the only ones

on bright winter mornings
we drove hungover along the seafront
last night’s disco ball now a low hung sun
a billion twinkling dance moves glinting
on every tiny ripple of a wave
and through it all the beat of our lives
ebbed and flowed with every tide
racing – pulsing – floating onward
not that we had anywhere to go
except perhaps to the end of the pier
where the fishermen cast their hopes
and the drunks dreamed in gathered shoals
like driftwood drawn from the north
they too had nowhere left to go

we used to park at the end of Madeira Drive
and make out in the car when the clubs had closed
we weren’t the only ones

orange beetle

north (mother)

we found your bones
recumbent
in an abandoned skiff
bleached and burnished
wind weathered
but there on your finger
the ruby red ring
and around your ribs
intricately knotted
the matching necklace
identifying you
laying claim in this
wasteland grave boat
connecting us
in no uncertain terms

your sons and daughters
they built a fire
with driftwood and dried kelp
and using the stars for lanterns
sang your name until morning
when light shone
and you were at last
at peace

Fake Lake, Wyoming

standing on the lake edge
beside silver stemmed aspen
foot resting on a mighty driftwood log
arm on knee
waiting for a sunset

no words to describe the beauty
the water a mile or so away
vanished on a summer vacation
ripples retreating unseen
evening a quiet platitude

in the distance a cloud of dust
it hovers above the dried grass
then an old army tanker appearing
a quad bike with dogs circling
working the hundreds of sheep

watching from the sidelines
an unfolding drama growing louder
engines, shouting, bleating, barking
approaching a solitary hut
a regular sundown scene

admiring the shepherds’ work
now over, a fire is lit, dogs fed
they are hard as Idaho hills
viewed across the state border
beyond the lake with no water

there is safety in their numbers
the sheep settle into the night
the dogs listen out for the wolves
inside the tent there is darkness
and time to reflect

waking to the sound of howling
dogs or wolves or coyotes
echoing under a Wyoming moon
these memories will last a lifetime
I’m leaving in the morning

standing on the lake edge
beside silver stemmed aspen
the sun rising through the trees
calling my name across the valley
hearing only silence returned

alone as always

IMG_20160830_200821

Two years ago today I camped near this lake which appeared to have disappeared for the summer. Alpine North Loop Campground is on the Wyoming / Idaho border near the town of Alpine. I was on my way up through the Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone. The lake was actually a reservoir. I watched the sun setting over the mountains as a group of shepherds gathered in their flock of noisy sheep for the night. That’s the dust they kicked up in the middle of the photo. The shepherds drove what looked like an old army tanker and quad bikes and had a hut which they returned to. I sat alone and watched the unfolding drama. One of the best camps on my trip. Travel at its most rewarding. Wyoming is beautiful. My spiritual home.