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Category Archives: Travel

Southwest

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you are my green chile

kokopelli dream

soft sound of hiking boots

tapping on sandstone

my sun, uninterrupted

blessing mesas

the aqua blue of desert skies

set against canyons calling

in sacred language of silence

scents of cedar, earth and peace

you reset me

 

 

 

44 words is a quadrille, our original poetry form at

dVerse Poet’s Pub.

Merril is our host and the given word is “set”. Feel free to join in.

Maritime

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In awe I stand

Feet steadied upon

Emerald cliffs

Inhaling breath of sky

Heart-quickened, earth-smitten

Tickle of sea mist on my tongue

I surrender thoughts to the waves

Trundle with ocean’s tide

Erasing all but this moment

Time still…. (passes)

Each second a blessing

 

 

Written for De’s Quadrille prompt , “Quick! Write Something!”   

dVerse Poets Pub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southport

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It is our first morning in Newfoundland. We settled in late, the night before to an eclectic vacation rental in the small community of Southport. Population 40. We want to experience the true local life of the most eastern province of Canada. I open the door to see our surroundings in daylight, barely breathing the salty air on the bay, when I hear the sound of a four wheeler, kicking up gravel in it’s path. A middle-aged man stops in front our door. “Hello! How are you doing? Staying at Peggy and Viv’s are ya?” He shares stories of the land, the people and the fishing industry. He says he will never leave “the rock”, this magnificent island we’ve come to explore. He’s ventured out to bigger dreams and cities, but this is home. It’s different here. He’s already convinced me it’s better here. He offers a word of advice to us. “Don’t worry about crossing boundaries or walking across the neighbour’s properties. The worst thing that can happen is they’ll invite you in for tea.”

My eyes wander a bit to take in my surroundings. Colourful little buildings called “stages”. Rocky shorelines and fog in the distance. He tells us of a 90 year old woman visiting the area. She asked him to take her out on the ocean to see the sights and he willingly obliged. Then his voice becomes shaky with emotion. “She said to me, ‘Now I have seen heaven.'” He puts his hand on his heart. “I will never forget her face and those words”, he says. I get the same lump in my throat, feeling the sincerity in his eyes. The conversation brings me back to a place of genuine simplicity. This is why I am here.

 

fresh breeze of August

eagle basks in morning sun

feathers set aglow

 

 

 

 

It’s Haibun Monday, everyone! The theme is “morning”. Hope you can join us at dVerse Poets Pub

I am your host and the prompt is open all week.

 

Chimera

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From a window seat view

I watch clouds casting shadows

In puzzle-like fashion

Beauty mimicked from skies, majestic

To desolate, desert floors

In solitude they roam

Longing for home

I cushion them gently between

My thumb and pointer finger

Dreaming each piece into place

 

 

Its Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and I am your host.

You are welcome to join in! Doors open at 3 p.m. EST.

Photo taken in flight over Nevada.

 

Ties

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He tells me he’s going to Thailand. Alone. For six weeks. Six weeks and six days. He is taking a backpack. I think he is joking but then…there’s the grin, that familiar smirk n’ dimple disposition that says he is not. I smile, wide-eyed while panic pokes at every ounce of my maternal self. “What?” “Why?” “When?” The fact that he will miss Christmas becomes trivial, getting lost in swirls of anxiety. I look in his eyes for answers to questions I haven’t thought of yet. He speaks of hostels in Bangkok and a train to Chiang Mai where you can ride an elephant. My heart races like a tuk-tuk but I remain focused on him, his dreams, his ambitions, his life. This is his life.

 

sea eagle sets sail

as easterly winds beckon

avoiding monsoons

 

Toni (kazensukura) leads our Haibun Monday at dVerse this week. The topic is your choice. Just remember to follow the etiquette of the form. “(1) The haibun must be non-fiction (2) The occurance must have actually happened to you (3) You are to write one to two tight paragraphs and (4) End it with a season based haiku.”

Image: pixabay.com

 

 

First Embrace

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Oh my little sea anemone

I didn’t know your name

Or if your game included me

My intrusion, your confusion

My bucket list of fickleness

But somehow I knew

I knew you would reach for me

The first time I touched you

 

sea-anomie

Sea anemone, Laguna Beach

 

Written for Poetics: “first things first”. Kelly has returned for a visit and has asked us to write a poem about a first.  This brief interaction was most likely a first for both of us.

