October–dVerse OLN

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

October
Haibun

Recently, a red tail hawk sat on our fence, watching an assortment of jays, robins, quail and doves fattening themselves on the seeds in our garden. Spent cosmos and coreopsis shrugged, let nature have her way.

Hawk, the Messenger,
seeks tomorrow’s sustenance,
dove feasts, unaware.

All the work of putting the garden to bed for the winter has claimed our attention, turning it from creative pursuits. The tasks of autumn bring to mind those chores that face us later in life—clearing away the debris of spent dreams, wasted efforts—preparing the soil for what is yet to come.

Autumn smells pungent—
leaves moldering in crannies,
poems forgotten.

A few brilliant roses still persist in their efforts to boast their beauty, proving that nature is not as fussy as we are when it comes to choosing the colors she will wear, or what’s deemed appropriate as defined by the expectations of others. Bright pink and orange: how freeing!

Late blooming roses
struggle in October frost,
clash with changing leaves.

The Truckee river, a block from our home, is feeling the effect of this summer’s lack of rain. It is fed by beautiful Lake Tahoe, flows east through Reno and ends up in Pyramid Lake, home of the Paiute Indians. Snow fell this week, just above our elevation, in the Sierra Nevada and we will see more soon, hopefully. Reno is high desert, receiving only 7” of rain annually. We depend on the snowfall in the mountains and at the Lake.

Truckee, languid now,
flows gently through our city,
hopes for winter snow.

Linking to dVerse OLN where you can post any one poem, any topic, any form. Please join us.

The Biggest Little City in the World

images

The Biggest Little City in the World

Casinos’ distract—
neon lights and slot machines.
Locals know better.

Nearby the Truckee,
the mountains and four seasons
wait for your visit.

Listen to birdsong,
drink in the art scene,
ignore what you’ve heard.

The prompt at dVerse has led me to write of my current home–Reno, Nevada–nicknamed The Biggest Little City in the World.

I find myself wanting to defend her–her reputation so besmirched by a not-so-glorious past and recently so maligned by a crass television series–Reno 911 (which I’ve heard wasn’t even filmed here.)

Many immediately conjure up Reno’s history as the divorce capital of the world, a cheap gambling mecca and plentiful booze when they think of my city. Walk a block or two to the Truckee or drive a few miles to the Sierra Nevada and you will see that Reno, unlike Vegas, is situated in a high altitude, right in the middle of abundant natural beauty that offers many forms of outdoor activity.

A block or two to the west, or south of the center of town you will discover the arts–Nevada’s only nationally accredited Art Museum, the Reno Philharmonic, the Opera and Ballet, a Chamber Orchestra and small theaters. The UNR campus sprawls to the north of town, adding its venues to the art scene. The month of July hosts Reno is ARTown–celebrating art and artists of every ilk.

nvmuseum

Many now-defunct casinos have been turned into elegant high-rise casinos. restaurants represent a worldwide selection of tastes. Stop by Whispering Vine to sample a variety of vintages, then head over to Wildflower Village where an old weekly rental motel has been transformed into a home and studios for artists. Stay for a while and take in a poetry reading.

It’s true–there are enclaves of poverty and decadence. Alcoholism fires crime and domestic abuse. Homelessness, misery and sadness abound. But, is this any different from New York, Paris or Los Angeles, the city of my birth? The City of Angeles? Yeah, right.

 

Monday Meanderings–Welcome, Rain. Please Stay Awhile

The Truckee River, 2014--only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe. Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

The Truckee River, 2014–only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe.
Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

While much of the United States has been inundated with precipitation of one sort or another, we in the West have just suffered through our third year of drought. Our beautiful maple tree, in the front yard is languishing and if we lose it, we have mentioned the possibility of xeriscape, which seems so logical for those of us living in desert climates. (Reno, in Northern Nevada, is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 40 minutes from Lake Tahoe. It is classified as high desert.)

At the moment, I turn my head to look out the window, at a lovely gentle rainfall. The bare ornamental pear tree right next to me is decorated with pendulous drops of water. To the West and North of us, there is a fine dusting of snow that hasn’t quite reached our 4500 ft. elevation. My prayer is that this lovely gift of rain will hang around for a while and water our barren land. But gently, I think, to give it time to soak in (I recall two floods we’ve experienced since moving here in 1993.)

Photo: Victoria Slotto Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

Photo: Victoria Slotto
Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

This morning “my” tree was full of birds, feasting on the tiny, inedible-to-human pears that still remain. Finches, Jays, a Chickadee–the first I’ve seen here, robins and doves compete. On the ground and in the huge blue spruce in the front yard, quail wait out the winter. Their babies, which delight us in fair weather, are mature now.

Will we have snow this year? Last year only one snowfall made its way to us just in time to get dirty or melt for Christmas. But for today, it’s a very light rain. Please stay a while.

Photography 101: Color and Architecture

Earlier in the week, I was at the wheel all day and it’s just not safe to drive and blog. So here are two of the prompts I missed: A Pop of Color: Here the idea is to offer a dollop of color against a neutral background. The first is a golden hued street light against a gray November twilight:

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Have you ever seen a yellow headed crow? This was my first encounter on a golf course here in Reno.

