Nature and Things Series II

This is a new series. To read Series I, now in the Archives go to Nature & Things Series I
Comments will only be added when necessary to clarify.

CLICK HERE to go to a special PJ issue on Schnormeier Gardents in Gambier, Ohio - Poems: What is Life? and Thoughts on a Birthday Eve

        The Passage

        Sol just disappeared
        into the hills of Knox County.
        as Apollo* gallops westward.

        The shroud of darkness soon to follow,
        only lifting upon his return.

        Days of toil no longer mandated
        by his daily traverse.

        Most too harried even to glance
        at this magnificent spectacle.

        The Ancients may have understood best
        when they paused to give thanks for each passage –
        comprehending that without Sol's journey,
        there would be no life, no journey.

Comments: This poem was written while sitting in a hospital room looking out the window wishing I was freely traveling the streets below. (* Apollo was the mystical god whose task was to transport the Sun across the sky each day.)
"Where does the sun go?" I wonder it slowly sinks into the Pacific.
Colors change from yellow to brilliant orange.
The shimmering light looks magical it touches the now crystallized water
......before disappearing into the night.
Comments: During my trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon I spent part of an evening watching the Sun disappear into the Pacific. This light-hearted poem refers to that experience.
A Bee
The bee flies in desperation
....searching for nectar
In the distance...
....a flower's petals spread –
....awaiting, inviting.
Guided by eons of knowing,
....the bee enters.
Now, both will continue
...for another.time

Not bristlecone pines but a beautiful view anyway

The Elder

I sat reverently before this pinnacle of time,
....a huge, ancient bristlecone pine.
As I marveled, I questioned this Elder,
...."How many seasons have you witnessed?"
There was 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 traveler-seeker."
All I heard was the wind carrying the pine scent,
....inviting me to relax and look upon this creation.
Hours passed like moments.
I prepared to leave,
....refreshed and in awe.
Only then, the Elder whispered, 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, supposedly 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. I plan someday to take a similar journey. I know not what words I will hear. But as The Elder said, "Everything passes."


Winter Confection

Puffs of white splash the deep green pines.
From high above, blanketed peaks peer down,
Casting shadows over the landscape.
Adirondack chairs offer islands of comfort
Amid the sea of snow.
Pure high altitude air cools the skin
And exhilarates the lungs,
While the sun offers warming rays.
Overcome with euphoria,
The mind exclaims,
"What a Rocky Mountain high!"
Comments: An old favorite song is John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High. As I rested on an Adirondack chair beside one of the mid mountain runs at Copper Mountain, I relaxed and observed. The draft of this poem was scribbled on the back of the trail map. Of course, Denver’s tune was going through my mind. Incidentally, the ‘puffs of white’ mentioned in the first line describe the remains from the previous day's snow. When you looked at the trees, the effect was like someone had spray painted periodic blasts of snow throughout the pines. Regrettably, I had taken the last picture on the roll. Thus, I tried to create a word picture of this memorable experience.
This photo, compliments of Copper Mtn.

.....November ..............................Invitation

..The Sunshine calls
.....all wandering souls come outside
.....and play.
..Who are we,
.....mere mortals, ignore that
.....enticing call?

..We'll gladly accept
.....the caressing rays
.....and feel the heat
.....upon the skin.
..For such an invitation seldom given
.....on a November day.
Comments: Early November in Ohio is usually damp, bleak, and dreary. Imagination my glorious surprise when I awakened to the high 70's and sunshine. A half of day of work is all I could survive. A quick email exchange with a friend set my mood. By 1 PM I was enjoying a picnic lunch near the bike trail and then off. WOW! Life doesn't get much better. The accompanying pictures were taken during my leisurely ride. Interestingly, I met a number of people on the trail who had also heeded Old Sol's call.


Summer Lanterns


Snowy Day

While I drive down the road,
.... fluorescent glimmers,
.... sparkling across the fields,    
.... bring memories of my youth.  

Flashing back decades,
.... friends and I are running and laughing,
.... jars open, ready to snap close, 
.... to capture little fireflies.
Soon, the glass lanterns are aglow   
.... with iridescent yellows.
We look in awe
.... wondering what creates
.... the pulsating flickers. 

My thoughts refocus on the road 
.... and the glaring white line
vthat stares back at me.
But soon, the child returns,   
.... as I glance this way and that
.... still in amazement. 

Flakes brush my skin
.... as the cold chills the core.

The whistling wind my company–
.... appropriate for an Ohio January day.

A sea of white lays before me–
.... each step leaving an imprint.

They soon disappear
.... as if never there.

Comments: None needed.






Comments: Even today, lightning bugs or fireflies fascinate me.  They symbolize summer and pleasant memories.  Only later did I discover that the chemical luciferin changes chemically and gives off the light.  Each species flashes its own particular color of light as part of the mating ritual.
April in Ohio

The sky seems bluer, the air fresher,
....and the sun brighter.
The dark shades and purple hues of winter fade,

....the dull silver haze of summer still weeks away.
The crisp nights sharply contrast
....with the warming days.
Following the rains, tree buds litter the ground,
....soon turning into darkened mish-mash
....from tramping feet and rolling tires.
A trip to the countryside brings
....pungent smells from freshly fertilized fields.
Along the riverbeds, the hint of dampness
....mingles with wildflower fragrances.
Young lambs and calves nurse
....never wandering too far astray.
Migrating birds return
....adding dashes of color.
The peepers along the wetlands and streams
....raise their raucous mating songs.
Daffodils and tulips, whose blooms are all too brief,
....sharply contrast with the greening grass
....that nags to be mowed.
Spring, the season of rebirth, has arrived

Comments: From this poem, you may have ascertained that I love spring..

