into the barely-light

ashby the cat waking me up just in time
to frantically toss on some clothes on
and bound into the barely-light of night-becoming-day
with a flower and note in my hand
for eric before he makes his grand departure
(the first of sandhill class of 2017 slowly disbanding)
the unexpected message from andrew
who met me on the portland library steps and planted onions on the island in 2000
and who is the only living soul i’ve met face to face that was also a near-and-dear to kate who passed on in 2010:
Happy Birthday! from me and double on Kate’s behalf.
and my response:
i can’t tell you how important it is to be connected right now to another living human who was close to Kate
the particular plink, though it’s not a plink at all,
but more like a small rock or big sand
landing on metal
as i winnow
handful by handful
all the frivolous cosmos seeds
(it takes an hour and a half or more
to work through one gallon)
to be sent off to southern exposure seed exchange
where they will be germination-rate tested and (if they pass) packed and stocked and then sent out to whoever orders them and i love
thinking of these seeds
touched by eric and trish and me and baigz and jenafr
eventually landing in the hands of strangers
and blooming in gardens i have never entered

earphones in
fan on
chaffe flitting across the living room while i laugh at the
sara schaefer section of this two dope queens episode

what i pick out (in exchange for the 15 + found nerf bullets) from emory’s pumpkin
after he in his whale costume hit up memphis town square for trunk or treat:
one reese’s peanut butter cup
one little snickers and one
actual sized twix 

how the hum in the night
is the part that spooks me
as i walk from karma to cool ranch
after eerie movie watching
with cynthia and ty

from the water world:

A man sifts through rubbish in the Yamuna river in Delhi, India.

into the night darkness

the unusual quiet
of no roosters cockadoodledooing the sun
up into sky
this is now (after what some call ‘the cull’ and others call ‘the slaughter’) 
how mornings sound

meet me halfway in my hands
sun on my head
gibbous in my lap
this body slowly beginning its 43rd orbit

the glint of milkweed fluff that i
clump by clump ease out of split open pods
and release to wind-filled sky
from the highest point in the county
before following the trail
through woods and out again

em and i tossing magic protection
(in the form of grain and leaves)
onto pac-pac, the hatchling teenager
before he’s taken to the neighbors 
to be chicken-sat for a month


in this forty degrees i run barefoot
(sans ankle-rolly clogs)
until the cold is too tingly
with the badminton racket in my hand
while em and i attempt volleys over the net and then
he is bouncing in the trampoline while i
bat the birdies up over its nets


em and i picking
seed after seed (gray and white from june’s mammoth sunflower seed gift)
from a sunflower head bigger than mine
and cracking them with our teeth to get to
the seedy meat
the lego-person-turned-frankie-cake
(complete with sequinned skirt and cat mini-circus animals and pink frosting)
crafted by trish and hannah
with sandhill wheat and sandhill sorghum and
i savor anyway but i savor extra
the land-grown grain and sweetness
well aware of cycles and circles and moving on

your depth and lightness  says sharon
your triple flair says ted
how much you care and pay attention says mica
how much i laugh when i’m with you says alyson and i need that laughter in my life
how you like to make spaces beautiful
says baigz through a puppet
while they take a slice of the frankie-stein cake
and eat it
communion like and i absolve them
with an air-cross that might be going in the wrong direction
the white blur movement
against bright of headlight brights
taking off from signpost
into the night darkness
as we drive down the gravel road
hannah confirming it wasn’t imagined,
an owl, i think

in sequins and a bear hat

one of my first encounters of the morning:
cynthia’s note tucked into the catfood
celebrating the last day of 41derful
in sequins and a bear hat
cynthia lets out a whoooop!  
and does a little exaggerated gyration dance
for the last cook day
ahead of us
white-gray with frost
our gloves, our sleeves, our shoulders
from tossing bundle after bundle of field-gathered sorghum stalks
into the mill
the morning after a 23degree night
scooping fingerful after fingerful
of what is normally green foam
(but today – is green icy slush)
from under the mill rollers
and licking the sweetness of this
this sorghum sno-cone off
slipping wool-socked feet out of my clogs
to hold them up to the coals dropping down from the steam boiler fire
while my body can’t help but rock
to the steam-train-sounding rhythm
as the steam and sweet sorghum-cookdown scent
swirls about
the bee dead frozen
its legs thick with pollen
stuck to the frost-killed center
of a red and white dahlia flower
in north garden
the best birthday present yet
and it’s not quite even my birthday
is lo’s news: We finally stopped the NestlĂ© water bottling factory in the Gorge!!!!!!!!!!!!! After almost a decade of fighting! Kate Brown, the third Oregon governor we have campaigned with hundreds of thousands of letters, many actions, etc, finally listened and stopped the water transfer!!! 
news so good
there are tears in my eyes when i read it

