Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Life in the UP

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

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Even though I have a home once more, I have found myself taking to the road. Not to get anywhere in particular, I have no grand destination at the end of a long road anymore, but I take to the road all the same. Somedays I drive just to feel normal again, the road has become my home in more than one way. But most days, I drive to watch the fall leaves twirl in the air of my car’s wake as I devour mile after mile of empty roadway. This is my now, after the colors turned, after the winter winds began, and after the leaves began to fall. But this isn’t where I want to begin, I want to go back when the trees were still green and the lake lay still. I want to tell you where I have been, how strange life has become, but in the best of ways.

3,354 miles and a little over two weeks on the road. The space between me and everything I once called home. Now it is over a month since I left the sunny west coast behind me and I have been living in the Northernmost tip of Michigan where the sky meets water and the land ends.

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This place is not unfamiliar to me though, it is not a strange, exotic and unknown location; this is my home away from home. However, I have never seen it quite like this before. The closest city to me is Houghton, a drawbridge city with cobblestone streets and old brick buildings lining the downtown stretch of road. But every morning this is the view I wake up to.

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So many things are different now, things I have never seen before because I only ever visited in the summer time. I feel like my world has been turned topsy turvy, everything is so similar yet just different enough to disturb the normalcy of everything I had grown accustomed to since I was a very young child. Small things are off, like leaving a book on your desk and returning to find it on top of your bed with no one around to have moved it.

Small things like seeing acorns on the ground. The entire ground is littered with them but since I have only ever been here in summer I have never seen an acorn here. Or watching fog lift off of the lake in the early morning or funneling down the channel when I have only ever seen sun, rain, and lightning in the sky before now. Or realizing that the shadows fall differently because the sun is in an entirely different position. The sun sets so far south and instead of 11pm sunsets, the sky gets darker earlier and earlier every day. There are endless things that entirely transform this place I have visited almost every single year since I was born. I feel like I have found myself on the other end of the looking glass and everything is slightly distorted.

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There are two not so subtle changes that have really transformed this once familiar place into a mysterious and new experience. The first of which is obvious, it is Fall. I have never seen the once verdant ubiquitous green burst apart into such an array of beautiful colors. It makes me look at everything with new awe struck eyes.

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The land around me has become its own sea of colors. Amber, wine, violet, peach, rose, and so many other colors have transformed every tree into a color palette of startling fiery colors. Every day the world around me looks different. Every day it transforms a little more, becomes a little more beautiful, or looses a few more leaves. This ceaselessly protean landscape has dug its beautiful fingers into my imagination and lit my eyes aflame with the possibilities of fleeting life. There is such a desperate beauty in imminent perishing life.

The other difference is the life that already perished. The loss of my grandfather, one year after his passing, is thick in the air everywhere I turn up here. It is not necessarily a bad or sad feeling, just a very persistent one. Memories are the greatest ghosts we could ever conjure.

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I dreamt for years about coming up to Northern Michigan to see the peak of fall colors, but I never dreamt that it would be without my grandfather. I always thought I would walk arm in arm with him through the forest of amber and wine colored trees. I thought we would sit in his favorite chairs by a fire, no words passing between us, just a mutual understanding that sometimes words aren’t necessary to know you are loved. Now I am finally here and on the one year anniversary of his passing. I wish he could be here with me and I cannot believe, even a year later that he is actually gone. I miss my grandpa but I see him and feel him in the flurry of falling leaves everywhere I go.

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I am staying in his home without him and every time I hear this old house creak I always wonder if it is him. I feel like I cannot go anywhere without bumping into his ghost. But I know he would have wanted me here. I just wish he could have been here along side me.

I think one of the biggest things about being here by myself is how much older it makes me feel. I can physically see the changes, the way that time has transformed this place and myself. I have always known this place as one filled with love, family, laughter, adventure, mischief, and growth. But now I am here at the end of fall and the cusp of winter. It isn’t summer anymore. I have grown older, my grandfather and grandmother are both gone, my cousins aren’t here with me to enjoy each others company, and the leaves are falling one by one as the water slowly recedes from the shores.

It is a beautiful death here. A beautiful transitioning between the life of one year and the life of the next. This is where I find myself. Between the death of an old life and the beginning of a new one. The west of my past and the east of my future as Kerouac would say if his journey had been reversed. I am moving slowly towards something, but I know not what yet. For now I sit and watch the world around me changing, wondering what will come when the color is gone.

