I live at the edge of a woods and often hike the fields, hills, and woodlands of my surrounding countryside. One would think I live in a rural, bucolic place but I live in bustling New Jersey, not know for its pastoral qualities even though it’s called “The Garden State.” It seems a sort of joke, but New Jersey has varied beauty from its Atlantic coastline to its western hills and farmland. Most of my inspiration comes from this terrain that I know so well. And even though I know the woods, the hills, the coastline, the land often surprises me. There is always a gift to uncover. The woodland is where I find solitude, where my thoughts keep cadence with my footsteps, where I can go to unpuzzle the world and find peace.
My inspiration for “Every Bend” came from Verse-Love, Ethical ELA, which was created by Sarah J. Donovan. Today’s prompt was from Cara Fortey, who suggested to write in a modern Tanka-style as modeled by poet and UCLA professor, Harryette Mullen.
Spring is for the birds! I am so grateful I live just on the edge of a large woods. A wild assortment of fox, deer, raccoons, possum, groundhogs, even the occasional coyote, have frequented the woods and fields that are my backyard. However, it is the birds to whom I have developed a deep and lasting bond. The songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors all living under one glorious roof.
Observing the small birds like the juncos, chickadees, and sparrows, I wonder at their tenacity. Such small and fragile things, yet they weather winter snows, spring rainstorms, summer heat, and fierce fall winds. Where do they find their strength? Are they indeed angels with beaks and feathers? I witnessed one young sparrow, who could easily fit in the palm of my hand, sit under my azaleas waiting for a spring torrent to dissipate. She was patient and mindful. She didn’t seem to fret and took her situation in stride. As I watched her, I was conscious of the lesson I could learn from her: slow down, find strength from within, liberate myself from worry, and fly free.