Counting What Counts
Upper Okanogan Valley
This place perfect for us.
This landscape we’re connected to
Has everything we needed
Rocks and trees
Lakes and rivers
Flying, walking, slithering
Our community of people
All the spirits below and
Here in the middle.
Our home place gave us
Our language and music
Our songs and poems
Stories and prayers,
All of our feelings and
She left out nothing.
We’re one not two,
Forever a continuum
And it makes me laugh and cry
Like the coyotes in the canyon…
That money won’t free us
But could actually kill us
And every living thing it’s made from.
Marking the Days
Perhaps I’ve marked each passing day in isolation
a pencil hashmark on a window sill.
Perhaps I’ve paced a line inside the chain-link fence
until the path is worn bald.
Perhaps I’ve fixed a meal of
The hashmarks join the arrows
marking the sun at sunset
each solstice, each equinox.
The fence protects against the tumbleweeds
from the neighboring lot.
Maybe these changes are recent, I don’t recall
but I’ve long been known
to love potatoes.
Some Things I Really Like Right Now
Upper Okanogan Valley
Guzzling cold water out of a bucket from the hand pump well.
Getting up in the morning and feeling the heat off the cook stove on my forehead.
Sipping the first two cups of coffee off the stove.
Walking around the house with the dog pack, smelling
Douglas fir smoke wreathing from the chimney.
Standing barefoot in our creek.
Smelling sagebrush crushed in my hands.
Smelling a burning smudge of sagebrush wafting through the house.
Watching clouds form up like spirits returning to the canyon above the house.
Listening to the whisper and sough of the fluttering aspen next to the window.
Following Chong’s suntanned legs up our creek.
Watching Chong nap on our hot granite bed in the afternoon.
Starting a new poem, finishing it, recrafting it again.
Sitting on a rock with a notebook and beginning a new sketch.
Enjoying that moment when the sketch says: “You’re finished.”
Sleeping in the grass with Wolfie and Luna the German Shepherds, and Dong-ee the Rottweiler.
Corresponding with Mike Robinson, creating new poems, learning from him as mentor and counselor, friend.
Laying out Okanogan Poems volume 4 on OneDrive with intrepid fellow steward and old friend, Okanogan poet, Walter Henze.
Emailing George and Patti Baumgardner about life, poetry, Earth, and the stars.
Talking with David, Hanna, and Sarah Kliegman about landscape restoration, homesteading, cooking, and trail and park making.
Emailing to Victoria Jones, Bob Goodwin, Carey Hunter, Walter Henze, George and Patti Baumgardner, Todd Thorn, Mary Koch, Dan Hulphers and Bobbie Hackett about their poems, about life and the real things that happen on the land.
Relearning the Español with my faithful neighbors and friends, Celso Pacheco-Pascacio and Carolina Ramos.
Eating never-the-same, so-called-routine breakfasts and dinners that Chong makes day after day.
Listening to Eagles concerts on YouTube with Chong.
These are some of the things I like right now.