Floral SeaStar

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The white turns sheer,
seems to dissolve,
revealing the seastar within;
it glows in my palm,

recognizing the lifelines
as the one for the message,
spirit to spirit,

a mutual connection,

a wish upon a star
long ago returned
with the reassurance
that those whispers
were clearly heard,

another sign
that I am on the right path
and getting closer
to where you are.

In the center of the star
appears the glowing
ember of my heart.

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Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Sea Feathers and Leaves

Many specific, powerful moments have I captured at the beach, with and without a lens, that live in me so vividly, there to be called upon on a whim whenever I need them. Two of these are my images “Pigeon on the Pier” and “Sunflowers in the Sand,” their lessons, how they resonated with me, similar.

I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and started my own family there. In city parks, pigeons are popular, as well as those sitting on benches feeding them. City pigeons are what I had always known. They were standard and expected in my world. They had their place. They were common, not viewed as anything spectacular or especially beautiful by others.

Many years later, on a visit to the Gulf shores of Florida, I came upon the same type of pigeon on an ocean pier.

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Pigeon on the Pier

It stunned me with unexpectedness. A pigeon at the beach? I never heard of or imagined such a thing. There was only one, hanging out with the traditional seabirds, sitting on the pier railing. Its colors, illuminated by the unobstructed sun, against the backdrop of the sea’s blues and greens and white-capped waves and the aquahorizon blending into the endless blue sky, were truly spectacular, the most beautiful and striking bird on the pier.

So deliberately and boldly out of place, shattering preconceived notions, limitations, stereotypes. This pigeon was free, beyond cage, beyond park, beyond fear. It was deeply inspirational, motivational. A “city” pigeon with feathers caressed by the salty sea breeze. Of course, in my mind, I spun a whole story about it, how it defied and transcended expectations, went its own way, flew the coop, against the flock, followed dreams deemed foolish and unattainable, highly discouraged by other feathered friends and family. This pigeon heard of another place over the rainbow or simply believed in one with no such evidence, a place where it knew it had to reach, a place where it knew it belonged.

I wondered if it now called this place home, or if it had more unknowns to explore. Years later, that pigeon on the pier would very personally resonate with me even more…

Another sight that mesmerized me was a patch of sunflowers growing out of the sand along a short boardwalk that led to the sea.

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Sunflowers in the Sand

Another out-of-place image that struck me, shook my preconceived notions of what is expected to be and not to be. Flowers can grow without soil? Have I lived such a sheltered and naïve life that I didn’t know that was possible? Sure, the sea oats grew tall and majestic from the sand, but such a well-known flower so far away from gardens and fields? Its deep green leaves and signature golden-burst blossoms were such a stark contrast, like the pigeon’s colors, against the muted hues of the seashore. It too seemed to be making a bold statement, had a story.

The sunflowers in the sand reminded me of young childhood thinking in the time of innocence and uninhibited creative thinking before all of the influences that seem to dissolve such wonderful early notions of coloring suns green and the grass purple, of coloring outside of the lines, all before we were told… Told what? What were the words spoken, yelled, whispered that changed and molded a notion, a belief, a mind, a child, a nation? What was the guidance? What word-seeds planted, and what did they grow? What fertilizer in lieu of seeds, and what did it kill?

For a while, for a period of my adulthood, I responsibly packed up the unrealized dreams, the unfulfilled fantasies. Once a creative colorer, a young artist, an older painter of grandiose possibilities, I laid down the crayons and paints, crumbled up more and more of my drawings, on paper and canvas and medialess in my mind, my aging heart. Some paths I chose seemed permanently outlined, with me trapped on the inside of those lines, now without my coloring tools. Trapped in the book, a pigeon in a cage, a sunflower seed eaten, not planted.

Eventually, though, something inside me made me finally reach. For the latch, for that crayon. I am now the pigeon on the pier, the sunflower in the sand.

All words and images on this site ©LauraDenise

Obstructed

obstructed by boulders, been told
of the horizon beyond
make the best of
the dead-end
called home
the road
placed upon

no need for wings
when caged by ceiling
dreams fading
suffocating
gaze turned away
from that crack
letting in light
ears choose
to no longer be fooled
by hope’s lullaby

no way out
of this life

unless…

last dream
tucked away
in that sacred
special place
still safe
uncovered
in a palm
face to face
tiny
but alive
still aglow
faintly
wings
still functioning

single tear
of fear
from the holder
falls
as dream reassures
happiness can bloom
from a source
so small

a countenance shift
as eyes lift
to those boulders
feet move toward
that single thread
light source

palming the ray
then reaching
to presumably futilely
move boulder away
hand passes through
the mirage
stepping beyond
into the full light
of day

adjusting eyes
to the blinding
possibilities
of a new life
focus falls
upon the horizon
the colors
of infinite directions
a future
without limitations

dream and heart
flutter
at the same time
and lift
the soul
to flight

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IMG_4165Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Signs in the Shells

Audio (Click here.)

 

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My head is bowed, my concentration in and out of intenseness
on this leisure seashell hunt,
looking along the shore for treasures no longer sunk.

Nothing occupies my mind, for once, except for the task at hand,
approaching each disruption to the smoothness of the tide-wiped sand,

natural remnants scattered seemingly haphazardly here and there
by a surf that reliably ebbs and flows in musical time
but carries random particles latched onto waves for the ride.
There is no rhyme,

only reason, for what gets washed ashore.
For me, it is always personal, always Fate, Serendipity, Destiny, or more,

ultimately God bringing the specific treasure to my feet alone,
meant only for my sandy fingers to pick up and hold,

treasures containing clues only I can decipher,
special purposes that will be revealed to me when the timing is right,

magic released only when certain words are spoken by my lips,
my breath the specific required ingredient.

