Jan 21, 2019

The Gatekeepers


Despite today's political climate, there are still walls that have nothing to do with Trump, the US border, or the government shutdown. 

serpentine wall
the echo of "hello"
from other hikers

However, the serpentine wall at Shaw Nature Reserve is related to a dead US president. Apparently, Thomas Jefferson inspired the structure. 

lewis and clark expedition
native americans teach
foreigners how to survive


Built in 1946, no one used a dime of taxpayer's money to pay for the wall's construction. It was privately funded by the landowner. 

peace lilies
the end of world war II
but not the end of war

Nor was the wall built to keep people out but to protect a garden from mother nature.

wintry couple
the wind and the wall
have a long engagement

It's a good thing the wall is hundreds of miles away from the White House. No structure should have to withstand such gale-force winds.

shaw nature reserve
the only gatekeepers 
are the bald cypress






Oct 18, 2018

The Haircut

The salon chair is adjusted with a foot pump. My stylist is about to layer my hair. A beautician's license is in the lower corner of the mirror. It's not the same person standing before me.

incognito stylist
you can never be sure
who's holding the scissors

Perhaps she is new and using someone else's station. Maybe she just graduated from a beauty school. She's got to learn somehow.

trial and error session
my hair 
a thousand lengths away
from the picture 
in vogue magazine

For some reason, I feel compelled to tell my stylist about the one and only time I tried to cut my own hair.

kid scissors
the jagged ends of summer
have lost their curl

Proud of the results, I went to show mom my handiwork. 

"What have you done to your hair. 
You've ruined it!"

That was not the response I was hoping for.

She got out her adult scissors and started snipping away to get the hair evened out. By this time, I had just enough hair to cover my ears. Mom was crying. The photographer was coming tomorrow to take pictures.

Morning came. For once, I didn't have to sleep on rollers because there wasn't enough hair to roll. Mom placed a bow in my hair so the photographer would know I was a girl. I didn't really look like a boy or a girl. More like a monkey. One who got into trouble all the time.

photographer
in a black suit
he tells us
to act natural
and say "Limburger."

I was accompanied by my two sisters. The surreal quality of the day reminded me of an episode from The Three Stooges. We had matching bows in our hair all on the same side. While sitting down, we kept elbowing each other to create more space.

a cardinal's song
the red notes soar
beyond our disagreement

*

*Thanksgiving picture with Grandma Blanche


Mar 31, 2018

Plodding Westward

A road trip through Iowa and Nebraska became a test of endurance. The flatlands were unrelenting. As my eyes were about to close, the smooth pavement of Route 2 changed into a chicken hoppin' highway. It sounded like I had a flat tire. Then, the red light came on.

gas gauge warning
26 miles till
the next exit--
my speed reduced
to a wing and a prayer

Meanwhile, the pavement lullaby ramped up to a howling wind.

prairie crossing
I follow the ghosts
of wagon trains

An interstate later, I was only a mile away from my destination. Something was moving in the fields that hadn't been there before. At first glance, they looked like turkeys pecking their way through the amber stubble of waste grains. Except there were too many of them.

migrating clouds
turning the fields gray
the sandhill cranes

Welcome to Kearney, Nebraska, the Sandhill Crane capital of the world. I had arrived.