She appeared in the doorway as if the wind had blown her onto my blank canvas all at once in full color. Soaked from rain’s song. Shaking her head and laughing wildly. She was unaware of her crackling impact on the still inside air. Surprisingly refreshing like a summer storm. Embracing Nature. Inspiring art.
She had arrived at the mouth of her favorite place. The headwaters commenced deeper in the forest beyond her, and perhaps beyond her comfort. She had found the most exquisite patch of earth just ahead on the trail where the sun streamed through the tall fir trees two decades before; yet, arriving upon it never ceased to thrill. Skipping excitedly out onto what was once a natural bridge now eroded by the supernatural she closed her eyes allowing both ears to be equally filled with the roar of rushing water. Whenever her world had become too noisy she longed for these places, and sought them out on trails, in parks, and too often these days in the shower. Standing in the dancing shadows, she knew she was almost there. She felt a flutter of excitement in her stomach as she spotted her destination: A large flat rock, pre-treated by the sun, the one with the natural dip that perfectly cradled her seat allowing a book to perch comfortably on her knees. Its expanse large enough to share with another, though the unwritten rule of the Universe stated that if someone else had set up there first you would not disturb them. She understood all too well that perhaps they were also stealing a small slice of peace 45 minutes from the urban hustle. Escaping from that or running toward this, one never knew. She knew the powers of the stone melting away the burdens of too many days… Ah, that glorious refining heat, and so, on those occasions, she never stayed. And, she was thankful that others who knew the rules of survival, upon discovering her, had also quietly backed away. Oft times there would be families camping nearby with children playing on the rock, using it as a stepping stone to the myriad of treasures below, or simply for viewing the falls. This, of course, was different, and when she happened upon these inhabitants of her sacred place, she was never disturbed. She took a deep breath and openly engaged those enjoying their first discoveries, or smiling silently as mothers worried when their young ones teetered too close to the edge or as their teens bound from fallen log to log to the rock slides in the river below the lower falls. On this day it was hers, as if it had been reserved. Settling in she unpacked here, as she always did, carefully setting each piece out on the altar of this glorious day — forever called today. First things first she put on her sunglasses and took off her socks and shoes, squirming just a bit as the warmth of the earth soothed her weary feet. Or was it her soul? She took a sip of water refreshing with its bite of lemon, and put the bottle in a close by crevice so it wouldn’t roll into the clear blue-green below. She had already sacrificed so many things to these falls where upon arriving in Oregon she was told her Spirit Guide resided: cameras, a favorite jacket once, and many tears… So much so, she knew that smartphones and anything more than one delicious bottle of beer had no business here. Next from its cheesecloth swaddle emerged a baguette, Brie, pepper jerky, frozen grapes and kiwi: A communion for one. She had long ago learned chocolate could not survive here unless expertly tucked into a croissant — never mind the usual buttery flaky pastry was smashed flat, it all went down deliciously the same. She savored each bite, as if she for the first time tasted such delights. Each time was a rebirth as she consciously slowed herself down enough to notice how much feeling was always available to her awareness. This was her offering, long before prayer and yoga became part of her practice. A light breeze kissed her face, and she closed her eyes to take it in. Her heart shined as the mist of the falls sprinkled her cheeks. This, simply this, after all, is why she is here are on this particular day. To be kissed by God. She yelled into the pounding of the falls, “I love you, too!” And the falls answered her, as it always did, with an endless, “Shhhhhh…” Opening her eyes, she steadied herself from the heady rush of the moment. Pulling out her pen and journal she began to write of love… The kind that never ceased to meet her right here… On the mouth.
NaPoWriMo Day 28: Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Now, the story doesn’t have to be complicated (it’s probably better if it isn’t)!
Setting up camp, I kept that inside.
Arriving at our destination, I did a little happy dance of elation.
The first mile in was rough going until we hit our stride.
I’m sure he had his doubts how this was all going to work out.
After all I had never hiked a trail, let alone wore a pack.
I was determined not to be a burden and began weighing this and that.
My head began to spin with the preparations that must be made for this future.
I, on the other hand, couldn’t think of a more glorious way for a week in June to be spent.
“Darlin’, you make hiking up a dirty trail sound so romantic!”
I very much liked the idea – a beautiful trek between the aesthetic and literary appreciation.
“You gotta hit the PCT with me this summer! That’s IF you still like me,” he ventured.
The seed was planted with a text and ended with a tent.
~Just L (April 28, 2016)
Author’s Notes: Inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and real events with Allen on the Pacific Crest Trail..
670 days ago you spotted me downtown strolling in that long summer red dress. 534 days since our first date and subsequent whirlwind romance where we slipped briskly into an intimacy from which [we] never recovered. (F. Scott Fitzgerald) 950,400 seconds later I first tasted your mouth. One month and a day later you told me you were falling in love with me. One year, four months minus 4 days since I first told you I loved you under the New Year stars. 307 days ago we shared an exquisite storm and silly laughs with your boy on a dusty trail. 8 months since I knew that I knew that I knew I could build a lifetime with you. 186 days since we chewed on cheese sandwiches under the sun in the city park before a concert. 140 days ago we celebrated your nerves reconnecting, long after sparks flew between us. 78 days later I can still recall you looking at me with those most endearingly kind, googly eyes. But who’s counting?
NaPoWriMo Day 22: Today’s prompt comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who also suggested our prompt for Day Seven. Today, Gloria challenges us all to write a poem in honor of Earth Day. This could be about your own backyard, a national park, or anything from a maple tree to a humpback whale. Happy writing!
Opening her eyes she saw not just the trees but the whole forest – Perhaps for the first time.
Under this canopy of protection and beauty, she rested on the earth, and closed her eyes.
She felt the gravity caressing her body, solid and without fail.
Imagining all that can be. Thankful for all that is.
She rose and ran toward all that was to come.
And the earth followed her. Smiling.
~Just L (April 22, 2016, revised from “Uprooted” July 29, 2015)
NaPoWriMo Day 16: Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers. Happy writing!
A powerful storm produced piles of agates, three buckets of beers, and 8 inches of love. The pounding waves destroyed the sandy beach, stole my flip flops, and raged, “Go home, you’re drunk.”
~Just L (April 16, 2016)
Weather: Marine layer
Flora: Hanging pots of Bouganvilla, heavenly morning glories, and Jade vines
Architecture: Spanish Colonial
Mammals/reptiles/fish: Yellowfin Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish
Childhood dream: To be an ex-pat and author
Found on the Street: Market vendors
Lover: Latin, duh.
Conspiracy: Government corruption
Dress: White cotton embroidered dresses
Hometown memory: Trees touching across the street
Notable person: Lady of Guadalupe
Outside your window, you find: Bay of Banderas
Today’s news headline: El Nino Delays Whales
Scrap from a letter: With you, all my love goes away
Animal from a myth: Mermaids
Story read to children at night: Goodnight Moon
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: A thrown out piece of furniture to be restored
You walk to the border and hear: “chiclet chiclet….”
What you fear: Being too fierce and bold for any one man to love forever
Picture on your city’s postcard: Cathedral
NaPoWriMo Day 11: Today, I challenge you to write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does. I think of the “surprise” ending to this James Wright Poem as a model for the effect I’m hoping you’ll achieve. An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details. Happy writing!
The tree protects the yard
It’s evergreen umbrella, a communal treat
Underneath the roots run deep
Pushing up the patio concrete
The leaves on the drooping branches in the wind twirl
Its expansive shade guards the grass
And for the birds provides a retreat
Along with a winter trunk for squirrels
The fire is on the inside behind the glass.