tobias crabtree

defining lines; drawing and writing

Tag: stars


Running from the dark is a form of pretending. I know it is, because I do it sometimes. But there is no end to the darkness and the night will always find you. Our personal expression, our internal lamp, can’t shine if we are fearful. Out in every darkness there are single points of light. They are people who shine like you. They are the Ones who’ve covered the ground we are walking. They are the early hearts. They are the way givers. But before they found the way, they ran from the darkness. And they looked to the Ones before them. And so this is our fashion, this is our way. To fear and flee, to find courage and look for light, to set our bearings on the light and navigate the darkness, then, when we are ready, we shine the light for others.

These are old metaphors. They’ve been around since the early hearts struck fire from the stones and danced in caves and drew their imaginings across the walls by firelight. But there is a reason that things like this continue while generations of brilliant minds turn back to dust –that old and wondrous, five letter looking glass: Truth.

Shine. At least a little. For the babies. and the whales. and the foxes. and the sequoias.

Shine to help the young hearts find the way.

Take your time. Know your truth. And then,


Looking Around

There are days when I wake up dragging. Of course I got a few excuses up my sleeve, but do you wanna hear them? Really? That’s the funny thing about each of us as individuals; we think we’re an exception to the rule. We tend to think our excuse will be the one that people actually listen to. It’s so damn easy for me to forget that there is a whole world of individuals out there trying to find their way, just like me. There are ones that think they’re The Gift to everyone they meet.  There are ones that think they are less than nothing. There are singular little souls that don’t know that they have bodies that will win gold medals in some future Olympics. There are the quiet writers with shy words that glimmer like silver fish in their minds. There are the bossy ones who march around and use a loud mouth to get attention. There are the ones who are confused and don’t know why and they can’t make a decision alone but always need someone to help them. There are the ones that are a spark, loved by all. There are ones not loved and are starving for just a moment of attention.

I’ve been looking around me at the types. I’ve been marking my thoughts. These last few days I’ve been just looking at people, my kind, humans. When I force myself to remain neutral, I can observe and maintain some form of attitude that judges less. I still judge, but it’s less. Mostly, I have come away from the experiment with a kind of guarded hope. Mostly I try not to hope, mostly I try to try. Trying is moving and working to make something happen, while hoping seems more like waiting to see if something works out in a way that’s pleasing. But sometimes, hope fits the bill. Sometimes that’s all you get, you get to hope. Kinda like when a baby is being born and there’s complications, well, I ain’t a doctor, so I hope and believe that things’ll work out. I guess that’s how I feel about Us. You know, the big Us. I hope that somehow kids that are born a hundred years from now will have evolved into something less selfish. I hope they will love bicycles more than Mindcraft. I hope they will want to play in the woods and point at the warblers in the Ponderosas more than pretend to be adults in a coffee shop talking loudly about some “fool” they don’t like. I hope that the public, in general will have realized that social media is not as real as realness and that virtual friends that are numbered in a friends box are not actual friends that will walk to the river with you and cry with you or laugh at some face you made that always makes them laugh. I hope that a generation will come out of this generation and not be afraid to not follow the charlatans who want to lead with big words but no wisdom. This is what I was thinking about as the people walked around me as I sat and ate a slice of pizza in the sun.

My hope definitely goes beyond people, but I gotta include them because, well, because We the people are here in all our gloriousness/disgustingness. Like when I hope for rivers that run from the mountains to the sea and I worry that they will be trapped by some energy hungry company that builds a damn and so damns the fish and the life that can no longer happen as it has since rivers first began, back when mountains happened and the skies were young. I think about this because I’ve seen the streams of my childhood put into metal tubes and buried under concrete like they never even were. All the mint that grew along the banks is gone. Every salamander gone. Crawdads gone. Some of the cottonwoods, the ones that made the cut, still stand and hold the memories of that time before the humans came and covered the world. There is a relationship between the sky and streams, the streams and the stones, the stones and the sea, the sea and the trees, the trees and the whales…and so on. It’s there whether you think it’s hokey or not. Maybe you don’t like to think about stuff like that, but it doesn’t make it go away. One of our biggest faults is simply not recognizing the existence of that relationship. It’s almost like a thing we are intentionally forgetting because it’s not convenient. It is convenient to flip a light switch, it’s not convenient to put everything down for a few minutes, walk to the trees and listen. I think the point here is clear enough, but like I said, it’s not comfortable to think about the things we’re losing while we pander to ourselves. I think about this a lot, mostly because I’m as guilty as anyone every time I ignore the little atrocities that seem to come from every direction. Believe me, I fret over whether to hear the news or pretend like nothing’s happening.

