Category Archives: Poetry

Wonder

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The International Space Station zooms above Mars and Jupiter (and Saturn in the palm tree) in the Milky Way in the southern sky before sunrise

I can’t help but wonder
About life beyond this coronavirus
One thing I know for sure
Below Scorpion and Sagittarius
Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will still align

Some day, soon, just another headline
Promising, joyful, mysterious
Proclaiming “We found a cure!”
Will we choose then to be oblivious or curious?
I can’t help but wonder

Be Positive

Easy to see the glass half-empty these days, isn’t it? That doesn’t help. Those around us need reassurance, comforting, guidance, comforting and so much more. Often, especially the young(er), all they need is someone who will listen, someone who will understand their fears and anxieties, or someone who will make them laugh, even for just a short while. We can all be one that someone.

The sun rose today
My cheeks cold in the north wind
I kept on walking

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A Partridge Under a Fir Tree

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On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me…
Six gray partridge under a fir tree

Birds flew from the rooftop
Down to the freshly fallen snow
Huddled under the cedars below
Out of the cold breeze

The whole covey soon got up
Made its way through the sun’s warm glow
To the fir tree and its shadow
Seeking a few meagre seeds

Their leader rose with a hop
The other five soon to follow
Took to the sky in quite a show
Explosion of wings, if you please

 

Chasing Windmills

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Arms swinging about
Hypnotic consistency
Autumn breeze for a master
The beat of the wind

“What giants?” Asked Sancho Panza.
“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”
“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”
“Obviously,” replied Don Quixote, “you don’t know much about adventures.”
― Miguel de Cervantes

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Misty

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Treetops shrouded in a thick blanket
Drawn by the sound of the falls
I make my way through the woods
While you sleep peacefully

When I reach the bridge
The sight is surreal, déjà-vu
Rushing River runs by, waves
The rapids’ music, rocks
Autumn leaves in the wind, shivers

Tiny droplets condense on my lenses
Memories flood my mind
Sounds and sights so familiar
I stare, searching, misty

Blooming Desert Landscape Inspiration

The Coachella Valley has seen its share of rainfall since the beginning of the year. Yet, for all these gray rain clouds shrouding the desert, there is a sliver lining. Bright blue skies returned and the warm midday sunshine woke up millions of sleeping wildflowers, creating a breathtaking display of colors and perfumes. Hikers along the many trails in this usually hot and dusty area, busy taking in the spectacle, soon forget the effort required to navigate steep inclines and rocky paths, awed by the impressive heartiness of nature. Photographers can’t get enough; thanks to digital photography and endless storage, they can let loose their shutter-happy fingers. Not so for the painter working with a single canvas, looking attentively at the scene in front of him, carefully mixing oil colors, and patiently capturing the landscape’s details and feelings, one stroke of the brush at a time.

On a recent hike at the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, on top of the hill a little past Simone Pond at McCallum Grove, from a distance, I spotted someone facing what looked like an easel, standing under a silvery umbrella. We approached the artist almost on tiptoes (that’s what it felt like), trying not to disturb the moment, watching as he observed the scenery, twirled his brush on the palette in a little patch of coloured oil, applied the paint to the canvas with a few deliberate strokes, and stared in the distance, comparing the image developing on the canvas and in his mind’s eye with reality. He would repeat this creative cycle hundreds, maybe even thousands of times, over the next couple of hours.

I felt a little shy, almost guilty, for stealing a glance at someone’s personal work. That feeling quickly gave way to curiosity, and I peeked at the canvas where a snowcapped Mt. San Gorgonio (Old Greyback) already dominated the developing image of surrounding canyons and crests, green creosote bushes, yellow wildflowers, and sandy ribbons. Daring to disrupt the artist, I introduced myself and asked if I could photograph him in action, which he agreed to.

 

His name is Henry Buerckholtz, a New York City painter with an impressive portfolio of landscapes, still lifes and figures (I checked his website). We discussed his art, his techniques, his work. Henry explained that the first part of this project was to position the scenery’s main features. Next would come the application of colors and details.

Discovering a mutual appreciation for nature’s beauty, and the gift of seeing when we truly take time to look around us, are what I enjoyed most of our brief conversation. These are not unique to painters or photographers.

Conscious that we had invited ourselves in Henry’s creative space, we bid him farewell and resumed our hike on Moon Country Trail up the canyon, surrounded by this silence and never-ending natural beauty.

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On our way back, from way down in the wash, we could see Henry at the top of the hill, still in the shadow of his umbrella, applying the finishing touches to his painting. Although I have never painted, I have spent long contemplative moments simply letting the vastness and beauty of the surrounding nature wrap around me. I can appreciate the special enchanting bond that develops between artist and nature. It’s good for the soul.

Desert Haikus

Brush canvas and oils
Capture nature’s bright colors
Brought by winter’s storms

Yellow wildflowers
Snowcapped mountains and blue skies
Let your soul wander

On desert silence
Echoes of footsteps and breaths
Canyon’s only sounds