Farewell Barkley Devoted Friend

                                   Barkley

Squirrel Barkley

                        Wet brown Lab shakes and shimmers in the sun

                        Leaping from pool water streaks from brown blur

                     Teeth clutching red ball he lands on stone deck.

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                        Rippling muscles over sleek fur jostle spraying water

                        Strutting chest out wagging raised happy tail

                        Brown eyes sparkle leaving paw tracks when he runs.

Squirrel Ginger and Barkley together near garden

  “Release! Drop!” We implore for another toss.

                        When set to retrieve he opens his jaw

                        Panting, and whining, urging us to throw.

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We grasp and whirl curled rope of cherry sphere.

                        He dashes, leaps, and hurtles legs spread,

                        Crashes the surface his teeth on its mark:

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                        An obsessive wild dance with reckless abandon.

                    His moist broad head fur glistens like a Grizzly’s.

                     He pursues the target into a rosemary hedge.

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   Returns wafting a spicy aroma and

                        His intense glare demands, “Throw it again.”

                     He hears a siren and coyote-howls to the sky.

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Tame, lovable, tenacious, and instinctive.

Loves all family members and friends

           We will pine for you pure devoted friend

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Dan Lavery Reads at Vroman’s Bookstore with IWOSC

Hi Friends: I read a portion of my memoir about the Alaskan wilderness in a yellow panel truck with Joan, me, and our black Lab, Shiva.The occasion was IWOSC’s Reads Its Own on Sunday August 9, 2015   In the picture you can find me in the back row with a grey hat. Everyone brought their own unique, creative style. We all enjoyed the day.

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Our first night we stopped at a beautiful lakeside campsite just across the Canadian border. After parking our camper at the top of a hill overlooking the expansive lake surrounded by pines, and conifers, we walked out with Shiva on a leash attached to her red collar as California Law required, gold name tag dangling, her black coat shimmering in the sunlight, and she whined and tugged.

“Take that leash off that dog!” the burly husband said with a smile, “You’re in British Columbia.” After unleashing Shiva she dashed down the hill and plunged in the lake with a glorious SPLASH. A flock of Canadian Geese scattered honking and cackling. Each black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan breast, and brown back rose in the sunset transforming the spectacle from tranquil to cacophonous, yet picturesque. Shiva swam around, lunged out, and raced back to me panting with her pink tongue hanging out. “Good girl, Shiva,” I said, scratching her neck and petting her black shiny head. She looked up in gratitude and shook water all over me. Joan and our new camp friends laughed and then made a fire for a BBQ. A feeling of freedom, fresh air, and the smell of pine trees, filled us with vigor. A crackling fire, basted chicken breasts, and corn on the cob, put us in the mood for sky watching. The twinkling stars we barely saw in California cities burst forth in the Milky Way galaxy. The “Tea Pot” in Sagittarius and Scorpio’s tail sparkled. We soon were in sleeping bags with Shiva at our feet.

We drove through the pristine roads of British Columbia dotted with pines, oaks, and maples on our way to Prince Rupert. A Tlingit village that featured tall totem poles was celebrating a holiday and offered a canoe trip with a guide who told us their version of the creation story known as the Raven Cycle:

“Raven steals the stars, the moon, and the sun from Naas-sháki Shaan, the Old Man at the Head of the Nass River who kept them in three boxes. Raven transforms himself into a hemlock needle and drops into a water cup belonging to the Old Man's daughter. She becomes pregnant from this and gives birth to a baby boy. Raven cries until the Old Man hands him the Box of Stars, another with the moon, and a third with the sun. Raven opens the lid and the stars escape into outer space. He rolls the box with the moon in it out the door where it flees to the heavens. Raven waits until everyone is asleep, changes into his bird form, grasps the sun in his beak, opens the box, and the sun breaks free into the blue sky.”

“That’s a beautiful and interesting myth,” I said.

“It is not a myth. This is our truth. We teach our children what our ancestors shared with us. Never call the Raven Cycle a myth,” she reprimanded me angrily. Realizing I had put my foot in my mouth while seeking to learn about their culture, it occurred to me in awhile my clients in Alaska had their traditions and stories, which I would respect, and apologized to our Indian guide for using the word myth; but I had caused some damage. You can’t unring a bell.

