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. 

Fewer and fewer come by now
each day.

I see them packing their bags,
Listen to them making their plans,
complaining about the long flight south (Flying is such a hassle.)

I'm missing them already.

Bye, Rufus!






Today I encountered a spider with an intricate, exquisite mandala on its back,
like a Tibetan sand painting suspended in mid-air,
and serving much the same purpose:
to wonder at,
to meditate on,
to enter into
and merge with its beauty and mystery,
until everything in the world vanishes,

except Beauty and Mystery.
















[First posted: October 7, 2013]

















On certain days,

at a certain time in the late afternoon,

the rhododendrons on this hillside begin to glow,

as if they'd been turned on
at some central switch,

as if radiating some ethereal inner light.







[First posted: June 27, 2014]




This bird feeder is squirrel-proof, the feed store owner told me, due to its ingenious design. Nowhere for the little critters to get a hold.

So I brought it home, optimistically filled it with seed, and hung it up.

It took my squirrels less than a day to figure out how to un-proof it.




Returning home in the evening to a near-empty feeder, I doubted that the birds could have eaten that much so soon.

As I watched, the culprit appeared--looking decidedly more portly than the day before--to finish off the last bit of seed.













 I realize I could wire it so the feeder hangs lower and farther beyond their stretch, but for the moment it makes me kind of proud that I have squirrels with superior problem-solving abilities.







[First posted: June 24, 2014]


















Summer returned to this hillside yesterday, surging up the river valley like a great green tidal wave.

I worked outside most of the day, mostly pruning rhododendrons, then in late afternoon threw a small welcome-back party, just myself, a doe, a couple of squirrels, the chipmunk, and 20 or so hummingbirds--with all their zipping about, it's impossible to keep count. The raccoons sent their regrets--they were traveling.

An eagle staged a fly-over to mark the occasion, as I sat under the broad-leaf maple, sun winking through the leaves, and enjoyed a simple repast of pita bread, hummus and olives, while listening to Beethoven's Pastoral.

A quiet, quite perfect solstice celebration...

Summer, we missed you.




[First posted: June 22, 2014]



















We are in that in-between time,
no longer winter, not yet spring,
when the air is thick with anticipation
and pollen.

Soon the pond will come alive
with its croakings and stirrings
and dozens of little dramas.





[First posted: March 16, 2014]

























 Some days I see nature doing her usual renewal-recycling thing, and
I think: Cool. Plants coming up; trees budding.

And some days
I see magic.
















[First posted: March 10, 2014]















Forget the Seahawks.

This is what gets me cheering.






[First posted: February 28, 2014]











 The deer have been munching on a rhododendron that was clearly marked “Deer Proof.”

Just my luck the deer on this hillside can’t read.

They stand outside my study window, looking all wide-eyed innocent. “What rhododendron?”

They suggest it may have been a vegan coyote, but I have my doubts.






[First posted: February 17, 2014]




 All fluffed up,

brightening winter's drab monochrome.






 [First posted: February 12, 2014]