Bruce Holsapple wasn’t born here any more than I was (“I’m not from here/ I just live here”– James McMurtry); but sooner or later you make your stand. Would you not credit Gary Snyder and his adopted watershed in the dry Sierra, or me in my Querencia?
Bruce has been here long enough to put down roots, and he is one of the very few people other than my late mentor Floyd Mansell who you might encounter high in the mountains of our fortunately neglected range outside of deer season. In his new collection Wayward Shadow , he sings our austere highland’s subtle songs, like some latter- day Zen monk praising “Mountains and Rivers Without End”.
Like Snyder, he speaks with precision, but so simply he is almost laconic, painting his chosen landscape with a dry brush, making a subtle picture anywhere you care to make a cut. I particularly like this piece below, perhaps because I too look over my shoulder for our (ambivalently) beloved but subtly feared apex predator whenever I descend through the switchbacks after the sun goes behind the ridge:
“Walking a twisty arroyo
cliff, hillside, tumbling rock, sand
& at one damp spot
shelved in by rock
a cougar’s track
where it leapt down
into the wash
me searching the canyon walls
from that point
especially as the sky darkened”