Categories
Nature's Musings

Down the Path of Nostalgia

Penny Wilkes gives us a glimpse of how she was started on her romance with nature & photography by her father, almost a decade after the end of World War II

My father left earth 44 years ago on November 22. I shared his love, creativity, and friendship for 31 years. He continues to inspire each day. I hear his laugh, his lyrical call, “Oooh Hoo,” when he wanted my attention or entered a room to find me. When I turn a corner, often a phantom whiff of Old Spice brings me joy.

When I search in a mirror, his features beam.

My father loved to take photographs. I watched, eager to learn how to capture moments as we traveled around the world.

Before my eighth birthday, I asked for a Brownie camera. I had seen the square, brown one that would fit in my hand. Also, it could hang around my neck on a braided string. I showed my father photos from American Girl magazine.

The S.S. President Monroe* became our home on my birthday that year. My father gave me a square package. When I opened my gift, I discovered a Leica camera. 

A pout revealed my disappointment as I set it aside.  

“Come on Petsy, get your camera and let’s go on deck,” my father sighed and grabbed his camera and mine.

Once we reached the top deck, he positioned the camera in my hands. He moved it to my eyes so the viewfinder would reveal a capture of the sea rough with white caps and animated clouds above. Then he left it to me.

I clicked on and on. Flying fish presented their show to my delight. Then it seemed the photo roll had ended.

“What happened?” I asked.

As my father examined the camera, he discovered the cap still on the lens. 

“Really?” His anger flared as he removed the cap. 

I cried as we descended to our room. He showed stern frustration I’d not experienced from him before.

Later, as the sky dimmed, he suggested we return to the top deck. He installed more film, storing the cap in his pocket. 

Click. Click. Click our cameras sung. He spoke of the sun as the “great ball of fire.”  As the clouds danced in red and orange hues, he pointed out sky dragons at play.

We moved around to take in the clouds and colors and our bonding moments began.

 He shared more stories of creatures in the sky and encouraged me to find shapes to turn into stories. 

Once I worried when he needed to stay in bed with the flu. He encouraged me, “No worries. I can’t leave till my work on earth is done.” 

I believe he had much more work left to do. Today, the world would benefit from his exuberance.

We continue to share sunsets and I create stories.

Tie the Memories

I let go of a yellow balloon 

my father puffed to life

He tied it to my wrist

.

I untied it 

and my fingers clutched

slippery air

.

It floated

beyond limbs of sycamores

to circus animal clouds

.

He smiled when I asked, “Why?”

We’d talked about that before.

.

We found merry-go-rounds

in Paris and Kyoto.

Laughed atop a Ferris wheel 

stuck in Brighton beach

.

I burned the lamb chops

in adolescent heart break

He put on more mint jelly

.

No answers in corridors

gray as shrouds

when his twilight spread

on raven wings

.

I let go the string

this tug more desperate

than his breath.

* The author travelled on the ship President Monroe after it was decommissioned in 1954.

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Penny Wilkes,  served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing:  http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/ . Her photoblog is @: http://feathersandfigments.blogspot.com/

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Nature's Musings

Changing Seasons

By Penny Wilkes

The weather changes
    Socks lose their mates
          Traffic and noise annoy
Tastes fade
   Friends lose interest
           Ideas wander 
We notice a
  slide
    a dwindle
         or a drain
 
Without looking
    backward
       or forward
One moment
    lingers
      for attention
Then buoyancy
    lifts us
      as we marvel
             at the sunset
Discomforts
      slip away
           into the sea

Penny Wilkes,  served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing:  http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/ . Her photoblog is @: http://feathersandfigments.blogspot.com/

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Nature's Musings

Avian Stories

Poetry by Penny Wilkes. Photographs by Michael B Wilkes & Penny Wilkes

Peregrine Adventures

I awaken with a question: Where will I discover today’s adventure? 

A swish of wings meets me as I walk out the door.  

“Hop on for a ride,” a peregrine falcon coaxes.

“Whee,” I say as the bird directs me to his back. 

My mind launches into the sky.

I feel elevation and joy as feathers surround me. 

Fledglings entertain with their mock battle.

Feeling renewed with ferocity,

I slip back into my body.

Language of Trees

In years when curiosity did

    all the work, nothing irritated

         like the inconvenience

            of nightfall that robbed

                 her of tree climbing light.

She clutched and scampered

      into magnolias and oaks

          despite parental warnings.

                   Eavesdropped on birds

She questioned why ancestors left

             the doughy scent of branches.

 

While tasting the tang

    of sour apples, she hid

            her promises in limb shrines.

 With feet back on the earth, 

    breezes left her senses 

             dazzled by evening’s light.


Applause arises from the sea.

