Tag Archives: nature

Version 0.60 (Simple, Life)


Why should life be more complicated than what the birds make of it?

This, a thought that has come to me watching a thumb-size one flit along the branches of a tree in the yard of a cafe I am enjoying a breakfast and coffee at.

Bananas in a bunch hang from a palm. How crazy and marvellous this world is for life, food, sustenance to display itself like it does. What a show! What a temptation! They actually don’t so much hang like one sees them displayed in the supermarket, but rather they stand erect, curved upwards like stacked umbrellas flipped on their heads, creating multiple tiers of cups around a central pole.

But that erectness!—one can’t get it out of his head, especially after glancing around the rest of the garden that is glowing, nay!, vibrating and shimmering with life. In a corner is a large shrub with four cylindrical, pointed, phallic looking flowers (not yet open) protruding from the tops of four stems, just begging for it. How everything seems to be sex. The whole natural world. Everything wet, damp, dripping, lush, conical or rod-shaped (even the leaves of certain plants), or open, inviting, softly curved and sensuous. All around me the stuff of life is asking for it, or doing it, or has recently done it.

A small beetle flies by, from shade into sunlight, vanishing back into shadow again. The theatre of life and death.

Perhaps life doesn’t need to be more complicated than the birds make it. Perhaps it really is as simple as nature makes it out to be. Sex, food, play. And because life is everywhere, so then is sex everywhere.*

Enjoyment. Enjoy it.




*what came first, life, or sex? (this is rhetorical, of course, but comments will be happily read)

GLORY! (or Santa Cruz Island)

Glory, I say.

Let’s try that again.

(and AMEN, as Henry Miller would say)

GLORY! says the bark of the sea lions from that yonder pointed rock, protruding sharply and hard-edged from the mouth of the cove that I’m overlooking from this rocky promontory.
GLORY! says the sun sunk behind the next island a few miles off, clouds rippling around its peaks loudly like streamers.
GLORY! says the sky, speckled with sun drenched clouds glowing heavily with summer’s honey-colored light even though the last week of October.

(soft streak of rose
petals and tulips
across the horizon
in one long painterly stroke)

This air is life itself — GLORY! — perfumed by the salty, aquamarine waters hundreds of feet below, crashing onto the shore, foamy-white.

And here I sit on the most luxurious rock, looking out at all this revelation.
I could be sitting on a pin cushion.

I discern no visible joy out there, only mystery and a raw primalness. But within, a sense of calm equilibrium and belonging.

I have merged with the salt-sea air, with the last remaining rays of the sun, with the wild, mangy bark of the sea lion.
I am no longer, as I once thought, just this flesh and bone but, I see now that I am this whole of nature.
This skin which contains me; which keeps me bundled up in this extraordinary body with its two legs and its two arms and a head which swivels this way and that, and a mind that thinks and creates divisions; this skin which contains me, which seems a boundary, is also contained within me. It is merely the surface of an ocean, the ground floor of an atmosphere.

It exists, but only in your mind.

GLORY, I say!

74 – More Etc. Edited to Mogwai’s Central Belters

In the Yard, Everywhere a Garden, Frisco
The rustle of the aspen leaves like strings of soft wooden beads gently pushed aside by a hand.
Swallows soaring swirling acrobatics tracing the world’s most complex roller coaster clear into the blue, chittering happily and madly because they are swallows and it is theirs, and theirs alone (but this they do not know: that it is also mine).
A hummingbird’s thrum as it zips there (where?) dashing lines in a picture book, now stopping—hovering stationary—motionless but for the soft blur of wings, in front of a purple flower its slender saber-like bill inserted like a bank card into the slot of an atm. Then, ZIP! from my watchful eye, the flower crystalline still.
And the sun filtering through clouds sweetly and warm, an exquisite hand, fingers wriggling, reaching through soap bubbles for something. The touch of my only lover on my skin.

On the tall green grasses
Water droplets
The mountain peaks
Obscured by rain clouds

A young boy
The pebbly shore
He picks one up

At Lake Dillon Marina. On a large boulder along the shore. The sky perfectly blue. Indescribably blue (indescribably perfect). The sky indescribable at any time. It’s more like an emotion than a physical thing, the sky.
The clouds punctuate long rambling sentences that are meaningless, wholly without sense. They’re beautiful and white. As monumental as the mountains, though they be so much more ethereal, insubstantial, always shifting, changing, bits vanishing like an old flag torn to tatters by the relentless wind. Of course, the mountains do too, just slower. So much slower, like the eternity it takes to find someone you love, and then they’re gone.
It’s been ages since I’ve sat like this, down by the water, just observing. Some time ago in Annapolis. Months ago. The breeze a mere whisper today—a comforting pat on the back by a missed friend. More ripples in the lake than unaccountable footsteps in the world. Infinite and everlasting. The sky contained within, but only a part. One could sit out here forever.

