I have a love/hate relationship with LA freeways. They are constantly unpredictable, predictably overcrowded, unnecessarily complicated, outdated and constantly under construction…and they connect me to my children and grandchildren.
Maybe this poem begins to capture some of those contradictions.
A walk on the beach also means noticing all the ways that people use the beach. There’s recreation, meditation, entertainment, sun bathing, fishing, castle building, rock stacking…and art. Today I came across some temporary art, raked into the sand. And later, farther down the beach, came across the artist creating another piece. And these circles, carved by an artist, became the basis for today’s poem.
After more than a year of staying close to home, we ventured out this week, spending several days away from home. This morning represented our final leg–knowing we would land at home later in the day. We didn’t have a concrete plan when we woke up. We knew we had about 4 hours of a drive–and were in search of an adventure somewhere along that path. We considered some lakes (up in the Grapevine) and even talked about walking on our local beach once we got home. The beach! Why not explore a beach that is not close to home?
We decided we would head off to Malibu. A beach everyone has heard of, but so many people have not visited. We programmed the navigation and set out through the mountain pass. Clearly there are others who are also itching for some travel. LA’s freeways, while not at peak gridlock, were plenty full. Midway there, Google maps offered another route–one that would save us 11 minutes. We took it.
Once parked, we set off to explore the beach. Right away we heard the shrill sound of birds. What was that? Seagulls? What was going on? We watched as a huge cloud of birds lifted, screeching and calling. It happened again and again.
Cloud of Birds
A high pitched cloud
swirls up from the beach
somehow sensing each wing
flying high, flying low
over the surfers, above the shore
moving in synch, as one
a crowd in perfect unison
Is it murmuration?
A bit of investigation on our drive back home led me to discover that these are likely least terns, a tern variety recently at risk. I really don’t know if murmuration is specific only to starlings, but it was fascinating to watch these birds rise and fly and move as a group.
We loved our morning in Malibu. The weather was perfect, the crowds minimal, and the traffic manageable. A perfect ending to a bit of a spring break.
Faced with a long drive back home, we decided to detour and find some mini adventures on our way. It makes for a long day…but was filled with small surprises that provided the perfect fodder for some Haiku.
On the days when I am in the classroom, I am always paying attention to the potential mathematical patterns the date provides. And I have to admit, I’m sad that this great date fell on a Saturday (and during our spring break to boot!). Here’s my rough attempt at celebrating this rare mathematical date pattern in verse.
If you know the state of California, you’re aware it is a long state connected by a freeway affectionately called The 5. After hours and hours in the car yesterday, I decided to write a poem…using only one syllable words…in hopes of capturing that long drive up that never-ending ribbon of road. (With a few photos for visual impact–all taken from the passenger side car window.)
Even with the best of intentions, my first poem for the first of 30 days of National Poetry Month is posted on day 2! Blame the road trip I set off on yesterday and the many other distractions that accompanied that start. But, alas, here is the poem…and expect another later today to “catch up”.