Names in the Land
I sit on the deck bundled in a sweater after a late afternoon rain storm. Fans of sun rays burnish the land between the humps and banks of clouds. The mesas and canyons all have names, have had many names over time. I don’t know any of these yet. And most names aren’t contained in the hard edges of language, the sticky net of thoughts. The mesas approach and retreat in the play of light like a line of country dancers. Long shadows spill over the crest and slide down the slope into the shadowy floor.
My mind wanders, thinks about things but these dissolve; Ravenrock turns sticky thoughts slippery, hard to grip. I listen. My eyes rest on what surrounds me—bushy live oak, heavy-headed spikes of black gramma grass, bobbing juniper boughs. Breathing. Yes. My chest swells, grasps the top of the inhale for a beat, then gushes out. After, easy sliding breaths. The west wind pours over the crest. A prickly pear’s rosy fruit catches a shaft of low light, the pores from which each needle pierces out holding a glisten of rain. The fruit itself resembles an engorged, enflamed thumb. Wisps of cool, damp air ease out of the west. One cricket sings. One jay flits.