I think it’s a choice. It’s all a choice. With what do you share your soul? If the most soulful thing you do is post witty quotes or videos that begin with “this guy did this, and you won’t believe what happened next…” on facebook or insta, maybe you should try turning that stuff off for a bit and go ask your grandma about her first kiss. Or ask your mom about the house she grew up in, or maybe what her fears were as a child. Ask your dad about when he learned to ride a bike, or if he ever skinny dipped. You see, it’s my opinion that these things are good for your soul. Things that create our person and form us are where the soul hooks onto us. And it’s our soul that moves about and mixes with the wind and rivers. It’s in the dark ocean and stars and as far out as we can imagine it to be. It’s a shadowy part of us that doesn’t really translate that well in these computer-type things. It’s what stirs us on the inside when we stare at the panthers that are pacing in cages. It’s what shudders when we hear about the polar bears swimming for places that no longer exist. These souls of ours have giant sails, they are powerful and capable but useless if we don’t tend to them.

Here we are, all of us with our sails up. The winds are blowing and blowing and the water’s deep and full of wonders both magnificent and terrible. We are all around one another and the stars are sharp and singing, and the planets are spinning above us in unison around the sun. It is only life and death here. We have our own existence, but there is so much more than that! There are stars that were shining on this earth before the first clock was invented, before time enslaved us and taught us to check in with the numbers that tell us what we should be doing. We are a thread in the most intricate tapestry. We have options, we can tend sails and fly like the wind herself, or we can go below and lock the cabin hatch and pretend like we are not on the sea at all.

Mark’s Diner

A line of reasoning. This usually amounts to a bunch of your own opinions all crammed together in order to make sense of something. I’ve used it and had mixed results. Usually my line of reasoning has some kind of something in it that betrays me, sometimes it sends me flailing off like a fool with my arms waving over my head, whatever cool I might have collected scattered to the winds. So I’m careful with my line of reasoning. Often, it stays in one of the half empty cupboards in my head. I might share it with ya now and then, but I try to put it out there with a disclaimer — same as if I’m cooking a dish for the first time and I think it might suck.

Of course, a line of reasoning might be referring to something a tad more literal, maybe it’s what you call them wrinkles on your face from reasoning too much. Wrinkles. Lines of reasoning. If that’s the case, I got a solid collection going, although I’ll admit they ain’t all from reasoning. I’ve managed to put a few up from any assortment of my emotions. I could name them off, but why waste your time with that shit? You know. Well, if you’re human you know, and if you’re not human, I’m actually quite surprised you’re reading this. Hell, I’m surprised if anyone’s reading this. If you’re a whale and you’re reading this, I have something to say, I’m sorry for messing with your ocean. also: Thank you for being so amazing. Tell your babies to be careful and that I hope I meet them. I mean I doubt a whale would be reading this, but I like to be sure about that kind of thing. But if you’re an extra-terrestrial and you’re reading this, I have something for you too, I’m sorry that we don’t believe in you, well, not all of us, I do. I just don’t say so all that often because people stop listening whenever I say I believe in bigger things. Things way out beyond what we see and have listed in our science books and our religious books, like the mysterious stuff. Like you. But don’t judge us too harshly, we have our moments. We really can love things we’ve never seen; like people we’ve never met or forests that need to be protected or stars who’s light hasn’t reached earth yet or the tiny butterflies on some little chain of islands or even beings from far away who maybe travel at the speed of thought! We can do a lot of things with love, it’s just that we’re easy to distract. But if you want a human to study, I’m your huckleberry. I’m relatively healthy and I’ve been wanting to practice traveling by thought…sooo, just come get me I guess. And be gentle with the probes, although that might be something I just picked up from the movies, maybe you don’t need to do that at all.  Chances are that this writing won’t be read by that broad of an audience, it’s not like I’m giving Melville a run for his money here.

