Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mini-Vacation Bliss

Vacations are meant for enjoyment, a relaxed pace, and lingering in the wonder of just beingThis past week, my family soaked in the blessings of nature during a wonderful mini-vacation to Cape May, New Jersey. The ocean called to me and I could not resist its invitation to indulge in the art of leisurely living.  After all, I miss the beach, slow walks on the boardwalk, and soaking in the sun's rays. 

When summer seas combine with sunlit skies
and waves crest in diamond-studded waters,
high expectations rise.

Nature offers a sweet surprise
of creamed-colored seaside dreams
when summer seas combine with sunlit skies.

Nature does not always comply. Storms arise
with abrupt torrents causing harm. Will
high expectations rise?

Summer has its ups, downs, but softly sighs
as rainbows arc the sky with grace
when summer seas combine with sunlit skies.

As a marshmallow-colored sky dries,
Nature clears away some fears. Will
high expectations rise?

Alas, the season waves its goodbyes
passing its torch to autumn's brilliant flame
when summer seas combine with sunlit skies
high expectations rise.
©cv, 2021, draft

The villanelle is a challenging nineteen-line poetic form of five tercets followed by a quatrain. You can read more about it at Writers Digest. When the Poetry Sisters decided that this month's challenge would be a villanelle around some kind of dichotomy, I cringed. I never wrote a villanelle before and I just came back from a delightful vacation. So I slipped into this challenge knowing that I needed support. I am open to any suggestions on how to improve this poem because I know that is ROUGH around all edges. At least, I tried something that was way beyond my comfort zone.

Unfortunately, my timing is off so excuse me as I tiptoe into the Poetry Friday Roundup at my poetry friend Becky Herzog's blog, Sloth Reads. Happy International Friendship Day, Becky! Thanks for reminding us and sharing your recent summer poem swap from Jone MacCulloch.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Sweet Beach Memories

Sweet beach memories float on by. It has been months since I walked across a beach feeling the sand massaging my toes.  I pause to recall the morning sun offering warmth, gulls swooping across the ocean, and frolicking sounds of children swooshing in ebullient waves. Summer brings its own magic to the shore-nature's handpainted seascape. Mother Nature blends muted shades rising above a cream sand layer. To replicate the look, artists reach into their palettes mixing jetty gray with blue sky. Blending my love of photography with digital art, I create memories of my seaside times of gratitude.  

sunkissed shoreline
the sweetness of goodness found
golden moments
©cv, 2021
great expanse of sea
serenity floats in surf
gather nature's gifts
©cv, 2021
art of summering
listening to ocean's roar
tranquil calmness
©cv, 2021
Finding life's balance is easier at water's edge so next week
I am off to Cape May, NJ for a mini-vacation where I plan to create new memories.


For now, I travel to the blog of Poetry Friday's host Aussie poet/Kidlit author, Kathryn Apel. Join me to read through her #petpicpoem at the Poetry Friday Roundup. You will find many other poets who provide their own poetic goodness there. Thanks for sharing some beachside memories with me. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Summering Fun with the Grandgirls

It was a summer afternoon to remember, moderate temperatures, sunshine, and smiles. As we strolled through the streets of historic Clifton, Virginia, I imagined what it was like as a Civil War town. Was it the quaintness represented by the architecture, the charm of the old railroad and oxcart, or the trattoria and ice cream stop that lured us on? We strolled, ate dinner at a European-type garden setting while the grandgirls waited patiently for the next treat, homemade ice cream at one of their favorite stops. A walk to the park for birthday cake and playground fun rounded off the enjoyable late afternoon. Summer sunshine embraced us, making the quote by author Kellie Elmore a reality.    

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” 

family gathering

sweet summer day
giftwrapped in sunshine

filled with memories
from a different time of life
and contemporary delights for little ones.
©CV, 2021

We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal at Trattoria Villagio's outside garden.

A bit of history and fun delights the little girls at the historic Devereaux Station.
Who can resist an old train to climb?

A walk to Peterson's Ice Cream, one of Northern Virginia's favorite stops, is a favorite stop on the ice cream trail. 
The miniature ice cream truck delights everyone, especially the children.

The art of summering is leisurely enjoying summer days that create lasting family memories.


It's time to post my slice of life at Two Writing Teachers, "A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers. Join me there.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Summer's Gifts Wrapped in Poems

In the heat of each summer, we weave words to share our thoughts not on the pressures of life but on its beauty wrapped in reflection. A common bond of friendship brings our poetry community closer together through the art of creating small poems. Despite the pandemic, my poetry swap partner from the Philippines, Iphigene Daradar, shared a little poem and painting with me through virtual means. "I wish I could send this to you physically. Unfortunately, things haven't gone back to normal here."  For a successful swap, Iphigine and I decided to change the way we would communicate.