Unanchored

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Pelee Island 364

“Same view from where I am
grass and sky and trees
Please let me travel elsewhere
to see the sea”

“Rooted” – Viv Blake

 

Journey me

Ferry me gently

To new horizons

Then…let…me…go

I’ll be the fizzle

In the seafoam

The iridescent dazzle

Of sun satiny shores

Dance me dizzy

Until I fall giggly into

Cotton batten clouds

Quilted for me

Journey me

To the sea

 

We have begun a week long celebration for our 5th Anniversary of dVerse Poets Pub. Grace started us off with an interview with Brian Miller, co-founder of dVerse. Today we are writing quadrilles including the word “journey”. During our two week break, we were very saddened to lose one of our most active participants, a very talented poet, Viv Blake. I was inspired by her poem, “Rooted” as I wrote this piece. This one’s for you, Viv.

Zia

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Oh sacred sun

Paint my heart in pastels

Once more you find me

Beckoned by the beige of

Chiseled mesas

Dressed in shadows

Tantalized by turquoise trails

Where time tumbles

In weeds, windswept

Wonders dance like dust devils

And I trust

 That beauty still thrives

 In lonesome places

 

Today I am hosting Poetics at dVerse. The topic is “Sentiments of the Southwest” where I have offered up some of my favourite photos for inspiration.

The pub opens at 3 pm EST. See you there!

The Southwest: A Photo Collection

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rocksunset2 Arches horizon badlands23 badlands29 nice canyon3DSCF0598NM October 2011 772scan0004 badlandssunset3 Dead Horse Point awesome Dead Horse Point tree DSCF0002 DSCF0176 DSCF0478 DSCF0493 DSCF0520 DSCF0530 DSCF0597 DSCF1244 DSCF1252 DSCF1270 DSCF1298 March 2011 214 March 2015 132 March 2015 192 March 2015 207 March 2015 341 March 2015 384 March 2015 622 March 2015 638 March 2015 745 mountains through tree NM October 2011 112 NM October 2011 421 NM October 2011 768 pic1

Collaboration for Peace – 17

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 This week Candy and I are hoping you find peace amid the storms of life…

 

May 30 006

 

Safe Harbor

 

I sailed my little ship
through unknown seas
navigating through storms
and doldrums letting
the stars guide my
passage
I sailed my little ship
without fear of
rocky shores
until I found peace

 
© Candace Kubinec

Plain Sailing

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pic for octaine

 

 

Some days I’d like to sail away

On diamond studded oceans blue

A dazzle of my dreams come true

 

Horizons stretch beyond the bay

Stars for tracing, time erasing

Surrender burdens of yesterday

 

Life starts with taking breaths anew

Some days I’d like to sail away

 

 

Over at dVerse, Victoria C. Slotto has introduced the Octain Refrain, originally created by an English poet by the name of Luke Prater. The rhyme scheme is A-b-b,  a-c/c-a,  b-a

Eight syllables per line…I may have an extra one.

 

New Mexico

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canyon

 

Pieces of my heart

Wait for me here

Where time has chiseled rock

Like a sculptor

Offering masterpieces to the heavens

But they’ve seen it

And I feel like an angel

Poised and perched upon a mesa

Waiting for my wings

Wondering how I ever knew

What the sun was

Until I felt it here

Warming every pore of my skin

 

My thoughts run deep

Into canyons where they dance

With shadow and light

Reflecting dreams transpired

Before they were ever dreams

I inhale the sweet scent

Of pinon pine and cedar

The stillness moves me

Silence embraces me

Reality chases me

But I will be back because

Pieces of my heart

Wait for me here

 

For dVerse poetics, “Adventures in Traveling”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

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oops

 

I am sitting in the dining car of a train…or am I floating on the lake?

Either way it was magical.

