Over the weekend of July 8-10th, Rick led a writing retreat for three fabulous writers, artists, and poets at our home and sanctuary, Little Renaissance, in Ocean Shores, WA. This fabulous group graced our home! They were inspired by Rick’s guidance, yoga (sessions led by me), dazzling sunshine, fresh ocean air, the untamed beauty of this coastal paradise, and each others’ company. Included here are the beautiful writings produced over the Nature Image Writing Retreat weekend. Also included are two visual art pieces Juliette Aristedes created while she was here! Slide show to follow in a second blog.
Poems by Jane Faulkner
Sun-stripped pilings march to sea
Mast-like stands of sacred three
Pier planks gone
No sailor’s song
Do they still call out to thee?
Captive in crusted, crinoline sand
this once sleek feather darted and soared.
Now with tired tendrils of cream and dusk
it is an offering.
Wrapped with strands of sea grass ribbon
on a bed of smooth black stones,
the seabird’s discard
brings me to my knees—
a perfect still life celebrated
by the crying gulls above.
vast blue summer sky
a lone black plane
hovering high above
a hundred white wings
singing to the sea
clouds drift across sand
sky and earth come together
lovers on the beach
sandpipers at the shore
peck muddy sand and find
a tasty mid-day feast
Poems by Douglas Schuder
Near and Far at Ocean Shores
Here at the vast Pacific’s edge
Nothing halts the heaving sea’s westward course
Until it breaks on distant island shores—
A thing well-known to mariners and whales.
So the ever-restless eye
Unable to see beyond the bend
Where sky descends to meet the sea
Settles on things ephemeral and small,
A scattering of sand fleas at the feet
Where minute stars of silica
Gleam out from sandy nebulae.
A frothy filament of white foam,
Leading edge of the spent wave
Attenuated thin, glides smoothly up the strand
And at first instant of retreat
Vanishes in seltzers of clear bubbles.
An unbleached scallop shell,
Its rippled halves still joined,
Lies spread-eagled in sand
Like a butterfly of bronze-hued wings
Opened to a warming sun.
Up and down the long shoreline concavity
Flocks of diminutive sandpipers
Wheel in tightest turns, time after time
In unison, uncannily precise
Weaving in the briny air
A checkered tapestry of brown and white.
Out beyond a hoarse and hissing surf
A pelican dives to breach a swell
With lancing beak, then bobs erect
With bulging pouch, extruded fin.
And from a sun-drenched sandy beach
Filaments of a faint white mist
Rise and drift lazily inland
Toward the green-flocked dunes.
Cold sea molds the white wave,
sore feet hop in hot sand
Woman searching beach for lost keys,
her dog finds a stick
Poems by Juliette Aristides
So little there—
The ocean extending like a beam,
A length of compacted beach
Against a stretched-out sky—
Interlocking planes of matte color
Disturbed by the incidental—
Multitudes of pebbles, sticks, and shells….
At first glance
it all looked simple.
The stage opens to a rocky beach,
an infinite vista of sand and sky.
The cast of beachgoers arrive,
their cosmic significance
hidden under sun hats.
When twilight comes they’ll go on home,
leaving the seaweed and starfish to fend for themselves.
I in the audience choose between them.
My vote is cast with the silent stage,
the mute presence of the jagged rocks
a witness to the wastefulness of words.
Poems by Rick Clark
It’s not so simple as one might think,
without looking, to see what grows
on this jetty rock, partially emerged
in sand and grit.
a fine green wavy hair of seaweed
and long flat strands of brown,
all pointing which way
the tide went out,
and crowding the recesses and cracks
tiny villages of barnacles
and then, near the top,
a different seaweed, a short-haired,
powdery light green.
And if we looked closer, what would we see,
what smaller, harder-to-bring-into-focus
forms of life encrust and slime over
this pitted, abstractly shaped,
How close are we obliged to peer
at the world around us,
all these rocks and trees,
these birds and bees we overlook
or never stop to see up near?
What, indeed, is our range,
our distance, our hard remove?
Do we look through a microscope
or a telescope? Or both?
In as few as four years
the point has stretched out
another half a mile into the harbor,
not only sand been washed
back into the bay
to form this heavy spit
but also the sedge grasses,
the sweet pea vines,
the quick bees and the slow
and these frisky flies.
And one sweet song sparrow
has taken up residence
in this newly created world,
singing most delightedly.
Flash Haiku Mini-Essay
What’s cool about the “flash haiku”
is that in waiting for one to happen,
being prepared for one to happen,
perhaps even seeking for one to occur
in front of the eyes—say, by going to the beach
and watching a flock of Western sandpipers—
it gets us to trust in the moment
and trust that beyond the moment
is a nothingness from which flies
into and out of us a flash of insight or humor
and we trust to that process, that instantaneous process
that is a body prepared for a signal from what,
for all practical purposes, is outer space—
and. voila! there’s a tiny one-breath poem
that accompanies that flash, known as a haiku.
We wrote the following two poems together as a group. I also took part in this writing exercise:
Cracks made of vines,
a jeweler in the form of a spider,
like strings of seeds on snow, on sand.
I look close to investigate,
find beauty and resemblances
at intimate levels.
these minimal marks
I gather them all
and spread them on my rising belly.
Intimate crystal bursting
tender as toe flesh.
I see an anemone
on dry land, vivid with life,
flames of color combusting
from a sea of green.
I touch the tips
with my tender thumbs,
by the sheer existence of petals.
Such pleasure found
in such simple things!
This first annual Nature Image Writing Retreat was such a success that we plan on holding it again on February 18-20, 2012! This next retreat will be a multi-faceted creative event combining nature writing, yoga, birds, and photography. It will fall on the National Audubon Bird Count weekend. Check my website in the near future for details.