Small coppery snake — but powerful

Though ultimately destined to be crushed under the foot of a fearless, virtue-filled woman, like spiders, these creatures, all wiggly and limbless, exercise an amazing power to create backwards movement among most of the females I’m acquainted with — though of course, not all…


The tiny snake

moved rapidly

within the palm of my hand,

his constant, rapid motion

making “writhing”

seem an inadequate verb.


The school’s assistant

who had pointed him out

jumped back reflexively

when I rose from

scooping the tiny reptile

into my palm.


But the uniformed school girls

in their blue and green plaid

outfits moved closer

for a look

before replicating

the same leaping backstep,

so typical

since that first

historic encounter.


Brashly crashing

If I’ve learned anything about anger, it’s that expressing it to people without restraint, whether they’re people I love or people I only have functional dealings with — like folks at the post office — there is almost always a huge downside that renders that action harmful. Often it even requires apologies, requests for forgiveness. So my bottom line is usually that such anger is without value; does no good at all, in fact does harm. But nonetheless anger happens. What follows is about rhyme and internal rhyme and noise. Noise significant of nothing.


I crash and clang about.

I brashly bang,

my armor dinged.


I all but shout,

but keep it all within,

corrosive acids race without

a chance of release, but doubt

that spewing all this pressure out


would release me from the pain,

my unfocused anger and my pout,

would then produce these flaring spouts

like oil wells flaming out.



A visit from scintillating scotoma

The incident described below was more intense than most of my little episodes, since my arteriovenous malformation surgery in 2005. This little barely visible crown of crosshatched scratches of lights (red, blue, yellow) first appears very small at the center of my vision. Then it grows and slowly moves to the left of my field of vision, having become rather large, taking up 70 percent or so of the area I can see, still a corona, it is clear in the center. Most times it does not leave me fazed or dazed or groggy, though obviously this time, it did.


Corona of lights

surrounds and obscures my sight,

well, not quite,


growing from a point

to a cross-hatched cluster

at vision’s center


and finally a

pulsating circled rainbow,

open, hollow.


Neural organism,

sparkling neon beauty,

dissolved in time,


leaving me shaken

and a bit nauseous,

my energy drained.


A migraine version,

but without the horrid pain.

Brain surgery’s gift.




We all enter into the Fellowship of Suffering from time to time. Some of us stay there for extended periods. Some seem never to emerge. But the Son of Man came to bring us permanently from the FOS into the light of his Father’s love. The rest of us are meant to assure that no one, even those who seem never to leave its clutches, feels they are unloved, that no one cares — about them.


The Fellowship of Suffering,

it occurs to me,

has a large membership.


Those shouldering the cross

of extraordinary burdens:

children with mortally threatening diseases

or facing addictions

and launch delays,

in their 20s

—   and even 30s and 40s.


Fatal diagnoses

and parents with Alzheimer’s,

aphasia, fatal tumors —

the list goes on.


Gloomy isn’t it?

But all of reality,

it’s not.


And part of the secret

to finding a smile

that’s not a grimace

is discovering,

just as we’ve been promised,

we don’t walk alone.


The sun shines on rainy days,

and storms also water the soul

as well as washing away the riverbanks,

sometimes, the very ground

on which we stand.


Jesus and Others

stand with us.

And sometimes

even plunge

into the flood

—   and save us.

Mid-day eclipse under an arbor and through quails’ eyes

These two happened during the same eclipse. Crescents formed from dappled sunlight in the shade of trumpet vines on a trellis, while the quail mom and her brood first emerged and then sought protection under bushes when the sun began to set, then chose to rise again.


Eclipse under an arbor of trellised vines


Crescents of pure light

cluster under the trumpet vines.


Magic circles with bites in their sides,

bitten fruit of the passing eclipse.


A garden of three-quarter-moon lights

appearing here for a few minutes

before resuming their roundness.


Starfish suns

with marvelous powers of regeneration.


Quail note the eclipse and its passing


Thinking it dusk

in the middle of the day,

a family of quail,


emerge, single file,

from the small circle of bushes


to run, in rushing quail fashion,

out across the lawn,

only to be surprised

when the seeming dusk gives way to dawn


and afternoon light pushes

the mother and her brood

back into the shade, confused.



Colorado at 8,000 feet

The wildflower meadow was near the little up-sloping spot where we found the tipi (see yesterday’s post). Wildflowers with a view. It was  a great day.


Mountain wildflowers

incredibly diverse

from the blue columbines


to the pink phlox,

25 or 30 kinds,

dazzling the eye.


Richness beyond price,

free for the taking.

Tipi near the Divide

Craig Childs became one of my favorite, colorful Western nature and wildscaping writers many years after our trip to western Colorado’s mountains. A hummingbird stained-glass piece we bought in Ouray from an artist just as he finished it was only one bit of memorabilia we returned with.


Traveling the western slopes

of the Rockies,

a few hundred yards

from the highway,

we stumble upon a tipi in a meadow

ringed by tall pines,

patchy snow,

rocky ground,

early wildflowers.


Twenty years later

I read a passage in a book

by wildlife writer  Craig Childs,

an adventurer,

who mentions being lost,

finding his way in a blizzard

back to his tipi

—   also near Ouray

and the Continental Divide.



Unnatural glow

My twenty-something neighbor was working on the twin reactors at Comanche Peak, near Glen Rose, about 45 miles southwest of here. Since our winds here are out of the south/southwest, if it ever spews out a plume of radioactivity, my neighborhood will likely begin to glow a bit itself.


Toward the end of his

tenure at nuclear plant

construction site,


my next door neighbor

became target of abuse.

Short-timer status


caused his bosses to

leave him longer and longer

with radiation


at higher levels

than humans are supposed

to be exposed to.


Even though he glowed,

it had more to do with his

heavy drinking than


his exposure to


On the other hand,


did he drink for fear

of how his health would fare

once away from rods


of uranium fuel,

meant to bring the glow of light

to the rest of us?




My wife and I were in a store just yesterday chatting with a young man from Liberia who said he’d not seen lions until coming to this country and seeing them in a zoo. Probably lots of folks think going to Africa means seeing lions, like lots of people think coming to Texas means seeing cowboys on horseback.


“Oh, yes, ma’am, of course,”

came my wife’s student’s reply,

so unexpected,


even from someone

recently of Burundi,

when he was asked


the simple question,

had he known anyone

eaten by lions?