Otter Family at Heart Lake in Yellowstone

Otter family visits our backpacking campsite at Heart Lake in Yellowstone

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D-Day June 6, 1944 – 75th Anniversary

The beginning of the end of World War II…

When I last posted for D-Day, I used web photos.  Couldn’t find mine, taken 20 years ago.  Turns out I had placed them in an album.  What a concept!

Here are just a few.  It’s hard to imagine the majesty, unwavering determination, courage, and selfless devotion to decency, country, and community which conceived and carried out this breathtaking endeavor.

Look to the empty sea and visualize the armada.We stayed here, too, 55 years later.Pointe du HocRanger Memorial

Craters from naval bombardment

View of Omaha Beach from Pointe du Hoc

The Cliffs of Normandy

Fifty years after, walking on flat ground above
the water, vast to the sight and empty yet, steel blue, placid
like the black cows grazing on the furrowed field
sky a colored mirror
watching, waiting, breath bated –
for an eye blink’s vision clicking quickly into clear focus –
armada of liberation, filling the sea
idea so daring, it stuns still
conceived and carried out with brilliant care
burden of risk bearing great hope
present sacrifice agreed exchange for future life

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This big, beautiful, astonishing Earth – Day

Moose tracks in dirt or snow and knotholes in pine – We are all connected to each other and to this beautiful place we call home.
Let’s celebrate.

2 poems from Songs for a Beloved Friend, Poems and Essays for the Planet,
which explore this connection:

CLOUDS
Birds fly across the sky
in the shape of clouds.
Continents form from vapor
and drift with the wind.
Fluid, fire, air, and core
are bound in intricate design.
The universe weaves the pattern,
and we are one stitch.

COLOR OF EARTH
Collie color of earth, lamb and lion
throat echoes shark’s jaw
human hand revealed in paw
bird feathers trace ear edges
fur swirls in exact pattern
of wood grain on my table
as I look and see
the universe sing harmony.

 

Posted in earth, ecology, family, moose, Nature, Poems, science | Tagged | 4 Comments

Losing a Dog

The Loss of a Dog

The loss of a dog
claws open the heart;
time’s flimsy patch papers,
forever scratches and bleeds.

first week home

The loss of a dog
spawns belly screams
choked into silence by social nicety
gulped down by unsatisfied wounds.

The loss of a dog
is the universe’s memo:
all is change
whether welcome or no.

teasing our border collie

but willing to share with his human

How many dogs can one lose in a lifetime?

I realize those with cats and other pets feel the same way.
I don’t know cats, but I do know dogs.  So I write about them. 

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Goodnight Moose

At the bottom of our hill, we found moose tracks in the snow leading into the woods. 

  That’s not unusual;  moose often spend time on our mountain property.  We see their tracks regularly: the solo tracks of a bull moose, and the double tracks of a cow with calf.  Easy to spot in the snow.  We often get the chance to ski in the moose track.

But this was different.  Sticking out of the snow was something worth investigating.

This piece was heavy, too heavy to pick up and carry back to the cabin.  My husband had to get the sled – the one we used to carry our son into the cabin, before he was old enough to ski himself.The antlers look like bone, wood, bark, and a flower, all together.  Glorious.  Not easy to carry around on one’s head, even for a bull moose.   

I am reasonably certain that the rack belongs to the (formerly) ornery moose I describe in “Elixir of Ornery Moose”  Not too many bull moose occupy the same territory at the same time.

Here’s a picture of a moose in the Tetons sporting a gorgeous headdress. 

notice the aspen trunk legs

You can see more pictures of the Teton moose at  “Family Moose Portrait” and hear his mating sounds at “Sounds of a Bull Moose in Heat”

Fresh tracks the next day told us the Colorado moose had returned.  Did he notice his rack was missing?

Goodnight, moose.  Sweet dreams.

 

 

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Are We Un-Evolving?

Are We Un-Evolving?

Head down, eyes occupied
with intimate moments on tiny screens,
we no longer stand upright
and fail to notice the menace approaching,
fangs bared and posture threatening,
ready to pounce and do us in.

Senses overcome from information overdose,
brains dull from lack of exercise,
inhaling the opinions of others in lieu of
the pleasure of thinking for ourselves,
neural connections evaporate, unused and unnecessary.

Fewer will be available in future
should there be one.

