Sunday, November 3, 2019

Without Winter

Without winter
how would we know spring?
How would we know the delight
of the first bud of the rose,
or the sighting of a robin
at the break of day?

How would we know 
that we climbed out of the drudge
that winter holds?
That we have been transformed
from our underworld dive?

Without winter in our soul
how would we feel renewed by love,
by the awakening of sleepy cells 
that long ago remained unchanged?

How would we know if we
passed through hell 
to come out healed?
How would we know 
what healing is?

Without the depths of our journey
How would we know we arrived?

Without winter
how would we remember
that not a spring comes by 
without its promise of renewal,
its soft colors,
enchanting breeze,
its welcoming silence, setting the stage
for that first sign of relief?

Beneath the Surface

Beneath the surface
a firefighter reflects,
even cries.
They did it — they didn’t let the fire
spread beyond 101.
They were not going to repeat
what happened two years ago.
They were not going to
let this one kill more people and
burn thousands of homes.
Beneath the surface
even though 77,000 acres burned,
they succeeded.

Beneath the surface
the new CEO of PG&E gets a
2.5 million dollar salary.
What if that money went to
update equipment, poles,
put wires underground?

Beneath the surface we pay our 
electric bill by flashlight.

Beneath the surface
no matter how many households
had their electricity shut off
a single jumper on a tower broke
and set off a spark
that seems to have started it all.

Beneath the surface
I’m exhausted from carrying around 
all my valuables in and out of my car
for four days.
Bad air still hurts my lungs,
I had to cancel my class and now
I’m in bed with a cold.
I blew a fuse last night.
Did they turn our power off again?
No, I still see light in the next room,
but how that thought sent panic
through my body.

Above the surface
we’ll get past this one. 
Friends will help friends
and life will go on.

But beneath the surface
we are living powerless to the wind,
in fear of flames
and always knowing what we will pack
the next time around.