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