The Pictorial Focus of this page is on Bryce National Park in Utah.


  • Three Poems on the Page: The Elder, Thought of Hope, and Return to Home Church
  • Vignette this Month: Another Birthday
  • Recommendations


    Hoodoos in Bryce National Park
    Opening Comments from Bob

We travel this month to the magnificent Bryce National Park. Three poems appear in this issue–The Elder,Thought of Hope, and Return to Home Church. Really sharp readers with fantastic memories might remember that The Elder appeared in the February, 2003 Issue of the Poetical Journal. I am republishing it because of the bristlecone pines I saw at Bryce and sat under in awe, remembering the centuries they have seen pass. The second poem talks of deeper truths and the third, though a bit lighter, also rejoices in the concept of the circle of life. Of course, there is also the traditional content that appears in each issue. I hope you enjoy!

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.Three Poems this Month


The Elder

I sit reverently before this pinnacle of time,
    a huge ancient Bristlecone Pine.
As I marvel, I question this Elder,
    “How many seasons have you witnessed?”

There is no reply, only rustling of the branches.

“The harsh Sierra winters and the cool summers
    have honed your strength.
Scientists claim that you have lived 4,000 years.

"The Pyramids have not
    withstood the test of time so well.
You were well into your teens
    before the Buddha received enlightenment.
During early adulthood
    Jesus and Mohammed walked this earth.
Surely, you have lessons
    to teach this seeker.”

All I hear is the wind
    carrying the pine scent,
    inviting me to relax and peer
    upon this creation.

Hours pass like moments.
As I prepare to leave,
    refreshed and in awe,
    the Elder whispers, oh so faintly,
    “Everything passes.”

Comments: This poem is based upon a true event. Michael Harder, a shaman teacher, tells of hiking high into the Sierras to find one of these old pines, the oldest living organisms on the planet. He relates that after spending a day in contemplation, the tree spoke those two words, “Everything passes.” I have taken the experience and woven it into my personalized poetical story. While at Bryce I finally saw my first Bristlecone pine and remembered well my poem of a decade plus ago. Though I did not hear a tree verbally speak to me, it spoke quietly within my heart.

Thought of Hope

Off in the distance
    a faint light glows
    so, so far away.
Yet in the darkness of absolute,
    the light provides brightness and hope.
Someday soon,
    may the brilliance
    come closer
    and bathe all in its healing light.

Comment: I will leave this to your interpretation.

Return to Home Church

My, the children have grown!
They were toddlers
    when I last saw them.

Others are bent and hobbling.
Grey seems
    to have become
    the predominant hair color.

Faces were missing,
    having taken their last journey.

New faces have appeared.

The cycle of life continues.
Comment: As evident by the poem I recently visited a church I used to attend. Though the passage of time since my last visit has not been that long, I was suddenly hit with the above observations. I really was amazed, thinking about how glorious life can be and how quickly it passes.

Bristlecone pine at Bryce

Seated, looking up into the Bristlecone pine

Entering the outer edge of Bryce National Park

Part way down one of the easier trails

Mule deer were quite common.

Early spring in Midway

Red rocks throughout the area help create the ambiance for the parks in the area.

Vignette this Month: Another Birthday

On the 29th of May another year passed in my life. Each one seems to pass more quickly. When one reaches my age, you tend to realize what you might still accomplish on this journey and what you probably won't. As a young man I dreamed of visiting every country in the world. I knew a few years back that that will not happen. Recently, while shooting some baskets and going in for a lay up, I accepted that I will not make the NBA. Actually, I realized that decades ago. Frankly, pushups have gone the way of the past, not that I couldn't regain them but really, is it worth it? I don't plan to walk around without a shirt, flexing my muscles. Thankfully, younger people around me offer to help if I need a bit of muscle. Besides tai chi keeps me in good shape.

Like many my age I bear many emotional and physical battle scars earned in this journey called life. While there are negatives to growing old, there are also many positives, some more qualitative versus quantitative in nature. I believe I have gained more wisdom, an attribute that is hard to major but one I sense is correct. I could give a damn about what many people think. The old saying, "Be true to one's self" seems easier now than when I was younger. I value relationships much more than I used to, knowing that those are what really count. Accepting others for who they are is much more acceptable. Though I must admit, I become frustrated with so many my age who have become more narrow in their vision for this country. Finally, I have lived long enough to become a grandparent, something that cannot be truly explained without living it.

In closing, life has been good to me–a strong family background, a loving immediate and extended family, a wonderful career, and hopefully a few more years to help make a difference.

If you have a guest vignette you would like to submit, please do so. Not only will I enjoy reading it, but if agreeable with you and space permitting, I will print it in a future issue. The vignette should be written in paragraph form and relate a personal story or event. Equally important, it should fit the overall tenor of this newsletter. Ideally, it should not exceed twenty lines. Please send to bob@poeticaljourneys.com.

All the pictures that follow are of Bryce National Park – no explanations needed. Enjoy the beauty.


Restaurant: Arshel's Cafe at 711 North Main Street, Beaver, UT, a mile off of I-15. Our trusty AAA book led us to this discovery. What a delight! This cafe, which has been in business since the 1940s serves enjoyable food and pie to die for. Sit down and talk with the owner about the fascinating history before the arrival of the interstates that his small restaurant has seen. The owner shuns technology, so no web site. What he loves is serving good food with a friendly flair. We eavesdropped on one customer telling the server that he had to bring his grandchildren in for lunch so they could experience the delicious food he remembered from decades before in the 1950s. Due to the fact he lived a thousand plus miles away, this was his first return since then. He was not disappointed.

Please also take a look at the online book and gift page.