Supposedly there’s a kind of coherence to good writing, which is where I bounce off the proverbial road and into the literary ditch. The only thing cohesive about my stories and essays is that they all do come from between my ears, after that I have trouble explaining  how any of this is gonna line up. It’s a bit like controlling a spill — sometimes it looks like something, (you know, like you’ll see Abe Lincoln’s face in the spilt milk) and sometimes it’s just a mess.

A few days ago I stumbled across my birthday. I neither love nor hate my birthday, I guess that means I’m ambivalent towards it. ( That’s my $4.00 word of the day, and I use a word like that to show that I’m getting a little smarter each year. not a lot smarter, just a little ). So I had my little birthday, just like you did not that long ago, right? Because the last birthday is never more than a year ago. Yeah, I had it and it went like i like them to: I stayed alive. I tried something new by jumping into a river at the exact moment I was born, 7:44 a.m. I played a guitar poorly, but with a lot of passion…but by myself so I felt like it sounded cooler than it probably was. I road my bike and ate a chocolate croissant. I laughed with Jason Arbetter about imaginary scenarios in which we did the things that we sometimes want to do but we don’t because we’re not that mean (especially Jason, who’s not only not mean, but may be the nicest person alive). I drew a couple drawings in my picture book. I had a drink at a bar, and then another drink, and then wished I hadn’t had the second. I rode my bike to Safeway on the way home and stopped for coffee supplies. It was 11:30 p.m. and I was closing out my day. I saw some old timer in a wheel chair out by the entrance to the parking lot. I’ve seen him before, the ground around him always has remnants of smokes and drinks and food. He’s hard put, my guess is that he won’t last much longer but who knows? It was the last few minutes of the day that I was born. The day I got to start being here on this planet, in this world of feeling and color and smells and coffee and songs and babies and pretty girls. The day that my Mama supported my head and held me tight while my Dad looked at me like I was the coolest thing ever. The day that somehow has become a day when we might expect things but really should be a day of unrelenting gratitude for having breaths and heartbeats and loves and dreams and, yes, even losses. So I walked over to Mark,  his name is Mark because he told me so, and I asked him if he wanted something to eat. Mark was slouched heavily and his beard was piled on his chest. I heard him say, Yeah.  What do you want?

Whatever they got.

It’s a grocery store, Mark.


So I bought him a roasted chicken, nice and hot. And a can of Modelo against my better judgement. And a bottle of water to offset the beer. And a Milkyway candy bar for desert.

Mark barely moved as I put his meal in front of him on the curb. God bless, he said. And I rode back to my Toyota Dolphin. This was my day on that day in the long line of days since my very first day and it was a good one. When I look at it in the past, it makes less sense. It’s just a bunch of things crammed together that only belonged to me as I lived in them, then they were gone. This is life, at least as far as I know.

I follow a fairly swervy line.

a little lost

I lost my phone again, what’s new?

it’s a funny feeling, knowing that’s a thing.

not that i’m that important, i don’t think that.

but, you understand how one feels.

what if mama calls, and needs something

or what if it’s a pretty girl,

from some time before.

but i did lose my phone, again.

and when i find it, it’ll be the same.

not that it’s important, i don’t think that.

i kinda like to misplace stuff

especially if it’s too heavy,

from some time before.

The ancients didn’t need a phone.

Instead they watched the stars

because it was important, for life.

and i think i’ll follow the ancients

and sleep in the caves,

like some time before.


i have a friend whose son was born with a hole in the top of his head. it was a home birth and the little guy came out before the skull had finished growing closed. the mother was in rough condition following the troublesome labor and the father, under the urgent circumstances was faced with a frantic drive to a distant hospital with his newborn son. as Scotty tells me this story, we are sitting under a sea of indigo, the dreamtime stars are spilt and spread overhead, giving hints of the existence of a forever that we simply can’t wrap our heads around.

