West

1)

I’m glad I moved west.  Open space

suits me.

I’m closer

to a land of many shapes,

closer

to a sky whose blue-domed clarity and

mysterious talent for manifesting

a grand mountain,

only to shut it away

for weeks,

enchants me.

*

2)

In this western land

I’m learning to think differently

about trees.

They are holy.

They are a resource.

And sometimes, they impede

“progress”

and become like

fallen

gods.

3)

Nails in fences,

knots of barbed wire.

Wood, metal,

water and sky –

sing songs of working

the land.

*

*

4)

Old soul-face

presides.

1)

Mount Rainier floats serenely in the distance at a sod farm in the Sammamish Valley, 15 miles east of Seattle and a stone’s throw from the Cascade foothills.  The rail line that ran up the east side of the valley is defunct. Rusted irrigation lines sit gracefully at the edge of the fields, unused. There is great beauty here.

2)

Douglas fir, the ubiquitous evergreen that draws its jagged silhouette across so many Pacific northwest horizons, is being cleared from a Botanic Garden outside Seattle to make room for “a new visitor center, expansion of the current parking lot, and landscape improvements.”  It’s hard to wrap my head around that load of logs, but I’m trying.

3)

Ambling down a path built on an old rail bed in the Snoqualmie Valley, I feel grounded and refreshed. The way cuts a straight path alongside wet fields dotted with sagging barns, tall trees, cattle, and swallows. Old fences hem quiet pastures where wild ducks hide in the puddles and mountain vistas command the horizon.  The marks we leave on the land out here seem lighter, more reasonable.  I cruise a narrow farm road that dead-ends in wide fields. It’s quiet on a weekday afternoon, touched with lambent light and sweet, earthy odors.

4)

A garden Buddha smiles at a local nursery, where most of the thousands of flowers, trees and vegetables are grown on site. It’s good to live in a place where all I have to do is take short drive to see some of the products on view in city markets growing in the ground.

Blowing & caught; wafting & swirling; ever present, never twice the same.

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Apologies to Robert Irwin, an artist whose granite marker, inscribed with the phrase,

EVER PRESENT

NEVER TWICE

THE SAME

was part of an installation on the grounds of Wave Hill, a New York City public garden where I worked in 1987.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Irwin_(artist)