~

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/oops/

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

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giraffe

This lovely beast had no qualms about sticking his neck out for a treat. Photo taken at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Enjoy some more treats at The Daily Post.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/treat/

 

Writing 201 – Day 4

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September 2015 015

 

No ideal life can be attained

The sun will shine above the rain

Let’s not be critical

Flaws are mystical

Perfection can be mundane

 

 

Imperfection is our prompt for this assignment that involved writing a limerick.It also gave me the opportunity to use this photo I took at a beautiful park in Ontario.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic II

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beach

A contrast to my first submission, the endless white of snow reaches for the horizon on one of the Great Lakes. This will soon be the scene at the beach as we bid farewell to the warm blue waters of summer. Just thinking about it makes me very grateful for autumn.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/monochromatic/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

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California 2014 192

 

This was taken near Oceanside, California and seemed to fit the criteria for this week’s challenge “monochromatic”. Be sure to check out other interpretations at The Daily Post.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

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As we traveled along a highway in Michigan, these clouds seemed to be eyeballing us all the way. They definitely added a creepy vibe to the morning sky. Check out more creepy photos over at The Daily Post.

Click to enlarge…if you dare.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

CN tower

Do you dare to walk on air?

Standing on the Glass Floor in the CN tower can be quite intimidating. As our silhouettes hover over an aerial view of downtown Toronto streets, this photo gives a whole new meaning to “beneath your feet”.

 

CN tower1

Another shot from a glass panel of the world famous floor reveals a section of the Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Big fans sit below, as tiny as they may seem to us.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/beneath-your-feet/

Blue Eyed Boy Boards a Train

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rails

Blue eyed boy boards a train
For northern lakes
And goodness sakes
For it trickles through his veins

Bending west along prairies
Crystal clear tributaries
Open mind steady
As the rails that carry him

And these winds beckon gently
As his gaze takes him further
Than his blue eyes can see
Past the pine and tamarack

More than transcontinental
This journey, monumental
A junction met
Between roots and risk

                     ~

Written for dVerse – Open Link Night using Bill’s poetic prompt “All Aboard” where we were asked to write about trains.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Door

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March 2015 702

Through these doors, one can only imagine the interior of Van Patten Mountain Camp, a historical resort built in 1897. It was worth the hike to see these ruins nestled in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

 

Related Articles:
http://lascrucesblog.com/las-cruces/2008/hiking-dripping-springs-part-2/

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

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May2015 125

A familiar scene on the Great Lakes as a large freighter pushes on despite being enveloped by the morning fog. The view is surreal from the shoreline though not as calming for the ship’s captain. Mother Nature provides many challenges for those who navigate these waterways, the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

 

May2015 121

 

When You’re Down in Memphis

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bb5

Let’s go down to Memphis

Listen to some old time blues

That might be news to me

Feel the joy in the melancholy

As wailing guitars push out notes

Like potbellied tears

And tiny little diamonds

We’ll dance by the stage

With that sweet ol’ man with the cap

How do you say no

To a sweet ol’ man with a cap?

We will marvel

At the Beale Street Blues Boy

His portrait on the wall

The reason for it all

We’ll try those deep fried pickles

Savor the sweet tang of the ribs

Lip smackin’, hip packin’

As we sway to the rhythm

Of the house band

Let’s take a walk

Beside the muddy Mississippi

The sound of the sax

Rising softly at our backs

We’ll ride the horse drawn carraige

Lit up like Christmas

Because that is what you do

When you’re down in Memphis

~

Rest in Peace, Mr. B.B. King

(September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)

bb4

~

Dedicated to my friend, Ann and a road trip I will never forget.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

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geese

At a nearby conservation area in Southwestern Ontario, hundreds of geese take up residence and this time of year, it can be quite a spectacle. These two honkers couldn’t seem to move fast enough as they chased others across the pond. Click to enlarge.

Be sure to check out more of life in motion at The Daily Post.

Alternate Route

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NM October 2011 555

I take the scenic route, switchbacks, potholes
Where distance fails me, a few miles short of escape
Yellow lines divide freedom from catastrophes
Blue-grey blankets lie heavy in sapphire skies
Flaxen fields brush stroke my thoughts in gold
As roadside hawks circle to catch winds of grace
I succumb to the art of enlightenment
The blur of mile markers, dilemmas lost in transit

~

 

 http://dversepoets.com/2015/04/21/poetics-of-the-road/

We are writing octets (eight line poems) for dVerse. Some of us incorporated the theme of the road or travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

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September 2011 152

Agawa Canyon Tour Train in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario offers an amazing sightseeing tour beginning in the early morning. I took this photo of the flat screen monitor inside the train. Digital cameras mounted on this locomotive  give you the engineer’s view. Eerie and beautiful.

