Autumn in Eaten Canyon Photo by Patsy Faragher
This poem was inspired by a photograph taken by my sister,
Eaton Canyon… still, peaceful canyon
Tucked between mountains to the north
And foothills to the south
Safe from the ever encroaching sprawl
Eaton Creek’s cold, clear water
Dropping fifty feet over rocky fall
Then streaming gently in quiet meander,
To flow into Rio Hondo, destined for the sea.
In the crisp autumn air we walk
Following well trodden path that for millennia
Knew the shuffling gait of grizzly
And light-footed step of moccasin and sandal
Veering off the trail now, we find a secret shady spot
Under a scruffy little California oak
That streams dappled sunlight through its canopy.
Beneath its branches, the leaf and rock strewn ground
Is aglow and sparkling… ocher, gold, silver, green…
A harvest basket of color
The tree knows about life
It has seen fire,
It has seen flood
It has thrived in nature’s bountiful seasons
And hunkered down to survive through the lean.
Listen to the silence. Focus on the silence.
To our assaulted ears it is overpowering
We may hear the soft rustling sounds of wildlife,
Creatures that hear us as we breath
Creatures keenly aware of our presence.
Listen even deeper…
Do you hear… in the breeze
The low dreamy murmur of female voices?
Tongva women speaking and laughing
As they gather acorn for meal
And wiregrass for weaving,
Dipping and filling water baskets in the stream
Oh, that we could linger here in this spot.
We must dip our basket into its essence
Take it along to nourish our souls,
Knowing we will soon be back to replenish