Category Archives: Land

Cat on the left. Owl on the right.

Last night at about 2:30, I woke and noticed our cat was sitting on the windowsill and looking out at the night. There was a large moon and the darkness was bright, and I was awake but not really. But then I noticed the cat’s ears and understood that I had been looking at the night only as framed by her ears. Which surprised me. And then a second surprise. In the tree directly outside the window sat an owl, a Barred owl. He was facing the house, was brightened just slightly by the moon, and appeared to be looking in the window. I looked at the cat, then at the owl, the cat on the left, the owl on the right, and wondered if they were they looking at each other, if there was some vague connection. I kept watching, but nothing happened. Nothing but mystery and the beauty of mystery. And that’s all. That’s how it was last night roundabout 2:30. Cat, owl, man, plus a moon inching towards tomorrow.

A Truthful Account of Things

Just took the photo fifteen minutes ago. And growing (flourishing)  inside the middle house is live spinach and baby kale and the first sign of arugula. So let it snow to my waist, the winds wail. I’ve got greens, spinach salad w/today’s eggs, and at least 20 more baby carrots. Baby carrots and a blizzard! See them there on the table last night haloing plates of kale, roasted walnuts, and goat cheese. And an hour ago Quetzal and I snowshoeing up to the waterfall, and Quetzal and I both leaning in close in the snow, face to the water, drinking, snow-water drinking, down from all sides of Saddleback Mountain, that cold earth love that catapults you well into your 90’s and erases all but the darkest of your sins, soul savior, homeboy…

Edna Cobal

Once in mid-July when I was fourteen, I caught our neighbor Edna Cobal unannounced in the garden behind her home. I had ridden my bike to her house to deliver a check from my father, and as she didn’t appear when I knocked on the kitchen door, I went around to the back where I knew she kept a garden.

I didn’t see or hear anything initially, but then from somewhere off to one side I heard a rustling, dry-leaf sound, and following the sound off the porch and between a planting of lilacs, I discovered her—Mrs. Miller Cobal, an elderly woman, a grandmotherly woman, a woman who always wore a dress and who always remembered my name, a woman best known, at least in my circle, as the Mrs. Cobal who one day announced that she would never again attend church—I discovered Edna sprawled on her back in a great heap of dried pea vines. Having at some earlier time pulled them and heaped them high, she was now, for reasons impossible for me to fathom, lying in them. At the moment I startled her she was tucking a handful of vines under her chin like a scarf.

with end of things

There was nothing either one of us could do except find each other, which we did with all of the accompanying embarrassment and ill-at-ease you might imagine. She got herself extricated and upright, her dress smoothed, I got the check into my hand and visible.

When finally she stood before me, small and with a slight smile, she reached out and, placing a hand on my shoulder, said, “I am sorry, Wilmer, that you had to find me this way. But sometimes there’s need to be with things. Even the end of things. Like the beautiful end of peas.”