Oklahoma


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Let us not
let this day go by without noticing,
lingering in,
taking in,
lest we not appreciate,
so we can remember
some July 30 when it’s 110 degrees:
Camelot on the Oklahoma prairie—
a day when it rained
all day,
at the end of July.

Barely a breeze,
cool
and damp.
Soft rain.
Hear the steady drip,
the bird chirps.
Smell the earth,
the faintest sweetness
released from a blossom
in the rain.
Notice the plants,
the earth
receiving.
Cast your eyes long
on green.

Cool
and humid
and welcome moisture
not withstanding,
the long, long drought
is not ended
by gracious summers as this.
An inch into the soil,
it is parched.
Still, the rains have come often enough
this summer,
the temperatures have stayed low enough,
that the land is green.
Savoring this,
remembering this
won’t change the conditions
that are causing global warming,
or its effects,
but it gives life here a break
and the beauty that comes with rain
may inspire us
to change what we must
so that beautiful Earth lives on.

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Every evening that I gather eggs,
shepherd in the guineas,
feed and water
the alpacas, goats, guineas, chickens, rabbits,
the cat,
I talk to the barn community
as I close the last gates:
“Thanks for the eggs.
Look out for each other.
Be nice to each other.
Take care of each other.
Have a good night.
Sleep well.”
I don’t know when I started this.
It’s as natural now
as every other part of the nightly
routine.
But I’ve noticed lately
that I really do care about them;
that I do feel part of their community;
that they are so used to me,
they come running when they see me
and it’s time to be fed,
and they ignore me as I walk close to them
any other time—trusting completely
my footsteps.

The other company
I keep
is the community of stars and planets.
Sometime every evening,
at least once,
I go to see them—
see what is where,
how many I can see,
which is red, blue, yellow,
clear,
bigger, more brilliant,
fainter.
Those nights they are brilliant
and many,
the sky clear and black,
something glad happens deep inside me
and I have to catch a deep breath.
Lately, the great swathe—
the other 100 billion stars
in the Milky Way—
are showing
and there is a sweet familiarity,
a quiet welcoming,
as if they’re/I’m coming home. Stars feel like
company,
always have.

How is it possible?
That though I’ve treated the stars,
the animals who live here,
like company,
suddenly,
I know:
they are.

10557160_10203890552378674_8023954093810462506_n“Landscape of the Heart”
A Watercolor by Mary Tevington

Supper was light and cool—
gazpacho with homegrown tomatoes,
black bean salad, humus…
together, we cut up a cantaloupe,
candy-sweet,
a perfectly ripe watermelon and made smoothies.
It was 7 or so,
the breeze had cooled,
when we set out on the road
walking to the labyrinth.
Conversation was effortless.

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We stopped to notice a zillion grasshoppers,
one swimming in the creek;
Indian Blanket, Hollyhock, Flax blooming
on the pond dam.
At the labyrinth we stood amazed
at the beauty there, atop the prairie.
360 degrees of soft green,
in late July
in Oklahoma.

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Earth would move up in front of the sun
soon. We walked our intentions around
the outside of the labyrinth,
then each entered.
Grass wall is thigh-high;
white flowers too.
Small pink-lavender ones
shorter, in the short grass.

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Each at our own pace,
in silence,
we follow our feet around curves
and switchbacks, passing
one another, into the center,
under a wide, wide, wide bowl of sky,
in the middle of a circle of prairie,
tree-lined creek, cattle
grazing,
silence still,
golden light.
Silence still
going out,
back toward the reasons
we came here
to seek solace,
direction.

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Watching the sun disappear then,
light shimmer on the pond,
Nighthawk squawk and swoop,
it was good to be together,
friends,
here.

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As we walked down, back,
slowly,
we stopped to watch 10 white cranes
take places for the night
in the Cypress trees
on the islands in the pond.
And then we noticed
a dark hunch
alone
in a dead tree,
high,
its back to us,
but no doubt:
a Bald Eagle.

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It was dark by the time
we made it back to the front porch
of the farm house.
They gathered their things
and left for their homes.

 

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