chasing energy

the soothingness of the lemon ginger brew
that sumner boils on the stove
and how i take note
(one way to take care of myself/let others take care of me)


a strip of copperpink cloud to the west – evidence after all these sunriesless sunsetless gray-filled days
that the big star still shines
not enough layers, it seems, to wrap around me and insulate
skin, organs, bones
from the 20degree temperatures
i’ve been chasing my energy all day i tell cynthia
after i finally got it together enough to sit down at the keyboard and type

unweaving the woven

unweaving the woven
how we walk beds where i spent midsummer
looping and walking out and tying up
tomatoes to their stakes
week after week
and today in the blustery wind
we release the knots
leaving some of the strong vines to tip over while others
insist on holding themselves up
these are the cycles
this is the work
tugging out deep deep ropey roots
while thanking each plant
for such strength

petey rolling out naan
before he melts the garlic butter
as i stir the veggie masala and
move the chickpeas in the cast iron about so that they evenly coat
plucking the second last jar of tyler’s tomato apple chutney
from its spot in the root cellar which i always seem to have the hardest time finding but now
that we’re down to the last two i know
exactly where they are

i gather seed

on this last gasp sunny 70degree day
i pluck red (and mostly red) tomatoes,
i harvest parsley, 
i clip flowers,
i gather seed

the wind that comes in sweeping
what remains with it
of summer
it’s a real life practice
art of asking
i say
this thing about the vulnerability
of reaching towards other people
from the ater world:

A Hindu devotee applies vermillion powder on the forehead of her husband as they perform rituals on the banks of the Yamuna River during Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India.

a sea we swim in

cucumber harvest collected in grayteal hoodie and gathered like a bindle
most likely the last of the season
hauled in and placed in a falling-apart collander
the sweetness of this:
Jeaux handing the half pint of fine red powder to Kris
and later another to Dean
chipotle – peppers sandhill grew and jeaux smoked and dried and blended
at the point
when i am angry with the foxtail
for being a sea we swim in to get to the sorghum
(a sea that rises to my forehead)
at the point i want to quite
but we are so close to finished
i begin
to hum
leaning on the notes
to bring me through

birdie the cat
drunk on sun and heat
rolling over to give me her belly
of softest whitest fur

there are mumblings of snow
in the forecast of
the next few days

there is no grand hurrah
but the final sorghum stalk of the season
has been stripped and cut and bundled
left in the field to cure
until we fire up the steam boiler
and get the mill clattering
for the final cook of 2017 
and maybe of ever

the rustling outside cool ranch in the fallen leaves at night
something snarfing up all the fallen persimmons
how i search several times
with the beam of my headlamp and how
on the third or fourth i see:
two young raccoons walking about each other
getting fat for the winter that approaches
and the flicker-flight-swoop back-forth back-forth of a bat
from sugar shack lean-to and then woods-ward and back again
and something glimmers in me
at the thought that it might be clingy, my resident widow bat
how a sound filling the night air crisp with cool and glinty with stars and a fat quarter moon draws me out of my door, onto the porch, up the mushroom yard path, into the orchard and up to the greenhouse near
where the small fire glows and the heart-in-guts-rising-up-into-chest-and-spilling-out-of-mouth-into-firelit/starburnt-night song is being sung/heartpoured/wailed
and how i stay on the edges, shadowed, i don’t want to sit in the circle – but i do want to quench the part of me that didn’t realize it was thirsty
and how this changes the way the night feels (same as when ty and dottie were recording music in the sugar shack and the sound and light floated out) 
a sense that the roots, the limbs, the leaves, the microbes in the soil are feasting on this too – spirit and sound this land has long been hungry for