A Small Poem from Larrabee State Park

Hello! I hope the beginning of autumn finds you happy and well.

My niece and nephew from California are visiting for a few days, and we’re taking them to enjoy some of our favorite places around Bellingham with the intention of convincing them to leave the sunny southland when they graduate high school and move here to go to college. (Our nephew is a senior, and our niece, a sophomore.) Nephew is planning to major in either pre-veterinary studies or creative writing. Or marine biology. Something like that. Tomorrow, we’ll take them to Pike Place Market and then Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. How will they be able to resist moving here once we subject them to samples of raspberry-rhubarb jam and to the unparalleled experience of hand-feeding fresh herring to the Emperor penguins?

Today, we took them to Larrabee State Park, the oldest park in the state of Washington, just south of Bellingham. While Mark and the kids climbed around on the sandstone rocks and cliffs along the water, I took pictures and drafted a little poem on the back of a grocery list. Here’s a shot from the beach at Wildcat Cove:

Larrabee State Park, looking toward the San Juan Islands

And here’s the little poem I drafted on the back of the grocery list:


At Larrabee State Park, Looking Southwest

today the bay throws
its own reflection
toward the sky

like a pebble cast from the beach
from a boy’s
small hand

at the blue-gray, yellow-edged
watercolor wash
painted onto the distance

and floated back to the beach
on small
chromatic ripples


Cheers to you,

Humming Right Along

I’ve spent the entire past month fine-tuning, tinkering with, and fretting over the final revisions of the manuscript for my forthcoming poetry chapbook, Impossible Lessons. My saintly editor and publisher, Lana Hechtman Ayers of MoonPath Press, answered my million obsessive questions with warmth and good guidance. Finally, today, at last, she has that manuscript back in her hands, where she can begin to prepare it for production. As well, I’ve finally provided her with ancillary materials such as acknowledgements and biographical notes. And I’ve sent her the item it took me longest of all to finalize: my choice of cover art.

I’ve heard some authors lament the cover art their publishers select for their books. I’m elated to say that I’m not among them. On the contrary, Lana Hechtman Ayers has given me liberty to choose my own artwork, and my only trouble has resulted from having too many excellent choices. It was no help whatsoever that I limited my selection to the 3,000 or so landscape photos that my husband, Mark, has taken since he got his first digital camera about nine years ago. The process of viewing, sifting, comparing, editing, and agonizing over those pictures–and then selecting just one out of dozens of favorites–took even more time than fussing over the manuscript revisions.

For instance, Mark and I weighed this photo …

Chain Lakes Loop Trail, Mt. Baker. Photo by Mark Kummer.

… against this one …

Photo by Mark Kummer

… against still more from our hikes near Mt. Baker:

Mt. Baker from Chain Lakes Loop. Photo by Mark Kummer.

Table Mountain from Chain Lakes Loop. Photo by Mark Kummer.

… and our long-distance walking tour of Scotland:

Speyside Way, Morayshire, Scotland. Photo by Mark Kummer.

After muddling through all these choices, and asking trusted friends for opinions, and consulting my long-suffering editor-publisher, I arrived at a decision at last: the wonderful boulder-and-huckleberries photo back up at the top.

BUT THEN, the following day, Mark discovered a forgotten folder of pictures from a weekend we spent in the Methow Valley, eastern Washington, October before last. Dear Reader, I could not resist a close-up of LEAVES, with STONES, with WATER. Dear Reader, here is the photo I chose for the front cover of my chapbook:

Fall leaves, Methow River, Twisp, Washington. Photo by Mark Kummer.

The chapbook is scheduled to be released in spring 2013. I will, of course, share every iota of my insanity excitement with you as that time draws near.