Monday’s Meanders: Monterey and Beyond: Paradise Revisited

I’ve been thinking of California as it battles COVID-19, especially L.A., and hoping that conditions improve soon. Those thoughts led to photos taken near and on Monterey Peninsula in March 2016 when life felt carefree in most ways. We visited a daughter, then working at Sunset Center, a beautiful venue for performing arts in Carmel, and her spouse. I’m not sure when we might return. I wanted to step into those lovely areas today; perhaps you will enjoy them, also. I have so many more! I felt that the gleaming light there is one of a kind, and could not drink it in enough.

I had a marvelous time again. Maybe next year…

Friday’s Poem: Just Let It Dance

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Everything seemed to arrive and hunch in

cold shadows; their words cut away kindness

as if it crowded the need for survival.

The world’s demons set them awry,

every day a forgetting of the rich marrow of life,

and night offering a hunger for solace that

was left empty promises. They sprawled

inside gaps and creases of sleeplessness,

dreamed of finer love or loss of it.

But as day broke open and music flew

under the clouds, they gave up and danced;

the mad din muted, then fell away.

Their movement stirred wild breath of sky,

and warmth glistening on throats and brows,

light scouring vision so a long view was seen.

Careful at first, a slip here then a turn,

hands to waist or back, chest to chest,

bodies tender and strong:

they stood in concert again.

It was a beckoning to joy that drew them,

each step a reclamation of freedom:

a low dip–glimmer of good intention,

a twirl and sidestep–preludes to all

most valued being reclaimed.

They found a way back in a re-fashioned waltz,

as sudden dancing must not be denied

if the hound of chaos will not quit.

An embracing–rooftop or kitchen, cafe or park–

is meant as reprieve. A rescue.

A witness to goodness, a window to hope.

It may mean other dangers are skirted but

love is bestowed like this, hand to palm,

feet a quartet of action, hearts tapping

with easy precision, spirits like kites victorious:

they would, each to the other, belong again.

Wednesday’s Words: A Pause for Change

A pause for President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris.

May they be a stronger, nobler bridge leading from the past, through this present to our future USA.

I am fortified by beacons and voices of hope, by justice and compassion.

Vacation views of San Diego in 2018 for my 68th birthday. May we do our best to stay well so as to work better, play and share joy and roam as we choose– one day, not so far off.

Monday’s Meander: A Wetlands Haven

I mentioned to a friend that I had gone back to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, an urban refuge not far from us–though it feels farther out in country. She asked what wildlife I saw. When I noted birds and a few others creatures, she laughed and said this hardly constitutes “wildlife.” Of course, she is wrong–she’s not much into outdoor life and not fond of birds (she has been bitten, even attacked, oddly). I wish I could share with her all I see here, as I was in heaven. My spouse and I are fascinated by birds and the many sort of critters sharing this place. The clouds here are also varied and interesting, the light lovely as the day goes on.

I saw herons, eagles, Canadian geese, many ducks, a salamander (newt) and garter snake, and heard bullfrogs.

Back in May 2020 we had a good visit, also; those pictures are bright and lush. (I posted those on WordPress, as well). But the subtle contrasts of winter scenes tantalize my eye and mind, as well. The riparian forest, wetlands, and lowlands comprise over 1800 acres. These are home to over 200 species of birds, 50 of mammals, 25 of amphibians and reptiles and a large assortment of insects, fish and plants. There are old oaks and pines as well as grasslands and lowlands. Since we have had tremendous rains recently, the Tualatin River had spilled over, flooding some areas. Additionally, certain areas are closed in winter for migrating birds.

As one enters the refuge, there is a lovely trail. One can walk 3.1 miles when all trails are open. Let’s head out.

Below: evidence of industrious beavers; fast garter snake; rough-skinned newt (skin emits a poisonous toxin).

Viewing platform partly crushed by this huge tree–recent storm damage.

Click to view the slideshow, below.

Several other wetlands enthusiasts were about.

Heading back to the entrance and viewing area, the light turned pale honey to amber; the air was just enough sweetly gentled to open my jacket and smell far off but early hints of spring.

(A handful of these shots accompanied Friday’s poem about how healing it was for me there: Friday’s Poem: At the Refuge)

Friday’s Poem: At the Refuge

Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

First this: brazen bolts of sound

as a multitude of geese strike the right

formation, alarm punctuating sky yet

harbored in a common beauty.

And the order of things alters

as the eagle rises to the hunt

so easy, magnificent.

One more joins, and I stay the urge

to salute or fall on my knees.

It is that tapestry of wild calls,

of bones within feathers like

an architecture of life, of power. Survival.

And then comes a rough-skinned salamander,

auburn and sleek atop dirt, beady eyed, prepared.

I do not touch even with careful toe of boot.

It is sleekness wrapped in poisonous skin.

A pencil-thin, stripey garter snake nestles

between moss and grass,

slips lithe and invisible into harmony

beneath an ancient white oak.

Great branches snag me as my eyes move upward,

lifts my soul to its crown; I am held in its breath,

am granted one spell of peace.

Frogs along the path like country singers,

sing sonorous measures in starts and stops–

a comedy routine, the telegraphed news.

Most of all, this great blue heron.

It stirs from riverbed before I hear it.

Leaps from water, rising with heartstopping wings

in a miracle of elegance and strength,

glides past clouds of winter

to light that spills into this day.

I think of it: laying on its fine back,

moving past edges of this world without falling.

I cannot say more of why this brings me to tears.

I am given this afternoon where

many beings show themselves and

the wetlands let me pass through, and

groves of oaks watch over, naked and unafraid,

and sunlight kind as compassion rests on my skin…

this earth so generous with blessings,

may I not ever, may I not ever forget.