Categories
Nature's Musings

Studies in Blue and White

Narrative and Photography by Penny Wilkes

Often I have chased a black phoebe or osprey for a photo or pursued a line for a poem. When I continue along the path, the poem will show itself, or the bird will lead me to another discovery. 

Today the sea's the energy 
races to build its heights.
THE COLOUR BLUE


What if
midmorning sky
sneaks into café tableware
tricked by the colour blue.
Clouds dance on plates
grazing the toast and jelly
until breezes vacuum
the crumbs
sending clouds back
to where
they are supposed
to belong. 
MASQUERADE IN WHITE

A goblet of milk mantled in twilight.
In an instant a leg shifts to bent elbow post.
The other stretches without a riffle of water
as the egret bows to its reflection.
Immersed in the river’s scent of leather,
the white’s neck eases into a question mark,
or surges like a sprinter at the tape.
Alert to movements of cricket, frog or fin.
Once eyes capture a whisker of fish,
egret searches within a sunlight filament.
Beak arrows, dips beneath the river glitter,
tosses a nibble to the air and catches it.
Twirling from a cottonwood, a leaf engages
the river rustler who turns to statue.
A shift and wings rise in silk banners over rock pates
while feathers ruffle reflections into sequins.
The egret alights on a branch, shivers in spiral,
stretches to preen and fluff each plume.
On legs of silk, it wings toward 
a turret of branches to design the sky.

.

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

Storms & Seas

  Penny Wilkes captures the colours of a stormy sea, sky and birds responses to the weather with her camera and words

Pelicans and seagulls find protection on the edges of cliffs as winds broil. Cormorants rise into the branches of pine trees and preen. A winter sea and sky toy with the colour wheel and capture a view that often defies a camera’s eye.

Paint a storm

Before the storm, the sea flaunts its personalities. During their flights of defiance against the wind, seagulls ripple on the currents like kites. They evade the force as long as possible, wielding magic in the thrust of wings. Pigeons circle in formations, catching the drafts. Subtle changes alert the birds’ radar to seek shelter before intensity could whip them from the sky.

Surreal sea and menacing clouds

The sky provides an opening. Where does it lead?

The sky plays with the sea

As the storm passes, the sky returns to calm the sea and reflect the blue. 

A seagull meeting

Seagulls ready their feathers for flight.

.

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

A Dewdrop World

Text and photographs by Penny Wilkes

This dewdrop world

Is but a dewdrop world

. . . and yet? 

The petals fan and flair with the nurture of dew.

Shadows pose behind and beyond; shapes and curtains flow.

Harmony of upside down and turn around in traces and hearts unfurl.

What self-conversation stumbles among the shapes that reveal a secret core?

To peer, without haste and permit the eyes and nose to investigate. The hands and body bend to each shrine of nature. 

What musicality trails the leaves.  A taste of tart and surprise entreats

. . . and yet?

Awake in the wild of impermanence, the temple draws an adventurer.

What do I know of secrets I don’t understand?

Like dew, a phantom or the flare of sunset gone.  With hope revisited.

and  yet . . . to awaken and arrive again at dawn.

.

.

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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Nature's Musings

Best Friends

Writing & Photography by Penny Wilkes

Best friends, Curiosity and Creativity collaborate and play.

They energize awareness, nudge a nose for observation, and a desire to explore.

With Curiosity as a motivator and playmate, Creativity develops life’s possibilities.

The capacity for investigation bubbles inside and thrills the senses.

Audacity spirits the soul.

When Curiosity and Creativity arrive for the eager observer, discoveries spark around each corner for adventures in nature. Happening upon the unexpected, moments tease with mysteries 

Questions tumble upon the unfamiliar and roar for more. 

Clouds in a puddle arouse the adventurer. 




A seabird distracts to divert attention where the sea and sky provide their playground.

Following a swirl of life calling for play brings joy.

Cultivate Curiosity with Creativity. 

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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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Categories
Nature's Musings

Lewie, the Leaf

Photographs and story by Penny Wilkes

Lewie the leaf’s adventure began as a green shoot that grew from a branch. After sparking through summer, he started to feel different.  He turned crimson. Those near him bloomed from an orange to yellow.  

“What’s up?” he wondered.  Lewie noticed leaves from other trees fly into the air and twirl to the ground. They collected in gutters, lawns and on the street in piles.

Lewie didn’t want to leave his branch.  He loved the birds who sang and hopped around him.  His favorite robin would peck at insects to keep them from biting into him.

One day the robin said, “You’ll fall soon.”


“No, I like it on my branch,” replied Lewie

October eased in. With a chill in the air, wind moved other leaves to the ground. 

Lewie stuck tight.

“You know,” said the robin, “you could become evergreen and not have to fall when winter arrives.” 

Lewie looked at the shine on the pine needles and thought about it.

“I could fly you over to the park by the river. You’d become mulch. Then you’d nurture and move up into the pine needles,” the robin said.

Lewie shivered in uncertainty, “I’m not sure.”

“Come on, Lewie. See the little sapling over by the river. I’ll help robin add leaves,” said the squirrel.

Lewie was not convinced.  “How do you know this can happen?”


The robin fluffed at her feathers. “I have watched the process many times.”

“It’s true, Lewie,” said the heron.

When December rolled around, frost startled Lewie.  He shivered and could feel an opening on his branch.  He struggled to stay attached.

“It’s about time,” the robin said. “No other leaves have stayed.  They all want to change.”

Lewie did not answer, using all his power to stay stuck on his branch.

The rains came heavy that night. Only one tendril of Lewie’s leaf stem stuck.

The robin flew by and alighted above his branch. “I’ll fly you over now.”

Lewie agreed and wriggled until he began to spiral. The breeze felt good.


“Dance, Lewie. Dance.” The robin picked him up in her beak and flew him to the sapling. 

Lewie sat close to the base and spoke to the tree. “I’m here to become a pine needle.”

When snow arrived, Lewie turned brown and slept cozy as a bear all winter.

By spring, bird song rose and the robin appeared. Lewie was nowhere in sight. Robin called and heard his voice echo from deep beneath the earth.


April arrived and he had climbed his way back up to begin shooting out green.

“You were right, robin,”  Lewie said. “I love the new me. What fun to stay green.”

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

Of Moonshine & Birds

Photographs and Poetry by Penny Wilkes

Photo Courtesy: Penny Wilkes
NIGHT PLAY
 
While darkness accumulates,
she sheds expectations 
like chameleon lace.
 
A waterwheel of wings
rattles her window;
the pane rises
in the Moonhawk’s beak.
 
She slips inside his coat
feathered by scent of cloves,
moves behind his eyes.

They fly beyond 
an eyelash of moon
until dawn’s pulse
sends a bead of  honey
to her lips.
 
She returns
hungry for words.
Photo Courtesy: Penny Wilkes
 
High Noon
 
House sparrows belly up to the seed bells,
hustle places in their maple branch saloon. 
 
Peter the blue jay enters 
with a flap of swinging doors.
 
Sparrows spiral the branches
to fetch his rejects. 
 
The neighbour’s cat ambles by,
hint of holsters on its haunches. 
 
Posse of crows circles in the distance,
while mourning doves scurry 
and share their own petticoat politics.
 
Across the yard a white egret
surveys the pepper tree. 
Photo Courtesy: Penny Wilkes

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

The Lords of Light

A new legend in words and photographs by Penny Wilkes


Before morning light each day, the Lords of Light share the duty to awaken the Sun. These insects stir the sun’s sleep-struck eyes awake. Fireflies stunt and twirl their light. Candle bugs and railroad worms spangle the darkness in their carnival of lights wake up service. 

The Lords of Light rouse the sleeping Sun and nudge him up the far side of the mountain to open the day.

Day by day, the Firefly began to notice a difference in the Sun and said to the Lords, “Did you notice that the Sun shuffled up the hill yesterday?”

“Long summer days are hard on him,” said the Lantern Bug, “Yet he never complains.”

“He needs rest,” said the Firefly. “Do you think the moon would take on extra hours?”

“Let’s ask her.” The Lords agreed.

The next day after setting the Sun on his course, the Lords gathered for their flight to speak with the moon. They rode on eagle beaks, the backs of hawks and tails of ravens. Gleaming against the sky, they raced to ask Moon’s help.

The Firefly asked, “Dear Lady Moon, we think the Sun is becoming weary. Will you give him a break and stay up a bit longer?”

“Humph, glared the Moon.” I have to work nights and never get to play during the day. Why should I give up my sleep time?”

“Look what the Sun does for you, “The Firefly said. “No one could see you if the Sun didn’t shine and reflect off your face”

“The Sun only gives me enough light now to fashion a sliver of my real self. I’m not a full moon for long each month and no one bothers to help me. Go Away.” With a bellow the Moon pulled a drape over her crescent face.

The stars overheard the Firefly’s conversation with the Moon and twirled, “Wish we could help but we’re too far apart to spread morning light.”

Disappointed in their quest, the Lords of Light fluttered back to Earth. With each new day, the Sun trudged up the back of the mountain. Even larger animals noticed the days growing dimmer.

The Lion beckoned the Firefly to his den to ask why the Lords of Light were not performing their wake up serve adequately.

The Firefly explained how unsteady the Sun appeared.

“You must find us an answer,” said the King of Beasts.

