A Year of Small Joys


  Day 1:               Crossing the back yard, warm Bermuda grass around my feet – out to the studio.


  Day 2:               Hot towel against my face – fresh laundry smell.


  Day 3:               Groundsman raking pine needles in slanted sunlight, clearing shaped spaces beneath the trees.


  Day 4:               Bird to fence, sounding off.  Try to spot him hidden there.


  Day 5:               Hard day...     Flattened.    Whipped.     Driving home, James McMurtry comes on the radio –                                                                             Choctaw Bingo, band like a high-speed freight train…. yeah.


  Day 6:             A trawler off-shore, surreal so large, fresh sun illuminating its eastward planes.


  Day 7:                Stepping out the front door, light rain - the first in it seems like months.

                                Sprinkles in my hair.

                                Steady, muted "shsssshhssshhhshssshhh" of the tires on wet pavement as we glide through                                                                              the quiet neighborhood.

                                Asynchronous, sporadic spat of drops on the car roof stopped at the light.

                               Snare drum cadence going through heavier patches.

                               The empty patches.

                                Back and forth.

                               That startling rainbow - huge, radiant, it's southern arc spreading into the ocean on my right.

                                Light like the Old Masters on buildings, hills, sea, mist...

                                Everywhere you turn - beauty.


  Day 8:               Project done.  Days before deadline.


  Day 9:               Crisp ironed shirt.


  Day 10:             Bacon smell wakes me up.      Familiar talk in the kitchen.


  Day 11:              At work, the lightness of knowing vacation starts tomorrow.


  Day 12:             Headin' to the airport.    Rockin' music.   Blue sky.


  Day 13:              Ursa Major a blazing tower on dark horizon.  An hour before dawn in the western islands.


  Day 14:              Open my eyes in bed, motionless.  Sky and ocean.  Lines and lines and lines of waves rolling in.


  Day 15:               Scrambling eggs and making hash browns.  Sea breeze blowing in.


  Day 16:                Jungle trail run.  Red dirt.  Chickens.  Mulch.


  Day 17:                 Salt air.


  Day 18:                 Market in the morning.  No destination.  For days.


  Day 19:                 Wavesound.


  Day 20:                 Hot tub.  Pacific in my eyes.


  Day 21:                 Jagged island mountain, jade misted.


  Day 22:                 Everybody in the kitchen.  Everybody.  Cooking and talking.


  Day 23:                Hike the jungle trail -- to the point bluff -- sweating.


  Day 24:                Hanalei pier...swingin' my feet...sippin' my beer.


  Day 25:                Banded ocean

                                   Purpled ultramarine, aqua green, and blue again

                                   Transparent unbelievable tourquise

                                   Sandy bottom


  Day 26:                Yellow leaves on wet asphalt


  Day 27:                Familiar things


  Day 28:                Shampoo lather patterns  on the shower floor


  Day 29:                Dog running along the roadside path


  Day 30:                 Blue mustang, coast highway


  Day 31:                That pothole fixed

                                   Good sunglasses


  Day 32:                 Spicy fragrance of pepper trees on this hot afternoon


  Day 33:                 Gazing straight up

                                     At a pale morning half moon

                                     A bird bisects the sky


  Day 34:                 Shaggy ponies, stable smell


  Day 35:                 Middle of the night, dreamy awareness of rain

                                    Spattered music on the roof and around the yard


  Day 36:                 Email queue cleared!


  Day 37:                 James McMurtry singing "Just Us Kids"


  Day 38:                Mid-morning run

                                   In and out of cool shady stretches

                                   Crunch sound - crossing dry pine needles

                                   Snare drum sound on sandy pavement

                                   Push-broom sound crossing grass


  Day 39:               That old man and his pushcart

                                   Walking two old dogs in the morning

                                   Sometimes one dog rides

                                   Sometimes the other

                                   Sometimes both


  Day 40:                See the train in the station, loading passengers and soon to go.


  Day 41:                Doves perched shoulder-to-shoulder along the raised arm of the traffic light

                                   Arrayed like spectators as the morning swirls under them 


  Day 42:               Wet pavement smell


  Day 43:                Walking up the gravel road after rain


  Day 44:                 Long, quiet ride.  Just driving.


  Day 45:                The ponies flank-to-flank, leaning on each other,

                                    Eyeing me walking up the driveway to get the paper.

                                    Waiting on the neighbor girl to come feed them.


  Day 46:                  Not having run out of milk in the morning


  Day 47:                  Train a'comin


  Day 48:                   Dog footprints in tar...a trail weaving along the sidewalk


  Day 49:                   Down the Grapevine, the 99 appears

                                      A glittering, golden compass needle that splits the night straight north


  Day 50:                   A new grandson asleep on my right


  Day 51:                 Oatmeal with almond slivers and brown sugar


  Day 52:                  Up early on a day you don't have to be,

                                      leaning on the kitchen counter, sipping coffe, boys waking up.


  Day 53:                  Squadrons of quail sprinting across the road


  Day 54:                  Waking up deep in the night, in the middle hours,

                                      rolling over, and back...comfortable that hours remain.


  Day 55:                   Bad poetry sucks.  But, taken as an impulse, not as poetry, even bad poetry is ok.


  Day 56:                   The sound of tires moving across smooth pavement still wet after rain - 

                                      a soft, slow and steady exhalation---hhzhzzzzzhzzzzzzhzzzzzzz


  Day 57:                   Precise line of the garden hose in parabolic arc across the lawn.


  Day 58:                   Saturday morning breakfast at my favorite home town cafe.


  Day 59:                   A slight variation in routine.


  Day 60:                   Plenty of light in the bathroom after replacing the bulbs.


  Day 61:                   Taking an alternate rout to work.


  Day 62:                    Cruising quietly down mainstreet before business opens doors,

                                       a solitary seagull gliding at 20 feet.

                                       Head-on and centered perfectly between the buildings,

                                       aligned with the midstripe...like a jetliner landing.


  Day 63:                    Hand watering the lantanas, catching all five bushes in a single arc of spray.


  Day 64:                    A shiny red Camaro in front of me at the light

                                       Bright as the morning.


  Day 65:                     Up and out earlier than usual -

                                        Different walkers on the street, different runners

                                        Different sky.


  Day 66:                     Dog riding shotgun in the car next to mine smiles at me as they pass by.


  Day 67:                     Do-it-yourself replacement of that bad tail light on the Ford.


  Day 68:                      Every once in a while in the midst of work turmoil, pausing...remembering,

                                         recognizing this is small stuff.


  Day 69:                      Guy at the bus stop in the morning doing knee bends while waiting for the bus.


  Day 70:                       That day-starting glass of water – cold, lemon, refreshing.


  Day 71:                        Running an old familiar trail for the first time in a long time.  Fresh again.


  Day 72:                        A cleared desk.


  Day 73:                         Catching all the green lights.


  Day 74:                          Doing a grade 3 hill with Runner's Legs.


  Day 75:                          The paint.  Right hue, transparency and viscosity.  The right brush stroke in the right place.