Califoregon Day #4


Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park


Mr. Kohlah (after losing an eye) said that was all right. “One eye is sufficient for the hings I am looking forward to seeing,” he smiled, touching his wife’s swollen belly. Whereas, he added, the ugliness of the world would  now trouble him only half as much – from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I am thankful for the two eyes I had to take in the beauty of the redwoods. Pictures just can’t do justice to the sheer hugeness of these gentle giants.

We drove back north a ways to begin the day at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Here we got upclose and personal with the big guys.


I always love when I stumble upon something someone else has made or left behind, such as a cairn.


Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

After enjoying the redwoods, we headed for Crescent City. Although we were able to find some pockets of beauty, this little town was a disappointment as far as my expectations went. Perhaps it would be better to visit this area in the summer.


Crescent City, CA


The lighthouse I was hoping to explore was unreachable. I should have read this:

“Visits to the Battery Point Lighthouse and Island are only possible at low tides. Extreme care and caution should be used when crossing the two hundred feet between the mainland and island anytime wave action may cover the crossing area. Sneaker waves at any time can threaten visitors standing on or near the rocks and the shore of Battery Point Island. ”


Battery Point Lighthouse


I did read more about it after the trip and there is a fascinating story HERE about the time Crescent City was hit by a tsunami in 1964.


We still had fun exploring a bit …

and I spotted Sasquatch near the lighthouse!


Crescent City, California


We also went to The Trees of Mystery, but I’ll save that for another post.


April in the South

bird photo.JPG

The PAD prompt  for Day 14 was the word “report”. Here’s mine.


April in the South

Canceled plans for the day

Checked radios and batteries

All day long the weatherman predicts

But no one really knows

Just when and where

In the backyard cardinals gather

Do they understand?

Where will they shelter when the storms arrive?

A breeze belies what is to come

A brief reprieve in the heavy air

Pressing all around

A pale haze under darkening skies

Waiting, waiting



Last year  I wrote  a poem a day  for PAD, Writer’s Digest’s Poem A Day challenge: the prompt for day 23 was “footwear”.  I instantly thought about the excitement of my first winter in Birmingham when I got to wear boots day after day. And then I thought of 2015 when I was hiking in Montana. After a hard trek to Iceberg Lake, I took off my hiking boots and plunged my feet into the water that was about 40 degrees. Needless to say, I barely lasted 15 seconds.

Once again it’s boot weather here in Alabama and I still love the look and comfort of all my boots!


I was so pleased to move
to a place
where I could buy boots
and actually wear them
That first boot winter
was so much fashion fun
Those boots gave me
warmth and style
Gray, brown, black –
I loved them all
But by month six
My Florida feet were
longing to be set free


A Walk in the Woods


Moss Rock Preserve – 5/17/17


A Walk in the Woods

there in pieces of sunlight
through pieces of shadowlight
cardinal swoops down, takes flight
filtered memories alight
anchored by sound and by sight
lifted by a breeze so light
scamper of chittering squirrel
dreams unfurled are not finite

This poem was written in response to a Wednesday Prompt , pieces, by Robert Brewer, using the Cyrch a Chwta poem form. Cyrch a Chwta is a Welsh poetic form which involves both end rhyme and internal (or cross) rhymes.

You may also enjoy this “pieces” poem by Sarah Lea:  The First Mr. DeWinter .


A Little Less Tech



Oak Mountain – Pelham, Alabama – November, 2015


Way back in 1954, E.B. White had this to say when speaking of Henry David Thoreau:

“In our uneasy season, when all men unconsciously seek a retreat from a world that has got almost completely out of hand, his house in the Concord woods is a haven. In our culture of gadgetry and the multiplicity of conveniences his cry, ‘Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!’ has the insistence of a fire alarm.”

Oh, if Thoreau could only see us now! Talk about a culture of gadgetry! Yesterday, one of my students told me he was tired because he was up late.

“Homework?”  I asked, though that was purely wishful thinking.

“I was texting,” he replied.

I wonder what Thoreau would have thought  if he’d seen an irobot self-propelled vacuum cleaner. Or a Keurig. Or a Kindle.

I am not advocating for a house in the Concord woods, though a nice little woodsy retreat would be nice. And I don’t think we need to live like the Amish. But, I do think we could all do with a little less tech and a little slower pace.

Develop a Thick Hide and a Deer


I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee

Her advice is spot-on. I am still working on developing this hide as I develop my novel.

The problem with us writers is that we get too attached to our own words. We know what we want to say and sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we are getting our message across when we aren’t.

I went to a writer’s conference a few years. I was able to spend two days with a group of writers who were all working on young adult novels. Before the conference, we were able to email each other a section of our manuscripts. Our teacher was a published author who was an enormous help to me. This is her website if you are interested:

Anyway, the advice I received was very good. It made me rethink some things. I’m still working on distinguishing my two main characters more. That was the biggest piece of feedback I received – that my two characters were too much alike. The thing is I want to show, in the end, that they ARE very much alike deep down inside. But, I clearly have more work to do in giving them very definite personalities. And I’ve had to go back and add to the beginning of my story.

I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry. For my poetry focus I’m including a Deer Sestina I wrote a while back. A sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.

The Deer

Mist above the meadow in the spring

Breaks open to reveal a deer

Where green grasses grow

Bending in the breeze so soft

Sweet clover scents the air

The morning stirs with life

Streams of water giving life

Slaking thirst in the spring

Pond rippled by the air

Beckons “come and drink” to the deer

And she comes to lap softly

As the fawn within her grows

A morsel of warmth in the air

Wildflowers blue and purple grow

Yellow and orange petals soft

Among them the honeybee lives

Busily flitting all the spring

Working to make honey so dear

Sun rises in the still morning air

Warming earth, unfurling leaves to grow

In the shaded forest rests the deer

Quiet and still now her life

Noonday resting in the spring

All nature resting in the soft

Butterfly with its wing so soft

Slightly stirring the afternoon air

All the colors of the spring

From a caterpillar did grow

A wonderful plan of life

Beckons “come and play” to the deer

In the cool of the evening comes the deer

Quiet feet treading softly

Full of refinement and life

She stops; sniffs the air

Feeds on the rich grasses growing

In the meadow in the spring

Exploring in the spring goes the deer

Her fawn inside grows, her heart is soft

Love in the air awaits new life