Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It got even better after Estes Park

After a beautiful weekend at Estes Park where I enjoyed sharing my poetry with other writers, I got home to find a letter from Voicings from the High Country telling me that two of my poems had been accepted for publication in the 2010 issue. The poems, "Goose music" and "Flashback" are in my chapbook. And these are the first poems I will have published in a literary magazine. "Flashback" is a poem I wrote about ten years and "Goose music" I wrote about two years ago. Wahoo!!!

I thought I'd share three pictures of the beauty outside of my cabin at Estes Park. I took these pics from inside the cabin on Saturday afternoon.

In this first pic, notice the trees and snow fields across the valley. Also note the snow on the bird feeders and on the arm of the chair to the left.

This picture is about 90 degrees to the right from the first one. It looks directly west into Rocky Mountain National Park.

This final shot looks almost southwest. The snow limited visibility and damped any noise from traffic on the road about 50 yards to the south. 

The last two years we had no snow, but did have elk outside of the cabins. I took this picture of an elk emptying the seeds from the bird feeder that shows in the first picture of snow above. I was in the next cabin to the east last year.

It was a rough weekend, but someone had to do it. :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meanderings from a snow-bound cabin in the mountains

I'm sitting in a cabin at McGregor Mountain Lodge in Estes Park surrounded by the stillness of a snow that has fallen all day. The snow fell slowly, small, fluffy flakes, and continues to fall. We knew that surely it wouldn't amount to much, but as I walked back to my cabin from the writing workshop, I trudged through six to eight inches of what would be called Champaign powder on a ski slope.

The workshop has been wonderful. Writers struggle by themselves, hardly having anyone else to share their writing with. We need feedback from writers who understand our problems and are willing to share their expertise and experience.

We each had sent a piece of our work to Mary, the workshop leader, several weeks ago, and she sent the collected works to us. We were to read and comment on each other's writing, and we presented our reactions and suggestions today. All of the participants were respectful and dedicated to helping each other. We all got great suggestions for improving our writing.

The day was long, stressful, and delightful. We ate breakfast together at 8, then critiqued five of nine pieces. We moved from the workshop to the dining room where we ate lunch. We discussed other writing projects or just chatted about fun stuff and got to know each other better.

We reconvened to critique the last four pieces and then broke at about 4 to relax and get ready for dinner at 6. After dinner, we read some of our work or the work of other writers we admired to the group.

I chose to read my poetry to the group, and I gave each participant a copy of my chapbook. Other than reading to my critique partner, Mary Jo, this was the first time I've read my poetry to an audience. I spent an hour and a half choosing poems and practicing them.

Oddly, I had trouble today choosing poems. Many of them for the first time seemed to me good enough to read in public. That was a good feeling.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello--I'm no longer MIA

I've been missing in action from this blog for a few months. I'm retired so I shouldn't have any reasons for not being here frequently. Just had lots to do and seemed as though I drew a blank whenever I wanted to write. Also, I've been feeling rather inadequate at blogging when I read the Stillwellian and Adventures of Killer and Fruitbat blogs. So I've avoided putting anything out there.
Speaking of Fruitbat, I did make a drive from Denver to Casper last week to dog sit Feo because of an operation she had on her right rear leg. Guess her knee cap was popping out of place, so the vet operated on it to correct several problems. The good news is that Feo seems to be recuperating nicely. The bad is that she's reverted to her Fruitbat growling, snarling, and threatening to bite behavior. She never did bite, but I wasn't sure each time I picked her up or pet her.
The trip up and back confirmed what I know of eagle behavior, that this is the time of year mated pairs get together to nest and run off other eagles from their territory. As I drove past the last finger of the mesa west of Chugwater, I saw a pair of golden eagles sitting within a foot of each other at the edge of the mesa. I've seen goldens there on several other trips, but never sitting next to each other.
Then later, between Wheatland and Glendo, I saw an adult bald eagle, probably a female, chasing another adult eagle, probably another female, trying to get it out of a nesting area. An immature bald--they don't get their white head and tail coloring until they are between 4 and 6 years--was trailing the pair, not chasing, just watching. Some mated pairs will allow one of their fledglings from the previous year to stay in the nest area. Not always.
The pronghorns have gathered into large herds rather than the small ones during their rut. Could see the slightly smaller fawns from this year grazing along with many does and bucks. I love that drive from about 25 miles north of Cheyenne to Casper. Lots of wildlife and scenery to see and few cars and trucks to dodge. Did see more smokies than normal. Maybe they are in rut? 
My poetry critique partner is wanting to spend more time on the zillions of other activities she has, so we're going to meet only once a month rather than every other week. I'm trying to find another critique group to meet with also. Have contacted Chris Ransick, the Denver Poet Laureate, but he's not been much help. He suggested attending the several poetry readings that happen in Denver and ask there about critique groups. Probably have to give that a try. Meanwhile, I'll keep on writing.