by Kenneth Rexroth
The seasons revolve and the years change
With no assistance or supervision.
The moon, without taking thought,
Moves in its cycle, full, crescent, and full.
The white moon enters the heart of the river;
The air is drugged with azalea blossoms;
Deep in the night a pine cone falls;
Our campfire dies out in the empty mountains.
The sharp stars flicker in the tremulous branches;
The lake is black, bottomless in the crystalline night;
High in the sky the Norther Crown
Is cut in half by the dim summit of a snow peak.
O heart, heart, so singularly
Intransigent and corruptible,
Here we lie entranced by the starlit water,
And moments that should each last forever
Slide unconsciously by like water.
There are days we are more attuned to the relentless march of time than others. Sitting through another endless business meeting yesterday, trying to stay interested, I felt like the protagonist of Gary Snyder’s poem below. White collar, blue collar and everything in between, any one of us who works a job long enough starts to wonder where time went.
It’s why Rexroth’s gorgeous poem about connecting with nature and the timeless quality such experiences can create in our life speaks to me. I had my first camp fire of the summer last weekend. Sitting beneath the stars with the embers twinkling I was connected to my past, present and future self in that simplicity of silence. We all feel like there will be another spring, even if we are appreciating the one we have. Nina Simone voiced it honestly. Living in the moment is easier said then done sometimes, but worth the effort. Do you have plans for a campfire this summer? Who will you enjoy its fiery presence with?
Hay For The Horses
by Gary Snyder
He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
—The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds—
“I’m sixty-eight” he said,
“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.