Lookout Poems.

Fire Lookout from helicopter.

Fire Lookout from helicopter.

I worked for six summers on fire lookout towers in northern British Columbia. This solitary existence was in turn ecstatic, enlightening and excruciatingly painful. I was faced daily with the reality of who I really am. As the constant sensory input of urban life faded away everything that was buried under my city armor came floating to the surface. Item by item had to be faced and resolved. This was the painful and humbling time. When all of this struggle was over the ecstasy of being absorbed by nature overwhelmed my days – I became empty, and filled with nothing but the beautiful neutrality of forest, sky and mountain.

The following writings are some of my thoughts and feelings during those unforgettable summers:

through wanting to know, I look.

through wanting to look, I see.

through seeing once

I anticipate twice.

through confirmation

of anticipation

I am lost in my dream.


the singing silence of the mountain,

the silent singing of this man

are but single notes

moving through the magic,


as all notes sing

through eternal silence.


between us tonight

only the silent singing

of the summer wind.


Singing to magic I open my arms to embrace her.

I fly through the wind, fishing for angels.

I am joined to my body by tenuous filaments

and cannot remember the name

that defines me.

Voices call from forest and rock

as I rise through vapors and pollen,

through clouds of faces

who have kissed or cursed

I embrace the sad clown of my life,

my child self, my lover, my mystery.

Opening more each day,

reaching for surrender,

my heart is washed with tears and

I am lifted and creased

by towering waves of sadness.

The dam bursts

carrying me, a helpless babe,

doubled and sobbing

into the crystal waters

of sleep.

I hear the drums

and the chanting of mothers.

I hear the spirits of trees

whisper and call.

I remember the music

that swells inside.

But when I sleep in the bed

of the Great Spirit

there is nothing but silence.

Inside and outside become one,

flesh dissolves into spinning atoms of light and

I am resolved,

I am whole.

As a bird I shall sail the sky.

I shall be Walowtah, cloud maiden.

I shall be Lowechah, the eagle.

I shall be proud.

As proud as the tall pine.

As proud as the voices of mothers.

As proud as the beater of drums.

Hands blur on painted skin,

feet pound the dry earth,

hot blood surges and

serpents uncoil and

rise through my spine.

Proudly I move to the drum.

I am a dancer and warrior.

My spirit as straight and true

as the feathered arrow.

Close to the earth, my mother.

Close to the sky, my father.

I understand the song you sing

from the stars to the deepest caverns of my heart

nothing will darken the light

that burns within me.

I walk this world proudly

and in beauty.



the light,


rising crystal in the sign of clarity.

he gives thanks

to his mountain home

kneeling in the mossy duff.

he gives thanks, but

autumn smells remind

this empty hermit of cities,

the touch of others, and

the sound of his own voice.


Peak over peak,

Wrinkled lake,

Only squirrels come.

I am content.


The mountains were nodding yes

a million years

before you asked the question.


Last night a star fell

catching in the hair

of a small fir.

I saw it this morning

flashing in the early sun,

held forever in the memory

of its own beauty.


Wrecked on the greasy iceberg

of this tumbledown town

I am cowmoosed frightened

by my helicopter heart.


The mountain I take off this September

Will fit well enough next spring.

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