Scotty told me that on that drive to the hospital with little Orion in his car, he spoke to the universe entire. he called on the stars and all the mysterious machinations and told them he was on board with it all. Orion is maybe around 10 years old these days. he more than made it. he’s a spitting image of his dad and is also one of my good friends. the stars knew what they were doing, they still do. we don’t run things here.

three days ago i was out in the desert on the dry lake bed. i imagined back a million years before that. the world takes her time and her changes are always in style. i wondered if i would be in deep water, under the lake, if i could time jump and be here when things were then. such sweet mystery. such simple thoughts. while i thought about this stuff i was looking up into the blue, flat on my back. a line of buzzards, turkey vultures to be exact, were flying overhead. they were flying in layers, some only a couple thousand feet up and others almost in the jet stream. the sun had set, but the flapping rooks were still in the full light of the sun as it bent around the world from it’s 90-some-million-mile perch. not a mile distant, on the edge of the old lake is a spine of granite that jumps up a few hundred feet off the floor, as the buzzards reached it’s mass they began to swing into circles, some clockwise, some otherwise. tipping their 8 foot spans with nary a flap, they climbed the swirl of hot air and in doing so they allowed me to see the invisible thermal, alive with hundreds if not thousands of their kind. i’ve read that turkey buzzards have incredibly sensitive noses, able to smell a carcass over the panels of the wind from miles away. as i stared up at them, i wondered if they could smell amazement. i hoped so. the sun was sinking lower, the birds were climbing higher, their wings blinking a beautiful red as they turned their bellies at the light. the line of buzzards started from the top of the swirl and they continued on some secret journey that might be whispered about in the rookeries where the dark trees limbs bow from the weight Cathartian bodies as they shift and blink and wait for dawn.

i heard some guy talking about a thief that had been pointed out among a crew of workers. he was making excuses for the fella whose character was in question. he said something about how we just needed to keep our eye on him and he used the analogy that “vultures fly over us all the time, we should just let them pass.” i was disgusted with his comparison of some dude who steals wallets and money and tools to such an amazing bird as the turkey vulture whose name, Cathartes, means purifier. seems like we’ll use any means necessary to drag the animals into our nasty habits. anyway, i walked away thinking that i didn’t trust either one of those dudes, and also feeling righteously akin to the vultures myself.

notice: we humans are on this world, it’s our spaceship. it is not limitless. with or without us, it has an expiration date and the quality of our stay here is our own responsibility. the milky way galaxy is our home as well. the cosmos is spread out like a blanket for us to play on, night after night. our fortune is enormous but we are lacking in gratitude. we gain so little from our blinking pads and our fancy pants, while an entire universe waits for us to use our senses to see into everything that already is. beauty fades, strength wanes, relationships crumble, families grow up, jobs get mundane, eyes will fail, but life is a gift till the last breath. count your lucky stars that you were ever here….

(i wrote this while thinking of my little buddy, Orion, who made it aboard. and last night, under a late night sky, i saw the Hunter up in the sky, Orion with his bow, and i thought of the wonder of it all. i hope for very little because hope is difficult for me to really believe in, but i must hope for the children, that somehow a wonder and respect for the world can be restored. so that they can swim in oceans that are not caustic and walk through the woods that are not broken and drink from springs that bubble up in the moss where the bull elk still bugle and the grizzlies still rub their shaggy backs against the trees.)

August 27th, 1967

Way back, when things were different, there wasn’t time. There was no time and there was nothing to keep it. The sun rose and set, so did the moon. And the tides did what tides do and the skies held the anvil clouds that promised lightning and rain. In those places we call lonely, there was nothing, but lonely is just a word we give it. I’m not sure if it’s true.

But yeah, way back, before the two-legged’s started naming everything, there wasn’t time.  Somewhere after those nifty hands spun the first flame, two-legged’s decided to measure life. We’ve always been watchers and thinkers. There was that yellow sun and it crossed our skies, so did the moon. We started counting, then we divided, then made stuff that could keep track of those divisions.