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." -Socrates

Instead of only gifting our partners with a small poem via postal service, Iphigene emailed me and I sent her a Google slide share. We built a new communication chain through the internet. The pandemic caused us both to reflect deeply on life. Iphigene's thoughts were conveyed through both words and artwork. The poem she created was "one of those things I learned in the duration of the pandemic." In response, I shared a walk through the woods in my new community, along with digital art designed with Google SlideShare. Through digital mediums, we stitched our reflections with the golden threads of poetry. Friendship is a bond that cannot be broken by a global virus. 

Learning to Surrender
Iphigene Daradar

A dried up leaf clings to its branch
The wind blew,
It swayed.

Breaking branch 
It grasp not, but fell
In a slow dance
of gliding
Through air.




Staring into life,
Into each breaking
Learning to

Air and fall

In season.

July 2021

Learning to Surrender is a beautiful poem softly rendered in a watercolor-like background. I will think of Iphigene when the leaves gently dance through the sky and remember to glide through challenges, surrender, and rest in the moment.  

Thank you Tabatha Yeatts for gathering our summer poem swap group together again.


Yesterday when I saw the following beach photo by Leigh Anne Eck on Margaret Simon's site, This Photo Wants to be a Poem, I recalled the wonder and majesty of a Long Island Summer evening at the beach. I paused for a moment, let go of my to-do list, and just stared into the photo waiting for words to frame my thoughts. 

sunset spreads like golden wings
across shores' rippling waters
nature shares its evening gift
love story unfolds
©CV, 2021
Photo by Leigh Anne Eck

It's time to be dazzled by all the poetic goodness at the Poetry Friday Roundup. Our host this week is Molly Hogan. Join me to see what photographer-poet-teacher friend offers at Nix The Comfort Zone. It's all about luscious summertime in Maine.

Thank you Molloy for sharing a summer night in Maine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Evening Wonder

Did you read this article, "Fly you to the Moon? Japanese billionaire seeks 8 people for space voyage?"  In March 2021, Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawainin made an offer for 8 people to fly to the moon free. Sounds interesting? Personally, I rather stay on earth and gaze at the moon in the night sky. 

Last night, I was totally smitten by the glow of the crescent moon and
surprised I could photograph the moonslice with my iPhone.

night-sky wonder
moonslice sits in silence
community sleeps
© CV, 2021


Listen to Frank Sinatra sing "Fly Me to the Moon"
and other songs on the moon playlist I created.


Are you ready to fly to the moon and back or leisurely listening to moon-related music?

As I listen to the playlist, I add my slice of life at Two Writing Teachers to read what other slicers are offering?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Our Community Poem (Park and Recreation Month Challenge)

July is Park and Recreation Month, a time to be grateful for the service provided by parks. During the pandemic, parks became places of comfort to roam freely in the open air, congregate with others, and satisfy the urge to travel to local scenic places without worry. This month, the National Recreation And Park Association is partnering with renowned poet and bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, to create "a community poem - one poem compiled from many voices". They would like to hear "community's stories about what their local parks and recreation mean to them".

I decided to join in the fun and write a poem in appreciation for the service offered by my local park in Long Island where I lived prior to moving to Northern Virginia in mid-March. As one voice among many, I offer my thoughts for the poetry challenge fully described at Park and Recreation Month: Our Community Poem. From the many poems and inspirational thoughts offered, Kwame will craft an original community poem to be shared online at the end of the month. The challenge requires using the prompt, "Everything  around you is." Submissions are due by tomorrow, July 9, 2021.

Our Community Park
Everything around you is bathed in beauty.
Gentle morning light shines across majestic trees.
Visitors perambulate through expansive spaces.
A whiff of smoke scents picnic grounds.
Ducks wade across a diamond-studded lake, 
Glistening in the breeze while birds circle the sky.

As a place of comfort, you welcome travelers to your grounds to
Breathe in the scent of pine, find peace and solace, congregate
With family and friends, walk through scenic woods, and commune
With nature in the great outdoors. You gather untold stories. Discard
Thoughts hindering spiritual growth, and leave visitors refreshed. 
Everything around you is soon to blossom from a deep pandemic sleep.
©CV, 2021

While searching for inspirational thoughts, I found this quote by Toni Morrison that offers a new perspective for pondering: At some point in life, the world's beauty becomes enough. I paused. reflected, and wrote another poem using Marilyn Nelson's poem, Weir Farm, as a mentor text. In a short video that can be found here or on YouTubeKwame Alexander suggested researching Marilyn's poem. Her line "Feel the welcome of small particulars," resonated with me as a self-care recipe for living. It suggests taking a closer look at life by observing the small details and savoring the moments, a notion particularly suited for today's return to a partial normalcy  way of life.  

