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.

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