“There are those who love to get dirty”

There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,

And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.

There are those who do both,
they drink tea.

Gary Snyder

This is one of my favorite poems, saved for the second to last day of National Poetry Month. I came in from the garden after making the photograph, put the risen bread in the oven, topped off my tea with hot water, and sat to write this. Except when I open my copy of The Gary Snyder Reader, I always end up reading. Always. Here’s another one, then I will check on the bread and head back out to the garden.

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

6 thoughts on “Tea

  1. I’ve read “Poets on the Peaks” twice – in which Gary is featured along with Jack Kerouac and Philip Whalen. He was a Fledgling then in ’52, but his poetry is neat and matches my past as I occupied Hamilton Butte & Burley Mt lookouts in ’53 &’54 in the Gifford Pinchot NF.
    So glad you’re doing this, Deb. See you this summer at Fish Lake Guard Sta. (or in the office)

  2. Darrell, I didn’t know you’d been a lookout. I went to Burley Mountain in ’75 when I was in YCC at Cispus. The tower was gone by then. Did my time on Middle Sister on the Idaho Panhandle in ’84 and ’85, and have spent time at Red Top. This coming Saturday I’m teaching Red Top volunteers how to use the Osborne Firefinder. “Poets on the Peaks” is a great book, and it’s time for me to read it again. The Fish Lake Road is melting slowly. See you soon…

  3. I did the garden thing this afternoon – too lazy and achy this morning! The garden is coming along vey nicely – I picked the second batch of lettuce and should have beet greens in another week or 2. I planted tomatoes under my plastic and the cherries are about to start blooming – already! I’m excited!

    And I enjoy you FS people comparing notes! I don’t know the peaks you are talking about, but I do know the general areas, especially since Deb has been doing the FS thing for 30+ years and has moved around the NW quite a

  4. So much one could say about drinking tea. We listened to the latest book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series on our drive across country. One of the things I enjoy about the series is all the comments about the drinking tea — when you don’t know what to do next, mull on it over a cup of tea.

    1. I am a fan of all Alexander McCall Smith’s books, and Mma Ramotswe is a wonderful protagonist. Tea is the perfect little ritual and beverage for slowing down for a few moments.

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