Nature's Touch

Everything around you is nature-scented.
Step onto earth's welcoming paths.
Feel a closeness with life: 
the felled log, a home for small insects
the leaves strewn across the horse trail.
With a fresh look and perspective, see 
orange bittersweet and berries popping,
daylight shadows playing in the sun.

Find a detour along the trail.
Walk down a small slope to the lake
where a log becomes a bench.
Listen to the quiet laps lulling earth,
Let nature paint a world of tranquility
bringing back a sense of calm to life
Be at peace in a new normal world.

Everything around you is touched
by nature's ever-loving hands.
©CV, 2021

Please join me in celebrating our local parks. 
Tell your community's story about what your local parks and recreation mean to you. 
Be sure to submit your poem here by tomorrow, July 9, 2021.
If inclined, also post on social media.
Twitter: @NRPA_news, #OurParkAndRecStory, @kwamealexander. Instagram: @NRPA

I'm off to post at the Poetry Friday Roundup where teacher-poet-author, Margaret Simon, is hosting at Reflections on the Teche. Margaret shares her good news about her contributions to the new anthology, Bridge the Distance. Teacher-Poets Writing to Bridge the Distance, An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Sparkle On, America!

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate with family. Instead of a barbecue, we decided to find an outdoor restaurant for a family favorite-breakfast. Wth the sun shining, we celebrated in style. The little grandgirls were decked out in  holiday outfits creating a celebratory flair to the beginning of the day.

Hours later as daylight turned into a rich shade of sunset, the family gathered again for a local firework show across Lake Thoreau, in Reston, Virginia. Sitting picnic-style we watched a sparkling spectacle of outdoor joy.  As kayaks circled the lake, barges readied for the show.

Fireworks popped as crowds squealed with delight. Oohs, Ahs!, and clapping echoed as night's colors became the backdrop for a magnificent light show. 

freedom bursts
fill the night air with hope-
strike up the band
© CV, 2021

The red and white and starry blue Is freedom's shield and hope".-John Philip Sousa

Fourth of July is a day to connect with loved ones and share in the hope that freedom brings.

With regrets for strolling into Two Writing Teachers late, I send this slice of life off. The activities of the past days have worn me out. While I wrote this slice just before the deadline, I fell asleep before sending it out. 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Summer On! Clunker Challenge

 Clunker Challenge from  Linda Mitchell

Last week, Linda offered her clunker lines in exchange for a quick poem and a clunker line from each writer. I eagerly scrolled through the clunker lines and found two that looked appealing:
found a bit of sunflower  &  trees turned so orange the road looked blue

With these, I decided to write a pandemic poem since many bans were altered and the thought of summer travel seems so uplifting. 

A ban lifts,
lives change,
travel surges.
Summer 2021 opens
for roads untraveled and
newfound destinations sought.
Adventures await so find the why of
breathing in freshness, basking in sunshine,
feeling the tingling sensation of salted seafoamed oceans,
and the pure pleasure of tousled hair and loud music on open highways.
Walk, drive, ride, fly, or dream of places where trees turned so orange
the road looked blue or places where a bit of sunflower carries a
memory. If travel is not an option, create a fantasy trip to a 
secret garden with no boundaries. Be free.
Options are limitless. Find open spaces
Lve without fear of disruptors.
Gather nature's gifts.
Bring them indoors.
Honor the road
for it holds
©CV, 2021

While I sent Linda this clunker, summer dressed itself in ..., I decided to use the prompt.

Summer's Fashion Statement

Summer dressed itself
in robes of golden sunrise.
Skyblue hopes
billowed in the breeze as
summer washed the woods
in dew-drenched sparkles.
Daylight-glow puddled
on delicate leaves.
A parade of stilled daylilies posed
in gardens rich with chocolate mulch.
At day's end, summer dressed night
in indigo dreams as serenity pillowed
 under a moonlit canopy.
©CV, 2021

Yesterday and today, I offered The Spiritual Journey Thursday community and guests an opportunity to celebrate summer with the topic, "Nurturing Our Summer Souls". As the host, I designed an advertisement with photos and artwork from Jan Annino, Donna Smith, Fran Haley, and myself to publicize the event. Please stop by to read my post and link up to other responders. 

Then, visit the Poetry Friday Roundup at author poet Laura Shovan's blog. She shares her poem, "Millicent Patrick Speaks of Monsters," which won honorable mention in the Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s annual poetry contest. Look further to find more poetic goodness from other poets.