September 11 2011 142

Mist rises from a northern lake as we make our way towards the canyon.

September 11 2011 164

Reflections from the morning sun only intensify the beauty framed by passenger windows. Some things are worth getting up early for.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/early-bird/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

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March 2011 035

Sunlight on whiskers

Afloat in California

A sea lion’s throne

March 2011 037

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/afloat/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur II

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One of the wonderful perks of living in Ontario is the ability to welcome and bid farewell to four distinct seasons. It encourages you to live in the moment and appreciate the obvious and not so obvious metamorphosis that takes place. Winter? It’s all a blur to me now. Check out more of it at […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

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DSCF1385Claret cup hedgehog

Blushing red against grey spines

Spring in the desert

~

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/fresh-2/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

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~

Corran Ruins-McNeills Mansion is located outside of Wiarton, Ontario in Spirit Rock Conservation Area.

DSCF6344

 

The walls of the mansion remain stoic in the sunlight despite obvious destruction.

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Multicoloured brick is like artwork chiseled by the wind.

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Nature is framed by open windows.

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 Time has blessed this place.DSCF6349

~

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/wall/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

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symmetry

~

A slightly late submission for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. On a very memorable day with my step daughter and grand-daughter, this photo was one of a hundred others that I took at the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario. These little beauties showcase symmetry with their striking design, while maintaining their individualism. It’s a beautiful thing!

 

 http://www.niagaraparks.com/niagara-falls-attractions/butterfly-conservatory.html

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth II

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A & M visit summer 2012 694

 ~

Here is another interpretation of depth for The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Again, I was drawn to some photos taken in Lion’s Head, Ontario.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/depth/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

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A & M visit summer 2012 731

A & M visit summer 2012 753

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This has to be one of the most interesting hikes I have ever taken. Lion’s Head, Ontario is named for it’s lion shaped rock formation carved into the landscape. The winding trail to the top of the escarpment is a bit challenging but worth every step. You can take your time along the way, admiring a fairytale forest full of mossy rocks, twisted cedars and ancient birch trees. It is surreal. The story ends with this view over Georgian Bay. The varying depths of the water play with the palette of blue.

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/depth/

http://www.explorethebruce.com/lions-head.php

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity IV

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serenity3

Setting golden tones

First class seat for evening show

Dazzling in silence

~

Related posts: Serenity

                          Serenity II

                          Serenity III

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/serenity/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs (2)

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I had to respond again to the Weekly Photo Challenge!

These photos have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to present themselves.

Introducing…some odd, some quirky, some downright smirky…SIGNS!!

Mural

October 230

October 2012 025

October 2012 028

SAMSUNG

Strange Rd2

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October 2011 562

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

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No shortage of signs in Memphis… coaxing you from one hot spot to the next. Check out this week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

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March 21st 2011 weekend in Las Vegas 178

  Looking up at the “Eiffel Tower”, Paris Las Vegas Hotel

~

You can see more nighttime photography at 

The Daily Post

 

Flight Delays

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brooke shaden

Image: Brooke Shaden “waiting to fly”

 

It is the longing

That shortens our days

Taking trips around the world

In paper planes

Diving perilously over

Our own dark skies

Only to come back empty

Pilot aborted, hope distorted

Deserted dreams repeated

Making over dramatic

Emergency landings

Before take off

 

 ~

For dVerse poetics, Grace introduced us to the most amazing, artistic photographer, Brooke Shaden. Her work is truly inspirational as a writing prompt.

http://brookeshaden.com/gallery/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

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cactus scene

cactus2

Exploring nature’s playgrounds of white wispy clouds, chiseled mountains, ancient rock, soft sands and intricate cacti is at the top of my favourite things to do.

 This week’s photo challenge brought me back to the desert.

Sunsets of Pelee

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Pelee Island is the most southern point of Ontario. Actually it is the most southern point of all of CANADA.

Canada is larger than the U.S.A.  (just sayin’)

In the summer months, temperatures range between 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit with fairly high humidity on the island. Where I live it is not uncommon for temperatures to be in the high 80’s or low 90’s with the humidex factor during the summer.

