The Wild Geese

to my husband

An unproblematic state is a state without creative thought. Its other name is death.
—David Deutsch

Rough work, hanging out
laundry in desert wind.
I got caught up in it.
Simple chore versus
crazed local element,
favored to win.
I moved clothespins
in strategic haste,
clamping in place
fresh-washed fabric
dripping spring chill.
Gusts slapped cloth
at my face, wrapped
it ’round my arms.
I wanted it done. And so,
I nearly missed them.

Before seeing, I heard.
A voice of the air. One voice,
two birds. Geese, a pair,
seeking mown fields to settle
down for the cold March night.
One had just said something
(that I’d heard) to the other.
The other replied in wing beats
of side-by-side flight.
Continue reading “The Wild Geese”


Excerpt from Showdown at Crossfire Canyon: Getting Digs In, Part 3

Vandalism at a petroglyph site.

Yes. Yes! In San Juan County, during my field school years in the mid-80s, I saw shocking pot hunting damage firsthand, sites hit very badly. I’m haunted by memories of human skulls and other remains churned up and tossed aside—men, women, children, including a child’s mummified foot—remains meaningful to diggers only as signs that grave good such as pots, jewelry, or other marketable artifacts might lie nearby. The exposed human remains don’t trouble me so much for their grim “to this we must all come” reminders, though there’s always something show-stopping about coming upon human bones. Nor do they impress me for the disturbing evidence they offer of the pot hunters’ disregard for law. To me, what’s telling is the pot hunters’ complete reduction of a culture and its members to “the good stuff”, the shrinking of life and its cultural contexts to mere “things” having market value. Continue reading “Excerpt from Showdown at Crossfire Canyon: Getting Digs In, Part 3”

What I Thought and Did Earth Day 2010, Part One

This is the first installment of a three-part series.   It’s about experiences my family and I had on and around Earth Day two months ago.   Sorry it’s so late–writing it took a while.   Readers be warned: not only do the posts run long but they get hot under the collar as I tell stories about events–some recent, some recently recalled to mind–that affected me deeply.   I hope readers can endure while I get some things off my chest.   But if you’d rather go visit a cheerier blog today and for the next few days, I won’t hold it against you.

Many readers know I have a severely disabled daughter.   A virus crossed the placenta when I was pregnant with her and destroyed about a third of her brain. Doctors said it found her brain stem especially cozy digs.   Like bad renters, when the virus particles moved out, they left behind a trashed interior space and my daughter at extreme risk.   In a last guffaw, fate €”or destiny €”pricked me into labor on the evening of April 21.   She was born in the early morning hours of Earth Day, 1992.

Continue reading “What I Thought and Did Earth Day 2010, Part One”