June 28th, 2008


Fire on the Mountain

It never rains in Chico in the summer. Except last Saturday when it rained very briefly. I was at a backyard bbq when fat drops plopped in the dust. We were talking about the floods in Iowa, the fires and drought in California when it happened. Someone said Mother Nature's pissed. I said, She's a Republican. Just look at the unequal distribution of resources.


The day I took the above photo, more than 1000 wildfires were sparked by dry lightning storms. One week later these fires are still burning. I am near the center of the thickest smoke seen in the photo below. The red squares indicate the biggest fires. I have monk-friends who live in the Shasta-Trinity wilderness. Their beloved monastery is in danger and they have evacuated, taking ancient icons and encased slivers of Saint's bones with them.


At night I pray to the same God who left a toddler locked in an apartment with his dead mother for seven days. I pray mercy, mercy, light. Something unseen prevents me from going too deep into the why of it all. Otherwise I would grab God by the throat and say, Today, you will be judged by the condemned. As it is, I lie low in patches of grace.
great wave

Chico Poet

I love this woman.

The Latest Excuses

I'm sorry, but you see
I'm pulling foxtails
from the dog's deep toes.
I have chicken pox
perplexia, visiting aunts.
There are unexpected, unpicked
ripening apricots
eggs to imagine gathering.
I must wax the bananas
patch spiderwebs
rearrange lily pads
reroof the shed
reshed the cat
dye fur pink and wear it lightly
over blue angora shoulders.
I'm breaking up, making up
at Australian movie's
last late showing
toying with departure
packing, unpacking
putting off sleep
leaving for the ocean
running out to sea.

And still I must embalm the macaws
defoliate the lambsquarter
reseed the labyrinth
weed the pasta patch
winterize the milkweed
fumigate the basement of the baby
               blue body shop
celebrate the watermelons
confiscate your holding pattern
navigate our dream machine
consecrate the found skulls clacking
               in the high wind
wash the twitching moon quarter tilting
               in the sky
with intermittent help
of the green dyspeptic moon man
hug the oldest trees
lug the silver chalice
              from the late spring snows
and dwell
in my forest
of inchling ginkgoes.

from Bathing With Ants
by Susan G. Wooldridge