It is somewhere between midnight and dawn. I am watching the tall pines do a subtle dance in a strong breeze. Their roots sink into the world and their crowns reach up for the heavens, for the stars. How, I wonder, did I ever earn this beauty?
Sunshine on sunshine, it builds up like snow, the light growing deeper and brighter throughout the day. To live in the big valley is to know light. Moving across this flat land, I try to keep my westward travels in the morning, and save the east for the evening, keeping the sun at my back. Feet upon the valley. Eyes upon the sky.
This valley is like gold to me. Putah Creek and Cache Creek are golden, the Sacramento River also is golden. There is gold in the clods of dirt, the earth of the valley floor is itself made of the purest gold. Don’t take me literally. I can be a fool, I mean that my love of the place where I make my home is my reward in life. To be one with the land is to be whole, is to be complete. I am just a man, but I belong. I do belong.
The scent of rain, the scent of pine. The light of a winter day when the clouds break and sunshine blesses the crisp, cold air. The sound of my cane tapping the ground with every step. Walking this valley on a chilly morning. Midwinter.
My hair is turning white, starting at the bottom and slowly working its way up. Baldness is creeping in as well, starting at the top and working its way down. My head needs a traffic signal to keep some terrible accident at bay. Isn’t life funny? Sometimes I think I can hear the laughter from the studio audience.
Autumn has arrived like a passenger who got on the wrong train. He fumbles with his baggage as he stumbles into the station, tired and lost. Even the geese passing overhead slow down for a moment and feel some pity for him as they hurry south. The compassion of geese. By the station door, some stubborn leaves blow around in a circle, there's no reasoning with them. None of this has happened, of course; this is just the kind of autumn it is. After writing this I will put my pencil down and take a walk through the fallen leaves like a child.
September began with a morning breeze that slipped through my open window as if to tickle me awake, and so it did, one quick tickle at a time.
—James Lee Jobe
Thanks for your hot sauce of poetry today, James Lee Jobe, bringing us into autumn—and enjoy your walk through the fallen leaves (one of many, I hope).
Tonight is the 916 Ink benefit, Hot Literary Nights, at 3310 37th Avenue in Sacramento. Tickets are from $75-$125. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
—Medusa, celebrating poetry
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