Roble venenoso

An airplane is a terrible thing./It has a terrible height

My recent trip to California is over but here is a photo of the landing.  We descended into the tail -end of the storm and the clouds had cracked open into the sun like the vision of heaven in cheesy Christian literature.  Except the colors were different.

gods do not favor/the way birds move/over the flight of dolphins

I was breathless from the reduced airflow inside the airplane. And I felt as though gravity had reduced her hold as a result of the turbulence.

It is a terrible thing for you

At a risk of sounding silly I’ll just say that I felt untethered, I felt the light rushing in.  And then I felt as though I was going to vomit.

to think so

This last bit, was expected.  Since an unfortunate landing in Pittsburgh, PA during the time I was pushing to finish my Ph.D., every time I am in a landing plane I feel pretty damn ill. I’ve been told that it is related to aging. And my answer to that is:  fabulous.


I did not see quail in California.  I was not there very long but still I was disappointed.

Could I be the light in a bird’s veins

I saw the Cooper’s hawk, however.  Sitting on a branch and all was quiet.

the vain eye in its throat

I can blame the Cooper’s.  I’ve mentioned before the effect they have on the quail–a Cooper’s perched nearby renders the quail utterly silent and invisible. Indeed, quite often the Cooper’s prowling a particular space means the quail move their daily foraging elsewhere.

I am not, I have /not, these qualities

I didn’t see any quail tracks, either; nor did I hear distant calls on the 3 times I wandered around looking and listening for them.  So it is possible they were already foraging in a different area.  My last visit was more than a year ago.

please don’t ask me why

please do not

And everything has changed.  Everything is different now.

And yet–I’m getting closer to finding a way to making the quail central to my active vocation.

All reasoning from known premises leads to one conclusion regarding the utility of birds

And too, while much has changed on the site–most of the area cut and burned in 2008 has regrown–there are still areas that seem not to have changed in two years.  It might be the soil, the intensity of burning, the lack a seed bank–but these places are still moon like and ash covered.

The ubiquity of poison oak has also not changed.  Here is a picture of a baby plant that I just missed brushing against.

This, then, is the chief mission of the birds in organic nature

Luckily, I avoided this plant, though I must have hit poison oak elsewhere because now I have a tiny spot, on the inside of my right elbow, where there are a cluster of tiny poison oak lesions.

Yet, here there is

Though I washed with Tecnu® after my bushwacking through the fire zone,

a spot

I apparently missed that small spot because I woke up in the middle of the night in my bed in Seattle scratching at a small bump that, once I was conscious, was of a shape size and texture that I knew very very well.   I have Tecnu® here too and, so far, the rash has not spread.

Out, damned spot!  Out, I say!

Yet who would have thought


What may be wondered at is why I bother with this at all.  I can only say it is a compulsion, a heartbreaking curiosity, a desire to jump over the cliff into things.  In that break of light through the clouds there was a bit of this.  I do not mind the itch so much as I know I gained it in a space that felt, in the moment, pure.

Taken all in all, the relations of birds to the natural world are beneficent.

crisis empties our will of power

man, the animal, is a mere integral part of nature

We respond with the great benefit of having suffered confusion, of having lost definition, of finding life and death imploded into a single confusing star.


quotes are by Kirsten Kaschock, Edward H. Forbush, William Shakespeare, Dan Beachy-Quick


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