Once we reached Prince Rupert, we boarded a ferry for the Inland Passage to Haines. We slept on deck chairs outside when the crew secured our yellow truck alongside other vehicles. After ninety miles we arrived at Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” home of all five species of salmon who inhabit the streams and waters of the Tongass for spawning, leaving their roe on the gravel. We took Shiva out for a walk along Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town.

When she saw salmon leaping up the “fish ladder” they climb to spawn at the top, she barked and raced to the edge filled with an electric charge of energy. I feared she would jump in and directed her back on the path that followed the creek through the primeval forest. The gravel beds are the end of the salmon’s struggle and are so thick with numbers the shallow streams were black with fins and twisting fish. Shiva smelled the dying salmon that had spawned, hurtled over logs, and bolted through underbrush in a frenzy searching for wildlife. Sand hill cranes, trumpeter swans, black-tail deer, porcupines, and wolves roamed the area. Red cedar, yellow-cedar, mountain hemlock, spruce, and shore pine were everywhere. Nature had aroused Shiva and us with such energy, we chased our black bouncing streak laughing with joy. We rested under hemlock and spruce and gave our Lab food and water next to an alpine meadow covered with pink fireweed, blue lupine and yellow poppies. A Ferry whistle brought us back to reality.

After we got underway we saw killer whales and porpoises jumping and playing alongside the ferry. Bald eagles soared on thermals. Dall porpoises have black backs and white bellies resembling killer whales, but are much smaller, and generated a “rooster tail” spray visible for twenty feet. They were “bow riding”—a pressure wave like the blast of wind that follows a passing truck—they sidled up under the surface and rode inside the pressure wave.

At the next stop we left the ferry to see the capital of Alaska, Juneau. The mountains sloped down to the water where it rests along the shoreline. The Tlingit Indians used the adjacent Gastineau Channel as one of their favorite fishing grounds for thousands of years. The native culture, rich with artistic traditions, included carving, weaving, orating, singing, and dancing.

The Juneau visitor center presented a spectacular view of the Mendenhall Glacier, a massive mountain of ice with cracks and fissures that revealed tints of blue and gray. The sound of ice chunks tumbling into the water roared as the waves caused from violent forces shook floating icebergs sending ripples in the surface. The Mendenhall reached its point of maximum advance in the mid-1700s, while its terminus rested almost two and a half miles down the valley from its present position. The mighty glacier started retreating as its annual rate of melt began to exceed its yearly total accumulation. Its bulk now retreats at a rate of one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet a year. Global warming has accelerated the process so the glacier will disappear in several centuries.

(Excerpt from All the Difference, by Daniel C. Lavery)

