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The drums of October announce
the annual opening of the war,
as booming air cannons roar,
battling the descending hoards.
A seasonal invasion, attacking
from out of the air, robbers
and greedy thieves of wing,
Ravens, Crows and Starlings.
In their vast multitudes,
nearly darkening the sky.
Ravagers of the vines,
competing for and feasting
on the soon to be harvested,
tender grapes of Pinot Noir.

Fruit orbs destined never to
be hand picked, bottled, grace
the inside of a delicate stemmed
glass, or the palate of a human being.

The birds, connoisseurs of the grape
too, I assume. Who's to say who
deserves them the most? A disputed
question for sure. As it shall be again
next year.
The Bane of existence for the
vineyards in the hills around
my farm, every year air cannons
boom out to try to hold the invasion
at bay. Only partly succeeding.
The starlings even stay late to feast
on the grapes before migrating South.
Twice I have witnessed their massed
departure, thousands bunched in
tight formation, moving as one,
a remarkable sight to behold.
The whole world has PTSD,
brought about by watching
far too much TV.
Normal people becoming
neurotic or psychotic
by all the "Breaking  News".

Talking heads spewing fearful
endless chapters of dread,
all with their own ax to grind
into our heads, day after day
after day until we want to scream.
Real news or fake, impossible
to know the difference.

A political landscape strewn with
landmines of division and hate.
Melting Ice, and adverse weather,
hurricanes and tornadoes devastate
and forest fires burn, as racists and
terrorists abound at every turn,
and crazy's with military weapons
killing us for sport, just to make
the nightly news, as our nation's
infrastructures crumble into ruins,
all "Breaking News day and night",
while we and the world choke and
quiver from an excessive Carb diet
of information overload, trying to
sleep bathed in bad dreams, laced
with too many strong doses of PTSD.
When is enough, enough,
the saturation point reached?
We've no choice but to disconnect,
Stop letting all that stuff into our
heads. Switch off and take a walk,
hunker down with a good book,
tend the garden, hug our kids,
learn that less is more. But make
sure come next election, there is
a Political reckoning and a White
House cleaning and fumigation rendered.
He was a run of the mill
Black and white cat,
a kitten adopted out
of a cardboard box,

Took him home, fed him well,
he soon claimed our barn as
his own place to dwell.

Grew big and fat from eating
rat, roaming the farm from his
home in the barn.

I installed a pet door in the
garage as winter approached,
soon three Barn cats, including
Jerry moved right in, sleeping
all warm and winter content.

Jerry a Super Ninja cat,
hunter extraordinaire,
every day rodent or bird
remains laid at my door.
As Homage or proof
of his hunting prowess.
Unlike the other cats
he was indifferent to the
need of human affection,
aloof and independent.

But as he aged he was not
adverse to claiming my lap,
purring so loud other people
could hear him from a distance,
drooling while purring,
creating small drool puddles
on my pants before leaving.

He came when I called him,
or when I fired up the barbecue,
He was a feline opportunist.

Jerry was the king of his domain,
strolling the property with regal
impunity. A feline of distinction,
Battle scared from doing his duty.
We all loved him for the guardian
friend he was.

It has been over a month now,
Jerry has completely disappeared,
after being on the job for seven years
never straying or missing.

Taken I surmise by some predator
of wing or foot. We searched and called
but he never returned.

Life's cycle can be cruel, but it's
the order of things. Jerry cat
will be sorely missed.
First my pet mallard male
duck Don of five years taken.
Now Jerry perhaps the same fate,
each a loved friend mourned.
Only animals you say, no not only.
At times I wish I was a
dolphin free swimming
and frolicking in the sea,
in the convivial company
of others just like me.
Free of debt or strife,
wars and the endless prattle
of human beings, who think
themselves so very supreme
over all other living things.

If only wishes could come true.
If only we Humans could
be at peace in our habitat
as other creatures are in
theirs. We giving too much
thought to everything,
while ignoring pure instincts
of our own animal common sense.
She came to the farm a shy stray,
hid in the woodshed for days.
Food and water left for her
keeping her alive. In time though
very nervous, little by little
keeping some distance, upon
the porch she climbed.

After a month she ascended
a chair next to mine, where
in the spring sunshine we two
set side by side. Not touching
or speaking just biding our time.

One day she reached out a paw
placing it on my knee, politely
asking permission to step onto
my lap.  Her fear overridden
by the need for companionship.

She prefers to remain mostly
outside, but everyday she comes
to my door and with outreached
front paws she frantically scratches
up and down on the glass.
I feed her then feeling safe she sleeps
awhile on the back of the couch,
eventually seeking gentle
permission to sit upon my lap,
on a soft blanket kept just for her.

She purrs with contentment all the while,
taking cat naps now and then, as I
stroke and caress her head and chin,
occasionally opening her sparkling grey
eyes to study my face, as if to be reassured
it's me touching her and that I'm still there.

In her eyes if that is not devoted love  
and gratitude I see looking back at me,
I don't know what else it could possibly be.
Even my dog is under her spell, If I do not let
her right in when she comes to the glass door
he will pace and annoy me until I let "his" cat
friend in. Our animal companions own us
we do not own them. She also leaves a fresh
dispatched rodent of some kind or other on
my welcome mat, paining her dues I guess.


Whenever the dog and I go for a walk in the
orchard or even out to the road to get the mail
she always appears to accompany us. When in
the house, she follows me from room to room
as if to make sure I don't disappear. Lucky are
we all to have found one another.
Walked the Orchard this morn,
my dog and two barn cats in tow,
the sun brilliantly aglow,
comforting whispers
of westerly breezes,
the air wonderfully pristine'.

Sat for a while out front in the sun,
watching clouds morphing to recognizable
forms. The valley orchards and crops below
resplendently dressed in striking multi shades
of green. Further east Cascade Peaks remain
crested in blankets of snow. . .
Beauty all, to humble the soul.

Home on the farm with family, is everything.
Why travel afar to lands I've previously been,
to revisit sights already seen and recorded within?

Why would I indeed, when everything
I love and need resides only steps away,
right here where the spirit of
this land dwells deep within me?

When I die, I wish my ashes spread
here among these orchard trees.
In death, perhaps nurturing life.
What stunning Head Stones
these trees will be.

Perhaps my soul will linger forever
walking these orchard rows with
my dog and two old barn
cats eternally, faithfully in tow.

If that is not heaven what is?
Tranquility found and shared.
Another brief moment in time,
written down and recorded.
We are but caretakers for a time,
though deed in hand, no one truly
owns land, we are at best transient
stewards, hopefully leaving it better
than we found it.
From opposite sides
of the valley,
in straight rows
marching, the
brave lads came on,
flags unfurled and
fluttering, as bugles
and drums did sound,

The cannons roared
and smoke did shroud
the grassy killing field,

The boys cut down like
summer wheat in heaps
upon the ground.

Their Uniforms of Blue or
Grey becoming all the same,
turned to crimson Red upon
that lurid blood soaked field.
In respectful acknowledgement
of all the fallen. in all the far too
many wars, no matter the color
of the uniforms they wore.
Gettysburg; The Civil War
July 1863
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