Public domain photo credit: Hermann Schaaffhausen
“First Reconstruction of Neanderthal Man”

It turns out Neanderthals* were not brutes after all.
We have evidence they buried their dead
with great care and loving attention.
Neanderthals did look different from homo sapiens,
and that’s enough to give them a bad rap.

However unlikely, perhaps we will un-evolve
into creatures somewhat like our predecessors:
for whom life in harmony with the environment
was critical to survival;
and who felt no need
to concrete over the planet.

Plus, the protruding brow
will eliminate any need for sun visors.
Something to look forward to.

*Early fossil-finds came from the Neander Tal (Valley) in Germany.
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Invitation to Evil

Invitation to Evil

The lie at center stage
occupies expanding space
extremities weaken, norms crumble
foundations totter, unsupported
the ground folds back upon itself
                 in blood-red ribbons
the brain reels as
unreality repeated rules unchecked.

Posted in Poems, politics | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Winter Memory

Daytime High

Arctic ice crusts the inside
length of the cabin door.
The ancient space heater sputters.
We dress quickly in the cold
seeking a hot morning meal
before venturing into magic,
the landscape of Yellowstone –

– standing lodgepoles engulfed in white
snow creaks and snaps beneath our skis
breath entwines with geyser vapor
where solid, enthroned, sun-sparkled
winter rules in unguarded splendor.

High noon, 30 below, 44 years ago.

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One More Beautiful Voice in Doggie Heaven

We said good-bye to our beautiful collie dog Beau last week.  As usual, Beau was in charge.  He refused food for six days and rested on the seventh. We had time the evening before and morning of to caress him and speak softly into his open ear.  I know he heard me.  He was almost gone when the vet arrived.  Very peaceful and gentle.  Just like Beau.

Collies cannot be forced.  They do what their loved ones want – or suggest – because they love to please, as long as it makes sense to them.  Beau, having been abandoned twice by two former “guardians” (and I use the term loosely), was not anxious to go new places or do new things.  I had the strong impression he feared being abandoned again.  When Beau and Bella first came home, they consented to walk for two days.  (Even though at age five, they did not know how to walk on a leash.) On the third day, Beau refused to leave the premises.  I had to drag my 89-pound collie a few feet to take him on a walk.  The neighborhood grew to be OK, but the park, the highline canal, and other dog-walking highlights were a “no-go” for Beau.  Stick close to home and everything will be fine.

The one exception was Beau and Bella’s beloved cabin, the favorite place on earth for every one of our dogs. Wild and open, with plenty of ground to roam, and elk, deer, moose, bear, fox and squirrels to sniff for and birds to listen to. 

Here are some pictures from B and B’s time there.  The first is probably my favorite photo of Beau, surveying his domain from a nearby hill.Here’s another of Beau and Bella on a hike. Two are from the day in February we first took them to the cabin.  Our road is impassable by car in the winter, so we walk or ski in about a mile. As we turned the corner into the cabin, both dogs came to a screeching halt.  I couldn’t see their faces, but Beau’s demeanor indicated clearly to me that he felt he was in paradise. Beau was a collie, and therefore elegant and dignified.  But not always.  Here is Beau upside down, in a rare moment of abandon.  I’m pretty sure Beau has met up with Bella and is now romping around doggie heaven, sniffing for squirrels and chipmunks.  They and my other doggie dear ones will know me when I show up there one day. 

This poem is about Beau:

No Kisses for Valentine’s Day

No kisses today
I’m sorry to say
I saw you about
with a squirrel in your mouth
a very dead squirrel
you dropped at my feet
a Valentine’s treat
So I must remember
to let time go by
How long does it take for bacteria to die?
Impatiently waiting
anticipating…
No kisses for me
but what do I see?
that nose in the air
so soft and so fair
resolution be naught
I already forgot.

Going Straight

I’m going straight
to doggie heaven

Bedlam

Better wear earplugs
when you arrive
in doggie heaven


poems are from Bright Moon Wandering, Environmental Love Poetry
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Change in Charge

Change in Charge

Lament your loss or treasure your gain
To me it’s all the same
Can’t slow me down or get in my way
I’m with you now and every day
constant companion, like it or not
moving together, not stuck in one spot
Don’t waste your sighs in stagnant regret
Embrace me, we’ll play life’s duet.

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