Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Staring at the Page (The Poet is Blocked)


October is one of my favorite months of the year.  The trees turn, the weather cools, Halloween is on the way.  Its also the time, each year, for the October Poetry Writing Month (aka OctPoWriMo), which I have participated in the last 2 years, and planned on doing this year as well.  Unfortunately this year, although I read all the prompts, and a lot of poetry posted by others, I wasn't having much luck coming up with my own.

The wonderful Morgan Dragonwillow who is one of the muses of OctPoWriMo suggested reading some poetry I especially liked. So I spent a whole day in Ireland with Yeats and Heaney, and one poem did find me, but then nothing again, at least not in terms of a poem finished enough to share. Nothing else is complete or satisfying enough to post.  I find this most frustrating, especially with an event I enjoy so much.

But I intend to keep persevering, reading my prompts, studying the posts from my fellow poets, and when I find something I am satisfied with I will let you know.

In the meantime, here is a tribute to my grapple with the Muses this month.

Finding the Poetry
The Muses being silent
I despaired of finding poetry this fall.

"Have you tried reading some"
Came the good advice.

So I took two old friends down from the shelf
and sure enough they brought a Muse or two along
At least for the day

But when morning came
I was alone again.


This post is part of  OctPoWriMo. To check out the prompts, or the work of other poets click on the link.



Photo  "Legal Pad" by dmswart/CC 2.0


Monday, October 20, 2014

A Fall Train Ride Through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photo by Meg Hammil

Northeastern Ohio's  Cuyahoga Valley National Park is unique--created in the late 60's and early 70's to preserve nature areas along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, and to save this green space from rapidly expanding urban sprawl.  The 60's weren't good time for the river, which infamously caught on fire several times from all the accumulated chemicals and garbage being dumped into it (Although it was one of the chief inspirations for the 1972 Clean Water Act). Since then the river has been cleaned, fish and other wildlife have returned, and much of it is now accompanied by hiking trails and camping areas that are under federal protection.

One of the best ways to experience the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is to take a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad which is run by the Parks Service and makes round trips from Cleveland to Akron (and Canton in the summer). One can simply ride the train, or get off at the various visitors centers along the way. The train is best known for the Polar Express rides they offer in November and December, but for much of the year offer a variety of scenic trips and special events.  Last weekend our Girl Scout Troop took the train. It was excellent timing as the trees here are just beginning to reach their full color.

As you look these photos over, remember all this is within minutes of heavily populated Rust Belt.

Photo: Meg Hammil

Photo: Meg Hammil

Photo: Meg Hammil

Photo: Meg Hammil

Photo: Meg Hammil


Photo: Meg Hammil

There are wetland areas that have been restored as part of the park, with eagles and  herons now nesting in the Park (none decided to show up for my camera though)


Photo: Meg Hammil

Photo: Meg Hammil



Here is someone fishing in what was once one of the most polluted rivers in America.

Photo: Meg Hammil

Much of the Railroad runs along an old canal, and there is a Canal Museum where we took a stop. 

Demonstrations are offered showing how canal locks worked.





Photo: Meg Hammil


Photo: Meg Hammil


There are displays of typical goods hauled by canal boats.


And then we were back on the train again.

Photo: Meg Hammil


Photo: Meg Hammil


Photo: Meg Hammil

All in all, it was a great way to spend an afternoon. 
We hope to make the same trip next year, so we can explore more 
of our beautiful urban National Park.