From Leamington or Kingsville, Ontario you travel by ferry on Lake Erie (with or without your vehicle) about an hour and a half to reach one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. Our American visitors can hop a ferry from Sandusky, Ohio.

What do you do on Pelee Island?

Nothing.

That’s the beauty of it.

You will not find a Starbucks, a McDonald’s or even a grocery store. There are only a few restaurants (no chains), a fabulous little bakery and some unique craft stores. Pelee Island Wineries has 550 acres of vineyards, tours and a pavilion where they let you “grill” (or barbeque as we say in Canada) your own meat for a minor fee as you sip on a glass of your favorite wine. (We spell favorite…”favourite”, by the way).

You can camp here but I would recommend a cottage or one of their unique B&B’s.

Pelee Island is a migratory paradise for many varieties of birds so there are lots of photo opportunities. Nature surrounds you here and without the convenience of internet or consistent cell phone service, you can easily succumb to it’s lure.

Then there is something we’ve come to refer to as the “Pelee wave”. It is courtesy here to wave at every car in the oncoming lane. If you don’t…well…you are just grumpy.

You can rent a bike and in about four hours, ride the perimeter of the island. Sandy beaches on one side. Rocky terrain on the other…equally beautiful.

But nothing beats the sunsets…

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

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bridge

These international bridges link two different countries, Canada and the U.S.A., sharing the same waterway and sunset skies.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/between-danielle-hark/

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/

Badlands

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badlands

Out here

I could slip away

Fall through the cracks of

Time and existence

Mesmerized

By all that it is,

Unstirred and forsaken

Cosmic creation

A sweeping silence

That deafens the demons

And nourishes the soul

These are not bad lands

badlandssunset3

 

Musings of a Traveller

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October 2011 622

Does this blur have a beat?

My journey, my song

Is unwritten

Notes on pages

Lines on roads

Tarmac, tat-a-tat

Feeling kind of sick of that

Let me hear the wind

Drumming on mesas

Harmonizing layers

Of earth and sky

Tumbleweeds will try

To rock and roll my soul

And clouds can dance, you know

NM October 2011 576

Written for dVerse Poet’s Pub

This week for dVerse Poetics, our prompt was the “rhythm of the road”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

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stop that

Meet “Anne”,  a sculpture by Leo Mol.

We met her on a visit to Sculpture Park in Windsor, Ontario near the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit.

I don’t think she was expecting this fellow to use her head as a look out.

~

Related Articles

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/photo-challenge-unexpected/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor_Sculpture_Park

http://www.citywindsor.ca/residents/Culture/Windsor-Sculpture-Park/Documents/Self%20guided%20tour%20book.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Mol

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hue of You

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Terra cotta

terra cotta poem

The colour of clay has a way

Of subduing the hues in my head

Earthy tones seduce me again

So predictably

Like an organic kaleidoscope

That doesn’t need to flaunt

To get my attention

~

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/hue-photo-challenge/

Strange

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DSCF3753

Sometimes you travel down a path

Before knowing you are on it

Time ticks and toys with your intentions

Space grows large enough to swallow you whole

Highways, byways lead to nowhere

Signs are non existent, lights are out

You surrender to the map of fate

Blindly hoping it will bring you back

To the warm, familiar place

You took for granted

To the smiles, the love, the laughter

Away from the “strange”

50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years….#18

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#18. “Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

NM October 2011 493

The last “best thing I ever ate” was a Green Chile Cheeseburger in Hatch, New Mexico.

What is green chile?

It is NOT a jalapeno.

It is NOT just a chile pepper that happens to be green. It is what it is…green chile.

There is nothing like it. The flavor is so unique and the first time I tried it, it reminded me that there is so much in life that I still need to discover!! I know, I know, it’s just green chile. My point is that along my journey of 50 (ahem) years, I have become more open to new experiences, new places, new people and new foods.

Life is too short to waste a minute saying “eww, what is that, I don’t think I will like it”.

Green chile is now a staple in our house as an addition to breakfast burritos, chicken enchiladas and my personal favourite, green chile stew.  Yes, this Canadian girl can make a mean green chile stew. Hatch has it’s own brand of green chile and you can find it by the can in many local grocery stores.  You can also buy it freshly roasted or roast it yourself!

roasting chile

My husband and I go “home” to New Mexico approximately once per year to visit his family. My father in-law has made it a tradition to drive to Hatch for the green chile cheeseburger experience. Consisting of the freshest ground beef I have ever tasted, a perfectly melted slice of cheddar and….drum roll please….a slathering of one of New Mexico’s greatest treasures…GREEN CHILE!

