Field Observations

This is the place where you can find my observations on life in Nebraska and the universe.  Encounters. Walkabouts.  Sightings.  The surprises that come when we let ourselves be strangers in a strange land.  An every day migrant.  Looking and listening as if our lives depended on it.  Because they do.

Early This Morning My Friend Died

Published Saturday, August 19, 2017


Early this morning my friend died.

How can I write plainly
not pretending anything
is expected or unexpected.

The meditation instruction is
just to sit with it, the tears, the impulse
to brush them away, the tickle
of the unfathomable
while being aware of the breath that leads us ever farther out
until we needn’t come back again.

I took a walk to take it in
and saw things I wanted to tell her about
that would have made her laugh or linger
when she could still walk.

Birds, of course, my dear friend, always birds.
And bright-eyed dogs.
Those that strain at the leash to share their joy
that you exist
and those that bark at you who will forever be
a passing stranger.

I saw white datura furled and ready to bloom.
Just one night. That’s it. But oh the scent!
I saw gladiolas, flowers that are and ever shall be
associated with altars and funerals.
Which isn’t fair.
To the outrageous generosity of gladiolas, I mean.

Best was a pair of paint-spattered sneakers
carefully filled with mulch
and set in a garden near the sidewalk.
Clearly a joke—a painter’s joke—
there was a number to call on the truck in the driveway.

I also want to mention that when I got home I went straight out
to the eighth floor balcony
to admire the orb weaver’s web
that has attached my night-blooming jasmine
to the sky.