The Aftermath

slate gray skies

devil winds swirling

as dying embers

seek new life

ash blankets

smoldering landscapes

where neighborhoods

once stood

silent in the toxic air

mute testimony

to the terror

that had been there

scorched bodies

of humans and animals

litter the hellscape

no birds in the air

nothing left

but despair

**

Evacuating Your Home: What It Feels Like

The cities of Phoenix and Talent, next to Medford, have been burnt to the ground in the historic wildfires that raced through the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.

When wildfires threatened my home, and my family, we had to flee from our southern Oregon community of Medford. At the same time a new reality dawned upon us; climate change was coming faster than anyone predicted.

It wasn’t that my wife and I didn’t believe in climate change. We just naively thought it was something our grandchildren had to face. The fact that the entire West Coast of America is now on fire has cast cold water on that theory.

There’s more signs across the planet that point to climate change, but we’re dealing with the worst air quality on the planet here in Medford, Oregon, and it’s got my undivided attention.

How we got here is no longer important. The dystopian future of famous fiction writers is reality. I look at the bruised orange sky from my backyard during the day and wonder if I’ll ever see blue skies again.

When my wife and I had to flee our home last week after a Level 3 warning of impending wildfires, it was a first in our forty-six years of marriage. As we raced to an evacuation center at the Jackson County Expo grounds, the fire followed us north in a shower of flaming sparks until we arrived safely at the designated sanctuary near Central Point.

We arrived with our five animals – three cats and two dogs – packed into our Nissan King cab pickup truck alongside family photo boxes, important papers, and food and water for us and the animals, and parked alongside 500 other vehicles containing refugees like ourselves. Most of us stayed in our vehicles because of the fear of COVID-19 inside the Red Cross refugee center.

My wife and I sat up all night. We couldn’t sleep. The thought that our house was burning, like hundreds of others, was a nightmare. When we found out that it was safe to come home we were relieved to find that our our house, and neighborhood, still stood.

I wish that I could properly recount my feelings. All I can say is that it’s a surreal feeling not knowing what happened to your home. You go for a ride on a roller coaster of fears that leave you weak and exhausted… until you find out that everything you owned was not destroyed by the fires engulfing the state you live in.

****

Purple Nights and Green Days

Northern lights and purple nights

aurora borealis colors in the night sky

a palette for the gods to paint

and beautify

and

forests and plains forever green

the most beautiful day ever seen

flowing fields of verdant grass

grassy knolls en masse

under the sun’s brilliant sheen

lies a blanket of emerald green

***

Dance of the Butterflies

aerial acrobats flutter high

into the bright blue sky

doing the dance of the butterfly

multi-colored wings with eyes

the beauty of the butterflies

they put on a stunning display

every day

a living bouquet

a riot of colors that please the eye

watching them fly

their presence does beautify

the flowers they fortify

butterflies

butterflies

butterflies

Silent Giants

The California Coast is the host for redwood trees

silent giants that have stood for centuries

massive groves form God’s church

the lofty limbs an eagle’s perch

they stretch hundreds of feet into the sky

and when the wind blows you hear them sigh

these ancient guardians of times gone by

wait silently

and majestically

earth’s tallest tree

nature’s dynasty

waiting for discovery

Animal Philosophy

arrogant humans have a tendency

to ignore animal philosophy

which is rooted in nature

and it’s abundancy

where there’s no need

for greed

no unwritten law

degreed

no political party to follow

no lies to swallow

with animal philosophy

you’re free

to live in harmony

The Snail Summit

the big snail summit was finally held in June

shelled gastropods gathered from around the world

hosting conferences under the light of the moon

It was a slow moving affair

but everyone who was there

agreed it was a boon

the land snails

the sea snails

and the freshwater snails

left behind happy trails

sluggishly sliming home

to their safety zone

looking forward to next year

when it would be time to reappear

Parrot Parade in Paradise

the wise old Gray parrot lined up the young Senegal parrots

at the edge of the jungle’s lush canopy

on the sturdy limbs of a mahogany tree

It was time for the annual parrot parade

and its subsequent parrot serenade

featuring Red-bellied parrots

and Timneh parrots

and Cape parrots

and Bown-headed parrots

and yellow fronted parrots

and Niam-Niam parrots

and Meyer’s parrots

and Ruppell’s parrots

while the Burrowing parrots

watched from below.

very few people even know

about this fabulous show

where to be concise

is in paradise

Beyond The Waterfalls

if you follow the rowdy river’s route

for a day or two

there’s a place downstream

where you can take your canoe

and put it safely on a spot of land

so you can continue your quest

to see something grand

like the mighty mountains majesty

and towering waterfalls

as far as you can see

but beyond the waterfalls

is a mystery to me

Over The Horizon

there!

do you see it?

just over the horizon

of the deep dark sea

a magical city

with ramparts of clouds

in a rainbow colored shroud

this vision so far away

nature’s passion play

is not something you’re

going to see everyday

there!

do you see it now?

just over the horizon