Three Men in a Boat – Oddquain poetry

During one of the moments from our lake respite a few weeks ago, my husband and I sat on the shore, gazing at the glorious sunrise while also watching three men in a boat float peacefully in the far distance. A poem was stirring but hadn’t materialized, and then I came across the Oddquain poetry format. So, below are my thoughts from this blissful morning, penned in the syllabic format of Oddquain…


Oddquain is a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of seventeen syllables distributed 1, 3, 5, 7, 1 in five lines.

Lake
early morn
cold air touches warm
water, steam rises, halo
calm

They
hear whispers
the lake is calling
geese witness from shore, unseen
truth

Luck,
will it change?
floating on glass-like
surface, poles dangle with lures
bite

ball
of golden
tones ascents, bringing
possibilities with its
glow

Lauren Scott ©
Sierra Mountains

Thank you for reading, and here is my latest book, More than Coffee.
“In the midst of all the strife and ugliness and turmoil “out there” in our world, comes lilting lovely prose and poems reminding us that the simple things of life – a cup of coffee, a hug from a child, sweetheart romance, hugging a tree, walking through the forest – these symbolize the reality of most of our lives. P. Wight

The Friends We Meet in Unexpected Places

We spotted him on the still water, appearing to be content resting on the surface smooth as satin, even posing for a few photos as I clicked away. Although I’d say he was a bit camera shy with his backside facing us! Even so, we thanked our quiet, and seemingly, curious friend, watching us intently, turning his neck now and then to get a better look. And while no feathered company was in sight, we didn’t think he was lonely, choosing to be in this stunningly beautiful place for a purpose without distractions. Perhaps he was standing guard, protecting his mate nearby. Or pondering where his journey might take him next. So, by respecting his privacy, we gently stepped away, hiking in the opposite direction. Later in the afternoon, following a dip in the lake, we sat back in our chairs, the calm water mesmerizing us into a wonderful repose. And there he was again, our new friend gliding by but pausing when he saw us – most likely with perfect intention to visit so that he could say goodbye before heading to his next destination.
Isn’t it special, the friends we meet in unexpected places?

Lauren Scott ©

Thank you for stopping by to read this story about the wonders of nature, and by the way, I have ventured into the world of Instagram @baydreamerwrites.

https://www.instagram.com/baydreamerwrites/

and created a new Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BaydreamerWrites.

So, if you would like to connect on these platforms as well, click on the links above. It would be great to see you on these social media networks.

Have a wonderful day!
Lauren
❤️

Sky Canvas

The beginning…
Highlighted
Slipping, slipping, slipping…

Down by the lake, evening emerges with the fragrance of tranquility. The shore wears nothing but a few rocks scattered in its sand. A father and son hold fishing lines in their quiet space, hoping their luck will change. A lone sailboat glides by, pausing for the unfolding. An older man with hair the color of an egret leans against a stump. The clouds understand we wait with enthusiasm. To our naked eyes, their smooth edges have been highlighted as though the sun outlined each of their fluffy shapes with a fine yellow highlighter. Occasionally, trout jump out of the still water, unable to contain their excitement.

Then suddenly the sky displays an explosion of color: tangerine, salmon, canary yellow, brighter, and brighter with every second. We are transported to a dreamlike place where a painter gently swishes her brush back and forth on the immense backdrop, to the left and right, repeating with grace of an orchestra leader. Artwork in the sky. Can a presentation of the sun slipping behind the cottony clouds be so spectacular? The sun knows it is time for the moon to shine.

