Connecting halves



Noticing and responding anew to one’s surroundings when given a prompting word or concept reminds me of writing poetry.
Part of this week’s photo challenge was to consider dividing lines.


How often do we see the line that divides
as a cut across our straight-head point of view,
while missing how it connects both sides?


I shot these photos from the back seat of a car. Low-light, bumpy roads, and shooting through windshield glass challenged my focus! Nonetheless, they work with this week’s prompt  and with the words that came along in the process.




Half and half

Boring, dark, lonely

P2370846c planets

Not boring, just dark;

not lonely, just alone.

Written in response to the prompting
 three words in the title.   

I looked for a photo of a singular moon, a lone star or planet, but instead chose this recent photo of Venus and Jupiter, that offers a visual thought prompt regarding the concept of “alone” (as in each planet so alone, though appearing so near to one another).

The line “Not boring, just dark” may suggest how in these days of ubiquitous backlit screens, a dark screen could evoke a sense of “nothingness” or dead-battery boredom, when it in fact it’s “just dark”—something people were accustomed to and comfortable with (especially in the days before artificial lighting).


Queries to the Moon

Posing queries to the moon
in algorithmic poetry,
while finding measured points on a map
comparing distance in mind and minute
to addresses posted as equations
as we squint with new-moon pupils
at crescent key unlocking the sky,
awaiting its fullness.




This week’s prompting word is symbol.  My sense of time, place and passing is all carried symbolically by the moon.




Words: door to the visual

When you read or hear “he slammed the door and left” what kind of door do you see?

Is it wooden, approximately one meter (yard) wide, by two meters high?

That’s about what I imagined . . . initially.

Then I stepped outside to the parking lot.

Here’s to prompts that get us thinking outside the frame of our door!


Aloof, Temporary, Whole

Obedient, Raspy, Somber


Obedient to Nature’s call,
a raspy wind sweeps the landscape,
takes its breath away,
turns grasses from green to gold
in somber remembrance of rain. 


Written in response to two prompts—the three words that appear in the title, and this week’s photo challenge, Muse, in which we’re asked to consider and show a subject we keep returning to.  Besides lines and shadow, I most often return to leaves.  I never tire of the surprise I find in their variety—their shape, color, movement and what they “say” about time and season.  Leaves are my favorite muse.

I took this photo in my home state, California, still in its drought.  


Beautiful, desperate, hush

poem untitled

Closing light


Knock-knock. Who’s there?


. . . the American Bushtit !

I can now refer to its common name.  Notice minimus in its Latin name: Psaltriparus minimus.  I just saw one a minute ago—it looked like an adult—and its body was no larger than my thumb!

I don’t know the age of this one in the window, but several of these little birds appeared quite new to flying. Maybe they were just being acrobatic (as they are known to be).

One website referred to their coloring as “drab”!  Why use such a word? They more than make up for their monochrome coloring with their colorful personalities and antics—like playful tree monkeys leaping from branch to branch and hanging upside down.

I hope to post a mosaic of some of my favorite shots one of these days.

. . . 

Thanks to Julie, for identifying the bird.  She is studying bird photography in the field—very interesting!  I’m usually so far away to capture a clear shot of a bird. Being so near, just inches away, these little acrobats made it easier, except for how they were nearly always in motion. There were also many challenges to shooting through glass.

What’s your experience with bird (or through-the-glass) photography?




The little featherball is back—shown here today in the rain at my window.

In reply to my inquiry yesterday, one blogger suggested this may be a  young Mockingbird, while another amusingly suggested it’s a “Nockingbird”.

As a consequence, in this new video clip of our feathered friend, I call it a “Knockingbird”. 

 . . .

By the way, can anyone look at these photos and not recall a pet who looked like this while asking for something . . . showing a posture and face that reaches our heart as they earnestly wait for us to respond?



Knock-knock Bird

Who is this just outside my window, about to knock?

Until I know its real name, see why (on my  video clip)  I call this a Knock-knock bird

It may help birders to know when and where this is: early April, Northern California, in a California Pepper tree.

Do you have any idea “who” this little 2-inch (5-centimeter) winger may be?  




The blur of something flying past . . .

Wings in the Willow (I think it's a small wren launching off from a pepper tree branch)

The blur of speeding by . . .

The blur of something not quite seen . . . 

Gone in the blink of an eye.


The blur of a day, a week, a year . . .

Til stillness in the mind . . . 


Finds calming focus in the heart . . . 
And clarity . . .





Composed in response to the prompt “Blur” and to photos from today and earlier.


Colors and Light (Waters of March #3)

Another stanza from the lyrics of “Waters of March”. 

“. . . É um passo, é uma ponte, é um sapo, é uma rã
É um resto de mato, na luz da manhã
São as águas de março fechando o verão
É a promessa de vida no teu coração . . .

There is no translation, per se, of this stanza. The entire song, in fact, has a unique English version, written by the composer (Antônio Carlos Jobim) in trying to retain its lyrical qualities and theme.  

