Tag Archives: neighborhood

Critter Crisis Averted: SOL22 Day 24

Be aware of your surroundings.

Those admonitions are common, usually a reminder when going somewhere unfamiliar or someplace with potential hazards.

A momentary commotion during our neighborhood walk had my husband asking me if I wanted to take a photo.

Of what, I asked?

Of the critter you nearly stepped on.

I guess it’s the grasshopper that needs to be aware of its surroundings!

Quarantine Walk Found Poem: NPM20 Day 7

After being stranded indoors all day yesterday, I couldn’t wait to head out this morning between the raindrops for a neighborhood walk. As I walked I was thinking about the National Writing Project invitation to create a found poem to share this week. Only minutes into my walk I started to notice words and phrases, I collected them via my phone camera and compiled them into a found poem when I arrived home (only slightly dampened by the next round of showers).

When I showed it to my husband, he immediately asked, “How do you read this?” wondering if there was a right order to follow the words. I ask each reader to find their own path, read your own meaning into this text. And maybe, you’ll also consider creating your own found poem (with photos or not).

Free Organic Lemons: NPM20 Day 3

I’ve been writing poetry every day this week. I’ve written with my students, on Zoom calls with my National Writing Project colleagues, and in response to poetry shared on our San Diego Area Writing Project SDAWPoetry padlet.

I try to keep my poetry on the lighter side for sharing with my students, but find myself wallowing in the fear and uncertainty of pandemic living in the spaces where adults are writing. My energy lags at the end of the week, the crush of video conferences building throughout the week, the lack of time for thoughtful lesson planning looking me in the eye as the weekend beckons, and all my other responsibilities slipping and sliding as I keep juggling the balls, trying to keep them all in play.

I’ve discovered that a quick walk down the street is now a necessity, an escape from the never-ending screen time and a welcome break from the hard, wooden kitchen chair that has become my home office/classroom/work space. I’m starting to recognize my neighbors now that I spend so much time at home!

On today’s second jaunt down the hill, we noticed a sign…a sign that provoked a very different poem than the one I had contemplated first thing this morning.

The morning prompt, after some 4×4 breathing, was to take this line for a walk: It is possible that things will not get better…

Free Organic Lemons

It is possible that things will not get better

and then I saw the sign:

Free Organic Lemons

and I read




When life gives you lemons

lemonade is on the horizon

Look for the signs


SOLC Day 16: Appreciating Unexpected Gifts

In this upside down world where nothing feels normal, a walk on the beach feels like a treat. Hearing that others in our state are getting directions to “shelter in place” makes me feel like my open air walks may be a thing of the past very soon. I worry about going stir-crazy with no outlet for exploring the natural world!

I did get my beach walk in today…an extra long one since rain is expected later tonight. But my real treat came later…in the most unexpected way.

If you’ve followed my blog or Instagram (@kd0602) you might know that I’m pretty obsessed with egrets and herons. I’ve written about them here and here and here. Now that both my husband and I are working from home, every invitation to go outside the house is a welcome one. So when he asked if I wanted to walk down the street to check the mail, I jumped at the chance. We headed out–the skies were gray and the wind was kicking up in advance of the storm forecasted for tonight–walking down the hill on the sidewalk in the neighborhood. And we saw it…that distinctive shape, pure white, landing on the deck of a neighbor’s house. A great egret. Perched on the deck wall, we had a perfect view from afar.

I never see egrets in my neighborhood, but like on the beach, I crept closer feeling lucky my phone was in my pocket and not in the house. When photographing birds I know to take many shots, increasing my odds of a good photo. As it took flight, I continued to press the shutter…

and then follow it as it landed across the street near the park and our mailboxes. Unlike the snowy egrets I see on my beach walks, the great egret does not have bright yellow feet. But it does have a yellow beak where the snowy’s beak is black.

It seems a bit strange to have an egret visitor in the neighborhood today, but what an unexpected gift it was! I love getting close enough to see the texture of the feathers, especially as they were ruffled by the wind. On days and weeks like these, I’m learning to appreciate the little things…like a neighborhood visit by an egret.

Ordinary: A Photoessay

When I get busy I don’t take the time to pursue my personal interests, instead I get bogged down with the intricacies of my work and the demands of my schedule.  When I finally get a chance to catch my breath, I also find myself needing to tend to demands of ordinary life…you know, housework and errands and such.  And my exercise routine also falls to the wayside (even though I know that exercise is essential to energy, health, and well-being).  So today I decided to do two things that have been neglected…take a walk and take some photos.

And continuing my theme over the last few days of ordinary…this was an ordinary walk.  I threw on my tennies and took a walk around the neighborhood.  And while I was walking I was also taking a close look at my surroundings…alert for interesting images.

Lots of people in my area have hibiscus bushes with beautiful red or yellow flowers.  As I walked by one house today I noticed this blossom with snails nestled up in the center of the blossom!  While I’m sure it isn’t good for the flower, I love the idea of the snails becoming the center of the flower.


I often hear about how people in other locales have four seasons…and we, in southern CA, don’t.  (Somehow our temperate weather gets construed as sameness)  As a native to the area I feel like the seasons are quite distinct…and fall is definitely in the air!  There’s a difference in light, in the way the air feels (even warm feels different in the fall), and in the foliage.  We do have plenty of evergreen trees…but there are deciduous trees like this too.


Sometimes when I walk, I find myself “in my head,” not really paying attention to my surroundings.  But today I was alert and tuned in to the dragonflies flitting by, the abandoned Santa toy wedged in the ground cover, the granny smith apple in the gutter, and this tiny lizard that skittered in front of me.  He was cooperative enough to stop and let me take a photo…unlike the dragonfly!


I’ve been noticing the variety of palms in my area.  I commented just yesterday about the fact that the banana leaf palms are pretty uncommon…and then I saw one on my walk today.  And as I headed back to my house I noticed this palm with all these little berries at the center.


I love the way the ordinary…a neighborhood walk…becomes something more when you take the time to pay attention and notice details.  And I feel refreshed and relaxed…ready to tackle another busy work week.  I’m sure I will need to remind myself to take time to notice, to tune into the ordinary, and enjoy the moments in the moment!