the fresh breath of winter–dVerse OLN

the fresh breath of winter

shimmering snowfall
still water, frozen beauty
warming arid hearts

gazing on and on
reverent winter wonder
bare trees bow toward earth

nature’s white embrace
crystals sparkle silvery
beneath winter’s sun

Written and posted for dVerse Open Link Night–Join us at the poetry pub!

Photo: David Slotto
Mt. Whitney, California

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.

I-395 North to Reno

Photo: C. Campbell

Photo: C. Campbell

I-395 North to Reno
a Haibun

Plans cut short, I leave Southern California two days early, leave my mom to her dementia fog, to her perpetual present moment. I have no desire to drive half of my 500 mile drive in the midst of a promised snow storm heading in from the Northwest.

The drive is glorious—a cloudless cerulean blue skies flanked by snow-covered mountaintops to the East and West. Mono Lake and Topaz boast still turquoise waters at a low level because of the drought. Our thirsty earth throbs with hope for the forecast of an impending wet season. Walker River is but a trickle.

When I arrive home, I see a wall of darkness in the distance. Trees in an assortment of fall colors whisper in the wind, greet my descent into the Great Basin. I breathe a sigh of relief that I am safe and find my husband and dogs waiting for me. The chilling temperature does not impede the warmth of their welcome.

a heavy gray pall
creeps in like a stealthy cat
promising first snow

Today, for dVerse Poetics, I’m hosting a prompt, asking you for a current weather report from your corner of the world. This drive is, for me, so wonderful–leading along the Eastern Sierra, past Mt. Whitney, Mammoth, Mono Lake and Topaz Lake and so many glorious views. I feel so blessed to live where I do…for more info on this road trip check out this article in Via–a publication of AAA.

Now, how about joining us with your own weather report. The Pub opens at 3:00 PM Tuesday. I’ll be glad to mix you up a drink to fit your current weather-based needs.

As I write this, I see it is snowing outside (Monday 11/9/15 at 1600)! Large, fluffy flakes.

Winter Coming Home–dVerse Open Link Night


Photo Credit: David Slotto

Our droughted land thirsts.

Dry timber, broken branches,

creviced earth wait in silence.


Migratory birds pass through,

shelter in the branches of an evergreen,

huddle together in thickets of bramble-


berries. Stretch their necks and sing

farewell, then leave us behind, wanting

more of their lilting joy.


Yesterday, a short-lived intrusion

of warblers surprised us with a brand-

new song, stayed for a while then took


flight. This morning I keep watch.

Hesitantly, gray skies yield sparse

flakes here and there until


at last, earth opens her yearning maw,

welcomes her winter lover,

soaks in bliss.


My contribution to dVerse Open Link Night as we enjoy our first snow this morning. If only I didn’t have to go out this afternoon!

Through This Dying–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

Trees covered with Snow

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  This week’s theme is: Aims, Goals and Ambitions. This poem is loosely related to the theme, especially for those of you in snow-bound regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Through This Dying

When earth returns to stillness
and robins pluck the fruit
from unclothed branches,

when boughs of junipers
lay, crushed beneath
the weight of snow,

and when the nighttime sky
gives way to swathes
of white and gray

then, without sight,
you hope,
await another day.

Crossing Donner Pass in Winter

Donner Summit

Image by Telstar Logistics via Flickr

Submitted to One Shot Wednesday:

Crossing Donner Pass in Winter

Cars line up
waiting for a chain monkey:
prisoners bound together.
Semi’s slog along,
splatter the inmates
in mud.

Donner Pass is along Interstate 80 in California and is the route traveled through the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada. In the winter, during snow storms, chains or snow tires are required to provide traction for the crossing. There are areas where motorists can pull out and pay someone to put the chains on their tires. Chain monkey is a term designating these seasonal laborers.

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:

Preparing to Migrate–for River of Stones

Quail Tracks in the Snow

Image by Accretion Disc via Flickr

Preparing to Migrate
for River of Stones—1/1/11

Some quail strut
across the yard,
marring the morning’s
velvet snow—
their quest for
autumn leftovers
tinged with doubt.

Inside, chaos
consumes our world
as we prepare
our escape
from winter’s
harsher gifts.

Written for River of Stones January Challenge:

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.