Wash Day Fibonacci
of trail mud
beach sand river silt
I’ve folded Florida’s laundry.
I bid you all a good May day, writing once again from the South edge of Lake Ontario. The snowbirds have alit. Ahhhhhhhh, we're home!
But that's not to say we didn't enjoy the slow road to Ed Rose Shores. Our two-week meandering in swamps, riverine bottomlands and a Gulf beach one last time thrown in for good measure with Apalachicola oysters on the side. Two downpours (as we huddled in our tent), a mild case of food poisoning, and a gray squirrel who ate our cooler (well, just one corner gnawed through badly enough to ruin it), didn't deter us from hiking woodland boardwalks at Congeree National Park (bottomlands -- see http://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm) and the Audubon Center at Beidler Forest (cypress-tupelo swamp -- see http://beidlerforest.audubon.org/), two islands of sanity in south Carolina, and both bearing us generous gifts.
One of those gifts was the prothonotary warbler pictured above. Yes! High-five time! We saw the bird at long last, a bird-first made even more memorable by the companionship of Gerry and Marcy Withrow, friends of our from the Amazon II (Peru) expedition. They are sanctuaries unto themselves. It was a day to share the birds (also added hooded warbler and Mississippi kit to ours bird-first list)...and admire the greening world of old-growth bald cypress with their fantastical "knees" whorling out of slow slough water, fortifying the trees in the wetland forest. A close-up of one such knee evokes for me a fairy tale: Once upon a time yellow-feathered creature nested here.
For more about the prothonotary warbler, see http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/prothonotary_warbler/lifehistory.
We met up with quite a different species of tree on the "Forgotten Coast" of Florida's eastern panhandle. Oh, Pinus lustrous -- rare long-leaf pine -- of remnant southern groves in which we indeed saw its signature bird, the red-cockaded woodpecker again. And nearby Ochlockonee River State Park (http://www.floridastateparks.org/ochlockoneeriver/) where we camped is Carabelle Beach. It was there I took a series of photographs of erstwhile slash pines (Pinus elliotii). Quite the contrast to long-leaf's majestic luster. It was good for the soul to come across those metaphors of erosion, for death -- another species of beauty that was so unexpected.
We also made a stop to visit our beloved friends Gary and Iris in West Virginia, which, as has become our tradition, entailed a day in Washington, DC. This time we visited historic Dumbarton Oaks (http://www.doaks.org/) in Georgetown, a property belonging to Harvard University that houses two impressive collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and is equally remarkable for its expansive gardens. The four of us arrived in time to see the wisteria in full fragrant bloom. Ahhh! The day was a wonderful reminder that cities can be places of beauty too.
The Fibonacci poem (eight lines, consisting of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 syllables, if you'll recall) that opened this posting pretty much sums up our re-entry to life in Western New York. But there's a lot more more happening around these domestic parts than laundry (and endless mowing of lawn) as we settle into our northern roost.
If you'd like to read some more Karla poems recently published on the Internet, I invite you to explore:
- Pyrokinection! Hop over to http://www.pyrokinection.com/ ... just scroll down to the April 27 entry. Many thanks to editor A.J. Huffman!
- Don't miss About Place Journal where guest editor Annie Finch outdid herself with an issue themed around trees! In my poem you'll meet up with yet another pine tree, Pinus strobus. "He" has quite the story to tell.
- Check out Wilda Morris’s Poetry Challenge http://wildamorris.blogspot.com/ -- Each month poet Wilda Morris, whom I first "met" when editing The Dire Elegies: 59 Poets on Endangered Species of North America (FootHills Publishing, 2006), dares poets to take on a topic. Last month the call to action was to: "Read about, think about, or best of all, go outdoors and spend time with crows. Write a poem in which crows play an important role. They may just be themselves, crows in the natural world. Or they may be may be metaphors." My "Ghazal of the Crow" tied for the winning poem.
- And, last but not least, I invite all of you within range to attend the launch reading for my two new books, Lithic Scatter and Other Poems and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems. Please join me on May 18 at Lift Bridge Books, 45 Main Street, Brockport, NY, at 2 p.m. It's free and open to the public. Not only am I excited about "going public" with my two new books, I'm more so because my beloved Roger selected the poems he'd like you all to hear! Hope to see you there...and if not, know that you can order copies of Lithic Scatter from http://www.amazon.com/Lithic-Scatter-Other-Poems-Merrifield/dp/0988227991/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368015190&sr=8-1&keywords=karla+linn+merrifield or email me to obtain a signed copy (sans shipping fees). To get a copy of Attaining Canopy, visit http://www.foothillspublishing.com/.
...and hope your spring is as beautiful as the many springs Roger and I enjoyed on our way north. Any day now the wisteria in our neighborhood will be bursting into purple perfume.
See you next time from...
...New Mexico! where Roger and I will alight at month's end for desert hikes and my Lithic Scatter book tour!