animals, Just bitchin', poem

Windwalkers

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Bounced awake at 3 a.m. by feline urgency.

Pet-propelled, I follow the meowing fur-alert to the door.

Open it.

Wind.

But not our wind.

Not native to a northern clime.

This is a wind from the south, spiced with cinnamon and roses.

Santa Ana, the Witch’s Wind.

It reaches deep into our DNA.

Barefoot and pad-pawed, we walk into the primal.

The wind has claimed this night for the naked and the mad.

Blood surges.

Reason departs.

We hunt.

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image:Night Wind from flickr.com

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Just bitchin'

Northwest Winter Gifts

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At the stormiest of times, clouds can part…

…revealing an unexpected vista of stars so thick they seem to coalesce, to gather like swathes of gauze against purest black.

This celestial beauty spreads before you, mesmerizing until…

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…a streak of fire jolts you from your reverie.

Did you really see it? Maybe not…

…but then another

and another

and yet again

and more.

A shower of fire, frost-kissed, utterly silent, lances across the sky.

Each one worth a wish.

You wonder if you’re the only person stargazing on such a night. Normal people are indoors, sheltering against the cold.

You are no longer in a hurry. You no longer grumble about the long walk from the garage.

Because the winter night has gifts to give.

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Just bitchin'

Suddenly Strange

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This morning there were bats silhouetted against ragged clouds tinted moon-orange.

Such eerie beauty catches your breath. When you remember to inhale, you breathe in the change that is gathering in the dark. This is the time of year when worlds collide…

…when the separation between superstition and logic thins, perforates, lifts…

…when it is rumored the faerie kingdom is on the move, changing venue for another year…

…when ethereal things solidify…

…when the current of strange energy that few can perceive, flares bright.

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It’s candy and costumes and masked balls. It’s opening your door to strangers and taking risks.

It’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach that wavers between terror and anticipation. It’s the small hairs on your neck rising. It’s the fleeting image of something pale gibbering in the corner of your eye.

You are haunted.

You love it.

Happy Halloween…

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Just bitchin', poem

Cougar

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She is slinky.

She is of indeterminate age.

She prowls the night with avid eyes, searching for something to satisfy her hunger.

Glimpse her from the corner of your eye, and a sense of danger flicks your instincts to life.

She is watching.

You are wary.

In the shadows, tawny fur…tawny eyes connect with yours.

Noise and music and safety is a scant ten yards away.

No one will believe this.

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The Magic of the Night…

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Christmas Day is lovely.
Can’t argue with that.

But the night before is what steals my breath and makes me believe in magic. When you’ve outgrown Santa, when you’ve made the conscious decision to relegate to the rear mad shopping, stress and the frantic pace, what is left is the sheer beauty of the season.

For me nothing showcases that unique splendor like a fine, clear, cold night. Dark. Deserted. Lit with splendor.

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I wander unfamiliar neighborhoods and find elaborate displays. Extravagant creations glittering in the night….

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Sparkling abundance paying silent homage….

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But I linger longest before the simple presentations.

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Their elegant purity touches the heart. They do not shout. They whisper.

This is the night before the Day. This is the anticipation of the celebration of something extraordinary.

Merry Christmas…

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The Vapor Dancers

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Leonardo Da Vinci was fascinated by the changes night could bring.

He walked the streets at dusk, marveling at the beauty of the human face when bathed in twilight’s special grace. There was a muted loveliness denied the harsh illumination of the day.

It has always been so.

Things change at night. Stranger sights and seeming secrets feel freer to move among us. It’s one reason I follow Leonardo’s example, wandering after sunset, hoping to stumble upon lesser-known magic as it goes about its nightly routine.

But I never expected the Vapor Dancers.

I don’t know if this is a subculture or a single occurrence. I don’t know if they are called by another name, but to me…Vapor Dancers.

You’ll find them when the hour is late and the street deserted.

You’ll find them where plumes and columns of steam rise from manhole covers and vents.

The first one emerged from shadow, making a soundless way to the center of the street. Diaphanous fabric floated from her waist, pale and grey as fog. To the music of distant sirens, she approached the pillar of vapor where it escaped the city’s substructure, drifting upward as the breeze sculpted it into pleats and folds. Her arms rose in graceful imitation.

And then began what I can only call a dance.

Moving in silent harmony with the steam, she made it her partner. Then another, and another, and one more appeared, echoing the first’s performance.

But no city street is deserted for long. The dance lasted until a cab turned the corner, the sharp beams of its headlights interrupting, scattering, dispersing both dancers and steam.

I left, too. It was late, and this wasn’t my world. I was just a visitor who’d been treated to something strange and hauntingly beautiful.

Leonardo would have loved it.

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The Drive Home

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She walks along the brink,
a land of moon-washed stones
and white-lipped currents.
Whispers hang over the water.
She inhales their damp,
dark call.

This late, only one car passes.

She is framed in his rearview mirror,
for a moment
at the edge.
Odd, he thinks, that someone
is there.
On the cliff.
So late.

He spares another glance.
The mirror reflects her absence.
But it’s late,
and dark,
and he doesn’t think
she’ll mind
if someone else finds
the body.

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