Friday, July 11
Sadly, today was the last day of our workshop. I woke up, but not as easily. Mainly because I actually had a great night’s sleep! I slept in a little and got up in time for breakfast.
Today, in the workshop, we listened to some great poems. It was exciting to listen to the progress of my workshop peers. I read a poem I wrote from an exercise to personify something. I personified a vine. Here was my draft:
My roots have been cut,
Grafted onto new rootstock,
Planted in blood red earth,
Basaltic soils that are rusting,
Here, on this slope, in this row,
They have bound me, trained my arms
To this wire, bound me to this trellis, and yet –
My buds break, minute leaflets stretch and unfold,
And drink in phosphorescence.
My buds blossom with small, white flowerets,
And apple scents wafting through each row.
My flower caps fall and blow away
With coastal winds blowing eastward.
My leaves form canopies that
Nourish my body from the sun.
My berries form like pine cones,
Tiny and yellow-green, and then
They swell. They swell all summer,
Ripening, thin-skinned, still green until
Veraison, with reddish-purple thin skin
That sometimes splits with rain, but then
The fruit clusters continue to hang.
The clusters fill out evenly, and then
They pluck my fruit with sharpest shears.
As they celebrate, I bleed.
All those clusters of mine – gone, taken.
My leaves break down, turn down from
The sun; change shade into a golden hue.
They dry and fall to biodegrade into
The blood red soil –
I die, but just a little.
Now, I have a lot of work to do to revise this draft. But, I like where it’s going. Beth said it reminded her of a Christ crucifixion poem. I continued to get more great feedback from my peers. And, as we continued to read from our work, we had a guest. We heard footsteps approach the screened door. And there, peeking in, was a young male deer.
He just stood there, curious, looking into the screen, listening to us read. He had large, black inquisitive eyes, a large, wet black nose, a curious face, showing no fear. I took some photos. He did not flinch. Two other deer were grazing behind him, below on the front yard. It was mesmerizing how close this interested deer had come. It was amazing. Was this some other sign? Or just the peaceful harmony of nature? From my experiences this week, this all definitely seemed mystical!
After lunch, the children of Fishtrap delivered their Open Mic reading. It was adorable! There were many cute, creative, exuberant children attending their own special workshop. All week they posted their creative writing written on construction paper and pinned to many of the large, gracious trees on the campground.
Beth and I walked down to an ATM near Russell’s. We met Sydney, a lovely seventeen year old scholarship winner who was in our poetry workshop, and who was one of my cabin mates, and we went up the gondola to see the Wallowas. It was exciting!
Again, the wildlife was practically tame. Adorable chipmunks and squirrels, babies and full grown, came right up to us. We fed some of them. Sydney nearly held a cute chipmunk in her palm. We took a ton of photos.
These adorable photos were taken by Sydney
The landscape scenery was mesmerizing. I tried to capture the dried trees, meadowy hills, and jagged rock mountains, some capped with snow, with the best shots I could take.
The view was breath-taking. Only, the air up there was clear, clean and even sweet. The sky was a sharp, clean azure. I had never been anywhere before where nature was so in harmony – where humans, nature, wild animals were so together, so playful.
Beth, me and Sydney
On the gondola ride back down, I shared a Dagoba organic dark chocolate bar. It was a nice treat.
We walked back to the campsite and then Beth and I decided to go to Russell’s for dinner. I was craving a burger! We talked about the MFA program, wine and relationships. I had a burger without the bun and with avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato. They cooked French fries in a fryer that only has the fries (no breaded foods), so it was gluten safe. I had a glass of Washington Syrah with it.
We walked back to the campsite for this evening’s Gathering reading. The highlight was Brenda Miller, who read a haunting essay on femininity, loneliness, sex from little girlhood, through adolescence up until middle age.
After, we returned to Russell’s with the regular Fishtrappers. I had one more glass of wine. Beth and I stayed with the group that closed the place. Walking back to my cabin, I was exhausted. And congested. My roommate, Sydney, left a Tylenol Cold & Sinus Nighttime, since I ran out of Claritan-D, and a Ricola throat lozenge. It was a relief!