By the Sea

At the Beach

It’s been a while, and a long weekend to boot. In sum: got some sun, traipsed some beaches, wondered and waxed philosophic and photographic somewhere between the trees and the waves, and tasted of the delicious sensation known as BBQ. It was a long weekend, but a good one, and I can honestly say it was the most relaxing I’ve had a good long while, even if I was still running all over the place.

I get the wanderlust, you know?

Big Red

C’est la vie, though, as they say. To those Americans among my readership, here’s hoping the fourth of July (the USA’s Independence Day, for those of you not up-to-the-know on your history of the land of the stars and stripes) was a delightful blend of summer warmth and rapturous relaxation with those you hold most dear. Plus, if you got to see some of the shiny explosions that were lighting up the country’s night sky, all the more power to you.

What’s the night without a little boom? Whether it’s a spiritual or a physical or even a metaphorical boom, well, that’s really up to your preference. I’m just the humble fellow wishing you a good time, regardless.

But I digress…and supposing you One Stoppers have sifted through my silliness and well-wishes, I’d like to kick off my return and the week with my latest submission to One Stop Poetry’s One Shot Wednesday, a tanka titled: “By the Sea“…

Sunlight on white sand

Refracted in pillowed veils

Hiding sand castles

Bronzed amidst unyielding tides

Sprouted in short-short visions.

Morning Elegance

Star-crossed lovers lie

Snoring in the sand

Waiting on the rose-tipped caress

Of dawn’s fair light,

But the sun catches like

Little crystals in the waters

And they are sleeping through

The glitter and the glare.

The runner’s smile

Warms the streets as they rise

Amidst the shadows of red glare—

Early to rise

And early to rest,

Not like the frantic typing around

Those battered tables—

Early to rise

And early to work,

A desperate cry for more coffee is

As much a sign as these

Gleaming starlets

Carried in the sunlight,

Shimmering in the haze.

Dew drops beneath the leaves,

The covers dip beneath the waves

Of majesty and trees

Swaying in the breeze.

Birdsong, so ponderous in sleep

Uplifted in the daylight—

Just keep away those woodpeckers.

The body screams,

The mind elates

To greet this

Morning Elegance.

A Photographic Tour of the Sleeping Bear Dunes

Before I post my second poem from my trip into the “great white north,” it occurs to me that some of you might not be familiar with the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which was an important part of my trip. So allow me to tell you about one of the most curious aspects of life in Michigan, with the assistance of some of the photos I took while I was away.

Sunset on the Water. Traverse City, MI.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes encompass a 35 mile stretch of coast along Lake Michigan, the largest freshwater lake bordered exclusively by the United States (pictured above). The park was established for its breathtaking variety of natural features, including forests, beaches, and dune formations, as well as its historical connection to the glacier movements of old. The “bear” for which it was named was actually a small tree-covered knoll at the uppermost part of the bluff that. Sadly, wind and erosion have since caused the “bear” to dwindle over the years, leaving me without a photo for you.

Big and Little Glen Lakes

That’s a 450 ft. drop to the lakeshore, by the way.

The dunes were shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago, and evidence of their passing is still found in the diversity of the terrain, as well as the vibrant ecology of the environment. The national park that preserves them today was established in 1970, but the dunes themselves have never stopped growing. In fact, they are growing a little more every year–perhaps only by a few feet annually, but over time, that adds up.

Today, trails like this wind through miles of Pine and Beech-Maple Forests, all along the Dune.

There’s sand here. Lots and lots of sand.

Weather along the lakeshore and the dunes are actually a bit bizarre for those unfamiliar with them. The seasons are heavily influenced by winds crossing over Lake Michigan as they have a cooling effect in the summer and a warming effect in the winter. So temperatures remain somewhat moderated at most times of the year.

And that, friends, is a look at the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. I hope you like what you see, and consider a trip up north some time. It’s certainly worth your time!

Breathless Blue Romance

Lake Cadillac, Michigan

I have returned! And that means pictures, poems, and (soon enough) short stories on the way.

The great Sleeping Bear Dunes, and beyond that, Lake Michigan.

So where did I go? To the north! What does that mean? If you know anything of Michigan, what that means is the beauty of Traverse City, the vast pine and maple beech forests of the northern lower peninsula, and the breathtaking scale of the sweeping sand dunes known as Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I have a case of this thing known as Wanderlust, you see. It demands I go places when the mood settles too deeply within me. Thus, away I went. Try not to be too offended if it happens from time to time.

More to the point, I still have to finish posting the work I completed in Colorado, but for today at least, that’s going on hold to make room for the pair of poems I made while off on this week’s travels. To begin, a simple haiku:

Breathless blue romance

By the blooming emerald hills;

How vibrant life stirs.