The Scent of Creosote after the Rain

IMG_0840Home is everything you can walk to.
Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl



We trompse. It’s sort of a sacred cross between a traipse and a tromp, the joy of going off-trail and seeing where our feet take us. My boy is 14, and loves this wide, vast desert with his whole big heart. It’s Mother’s Day, and this is his present to me – a meandering, and the gift of his voice as he narrates the world through his eyes. These tracks are a night snake, now sleeping. Under this rock is a baby tarantula. He collects beetles, scorpions, a centipede with far too many legs. I am deeply enamored of the sky, the way the flushed-out quail doodle-bobber their way through the brush. The rush of the breeze as our last handful of winsome spring days sing.

The world – his world – is wide open. Waiting for new feet. His heavy snake-proof boots are ready. My mama heart is not, but I’m getting there, as I watch him mountain goat his way down each pebbled hill. This child, my first born, will be out on his own in just a handful of years. Out here, in his beloved wild, he is surefooted, safe, bold. I remember his first tiny drunken steps at 7 months, and smile into a glorious sun.

the lookout quail calls.
her babies scatter, leave
tiny footprints in sand.


Written for Bjorn’s Haibun Monday prompt at dVerse (late to the party). Come play! 

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17 Responses to The Scent of Creosote after the Rain

  1. Too full of beautiful. Your love is so evident in this piece.
    This is brilliant: “I watch him mountain goat his way down each pebbled hill.”
    And the quote from Stargirl! LOVE IT!

  2. Mountain goat as a verb… so very very apt… Love the manboy imagery… the sense of past and future captured in a mother’s heart.

  3. timkeen40 says:

    Great story and fantastic scenery.

  4. Grace says:

    Love your pictures & your mother’s heart speaks to me as well ~ I also admire the mountain goat as a verb ~ We will be proud of those tiny footprints in the future ~

  5. lillian says:

    Oh your mother’s love shines through in this. And the haiku shifts to nature’s motherhood — just beautifully done. Being the mother of a son who shall turn 40 in just 9 days, I marvel at the man he has become and look back on pictures and smile. This touches my heart.

  6. This made my desert-loving heart skip a beat. Not everyone understands the beauty of the desert. We are blessed to live in NV, to know the variety of its beauty. I loved all the images of mother love in this, culminating in that haiku.

  7. Shawna says:

    I’m so glad you picked that quote. It was, by far, my favorite of the ones prompt-offered (especially because it ended with the word “Stargirl”).

    “this is his present to me – a meandering, and the gift of his voice as he narrates the world through his eyes” … Isn’t this the very best gift we could hope for, from anyone?!

    Gorgeous: “These tracks are a night snake, now sleeping.”

    “the way the flushed-out quail doodle-bobber their way through the brush” … I LOVE this. Especially how the weird language makes me think of the quail as myself, and the strange way(s) I might brush up against someone.

    “as I watch him mountain goat his way down” … I love this!!! “Mountain-goat” as verb is fantastic!

    I obviously know exactly what you’re feeling, as I’m going through the same thing with my firstborn. The fear for her future. And as we’ve talked about before, they both have special challenges … and also, the gifts of brilliance and unique perspective. But just so you know, we momentarily saw a child psychologist (whom I loved, but she did not), and he said that he sees remarkable improvements in those he works with who have Asperger’s/ADHD after they pass the puberty stage(s). So I think there’s hope for our kiddos. He said to just hold on, that she will likely blow me away with the strides she’ll make over the next few years. So let’s hold hands with one another through this; I think we (and they) are gonna be okay. 🙂

  8. Misky says:

    I love the way you mix words like paint into new creations, changing the tone and material at will. You’re an artist as well as a poet.

  9. This is just so thoughtful about having to let go of your child at every stage and they have to be able to walk free and wild safely! Love the words like trompse and mountain goating.

  10. maria says:

    Oh, what a very sweet way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Most people nowadays celebrate it in restaurants or malls (I do not oppose them, of course) but there is something more beautiful when you do it outside with nature. The feelings are raw and deeper. Great post! 😀

  11. Very beautiful! Your haiku is perfect, De. It shows the joy/sadness a mother feels as her babies scatter!

  12. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    A wonderful portrait of your boy and expression of your relationship. And the haiku is a perfect accompaniment / conclusion.

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