Friday the 13th

On this day of superstitious unluck,
....a cornucopia of sounds, smells, and colors awaits
....the rider along the B & O Trail.
The spring air bares a chill,
....49 degrees to be exact.
In the freshness of the new season
....whiffs of wildflowers tickle the nostrils.
Like mini firecrackers,
....the seeds crackle as the racing tires
....pop them against the bud-strewn blacktop.
A cacophony of rat-ta-tat-tat is heard above
....the songbirds’ morning serenades.
Goldfinches playfully dart in unison,
....initiating an ancient mating dance.
Bluebirds rest momentarily
....before flitting to the next limb.
Chipmunks and groundhogs
....stare askance and then disappear into the brush.
Ubiquitous dandelions add dashes of yellow
....though many have already formed
....transparent globes of white.
The red and white blossoms
....of dogwoods and crabapples
....contrast with earthy fallow fields
....and those recently sowed.
Without warning, a mangy rabbit leaps
....across the trail,
....rolling tires missing by inches,
Friday the 13th, proving to be his lucky day.

Comments: Yes, one more spring poem that I could not resist sharing. The experience was so perfect I wanted to scream, "Yes!" to life..

Rural Scenes along the B & O Trail

The Last

Where are my friends?
I’m old and wrinkled, vibrancy gone.
I still cling –
......dreading the final fall –
......returning to the soil
......that nourished me.
I am the last.
I am alone.

Comments: A simple poem written about a lone leaf that I spotted on one of my final fall rides along the bike trail. However, this poem speaks far beyond traditional nature imagery. So many elderly, who are wasting away, have these feelings day in and day out until their earthly journeys end. One of the greatest gifts we can give is to let them know that they are not alone.

Taken mid November - only one left

Waiting waiting finally...
....the transformation has begun.
Pastel blossoms are emerging
....into the greens of summer.
Memories of the dark, gray days of winter
Scents of new growth
....flavor the air of spring.
The sun, though still low in the sky,
....prognosticates that change on its way.
Rebirth is arriving.

Comments: A friend of mine was running late for our breakfast appointment on a spring morning. As I waited outside, I saw across the street a row of trees bursting into white blossoms. The basis of this poem came from that wait.


The long stark darkness fades
As the sun inches higher above the horizon.
The chill of the winter air dissipates
Gradually replaced by warming rays.
The many harbingers of spring return.
Daffodils poke their yellow bonnets
Above once frozen earth.
In preparation for summer
A pair of nomadic bluebirds
Again build their nest.
Through all the impermanence
Nature’s cycle continues
Oblivious to all the wise words written.

Comments: Not a very original title though I have never written a poem simply entitled Spring. There are probably thousands with this title. Most, like me, attempt to paint a word picture of the miracle of new life returning or leaving dormancy. At the end though, I tried to take a less traveled road. However, don't misinterpret, the last line is not saying that nature's cycle cannot be altered by human misuse of the environment.

The view that inspired the poem Arriving

Kayaking on Clear Waters

The paddle dips
....into the crystal clear water
....where one can peer
....into the fathoms below.
An occasional splash
....from the stroke
....cools the legs
....despite the intense sun.
Surrounded by perfection,
....I glide along the lake shore
....lost in thought.
An occasional wake the kayak
....forcing me to return the present.
Soon, lost again the arms of Creation,
....I glide forward.

Comments: As you know, I often write about personal experiences. This one started on Lake Tahoe. I couldn't resist a short poem on kayaking and the inner doors it is opening for me. I trust each of you saw beyond the mere description of the experience and realize that it is also an allegory on life–the present and the unseen yet to come.

The Trail Bench

A Resting, gazing out,
....the pinnacle of a blue roof
....peers through the trees
....while mere yards away
....a rippling stream
....flows into the nearby rushing river.
A whiff of lilac playfully tickles the nostrils. heat from the morning sun,
....causes beads to form
....upon the brow.

Another day is evolving
....likes thousands before.
But for this cyclist
....this day as the first
....when the heart began
....its finite beats.
The views from the bench,
....though the same,
....are new.

Comments: Now that my bike rides are less hampered by the chains of time, I am finding them to be more meditative than the traditional desire for exercise. Slowing down allows me to enjoy the flavor and nuances that I often miss when pedaling strictly for cardio purposes. Benches along the trail often become a place to create. I find myself stopping more often, not due to fatigue, but for the growing need to savor.

A day kayaker near where I paddled
Enjoying ice skating at the top of Squaw
Rafting the Truckee River
Fanny Bridge – can you guess why? Typical scene as
tourists stare at the trout in the Truckee River
Life (Peace) Historical And more Graduate Observation Reminiscence