I. EMBARKING   
 

                                        Some of us are always seeking water    Some of us stay home                                                                 

                                                                              Boiling Lake 

                                                         180 to 197°   our journeys internal, domestic

                                                        195 feet but not the bottom     Forced by experience

                                             wherever we go

                                                          Dominica, Lesser Antilles    to grapple with what’s foreign

                                                  grayish-blue water bubbling up    a feeling that challenges

                                                                     in a cloud of vapor    all we thought we knew,

                                  this boiling cauldron             assaults our senses

                                                                                and we’ve embarked, spun off

 

                                                                       a trek to get there   

                                           13 K. from the nearest road    unbound from familiar

                                  past sulfur springs, over mountains   

                                                   through gorges    and fear

                                    across the Valley of Desolation     to transformation.

 

                                          Across the backyard    “I didn’t know it was dangerous”

                                                       early morning off the dock   

                                             steam rises from the lake, July air    Family become strangers

                                                                    46° calls my father    separate souls we see for the first time.

 

                                                                                 Snorkeling

                                                       through lily pads and reeds    Chance encounters

                                        Largemouth Bass and their shadows     that trigger pictures from the past

                                                                                deadheads     stacked in layers of meanings

                                                                      touching down in     messages from those nearly forgotten

                                                                     foot sucking muck    shape-shift any sense we thought we’d made

                                    habits of seeing no longer work.

                                                          kicking waves with fins

                                                                suddenly swimming    “You’ve felt this, I’m certain.”                                          

                                                                     across flat water

                                   over the ocean wall, 1000 foot freefall,    untethered

                                                                           whirlybirding    in desperate hope

                                                                                                    of new understanding.

                                                                           it’s still water.

 
.
                                
 
                                                                         II. THE LONG FLIGHT
                                            
                                            Hummingbirds balance on the line    Evolutionary biologists explain, 

                                                between clothes pins and feeder    it's preparation, persistance, 

                                                     poised to fly south for winter    fervent attention 

                                                    fueled with insects and nectar    to greater purpose. 

 

                                                                In trees along the way    The phone rings, bad news 

                                                    they slip into a state of torpor    voices come unbidden      

                                                 when they sleep, some awaken     mystery turns the heart 

                                                                             upside down     and the journey begins. 

                                                                 
                                                             Revving up their wings     Sky-clogging flocks
                                                   from 50 to 500 in the morning     of last words, lost dreams,
                                                                        off they go again     pulsing ruby-throated beauty 
                                                            for five to ten days until     memories stored in muscle
                                                                                                       wait like little birds for release 

                                                                   they reach the Gulf 

                                          navigating their night flight by stars 

                                            Each bird must take this trip alone     "I miss you already." 

                                                                            

                                      Flying in the company of others offers     New landscapes and languages come 

                                       no protection. Predators don’t bother      as comfort fades off in the distance. 

                                                                 with so small a prey      Not as instinctual as birds' 

                                                                    Only one at a time      What is the must of our migration? 

                                                    can sip from the flower’s lip      The reason we make this trip? 

 

                                               Flying alone presents adventure     It will lure you out, or simply come 

                                                               one misses in a flock      and take you 

                                                when conversations from home     amaze you, even with time, repel. 

                                                       travel abroad, undisturbed     Staying unchanged, impossible 

                                                                      by foreign words     though journey's end still uncertain 

     

                                        Hummingbirds make this pilgrimage     taking such risk for unknown reward      

                                         twice a year, testament to life force     Trust. Telluric currents will guide you 

                                                                            No hesitation     "Just gonna get there." 

                                              Each must go back to the source.
 
                                                                                            
                                                                         III. RETURN
                     Edward Abbey wrote:

     This is the most beautiful place on earth.

               There are many such places.

     Every man, every woman carries in heart

         and mind the image of the ideal place

      known or unknown, actual or visionary.
                         For me I'll take...

 

                                     the fringe of steam still on the far shore     Big Water, Dakota prairie,    

                                                Sun has not yet burned the stand     New York City's glint,    

                                                       of paper birch, bright white     wherever you are...    

 

                                                                                   Overhead     Each are called  

                                                                   a pair of crows caw    and must respond 

                                                                                  as they jet     fearfilled, into foreign country 

                                                                         through jackpine    toward strength, untested
                                                                                                       learning what we lack 

                                                              Leaves in the front yard    Tempered by a thousand trials 

                                                                             lie face down           Some paint and pray 

                                                                                  in the frost           Some don't come back 

 

                                                                                           Here     Somewhere 

                              the heart is

                                                                                              yet     wandering,
                                                                                                        you may find your way home,
                                                                                 somewhere     set down your sack and cross 
                                                                    another hemisphere     the threshold.
                                                                                                        If you return, 

                                                Blue footed booby birds parade      bring a boon back for us 

                                                        in their desert island dance     bells and scarves, stories      

                                                                                    Penguins,     so rare they have no names. 

                                                         stuntmen of the Galapagos, 

                                                         torpedo beneath the waves     World remade 

                                                                            of their Pacific
                                                                                           home     renewed
                                               is where they plant their blue feet     See how lightly you can live. 
                                                 black fur shimmering with water.
 
                                                                                       -Susan Hawkinson   &  Loree Miltich
                                                                                                                                           March 2011
                
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

   

 
 
 
 
 
       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Subpages (1): About the Project