Poem Written for the Jack London Oak Seedling Planting Ceremony

Jack London State Park Feb. 1st 2015


Under the great dome of time
From deep in the slow moving earth
A mountain lifts its crest into the heavens
Sun and frost
Wind and rain
Soil makers
Working their ways
For trees, flowers, grass and seeds
Feeder of birds and beasts
Day and night
Watcher of countless seasons
That arise and pass away
And the silent mountain stands

Nestled in soft soil
An acorn’s root goes deep
Slowly ever slowly
The promise that was held
Perfectly in the seed
Becomes a mighty oak
A home and pantry for the birds, for insects
And a multitude of tiny lives
A hopping place for squirrels
A place of shade for deer and fox and mice
And the great oak grows
And the beauty mountain stands in silence

Then came the hunters, acorn gatherers
Sacred Mountain worshipers
For ten thousand years they came
And they were happy
The workers of the land, they came
The cattlemen
The orchard men
The tenders of the vine
Fathers, mothers, children, pioneers
They came in waves
And prospered
And the Valley of the Moon held and fed them all
And the mighty oak was witness
And the mountain called Sonoma
Stood beside them in its beauty

Then came a man called Jack
With Charmian his beloved wife
A Beauty Ranch was born
Their place of happiness, hope and friendships
A cottage built
Books written
Vines planted heavy with fruit
A Big House rose amidst the redwoods
But alas, a great flame took the house away
One day Jack spoke to Charmian
And this is what he said, he said
“If I would beat you to it,
I wouldn’t mind if you laid my ashes on the knoll
where the children of the pioneers are buried.
and roll over me a red boulder
from the ruins of the Big House”
Then he too was taken
And the great oak saw it all
And the mountain called Sonoma stood in silence

Three hundred years
Maybe four
The old oak nears its passage
A child of some distant parent
The parent of a child
It now becomes
Passing an ancient linage
On into the future
So be our lives
We dwellers of the Valley
A chain of love and hope
From hand to hand be given
Recalling now and then
To offer up our gratitude
To these, the watchers of our lives
Our sacred guardians
This mighty oak
And this
The silent beauty mountain called Sonoma



What mystery remains unknown
Will what lies just around the bend
Reveal the final destination
A faint fragrance drifts
Through the dark wood
A distant “bong”
Sounds from an ancient bell
Waiting for ten thousand years
A gate opens
Whose face will be mirrored
On the temple wall
Among the crumbling Gods
Among the centuries
Of fallen leaves



Alone on the trail
Far from the warmth of camp
Evening air crisp and clean
A touch of winter
On the tree tops
Maybe the summit
Or maybe not
For now
Only the moon
And this silence



So amazing
The human mouth
How it shapes and molds the sound
Into a love song
Or a rant
Letting loose into the world
The spiritus
The breath
The soul

Whispered love notes
Songs of longing
Living for a moment
Then forever gone
Leaving traces
On the heart
Upon the flow of time




Poem written for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

50th Anniversary 2016


From one hundred million nights
The mountain wakes
Over Brushy Peaks
A band of brightness
Flairs into a morning Wide and blue
Sunlight stream from rocky crags
Through oak and fir and chaparral
Fingers of light
Touch the tops of redwoods
Reach down the canyon road
And wake the dwellers of the valley
To a new day of busyness
And high up on the mountain
From a rocky mossy source
The creek we call Sonoma
Starts it’s journey to the sea

Down from it’s arising
The creek begins to flow
Etching a winding path
Through the ancient rock
Leaping over ledges
Onto deep moist canyon shade
Passing through the solitude of redwoods
And onward to the valley floor
Winding through our villages
Our vineyards and our vegetable
This stream of time
Flowing through our living and our dyeing
Through our loving and our letting go
This life blood of the valley
This Creek we call Sonoma
Nourishing us all
The might and the small
And above it all
The mountain calls
Saying simply this
Come to me
And I will be your friend