This treasure hunt, though performed by countless others now,
before, and in every tomorrow,

though such a popular tradition, is only selfishly for and about me.
I wonder if it is to each.

Because I am one to champion on land the weeds,
the dandelions, the wildflowers blooming
from unplanted wind-blown seeds,
here at the beach,

I find extra-special meaning in the broken, partial shells
and do not immediately dismiss them in a search of something else,
whole, by others’ standards, perfect.

The morning sun, still rising, just above the horizon,
reaches directly for a broken shell up ahead,
the beam lighting up the water in a path
filled with celestial tenderness

much like the first rays of dawn seem to so personally
through the leaves on land reach through to specifically speak to me.

The way the warm, orange light fills the broken part of the shell
makes it more beautifully full,
more substantially whole, than any possible other.
It speaks to me of a heart healed and renewed and regrown by love.

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Being early, and low tide, it is prime time for shell collecting;
I am the first to lay eyes on some of these, have first pickings.

I happen upon the jackpot, though it is not as much fun as a depletion,
for now it is just a matter of selecting
from the lot, but the abundance and the way they sparkle
in the early light fills me with awe,
its spectacularness undeniable.

So I revel in the beauty of the unexpected encounter,
my senses quite flooded with the wonder.

I get down low to photograph them from their perspective,
clustered along the sea-land border as if in silent reverence
themselves in the God-blessed new day
as the Great Ball of Orange Fire ever so slowly ignites with a glow
the water and morning in a grandiose display,

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rising above the aquahorizon in a ritual so sacred,
not just another sunrise but the one that bestows upon us this new day gifted
that we take for granted too easily, too often.
For it and this moment, I pay homage.

I give thanks to God, my Father.

Head still bowed, upon the treasures, I return my gaze
and pick through for the ones that happen to spark in me something

I just can’t quite place…

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Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Poet’s note: So this was supposed to be a reflective essay… I tried really hard! But I couldn’t stop thinking and writing like a poet! My prose is doomed! I can’t get the poetry out of it! 

Golden Beams

Golden beams lovingly reach
through the leaves
and beckon me to hop on;
so far away is the day star
yet so personal, this dawn

to find me here among the birds
before the day’s bustle begins,
as I walk to pacify
the restlessness within.

Soon the light will flood the day,
cast down over all equally,
so for now, I indulge fully
in the personal cosmic intimacy

and climb aboard the silent ray,
let it suspend me for a while,
like a hammock, I sink into it,
and suspend all my heart’s trials.

Before the world comes alive,
I try to linger in these moments,
for the sun’s first offering
is always the most golden.

Poem and images from this morning ©LauraDenise

Seashell Ifs

Audio (Click here.)

Oh, Great Coral Conch Shell by the seashore,
if I whisper you my secrets, will you share with me yours?

If I tell you what I think about these mysteries to be true,
will you reveal nuances subtly as clues?

If I sat here still and listened attentively,
would you tell me adventurous sea stories of all that you’ve seen?

If I wanted to have a word with Triton, King of the Sea,
would you be able to send for the mermaids to transport me?

If I put you in my pocket to add to my collection,
would you lose your magic so far inland?

Most of all, I was wondering this…
Do forgive me if it is simply too presumptuous…

If I sent a message to him in a bottle, but the winds interfered,
would you find him for me and whisper this into his ear…?

Feathers Aglow

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She soaks her dreamcatcher feathers
in moonlight
to harness the lunar power
of cosmic possibilities;
though the glow does not keep,
from the weave into her dreams
the magic seeps,
and she dances all night
among the stars,
flowing dress sweeping
across the sky
in a solo performance
that causes sentimental clouds
to cry,
and the stars and moon
seem to glow extra bright
as she so gracefully
whirls by.

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Emergence

white gull camouflaged

against the white sugar sand

sparkling on white shell

in magical fashion

white-crested waves

crashing gracefully onto shore

passing through me

with the salty cure

muted subtle hues

calm my mind and spirit

my arms i raise

no wings to lift away with

 

i fall into the surf

and when all of me is submerged

i feel baptized again

and emerge re-birthed

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Rainy-Day Dreams

Waterdrops drip

from the gray,

but they do not

dilute my colors;

boldly, they remain.

 

My dreams

are not made

of sidewalk chalk

in danger of the rain;

they cannot be washed

away.

 

They are more like

the wildflower,

beautiful bloom

with roots

that the earth

selflessly lends

a hand to,

so the petals can focus

on their reach

for the sun

and be the first

to taste

the rain

when it comes.

 

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Laura’s Lenses

 

Flowers in the spring–

such an extra colorful blessing

among the natural offerings

gifted to us so freely.

 

 

Nothing in the natural

does a grateful heart miss,

fail to be moved by

with awe, always open

to be filled with the bliss,

 

 

and when the grateful heart

resides surrounded by the soul

of a poet,

every blade and petal

 

 

and note of birdsong

is impossible

to forget.

 

 

Add the sui generis lenses

of Spotted Iris and Canon

 

and the art collection

personally held

in the mind’s eye and heart

allows for instant access

to light and tranquility

even in the turbulence and

dark.

 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise