Craig Wisner

Author Archive

Untitled (Sunday driving).

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We drove for 12 hours

trying to catch the tail end

of the goddamned thing,

walked salt flats and rolling grass hills

looking for it

-everything dried out and parched

and it’s not even

summer yet.


You can smell the coming fires

in a warm, straw-like scent

hanging on the breeze

and we all talk, only half-joking,

of giving up and just hitting the road

for somewhere.


When the tires come to a halt

on another gravel turnout

and we stagger out

the cows look up slowly

from behind heat waves and wire fences

and it seems they know that the cows know

that they, too, may have little choice,

and that the will of God cannot be accounted for:


You get what you get

and you don’t throw a fit.


I have to wonder if our children were born

as melancholy as she and I

or if we did this to them

as I stand back watching and find the pair drawn

to oil seeps and broken glass on the desert floor,

or staring into the light of the sun

struggling through a coastal fog

and meeting it all with sighs and a far off look

that seems to penetrate a future I cannot know.

They are content, just like us, to drive and think

and revel in places where we’re strangers

and people let us know it,

feeling outside of it all.


(perhaps to make us feel that much closer)


We drove for twelve hours

until we caught it again, if only for a day

sitting separate from the blur of the world,

safe behind the window glass

-singing, wondering, being together

knowing these actions, conversations, memories

are the only solid footing we have.


Photo Credits:  My Son


Ask Forgiveness.

Pounced upon

by twilight demons-

runaway thoughts

rage and prayers

–prayers for the Angel of Sleep

to stave off another morning

of burning eyes

another day

of ragged-toothed anxiety


beneath the ribs.

I’m tired.

Even though

it’s not so bad

and shouldn’t feel so bad

I’m just so tired.


Seeking refuge by day

I have found

that hungry ghosts

cannot cross streams

and bare feet

in gravel and water

serve as protection

against a quivering heart.

Standing in a waterfall

arms outstretched

I ask forgiveness.

Under an outcropping

of desert shade-

ask forgiveness.

Ask on behalf of all beings,

ask it of salamander, cottonwood

frog, and rust-bellied towhee.

I ask forgiveness

and swear I’ll never

take it for granted



Canyon Dweller.

Lingering words from canyon wanderings.  On a side note, I am quite pleased I can say that I have perfected cowboy coffee.

And then there is the Cycle of Things:

Seeing my son, so much older now

with The Burden in his eyes

and knowing all bets are off

as I’m not certain

I could save him

from the momentum

if I tried.

Confirming the level

of wine in my bottle

( 1/3 )

I deduce I ought

put another log

on the fire.

(for my wife in a dream)

I see you stuck in a mire

and I can only scream

off from a distance

that you’re beautiful

and should be free

and then hope

it will be enough.

a pitted iron stovepipe

breathing smoke

into the stars

My son

snoring in the tent now

flesh, bone

man-sized and


on the verge

of being set free.

I prefer pencil

as I know

when I’m running out.




The Yoga Studio.

I’ve been spending some time here.  No traffic, no parking issues, no outrageous fees.

I’m working off of videos from David Garrigues’ Ashtanga Primary Series; it seems to be what I need.  So many nagging injuries and imbalances to heal, I think taking it slower and focusing on yoga, diet, surfing, and walking is in order for a while.

yoga studio


DIY Pyramid Inner Tent

I just finished a pyramid inner to fit the MLD Solomid.  It’s a light, very robust little shelter, but the lack of an inner has left me limited in a few applications, namely during heavy rain and bug season.  This inner should help with splash, as well as keep gear contained and my long-sized sleeping bag from rubbing the foot.

Ticks have been getting a little worse around here; this is more comfortable than a bivy and will likely replace cowboy camping in tick-infested areas.  It’ll also make the Solomid a little more comfortable during High Sierra Mosquito season.

As long as you don’t look too closely at my seams…!  As the largest piece of gear I’ve sewn, I’m learning the hard way that long seams and slippery materials are a nightmare; much harder than sewing packs.  The next one would likely be far more well crafted, but it works fine.

Specs/materials:  1.1 silpoly (4000PU) floor, .67 netting body, #3 YKK zipper (all from Ripstop by the Roll).  Cut carbon 400 arrow shafts as corner struts. Total weight: 9.5 oz..  Dimensions are taken roughly from the MLD Pyramid Innernet (Solomid Size).  Total cost: $45.

Solomid, inner, stakes, a small polycryo groundsheet ,and stuffsack weigh in at 28 ounces total.


Playing in the Rain. (3/9-3/10/2018)

I meet a lot of people who’s worst nightmare is being stuck deep in the woods alone at night.  I slept better than I have in weeks.

Once upon a time I got out more often for overnights than most people I knew.  Morning birdsong and coffee in the rain tell me that it’s high time to get back to work.  My thesis nearly done and behind me, there now lies more important business to attend to- canyons and streams to be inventoried, desert washes requiring contemplation.

Sitting. Not Doing.

I was going to pack a journal.  And my flute.  Or a book.  And possibly implements for tea.

I left it all at home.

My better mind reminded me of the importance of making space for nothing.  Allowing time to let thoughts rise and fall, unclinging and unhindered.  Not doing.


I have to confess that the world at large is moving far too fast for me, completely at odds with the stillness that I crave.  I’m increasingly feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

Seeing an owl in flight brought me home.  An hour of streamside sitting and the illusory city-self begins to slough off like an old skin.  Pink sunlight on the peaks above and a cold wind snaking through the canyon brought me home.

Grasp the feeling.  Protect it.  Nurse it as if it were a tiny ember.  Carry it in cupped hands through the coming days of traffic and crowds and noise until it can be brought back to life somewhere quiet and wild.