Spring in the Time of COVID-19

Water gushes over Shoshone Falls

and rock chucks loll in the sun,

oblivious to the stay-at-home order

for the coronavirus

or that ordinary people

are not neighbors

but potential carriers

who scuttle into grocery stores

with masks and gloves

darting down one aisle

and then back

to avoid contamination

by other humans.

All the while–

daffodils bloom

birds come back

and hyacinths wear

Easter pastels.

On North Carolina

the slow drawl of “hi, y’all”

heavy, humid air

collard greens, barbecue

random burial spots

kudzu vine, spongy grass

turtles creep and slide

abandoned homes

roadside swamps

kinfolk everywhere

trashy trailers, tailgaters

mansions next to shacks

“Yes, ma’am. No, ma’am.”

standing water, body odor

winter pansies, roadkill deer

cranes and herons, hawks


Idaho Notebook: September

Hidden Lakes

Profusions of goldenrod

adorn the road to Centennial Park.

Clouds circle the sun, a feathery swirl–

windy gusts hint of impending snow.

Hummingbirds abandon the backyard feeder—

and gnats haunt the evening cool.

We, like elk, hunker down and wait.

Perrine Bridge
Sunset at Dierkes Lake
Autumn comfort

Sabbath Grace

I bow my head and take the sacred bread,

asking for mercy, forgiveness

for the angry retort that slipped my lips.

Carefully, I raise the vessel,

sipping and remembering

his bitter cup and staggering sacrifice

that ransomed us not only from eternal death

but from thoughtless acts and careless slights,

having faith that he will abundantly pardon

my stubborn heart, my pride

in thinking I know what’s best,

my lapses and rationalizations,

and pray for grace upon each dear loved one,

happy that my stains and theirs are blotted out,

the spatters and spots wiped away,

our souls shiny clean,

thanks to Him who did not sin.

Idaho Notebook: February

Leaves in winter

A lone picnic table sits amid dirty piles of snow.

Mini-glaciers line roads and crowd parking lots.

Snow weary citizens emerge from heated homes

as the sun burns through slate gray shroud.

Black birds teeter atop a wind-whipped maple,

like Congressmen trying to keep their balance

in Washington’s blustery blasts.

Dierkes Lake
Snowy Day

Idaho Notebook: January

back from southern holidays

church cancelled for ice and freezing rain; work begins again

evergreens sag, releasing snowy burdens

the tips of last year’s corn stalks poke through whitened fields

dogs plow paths from pen to house

oh, to be a turtle in her shell

Snake River in Winter
Walrus Tusks
Going Home

Idaho Notebook: November


Forlorn Halloween pumpkins.

Leaf silhouettes against a slate gray sky.

Hint of rosemary snatched by the wind.

Towering elms capped in blackbirds.

Red nose. Cold toes. 

Gleaning squirrels.

Quiet expectancy.

Thankfulness for Christ the Lord.


Idaho Notebook: October

yellow leaves on tree

Autumn in Idaho: genteel, civil, illusory.


Trees parade burnished hues.


Spiders spin furiously, festooning trees and sending webs floating on the breeze.


Harried leaves skitter across the street; some stick to a wire fence, hundreds of tiny hand prints; others join a pile in the corner.


In this health-conscious world, bags of candy line the grocery shelves.


Jack Frost visits and leaves dangle, black and damaged; flowers droop and shrivel.


Do you think good surprises outweigh the bad surprises in life?


birds against clifftree tunnelfall bitter brushelm beetles (2)

To My Friend Leslee

family on boat - editedSometimes I yearn for one more day at the lake,
the wind whipping my hair,
throttle wide open,
half standing, my leg braced on the seat,
190 horsepower leaping forward, planing out.

Do you remember Andrew throwing
our puppy into the lake (he was teaching her to swim)?
Or Andrew playing with baby snakes in the shallows—
they were probably rattlers?
Or Dee and Joe doing “the Locomotion”
barefoot on the deck?
Or later, when Dee hadn’t gone for years,
and he defiantly sat on the beach and read?

Or what about the icy tingle in our armpits
when we jumped into Lucky Peak in June?
Or scrubbing duck doo doo off docks at Lake Lowell?
Or a passel of children—yours and mine—
who could play all day in the sand?
Or the upswell of joy as we skimmed across the waves
with reckless abandon?

Oh, for one more day filled with the
coconutty scent of sunscreen,
of chattering baby voices
and suntanned teenage bodies,
for the summer sun burning our backs until
it was a pleasure to jump into the frigid water,
for shared adventure, the elixir of friendship,
and water smooth as a glass slipper.

Grace: Hope Beyond Hope


Masking ruthless aggression

with pink-blushed flowers,

morning glory thrives

in sun or shade,

in flower beds, farmlands,

fields, and ravines;

reproduces from roots,

rhizomes, stems, or seeds;

revives after decades of

lying lifeless underground;

and is eradicated only by constant

smothering and spraying.

Likewise, our most persistent sins,

clad in clever rationalizations,

must be overcome

by unremitting applications

of faith and prayer

and continuous suffusions

of atoning grace.