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Archive for the ‘seasons’ Category

The pull of the waves

Summer is here, and with it comes the talk of summer plans; vacations, adventures, travel to places near and far. My budget these days does not allow for a true vacation, only the trip back to Minnesota in September for my daughter’s wedding, which as lovely as that will be does not count as a vacation. So I have set my sights on a day trip to the Oregon coast. It will involve renting a car, since I sold my car seven months ago and have not been behind the wheel since then. But I’m willing to brave the roads and traffic to experience the ocean once more. Being only an hour and a half from the Pacific Ocean still takes my breath away. And the Oregon coast is full of massive waves and wind, with a rocky, seaweed cluttered shore that calls to my heart. I had a vision of my ocean before I even saw her, and wrote a poem about what I saw in my heart from miles away in Minnesota. And when I finally came to meet my ocean, she was even lovelier than I could imagine.

My Ocean

 

My ocean is not a beauty queen

With perfectly coiffed beaches of white sugar sand and a sparkling smile from the sun’s dazzling rays

 

My ocean is not a party girl

Inviting everyone to frolic in her waters and gyrate on her sand

 

My ocean is not a crowd pleaser

Offering up temperate waters to swim in and perfect waves to ride upon

 

 

My ocean dresses plainly

She wears weathered chunks of wood and slimy emerald green seaweed around her neck

Her shore is tangled wet tresses of gray and brown

 

My ocean seldom entertains guests

Her close companions are the rain, who touches her with drops of adoration

And the wind who dances with her in a passionate frenzy, spinning her into a whirling dervish

 

My ocean’s palette of colors is not bright and perky

Her color wheel contains the muted tones of the earth

Pallid shades of oyster gray, of muddy brown, of tarnished silver, of sun deprived green

 

My ocean is not the prettiest girl in the room

 

My ocean is not the most graceful dancer on the dance floor

 

My ocean is a natural beauty

A goddess unadorned

 

Her shores are cluttered with treasures from her toy chest

Her demeanor is solemn and stern

She languishes under a sky of heavy, sated clouds full of moisture

 

My feet sink into the putty of her sands

And I gaze out at her, captivated by the truthful declaration of her waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifts from the rain

I think I’m going to get a t-shirt made that reads: I survived the wettest March on record in Portland. Yes, all you kind people who told me, “It rains all the time in Portland – why would you want to move there?”, you are correct! It does rain here quite a bit, but today the sun came out for a long overdue visit, and I hurried out to take some pictures of the beauty that is a result of all that rain. I saw so many others with cameras in hand, giddy at the break from the rainy days. But truth be told, I will take the constant wetness of rain over the bone-chilling cold of a Minnesota winter any day. I forgive Portland for raining so much lately, and I still find myself in love with this lovely city of so much color.

Gifts on a rainy day

Today was going to be an “inside day”, as I watched the rain pouring down on my skylight, and heard the wind whipping all around. But then my soul had other plans, bringing to me the delicious thought of walking in the rain with my charming red umbrella, my sights focused on having a nice cup of coffee somewhere. And I found a delightful coffeehouse I had not been to before, where I became inspired to write a new poem. I had failed to bring any paper or pen with me, but the nice young man at the counter found me a pen as well as some paper, so I didn’t have to use a napkin as I had originally planned. After I left the coffeehouse, I was led to a bookstore nearby, where I was led to a wonderful book about angels that just happened to be on sale. And as I walked home, the bottoms of my jeans soaked and dragging on the sidewalk, I was given a final gift. I spied the row of bright red tulips, shyly poking their heads out in the cold rain, as if to tell me, “Don’t worry, spring will be here soon!”

Joy’s Disguises

 

I found joy

In the gray blanket of sky

In the cold, wet raindrops that tickled me

In the wind that blew my umbrella inside out

 

I found joy

At the little round table of wood

That held my plain white coffee cup

That contained the warm, brown elixir

That chased away the chill in my bones

As I gazed out the rain splattered window

 

I found joy

As I listened to Patsy Cline singing “I Fall to Pieces”

As we all sat at our separate tables, sipping our coffee

As I watched the rain walkers strolling outside

 

I found joy

In the disguises

Of blindly perceived separation from one another

Of the dreary delusions of a cold, rainy day

Of all I had previously thought of

As joyless

 

 

 

 

 

Water washes over me

During my life thus far, I have experienced water in all its forms; rain, snow, sleet, hail – all the conditions that encompass the oath of the ever faithful mail carrier to complete their appointed rounds. I was born and raised in water friendly Minnesota, lovingly described on its license plates as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. It makes for a stunning landscape, all those lakes, with Lake Superior calling to me with its siren song of immense beauty. But I soon grew tired of the frozen form of water, the snow that would blanket the ground each winter, and the winter of 2010/2011 was like some kind of cruel marathon that Mother Nature seemed to be running. After cleaning snow off my car in mid-April, I wrote a poem lamenting the endless winter and set my sights westward. I could now hear the ocean calling me, just like when you hold a shell to your ear and hear the roar of the waves. And I had a vision of the Oregon coast, so clear in my mind. It wasn’t pretty and sun drenched like the Southern California coast. No, my ocean was cloudy and windy, with waves that angrily rolled in, all cold and foamy. And once I moved to Portland, and made my first trip to the coast, I saw my vision revealed to me in all its splendor. Yes, there is plenty of water here, in the form of rain. And yes, there has even been a bit of the white stuff too! But as I make my way through the rainy season here, I just remind myself that all those lovely drops of water falling down are what brings the green of the leaves, the colors of the flowers, and I drench myself in the luscious color palette of this place I now call home.

Whining About Winter

The snow, the snow

The endless snow!

In December, white crystals fall

Like jewels from heaven

In March, angry pellets of white

Are shot from hell

Pristine mountains of gathered flakes

That once glistened pure and bright

Are now dreary gray burial mounds

When will the melting commence?

To reveal the earth’s hidden palette of colors

As days march triumphantly towards spring

The sun cautiously creeps closer to the earth

It dares to stay a little longer

With each passing day

Come! Stay awhile!

Don’t be shy, we implore

And the sun finally agrees

To stop hiding like a frightened rabbit behind winter

And leaps like a graceful deer into spring

Chasing the snow into the ground

It lifts up sleeping life from once frozen dirt

The Pull of the Waves

How is it that I feel

Deep within my being

This pull of the waves

A body of water

Ocean, sea

Miles away

From my body

Yet my soul

Plants its feet in the sand

And I wait

For the water to rush over me

Rolling waves

Now I float on them

Rocking in a cradle

 Swaying in my lover’s arms

The waves enfold me

A wet, salty blanket

Drifting off in a daydream

Blissful remembrance

Of how the water

Delights

The Changing Moods of Water

 

Water

Changing forms

Liquid drops of rain

Flakes of snow

Blanket of fog

Billowy clouds

Icy sheets on the river

Water floating upon water

Seared by the sun

Water warms

Water melts

Fondled by winter’s breeze

Droplets cease to fall

They hang suspended

Moments frozen

Tousled by the wind

Waves leap and cavort

In fits of rage they destroy

Yet water is liquid life

Nourishing our bodies

Quenching our thirst

It mimics the goddess Kali

A bearer of life

A destroyer of life

When made aware of its duality

We gain respect for water

And it’s ever changing moods

Winter in a new place

I spent 50 some years used to the seasonal rhythms of the Midwest. That included harsh winters that did not allow flowers to bloom much past October. I am finding that winter in the Pacific Northwest is much kinder to vegetation, and that flowers continue to bloom, even in December. My internal seasonal clock is so confused! I know it is winter, it is colder here, yet I can go for a walk in the park and still see color! That was my chief complaint after last year’s winter in Minnesota; the dull, drab, colorless monotony that dragged on for what seemed an eternity. But here in Oregon I find color that nourishes my soul through the shorter, grayer days. A walk today revealed a dash of flowers here and there, along with moss that hangs like green overcoats on the tree trunks. There are leaves that fall off the trees, just like the Midwest, and they create a soft carpet on the sidewalks. Then I find trees whose leaves look as vibrant and green as they did in the summer months. But I’m not complaining. Soon enough I will be going back to Minnesota for a visit, and I know that I will be missing the winter in my new home.

Flowers in December

 

The roses have given up

Their petals now brown

Too shy to bloom in the cool air

 

But the pansies persevere

Their clown faces and circus colors

Celebrate the winter season

 

Hibiscus hang on

Now faded, washed out blue

On display until the bitter end

 

Cranesbill of delicate purple

Withstand the dropping degrees

And continue to hang on the vine

 

December flowers bloom

Like colorful candy sprinkles

On the muted green foliage

 

 

Winter words, and remembering Minnesota winters

I spent 52 cold and snowy winters in Minnesota, until I finally decided I had enough and moved to a more temperate but rainy clime of Portland, Oregon six months ago. They tell me it snows here, but not much. And I have heard that even a few inches is enough to prompt the mayor into issuing a warning for all Portlanders to avoid travel and stay home! For someone who is accustomed to driving through literally feet and not just inches of snow, my first Portland snowfall should provide much amusement. Although I will concede that the snow removal equipment here is nothing like what Minnesota has. Even though I came to truly hate the frigid and snowy monotony of eternally long Minnesota winters, I found myself outside one day after a snowstorm, admiring the beauty of the snow on the trees and taking picture after picture. And when I began writing, the snow also became inspiration for me – who would have thought?! But even so, I can’t say that I will miss the Midwestern landscape at winter – I find rain is so much more manageable!

Winter Canvas

 

Snow becomes a canvas

Blinding white

Sunlight creates

Tiny sparkling prisms

Shadow of the bench

Wavy and distorted

Soft reflections from glass

Paint white on white

Tree shadows

Are gray

Undefined

An impression

The artist in winter

Is the sun

The artist’s canvas

Is the pristine snow

Is

Snow sprinkled like

Powdered sugar on the trees

Birds’ nests are cupcakes

Frosted with snow

Beads of water

Frozen into hanging sculpture

Trunks and branches

Become monuments

The stillness

Makes you

Want to hold your breath

Winter is

A time of rest

Winter is

A simple time

Winter is

Snowflakes

Catching them

On my tongue

Gentle, tiny miracles

Melting into me

An angel’s sieve

Sprinkles gifts over me

Coated with love

I fall down

An angel in the snow

A shadow of my soul

Remains as I rise

Imprint in the earth

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