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NM October 2011 491

 Hatch, New Mexico is located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces. Rows of red ristras dress up this quiet rural town and can be purchased for a reasonable price at many roadside markets.

Driving into Hatch, you would not expect to find any culinary magic happening here.

Actually you would not expect to find much of anything happening here.

Population:  1,680

NM October 2011 513

Then you see it…a line of people gathered in front of a small restaurant called “Sparky’s”. This speaks volumes considering the unusual array of familiar, yet unrelated statues adorning the entrance. Maybe they are there to disguise the true identity of this gem. Seating is minimal, after all.

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You can choose to dine outside with Ronald McDonald and Sparky the robot constructed from tractor parts or inside surrounded by even more whimsical decor. I know what you’re thinking, but trust me.

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Whether you find this place to be amusing or just plain odd, one thing is for sure. If you’ve been here once, you will be here again….and again.

It may be a good thing I am only in New Mexico once a year because the spicy potato wedges and old fashioned milk shakes are also delicious!

NM October 2011 505

So if you are ever in the area of Las Cruces, New Mexico, be sure to visit Hatch, the self proclaimed Green Chile Capital of the World.

NM October 2011 500

http://sparkysburgers.com/

What’s the last “best thing YOU ever ate” ?

Canada Geese

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geese 3

With weathered wings
They take flight
Oblivious to our gaze
Graceful glide
Pace and stride
Bellies rise
Above our eyes.

With weathered wings
They reach out to
Fellow feathered friends
Clumsily aligned
Directionally defined
Uplifting hearts
That long to fly

geese4

Canada geese departing from a dock on Lake Erie.

Journey of Empathy

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March 21st 2011 weekend in Las Vegas 231

Not all passages are smooth

And some have traveled long

On winding, washed out trails

That led to nowhere

It takes so little

To pave their stony path

Tiny offerings of hope and comfort

Can burnish a bumpy road

http://allbuthomeless.wordpress.com/

Flying on Lorazepam

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I have never been afraid of flying thousands of feet above the earth in an aircraft of any kind. I am not afraid of heights. I do not carefully check out the passengers for potential terrorists. It doesn’t cross my mind that we may hit a large bird in mid flight and spiral nose first into the ground. Nah.

I am claustrophobic. The worst part for me is when we are boarding and I am waiting patiently anxiously for the plane to move. It hits me again after we have landed and the plane is taxiing on the runway.This phobia has been real for as long as I can remember but has only intensified in the last couple years.

My doctor suggested lorazepam. She offered it to me with a smile on her face as if she used it regularly. She said it was a great medication for this particular issue. When I hesitated, she reminded me that the one place I would not want to have a full out panic attack would be on a flight.  I had to agree since I have already had visions of myself hyperventilating, rushing to the nearest exit door and hurling it into the sky, only to stick my head out for air. Needless to say, the rest of the passengers would soon follow me out with a massive vacuum like force. That would be visual number one. Number two would involve security, possibly some duct tape and a detour landing somewhere like Wichita, Kansas.

So I said yes to lorazepam, the lesser evil.

During my lifetime, I have never required any type of major medication. I am familiar with some medications within the mental health spectrum since I have family members who have used them. Now it was my turn to experience the effects of a tiny little white pill. I was very skeptical, not wanting to use anything that was mind altering on my highly valued coconut for fear it would shred it into pieces. Besides the possible side effects, my main concern was that it was going to manipulate the “me” of who I am, if that makes any sense. If it takes away my fear of being in a confined place, then it is changing my mind. It is convincing me somehow that what I feel is not real. Now, that is a trip and the only trip I wanted to take was to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As I waited by Gate A25 to board, I meticulously timed the taking of my magic pill so that it’s full effects would be in action before I stepped foot into that skinny “tube”. I was leery to take the whole pill, so I broke it in half.(I am the type of person that feels stoned the next morning after taking cough syrup.) Boarding the plane about a half hour later seemed easier than  normal. Hmmm….I didn’t feel the grip of doom suffocating me as I entered the capsule. I took my seat by the window. Yes I k now, you would think that I would want an aisle seat. Claustrophobics want the aisle seats. Not me. If I am near a window, I can imagine myself OUTSIDE. Outside is good. That is where you want to be when you feel closed in. Makes sense, right?

