Knotholes scar the broad boards of the faded fence,
like age spots on a weathered face
framed by funky hot pink bangs
of bougainvilla blooms.
Knotholes cheapen lumber for builders
but enrich it for me.
Knotholes are cross-sections of joints,
Reminders of branches that used to be
Buttresses for birds’ nests,
Byways for squirrels, and
Beds for raccoons.
Knotholes record, in the grooves of their rings,
The soundtracks of chipmunks, owls, wrens, ravens, and jays--
Lifetimes in squabble and song
Playing silently on.
Knotholes are signs of outgrowth, and so of Life--
The life of the tree, the lives of each of its denizens,
The lives of we who inhaled its Invisible gifts.
They signify the whole of the ever-giving tree.
Knotholes are not holes but
Dry fields sticker with foxtails and burrs.
Hot air buzzes thick with wasps.
Red poison oak bushes rage out of hard-packed ground.
Starving deer hem skirts of sharp-leafed oak.
Wilted wildflowers relinquish more color each day.
Hard to tread there without getting stuck or stung.
Hard to reach out there and not get a rash in return.
Hard to feel peace there when life is not getting its fill.
A year and an hour away, in rising light,
Seafoam laces the edge of a silver cove.
The ocean supports the present seekers who wait
Above or upon its surface, knowing the day
Will tender its gifts. Six surfers sit and gaze
Toward distant ripples likely to transform to waves;
Four seagulls hover, scanning for sparkles of fish;
Two sailboats rest on the glass, awaiting a breeze.
On the bluff, a climbing vine that has outgrown its trellis
Clambers over a weathered roof, lifting unopened blooms
To the fog-dampened, fostering light of the coastal sun.