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Goodbye Graceful Squirrel

  Squirrel in tree Squirrel's head profile in tree

Scampering through Italian pine

Orange white and brown with bushy tail

Jump to acacia with friend near

Leaving chewed pine cones on the ground

Peering at me through my window

Both musing frozen eye to eye

Daily spirited romp and dance

 Squirrel with peanut

Chattering agile graceful friend

Acrobatic leaps shuffling leaves

Bringing joy to thrilled observer

Watching careful balancing skill

Diving down from upper branch perch

Racing to back lawn or downhill

Leaves Golden Retriever behind

And charging brown Lab bewildered

   Squirrel GingerSquirrel Barkley

Yesterday entered danger zone

Bird feeders stand and canines glide

Fast down hillside chasing thrown balls

Past gray stone fence to lawn below

Returning with saliva scent

To the next target day or night

Scamperer will tip bird feeder

Seed spill gives gorgeous thief a meal

If dogs appear brave prancer bolts

Squirrel Maple in back

Up Maple with chattering tease

Until the balancer was caught

By Ginger’s instinctual thrust

Despite odds comparing prowess

Shimmering dancer’s prance ended

Brash Golden Retriever streaking

Muscular lab in hot pursuit

Tails wag expecting approval

For their quick innate reaction

Guarding turf from brazen scoundrel

Squirrel Ginger and Barkley together near garden

Defying chance of encounter

Slight touch of gymnastic sprinter

Heard whimper outside my abode

Opened door to discern its source

Saw slender one in Ginger’s mouth

With sharp death-grip on Retriever’s

Golden jaw where blood was gushing

Yelled in shock and grabbed white towel

Ginger dropped sprinter on stairway

Glimpsed backyard friend for the last time

Squirrel in grassSquirrel bird on feeder

His splendor was the most stunning

Only inches from me this time

Instead of ever moving blur

Testing all senses to find him

In his perpetual motion

Now just slow breathing and beauty

Spread on cement with Retrievers

Playfully panting over him

When playfellow drew his last breath

Gathered him gently and placed him

In bushes hoping he’d survive

Squirrel treeSquirrel sundial and water bath for birds

Took Ginger in pressing towel

To bloody mouth and came outside

Finding Barkley with limp dancer

No chattering or moving now

Glance of nature’s final ending

Its harshness and brutal wisdom

Balancing the population

No signal of his companions

Squirrel garden below Squirrel Patio chair and bird feeder

Only memories of brilliance

I will miss my wandering friend

Hope his comrades will return and

Display their natural wonders

The brisk chattering outdoor show

Added peanut and bird feeders

Fountain, garden, and many trees

Squirrel Hill west with treesSquirrel at sunset

Soon new friends wander to our home

Even a skunk and opossum

Now trained retrievers still chase balls

Barking toward strangers but smiling

At squirrels, rabbits, Scrub Jays, Hawks,

Finches, Mocking and Humming Birds

In our wildlife sanctuary

Facing sunset, hills and bird bath

Nature’s peaceful ecosystem

Joins us in the joy of being

Squirrel dark orange sunset??????????????????????

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Noon Hike at Halfmoon Bay

pelican soars over waves

Halfmoon Bay huge wave with surfer

Torrents of breeze chilled my face and hands

Dappled brown and white seagull landed

On to old tattered beach table top

Thanked him with mellow words as he stared

Gestured with my two empty hands that

Showed I brought no food for him today

Halfmoon Bay surfer

Sign warned of rip tides, strong currents, and

Dangerous sleeper waves that threatened

Hundreds of swells crushed and churned ocean

Thundered air like hundreds of drummers

Warning all of nature’s wild forces

Small birds skipped and darted with no fear

 Halfmoon Bay beach and surf

Black wet-suited surfer caught huge wave

Broke over him fifty yards from shore

Emerged with surfboard through water wall

Glided down like skier on ice slope

Sped toward shoreline and darted past me

Human seal left sand trail puffs in wake

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Pod of dolphin black fins broke surface

Thirty feet from wet sand that glistened

Found a bench for two a mile away

Hikers and bikers with dogs behind

Stretched their legs and moved into the wind

Clouds circled in wisps over our heads

Halfmoon Bay Map

Hiked back to our car and left for town

Stores for clothes, books, coffee shops, and more

Found a grill for a salad and meal

Smiling dwellers in eclectic town

Fifteen miles from massive traffic jams

Cement, cars, highways, and industry

Halfmoon Bay many surfers

McGrath Beach many least terns and brwon pelican

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Summer Fun at Dan and Joan’s Home 2014

 

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 We all Swam in the Lavery sparkling pool

Grandsons 5 and 9 dove off the diving board

And caught countless balls that was very cool

Oldest played many a harmonic piano chord

 

They hit a whiffle ball into one of many trees

Caught a football in the sand with their hands

Slid on Sean and Christina’s grass on their knees

Saw Freese hit a homerun into the stands

 

Smashed tiny whiffle ball onto the roof

Threw tennis balls to Ginger and Barkley

Baby granddaughter learned a dog bark woof woof

Balls fell from the roof into our pool sparkly

 

Boys wore Angel Jersey’s we bought

Had fun bowling for two hours after lunch

They listened, played, swam and never fought

Gibbons swung on branches and hooted a bunch

 

Saw three movies and Dodger and Angel Baseball

“Planes”, “Tarzan”, and “We Bought a Zoo”

Two on Blue Ray and one at the Mall

Sean marinated and made a tasty barbeque

   

Bed Time stories from Bill Peet and others

Nine year-old played a Beethoven piece on the piano

Good story choices approved by all mothers

Aleksey and Dan’s guitar added to the flow

 

Lex and Des’s friends joined them for a lunch

They, their friends, and kids joined the throng

Sean’s BBQ’d gourmet sausages’ tasty crunch

Added zest to the delightful Saturday marathon

   

“All’s Well That Ends Well” by Shakespeare

Will Geer’s Topanga Canyon venue never a bore

Brought from the friendly crowd a loud cheer

Dan read “Mount Fuji” at Pasadena book store

 

Daughter and friend enjoyed swimming at Zuma Beach

Found the surf a challenge and Nature so sweet

Saw “Much Ado About Nothing” with many a fine speech

We hope everyone will join us again soon at our retreat

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