After getting situated, seat belt on, electronic devices turned off, purse under the seat, etc. , I looked out my beloved window. Then I looked around the airplane. By now, the lovely lorazepam must have been working because my brain seemed to have another entity.

The conversation in my head went something like this….

I should be panicking right now.

You are not panicked.

But that is how I am supposed to feel. I don’t like being in small spaces. I hate airplanes.

That’s some cool information, dude, but sorry…..not feeling it.

But who are you to tell me that I am not afraid. I’m supposed to hate this.

I am your lorazepam brain. I rule at this moment.

I feel controlled by you.

You are.

I hate you.

No you don’t. You just think you do. Relax.

Ok, then I am going to pretend like you’re not here and I never was claustrophobic…and

…and

…oh wow….look at those clouds.

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Thank you, Lorazepam.

Lessons in the Land of Enchantment (50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years)

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#11.”The best fry bread I’ve ever had was made by an elderly Navajo woman at the edge of a dusty road leading to Shiprock, New Mexico.”

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New Mexico is my other home. It was there that I met my husband and discovered a new landscape. I fell in love with both of them.

There is a peaceful feeling that I can only find there, a need to explore the rock formations and lonesome desert flowers, a desire to just sit and feel the sun caress my soul.  I have had many opportunities to see the Land of Enchantment but this particular adventure will be forever imprinted in my mind.

This was a day trip in the Four Corners Area highlighted with a visit to “Shiprock”.

We were travlling on Red Rock Highway that takes you to this glorious sight.  At the side of this deserted road, we could see the figure of an elderly woman dressed in a long dark skirt sitting by an outdoor grill of some type.  As we drove closer, I insisted that we stop. My sons were with us and I believed this was one of those “once in a lifetime, you just have to stop” moments.

Getting out of the car, the aroma of oil and bread combined was surprisingly wonderful. The desolate desert backdrop transported us to a place of long ago, of recipes passed down….a place of simplicity, family and survival.

As we approached her, she smiled slightly, which pronounced the deep wrinkles set into her weathered face. Her long hair was pulled back with a beaded barrette but the dry wind of the southwest sent it in a few different directions. As she poked at her creation in a cast iron skillet, I noticed her hands. This was a working woman. She placed the fry bread on a paper plate and handed it to us.

4708057612_c63bac4ea6I pondered about what this meant to her compared to what it meant to us.

This was her living. This was our…..hmm…..entertainment?

Fry bread was a common staple to her.

Perhaps to us it was an initiation into an unknown land that was only a privilege to visit.

We paid her the four dollars she had advertised with her cardboard sign and thanked her.  The bread was round, flat, yet puffy, soft and warm…..delicious.  Our first bite could not wait until we returned to our car. We were in the moment, cacti at our feet, surrounded by blue skies and sunshine. Most of all, I think we honored the old woman by eating it right away. It was too good to wait for.  Driving away, I thought about the way we had a brief encounter with another place, another time and then we simply moved on. We leave it there and come away with a few photos and a memory.  We carry on with our travels, our lives, our problems, our ways, but our past is someone else’s present. The native woman selling fry bread still sits there, waiting for her next customer to slow down, completely intrigued by her or maybe just hungry.

Shiprock is the name of the small town governed by the Navajo Nation as well as the amazing landmark itself.  This magnificent peak rises 1500 feet above you, but it is not the height that makes this formation unique. It stands out in an otherwise barren and flat desert plain, and the shape of Shiprock reminds me of Disneyland.  The only difference was that this magical place is real. Geologically speaking, it is a stunning tower of volcanic rock, the neck of a volcano that erupted millions of years ago, with rugged walls of lava leading out of it. To the Navajo people however, Shiprock is a sacred monument. They strictly prohibit anyone from approaching this religious and historical site that they call “Tse Btai”.  As I looked towards this masterpiece of nature and the long, dusty road towards it, my husband warned me that we could only admire it from afar. That was fine with me. As much as I love to be hands on and this mountain screamed “climb me”, I found myself scanning the wide open desert, half expecting someone of authority to jump out of nowhere or fire off a few warning shots. It was not the only thing that stopped me from getting closer to Tse Btai.  I felt a presence. It was as though a spiritual circle surrounded this beautiful creation. The Navajo have many stories and legends about their “rock with wings”. It didn’t matter what Shiprock meant to me because what it meant to others brought it to life.

