This is the most rambunctious, the most lush spring season I’ve ever seen in this rural California valley where I live. My wife and I walked just two miles down our sparsely used country road, and the sights, combined with the quietude, caused us to react as if a dear friend had spread out their treasures for us to see: appreciative amazement.
In many places along the sides of the road the grasses and weeds, a healthy, vibrant green, were knee deep and untouched by anyone’s step. Swaths of wild mustard covered parts of the meadowland, and an entire volunteer army of poppies was encamped among the hills.
Horses moved slowly across their bare-ground enclaves toward their fences to see us pass, and my wife tore some handfuls of the rich grass and fed them snacks. Red-crested wood-peckers signaled from the telephone poles, and a red-tail hawk called out from the sky. A simple pleasure that left us filled as if from a feast.
Returning to my work does not mean writing, which I love as much as I love these walks and long to get back to, but it’s the challenges of self-publishing an eBook that face me now, a jungle of internet technology with my mind a dull machete, but I’m almost there. My book on creative writing, called “WRITE!” will be available soon, and I’ll let the world (as much of it as I can reach) know the date and time and procedures to acquire one.
Meanwhile, I still enjoy sharing my work with you, so I robbed the poetry drawer today and pulled out two of my ‘traveling poems’ in case you might enjoy. Be well… Jerry
I-40 cuts across bare
bony eastern Arizona
like a scar, structures
context in the fields or
scattered and separate
in the wind-scraped towns,
and one, in faded metal,
has stood too long, a giant
word painted along its
rusted roof where
it used to shout at
the blind, humming cars
and trucks: “GARAGE,”
but sun, rain, ice and the
iron indifference of the
passing millions have
reduced the word to only
I’m taking California’s 101 south to L.A.
and the ocean’s on my left, no, on my right
and I’m doing 74 past the site of Port Hueneme
so I touch my neck feeling for the chain
pull out a navy I.D. tag, World War II
and shake it so it jingles. Maybe somebody
sees me from the other lane, wondering why
that old man is jingling his necklace that way,
so I explain and say my dad was a sailor in ‘44
stationed at Hueneme and after that had a long
life and a grocery store, and when he died there
wasn’t much. I chose the I.D. tag and my brother
picked the watch, so when I pass this place
I picture dad in the photo in his sailor clothes
white hat, happy and bewildered face, 35
years old and his youngest son only 3, so I didn’t
know him yet, and he didn’t know me, but maybe
I was on his mind, and now he’s on mine when I
pass here and see the sign, so I jingle the tag to say
hello to the sailor he used to be and hope the sound
somehow connects him to me, because there wasn’t
Nearly enough connecting, though he lived to be 82,
and maybe there never is is what I’d say to you or
whoever saw me in the blue Prius on 101, a man of
74 waving a chain because he’s still somebody’s son.