Archive for February 2013

Daybreak on the Sand Dunes   Leave a comment

Sun pulls away from craggy rim, and pours herself into dawn’s shadowed pan
Purple sky ripens to blue
And cool slabs of darkness slide upslope
Snugging beneath brushy mesquite, slipping into sleepy rodent holes.


Yin and Yang lace their fingers on scalloped edge of sloping dunes,
Entranced by sand-track dramas—food chain mandalas—scripted at their feet.
 A Death Valley sunrise is generous with her gifts.


Posted February 26, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Anticipating Spring   4 comments

Winter has been unseasonably dry here in Western Oregon; puddles that would normally be spangled with raindrops wait on sidewalks in tranquil stillness. Human residents aren’t complaining, but frogs and salamanders might be wishing for more water-drenched habitat. There’s a strong sense of spring in the atmosphere, and I can hardly wait for our first wildflowers!

Old bridge green with moss

Leafless limbs tangled in sky

Meet in reflection

Posted February 22, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Morgan   Leave a comment


It is said that one of humankind’s most basic needs is to feel acknowledged, to know that we truly matter in the world.  According to Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist teacher, each of us could change the world by simply (and genuinely) stating the following mantra to our friends and loved ones: “Dear One, I know you are here, and it makes me very happy”.

Yesterday—a tender day in our household—was the one-year anniversary marking the death of our furry & best friend Morgan, who lived by that mantra from puppy-hood through her elder years.  Her wagging tail and bounding body made it known to us that we were her favorite companions on the planet, whether for Frisbee games or for countless investigative walks along the forest trail.  Morgan was a border collie of the gentle persuasion, tending towards timidity and caution, but even so, intense in her desire to “work”:  fetching soggy tennis balls any- and everywhere, and leading us on hikes, never letting any of her human herd stray too far behind. Morgan’s unhidden, unconditional acceptance of “her people” day after day for over 14 years filled our hearts and fed our souls.  And she managed to transform our lives without a particle of pride or expanded ego; she simply lived thoroughly in the moment and absorbed us completely into her doggie heart.  For all of those moments she lived so well, we will remember and treasure her forever. Cheers, Morgan! May your days be filled with rawhide bones, sandy beaches, grassy hillsides, and, of course, our remembered spirits tossing Frisbees to the far reaches of heaven’s horizons.

We will miss you always.


Posted February 20, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Personification   Leave a comment

A couple of months ago, I decided to focus on a specific color in the forest so I could play with it in first person. Fall had passed, spring was still dormant, so I selected the often-ignored “drab green” as my subject.  Suddenly this little color grew in stature and value.  Please join me in welcoming this muted and under-appreciated hue of the artist’s palette to the first annual Color Reunion:


Hello, everyone. I’m dull olive green, the drab and dreary color you all voted “most likely NOT to succeed” when we graduated from the color wheel. Remember me?

Right after we all sprang from the wheel, I headed out of town and aimed straight for the forest floor, where—and I’m not bragging here—I became the color of the day!

Salamanders and slugs, pond turtles and frogs, lichens and toadstools all lined up to meet me: they couldn’t wait to display my murky hue.


In fact, I’ve been named the Pigment of Protection because my carefully crafted blend captures the very essence of camouflage. Over the years, I’ve magically become a ubiquitous un-color, the antithesis of the rest of you, my friends.

Before I leave to touch up the feathers of a nesting mallard hen, I just wanted you to know that, even though I won’t attend another reunion, I’m pretty sure you’ll see me again.  For I’ll probably serve as your usher to the next world, accompanied by my colleagues, Mildew, Mold, Death and Decay. It’s a profession that captures my soul in a profound and meaningful way.

I hope you continue to enjoy your glow and brilliance, whether you’ve been chosen to decorate vibrant spring flowers, best-selling book jackets, or the flash of fall foliage.  As you’ve guessed, your bold pigments will ironically yield to my quiet ones as you merge from this world to the next. We’ll catch up while you dissolve into the soil next time we meet. Until then!


Posted February 17, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Bitter Gulch Junction   Leave a comment

Death Valley National Park became my home from July through September last year, the most sizzling and stark 12 weeks I’ve ever experienced. The stunning thrust-faults, expansive alluvial fans, huge sky, relentless sun, and hardy plants and wildlife are forever seared into my memory.  On my days off from national park duties, I visited trails and towns to become better acquainted with my desert neighborhood.  Following is a verse that captures the feel of several towns I befriended during the summer of 2012 .


Bitter Gulch Junction
A town
Flattened and dried by pounding sun,
Its thready pulse and dull-skinned face
smudging the crossroads where two highways meet
Dirt-colored horses bite brittle grass
in the shade of the old Café,
whose broken blinds blink toward
sharp-slanted hills, radiant yellows banded with brown,
hatching ponderously from
cracked desert ground
Museum’s fresh white coat gives folks
small blush of hope, while spinning leaves
scratch soft sighs along unnamed streets,
just whispered melodies,
in this once-jangling, once-booming town
where gold and music no longer meet

Posted February 15, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Winter Web   Leave a comment

Dedicated to Ana and Annie, whose sparkle shines

through the generations

web number 2

Soft globes of dew pull

spider’s basket out of dark

cool oblivion

Posted February 7, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,