Lauren Scott ©

Sierra Serenity

My husband, Matt, and I experienced one of the best times at our favorite campground in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We hiked on local trails, around the lake, swam, and simply relaxed in camp. Our campsite was lakeside and the water level was high, so the walk down the path to the sandy shore took about fifteen seconds. We’ve had similar sites before in the past, but this one was special because we could see that stunning body of water from every angle. We took in the serenity, putting a halt to the go, go, go mindset. It was nice to watch small sailboats, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards cruise the lake. Inspiration to write in my faithful journal that always accompanies me on our wilderness trips happened immediately. Our first sunset was the most spectacular sunset we have ever watched unfold, and I will post about it soon. I’m sharing a handful of the many, many photos below that we took:

For all you Ornithologists, we saw an abundance of birds such as an American Bald Eagle (incredible), a Scrub jay, California Quail, Finches, Diving Ducks, and Canadian Geese. Other creatures piqued our interest: a tiny lake frog and a bullfrog the size of a softball, lizards, squirrels, and chipmunks. Although my husband had hoped to see a black bear!

And below is a poem that formed on…

The First Morning

Our eyes open to chirps of our feathered campers
from high above in the fir trees, and occasionally,
we hear the rustle of a skittering squirrel.
The night before, every creature became silent

as darkness sank into the evening.
But in morning, when darkness has faded

and sunlight shines over the lake,
we walk the few steps down the trail

to the still water, nestle into our camp chairs
side by side, and slowly sip our caffeine indulgence.
We listen. Peace in the uttermost sense of the word.
Beautiful clouds drift by, prompting us to stroll upon them,

feel their softness, but then they move with the grace of a swan.
Ripples in the sand. Artwork in crystal-clear water.
And this is when we watch morning happen…

Lauren Scott ©
I hope you find your place of tranquility…like we did. ❤️

A Fine Discovery

Sitting on the shore
feeling inconsequential
in its vast presence,
the surface sparkles
like a rare jewel
just discovered

Dragonflies entertain
like tiny jets
Damselflies with their
blue, iridescent wings
gracefully flit about
relatives by nature


Tiny threads of peace 
weave into the marrow
of our souls

A great fortune
to play a part with nature
in this moment of existence –
to discover such a gem

Lauren Scott (c)

From Fabulous to Flames

We’re home now after another wonderful lake adventure and so grateful to have had blue skies before they turned hazy. Our hearts are heavy; praying for all those affected by over 600 wildfires burning up and down the state of CA, and for the firemen and first responders. Yesterday, the air was very smoky, the worst yet, and the advisory continues through Wednesday. The surroundings are a bit eerie. As more dry lightning is possible for today, our bags are packed because at the top of our street is dry open space. So, we’d rather be prepared in the event that hill ignites. It’s frightening, and I can’t imagine what others have endured who have had to evacuate, who have lost their homes or loved ones. And then think of the animals affected. It’s heartbreaking. We’re keeping all who are in the path of fires in our hearts. In the meantime, we swam in the refreshing lake, relaxed in our site, and did some hiking. It was great to get away, but also good to be home safely. Hope you enjoy these photos (only a few of the many we took; I can’t help but take too many)…

Stay safe wherever you are!
Lauren 💗💗💗

Alluring Altitude

Not a sound can be heard
Except an occasional chirp
And the wind’s whisper
Gliding through evergreens
Protecting from sun’s burning rays

Peace flows through veins
Its gentle movement calms the mind
As fragrance renews all senses


With my love beside me,
Gratitude embodies my heart
Together we stay mesmerized
Sitting on the shore
Watching the dragonflies
And reveling in the melody of silence


Lauren Scott (c) 2020

We’re off to the lake next week, so I’ll be disconnected from technology.
It’ll be good to get away and unwind in the fresh mountain air.
I’ll see you when I return, and in the meantime, I want to give a Big
“Thanks” to all of you who pop in a regular basis and to those who
visit now and then. All I can hope for is to write a poem or story
that resonates with you, so that you’ll have a special take-away
each time you leave. Thank you, Thank you! I appreciate you so
much! Stay well, stay happy, stay healthy! Love, Lauren
💗💗💗


Grieving with a Backpack On

The inevitable is happening – turning sixty is only a few years away, so what better time to experience a new adventure? When my children were young, my husband, Matt, often took them backpacking, teaching them about his lifelong passion. I, on the other hand, had no interest whatsoever to carry a pack on my back. But since birthdays seemingly arrive faster and getting older is a sure thing, I was inspired to try something new. When the summer of 2017 came around, I told him I was ready to wear that pack and leave my footprints on the trail. I had enjoyed listening to my family’s tales of their past trips, but now I longed to be the narrator of my own stories.

