Forest Fires

Smoke filled the valley coming into Idaho. Where there were mountains now you could not see mountains and dusk came early from the thick haze.  Bring some rain we pleaded in a circle dance, dancing all night while the flames shot forty feet into the dark sky.

Who can save us from this char-filled air, breathing in the remnants of fire hundreds of miles away over the Canadian border?   Last night it stormed all night in Zion.

Lightning strikes the earth

Twenty fires in Idaho

The state is burning


dVerse prompt on the imperfect

Forest Fires



When summer came it was hot with no air conditioning.  None in the house or in the car, just midriff top, ponytail and short shorts.  I walked barefoot to the pool everyday, my soles grew tough from the  concrete.  When too hot to walk I rode my bike downhill, arms splayed out, look ma no hands, creating my own current of air all the way to the park and the pool.  My legs were strong from the journey home.

I loved butterflies, little green snakes and swimming, but mostly the weekends to churn the homemade ice cream.  The kids would turn the crank, add the rock salt and turn the crank more until the egg, cream and sugar mixture thickened.  Mom would serve it up after dinner.  There was no better way to chill than hand-churned ice cream.


temperature will rise

summer heat pours out memories

time not forgotten

dVerse Haibun on summer

photo courtesy of Karen McDougal at KarensChicNShabby



Because water can suffocate, my mother taught me to swim. She was a swimmer herself, a lifeguard and a good teacher. I learned quickly in a lake where she would stand on the sandy bottom and help me go under. I could see her legs in the murky water. Later she took me to the swimming pool where she made me jump off the diving board into deep water.

I never joined a team. In lessons I was the teacher and the taught. Ended up coaching the swim team and loved to hone the skill of others. To see them build their technique, strength and endurance. To help them love their sport and learn to race to win although sometimes they didn’t. I could swim for miles without regret.

Straight path in water
Don’t forget when you need breath
Eyes on the finish

dVerse prompt for haibun Monday on a sport


Condition of the Soil

I have been away one year short of a decade.  There is lots of gardening to do.  It is not that a man can’t tend the garden.  Yes, men can mow, turn the soil, weed whack, uproot the invasive blackberry, chop up the fallen trees and fill the wood shed.  In a little corner plant some vegetables and prune the fruit trees.


My touch calms the plants, brings nourishment and mulch to their roots.  Old blooms are removed, dead branches clipped.  I tend to little things.  See a bug before it eats the whole plant.  Build a nursery bed and let seedlings grow.  Know the life cycle of a common weed and notice the small wild dogtooth violet and try to cultivate it.  Go beyond the obvious and hope he remembers.


force beyond control

found knee deep in the garden

speak of little things

Condition of the Soil


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We were light and dark in the sun of Africa.  Even on a cloudy safari
the zebras stood posed on the savannah. In the distance the baby elephant
ran with its mother. Hidden in the grass a baby rhino. A mother and child
traveling on a mission in South Africa.

At some point they will part. The child will return to Africa a woman.
The zebras will continue to graze and outrun the predators. The song of
praise will continue to rise on a level of global understanding.

Shadow of the zebra
cast forever
on the plains of Africa

dverse prompt on shadow


To Find the Shore

Lake Wapello was a place we would go in the Iowa summers.
I lean out of the rowboat into a field of water lilies all in
white bloom, so thick that the vessel made a trail behind.
My father rowed, split the blossoms and stems with his
bladed oar. The sound of wood and water the only voices.
We were cut through and found the shore as every lily moved
back to its perfect creation.

Memory of a time
One stroke after another
To find the shore

a memory haibun

To Find the Shore

Walking with Greg to the Bridge on Lightning Lake

After breakfast I want to show Greg the lake.  It is late in the morning.  More people have put in boats.  The sun is on the lake where we stand to decide our day.  We can walk the loop around Lightning Lake.  No, that will be in the shadow, Greg wants to be in the sunlight.  Let’s go this way I say, we can go to the bridge.  Not if its in the shadow, Greg says.

Along the trail there are patches of shade, there is grumbling along the way.  We go beyond Rainbow Bridge where there are spots of sun.  Greg wants only to be in the sun.  He stops by a boulder on the shore and falls asleep.  I walk further watching the shore and Greg, then turn back to join him.  Around his boulder are plants, small seeds of sedge and lupine, and tiny birds that come to eat.

Suddenly there is a piercing sound almost like a coyote in the distance.  It fills the woods with its call, startling me from my study of flora and fauna.  It collapses back into silence.  There it is again, this time the mind memory of the loon, the unforgettable voice of the loon.  Across the lake it glides along the water, stretches its neck to call again.

hear the sound of a loon                                                                                           that calls to its mate                                                                                             waking the dawn

Lightning Lake is in the E.C. Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia.

Walking with Greg to the Bridge on Lightning Lake