We dwellers of the Valley
Mothers fathers children
Grandma grandpa aunt and uncle
We hear the ancient voice
And looking up
Begin our climb
Up into the mountains of the Sugarloaf
Seeking the companionship
Of bird and beast and bug
Breathing in the fragrance
Of fern and flower
Learning the language
Of fluting winds and fluttering birds
Renewing once again
Our love affair with these the mountain
The guardian
Ann watchers of our lives

Below in shimmering afternoon
The valley hums with life
While high on windy crags
We open wide our hearts
Releasing soaring spirits
To the wildness of mountains
And the broadness of the sky
Renewing our eternal souls
With sounds of cooling water
In a shaded forest glen
And having found a modicum of peace
We turn again toward home
Knowing in our hearts
We are the mountains
We the roots and stones
The water of the Creek we call Sonoma
Flowing through our veins

And so the day comes to a close
The birds and beasts and bugs
Prepare them selves for night
Withdrawing to a cody place
Against the mountains breast
To sleep and dream
So too the mountain slumbers
As nighttime creatures stir themselves
Unseen by us
Begin their hidden ways
While from the West
The fog begins it’s slow decent
Into our lives
And we
We dwellers in the Valley of the Moon
Beneath the quietness of stars
We close our eyes
And with the Creek we call Sonoma
Dream our way
Back to the sea



‘Midst the hurly burly of the world
A place to sit
And rest
With dragon Flies
And gnats
In the autumn sun
By the still pond
Beneath the passing clouds
Who live out their slow lives
Above us

That we too change
Even as the mayfly changes
Leaving a husk in the water
As it takes to the sky
But for a day





Along the path
Through tall
Dew tipped grass
Over swiftly rushing stream
And ’round great boulders
At lats
On the hill
In morning mist
The oak
And there
In that moment
All worlds



Slowly mists pass
Through the mountain pines
On the tip of each needle
Hangs a drop of dew
In the forest hush
Dripping dew
Taps on moss
An ant struggles over twigs
And rivulets
The earth drinks deeply
And is restored



The sea of does and don’ts
The ocean of likes and dislikes
The little boat
Difficult to guide
In a storm
Some day the shore
But for now
There is only the boat





The window of perception
Is always tinted
The bright glare of reality
Difficult to look at
In the face

Waiting at the window…
Evening shadows slowly
Close the view

Turning inward…
A candle on the table
A fire in the hearth

Light and warmth
The flickering flames
Change and change again

Logs splinter with a crack
Sparks fly
Gray ash crumbles through the grate

What heats the blood
What keeps the spirit
In its fleshy cloak

Night comes
The candle now is snuffed
The spent fire smolders on

Darkness fills the room
With its great silence…
The day is done
And we at last
Are home



A million light years away
A star explodes
And all the beings
In the universe

Why did the water sprite
Suddenly skip
Or the leaf detach
From the twig
Or the infant giggle
In her crib

The dog lifts his head
Then falls back into a drowse
Leaves scuttle before the wind
Then fall silent
And I
Who have been musing
On the porch
Suddenly fall into the void
Beyond eternity



Long ago
In a distant past
Below the silent mountain
Ancestors of this maple
Lived by this ancient creek
They rose from the rich earth
Flourished and returned
Millions of plants and beasts also flourished
They too returned
Enriching this rich soil
Seeds fluttered to the ground
One nestle in the loam
Drove down its root
And lifted a sapling face
Into the morning
Through sun and rain
Storm and calm
The seeding grew
Twigs becoming branches
Leaves unfurling into green
The birds and beasts and bugs
Becoming a community of friends
And down from the silent mountain
The ancient creek flowed by
On its journey to the sea

The long days of summer
Ambled by
There were breezes and heat
And big leaves reaching for the sky
There was bird song
And bugs busying them selves
With what bugs do
There was the bright fragrance of green
And the rich musk of dark soil
There were bears and foxes
Snakes and lizards
And coyotes yelping in the night
There were people of the forest
The Wappo passing by
Resting in the shade
Drinking from the creek
And the tree grew big and wide
And the silent mountain stood above it
As the creek became a trickle
On its journey to the sea