This isn’t really about Shiprock.

It is about appreciating a natural wonder without touching it, without invading it, allowing the wind to be the only one to carve and caress it.

It’s about restraint and respect of others beliefs.

 

This isn’t really about the fry bread.

It’s about a quiet lady at the side of a dusty, desert road, trying to make a living and at the same time, upholding the traditional ways of her culture.

It’s about entering another world, another time, another feeling and then leaving it behind.

It’s an exchange between curiosity and a few dollars.  It’s real. It’s pure. It’s sharing at its best.

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u.s.a. (unidentified sleeping animal)

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My husband and I decided to take  advantage of a cool but sunny spring day and take a hike at a nearby conservation area. A man passed by and told us there was “some kind of animal” sleeping up in a tree  not too far ahead.

Sure enough, there it was……

….all curled up in the crook of a tree about 30 feet above us.

After taking a few pictures from the trail I quickly decided to get closer.

I always want to get closer!

I was afraid the sound of crunching leaves under my feet would wake him from his nap, but he did not move a muscle as I edged closer to the tree.

He (or she) was the size of a baby bear, but we were fairly confident that there were no bears in this neck of the woods!

He was completely undisturbed by our conversation and at one point, we wondered if he was actually alive.

His creepy little “hands” reminded me of a character in a fantasy movie.

At the same time, I was captivated by him.

He looked so snuggly, covering he eyes from the daylight as he slept.

We finally left him to his slumber. He’d never know that we were ever there.

After some photo editing and debate, we decided he was an EXTREMELY large……..

racoon.

This was a moment in nature I will not forget.

Reflections in Motion: Photos From a Train

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Reflections in Motion: Photos From a Train

Some of the best things in life happen accidentally. That was the case when my husband and I took a scenic train trip in a more northerly area of  Ontario.

Take the beautiful beaming sun, the large window of a train and the  constant movement as we roll down the tracks. Mix it with a somewhat limited knowledge of photography and voila…..some strange but interesting shots.

Coupled clouds

From the dining car….

…or a floating restaurant.

Reflecting on a remote little cottage.

Would I like to live here? Uh…yes!

Blurring colors of trees

Eerie silhouettes as the  sun rises

He’s looking forward…..I’m looking back…….reflecting.

Relax as we race

Pondering the landscape

Beauty repeated

Lakes can be mirrors

Rays of replication

Mirrors in the mist

On the outside looking in

Or from the inside looking out?

Or maybe there is no division….maybe we are just part of it all

The journey by train is over as the sun offers us one last moment of introspection.

No Regrets

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No Regrets

Would you touch a snake? I had the opportunity. It was during an inspiring nature walk with my husband. The sun was warm and healing. The path we were hiking on led to a wooden bridge over a marshy area. I took my time inspecting the environment as my husband waited impatiently for me to continue on our journey. He should know by now that for me, it’s all about the journey.  I spotted that snake basking in the sun. He didn’t seem to mind my curiosity as I stopped to say hello.  Again, like seeing a mountain and not climbing it,  I just had to touch him. I wondered how rough his thick skin would be and would he feel invaded. Just one little stroke is all I needed to know how he felt…..to experience something new. So I reached out to pet him. Can you pet a snake? His skin was rough, as I had imagined. He did not flinch. I did not flinch. Instead, I took that moment in. I had touched a snake. No regrets.

 

 

 

When You Can’t Slow Down

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Mind sinking into neutral gear

While car just never stops

Blurs of beauty to my right

Desert dreams to my left

Hiking mountains in my mind

As colours sweep by in foreign hues

Land of enchantment at my door

But I can only take these shots

Good intentions, greater hopes

All but shatter in the wind

I reach to hold on to a  cloud

As shadows race across the sky

Destination pushes on

Journey…………lost

My heart is pulling over

Aching for my feet to touch ground