the Light of August

the light today. the light felt right. there was something in the quality of the light. something magic in the light which gave the birds, the mountains, the green fishing boats heading home to harbor, the irises of the guests, the hanging flowers, the shopwindows a positive identifier : the green ships were aware of how perfect their green hulls flowed greenly through the reflective mountainous hemlock forests who, enjoying their participation in the scene, reflected on other stages in their growth, back before they allowed green ships to pass through their wavery watery underworld.

even the clouds seemed proudly unashamed of what blue skies they concealed. the blue skies, blissfully unaware for the moment of the infinite void of cold, soundless space only a few miles further away from them and the green ships and the hemlocks, seemed happy to engage in the harmony of light concentrated on this first day of August, 2017, albeit intermittent.

the lake was moody when the brilliant blue skies picked out patches of spruce tips and hugged their sharp branches with a golden light. I felt a ripple forming.

the red salmon. the sockeye. the mispronunciation that stuck to the history books. (sock-eye is a kind of onomatopoeia for a Coastal Salish word suk – kegh and the italics, of course, are a translation as well of a spoken-only language into the English alphabet).

the salmon seemed content in their retirement. their dehydrated red fins waving above the surface like flags of defeat. the swimming dead. the final phase change. the home stream. the magnetic influence. the biological impulse. the nutrients in the trees. the core samples. the this and the that about the salmon on this fine day. pick a metaphor and hold onto it.

the swimming dead. these fish fortunately are close to their home channel as they phase change and take on a negligent diet. however, once the circle is met, the spawning occurs, there is nothing in them to keep them alive. they must flip and flop around until death comes by claw or talon or net. their spirit warms the hibernation chambers of a female bear up above 3,000 feet, getting her ready for the birth of her litter of cubs. their spirit rides the thermals higher than the mountain peaks with an 8 times magnified binocular vision zooming in and out of the landscape and providing the energy to swoop in for another kill to feed the young. their spirit fuels a fistfight at the fisherman’s bar over a game of shuffleboard. beer spilled everywhere.

the light made everything aware of itself to me. everything seemed confident in it being what it was. today, the water and the mountains, the movements they make… occurred to me as a correspondence. a long, slow decision making process. the light opened a window into this exchange. the light led me astray in the perfect direction, the noted observations, the new realm of seeing, the opened mind in the light of its own opening, like an iris acutely aware of its height above the buttercups yet jealous of the yellow light emanating from them as reflected indirectly in the diffuse light of the jagged clouds. the clouds held the light back and handed it out liberally to everything I set my mind to today.

hearing operatic music coming from the woods

this afternoon there was a large, evasive moth with red patterns on its wings. it was in the break room which is three doorways from the outside. I attempted to catch it and release it with a brown paper bag and a chipped pint glass… G. said, “I tried to do the same thing with a hummingbird. I kept trying to coax it outside but I was afraid I would kill it. So I left it alone and eventually it found its own way out.” I’m thinking of the moths I’ve tried to trap. There was cathedral music until it became Saturday and the secrecy enhanced itself beyond the story I meant to tell.

what I meant to say was there were choral vocals coming from the woods and I imagined them to be trees with different sexes, or microphones embedded into the heartwood of a cedar, the creekside trees fled something different, and what I still meant to say was I heard music come from the woods after reading about the elephants in the room, the elephants in the vistas, the elephants in the mason jars, intimate, extroverted, and close, too close, letting us ride this one out until a new kind of future is developed for us.

complaints haven’t gotten me anywhere in three years. what in the hell would I do with lakeside erosion control.

“When the Old Pilot Light Gives Out”

 

A CENTO – ((stolen prose fragments from The Control of Nature by John McPhee))

 

The crisis was simple and economic,

decorated with a relief model –

to keep them from plunging through.

Fireworks flew high into their interiors,

molten, growling, and weighed

two-thirds of a mile a piece.

 

As it happened, the edge never being stationary,

one cubic metre of flowing lava, of

prescription beer, and the wind shifted,

houses burst into flame mechanically,

and never took no for an answer.