Eventually a fella made a timepiece that could be carried. People with thumbs used them to count the hours and minutes and seconds as the stars twirled in the sky. Mostly, it was used to keep from being lost at sea. I suppose it’s good to know where in the world we are. But really, where are we? I mean do we even know where we are in this giant, spinning soup? Hell, the smart guys can give it all the names they want, but I say “nope, we are lost,” or maybe, more accurately, “we don’t know where we really are.” Just because you can name planets and stars and galaxies doesn’t mean you know where you are.  There are things beyond those things. I have a feeling that everything we know is what is floating on the surface of and impossibly big ocean that we can’t even see.

It’s easy to know what time it is these days. Everything shows the time. On my last trip, I failed to charge things and failed to keep things up to date and failed in general. I didn’t know what time it was but I wanted to miss LA rush hour so I asked an older fella what time it was. He looked at me kinda weird, and then he gave me the hours and minutes as he read them from the watch on his wrist, a rarity these days. It was 4:05 and, once I knew, I was the same as I was before I knew it.

I picture Time as a giant master with little tolerance. He is ready to tell you what you don’t wanna know, things like, “your time is up,” or “There is no time left.” It’s funny that us two-legged’s created him, we made our master.

Now i ain’t about to get too crazy tonight, not with this thing. I was just thinking about the beginning of stuff and it led to time. So often i’m off track, it’s so easy for me to be off in the weeds rousting around after who knows what. I guess I’m just happy to see the stars at this point of my life. To look up and see the universe, cuz man, it’s there, it sure is. And it don’t matter whether you know it or not, you’re lucky to be in a world that holds whales and hummingbirds and seagulls and raccoons and rolly pollies. You’re godamnn lucky, and so am I.

If it weren’t for the big other, i’d not have a reason to search. And without a reason to search, i lose my breath. And without my breath, I’d turn to dust…which isn’t really that terrible, as long as it’s not in a jar or a tin on the mantle with my three gold teeth rattling around.

But yeah, beginning is cool. We all started at some point, at some time. My start was into this world at 7:44 on a sunday morning, 3 days from a full moon in the month of August, the 27th, in fact. And the finish is out there too, in the pretty future. It’s all so easy.

“Row, row, row, your boat,

gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily,

life is but a dream.”

And maybe so.  Maybe it’s a dream….

cache’s take

cache is 4 and a half. his mother and father are good friends of mine and i had the opportunity to interview cache while dinner was being made at heather’s house on the river. the specialness of the place and the purity of the little dude blended together to make me understand that life is sweet, time is short, and wisdom is not just a product of old age.

me: how old are you, cache?

cache: i’m four and a half. not too long ago i was only four.

me: wow, do you know how old i am? i’m 46.

cache: whoa.

me: what’s the most amazing thing that’s happened to you in your life so far?

cache: well, so far, umm, turning 4 and a half is the most amazing thing. (this followed by a two shoulder shrug that indicated that i should know this kind of thing). getting to 4 and a half was kind of a short, long time.

me: nice. can you think of your earliest memory?

cache: not really, but i think i remember my mom.

me: do you know what your first word was?

cache: umm, yes, i said boobs because i love my mama’s milk. i saw myself on a video once and i said it. i was really little.

me: where do you think babies are before they are in a mama’s tummy?

cache: oh, they are in tiny capsules in between the stars and they are sent down when it’s time. and people think they are from nasa but they aren’t they are from farther away. the aliens know where they are because they are out there too.

me: so babies wait out there in the stars before they are ready for a mama?

cache: yes, mmhmm. way out there, like farther than the moon and even the sun.

me: that’s amazing. do you lay in bed and dream about stuff like this?

cache: well, sometimes i have dreams but mostly i sleep when i’m in bed.

me: do you like to set an alarm and wake up early?

cache: no way, i don’t need an alarm; after all, i’m only 4 and a half so why would i need an alarm?

me: i guess that’s a silly question. 4 and a half year olds should throw their alarm clocks toward the sun.

cache: yeah, cuz  when your 4 and a half you don’t need to worry about alarms or phone calls.

me: no phone calls, huh?

cache: nope.

me: what about texts?

cache: no way, man. (laughing)

me: 4 and a half year olds should throw their phones toward the sun as well. (laughing)

cache: yeah! (laughing and acting it out followed by a kind of burning up sound that he makes with his mouth…you know, like the sun burning up a phone kind of sound that 4 and a half year olds tend to make when they are really getting the point across)

me: what do you think of salamanders?