Penny Wilkes,  served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing:  http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/ and at penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com. My photoblog is @: http://feathersandfigments.blogspot.com/

Michael B Wilkes is an award winning architect and  photographer who has collaborated on three books of poems with his wife Penny Wilkes. On two occasions he has received recognition among the 100 Most Influential peoples in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. Michael B Wilkes site:  http://mbwilkesphotography.com

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Nature's Musings

Photo-poetry

Poems inspired by snapshots of nature by Penny Wilkes

Necessity

If I’m hiding

search for me

in a spider’s dream

or the web of twilight.

You might find me

in shadows gone…

a ladybug on a lemony

sway of eucalpytus.

Consider me in

the moon’s crackle

above the pines.

I’m there just before

stars prickle 

with the promise

of what we

need the most.

Memory’s Rhythm

Scenes tickle, rumble, roar

across the mind’s landscape,

While bird song soothes the breeze.

Solitary shadows sparked scrambles in

scenes of friendships’ foundations,

Collages mesh with fierce echoes.

Rose scents and tangerine recalled 

times of immediacy where sunset

bore a backdrop for fireworks.

A box filled with toys enticed,

while eyes explored a roadway

winding into kinship sharing.

Magnolia branches climbed to the clouds,

brought bark stings against a knee,

marked how frustration does not delay.

Heart shapes amble and circle

across the page, as fingers clutch 

a fountain pen in a cupped hand.

Beyond life’s aches and ashes

a smile uplifts to reveal mountain

moments do not relent to time.

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Penny Wilkes served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. Along with short stories, her features on humour and animal behavior have appeared in a variety of publications. She has published an anthology of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her poetry collections include:Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. She publishes a daily blog onThe Write Life:http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Nature's Musings

Photo Essay: Birds & Us

Photo essay by Michael B Wilkes And Penny Wilkes: Text by Penny Wilkes

White Pelicans

We share a variety of words with bird activities and sounds.  

             Stop that squawking. Start feeling chipper. 

                      If a pelican . . . so can you. 

White Pelicans

Wake up and feel fine feathered.

White Headed Sparrow

Or, maybe you’re just winging it today?

Black Phoebe

Michael Wilkes, my husband and a retired architect, used to take photographs of the built environment. I asked him to take a photo of my favorite bird, a black phoebe. He did and won first place at the San Diego Fair. Ever since he has enjoyed taking bird photographs with his big lenses. 

Saying one is feather-brained is a compliment.

Lesser Golden Finch
Seagulls

Just keep your beak up. Don’t get in a twitter unless it turns into a trill of birdsong. Stay Tweet.

An Osprey

Spend time on the fly.

If you feel peckish, find your favorite snack.  Then keep your head down and work. 

A house sparrow

We had moved to an apartment while we remodelled our house. I spent free time at a park next door writing. A black bird kept flying by. When he flew upside down in  twirls, I noticed a heart on his chest. The next day I brought him seed and he paid no attention. He cocked his head at me as if I really had no clue. Which I didn’t.  That night I searched and discovered he was a flycatcher and ate bugs.

Black phoebe (flycatcher)


I watched him for days until he brought a friend and did a flying dance in the middle of the park. I got close but not too close. They led me to a nest with little heads popping up.

Peregrine season is about to begin where the pair romance, build an aerie, and take turns minding the nest. When the fledges toddle out, the parents teach flying and hunting lessons. I love to watch what I call, “flying fisticuffs” where the fledges  attack one another in mock battles as they learn self-defense. We have lots of photos of their activities.

A pair of romancing peregrines

Lady Jane was frustrated with her mate because he did not bring food as he just wanted to romance her.  Eggs are due soon. Then he will have to focus on the nest and feeding and all that . . . beyond the fun he enjoys.

A solo peregrine

I prefer to photograph with my cellphone. I want “moments in movement” so I do not have to set up a tripod or carry a huge camera around. As for the challenges of bird photography, one word: patience. Today I heard a woodpecker and chased him for two blocks. No photo. During my morning runs, a black phoebe flies and lands and flies away again. They hunt for insects and are called flycatchers. I enjoy photos I can take. The eyes enjoy what the camera cannot capture. Then when I least expect it, a fun opportunity arrives like the photo below.

This is an example of what I love to capture. A finch landed on a photograph of a bird. 

A finch perched on a bird picture

Sing beyond a peep. Get raven about your successes. 

Raven

Don’t duck opportunities and challenges. 

Ducks with ducklings

You don’t have to get all your ducks in a row to find success and have fun…

Penny Wilkes,  served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing:  http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/ and at penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com. My photoblog is @: http://feathersandfigments.blogspot.com/

Michael B Wilkes is an award winning architect and  photographer who has collaborated on three books of poems with his wife Penny Wilkes. On two occasions he has received recognition among the 100 Most Influential peoples in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. Michael B Wilkes site:  http://mbwilkesphotography.com

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL