A Cold Winter’s Night

Silent Night, Snowy Night in Full Swing.

I’m sure you all heard the hype this week: Snow. Snow! SNOW!

Where's all the snow? Flash is off, silly.

It was on everyone’s lips – at least across the Midwest. Even Twitter succumbed to a frenzy of fun names for it: “Snowpocalypse,” “Snomageddon,” “Snowprah’s Big Giveaway,” and the like. Weather.com predicted up to 16 inches rolling across my own fair section of Michigan for Tuesday and Wednesday, with biting winds and a freezing helping of ice to go along with it. MSU declared a weather emergency and canceled classes. LCC followed suit. And all across the state schools were closing left and right they day before the snow ever touched ashore.

There's the snow!

It’s rule one they teach you in JRN 200: Beware of hype. Now, that’s not to say we didn’t get a good deal of snow. We did. Ten inches. But it was far from the end-times the news and internet community seemed to be wrapped up in the concept of. Besides: it’s Michigan. It snows here. I don’t know about how the rest of you Mid-Westerners fared but up here, well, sure it got nasty, but it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Nor am I opposing the end results…I mean, hey, they want to give my friends a day off and give the student body of MSU even more reasons to drink (like they need any), I mean, hey, who am I to object?

I’m just saying: Don’t go crying wolf till he’s in the pen, alright?

Regardless, I took the opportunity to grab some fine pictures to commemorate the occasion. They’re broken down into night of and morning after. For you Michiganders, it’ll probably be a bit of nostalgia. For those of you non-Michiganders, it’ll give you a nice idea of what we deal with. And why we’re unimpressed when other states start declaring emergencies in the midst of an inch or two of snowfall.

This photographic journey is hosted in part by Fane the Wonder Dog. I know, it’s quite a title.

Okay, so there were some bad moments.

A Winter’s Walk down the Lansing River Trail

In Lansing, the capitol of Michigan, lies a trail for bikers and hikers alike. The Lansing River Trail is an approximately 13-mile trail through urban and rural stretches alike, lying in the shadows of Lansing’s bustling streets, twisting through masses of deep-rooted forests, rising up in boardwalks or smoothed out in easy footpaths, and all the while trailing the river for which it is named, providing a scenic route for anyone looking for a little exercise. Not as much of that in the Winter, of course, but even in the midst of this most frigid season, it remains a popular destination. It helps, of course, that the trail stretches all the way to East Lansing, and to the MSU campus.

Saturday, I decided to take a walk down the trail in spite of the frosty weather, and investigate the sights I had been denied since the summer, when a long jog was often a morning’s routine. These are a few of the results of my walk. Enjoy.

Observe the breaks. Just a few seconds prior, I had been standing there, on what I thought was solid ground.

Part of the trail runs under the highway, and where there are bridges, there is graffiti.

Several sections of railroad also run over the trail, and the river.

One of the numerous boardwalk bridges that are a part of the trail.

Haiku

 

Photography: courtesy of Creative Commons and Leslie Moon

Clouds veil summer light

The sound of rain distant rise

Shadowed flames leaking.

*For One Stop Poetry’s first ever One Stop Poetry Form…today’s subject: Haiku.

Yet the Sea

Photo by Adam Dustus

They say the sky’s the limit

But the ocean, yet your sky

Mirror, mirror

Glittering bright

The crystals on horizon blue

The winds upon your back.

Rest now ye weary masts

Float awhile upon your dreams

Soon enough the current

Will carry you home again.

This is a poem for One Shoot Sunday, from the poets that brought you the ever-popular One Stop Poetry. The poem is written in response to the picture prompt posted above. Picture prompt is by Adam Dustus.

A Catalog of Colorado

It’s been several weeks now since I returned from Colorado, and aside from a few shots used to accentuate some of my poems, I’ve not posted all that many shots from the trip. This is to set things right. Though I took hundreds of shots while out and about in the mountainous state, I have selected a few here as a sort of highlight real for the trip. WordPress, I think, would be quite upset with me if I tried to upload everything. In fact, I think I’d be liable to break the bloody system.

So here, in a nutshell, is my trip. What better inspiration could one have asked for? Sights featured in my shots include Rocky Mountain National Park, the Red Rocks and Red Rocks Amphitheater, my brother and sister-in-law’s home, and just a few shots from the more nature-inclined areas around Denver, CO.

Moya and Ares

The family.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

My brother, Jim

The folks

At the top of the world.

Moose!

My sister-in-law, Cassie.

Simplicity has its Moments

The bay along which Traverse City is nestled, in the upper reaches of Michigan, swarms with an all-together common critter of the coasts: the Seagull. As I sat along the coast, staring out over the lake, it was hard not to notice them fluttering all about, crawling on the rocks and wandering the beach, only to take wing once more to try their luck in lakeward dive-bombs.

It was they, coupled with the beauty of the scene itself, that inspired this next poem:

Beside the bay,

I heard the seagulls crying;

Oceans stretch beneath the sky

Till blue entangles blue

And miles become but one more breath—

There is air and there is water

And somewhere in between

The mountains rise and fall;

See the coast is glittering

And the sun is in the sand—

Beside the sea,

All man is set to dreaming

Of the land beyond those sapphire rings—

The gulls have all the world

But all they want is food.

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.

Of the Beauty of Nature

The Famous Red Rocks

It’s Sunday, which means the latest batch of weekly quotes. This time around, keeping to the tune of my Colorado trip, all are nature-themed. One is actually a poem as well, written by the renowned Lord Byron. Beneath these I have also included another pair of pictures from my travels through the mountains. I hope you enjoy – for there is truly no mortal beauty quite so great as the power and majesty we may behold each day in the world around us.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.  ~Henry David Thoreau

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  ~E.E. Cummings


Summer Snow

Yep, that's me!

Well I have returned at last from my trip to Colorado. Suffice to say, it was a beautiful trip, every minute of it. I have always felt a calling to the mountains, and I personally feel my brother is a lucky man to live amongst them. Wonderful places–breathtaking scenery, bizarre weather, and the perfect spots for exercise and the embrace of creativity. I now have more than 300 pictures added to my library, some of which you will probably see attached to some of my work in the days to come.

I saw a number of places while I was in-state. From bustling downtown Denver, to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the city of Boulder (about as artsy a town as one might find), among others. Between the sight-seeing and the time spent catching up with family, however, I am proud to say I also accomplished a great deal of work. Both there and on the flight, both in terms of poetry and my novel, I made great headway, and I will be posting the results of the weeks to come.

To start us out, I have a poem inspired by a climb to the heights of the Rocky Mountains where, despite broiling 80 degree temperatures below, a beautiful field of snow awaited, and on the peaks for miles around. A bit breezy, by the way, and I had the brilliant idea of hiking in shorts and a t-shirt. Terrible fun, but a wee bit chilly.

So to begin:

14,000 Feet Above the World

Snowball fights in shorts;

The sun beats down

Atop the world.

Slipping along the rocks

I stumble out to see the world,

And I am Freedom,

Dangling over Nothing

In the summer heat.