Every year in May, the “Meadowlark Festival” is an South Okanagan highlight. Last weekend, I took in the “Writing in Nature” tour of an untouched bit of South Okanagan wilderness, in a small ecological reserve in the hills south of Summerland. Sadly, I forgot to take my camera, but I did take along my pen and notebook — and a couple of other tour participants took along their cameras, so I have a couple of photos to share. Our guides were ecologist and writer Don Gayton, and UBC-O professor and poet Nancy Holmes. It was a perfect day for meandering through the reserve, and for sitting on the hillside, tuning into nature, and jotting down our thoughts. We also had wonderful conversation, and enjoyed lunch together. Below is a snapshot of our group, and a picture of yours truly in writing mode. And below the photos are snippets of my writing during the tour. Enjoy!
Sitting quiet, still.
Eye level with grass tips
Wavering in breezy currents of gentle breath,
Airy ripples touching my skin
With transparent fingers.
Human voices around me cease
And into the sudden silence comes, unexpected,
Sounds of nature.
Stereo, then surround sound –
Far off bird and cricket calls,
Bouncing lightly, responding,
Following the rolling slopes of the hillside,
Reaching out, echoing;
Mingling with long-forgotten scents,
Dry pine needles, fresh spring grasses.
Memories, haunting, of long ago
Childhood wanderings on long summer days
Through these very hillsides.
My eyes are drawn downward
To tiny white stars, yellowy soft fern,
Dandelion seed heads begging
To be wished upon and blown to the four winds,
Prickly clumps of cactus –
Oh my! I giggle…
Remember my cousin, not far from here,
Sliding off the blanket flung over the
Horse’s bare back,
And landing with a plop,
Seat down in an enormous clump
Of cacti needles!
The thought breaks my reverie,
Yet at the same time joins this moment
To the past,
To all my life.