- animal husbandry
- animal rights
- climate change
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Earth Day
- Edward Abbey
- Endangered Species Act
- Firehole River
- Grand Tetons
- Heart Lake
- Idaho Department of Fish and Game
- loon calls
- mental health
- Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks
- national parks
- National Park Service
- solar system
- the Bible
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- the holocaust
- Turner Classic Movies
- U.S. Department of the Interior
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- W.O.L.F. Sanctuary
- wild wolf encounters
- wolf hunting
- Wolf Lake
- wolf management
- World War II
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Wild Wolf Encounters
Songs for a Beloved Friend
I am incomplete without:
the red fox
who shadows my tracks
leaving prints and pee everywhere
but hiding himself from sight;
whose blackness fades from view
behind a tree;
who announces his displeasure
at human incursion
by sitting on backpackers’ tents
as they sleep;
the white whale
whose power cannot be contained;
who opens suitcases;
by imitating the hawk’s call;
who follows me discreetly
down the trail;
who comfort and delight;
whose steady gaze
opens and searches my heart;
that will never be understood
manipulated or controlled
Crying Over Callas
Your voice, expressing the highs and lows
the limits of human pleasure and pain
in this our earthly existence
Your voice, rich and vibrant, warm, nuanced,
screechy in the modern medium of compact disc
I grieve for those who know you only through that medium
I grieve for myself, never hearing you sing in person
Your voice always makes me cry.
Joy and loss in full measure, telescoped together,
floating forth from vinyl
My body knows first, before my brain.
Is that Callas singing?
If I’m crying, it is she.
Please check out my special favorites: #2 at 10:50 – Carmen, Act I, Scene 5: “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (Bizet); and #9 at 41:17 – Orfeo ed Euridice, Act III, Scene 1: “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” (Gluck)
Another gateway to the sweet heart of the universe: GRANDCHILDREN!
His voice is melodious. He smiles and clucks with pleasure and alert interest. He imitates the sounds I make.
He comes from a state of bliss and serenity and takes me there.
from The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley, chapter 6, “The Golden Alphabet”:
The soul of the universe, the Upholder, reported Rasmussen of the Alaskan Eskimo, is never seen. Its voice may be heard on occasion, through innocent children. Or in storms. Or in sunshine….
What it whispers, said the men of the high cold, is, “Be not afraid of the universe.”
I am losing my fear.
Early this August we went backpacking for the second year at Heart Lake in Yellowstone. The distance is eight miles from trailhead to lake and another two miles around to our campsite. Some campsites are as much as five miles from the head of the lake. We stayed in the same two campsites last year and had similar perfect weather. Misty and hazy this year, with morning fog. The beaver lodging next door again came for a visit, but I had to wait until the third evening before he was willing to approach.
Loons were newly nesting near the lake, and their calls are the wildest sounds I have ever heard. Otherworldly. A wail which sounds just like a wolf howl; a tremolo sound on the wing. Their wing span is enormous; you can hear them in flight from a distance. Listen to these recordings from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site and tell me what you think.
I call these sites the Ritz Carleton of campgrounds. Fields of flowers so thick and lush you can’t walk through them. A musical stream barreling by your tent heading to the lake from the mountain waterfall high above. Plenty of sun for warmth and abundant trees for shade. A beach close by. And then the water.Grizzlies are active in this area. The National Park Service opens Heart Lake for hiking and backpacking in mid-July every year. Until then, the bears are given free reign. Evidently, this year at least one bear was displeased with the mid-summer human incursion. Soon after backpackers arrived, one bear sat on a tent during the night. When the humans made enough noise and commotion, he ran off to the next site and repeated. No matter that these were the sites we occupied two weeks later. A bear can get just about anywhere in short order. No one was hurt, but the bear did make his point. We helped him be good by taking meticulous care to secure all food several feet off the ground.
During our stay, a Park Service helicopter flew in several times with building supplies for the remote ranger cabin. As it circled, a bald eagle and a pair of sandhill cranes took to the air, duplicating the circle. It was as though the birds felt a kindred spirit had arrived and were eager to share the joy of flight.
I have noticed this with water birds and, of course, the beaver. When you backpack, you have time to get into the water and enjoy a swim. There’s no need to hurry out before dark. When you do this, the swans, geese, loons, beaver come to you. It’s as if they are saying, “You look a bit strange, but you’re one of us now.”
Yellowstone in general, and Heart Lake in particular, takes me to another dimension. Straight to the sweet heart of the universe. I get there a handful of other ways, too – and that’s for another posting.
*The Park Service permits you to stay for only two nights at the same Heart Lake campsite. After that, you have to move.
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
Marital Ship of State
Ego objects, but heart may await
course adjustment to marital state
gentle strength takes the helm
guides the journey to harmony’s realm
fair wind ahead – bear up and away
loving limits save the day.
Everyone thrives on loving limits –––
dogs, children, friends, family, even spouses
Two days ago a pick-up truck was parked in the neighborhood with this message in its back window:
You have no choice. You MUST move forward.
I viewed this with some surprise and a bit of foreboding. Was this a pre-election communication? Apparently so. I looked for the magical truck today to take a picture, but it was gone. Nevertheless, I have taken its instruction to heart.
A poet weary of words is an anomaly. For the future, I intend to move forward with hope and a positive attitude. For my part, that means doing my best to model, on a personal level, the attitude and behavior I want to see on a community and national political level: inclusiveness, respectfulness, and open-mindedness.
So be it.