seems like I’ve been here before

not one living soul passed by during the night
no tracks or traces left in this unforgiving wilderness
I search for clearings but only briars are forthcoming
soon the mist may clear and the path become visible
onward and upwards my journey takes me

~

at least everything is turning green
I notice gardeners are getting their fingers dirty
robins plucking worms from between their feet
the skies are widening and the air is warmer

but I know for some

darkness hangs over them still
a few more months needed for them to catch up, maybe
at least everything is turning green
that’s something

~
(written for someone who just wants to feel better,
who wrote on their blog: At least everything is green here)
a nod also to New Order – the fab early years post Joy Division.

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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.

selfportrait

I
look out
and try to find
blue and crimson skies
where birds fly from the corners of my eyes
and a copse of trees on a wilderness road
is a little piece of England in Wyoming
where the shadows breathe life into the rocks
and the wolf within me sniffs the summer air

I am
alone and I am
a traveller and I am here and now
in no other time or dimension or space
there are pieces of broken seashells in my pocket
the sharp edges a reminder of sand between my toes
my burnt shoulders a reminder of childhood
when I walked these shores without a care
doing what children ought to do in silence

I understand
the importance of being alive
although I cannot comprehend the meaning of it
the days are numbered with my personal DNA sequence
another unfathomable equation that directs me
and sends me spinning through these landscapes
like an out of control meteorite on a collision course
that urges me to bend down and pick at the desert gravel
to find the piece that fits snugly in my mind

I
of course I can
it’s as easy as buying a ticket and jumping on a plane
there’s no glue to bind me like gravity to this planet
I can come and go as I please and take my leave
wave to you from afar or hold you near
my reason is to journey and never arrive
the call of the wild lulls me to sleep
and in your arms I slumber peacefully

IMG_20160826_125124a

journey

imagine an empty highway
now tell me from which exit should I leave
am I heading out into the burning desert
where the Joshua trees wait with welcoming arms
or am I heading towards the coast
where the pelicans fly in ragged lines

imagine an empty back road
now tell me where I should pull over and pause
am I looking out into a fiery wilderness
where the light dazzles and dances before my eyes
or am I smelling the salty ocean breeze
where the dolphins swim in family pods

imagine an empty dirt track
now tell me if my rental car will make that bend
am I climbing to gain a higher perspective
to witness the making of all this splendour
or am I driving between secluded sand dunes
to find myself on some long forgotten beach

imagine an empty hiking trail
now tell me should I proceed on foot
am I here to meet you on the other side
where the daytime turns to oily night
or am I swimming out to find you somewhere
under the waves and starlit depths

this

the journey had been long and wearisome but uneventful
despite his illness
the black cab taxi ride to the airport
the flight across the unseen Atlantic above the clouds
where looking down he swore he saw angels waving

coming in to land and taking off again
transferring from one side of the continent to the other
well almost
the hire car and motels and people
the prescription drugs that kept him going

the roads narrowed and became less inhabited
the scattering of local tribal dwellings petered out
no more tarmac only dust
he drove as far as his Chevrolet Spark would take him
until the front left wheel wedged in a rut

he hiked the rest
knew where he was heading
for he had been here some years before
had recced the terrain and its possibilities
before the illness came

and there it was the cave on the hill
the gaping mouth begging for sustenance
in this dry and parched sonofabitch badland
where the desert-thorn drew blood from his passing hand
and the crows cawed, rattled and clicked

like I’m in a Western  movie he thought
stumbling into an ambush in a rocky ravine
he stopped by a silty stream and listened to the echoes
they were whispers of wind, dust, water and spirits
helloo he cried

helloo came the reply
but there was no-one there
his strength was almost spent
his race almost run
must make the cave he said outloud

must make the cave
and when finally he slumped inside its jaws
a great weight was lifted from his shoulders
no  more pills or food or worry
just memories and his fate with the birds

this was the way to meet one’s maker
wherever and with whomever that might be
the journey would be swift and serene
the sound of footsteps approaching
her hand forever holding his

this dream of death
this deathly reality
this wish
this wish
this

only you

a thread of cloth on a desert-thorn bush
below a steep incline down which the wind whispered

only you
only you
only you can find him

a spot of blood on a yellow grass blade
beside a narrow track of trampled dust that whispered

only you
only you
only you can find him

a print of a foot by a damp silty  stream
beyond a rocky ravine where the water whispered

only you
only you
only you can find him

a call from a crow in the sun blistered sky
above a high lonely cave where the spirits whispered

only you
only you
only you can find him

a hand reaching out to his parched pallid cheek
a finger that runs across his cracked swollen lips

~

you found me then? – yes I found you
but how? – a thread of cloth, a spot of blood
I caught my hand on the desert-thorn – a footprint
by the stream? – and the crow that called to me
the crow? – the spirits
I came here to die – yes I know you did
why did you come? – because you wanted me to
I couldn’t ask you – I know you couldn’t
I thought I could do it on my own – I know
I thought you didn’t love me anymore – I never stopped
will you stay? – until the end
then leave me to the birds? – I will my love
you will? – yes I will.