Today’s poetry inspiration came from Williams’ poem of apology, This is Just to Say. In addition to studying the original, we also read some of the poems written by 6th graders in the book also titled This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman.
Students had fun playing around with their own poems of apology. Here’s a couple composed by the third graders in my class to give you a taste:
I’m sorry I have to whip you sometimes
Also, I might tire you out sometimes,
but you’re always a handsome horse
lovable, huggable, gentle, and soft
Oh how I love your long mane
drifting in the sky
when we canter across the field
I gave them a whole 7 minutes of writing time! It’s conference week, so students are on a minimum day schedule…and time is short!
I’m sorry Kai for poking you.
Sorry, I really didn’t think it through.
Although we had fun doing it, I’m sorry Kai for poking you.
And one more student poem, this one inspired by yesterday’s Red Wheelbarrow.
So much depends on
a brand new jacket
and a loose thread
into bits and pieces
until it is
and wiggly line
I found myself returning to the topic I explore in my first two poems. Today’s was written to that same egret I featured before–but from a slightly different angle.
This is Just to Say, My Friend
I have stalked you
my lens focused close
waiting for your head to turn
your neck to arch.
You seem so peaceful
and focused as you
stare out at the blue horizon
scanning for danger
or maybe appreciating the view.
I’m sorry for any disturbance
I cause with my close looking
and the click of the shutter.
I just can’t resist your elegant neck
and charming yellow feet!
Maybe, dear reader, you’ll try your own poem of apology today!
It’s there, a constant, even when I can’t see it, hanging out over my shoulder. It follows me around as it changes form, exerts its influences on the tides, and even becomes invisible.
As our students learn more about the solar system and space, I realize how little I really know about these things myself. Of course I know the names of the planets and some basic information about them. I know that the sun is our star and that our solar system is heliocentric. I know that scientists continually update their own understandings about space and its celestial inhabitants…that Pluto has been demoted and a new solar system was recently discovered.
But honestly, it’s the moon that fascinated me. I love that it appears large and low, orange like a pumpkin at some times of the year. I’m fascinated by that Cheshire cat smile that greets me on a dark, clear night. And I can’t resist those slender crescents that seem to wink into view in the warm, short nights of summer. I constantly wonder at its presence during the day…and today was one such day.
I looked up during my walk this afternoon, the sky was particularly blue as the sun shone brightly. This is really the first warm day we’ve had in a while. Tucked under the large palm, there it sat…not as bright as in the dark of night, but noticeable all the same.
I’ve struggled to photograph the moon effectively at night, but during the day, I’ve had a bit more luck. But that doesn’t mean I will stop trying to take a portrait of this friend of mine. I like knowing the moon is right over my shoulder, a constant companion I can depend on, even when I can’t see it and even when I can’t photograph it. It’s there, and that’s enough.
I know I often take it for granted–that precious liquid that fills our bodies, covers most of our planet, and that has been rare here where I live for the past six years. Drought reminds you how much you depend on water and all the dead lawns in the neighborhood are visual reminders of the impact of ongoing water restrictions. But it’s been raining a lot around here lately. Normal rainfall is about ten inches a year…and this year we’re already over eleven and a half inches with March still to come. We returned to school on Monday after a week off with the rain steadily falling–and it rained and rained and rained. We had rain for nearly 24 hours straight–something our area doesn’t handle very well. When it rains like that, a waterfall appears in front of my classroom door. I noticed this overflowing drainpipe Monday.
And needless to say, our students were not enjoying their usual lunch area–instead they were ensconced in our classroom all day long.
You might notice that there are few ways to get around without getting wet when it rains like this. Kids get soaked going to the bathroom, we all got soaked on our way to the school library. Water was everywhere on Monday!
On the day before, it was pretty clear that a storm was coming. A walk on the beach was an exercise in dodging raindrops (success on that point!) and reveling in the many shades of gray as the clouds gathered overhead. The wind attracted an intrepid windsurfer with a bright green sail…and my camera followed him around as I walked along the shore.
And after a rainy Monday, it was surprising how beautiful the rest of the week has been. By Wednesday, I walked in the afternoon sunshine after work. You can see that this seagull and the surfer in the background where also enjoying the water…and the sun!
After work today, I knew I would head for the water. But I also wanted a change of pace–a new view, something to spark my imagination and my photography. I headed to a nearby beach–but not the one I walk routinely. The tide wasn’t very low this afternoon so I had mountains of rocks to climb. I also found flights and flights of stairs. I climbed for a view above the water–and was rewarded with a treat for the eyes! (No editing was needed or used as I captured this view of endless water.)
But I did play around with this shot of a paddle boarder enjoying the cool waters on a Friday afternoon. I wanted to intensify the colors and highlight the way the sun was shimmering on the water’s surface.
As I scrolled through my photos this week, water was ever-present in one form or another. What role does water play in your life and photography? Does it fall from the sky or flow from the hose in your garden? Do bodies of water call your name or do you find water in less obvious places?
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #water for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Take a look around for water–in any of its forms. What will you discover when you look at that amazing substance through the lens of your camera? I know I can’t wait to find out!
The year is winding down, we can count the hours until the ball drops and 2017 enters. That also makes it a perfect time for reflection…and a bit of curation of this year’s photos. Instagram is helping folks out this year…creating a #2016bestnine collection based on the number of likes your photos got. Interestingly, my best nine according to Instagram did not make my best five I had culled to share here. Don’t get me wrong, I like these photos and I’m excited that they are not all beach photos! There are two images from UCSD, one from Atlanta and one from Tucson…and even one that I stopped my car and took a photo on a street near my neighborhood.
I actually picked these photos for another reason…as my contribution to Bonnie’s annual year end video compilation (I’ll add the link once she publishes it on her blog). She asked for photos and captions to represent myself. I have found tremendous peace in nature this year, noticing the beauty and experiencing the wonders of the natural world. I love this moss covered branch that I spotted on a walk around the reservoir when visiting my grandsons in the Bay Area earlier this fall.
“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
Many of my photos evoke connections to my precious grandsons…three 10 month old boys, sons of my two sons. (You can read about my anticipation of their births here.) I take many photos of them, but none will appear on social media because of my sons’ request that I not post. But I carry them in my mind and heart constantly. When I saw this “found heart” on a prickly pear cactus, I loved the idea of the spines protecting the heart from danger. I’m not sure I have those prickly spines protecting my heart–but I know that I will do anything to protect those sweet boys! (I had them in my arms this week–and am already missing them terribly!)
I love the ordinariness and simplicity of the dandelion. I’ve taken many photos and written many posts focused on them. This particular dandelion caught my attention as I walked out my front door to head to work one morning. Instead of seeing them as weeds, I think of dandelions as wishes–and possibility. They seem to be an icon of childhood, a symbol of nature’s playfulness.
And it wouldn’t be a best of collection for me without a beach photo…or three! I love the beach all the time, but it is special in the fall and winter when the crowds fall away and the sun’s angles change with shorter days and longer nights. There is a sense of silence amongst the sounds of crashing waves, gusting winds, and calls of birds.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel Adams
And there is nothing like a photographic mentor. Studying Adams’ photos helped me figure out how to create the contrast needed for this black and white view of a walk I take regularly. I like the way the lack of color creates a mood just right for the concept of silence.
I do find myself looking at the sky as I walk the beach. There is something about the clouds and the birds that draw my attention. It’s hard to get good photos of birds in flight with my iPhone and even with my Sony since I seldom have the zoom lens on (too limiting for everyday). I do love the crispness of this pelican–even at a distance as it swoops over the waves. It also reminds me of all the photos I am not able to take, which helps me realize that there is more to photography than the photos I take. I see so much more when I’m walking with my camera.
But there is nothing quite as special as the beach at sunset. This image is from Halloween–my husband’s birthday–and the romantic and peaceful walk we took before heading out to dinner to celebrate him. The colors were spectacular as the sun sunk into the Pacific…and the reflection on the wet sand creates the perfect mirror image. Ahhhh…
So, take a little time and find your best of 2016 images. You might look back through the whole year…or just the past few months. If you haven’t taken many photos this year, you might just head out with your camera and take a best of today to get yourself started!
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #bestof2016 for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Share your favorite images this week and create your own #bestof2016. I look forward to seeing the best of 2016 through your lens!