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Excerpt: Avery’s Sojourn

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

This is a small excerpt from a larger piece I have been working on for the last couple of months. Tentatively titled Avery’s Sojourn this excerpt is just a little blurb from the beginning. It is still a major work in progress but a couple of people have been asking for previews but everything is still under heavy construction and there is a lot of work to do still but here is a tiny glimpse into Avery’s life. Enjoy

 

The soft fluttering of cotton wings caressing the tear stricken face of a young girl fills the dark empty space of the old wooden cabin as they gently kiss her cold skin and retreat back again into the darkness from which they came. Ragged breath wrenched itself from her dry cracked lips as her body tried to remember to breathe. Avery lay in a sleepless world with her eyes barely open and her eyelashes sticky with tears. Her bare arm lay underneath her head, outstretched as if she had tried to grasp something only to fall too short and the other lay limply dangling from the table’s edge. She lay like an abandoned rag doll tossed aside by a fickle child in a tantrum. Broken and alone she stared with unseeing eyes at a single object; hard, cold, and black, it lay opposite from her across the dark mahogany table. The gun lay lifeless, absent of the warmth it had acquired from a shaking hand only hours ago.

Avery blinked slowly as another cottony wing embraced her cheek seeking warmth from this cold place only to find none hidden within her sallow cheek. She curled her numb fingers, feeling the rough wood beneath them. She flexed her hands, then her neck, slowly testing if her body still had some life left in it. As she pulled herself slowly up into a slouched sitting position she began to tremble. She felt the tears well to her eyes again as she stared at her antagonist at the other end of the table, remembering the terrible thunder clap as it rang through her entire body. It was not the first or the last time she would hear that terrible bang rattling in her ears. She squeezed her eyes shut, remembering.

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Yellowstone Take Two

Friday, February 25th, 2011

As many of you know last year I spent a week in Yellowstone following wolves and taking photos. I am blessed to yet again have this amazing opportunity to explore the harsh wild wilderness that is the Yellowstone tundra. The next week I will be in the Northern part of the park photographing animals and landscape.

I haven’t been posting as often this month because I have been so busy with preparations. After this is over I am going to go back to posting regularly. Hopefully each day I will have time to post some of my pictures from my adventures of that day. Last year I couldn’t because we were so busy, but hopefully this year I can. I can’t wait to return to Yellowstone. Hopefully this year I will get some really good wolf shots!

See you all in a week.

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Snowy Egret (Frostbite)

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

A snowy egret flies
On paper thin wings
Like a paper airplane
Gliding through the air
Keeping airborne
For as long as it can
Until its fragile wings
Bow under the weight
Of heavy air
Into the ground
Where no paper airplanes soar
Here the snow
Belongs to the land
Not the bird in the sky
No longer fragile and beautiful
But the paper-thin feel
Of cold seeping
Into your hollow bones
The delicate dance
Of frostbite on the fingertips
Of ballerina dancers
The slow decay of the biting snow
And the old heaviness weighing down
The lightest breeze
The wings of an egret
Laden with the burden
Of the world without sky
Chained to the ground
Waist deep in snow
Where a creature with wings
Does not belong
Yet cannot escape from
The paper wings beat
To leave behind this place
Heavy
With the absence of all
Freedom lies in the air
Where the snow belongs
To a graceful bird
Not the world lying below
Where frostbite is left behind
In the warm sun’s glow

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Winter’s Embrace

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

I am tired now let me sleep
The little girl says in a voice scarred
By winters claws in her throat
Not yet, not quite yet
Our feet drag in the snow
Her little hand held loosely in my own
If I can not feel my own hand
How am I supposed to keep track of hers
I feel her hands slipping frequently
From within my grasp
To hang limp by her sides
They drag her down
She is so little
So fragile I have to take care of her
But even as I think this
I feel my eyelids dragging too
We are dying
And I know this
I wonder if she knows too

We keep moving
One foot in front of the other
Trudging through this desolations
To a destination unknown
I have no answers for her
Just empty reassurance
That soon the answer will come
Who knows maybe a flaming chariot
Will come from the sky
In a flourish of warmth
That will thaw our tired bones
Or not.
Nevertheless we keep moving

She falls to her knees beside me
I barely notice in my own fogginess
I am going to take a nap
She says in a voice now more than a whisper
That echoes in my ears like a scream
No.
I say forcing my way through the snow
To reach down and rouse her
She has curled up in the snow
Like a kitten next to a warm fire
There seems no difference
She looks so peaceful as she closes her eyes
I shake her, yell at her
Tell her she can’t die
I have to protect her
Keep her safe and alive
But she is gone now
Curl up in Winter’s embrace
Leaving me in this winter wasteland
Alone.
So devastatingly alone

I kneel in the snow
Unable to move
Not willing to die
But not strong enough to live
Where does that leave me
I pet her soft hair
And say goodbye
I have to continue on
Alone if must be
So I left her behind
She belonged to the winter
Not mine any more
I screamed in silence
Because there was no one left to hear
This desolation this utter fear
It was the first time I had felt anything
Since this terrible winter of silence began
And it was the last feeling I ever had
As Winter pulled me in
And left me hollow and cold inside
I died with her
Long ago in the snow
Yet here I am still moving
But who am I now?

