Foxglove Moments

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and has won the Foreword INDIES LGBT Book of the Year Award. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.

Foxglove Moments

Foxglove is the name of my property, five acres overlooking the Lewis River Valley that was covered with the wildflower when I first moved here in 1996. 
















Watching autumn do its thing,

                               slowly overtaking summer,

                               day by day, leaf by leaf,

                               blossoms dying without grief.

                               It's just what they do, 

                               and they seem to know it.

                               I wonder at how effortlessly, 

                               how perfectly the seasons pass.

                               No grandstanding, no defiant show,

                               they just...let...go.



                                First posted: September 19, 2021















                                     In June, 

                                     with the rhododendrons in all their glory, 

                                     come the monarchs

                                     in all their glory.



                                    First posted: June 1, 2021


 He perches on a branch outside my study, staring at me.
I know what he wants. He wants me to fill the bird feeders.
Like he’s nobly advocating on behalf of the birds.
I ignore him.

Over the next half hour, he continues his squirrelly attempt to shame me.
It’s not going to work. I will fill the feeders when I feel like it.
I address him through the window pane:
“You’re wild. You’re supposed to fend for yourself.
So, go away and do some fending.”
He pretends he doesn’t understand me.

Through the afternoon he will leave, return,
check the feeders [still empty] and resume his position,
same branch, same stance, same deeply aggrieved expression

hovering over my shoulder as I write,
like Poe’s raven (“Quoth the squirrel, Somemore!”)

It’s distracting. I draw the blinds—
then peek between the slats to see if he’s still there.
He stares at me peeking through the slats
and I realize how pathetic I am.

I return to my desk, refusing to concede to a rodent,
determined to get back into my writing trance.
I light a candle, close my eyes, breathe deep several times,
centering myself until finally reaching that theta state
where there is only me,
where there is only this pen,
where only this sheet of paper.

And a squirrel.

Frustrated, I beseech my muse for inspiration, for revelation, for insight.
At last, my muse speaks:
Feed the damn squirrel.

I put down my pen and go refill the feeders.




First posted: February 6, 2021




Yesterday morning I experienced one of those moments of grace that happens occasionally on this hillside: I went out walking and encountered a bobcat enjoying the light and warmth of a sun spot; a big, beautiful guy with taut muscles showing through his striking coat, resembling a large house cat on steroids who works out regularly at the gym. At first he didn't see me. Then the click of my camera gave me away, but instead of either of us running away shrieking, we both just stayed and watched the other for a time in what seemed a peaceful shared communion. Then he wandered off. All in all, it turned out quite well: I didn't scare him; he didn't eat me. One of those unexpected blessings.
First posted: November 16, 2020

A beetle outside my window
moving confidently, decisively across the glass pane of the world,
moving with a sense of purpose, a bug on a mission,
as if knowing exactly what he's doing and where he's going.
Or does he?
Perhaps he's all instinct at work.
Impulse. Movement for movement's sake,
propelled by biological drives too deep for him to fathom,
programmed by nature to appear rational and intentional.
Maybe he doesn't have a clue what he's doing,
or why he's doing it.
Maybe he's just doing what he's gotta do,
the question of fate or free will never crossing his buggy brain.

So musing, I turn back to the presidential debate.



First posted: October 24, 2020




Sun glowering in a red, angry sky, 
as if fully fed up with Homo sapiens. 
What a mess we've made of our earthly Eden,
the planet fast becoming a dystopia (literally "sick place.")
The West coast on fire, 
shrouded in a dense suffocating cloud of smoke,
ash covers everything,
unsafe to be outside--breathe at your own risk--
resembling the Apocalypse.
Or maybe it is.


First posted: September 15, 2020

One morning last week, as I was admiring the butterfly bushes,
this little fellow came hovering and humming before my face,
asserting his territoriality over the lush blossoms.
I wanted to reassure him: No, really, I was just looking.


First posted: August 19, 2020







Each day find something worthy of note, 
and then note it: 
something to ponder,
to wonder at, to love, 

to be grateful you were here to experience, 
to receive as
 a gift.








First posted: April 4, 2020



Any moment now...




I notice again
as if for the first time
one season turning
toward the next
with everything
about to happen.

     Tim Nolan





First posted: February 29, 2020








These tracks tell me:

You are not as alone
up here
as you think
you are.

















First posted: February 13, 2020