 

The volcano came loose, extending

like a finger halfway across the harbormouth.

Dad swims up to the glass in a “silent

scream of terror” and felt but a mild quake

when the living room imploded

and removed itself hereafter.

 

 

Mossy Knoll Hangover

I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. Though my body has taken all day to recover from sleeping in my car, 50 yards away from a rented bed. I had no desire to drunken stumble into the shared closet, waking up others. My mind was gone and it’s okay, the graduate students were on a fisheries weekend retreat, bitching me out.

Okay then. Walking in a stupor. It is 4 pm and my stomach is sour. I napped on a mossy knoll, as advised through devious teeth. Hey I’m having fun with my words, letting them fall out unfiltered. Is it approaching the flow state? Where the valve is cranked open and the steamy water starts shooting out galaxies? Anyway, unique universe is the term to cherish, to hold as your only object.

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A Storm

Pine needles swirl around in the sky with the wind pulling them from their branches. They are dry and dead with the summer draught in them. Clouds broke last night and supplied the forest floor with rain, the vines with rain, the branches with heavy rain, and the broken wood, the broken trees piled up against the shed, along the path to the forest, in the Pacific Northwest temperate zone, the pine trees, a few madrona, cold to the touch, a great big ancient oak in the center, saved from the hungry jaws of the bulldozer.

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No Washington Bats Feed on Blood

Two bats flew together over me in the garage as I spilled whiskey onto the carpet. This grey and thin carpet with the duct tape cross hatched over the burn holes from fallen hookah coals. One fell into my shoe once and burned its way out. “You make real friends quickly.” Settled into the self with a foxtrot. Finding a dried up pine needle in between my letters and numbers on my keyboard.

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wednesday free-write

11:16 – 11:36

Up the creaking stairs into the heat of the attic, the closed doors and the slanted roof and the stairs that lead out onto the roof. Everything is left white and undecorated. I haven’t the patience for thumb tacks and straight-edges. I do have a special knack for letting my plants toast in the refracted heat through the seesaw window, and banged my head against it while moving boxes arbitrarily, “are you all moved in yet?” and then the trips to the grocery store in the midday allergy heat. The scattering of beads of sweat, feeling myself perspire sans activity, sans the pure David Brower acting, the action with consequence and the monkey wrench tossed into the gears of the machinery, the dynamite hidden under the dam, the tires of government jeeps slashed happily for the salvation of a grove of red woods. The Muir Wilderness is yet to be explored for my own gratification of life on the planet, as a symbiotic part of the greater green goods, a feeling my Dad and my Sister are feeling right now as they traverse a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in this ridiculous heat, from White Pass (snowless this time of year) to Naches Peak Loop, the wildflower vista with views of meadows extending like octopus arms or hearts, I don’t know the metaphor appropriate here. I haven’t been up there since high school. I am a dull and lazy person some days. Existing on lukewarm coffee or scalding hot cups of noodles or freezing cold iced tea, the relief of the three, and wondering how awesome Tuesday night’s sunset must have been to them up there somewhere. Camping in two separate tents. A communal fire set between them for collective warmth. Chopping up fallen logs for this purpose and to cook their little cans of beans and astronaut food. The mutt keeps watch and leaps after rabbits and birds with a reckless dive, crashing through fragile, delicate flowers, crushing and replacing with dust and footprints.

Long tangent there. I was out driving transfers from U.W. Medical Center down through the Montlake Cut, into that cursed left side merging lane onto I-5 south to meet up with people from the North through downtown Seattle, all the hazardous, blinkerless merging to be forgiven with a shrug, and then down past the stadiums and Boeing, the long gradual curves in the highway up through Renton. Boring shit through Fife. But there are a few views of Mt. Rainier along the way, especially during these warm summer nights, where the sunset lingers like spices on the tongue, the soft pinks and purples and golden glow from the west behind clouds and mountains, coloring the glaciers and slopes of the mountain with a painter’s palette…… the moon there in transit behind the snowy peak, nearly full, and the Venus-Jupiter slow dance.