And autumn came
With its golden light
The sky a flawless blue
And the great tree turned inward
Green leaves becoming gold
Leaves torn by wind and rain
Or drifting to the earth
And with the multitude of grasses
And the forbs
Were welcomed by the tiny being of the soil
And all the host of birds and beast and bugs
Prepared themselves for rest
Across a bridge
That arched the creek
People of the Valley
Bright in gortex
Came and went
And the mountain watched in silence
As the ancient creek flowed by
On its journey to the sea

Then came the shorter days of winter
The days of sheeting rain
The sky a smudge of gray
Rivulets of water running down
The twigs and bark
Were welcomed by the earth
There were interludes of brightness
When the sun shown low and long
And the bitter cold of night
When the earth entered Solstice
And the great tree stood in stillness
Roots reaching deep into the dark
And the people of the valley
Gathered round the hearth
Singing songs of winter
Songs of New Year yet to come
And down from the silent mountain
Under the arching bridge
The ancient creek rushed by
On its journey to the sea

Through sun and sleet
Through heat and cold
The great tree nears its passing
Storm and wind took their toll
The spirit of the fire did the rest
And yet this might tree
Lifts one last arm
Into the heavens
It too will soon return
To mother earth
But look around us everywhere
The children of the tree arise
One day
Another tree will reach its greatness
Birds will sing a new song
Coyotes will yip and yelp
Under a future moon
Across the bridge
People of the Valley
Will come and go again
The mountain will stand in silence
As it always has
And the ancient creek will flow on by
Carrying bits of earth and tree
On its journey to the sea





After weeks of rain
And catastrophic flooding
At last
Morning breaks
Through the gloom
With glorious sunlight
Beaming its warmth
Through my window

And I
With an open heart
Greet the day
Knowing I can go on
As though nothing untoward
Has happened
Yet also knowing
Thousands were not so lucky as I
And yet
They too
Go on



Day break
Bald Mountain wakes
Chants an ancient mantra
To the sun
A breeze whispers
Through the chaparral
Stones clatter
In Sonoma Creek
Forest and fog
Moss and twig
Madrone lifting branches
Above an earthy choir

Between heaven and earth
I ramble
Over the winding trails
And I
Our songs for Sugarloaf
In the warming air


My Dear friends do you recall
How spring arrives so unconcerned
With human circumstance.

Snow falls on Sugarloaf
Storms drench the land
Brooks join streams
Join Sonoma Creek
On her journey to the Bay
Soft breezes blow
Warming sun wakes the seed
Flowers spring to life
Trees renew their leafy canopy
The grasses grow so tall

And here, today, in the Sugarloaf
We come together saying
We are all here.
We come. We go.
We will return


A summers day
Set warm and blue
Above the Ridge called Sugarloaf
And I slowly rambling
Over the golden hills,
Seeking to dream my dream.

Beneath Grandmother Maple
The shade is soft
The earth is cool
As I lie down
In tall, deep giving grass
To dream my dream.

The earth turns slowly
The days pass by
The seasons come and go
As I lie sleeping
In this golden grass
Dreaming my dream
Golden dreams


Far from the hurly burly of the world
A place to sit
And rest
With dragon flies
And gnats
In the autumn sun
By the trickling creek
Beneath the passing clouds
Who live out their slow lives
Above me

I too change
Even as Grandma Maple changes
Golden leaves
Dropping on the Creek
Flowing onward
To the Bay


Here in Sugarloaf
Time is of no significance
Earlier each day
The sun sinks behind Bald Mountain
On the path
Shadows envelope me
Before I reach trails end
Soon darkness will be welcomed
Before my evening meal
The year too grows long and late
Stars splash across the darkened sky
Frost sparkles on the withered plants
The deepest night approaches
And all that will remain
Of this long and joyous year
A rising moon.        



THE PINE                                                                                                             


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