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.

Honeymoon

Late evening sunshine

reflects on the glass tray;

 

the breeze, blowing off the beach

brings flowers through the window;

 

tidied hands leave the pitcher

at the shelf beside the bed;

 

alcohol on the rise

brings dinner visions;

 

how many meals shared

by barebacks under the clouded ceiling;

 

the immaculate white sheets

are the only virgin here.

* My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Finished at last!

“Man tames not vengeance; vengeance breaks the man.”

It is with these words that the fruit of my labors begin. Thirteen short stories led me to this point. Months of labor led me to this point. Long nights. Early mornings. Rushing to heel with pen and paper in hand, to scribble down a passing thought, a fleeting fancy. Inspiration and dedication have led me to at last announce the completion of my dearest creation to date: my novel.

“The Hollow March” has been my been my obsession. At long last, I have finished it. Laid down the final word, breathed in a sigh of relief and adoration, and leaned back to run my eyes down my work. Over 200,000 words, more than 350 pages strung end to end in our dear friend Microsoft Word (using friend loosely here of course). Backed up, filed away, stored and ready and waiting.

Tonight, and for the next few days, I may take a dramatic bow and vanish into the great beyond. For now, I feel a great need to celebrate, before the next stage begins. Editing is just around the corner, and it is all the longer. But the work is down, the words stretched end to end, and I am content, for the moment, to rest.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend. May our rapidly descending Fall find you as well as it has found me!

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!

Another set of Colorado Haiku

What you may notice about these Haiku is that they do not, in fact, have to do with the mountains themselves, as many of the my previous works have. Though these came from my time in Colorado, they were inspired by other sights around me–the city of Denver, for one, the sight of the towering mountain mines for another.

Also, while there are more still to come, I want to say that once again, there may be another brief hiatus on posting as I head north. I will only be gone for a few days, and when I return, posting will resume as normal.

In the meantime, enjoy:

Split the rock below,

Drills bore into deepest hold—

Dead men tell no tales.

Rocky mile high club

Five hundred thousand souls strong

No wonder they smile.

Beyond the pale light

Sleeps the gilded dragon king—

Fear the reigning flame.

To change things up: some Haiku

Today, breaking from the usual vacation-based poems of the week, I give you a series of Haikus. The trip was beneficial for many things, but my Haiku especially saw a lot of work while I was away. Enjoy:

Man climbs high above

But the earth climbs higher still;

Highest rides the sun.

Each step, hotter fire

Each breath, a chiller embrace—

The sky is thinning.

Fourteen thousand feet,

The world becomes a crystal

Despite summer heat.

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


Winter Fire

Trails wind into the heart of winter,

Built serpentine through rock and wood.

The life runs through it,

Bursting through the seams.

White earth rain down

Upon the precipice—

Shield your eyes against the light,

There is fire in the winter sheen.

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.