by Sharmagne Leland-St. John
I rue these chilly mornings
when the leaves rustle in the trees, pop,
then cover the mossy ground with rainbows.
When the salmon rise to catch the fly
the last hatch of summer
and I know I must soon be going home to California
where there are no seasons other than
earthquake, fire, flood, drought and riot.
Where I'll sorely miss the snow-capped glaciers
the plein air backdrop to my everyday summer life
the lake and river dotted landscapes
I have come to cherish.
The farmland's derelict barns
reminiscent of the colourful jigsaw
picture puzzles spread out
on our oak dining room table
month after month
year after year
when I was a child
in a small Quaker town
with streets named after
our founding fathers.
A child raised in a city with
the only grass, the lawns at school
or at Penn Park
No fields of alfalfa,
no rich pasture lands,
no meandering trout streams.
just an Arroyo Seco to remind us
of where water once abundantly flowed.
Was it a longing in my DNA memory,
a déja vu or race remembrance
that made me fall in love with
the land of my ancestral birth
the pine forests
the tumbleweed prairies
east of the mountains
the whaling villages on The Puget Sound?
Or was the love potion
just the easy laid back
days of summer
and the frog-song filled evenings
lulling me into easy sleep
each balmy summer night?