cache: love ’em. but i love my dog more because he doesn’t bite, he only licks my face because he loves me.

me: i see that (dog licking cache’s little scrunched up face). umm, cache, do you  mind if i write some of these words down and put them on the interweb? you might get kinda famous.

cache: naw, i don’t mind. why would i get famous?

me: because you’re so real, people aren’t used to that.

cache: oh, ok.


this interview took place over the course of an hour and a half. some of the things were edited out because they were too wonderful to even put into words. like his favorite animal which is a koowee, an imaginary animal with the head of a bandicoot and the body of a turtle (kind of) and sharp teeth that are spaced out like a crocodile’s teeth. it can be as small as a dime or as big as a house. it also has antlers that are like antennae. the time with cache also included talking about mountains and birds and rivers and how many miles it is to the sky. all of this stuff combined. all these bits of a wonderful imagination mixed with an already amazing reality. and heather was in her kitchen making dinner. and the merced was rumbling a couple hundred feet below us on the way to the sea where it will send messages of the mountains to the stones underneath. and the stars blinked on while we talked. and the little babies in their tiny capsules zipped around in between the galaxies. and the life that is the universe was churning and turning like it has all these millions of years.

good job, young cache, thanks for the lesson in life.


birth, death and the tricky in-between

when i sit down to write i am confronted with a number of certainties. the first is that whatever i want say has already been said…and it’s been said better.  the second is that i’m in debt to the beautiful things and the dreadful things that i see in the world, they expect me to say something. the third is that i’m a hack writer and arranging the words efficiently from out of my mind is like chasing marbles down a steep flight of stairs; not only is it difficult, but there is a good chance i’ll fall and break something. too many words and you lose your peeps, too few and the message is cryptic. too pathetic and folks’ll roll their eyes and tell you to put on your big-boy pants. too shallow and, well, too shallow and you might as well be updating your status on fb or whichever one you choose to tell everyone that you just found out that you’re allergic to dairy and it makes you “gassy”.

when i do end up writing, and obviously i sometimes do, it’s mostly about the things i cannot fully comprehend. the mysteries out beyond the rolling waves. the glimmering stars and the dots of light that move between them. love, and the hey-i’m-tied-to-the-tracks feeling of love’s loss. bees and their sweet geometry. i’m always digging away at beginnings and endings of things to see what i can find. and what i find is usually so wonderful that i don’t know the words to express it. or maybe i have the words but i can’t dress them up properly so’s they’ll be noticed. i march the little words out in some form or another and they don’t have the talent to catch the ear of the reader. they move past and fall down into little piles of “a’s, g’s, and lmnop’s” and i give them a little nod and tell them that it was a nice try. it’s the best i can do. so many marvels have lived and died in the hearts of people that did not feel the need to tell the story. i wasn’t blessed with a quiet tongue, for better or worse, i’m a story-teller.

and it is in me to pay homage to the forgotten things. when i open up the paper or read the articles on line i feel a terrible need to rant about the pandering that’s going on. we are so much more amazing than this! it’s one thing after another that tells us to be card-board cut-outs of the whims of our cultures. we do not need to have pouty lips to look beautiful. we don’t need the drugs with all the x’s and z’s in their names. i might be crazy (and i’m quite sure i am a little crazy) but i think folks are pretty when they are sweating in the sun or bundled up around a fire with the wind drowning out the sounds of our cultural machine. i have never been so turned on as by the singing and dancing of a girl in the wide open desert while a fire burned and the stars screamed and the barn owls winked from odd shaped rocks. i just don’t want to think we’ve all been duped into this other world of plastic lips and hips and boobs; a world where we are urged to buy products that will give us our “original” colored hair (hey man, my original color hair is what’s happening right now…ain’t no better “original” than the present and the present has grey in it). there is a this-is-what’s-cool-so-use-it-and-be-cool-too kind of push. i’m for pushing back and doing whatever makes me the wildest, smartest animal i can possibly be. and i want to run with that tribe. and i want that tribe to change things.

