Still Water, Frozen Beauty

Photo: Sharon Knight
January 27, 2015
Used with permission

Still Water, Frozen Beauty
a Haibun

We make our way down I-395, skirting the crowding of mountains, the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada, to my west. I snake along, at a near crawl. Overnight, nature has painted her landscape in a wash of pristine white. The black granite peaks are creviced with whipped cream and, to my east, the desert valley is likewise blanketed, sketched with paw prints of various critters. Blackbirds on telephone wires huddle together for warmth.

Slowly, we crest the hill leading into Topaz Lake. She lies there, still, in hues of silver and turquoise. In contrast, a few late autumn trees still hold on to their intense orange leaves. I search for a place to pull off the highway in order to take photos, but southbound semis and black ice remind me that I know better. A flock of Canadian geese lands on the lake, sending ripples, creating texture on her mirrored surface. They etch the scene into my storehouse of memories.

Lake Topaz stretches,
clothed in shimmering satin,
beckons her lover.

Posted for dVerse Poetics, with deep gratitude to Sharon Knight Photography. Sharon has given us permission to use one of her photos for a poetry prompt. They are stunning.

Lady’s Nimue’s Months-of-the-Year Challenge: May 2010

Spring wildflowers in bloom. in the California...

Image by Alan Vernon. via Flickr

Submitted for Lady Nimue’s Months-of-the-Year Challenge for May 2010:

I-395 Mojave to Reno

Opening lines of poems
I would write
if I didn’t have to drive:

The Artist slopped his paint
across the Mojave Desert…

Purple and yellow, orange and blue,
complementary palettes…

A mound of red and black lava:
a dinosaur slipping into extinction…

Owen’s lake in cool colors:
blue on blue, silver white…

The difference between stark and extravagant =
January + 4 months – winter…

Snow presides on Mount Whitney
while Lone Pine lounges in its shadows…

To be continued
or completed.

When driving back to Reno from Palm Desert last May, the Mojave Desert was in full bloom, as was the entire stretch of I-395 on the Eastern slopes of the Sierra.  I was struck by the sharp contrast from out drive down in mid-January. I was itching to write about what I saw but since we were driving separate cars I didn’t have a chance…not really too safe, you know. So that night I jotted down a bit of what I saw and decided that would be the poem.

Jingle’s Poetry Potluck–“Sierra Winter”

Highway 50 entering Lake Tahoe

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  Check out this site to read some incredible poetry based on this week’s theme of Nature.


Sierra Winter

An artist plunges a flat
brush in water,
adds a dab of
titanium white,
slathers broad strokes of
wash across winter.

Fields of pouty
Douglas firs
draped in ermine
act bored,
run fingers through
vanilla icing that drips from

chocolate outcrops of granite.
Branches, weary
under a fresh load of snow,
point black fingers upward,
waggle crone-like digits,
shake off age.

Dowager trees,
stooped and brittle,
bend to kiss earth.

Photo: V. Ceretto-Slotto

I am blessed to live in the backyard of the Eastern Sierra’s, about 40 minutes from Lake Tahoe. Weather is unpredictable here in Reno. This year, winter came early and temperatures have been as low as 3 degrees Farenheit (-16 degrees Centigrade) at our home in the early morning hours. The photo in this post is a part of the view from our home.