When Walking is Writing

A month of Thursdays later, and I’m finally sharing a recent creation from my poet-soul. If it surprises you that it’s about walking, I have to wonder how long you’ve been reading after me.

In February, my husband and I took a jaunt over Mount Hood to Central Oregon. In Redmond, we visited our “home” resort – Eagle Crest.

If three golf courses aren’t enough, there’s a river beside a trail. A huge looping paved bike/walking path circles the newer portion of the resort. A rustic fence surrounds a pasture where horses graze.

And mule deer descend on a daily basis to mow the greens with their persistent snacking.

It was winter. And it snowed. In fact, we woke up to white on several mornings and watched peace blanket the world on two snowy afternoons.

But that didn’t keep us from our “daily constitutional.” (Does anyone know why this phrase usually refers to a walk?)

On the first day, a line of poetry came to me as we rounded the bend toward our condo. The next morning, I opened a blank Word document and typed those words. (Yes, I was amazed I still remembered them. No, it isn’t the first line of the finished poem.)

A few other lines followed.

Over the rest of the vacation, I jotted reflections after every walk.

This is the resulting poem.

The Walk

Dry pungent air slaps across senses
Snippy
Like ammonia-cleansed halls

Chill wind slices through jackets
Angry
Like shards of broken windows

Purple berries clutter the trail
Wrinkly
Like a carpet of winter raisins

Mule-eared deer freeze among grass
Stony
Like Medusa’s unlucky prey

Sunlight glints through greenery
Puny
Like Dr. Banner in Hulk’s wake

Voices hum in stops and starts
Tinny
Like an untuned radio station

Rain slashes across cheekbones
Icy
Like a fire hose on duty

Footfalls tramp in tandem
Wimpy
Like a pair of ticking clocks

Sleet whispers across damp shoulders
Iffy
Like an insecure first date

Branches wave unsynchronized
Cheery
Like princesses on parade

Autos rumble on distant asphalt
Noisy
Like a Sunday morning mower

Snowflakes tumble in torrents
Eerie
Like a waterfall of white

Silence presses against eardrums
Weighty
Like water on a diver’s back

Snow whirls from nowhere
Gently
Like a cherry blossom Spring

Have you ever felt poetic after a nature walk? I confess that walking is one of the ways I stimulate my creativity. If I’m stuck on a scene, and the weather isn’t down-pouring, I’ll slip on my walking shoes and take a lap around the block.

Do any of the lines activate your senses? Did you have an emotional response to the poem?

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Goodbye Paradise

It’s easy to beat the sun awake in the tropics. Or anywhere in the winter. Is this balmy breeze stirring palm leaves to dance and sing a sign of winter?

December afternoon sky
December afternoon sky

Today’s the day. It’s time to say goodbye to Paradise and return to the reality of home.

For whatever reason, that reality involves a winter storm advisory. Because after enjoying shorts weather for five days, it’s only fir to return to sub-freezing temperatures, icy roads and the wintry mix the Pacific NW is famous for–when the regular deluge gives way to colder weather.

Every morning we enjoyed a walk, either along the beach or through the quieter, sleepy streets. There won’t be any of this once we get back to the mainland. Who wants to get drenched in the name of walking outside?

shadow

What Makes it Paradise

Perhaps everyone has a different concept of Paradise.

In the Bible, it could be the Garden of Eden or a place in the center of the Earth where souls waited for release.

In my world, it’s a place where the days are sunny but not hot. Where the only thing on my schedule is whatever sounds good. Where I don’t have to wear socks and shoes.

This is how much I get in the ocean
This is how much I get in the ocean

And the pace of the day reflects my mood.

There are palm trees. The sky is a crystalline aquamarine, the color of my Caribbean blue diamond. Maybe it’s a blue topaz sky since it’s December.

Waves lap against the soft shores. The briny smell of the sea underwrites a sweet aroma of baked goods.

in_the_ocean

And there are no calories. At least in my mind.

What Makes it Goodbye

Is there any song so mournful as “Taps” when a bugle plays the cadence?

It suits the mood. It’s the perfect way to say farewell.

There’s an end, so we say goodbye.

Which also means there’s a beginning. It’s an ocean away in a colder place. Pine trees will carpet millions of homes with their needles.

Because it’s nearly Christmas.

The voices of Andy Williams and Bing Crosby have even reminding us of the season when the flush of sweaty beneath sunny rays lent to amnesia.

Seats are reserved on a flight. Cats wait our arrival thousands of miles away.

There will be a hello.

But first we must say “Aloha Hawaiian vacation.”

My birthday dinner: but I'll stick with tails after this
My birthday dinner: but I’ll stick with tails after this

Those Hawaiians knew what they were doing. Aloha means hello and goodbye.

Because in this temperate land of sweet pineapple and aromatic coffee, they’re really the same thing.

Aloha.

Scrapbooking a Wedding: The Announcements

As I write this, the scrapbook contains no additional pages. Read on and you’ll discover why the book is barren – but my fingers are glue-covered and paper-cut.

At some point, I’m sure I mentioned that my sister roped me into this whole paper crafting with scrapbooks gig. As for being the sole memory book maker for a wedding, I stumbled into that trap all by myself.

My future daughter and I sit at the dining room table, stamping and embossing (more on this later in the post). Innocently making conversation, I ask, “Are you going to get one of those wedding memory books?”

A heartbeat later, she answers, “I thought that’s what you were making.”

This scrapbook – which is woefully unfilled at the moment – is going to serve as the wedding memory book. Talk about putting the pressure on someone.

From Engagement Photos to Save the Dates

This past summer, the kids spent an afternoon with their wedding photographers. The resulting photos are amazing. Here’s one of my favorites:

Engagement -20

Have I mentioned that my future daughter knows what she wants? Or if she doesn’t, she refuses to settle on “something” until she makes up her mind it’s what will make her wedding day perfect?

Remember how that affected the hunt for the perfect wedding dress?

Enter the process of finding the perfect collection of photos for the “save the date” pre-announcements. She settled on three different photos, which her uncle Photoshopped into a nice arrangement.

A mail-order later, refrigerator magnets were printed and the first round of mailings were completed.

Including a mouse pad for Mom. Score!
Including a mouse pad for Mom. Score!

Now to agree on the perfect invitation theme for this winter wedding.

From Snowflakes to Winter Forests

The bride had been posting all manner of snowflake table arrangements, favor ideas and other decorations for months. It was a refreshing way to spend the sweltering days of summer.

But when it came to invitations, most of the snowflakes were too childish. Or too much like a Christmas card. Or too – just not right.

Enter her biggest mistake: she asked the groom for his opinion.

Suddenly, I was getting messages with pictures of snow-filled woods.

Now, I have nothing against snowy woods. Truly. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is one of my favorite Robert Frost poems.

snowy woods cover

The trouble with having snowy woods for a wedding invitation: the selection was limited.

And the bride hadn’t abandoned her hope of adding some snowflakes to the mix.

And since she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted, she decided to make it.

Handmade with Love

Dozens of people mentioned that they’d made their own wedding invitations. It is a completely doable proposition.

What these people didn’t do:

  • Make 175 invitations
  • Stamp and emboss three different areas on the invites
  • Want a tri-fold beauty with a pocket for the RSVP card
  • Select a color scheme that required special order

If this sounds like I’m complaining about the announcements, I’m not. At all. The final product is amazing and beautiful and everything the bride wants.

The process? A little more complex than even she expected.

Check back next Monday for the lowdown behind this meme:

NoInvites Meme