roots

Poem – A Childhood in Retrospect

Shifting through photos
I feel no connection, no recognition
to the person with time and years
ahead of them, looking to the future.

Pausing at one in particular in the midst of summer,
oak leaves burning with white light,
the sun slowly fading into the horizon
behind the hill at the street’s end.

What was etched into the mind
when the image became a permanent
moment tossed into a shoe box?
What was the last thought defining that moment?

Years will pass and that young face
will undergo an outward expression
of the strife, agony, depression, and final transformation
built upon the experiences, cast from the struggle.

In time what we are in this life
circles back to the foundation,
the hands pushing up from the earth,
the roots feeding a child’s growth and imagination.

Poem – Silent Awakening

Summer. Days of long hot sun,
the wind scorching exposed skin
and throwing sand and twigs everywhere.

Summer. Early mornings when the sun
first reaches above the pine tree tops
and the light squirms its way through
openings in the pole barn roof, tapping
on closed eyes. Slowly the whippoorwill
across the seasonal creek is heard and
the acorns hitting roof every time
the wind arrives.

Summer. Afternoon storms that build
and tower above the flight paths
of airplanes, the silent clouds
with layers of colors, various shapes,
and ever-changing patterns.

Before the storms arrive as the sky darkens,
I am serenaded by the whispering pine
and the silent awakening of not being alone,
of having a connection with the earth
and to each tree providing shelter.

Poem – Revolution Rooted in Ancient Lands

40 Days become 40 years
and the revolution/transformation
I began culminates from the
mountain peak.

Into the valley life flows
as the new sun rises
over the range.

Caribou continue their
thousand mile trek across
vast swaths of land
following their ancestors hoofs.

I teeter on this ridge and see
beyond the glacier fed waters
and the crystal sky and fall
into the ancient land where

the marathon first began,
where the fields were first built.

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Poem – Roots

I walk the worn dirt path
circling the overgrown fields
where the winds have abated
and the grass, flowers, and
trees have grown deep
roots while the land has
gone back in time before
the cities of industry.

Poem – Machines That Move Earth

(1)

Putting aside hollywood notions
of machine versus man –

September morning is
hidden in fog, coated
with an early frost.

Subdued sun scattered
across fields, meadows, and prairies.

The sky becomes the land
becomes the horizon.

We head north,
leaving behind city
lights and traffic
for pine trees and
winter in the air.

(2)

Winter is coming
early this year.

With axes, shovels
and our hands

we move the earth
gently and with care.

Preparing trails
and food plots,

becoming part of
the system,

returning to our roots.

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Shelter and Home

Shelter and Home

My Helper

My Helper

Poem – House on 7th Street

A two-story white house
one window blue-framed
large oak tree in the
manicured yard, planter
with purple flowers
sways in the gentle breeze.

Every hour or so
the front door opens
and a man holding a
coffee cup emerges –
cigarette lit,
he watches traffic
on 7th street.

From this distance
across 7th street,
sipping my own coffee,
I ponder the image he
is painting, mixing
in the colors surrounding the house
and the paint upon his shoes.

Poem – Home

To mom and pops


Light edges across the roof
giving rise to my shadow.

With eyes closed I know
it is there, I know I am home.

I left 20 years ago
trying to find my way

to make my own life
and path.

Travelling to other countries
finding my heart in Alaska

but I always came back
to where my roots planted –

where I first tasted
natures’ sweetness

and felt pain and love,
where I struggled with

childhood and a place
within the chaos.

No matter where I went
home was there waiting

with mom and pops
arms out unconditionally.


Home, Sunrise

Home, Sunrise

Why do We Fight?

Clouds part and the setting sun burns the last rays into my eyes before disappearing behind the trees.  Such balance as each of these systems, including my just sitting here, has a role.

Finally the path I am on makes sense.  Pieces from everywhere scattered to the wind are falling into place, and for the first time in this life, I feel at peace, and have reached a balance.  The eternal struggle between what is within and what is without in a holding pattern, and I am in control of my actions and my presence here, in this space.

Now, what can I do?

Everything has roots.  Roots consist of physical reaches into the depths of soil and earth, or emotional connections to places we grew up, or that provided experience and a foundation for the people we are now.  Everything, no matter their size, belief, state of being, needs stability and a grounding.  There is so much more we have in common with everything else beyond basic needs.  We all consist of the same elements, the sub-atomic particles coalescing into lifeforms and beings.  We all struggle to get from day to day.  We all see birth and death.

So why do we fight apart, and not together, when we have more in common then differences?

Sky Into the Sea

Sky Into the Sea

Essay – Influence

An entire lifetime spanning so many years, is divided into smaller lifetimes, or books. These books of our life are further divided into chapters. I think the books are finished and started with major events or changes and these can be happy, joyous, sad, perhaps a death or tragedy. The chapters within each are related with a thread tying them together that defines the person we are at the moment in time. All of these books collect the experiences we have endured, the people we have met, what we have learned and ignored, and the view we have taken of the world.

The second book of my life started when I was 6-years old.

Many years have passed. 33 to be exact. If I stop for a moment and think about everything that has happened, both personally, and in the world, I am overwhelmed, almost in a state of panic. Like the changing sea, it is endless and never stops, never takes a break. Yet, without us noticing, we are constantly being affected, and our actions are influenced directly and indirectly by the things we do not see.

Who we are as a whole, our outside appearance, may not noticeably change, but the core of ourself, the thoughts and actions, how we process information, and how we think about the world and in turn react to events, does. I believe it is in a constant state of change that turns our being over and over, the same as a stone within the currents.

How we grow from this depends on more immediate influences and our roots, our upbringing, a sense of humility, and awareness.

33 years ago I was fortunate to gain a real father after mom remarried. This greatly changed the direction of my life. I look back now and cannot imagine the other person. I doubt I would recognize or have anything in common with them if we sat down for a cup of coffee.

Like any family, there was tension, fights, raised voices, and doors slamming. There was the frustration of algebra and geometry homework, the chores of lawn mowing and picking up after the dogs.  But there was also the endless hours of playing catch in the backyard and the continuous encouragement.

As I struggled to find independence and define the person I wanted to be, I fought against rules, what I thought others were defining for me, and forged any path that was different.

When I look back on these 33 years, I realize the great influence pops had, and in his silent way, I have followed in his footsteps, and for that I am grateful.  Mom will tease and say “you are just like your father” and I genuinely say “thank you”.  That is probably the best complement I could get.

I understand to get anywhere requires hard work, long hours of dedication, and some personal sacrifice. And when you achieve something, appreciate it and never take anything for granted. Each day should be cherished, along with the people in your life, and family. At the end of the day, work is just work and you should take time to enjoy what you have over a traditional Sunday dinner or watching a football game.

Every time I mow the grass or take care of the dog, I think back to those long summer days and how I complained and put up a fuss. Now, I actually enjoy these tasks beneath the summer and fall sky.

I hope that I have become the person pops wanted, as I know I have become a man because of him.