see, a little rant. not too big. just a little one. don’t be mad. these are just words and the source is questionable, at best.

there are wonderful, wild days to come. we should be ready, and by ready, i mean aware.

what, and the stars

there’s an answer for everything:

the cynics will tell you to stop dreaming.

the realists will tell you that it is what it is.

the pessimists will hand you a helmet and a gas mask and tell you not to breed.

the religions will tell you to follow, to believe.

the doctors will prescribe you some little white pills in different shapes and sizes.

the yogis will tell you to breathe.

the bankers will tell you to save.

the lawman will tell you to conform.

the anarchist will tell you to light it on fire and spit through your teeth.

the scientists will tell you the cold hard facts.

the philosophers will offer you thoughts.

the mean ones will give you a black-hearted look.

the lover will give you sweet love.

the singers; a song.

the drunkards; a nod.

but the stars, will say nothing…at all.

~~and those stars that are hanging over your head and have been there since you took your first breath, they will never tell you to look at them or to listen to them. they won’t ask if you think they are pretty and they won’t say something that might make you need to google it to see if they are right or not. they won’t talk about how their light has traveled across an impossible distance since before we ever were and is full of the truth from a universe that includes us despite our arrogance and ridiculous pompousness, because they…

they are stars,

wild wonders that live on both sides of our dreams.~~

shining quiet

at 3:53 a.m.  hafiz glows on from the pages of the poetry book on the table. at 3:53 a.m. orion is in full stride and the sky is cold and perfect for hunting. there is such quiet in the air that i think i might hear the stars, i really might. and the 7 sisters are bunched in the hump of taurus’ back and taurus has the sly-eyed knowledge that orion will not get him this night, nor any other. i think maybe eternity takes a little break in these moments and allows the mortals to look into her eyes to see things that are almost within reach; like a mom showing a child the fit of a single piece of puzzle. within that maze overhead are things beyond things and small sparks of light from other darknesses and things that are moving with the forces of an incomprehensible past into my view and then carrying on, dead-set on forever. and as the tiny lights that move in the skies share a glimmering moment with me and then disappear, they then exist in two places at once; they go on as they were into the cosmos but also, they continue to move in the recreated night of my memory. and no one can say if something i’ve seen and re-imagined is not but just another branch of the real deal.

such a wild sky at 3:53 a.m.    such a blend of silence and light.    this shining quiet.

back when things were different, there were real hunters that walked across this continent. they weren’t hunting for 7 point racks or the biggest on record. there weren’t any tags given to hunt in some sought after, herd-rich stretch of land. there were tribes of people that migrated with the seasons and sat under these same stars. and before them, there were others that did the  same. they didn’t need a global positioning device because they traveled by foot, at the speed of life. they made fires and talked intelligently about what was prevalent; the curve of a well crafted bow, the rains that came early or late, the visions that came to the open-hearted. the love that happened in those days was made upon the ground and the heart of the world knew the heart of the people. when food was scarce, the sign showed on the face of those that had not tracked keenly enough, those whose arrow had missed it’s mark. surely there were years where the animals were less predictable or less available and the humans suffered in turn. black elk painted it all so clearly with one quote, “the gaunt belly truly sharpens the ear.”

and all around the world, each race of humans struggled in a similar fashion. everyone’s roots go back to a time when a fire was light and the earth was a bed. we have so much now. there is clutter in our yard and clutter in our soul. apple will surely make us think last years ipad is obsolete compared to this years. somewhere someone will trade their 100,000 dollar, year-old  car in for this year’s model because the headlights are cooler. i’ll burn gas going to some place that is remote and feel guilty for supporting a practice that’s raping the world. it’s a heavy trip, that’s for sure. this life is a heavy trip.

for the moment (and i can hear the seconds ticking on the analogue clock in the kitchen) i am in the shining quiet. it’s 4:41 a.m. now. i will think about what i can do to live in a way that allows my soul to hover closer to the older ways. maybe i need to go watch the frost roll in. maybe a few moments with the chickadees bouncing around the mint that’s gone to seed. maybe a little closed-mouth, time in the woods where the madrones stand all red and the mushrooms start to sneak around in the soft, loamy shade.