Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Where did the winter go since my last posting? In Western New York, the answer is: “Not away.” It’s been unseasonably cold since I returned north from Florida two weeks ago. A late-February expedition into the Baja of Mexico to see whales seems eons ago and my Artist-in-Residency program in the Everglades even deeper in time. While winter continues to have its grip on the shores of Lake Ontario, I try to hold on to the warmth of the south and of Mexico.
Photographs and poems of the Baja trip help me hold onto the magic of being among the great cetaceans – five whale species, including mating humpbacks with the randy males ramming each other to win breeding rights to the evasive female. This photograph of a humpback’s flukes is a clear reminder of the majesty of these mammals, our cousins who also remind me of how insignificant is humankind. And how fleeting is our time here on Earth.
That must have been on my mind when I wrote this poem.
The Price of Souvenirs
We leave something of our souls
in our footprints in foreign lands
and take only these photographs:
The one where I left a flicker of myself
reflected in a gray whale’s eye
in Magdalena Bay in the Baja of Mexico.
One where I left a scrap of being
in Los Islotes on those rocks
of seals and pelicans in the Sea of Cortez.
You saw me amid cardon cactus and elephant trees
leaving one last innocence aside
on Espiritu Santo like skin drying in desert air.
You have seen how I leave a dream behind
among Pacific turtle bones and sand dollars
on a bleached beach by an ocean of death.
Meanwhile, I’ve home and settling into a spring brightened by poetry readings and gatherings with friends. Snow may be yet on the ground, but the promise of spring’s renewal is kept by birds at the feeders and buds thick on the trees in the neighborhood. I feel the warmth within. I hope you do, too.