This Sunday afternoon I hike
to the shade and ferns of Burns Canyon
to read amongst the rocks and birds

This fall we do not send our kids to school
due to the pervasive disease
that tests our capacity
and preys on the festering rot in our schism

We cannot agree whether it is more important
to protect each other
or feel that we ourselves are free

We do not agree on a set of descriptions
of the world around us
that we mutually conceptualize as reality
Our information infrastructure ensures
we all have support for the superiority of our worldview

Systems have evolved to exploit
the mechanisms of our society
beginning with
the minds
and votes
of common folk
We cannot agree on who plays the malicious role

In this overgrown forest
hardwood is intertwined with parasites
Clenching vines proclaim their right
to suffocate their way toward the light

Thick smoke has settled in from northwest
Bits of ash fall on these pages
The forest offers hope: inferno precedes growth

Hiking down
the world is faded beige and red
as if three hours closer to sunset

My eyes burn as I try to see across the canyon
NIST campus is barely discerned through the haze
yet the red-hot sun feels amplified upon my back
It's never this hot in September
Smoke has never settled this thick upon our homes

When do we start to regrow?

September 6th, 2020