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Posted in Poetry |

Hospital Room (Butterfly)

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Winter is waiting
Like an old hospital room
White and clean
Yet so foreboding
They will wash the walls
Of my presence
Scrub away
Until there is nothing left of me
Strip down my pictures
Replace them with plaster
A life cast of me
Molded too tight
Until I cannot breathe
Suffocating and gasping for air
Inside a white washed room
Sterilized of life
Where dolls sit
With clairvoyant glassy eyes
Of Ovid’s butterfly
Fluttering helplessly
Settling down
In a flourish of color
Only to die slowly
Caught in the grip
Of Winter’s cold fist
Such an absence
Such a silence
It deafens me
Echoing off white walls
The screams of the plastered casts
Of those who came before me
Faces protruding like the gates of hell
Leaving me too blind to see
Staring blankly
At the horror before me
I wonder why I am here
Why I wound up
In this white washed room
Suffocating in a prison
With no windows
No sound
Except the noise of madness
And the sound
Of a rotting brain
As the butterfly takes its last gasps
You left me here
To slowly decay
I watch the butterfly
Curl, wither, and deform
From the beauty it had been
Watching my fate
Unfurl before me
With a merciless slowness
I am waiting now
For the white to capture me
To whisk me away
Into some fairytale dream
A reprieve of this white washed room
But the butterfly’s ashes
Lay around me
Staining my palms
It will never leave me
Winter is here
With its worn cold hands
I refuse to go with you
But I cannot stay
Take me with you butterfly
For where I am going
I hoped I would never be
See you on the other side
Of this damned eternity
For now I will hope for a better destiny
And try to avoid the inevitable
By hiding behind the mask
Of a butterfly’s face
In plain sight
A flourish of color in a white room
Waiting for fate to find me

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Gates of Desolation

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Welcome to a place
where desolation meets
silent tranquility
here is my isolation
amidst the winter’s snow
there is no place
to bury the dead
no time or will
to dig deep
beneath the barren forsaken land
the dead lay as they fall
no ceremony as the wind
claws at your face
when you scream
no one is there to listen
in a place
riddle with unmarked graves
you walk amongst the dead
but do not know it
kill or be killed
at the Gate’s of Desolation

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Posted in Photos, Poetry |

Travel Update: Yellowstone

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

So here I am in wonderful, snowy, freezing, beautiful, wild, Yellowstone. Let me just start out by saying I haven’t seen snow since seventh grade so me+snow= crazy child jumping in snow banks every time I see a puddle of snow. I swear I have been reduced to a five-year old. I have been to Yellowstone twice before this, both in summer but opposite sides of the park. Never before have I gotten to see Yellowstone in such a beautiful way as this. This is my first time visiting anywhere in winter time. Let me say this:

It is beautiful beyond compare here.

There is a majestic quality to everything around here, the air is crisp, everything is so bright, and everything here fills you with awe. Side note: I haven’t even gotten to see wolves yet, and I am already totally stoked out of my mind. It is cold though, I am not used to having to wear layers let alone snow and high altitude.

For the wildlife sittings of the day: Bald eagle, lots of deer, and a whole pile of elk grazing in around the buildings in Mammoth Hot springs.

We poked around Mammoth after quickly settling into our hotel and did a tiny bit of exploring before the sun went down. This is only the beginning, for the next five days there is much in store. Hopefully lots of wolves and beautiful days full of photography, snowshoeing, and fun in the snow!

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Scotts Valley Winter Concert

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I just wanted to congratulate the amazing students at my high school, Scotts Valley High for doing an amazing job raising money for people in Haiti with their winter concert. I am so impressed by my fellow students, there is so much talent at my school I never really knew about. Raising money for this great cause and watching my friends and fellow students performing was so inspiring and I just wanted to say

BRAVO!

A special shout out to Maiya Moncino and Chris Youmans for hosting this wonderful event. You guys are amazing!

Keep it up everyone, I am proud of you guys. If anyone needs photos of the event I photographed it so just email me or leave a comment if you want any.

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Travel: Hawaii

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

So, I know I have been somewhat nelecting my blog and I apologize for that.

SORRY BLOG

Now that vacation is starting I will finally have some time to work on my writing. Currently my family and I are leaving for Hawaii in the morning for our Christmas break. I will be leaving travel updates everyday so stay tuned to see Hawaii in all it’s glory.

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