The weather here is back to good walking temperatures, and I’m out in the desert and in the sun more.  (In the heat I walk either briefly, around a few blocks, or before breakfast.)  Plants are blooming and grasses are going to seed.

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A fondness for nature and place is something I share with William Paley, whose book is the basis for my collection of poems, Made and Remade, due out next year.

The Bridge Outside Paley's Door

The Bridge Outside Paley’s Door

As the picture of the bridge at Wearmouth reminds me, Paley’s place is very different from mine, but when he talks about the joy of walking out in nature, I know whereof he speaks.  I tried to express this in “Shared Ground,” previously published in Ascents.  (See more on the books page for that volume.)

Shared Ground

Walking among new-born
flies, aphids, all nature
to feed his wonder, the parson
loses regrets (the bishop’s ring
never bestowed) finds comfort
in common creaturehood.

He’s at home wherever
he walks, while I, creature
of foggy hills, green valleys,
walk on alien land where
nothing of profit’s produced,
nothing is wasted.

A jackrabbit feeds on
freeze-battered prickly pear,
bolts at my approach,
happy in his speed, doing
what he’s made for.

If the universe has a maker
is it made less lonely?
My legs being made for walking,
their motion settles my spirit.

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