Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ever the Everglades

Everglades Horizon #1

If I do not evaporate
in winter’s drought,
I will become
the summer slough.

Everglades Horizon #2

If I am not lost
in the ten-thousand watery labyrinths,
I will become an island.


Greetings from Chokoloskee Island in the western Everglades where I've made a base for exploring both Big Cypress National Preserve to the northeast and the 10,000 Islands of the Gulf just beyond the small wharf at the campground. Some hiking, some kayaking, some lazing on the verandah watching the pelicans, spotted sandpipers (a bird-first) and terns while they watch for anglers to return with their catch and the detritus that will fall their way when cobia, snook, snapper and sheephead become filets.

On Sunday, February 1, I return to the eastern Everglades to commence my two-week artist-in-residency program where much inspiration awaits, including the splendor of purple gallinules like the handsome fellow in the above photo. In addition to giving a couple poetry readings, my goal is "to contemplate the Universe from the Holy Land of the Everglades." More specifically, I wish to complete a cycle of short poems -- "Cameos" -- that pay tribute to key figures in Everglades history. I'm sure other poems will arrive on the wings of birds to celebrate the flora and fauna of this unique place on Earth. The thought of unfettered hours to write (I'll be "off the grid!" and not much concerned about cooking and other quotidian tasks) is thrilling. Update to follow upon my return from the wild, the wonderful River of Grass.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Beckoning Beacon

Greetings from the Atlantic coast in Florida near Ponce Inlet where this 1887 lighthouse -- Florida's tallest -- guards the entrance from ocean to the Halifax River. The imposing tower, second highest brick lighthouse in the U.S. (only the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is taller), stands stately guard over the tricky inlet. While no longer operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, it still functions as a "private" lighthouse, lovingly restored and maintained by a non-profit foundation that has even restored the 1933 first-order Fresnel-lens light. On such a beautiful day as yesterday when I visited the handsome structure, it stood out for its rich brick-red color against a flawless blue sky. No, I did not climb to the top for a lighthouse keeper's view of the surrounding waters, but stood humbled beneath it with respect for its architect, masons and the generous people who restored it and the mryiad lenses and prisms in its lamp. Sometimes mankind gets things right. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of our more admirable achievements.
Posted by Picasa