Unexpected Things

I came across this photo from earlier this summer when I was hiking in the mountains of Colorado near my home. I am as astonished now as I was then to happen upon this little tree growing out of this enormous multi-ton rock. Somehow it spoke of unexpected things—big and small. Somehow it suggested supple possibility emerging out of unwavering granite. I wondered how enough soil had accumulated in the small depression on the top … Read more

A Mesmerizing Tale

Oh, a magnificent story can captivate even the most complacent listeners! Rimsky-Korsakov’s shimmering Scheherazade elevates storytelling through the magic of four movements in a symphonic suite that draws on the Indian, Persian, and Arabic tales of The One Thousand and One Nights (commonly known as The Arabian Nights). The symphony includes all the elements of a literary masterpiece: A Problem or Dilemma; Unforgettable Characters; Passionate Dialogue; Rising Actions of Intrigue; A Satisfying Conclusion The Colorado Music Festival … Read more

A Step into Breath

Ever feel the need to simply step away, breathe some fresh air, and discover a different vantage point? “The future is more beautiful than all the pasts,” assures French philosopher, priest, paleontologist, and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. His hopeful sentiment offers a sense of promise for perhaps the mundane tasks of day-to-day routines. A change of scenery may sound enticing but sometimes it’s difficult to accomplish because of all sorts of reasons like responsibilities, finances, … Read more

Good Beginnings

Good beginnings happen in Nature, the act of writing, and in personal journeys… The winter snows have melted and saturated the earth. Out of mud season in the mountains comes something fresh and new. Look! There it is, finally, a bright lithe leaf uncurling its green self into the world! I’ve been waiting for the leaves to pop from the branches on my aspen trees all season. It’s been a process like watching water start to boil, but alas … Read more

The Poetry Orchard

Why narrative poetry matters . . . Another name for a narrative poem is a story poem. It’s as old as fruit in the garden, or for purposes of this discussion, as old as apples in the poetry orchard. To my way of thinking, narrative poetry is at the genesis of all literature. In ancient times when most of the world was illiterate, oral tradition thrived as the popular and compelling mode of communication. It … Read more

Something Ancient

Sometimes life delivers surprises. Think of Abraham who for much of his adult life longed to have an heir. In the Christian, Judaic, and Islamic traditions, elderly Abraham finally becomes a biological father and the patriarch of a long ancestral lineage of future generations. God gives him not only an heir, but a nation and a land. Whew! What a dynasty. And imagine the surprise of a Bedouin teenage shepherd boy in 1947 when instead of redirecting a wayward goat from … Read more

Words on a Page

Oh, great beauty abounds in language and in the written word! Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it so well: “When I read a good book . . . I wish that life were three thousand years long.” What is it about a story or poem that has the power to stir our souls? What propels writers throughout history to orchestrate their ideas into pure music on the page, a literary symphony of words? Imagery, symbolism, metaphor; great literature lays it out for the … Read more

Bright Ball of Light

Remembering the child in our hearts pointing to the sky . . . Do you remember as a child looking up in wonder to the luminescent ball floating in the sky? Did it take your breath away then? Does it take your breath away now? Christopher Robin and I walked along Under branches lit up by the moon —”Return to Pooh Corner” (a song by Kenny Loggins) The Swedish-American poet and triple recipient of the … Read more

But in this Darkness

But in this Darkness . . . The solstice of winter lingers in diminished light longer than any day of the year. And then the light increases daily in the rhythm of nature, the progression towards the spring equinox and summer solstice, until the daylight slowly lessens again towards the fall equinox and back to the winter solstice. Creation bestows a marvelous order that astounds and mystifies. A few days ago, I flew back to Colorado after spending … Read more

Reaching for Light

Now that the gorgeous shimmer of autumn leaves has been whisked away by the late November wind, the stripped branches appear as bare wooden hangers or bone-sparse skeletons. As I headed west out of my neighborhood one late afternoon, I noticed the incredible sky. Those spindly naked trees became the dark silhouetted contrast that enhanced the profound glory of an autumn sunset. Indeed, the trees looked to be reaching to the sky for the colors … Read more