The End (not to be confused with the Birdhouse skate video)
Walking by Royal (in so much as one can walk by a mountain). I’m thinking about how my time here has nearly come to an end, and how this all seems like a dream, how all life seems like a dream, and that I’m nothing more than a wisp of smoke, an amalgam of gas and ashes that has somehow been bound together into a corporeal body, and that it makes no sense, but that trying to make sense of existence is like digging a hole in the desert hoping to strike water. That the beauty and the strangeness and awful magnificence and senselessness are to be loved and cherished and enjoyed (or not, if you so choose!). That it matters not if this is all just a dream and every leaf I touch and mountain I climb are mere tricks of these senses (those senses themselves being tricks, too), that their apparent solidity is nothing but an illusion, and my own solidity as well. I laugh! Because it is the air let out of the balloon, and it flies around the room making that silly noise. It is a revelation. But also the genesis of a dream or a reality (is there truly a difference?) that begins anew every moment of every uncountable moment which is this one singular moment that is and forever will be.

How does one draw a line for eternity, yet never move the pen?

68 -Found in the Mountains

Tuesday 06/21

Woke up this morning and went through what has become my typical routine since being in Taos: make a cup of coffee and read something (currently, a book of selected works by Faulkner—it’s marvelous). Afterward, I went for a spectacular run/hike from the house to Miner’s Creek Rd, then Rainbow Lake, then Mason Town, and finished with a taxing hike up Royal and a screaming-fast run down and back to the house. This was all wonderful, but that which made it all the more special was the fifteen minutes spent reclining amongst the rocks overlooking I-70 some thousand-plus feet below.

Hiking up the mountain, heart pounding like a timpani drum, lower calf feeling so stiff that one might imagine it could be broken like a bone, I was harassed much of the way by flies that could not be rid of due to my glacially slow pace I was incapable of increasing. Yet, at the top, having espied a portion of the mountain that formed something like a lounge chair, and seating myself in it, sprawling rather languorously, limbs akimbo, luxuriating in the warmth of the sun-heated rocks as a cool breeze skimmed across my skin, they ceased to bother me, or I ceased to be bothered by them. Instead I looked on in amazement as various different winged beasties made attempts at clambering over an arm or a leg but, tripping over the stumbling blocks of hair, struggled to make much progress.

Lying there, like in a hammock, looking down far below, past the pines and contours of rocks, at the cars and trucks crawling along the interstate, and then to one creature or another on an arm or a leg, and then back to the traffic, I could only think how small and negligible humans are rushing about on their daily, various errands and tasks.

Butterflies frolicking in the wind or sunning themselves on an exposed rocky slab, folding and unfolding wings, sometimes in flight blown off course by a rogue zephyr… chipmunks scrambling and foraging; the colors of lichen (pumpkin orange, and the zillion unspeakable shades of green); tiny purple flowers like magic buttons and baubles; a plant similar to hens and chicks, tiny like a baby’s fist, with yellow blossoms; the shells of old trees bare and weather-beaten lying on their sides like shipwrecks off an unnamed island.

In short, an ocean of peace on which I floated like a reverie, my eyes coursing over everything, projecting a world of fascinating beauty and sublime indifference. Peace! Peace! Peace! And the appreciation of a world that for a short while was untouched by anything save the glance of my eyes alone.

65 -Frisco Morning the Lawn Pondering

Frisco, CO. Eight a.m.
Lounging on the bench-swing in the lawn. Surrounded by dandelions. The dog, Sugar, being dog-like, sniffing around, investigating the morning scents, then choosing a cozy spot in a warm patch of sunlight on a lush patch of grass to lie down; the prominence of the fast-running river only a stone’s throw from here very nearly the only audible sound, white noise maintaining a backdrop for the bursts of birdsong flushing through the aspens and pines, and the sun filtering through just beginning to stab my eyes with its pointed glare. The slight sound of slightest traffic thin and fringy, and thankfully, easy to ignore.

