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There’s something about an old
Cottonwood tree…
They’re tall, which is rare
on the plains.
They live near water—
pond and creek—
which is necessary
on the plains.
Their bark is deeply furrowed,
their trunks,
substantial.
The leaves
draw me,
compel,
bedazzle—
more heart-shaped
than her Aspen relative,
dangling in the wind.
On calm days,
I can hear a distinctive,
gentler,
rustling.

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Here at the city place,
along Deep Fork Creek,
there stands an old Cottonwood.
Tall—
its trunk,
forked,
vine-covered.
A gash,
from a fallen branch,
has healed over,
leaving her inner veins
exposed.
Her leaves
wiggle,
hold light and shadow
aflutter
in the breeze;
the upper reaches of her tall trunk,
rooted in the red clay,
barely sway.
I don’t know how long
this tree has stood,
captured carbon,
released oxygen,
housed birds
and insects,
fed the creek’s riparian zone,
shored up the steep banks,
created shade
and beauty
here in the neighborhood.

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I am a new part
of her community.
Grateful to sit
in her shadow
and light,
breathe with her life.

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There is a beautiful
autumn…
mild temperatures,
sunny, cool, slightly breezy days,
chilly, clear nights,
bright air,
a cloudy hour here and there,
a little rain…
The first freeze
was three days ago.
Frosty white grass
and 32 degrees at 7 a.m.
But it’s been warmer,
sunny mostly
since.
And with a little more rain,
grass is still greening,
while dried tall grasses
drop their seeds,
silently planting
for another year.
Crickets still sing
in low places.
There are still Cicadeas!
in the Willows.
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
perches atop a dried sunflower
in the pasture.
Cottonwood leaves
wiggle and whoosh
in the wind.
Some kind of cocklebur
turns from silver
to purple.
Soft mounds
of wild white asters
flow beneath the fence line.
There is a new,
prodigious,
crop of tiny grasshoppers
and I also disturb
pairs of small yellow butterflies
that flutter up out of the grass
as I walk through the prairie,
touching home.

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This weather is perfect
and has been this way for weeks,
so unusual for Oklahoma.
Yesterday afternoon,
Sunday,
I took a long walk
down the road,
across the prairie
where, indeed, a red-tail hawk
was making circles in a bright blue sky,
and the cottonwood leaves were doing their
exquisite dance in the breeze;
then up to the “oil blossom”
(the little mesa along Doe Creek.)

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There’s a Granddaddy Long Legs

I found my sit spot,
on a moss-and-lichen-encrusted flat stone
and just looked around
while the dogs,
Joe and Maizey
explored.



A few leaves are turning,
yellow and orange,
and falling;
the cedars are loaded with blue-gray berries,
while the sunflowers are blooming
again.
I sat in my sit spot
just watching
small grasshoppers,
a Grandaddy Long Legs,
a bronze Caterpillar,
a Blue Jay.
Finally,
Joe’s and Maizey’s persistent barking
piqued my curiosity
and I rose
to find them trying to get at something
under a large rock.

Back along the creek,
across the prairie,
alongside the old cemetery
where Mockingbird,
atop a cedar
serenaded.
Such familiar territory,
and yet
there are changes,
always.
For one thing,
so many
perfect days.