A Poem

I haven’t been writing much this summer. Between the smoke and other problems, I’ve been distracted from the writing desk. The Caldor fire is started to be contained and evacuation orders are being lifted. The air quality here is better, but still not so good – at least the yard doesn’t smell like a campfire. Below is a poem I’ve been working on for sometime. It’s still raw, but if you can think of any improvements for it, let me know in the comments.

Mowing the Lawn in the Desert

Virginia Range looming
over the garden shed.

Morning perfume of pine and dirt
mixed with a touch of damp.

Memories of camping among the lodgepole pines
with the music of crystal clear water over rock.

Quiet voices and the gentle creak of bear lockers
echo off the peaks as we made our way to the restrooms

Smell of bacon rising above the wisps of vapor
from the small cook stove.

The orange light of dawn pushing up
from the dip between the peaks
casts a weak light over the shed
and lawn.

An electric mower.
A click as the battery slides home.

Children climbing rocks and jumping in rivers
is replaced by the gentle hum
of blades cutting grass.

The Shangri-la of the camp fire
and marshmallows
replaced by the smell
of chlorophyll from a manicured lawn.

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Friday Wisdom – Wood

Well, I was going to tell a joke about carpentry, but I didn’t think it wood work.

I was trying to join two pieces of wood together. I had trouble at first but then I totally nailed it.

I took a bag of of shredding wood the bank and asked to open a shavings account.

If you boat is carrying wood, you’ll have to dock in the arbor.

Wood fired pizza. Well, where’s pizza going to work now?

The tree was stumped because it could get to the root of the problem.

I’ve always thought leaves are involved in risky business – they always go out on a limb.

A tree wanted to go into the pool, but couldn’t find its swimming trunks.

If trees produced a WIFI signal, they’d be planted everywhere, sadly they only make the oxygen breathe.

Have you heard the under construction joke? We’re still working on it.

Well, after so many puns, I think it’s time I branched off to another topic.

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Friday Wisdom – Socks

When golfing, always bring an extra pair of socks – just in case you get a hole in one.

My socks are so holy that I only wear them to church.

I decided to wear socks when I went on the rollercoaster just in case I got cold feet.

I had this great list of jokes on pairs of socks, but I lost one.

The best known footwear philosopher is Sockrates.

When taking clothes out of the drier, I always have to re-pair all my socks.

When you’re sad, put on socks – they’re sole warming.

I read that it takes three sheep to make a pair of socks. That’s really amazing, I didn’t know sheep could knit.

Just read that Santa Claus has made a big investment in the sock market.

Pla-toe was a lesser known Greek philosoher.

My sock has a hole in it – darn it.

The kids asked what it’s like to be a mother, so I woke them up at 4am to tell them my sock fell off.

He kept going on and on about what he should put in his new spare drawer. I told him to put a sock in it.

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Smoke and More Smoke

It’s hard to write about.  It’s easy to fall into a whinny despair.  After a couple of days of reprieve  the air quality has moved well into hazardous.  I can smell the smoke inside the house.  The garden smells like a campfire and the sun is blocked.

A half mile from my office window is a mountain.  It’s been shrouded in haze.  At times I can’t see it anymore.  Sometimes the afternoon wind blows enough away that I can see the hiking trials Heather and I walked last winter.  Before the smoke, you could see people hiking and riding their bicycles.

I don’t see them today.  Perhaps they’re like me – inside, looking out, hoping for life to return to normal.

Daily life is looking out the window, checking purpleair.com for the current air quality (AQI), checking the weather report, and checking the news on the fires.  If the AQI is low enough, going into the garden is possible and the kitties can be given sometime out on their catio.

The KN95 masks I managed to buy for Covid protection have proven effective against the smoke.  If the air is a little smokey, but not too smokey, the KN95 lets us be outside for a little while.  Watering plants, weeding or planting the wine barrel on the back patio.  I used to wait to put my mask on until I got the door of the grocery store.  Now I put it on before I open the car door.

I have just enough sinus problems that the smoke can bother me.  Two weeks ago I thought it would be good to buy an air purifier.  I found one on-line and ordered it.  It was a defective unit and after a phone call the manufacturer agreed to ship out a replacement.  Hopefully that will arrive soon.  

Yesterday, we went to the local Home Depot to pick up the flooring I ordered for my workshop shed.  While I was waiting for my order to be brought out, I noticed a man with a shopping cart with four air purifiers.  On our way to look at some shelves, we saw two pallets full of air purifiers.  Some how HD managed to get a bunch, so we bought one.  It helps and so far I try to stay near it.

The smoke is being blown into the Reno basin from over a million acres of western forest that is currently burning.  Seriously, at a million acres and more are burning.  Most of the smoke we’re getting is coming from the recently started Caldor fire and the Dixie fire which started on July 4th.  Smaller fires like the River, Tamarack and Beckwourth also send smoke and ash.

When will it end?

That’s the question on all our minds.  Who really knows?  This year it will end with the rains and snows of winter.  The firefighters will get containment and as the fire lines start holding, the smoke will reduce before that.  Sadly, the fires will return next year.

As the smoke clears and the roads open, we’ll finally get to see the devastation left behind.  Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and thousands of people are now homeless.  Lives and memories shattered.  Heather and I have already sent a donation for emergency relief.

Looking out at my smoky mountain, all I can think is, “At least I still have a house.”

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