The Cloud of Unknowing

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Cloud of Unknowing
a Haibun

Today, strong gusts of wind pummel the desert floor, while on the Santa Rosa mountains ominous clouds hang low, seemingly reluctant to bring much-needed rain to our thirsty valley. In spite of drought, stalwart wild flowers, yellow and lavender, push through the crusty desert floor, clothing our world in swaths of color.

The old man sits on his patio across the way from me, bundled in a bright red lap robe. The fragrance of his pipe wafts my way and I recall the hours we used to sit and muse on life’s mysteries while nursed his tobacco habit and stroked the burled wood cradled in the palm of his hand. “I’ve seen a lot,” he would say, “and I know very little. I’m willing to wait to understand it all.”

Confusion clouds his mind these days, but when he sees me those eyes still twinkle and he throws me a kiss. I catch it, and toss one of my own back to him. I suppose that he’s closer to piercing through the darkness and unwrapping the mysteries the rest of us still grapple with.

cloud-covered mountain
even at the summit
we can’t always see clearly

Today we are pleased to have Lynn hosting Poetics at dVerse. She asks us to climb to the summit of the mountain for inspiration. I’m fortunate to live my life surrounded by majestic mountains. Thank you, Lynn. Please join us. 


Photography 101–the First Post: Playing Catch-Up

I suppose I could do an entire post just listing the reasons I have been unable to write for however many days, but let’s just leave it at this: there are times when life gets in the way and the needs of those we love take precedence to everything else. Today, the 5th, and the previous three days, I’ve been without Internet access, so I’m preparing this post in a document for tomorrow.

Recently, I’ve cultivated an interest in photography. I began to participate in the WordPress Weekly Photography Challenge, so when they offered a chance to learn more about this art form throughout the month of November, offering daily prompts along with photography tips, I decided to take advantage. Therefore, I hope to offer a daily photo in response to this opportunity.

For those who don’t know me, I’ve been blogging with WordPress at this site since 2009—primarily poetry, writing tips and prompts and prose. I’m a published author of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Last month, I began a second blog, Be Still and Know That I Am focusing on spirituality with a Christian twist.

Today (actually tomorrow when I will be back in the zone) I will post the first two photos:


Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Home is within us. It is where we find God, where we find those we love. This is the view from my part-time home in the desert of SoCal.


Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

This photo explains one aspect of my Internet absence. We were without power, therefore, Wi-Fi, for 16 hours as the power company worked to upgrade our service. It was a scheduled interruption.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with Water and Bliss…perhaps more. And hopefully, my poet friends, with some poetry. Thanks for your visit.

thirteen ways of looking at a desert

Photo: Rosa Frei

Linked to One Stop Poetry:

thirteen ways of looking at a desert

sometimes something
we judge to be barren
throbs with life

wind scatters sand
like gossips spread destruction

if you go to the desert
you will see the stars
perhaps one of them
holds your life purpose
then you are no longer
afraid of the viper’s kiss

the power of thirst
consumes all other desires

shifting sands
are like people
who vacillate
you don’t know
where you stand

the desert is a canvas
open to splashes
of vibrant color

the desert is
a state of mind
are you alone
or lonely

the desert is
a place of temptation
there the devil tempted
nothing has changed

if you try
to leave your mark
upon the desert
nature will erase it
we don’t really matter

the hotter it gets
the fewer people hang around

many people
do not understand
the beauty of the desert
or of wrinkled faces

at some point
you will visit a desert
and discover
what it is to be arid

when the desert blooms
you will find grace

Based on a form of Wallace Stevens: “Ways of Looking at…”

AROS #4 and 5–Catching Up

Owens Valley - Feb 23, 2008

Image by niiicedave via Flickr

After a few days of travel and unpacking (still not settled) I’m trying to catch up. The drive between Reno and Palm Desert provided much inspiration: high desert, mountains, Mount Whitney, Owens Valley and the starkness of the Mojave. Here in Coachella Valley all is verdant and serene. The mountains separating us from the ocean are snow-covered, the skies blue, and sunsets are splendid.

Mother Nature dusts
the mountains to the East
with confectioner’s sugar.

Mother Nature shakes out a quilt,
covers Owens Valley in soft white fluff.

This week I will not be able to post a Wordsmith Wednesday column. I will try to make up for it next week. Happy writing. Enjoy the process.

Submitted to a River of Stones: