Tag Archives: Berry

Jack Jump Down Twice (day 2125)

Jumpin juniper berries
Did I ever tell you about the
Hot rocks in the Devil’s Pass
Down South along Whiskey Gorge?
Oh boy oh boy those rocks
I tell ya
Had me jumping half way down that gorge
Didn’t miss a jump
But sure did scare ol Franny
Boy oh boy
She was hollering after me
And the echo of her hollerin’
Had the whole gorge a’shakin’
And me a jumpin
Oh boy oh boy
Those hot rocks down South!

Nubian-Ibex watercolour painting by Ned Tobin

Bill Xavier Walters (day 2083)

You know, last night
I was walking through the briar patch
Thick as a skunks tail it was
And there before me was a glowing patch
Of juniper berries
I kid you not!
Juniper berries!
So I dug and I tugged
And I squeezed and I slid
I bent and I stretched
Until I made it through that prickly ol patch
And beheld those junipers
And boy did they taste good!
Sure is a change to the worms and beetles
And fiddleheads I’ve been finding
I sat right down and ate each juniper berry
One by one, plucked off the branch
Until they were all gone
And as I dug and tugged
And squeezed and slid
And bent and stretched my way out of there
Guess if I had a smile on my face or not?

Moon at Midnight – Part VI (day 1980)

(part V)

As my footsteps changed slope from uphill to downhill
I crested into a new valley
It was a particularly notable valley cresting
For the view I was afforded stretched from tip to bow
At the far end I could see a tail of smoke rising steady
Hovering for some time at the cloud line
Making its ever looming presence felt
As I looked down and stepped between the pebbles
Dodging in and out of the single-path trail I had been following.

My memory floated back to a woman I once had known
A woman whose smile touched the very essence of a man
Changing him instantly to a friend, forever
I had last seen her walking out of the tack store
In preparation to depart with a fresh pack of jerky
And enough rice to keep me a while,
She had asked where I was off to
And I told her what had honestly come to mind
I shared with her my dream of this land
With leaves the size of a horses head
With trees that bled sugar and turned as red as wine
She looked at me and shaked her head
Scolding that all us men ever want is our devil juice
I explained to her it wasn’t so,
She smiled and knew she was scolding the wrong man
I asked her if she would like to join me
An honest man on an honest journey
To a land beyond, to the East
But she had only replied in jest
Saying: “Honey, I’ve got too many mouths to feed.”

I started at a cracking branch
To my left, not 7 meters away,
I looked and staring back at me
Was a moose, hovering way above my head
He was looking straight at me
Antlers standing so tall and proud
Chewing on a tuft of a shrub
That hung down from the left side of his mouth
He snorted softly as he stared at me
Demanding I respect his space
I nodded back, gave a grunt
And quickly scanned the nearby forest
For any signs of a calf around.

My footstep didn’t stop
Rather, they kept along the trail I went
My heart beating loudly in my cool breath
The words of many an elder echoed in my mind:
“Moose are more aggressive then bears.”
I instinctively touched the blade
That rested at my hip
Foolish to think that such a weapon
Could disengage such a large beast so strong
I couldn’t feel the beast charging
Though I looked to check just in case.

I didn’t relax until I was over the next bend
Which didn’t take long to get
The familiar sound of a creek returned to my ears
No longer wise words warning and uncontrolled heartbeat
Echoing through my every breath
I softly observed the old man’s beard
Growing thicker as I descended into the valley below
Moss crawling higher up trunks of the silent giants
Experienced woods folk always say
That the birds will all be silent when there’s a predator around
So the light whistling of the forest’s inhabitants
The unique call of a raven
Calmed my senses once again.

When I reached a small opening
I dipped my hands in and splashed the fresh creek’s water
To my face, to wash the cold sweat that had gathered
I recognized bear droppings
A short distance from where I sat to rest
Looking at least a week old now
No danger for me, at least for the present
But a sign that they are around
And perhaps some tasty berries, too.

part VII

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Moon at Midnight – Part III (day 1977)

(part II)

When I saw it, I slowly pulled my arrow from its quiver
A practice as natural to me as walking
Without hesitation I had one full meal,
A warm meal that hadn’t been had in two days
My diet primarily consisted of berries and roots
So plentiful on this wild land
But frequently supplemented with unsuspecting small game.

Before my knife entered the belly of my meal
I thanked its Gods for their offering
For helping to sustain me on my journey
For helping to return the vigor into my body
So necessary for survival
And with every bite my heart and soul filled
With a return to this earth
And I was reborn again, new.

It is eerie the silence after a feast
Such powerful voices circling around
Escaping, collecting, gathering, burning
It’s like a dizzying kaleidoscope
Caught up in a whirlwind
Mixing with my own heart screaming so loud
I walked along in silence for quite some time
Thinking about the changing seasons
And the cold that wasn’t far behind.

It comes naturally for me as a human
To push on, push forth
Push to get to a destination known
But when I see my next camp for the night
I know it without hesitation
And sometimes it comes before
Warmth of midday sun has a chance
To burn its brightest spark
And I take off my pack, sit down crosslegged
And observe the land all around.

I learned long ago that land speaks to me,
It tells me what is behind that tree
And what is under that bush,
It shows me where to look
Before what I’m looking at is there
The land shows me how wind swirls
And leaves bend off of branches
It shows me the light tapping
Of two giants married by force
And light nutshells crackling as they fall
From heights stored in safety.

There is nothing else that is as perfect
As these moments of pure clarity
Yet behind every breath
Reins the loneliness such a journey entails
Which the heart never expects
But always knows is there
And I pulled in this deep sadness
With my breath as it flowed
Memories that showed me how to move
Like a teacher that had kind patience
As I sat as a pupil learning.

part IV

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Ode to a Valley (day 1764)

If I were an eagle
I’d be here, soaring free
Sweeping through your narrows
Upon gusts that never slow.
And if I were a rain cloud
I’d pass by every time
To feed this valley floor with
Water, for to see you forever full.
And if I were a hungry bear
I’d find my way to you
To feed upon your wild berries
And fish upon your stream.
And if I were forever wiggling
My white tail, bounding free,
I’d seek your meadow pasture
To fill my belly overflow.

wild valley near Faulkland, BC