I just finished drinking an exquisite cup of an Ethiopian Kochere—citric, floral with a bright, lively, happy acidity that dazzles the tongue much like the early morning sun might one’s eyes, or the song of the birds one’s ears. There is no better start to a day than this little ritual of mine.

I’m noticing now how in the shaded parts of the lawn the dandelions are closed up tight, like they might be cold, and so each of them has snugged up his and her sepals tight around their blossoms like I might zip the collar of a warm jacket up tight. I would also be remiss not to mention how much like aristocrats from the sixteenth century they look like, albeit headless ones, with their broad collars peaking out the tops of their shirt and jacket. A particular painting by El Greco which hangs in the Prado in Madrid titled The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest comes to mind.

In places where broad swaths of sunlight paint the ground these dandelions’ heads are thrown back, petals fully extended like mouths wide open stretched to their limits, swallowing whole all that pours forth from the sky. How strange that I’ve never noticed this phenomena before! How intelligent the world is! Is there anything that looks happier, more full of joy, than a flower opened up completely? It is like a human soul who has become so accepting to everyone and everything, all experience, good or ill, that it matters not what might become of it, that it might be destroyed means nothing, but that it continue in its course, which is always the correct course, and finds satisfaction in that.

A White-crowned Sparrow is flitting about the yard, sounding out its presence from perch to perch like a submarine’s radar keeping time with whatever metronome guides it.


Friday, 05/06

Oklahoma observations
thus far: flat
level, even; hills (east of Tulsa):
rolling, undulating,
up, then down, then up, then down,
rolling long and rolling slow like a rolling ocean swell
from one horizon—
that may simultaneously look so small
(just a piece of thread caught and held in the wind)
yet so immense it is,
and ever, and ever, and ever out of reach,
—to another,
ripples on a pond from a thrown stone

Trees speckle the plains that in places are swollen and bulging,
writ in harmony with the landscape they tie together
like various notes on a musical score—a soundless melody;
Scissor-tailed flycatchers and eastern kingbirds perched on wires and fences,
alert and fluttering off at my approach along the road;
Cows sprinkle the landscape all across
like poppy seeds on a bagel, or fleas on a dog’s pelt;
And the roads—long and black like cauterized wounds threading their way through

Wasn’t intending this to be a “poem,” but I like it more than just a list, and it provided me with some entertainment—the editing.


So far, a lovely day. Sun shining in a crisp, blue sky; the occasional cloud; mountains striding along beside me, left and right; the Arkansas River winding along beside me too. Little Rock is full of cycling and walking paths. Truly a city that wants its residents to be able to enjoy being out of doors. From the perspective of a traveling cyclist there could be little better a thing than that.

In one small area just outside of the city, where the paths peter out, I spy rows of garden plots with small cabins, similar to what one might see around Europe. I am amazed and impressed; it’s hardly a sight one expects to see in the States where so few people have any understanding, or desire to learn, how to garden and grown one’s own food.

Further along, deeper into the valley, beyond Pinnacle Mountain, life here becomes an idyll. Fields of yellow, inhabited by cattle and the occasional few horses snuffling about amongst the grass and flowers, stretch towards those emerald green mountains towering on either side of me. The only sounds are the hum of my tires on the asphalt, the warning cries of unfamiliar birds as I pass by, and the roar of the few automobiles on the road along this stretch. It is warm and, at one point, I espy a small herd of cows, twenty or thirty of them, crowded around the base of a tree, keeping cool in the shade of its canopy.

Truly a spectacular region.


Watching the treetops wave in the wind, through a window, from inside the cafe. They look like anemones rooted to rocks and corals deep in the ocean, their frondsy, tentacular limbs moved by its currents and the hard pull of its waves. A bit like a ballet dancer spinning, dancing, sweeping her way across stage.

The world out there is more alive than anybody knows or suspects or even cares to think. They’re all talking to each other—a soft buzz in between the rustling that is carried by the wind. We are all being watched and there is a note of melancholy in the air. “Who will go down next, and when?” This waving in the wind, the softly wooshing to and fro is the celebration of now, of this moment so alive, but I see some of them with white flags claimed in their branches. They want no more death, no more destruction. “Throw down your arms!,” they say. “We want no more pain! Only peace!,” they say. And they can no more defend themselves, or uproot themselves from their homes, than anyone else grown up surrounded by family. They have no choice but to stay put, rooted in place, pleading for peace, pleading for an end to this senseless destruction. “Please,” they say. “Please.” And they weep in the knowing that it will never end.