The Firefly flew into his flaming coral tree to think. His own light dimmed until he suddenly knew the answer.

He buzzed back to the lion’s den.

“Why don’t we beckon our aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who shine? With everyone together we’ll create a light so bright that Sun can sleep in one morning.”

“Magnificent idea, “the Lion roared. “I will direct the show.”

The Firefly called the Lords of Light together and told them of his plan. Word spread by fire ants and mites. Electric eels telegraphed the acceptance notices.

“I’ll transport the bugs who cannot fly,” said the Eagle.

The Lords of Light found it difficult to contain their excitement from the Sun until Festival Day arrived. Yet, the Sun was too tired to notice.

Glowworms gathered from New Zealand with Asian springtail beetles. Snow fleas from the polar region joined in the fun. African centipedes and Swedish luminescent larvae descended with creatures from the East Indies.

Blue-lighted larvae alighted from the backs of birds. Fire beetles arrived with tropical bugs to flash in unison.

Star worms, bees and moths without lights toted mushroom umbrellas with specks of radiance to guide their way.

Millipedes, who use light for self-defense, united with New Zealand orange worms to increase their shine power. Grubs brought foxfire from the damp forests.

Luminescent squids, jellyfish, and deep-sea swimmers with coral fans prepared their dancing games directed by purposes and whales.

When all the creatures united, the Firefly directed giraffes, elephants, and tigers to line up along Sun’s mountain. He adorned them with ringlets of bugs and beetles. Hummingbirds circled to enlarge the display. Seagulls and vultures became messengers to deliver friends higher and higher into the sky.

The Pyramid of Light waited for its cue.

The lion roared to gain attention and began
the countdown: 5-4-3-2-1

Everyone squeezed glow cells until light blazed from the seas through rivers and bounced up antelope legs, over camel humps, and spiralled to the tops of giraffe necks.

The display arose up the back of the mountain and into the sky to create a new dawn.

As darkness disappeared the stars flashed their approval and grumpy moon uncovered her face with a grin.

Roused by the celebration, the Sun awakened from slumber. He tingled with pride when he saw the harmony created by The Lords of Light together with all the creatures of day and night.

Thank you, the Sun said. “Your collaboration has given me the spirit to shine forever.”

The Pyramid of Light applauded with shimmers and glows.

The sun, with a smile, celebrated and energised the clouds into play that evening.

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

Sun, Seas & Flowers

Photographs and Poetry by Penny Wilkes

The Sun Shines On

The sun never asks for applause
while the moon gets all the credit
for her glow and romantic stimulation.

The sun sends energy into the morning sky.
Clouds collect and play on his palette.
The sun waits to outshine all droplets.
How many forget his nurture of tulips?
Yet, the audience blames him for sunburns,
the need for blinds, or those stormy days. 

The sun shines on beyond crankiness,
swirls and provides a master show each evening.


The morning’s dew on hibiscus
reflects the tangerine sunrise
diverts focus beyond teardrops.
Imagine a bee’s view
as a creative exploration 
to evaporate all fears.

Collect a collage of rainbows
to rise and shine above
the storms of frustration.

Autumn by the Sea


The shadow dragon watches for words.

Waves whoosh 
  to shore,
   crackle 
     into caves.
Blue satin rocks 
       the sea's performance.
On Torrey pine branches, cormorants pose like banners. 
Crisped by summer sun, grass mingles with the muse of daisies on trails of sandstone dust.
Ask to borrow wings for one day.

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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Categories
Nature's Musings

Becoming Marco Polo

Photographs and poetry by Penny Wilkes

Becoming Marco Polo
 
 
Outside her childhood bedroom, 
a Jacaranda tree rubbed the porch railing
in squeals that lead curiosity like a piper.
She sneaked out the window to climb it.
 
Thighs squeezed the bark; arms in hug. 
She needed to touch the V formed by branches
near the ground. If only she could reach it, 
then swing to the grass where adventures waited.
 
Night warbling continued from the tree. Muggins, 
the cat, dug claws in the wood and scampered
the highway at will. Her tail spiralled in the breeze.
Finch chitters arose from limbs. Even they
flew in and out of branches or captured ants
on this Silk Road. A hummingbird made its nest 
higher than her reach. When her father called,
she looked out the window, stuck in the middle.
 
Again, she tried, clutched with her fingers
to find security in the roughness. Blood mingled 
with grey bark in failed attempts to settle into the V.
Courage grew in welts on arms and legs.
 
In spring, an explosion of lavender blossoms 
flew a fragrance of musk into the air. She took a breath
and tried once more. One shoe felt the wedge.
Another stretch and both feet arrived.
 
She balanced and looked upward into an applause 
of leaves. She jumped from the V 
to explore the world and back before dinner.

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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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/

.

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