I could write about the tiny Arabian horse,
her pale matted coat grown to maximum
for the winter, nature knowing what her children
need toward the end of life, once luster
and beauty as only youth can confer; later,
stripped back to essentials, hip bones protruding
over swayed back, the preciousness
of her fragile locomotion, the gentle spirit;

Then there’s the big white Lab, black eyes
full of fathomless joy at our arrival,
departure, the smallest things as perhaps
only dogs appreciate in that canine way,
his considerable bulk leaned against my body
as I come closer, claiming me before his jouncy
friend and companion has the chance;

The world lost both within two days of late,
and I am left to ponder the transience of life
on this planet, how what seems unfair is simply
what is, the twisted gnarly trunk of the cedar,
twinned to the pine in youth, never able
to break free and take a form more pleasing,
the coupling of two cutting life short for both,
neither able to fully flourish;

And how are we so different? Where we choose
to invest our energy, how we support others with
or without their appreciation, leaning
into the wind or onto one another for support,
gazing at the landscape around us with wondering
eyes, taking for granted our singular human capacity
to notice and imprint, categorizing each encounter
with emotional hues, pleasing or not, while these
unconditionally loving four leggeds greet us
afresh and anew, as if we have not cast
a single black mark on this wide, wide world.

I should add that the horse and the dog spoken of ‘belong’ to neighbors and friends who are near to to us. We watch one neighbor’s horses frolicking daily in the pasture directly downhill from our house, I just happened to see the white horse down one recent afternoon, and by evening, she was no longer in this world. The big white Lab ‘belongs’ to a friend in the community, and he met his end on the highway a day later. Our world seems less colorful without them.

River Thoughts

The river thunders, to no applause
in particular; rolls along, rippling
and eddying without thought
or expectation of feedback,
though I can’t help but think
all of nature thrives under
an appreciative gaze;

We once watched endangered
river otters cavorting in plain sight
just under the bridge of a much
larger river, we told no one;
fishermen dislike that they are forced
to share with these sleek creatures
we thought dolphins, when first
they caught our eyes,
out of context, having come
from Hawaii only recently;

Our smaller Vallecitos river is
magnificent in its own right,
rushing lifeblood to this struggling
ranching community, altitude
too high to receive much precipitation
in liquid form, preferring the snows
of winter, and those have been
in shortfall for years now, water levels
everywhere having dropped
precipitously, and with the decline
comes the invariable unrest
in people dependent on the bounty
of the land;

And so this rainy day is particularly
welcomed while the dampness
is in marked contrast to the bone dry
of the region, and as a fire blazes
in the hearth, ranch dogs lie fidgety
like grammar school children forced
inside for recess in inclement weather.

Mr. Peanut awaits what’s next

Little Dog Update

You may have read about it here.

Amazing news.

After Chris has taken food to little dog every morning and evening for months now, he discovered this note yesterday. We don’t know who the writer is referring to; another person had been leaving a bowl of water from time to time, and likely a little food as well. In the end, the result is the same.

Little dog has a new forever home! Her efforts to defy capture must have meant that something inside of her little feral body told her to persist. She somehow must have known her special person was on the way. And we could not be happier to have contributed to the quality of this creature’s life. Yay.


Why did we have to spot her?
By all accounts the gods know
we have done our best, taking
on one too many before, now
knowing our limits and that
of our yard and sanity;

Yet there she was, and we felt
before seeing, noticed slight
movement and heard a low
warning growl, coal black eyes
and fur to match in the inky
light of evening;

It had been raining, furiously
pouring down, thunder and lightning
and fear may have driven her
to hide under that massive machine,
its labors stilled until better weather,
and it might have driven her straight
into salvation for all we know;

So we fed her, not once but many
times, yet on that first, even
as voracious jaws began working,
she paused to look up and straight
into my eyes and I swear she gave

Today she came out for the first time
to expose tiny dark shoulders caved
in surrender, great patches of missing
hair, eyes still imploring, won’t you,
can you please, I will be yours forever
and it breaks our hearts over
and over again that we cannot.

photo credit: Chris Johnson


The pain of loving intertwined,
remembering that which is treasured
will be lost, even as ‘forever’
spills from the lips;

Gazing now at this precious face,
new life paused in eternity
long enough to be companions
for awhile and it must suffice,
though water seeps from weary eyes
that well know the pain of partings;

And we do it again. Once more
we rise to the heart’s yearning
for loving connection, living amidst
collective illusion that seeing
must be believing, and so it is.

photo: Chris Johnson