Fall in the High Country

Summer in the Colorado mountains lasted precisely until the fall equinox.  Then a cool wind began to blow, heralding the new season’s arrival.  These pictures were taken that weekend.

Seasons change quickly at 9,000 feet.  Three weeks later, the leaves are mostly gone, the wind is more chill, and winter’s darker tones predominate.  Far be it from me to complain about winter.  I celebrate it now.  It’s our lifeline to planetary health.  Long and hard and moist may it reign.

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The Secret Code of Wildlife Managers

Crack the Code

In wildlife management’s secret code
camouflage words disguise the deed
mask the act
seek to fool with false cover:

kill becomes “cull”;
“harvest” hides the slaughter;
“remove” cloaks the crushing destruction;
“service” conceals an utter annihilation.Bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars
and foxes by the millions
pay the price on public land
pay with their lives for human
intolerance, fear, and greed
and a nightmare vision of mission

Posted in Colorado, Department of the Interior, ecology, Nature, Poems, politics, wolves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You Will Meet Again

You Will Meet Again

You will meet again —

perhaps in a whale pod,
where a companion reminds you
of someone dear you cannot recall

perhaps as a wolf cub
with a wrestling sister
who triggers a faintly familiar cellular response

perhaps as a dust mote,
when sunlight strikes you
into blaze

perhaps in an exploding star
whose remnants collide in
near-empty space

You will meet again —

perhaps a sound’s hint
perhaps an eye’s mild gaze
will point the way to the buried brain place

part of you will wonder
part of you will know
part of you will drift by
in blindly fierce bliss.

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Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge was an early stop on our 2-week backroads trip to Yellowstone.  This migratory bird refuge is part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System.  Located in Colorado on the Green River close to the Utah border, it’s a quiet, magical place of stunning beauty.  Decades living in Colorado, and I never knew it existed.  Butch Cassidy and his outlaw band retreated to this remote location.  Wildlife of all shapes and sizes find habitat, food, and shelter here.

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Cloud Dreaming

with flycatcher accompaniment Great White shark cloud!  See those teeth!


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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:

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.

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.



Posted in Colorado, Grand Tetons, moose | Tagged , , | 4 Comments