Dogs 2010

LLANO ESTACADO
(1/15/10)


I miss them

those
high plains
of West Texas
where the next
gusting breeze
might bring sand
from unseen dunes
or the smell
of sulfur
from the seeping
oilfields

at times
I could stand there
at my elevation
of six feet
above the expanse
and swear
that I could see
the Earth's
curvature
at the horizon

realistically
the land swells
and undulates
in arid fashion
creating minor
hills and valleys
to gratefully
break up the flatness
and keep the viewer
from sickly visualizing
one slick surface
exposed
to the vagaries
of a threatening
sky

caliche
coyotes
salt flats
taratulas
mesquite
scorpions
sage grass
lease roads
pump jacks
barbed wire
rattlesnakes
prickly pears
storage tanks
tumble weeds
and dry river beds
form the palette
outlines
and accents
of this Permian Basin
tapestry

my home
for ten
of the most
formative years
of youth

the land
only had allure
for those
who grew
up there

outsiders
would shake
their heads
at the forbidding
treeless surroundings
and turn up
their noses
at the unseemly
odors

how
could anyone
live there?

they would ask

it was
our home
and we would laugh
as they left

today
I live
on a verdant
rolling prairie
with actual hills
valleys
rivers
and lakes
and am surrounded
by local folks
who consider
the greenery
and water
as standard

I shake
my head

I know
that one day
I'll return
to those
dry
high plains

I also
know
that I'll
go there
alone