling to get off the page

Where, in this now shrunken, patchwork forest
can this fiery dance let loose in joy and
longing for itself
sweeping the distance with happy flames
ancient and able, so perfectly adapted
to the destruction that allows for life
in a howling rage
and then, slowly, carefully, in the quiet that follows

Sunday, November 15, 2009


With Tom ("the Beatnik") Ferguson and Jack ("the Frost") Drost, Beth ("Totally") Beasley scrambled up to a low ridge on Weed Patch Mountain, in search of the elusive White Irisette, which was giggling at us from the leaf litter as we slid and slipped, and I ultimately fell in the creek on the way back to the car. A fitting end to a *funny* hike... chewing on anise goldenrod and mountain mint, trying to avoid using rotting trees for support, and admiring Lake Lure from a height.

All going well, this area (about 1600 acres) will be soon be preserved--through the efforts of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

Pepper-spore lichen (or is it Peppercorn lichen?)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Close of the Mesozoic

The earth bled under an electric sky
bright like nectarines ripe with life
a soup steeped with spores, saprophytes
and the slow pulse of outsized beasts

encumbered by their own heavy hearts
lumber along within jungle tangle
in fits and starts
toward an unexpected demise

in the clean horizon of Jupiter's eye
this wayward meteorite
sacked the light
and upended in a fine spray of loose dust
creatures clambering for air until
in the darkened chill
heavy eyes stare in silence
and footprints fossilize
while the inheritance of the meek
is quietly established