Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Turning Right

My intention today was to photograph at a local botanical garden.   I had been planning to do this for quite a while and was waiting for a sunny spring day.  Today seemed like it would be that day.  However, as I was driving towards the garden, on a whim I made a right turn instead of a left and ended up on the edge of a rocky point overlooking the Pacific.  The point is a popular place for whale-watching enthusiasts who spend hours watching and counting marine mammals.

the watchers

The group seemed to be looking in the same direction with their scopes.  I tried to discreety come behind each watcher as she or he intently scanned the ocean. I was not successful in seeing anything they were seeing (of course, I did not have a scope of any sort). All of a sudden, the members of the group got excited. “There she is!” one called out. “I see the calf,” said another.  A woman quickly scratched something in a notebook.

I trained my eyes on the patch of water.  Then I saw a dark gray hump emerge a few inches above the surface and blow a few white frothy bubbles.  I am amazed at the keen eyes and the patient dedication of these watchers.  I would have missed this if I had not been watching where the watchers watched.

theres a whale in this pictureTrust me:  there is a whale cow and her calf right under the surface smack in the middle of this picture.

I watched for a while longer and then decided that I would leave the watchers to what appears to be a form of meditation for them.   Before I left, I took a shot of their tally board.

tally boardI don’t know why I came here today.  The garden would  have been lovely.  The garden, though, in all its beauty, is still a human-made thing.  Today I think I needed to go someplace where wild things lived.  I needed to see the untamed.  Let’s face it: this April was not a great month for the world situation in general and a lot of people in particular — (Boston, Texas, Syria, Bangladesh to name a few).   Watching this whale mother and her baby migrate north to Alaska as her ancestors have done for thousands and thousands of years filled me with a great deal of comfort.

In spite of the human-created chaos around us, some things are constant.

pt vicente in bloomljg (c) 2013


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Early Bird or Night Owl

Sleeping Dryad

When I looked at some of the responses to this prompt, I was surprised to see so many posts from “early birds”.  I think the general stereotype of writers and other creatives is that we are all coffee drinking night owls when we pursue our craft or art.

Personally, I am an early bird and most of my best work is done from about 4 to 6 a.m.   My guess is that I am most in touch with my unconscious mind just after waking and thus in tune with my creative self.  Or maybe it is just a habit I got into when I was furiously working The Artist Way program.

Whatever the reason, it works for me.  Today is an exception though:  it is 6:30 am.  Well, it’s a Saturday after all and I slept in.

Image:  “Sleeping Dryad” (c) 2012

ljg, 2013



Three Urban Haiku

Traditional Japanese haiku is written in a pattern of 5 sound units in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.  I recently learned that this pattern is discouraged when writing haiku in English since English syllables are not the same as Japanese sound units.  The focus of English haiku should be to capture a physical setting and a moment in time, hopefully with some sort of “twist” or “aha” for the reader.

Haiku is a lens through which nature and seasons are observed.  I live in the city, so these haiku depict this non-traditional setting.

Twilight clouds roll in
Crows roost on high wires —
A “No Parking” sign.

Waxing gibbous moon
Dog droppings on the sidewalk —
A jogger missteps.

Cold afternoon rain
Slick white Beamer blows by —
Salt from my lips!

ljg (c) 2013



Feeding My Muse

reader under tree sketchedI joined over 100,000 fellow book-lovers this past Saturday at the LA Times Festival of Books.  I have attended the Festival many times over the past decade and every year I walk away creatively invigorated.

This year I decided to forget about scheduling my day around the authors’ speaking engagements.  In the past, this usually never worked out anyway — authors cancelling at the last minute, no more tickets available for the indoor lectures I wanted to hear, et cetera.  This time, I embarked on a looser, more intuitive approach to my day’s activities by just wandering around to the outdoor stages and tents, listening to and speaking with whoever crossed my path.

As a result, I discovered the works of some bright young novelists and mature established poets I want to read:  Kiersten White, Rachel Cohn, Tahereh Mafi, Michelle Gagnon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Kurt Brown.

About mid-day, I came across the tent for a local haiku study group and had an impromptu lesson on what haiku is and is not.  I walked away with a chapbook of haiku and some tutorial resources.   I have written haiku in the past and, like other forms of poetry, it works for me as a warm up to prose writing.   I have recently noticed that some of my online writing colleagues are being re-energized by poetry writing too, so I think I will be joining them and posting more poetry, especially haiku, in the near future.

Saturday was an abnormally warm, brilliantly blue day, and I ended my time at the Festival  by stretching out on the lawn under the sycamores and eucalyptus trees at the Poetry Stage.  I stared at the sky and drank in the words of the poets.

My Muse was well fed and sassily happy this day.

ljg (c) 2013