Monthly Archives: May 2016

Wonder Valley

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The cottage pulls itself apart at the joints in the heat of the day
settles back into itself at night

high desert wind clatters in the fan palms
fine dust coats the mirrors

In the yard husks of coyote melons
blow into the roots of the brittlebush

small things scurry across the wash
leaving shallow indentations in the sand

lizard, ground squirrel, jack rabbit
burrow under the creosote

beyond, a crust of manzogranite
oceans of baking salt flats

garrulous hunkered down shrubs
with the resilience of rock

a feral landscape of burnt out, boarded up cinder block
half-savage dogs behind chainlink fence

transient human purchase
slippery as sand

the highway lined by salvation—
liquor stores, animal shelters, churches

sun bleached cars drift
from one side of the yellow line to the other

air too dry for ghosts
signs scoured bare of their messages

crouch, bristle, burn
hold tight, bend with the wind

learn to pull yourself apart at the seams with the heat of the day and settle back into your bones under an exhalation of sky.
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Joshua Tree

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In late March I had the great pleasure of staying in a cottage on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, California. Each day I hiked and explored with my family. Having never spent time in a desert before, the landscape was a totally new environment for me. What made it even more amazing was that we had arrived at the cusp of winter and spring.

Everywhere I looked I could see new life bursting out of seemingly dead plants and shrubs. It was breathtaking to watch the full moon sink behind the snow caps of the San Bernadino mountains as the sun rose, blushing the mountains of the park. My ears soon tuned in to the noisy cactus wren that sang from the top of a telephone pole and the courting of white winged doves. Each morning  I watched for the Anna’s humming bird that visited the new blooms of the manzanita tree. My son and I would visit the wash behind the cottage to examine the footprints in the sand–ground squirrel, jack rabbit, lizard. We learned the names of the many cacti in our yard as they came into flower. And chasing him up and over the huge golden granite boulders in the park, I felt like a little kid all over again.

I came home renewed and not a little in love.