On the right I posted a modified “Google Translate” version, followed by one commonly sung.  The lyrics vary from artist to artist.  

a modified “Google Translate” literal translation:

“. . . It’s a step,  a bridge,  a sapo,  a frog
It’s the rest of the forest, in the morning light
As the waters of March closing the summer
It’s the promise of life in your heart . . .”

an English-language version often used:

“. . . It’s the wind blowing free, it’s the end of a slope
It’s a beam, it’s a void, it’s a hunch, it’s a hope
And the riverbank talks of the waters of March
It’s the end of all strain, it’s the joy in your heart.”  









Having excused myself from the a self-assigned trek into deep waters and woods, I ended up there anyway.  That can happen when you let your mind wander.  Here’s what I found (and jotted down in a notebook):

. mixing widely-assorted colors of paint turns into something dark, even black

. mixing assorted colors of light turns into something white

. one cannot put the paint into a spinner—a centrifuge—to somehow separate the colors again

. one can do this with pure light, by directing it into a prism!

One can find shared “poetry” in seeming contradictions.

Like the ambient sound of a gentle trickling creek
that we feel but don’t quite consciously hear,
the waters of March flow, sometimes splashing an awakening
to a feeling or thought, especially with the theme of 
loss and gain—
to finding a way to see it or feel it with a sense of  
acceptance and wonder, even joy.

You may sense that feeling when you see and hear composer “Tom” Jobim and Elis Regina (considered the best-ever performer of the song) during this studio recording.



More or less (or nothing) tomorrow . . .
perhaps again . . .
until then . . . 



Note: Viewing this page on a PC displays the lyrics (top of page) full-size (tiny on mobile devices). I apologize for any inconvenience.


The “tent” of intention (Waters of March #2)


“A stick, a stone, It’s the end of the road,
It’s the rest of a stump, It’s a little alone . . . “

“É pau, é pedra, é o fim do caminho
É um resto de toco, é um pouco sozinho . . .”



Those are the opening lines of “Waters of March”,  a song I adopted as a prompt to respond to in writing during my time “camping along its waters”.

That was my intention.


I’m now checking my “tent”—something I thought I could imagine myself into—the state of mind of a camper or hiker—
someone who has packed lightly, only with provisions for survival and maybe a notebook, sketchbook or something to read,
free from distractions and excessive input that distance one from their internal springs of energy.

I look forward to this but . . . I may leave it aside for another time and just go take a walk with my camera . . . right where I am.


It turns out that one’s plans are often like the weather—clouds in the sky that don’t necessarily bring rain.

Incidentally, those rains, so much part of the inspiration for “Waters of March” have not been showing up—there’s a drought in Brazil (like here in California)!


Rain, drought, whatever the season brings . . . I will keep my plans packed and ready to go (some other time).





Did any of this make sense or sound familiar to you?  I don’t often reveal the tosses and turns of my own life, but I do want to explore, as “Waters of March” does in a down-to-earth listing way, life’s wide range of everyday: stick, stone, thorn in the hand, on and on, all that it is—loss and gain—when seen in its entirety, taken with a sense of  C’est la vie*, acceptance, wonder and joy.


*C’est la vie is a way of acknowledging something less than ideal that has to be accepted because “that’s just the way life is.”

 . . .


Until next time,


(Coincidentally,  “March” or “Março” in Portuguese is pronounced “marso”)





Camping along the “Waters of March”



On this last day of March I wish to share my plan for a series of posts dedicated to the song “Waters of March”, or “Águas de Março” in its original Portuguese, a well-loved Brazilian song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. 

I’m calling this little excursion “Camping along the Waters of March”.

More tomorrow. 






The show must go on . . .


“All the world’s a stage”

Today’s writing prompt invites us to imagine—in the making of a film would you rather be a director, producer or lead performer.

“And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts”

Yes—many parts—as director, producer, performer (and writer) . . .  ticket taker . . . popcorn maker . . . on and on.
Though the prompt is multiple-choice question, it inspires me to answer in another way—a way that acknowledges how we are at different capacities throughout our days . .  . our lifetime.

We often have to serve several roles  at the same time.

For example, as I sit here writing, I realize
the show  (the rest of this day) must go on . . .
which means I must accommodate my other roles
and like a Medieval  Shakespearean jester, juggle them!



.        .        .        . 

Thinking about it further: 

One may hear an urgency and tenacity in “the show must go on” that says “Rise to the occasion. The curtain is going up! Never mind that you’ve never juggled those many hoops and balls—here’s another.  And another.”

It’s surprising how many stay aloft for as long as they do.

Here is the complete passage from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.





Nothing for granted

We know an ephemeral raindrop won’t last . . . 

but we somehow expect . . . take for granted . . . 

the lake will remain.



Photos taken last year when Lagoon Valley Lake went dry. It came partially back during the late fall and winter rains, but we expect it to disappear again this summer. Will it come back in the fall? California is experiencing a drought. No one is taking it for granted.




In the water of what we are
from the vapor of our breath
to memory’s deep sea that we call self,
a fluid mix of currents warm and cold,
north, south, east and west of who we are,
we wonder . . .
what remains the same
in our vessel-ever-changing.

The photograph above: an ephemeral moment of movement—posted “as is” straight from the camera.


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