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

Architecture: I already posted the best Architecture shot I had, but may bring it to this prompt as well. Notice the geometric lines. Contrast the sleek lines of the large casino in Reno, the roundness of the National Bowling Stadium, and the more garish designs of the Cathedral in the foreground.

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

And finally, an evening shot of our front door–a simple play of arch and stained glass.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Your Wild and Precious Life–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

A flock of starlings startled me this morning
flying randomly between city sky scrapers
before settling into formation
and heading toward the mountains.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A perfect fence, white pickets,
with perfect shadows.
Is it there to hold in or keep out?
Or is it just there?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

In May, along the river walk,
an abundance of pink wild roses, snarly branches,
rival our well-planned gardens
with their playfulness.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

My sister’s husband deferred retirement
so they would have more money.
She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Written in response to the prompt I’m offering for dVerse Meeting the Bar–Patterns. I’ve included patterns in the structure of the poem, using a short verse from one of Mary Oliver’s poems as the refrain. As a topic, I’m aiming to challenge over-reliance on the importance of patterns in our own lives.

And speaking of freedom and maybe a bit of the wild life, the Burners are invading Reno–that is, those who will be attending Burning Man, an event that celebrates art and culture. During this week, the Black Rock Desert, a Playa about 90 miles north of us, will become the third largest city in Nevada with upwards of 70,000 attendees. Check it out!

The Pub opens soon, 3:00 EDT. I hope you will join us with a poem based on this idea and look forward to reading your work.

Photo: NYT

Photo: NYT

Flood Warning

Just yesterday
the ornamental pear tree outside my office
window flaunted color:
leaves,
yellow oxide,
cadmium orange
and raw sienna—
clinged tenaciously—

until wind-violence
whipped in fury,
promised rain and warned
the Truckee would defy
her boundaries, swell to rape
the shores, invade the town
and neighborhoods.

On the cul-de-sac
behind my kitchen window,
a pile of sandbags
in a neighbor’s driveway
shrugs in disappointment,
uneeded.

For my part,
I count lonely
fruit, hanging from bare branches,
study black clouds
to the west,
write poetry.

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night, where Natasha is our hostess for the evening. Hope you will drop in, bring a poem of your own and enjoy the work of others.

We live a block from the Truckee and were fortunate to make it through a rough weekend of flood warnings. The winds did more damage than the rain.

On a side note, I’ve been trying to update my gravatar and it just isn’t working. So if you see a black square, it’s not about my mood!

October Haibun

Hawk, the Messenger,
seeks tomorrow’s sustenance,
dove feasts, unaware.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Recently, a red tail hawk sat on our fence, watching an assortment of jays, robins, quail and doves fattening themselves on the seeds in our garden. Spent cosmos and coreopsis shrugged, let nature have her way.

Autumn smells pungent—
leaves moldering in crannies,
poems forgotten.

Photo Credit: Mayang.com

All the work of putting the garden to bed for the winter has claimed our attention, turning it from creative pursuits. The tasks of autumn bring to mind those chores that face us later in life—clearing away the debris of spent dreams, wasted efforts—preparing the soil for what is yet to come.

Late blooming roses
struggle in October frost,
clash with changing leaves.

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

A few brilliant roses still persist in their efforts to boast their beauty, proving that nature is not as fussy as we are when it comes to choosing the colors she will wear, or what’s deemed appropriate as defined by the expectations of others. Bright pink and orange: how freeing!

Truckee, languid now,
flows gently through our city,
hopes for winter snow.

Photo Credit: Mike Devon

The Truckee river, a block from our home, is feeling the effect of last winter’s drought. It is fed by beautiful Lake Tahoe, flows east through Reno and ends up in Pyramid Lake, home of the Paiute Indians. Snow fell today, just above our elevation, in the Sierra Nevada and it’s possible we may see some tomorrow. Reno is high desert, receiving only 7” of rain annually. We depend on the snowfall in the mountains and at the Lake.

Written for and linked to dVerse Poets’ Open Link Night, hosted by Claudia Schonfeld who I will have the joy of meeting soon! Her California trip coincides with my visit down South for my mother’s 92nd birthday.

I may be late in visiting. Tomorrow I have a minor procedure for which they’ll send me to la-la land. Doubt I’ll be rational enough to give you any valuable comments!

Damp Spring

Baby Birds in nest.

Baby Birds in nest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The weather here in Reno is notoriously unpredictable. One year we had skiing up the road a piece (near Tahoe) for July 4th and it’s not uncommon to want heat and air-conditioning in the same day. This week, after temperatures in the 90’s (F), Mother Nature decided it was time for a surprise, so she sent in fierce winds, light rain, and thunderstorms. Since this is a year of drought, we would have been happy with the rain, but there wasn’t enough of it. This morning it was 38 (F) and we’re wondering where our guest hummingbirds have been–the wind made us take down their feeder. So today, for dVerse Open Link Night, I’m sharing another short poem:

Damnp Spring

Wet spring bouquets change
morning gray into a sunlit garden.
Birds nest between flowers
and a cloudy sky.

I hope to catch you later on over at the Pub where you will enjoy companions and verse and all kinds of fun and talent.