Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sink and swim

I'm always surprised when I find a poem at the kitchen sink

the first few lines just swim in my mind

I've learned to get back to the blank blog page

and spill the ideas into virtual space

Moments of flow in the gray morning.

I'm going to turn the music on!

At my kitchen sink

I've found a poetry spot

a place that puts the images in my head

and draws the words from me

in the morning,

before the day begins

I stand at the kitchen sink and look out the window toward the sea

and I see

and occasionally record

the songs still springing from my heart

making tea

making tea on a foggy morning

breathe easy

lilacs bent with dew

buffalo grass grey with mist

the kettle sings then shrieks

like old memories that
radiate when held up to the light

no,  just hot tea
in white porcelain mug
on a foggy morning

dan baumbach photography

Thursday, March 29, 2012

second wedding anniversary

A rain swept hill in Crete

Sheltered in a Shepard's hut

So new in love

every day announced itself

a gift.

We said, Look at us!

We're living life!

So many years since that rainy afternoon

Bounce the grand baby on my knee

Watch our grown children laugh

Remember all of the meadows and hills
we topped.

I love you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Henri Hillinck: Art

Portrait of his daughter Joanie, 1947

Henri Hillinck: Portrait of his daughter Jocelyn Date unknown
Henri Hillinck: Les Pigeons 1933

Henri Hillinck: Southwind 1939

Henri Self-Portrait

Pepita 1928

Mountain scape, unsigned undated


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Images of Henri Pierre Hillinck's work

I came across these snap shots today.  They are by Henri Hillinck.  Most likely done as a part of a series of prints he produced in 1939.  My guess is these pictures were taken by my Uncle Bill Hillinck  He was also known as Bill Ryan.  If anyone knows where the original prints are let me know?

Friday, March 09, 2012

water melon

Is anything sweeter
more satisfying
than the recollection of
a special point in time

when taste combines with sound and light
makes a memory?

Sweet cold water melon

served as a break
from heavy work on a hot day

I look out the picture window

and  remember

eating a slice of seedless morning melon.

dog's dream

What do dogs dream?

for surely they do dream

I watch Brindle dozing on the couch.

His eyes rolling behind closed lids
the big paws twitching
the gutteral snore turns to muffled woof and wheeze

is he chasing the road runner of his dreams?
is he connected with all dogs past, present, future,
hunting with the pack?

Or is it simply random neurons firing,
fueled by a reptilian biochemical breakdown
of kibble and the radiance of the sun
on his dun colored tiger striped back?

what do dogs dream when they sleep?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Issa on twitter

I wrote haiku

in high school

found Issa early

climbed Mount Fuji

like a snail

many times

many times

Thank you Denis Huckaby,
 the HS English teacher
who introduced me to Haiku.

Now Issa's  images are on twitter! 




stretched out on my couch

I looked through the window to see

20 birds

perched like leaves on the bare thin limbs of a tree

hunkered against a cold wind

facing into the breeze and riding the branches.

as one

they  launched

leaving the tree bare.

shortly after, I slipped into a sweet mid-day nap.

An old man blogging simple observational free verse when he should be working

No fool like an old fool?

A survivor spending time to let the optimistic candle of mindfulness generate images on virtual paper?

Still thinking in verse after all these years.

Is it enough to briefly set aside the mundane demands of the day to save some words?

Enough?   Not really, but something at least.

thoughts while waiting for the bagels to toast

I imagined the trajectory of my grandson's life

ranging beyond where I'll ever see.

What richochet of chance, desire and opportunity

will push his orbit to the stars?

Listening to Joni Mitchel recalls my youth.

I imagine the life of my grandson while the bagels toast.

Being in love again, without reserve,

makes an old man,


Friday, March 02, 2012

Mad Rock Climbing

As a young man I overcame a fear of heights by learning to rock climb and mountain climb.  I spent many of my best days out in the wilderness (long before cell phones).

My last big climb was Mt. Ritter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I never climbed at the level you'll see in the video above. However I did some free climbing in Canada that took me right up to the edge where life was one breath at a time.  (Experiences I never shared with my parents!)

This is a shot taken in the Selkirk Ranges of Central British Columbia summer 1974. In the background are the peaks surrounding Glacier Circle.

It took a long trek across a glacier to get to this spot, on the flanks of Mt. Sir Donald.  We climbed until midnight, but ran out of energy.  Spent another tough windy night high up before descending to the little valley of Glacier Circle. There we found a Canadian Mountain Club hut stocked with survival provisions for climbers.  Just 23 visitors had signed the register in the past two decades. WE Spent a few days re-cooping in comfort.

My climbing partner Rico and I spent as much time as we had climbing in this area.  Most of the first ascents were made by Norman Clyde back in the 1930s.

We'd lugged 100 pound backs up the trail.  Too much weight in climbing gear and not enough food.

When the time came to leave we ended up making a 20 mile cross country hike on empty bellies.  about half way back to the main trail we came across a glacier swollen river.  The swirling muddy white water boomed with big boulders swept down river.  Fall in meant death.  We found a steel cable slung bank to bank and use it to cross.

I recall getting vertigo as I hung upside down pulling hand over hand along the steel cable as it cut half way through the carabiner holding me to the line.  I went over first.  Then Rico rigged our backs and I brought them over. Finally Rico made the crossing.  It was good to be alive and on the other side of the creek.

Crossing this river was one of the crazier things I've done with my life.  I remember hiking another 5-6 miles with an empty belly.  We came across an empty Canadian forest service cabin. The crew were on the job, but had left the remnants of breakfast stacked on the sideboard.  There must have been a pound of prime bacon!  I recall some plums in syrup as well.  It was one of the best scavenged meals of my life! 

Later on the same trip I was solo hiking near Banff.  I'd heard of a great fishing lake 25 miles in.  The rumors were true.   

This was in August of 1974.  While I was in the back country Nixon resigned and Ford took over.  I heard the news from other hikers as I trekked out  (filled with fish and the calm resolve of a week of solitude).  It was a good time to be out of the country and deep in the wilderness. 

The following year I returned to British Columbia to climb in the Bugaboo Range.  I went out alone, hoping to find a climbing partner on the mountain.  As it turned out no one would climb with me so I set about climbing solo.  It was the most challenging climbing of my life.  It meant the world to me to be able to climb up the face of the Hound's Tooth free of ropes and worries about the world at large.

This shot was taken by a member of a Polish climbing team that followed me up the Pigeon Spire. They were training for a climb on  Aconcagua  in Peru and invited me along.  As it happened, I was in the Bugaboos as a consolation prize.  I'd been hired to cook as part of a climbing team going to Aconcagua that summer, but was replaced at the last minute by a Spanish speaker.   The irony of getting another invite to Peru on a mountain top in British Columbia was not lost on me.  Unhappily the Polish team was useless. They were under-skilled and downright dangerous.  No way I'd climb with them. 

Crossing the glacier to get to the approach and climbing route up Pigeon Spire was exciting.  I crossed solo several times that week.   

The Canadian Mountain Club maintained a climbers hut on the edge of the Glacier.  For a few bucks a day you could lay down your sleeping bag in the big Quonset hut at the base of the climbs.  It was an international spot filled with climbers from around the world. I was part of the brotherhood for several weeks of literal high times. 

All of the above was recalled spontaneously after viewing a rock climbing movie.  Friday, March 2, 2012.  (37 years after all this wildness.) ~ Dennis