Their trips were weekend get-a-ways, and although Matt had gone on two 50-milers in the past, these short outings were a subtle way of introducing backpacking to his family and much more manageable for his family. And so, my first trip was on a weekend in July, backpacking in Point Reyes not far from home. After pulling into the parking lot on a Friday afternoon, we “suited up” and I almost toppled over, feeling a bit like Lucille Ball in one of her slapstick scenes – although I managed to find balance eventually. 

When we found the trailhead, I had to document this new beginning with some photos, then we were on our way. The trail was fairly easy with a few minor inclines and dips. I tried to enjoy the scenery, but I was fixated on each step in my what-felt-like “moon” boots. The bulkiness took some getting used to, but it was humbling to carry everything I needed on my back. After just over an hour, we arrived at Coast Camp, sweaty and slightly dirty. Our site was nothing fancy, but it came with a picnic table which proved to be convenient. We set up the tent and made our wilderness bedroom as comfortable as possible. The trip was off to a great start…

We hiked around local trails, reveling in the beauty of the wildflowers – shades of yellows, reds, pinks, and purples – while the bees serenaded. We trekked down to the beach a few times where the temperature had dropped and the wind lost its temper. The ocean inhaled then exhaled, greeting us with a palpable roughness as if to say, “Don’t you dare come in.” We wouldn’t dare, but the sight was beautiful just the same. After trekking back to our campsite, we had a reaffirmed respect for the ocean.

Our dinners were convenient consisting of freeze-dried backpacking food such as beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings. Occasionally, we indulged in our favorite desserts – raspberry crumble or apple crisp. All we had to do for hot meal preparation was heat water, pour, stir, wait a few minutes, and dinner was ready. In the morning when the sun rose, we had oatmeal and that cup of coffee, which hit the spot. Fruit, cheese, nuts, and sometimes, a little salami and crackers served as lunch. We definitely did not lack in nutrition or hunger.

We appreciated moments of sitting together in silence, reading, enjoying nature’s entertainment, or watching other hikers pass by. Everyone offered a familiar wave as though we were all members of the same backpacking club out for a weekend. Other than an unexpected allergy attack, the trip was a success. When Sunday morning arrived, knowing it was time to pack up and leave, I was sad that this amazing experience was coming to an end, yet I was eager for a hot shower. The drive home was picturesque on the quiet country roads with only the cows lifting their heads to see us as we drove by. We drifted into silence, absorbing the wonderful adventure we had together. A few days later, we jumped into the planning stages for our next adventure to Shealor Lakes in the Sierra for the following month.

Sometimes though, plans do not always work out. Soon after our July trip, my dad’s health suddenly weakened. He began having heart trouble, which initiated a much-needed hospital visit. Dad was ninety-seven years old, but surprisingly, he had never suffered through any major health issues. My family had no reason to believe he would not get the chance to blow out ninety-eight candles in two months. The only pain we knew he felt was missing Mom – his wife of sixty-seven years who had passed away five years prior. Dad was poked, prodded, and x-rayed, and after only three days in the hospital, he peacefully passed away.

It was all so strange – losing my dad, and at the same time having planned the trip. After talking to my sisters, they encouraged us to stick with our original plans. “It’s what Dad would want,” they said. I was unsure, but after much thought, we took my sisters’ advice. Yet, the slight guilt of going while it was all so fresh could not be ignored. If Dad was still in the hospital, I would have stayed, but he was at peace now, no longer suffering. In some otherworldly way, I felt his approval.

We began our four-hour drive a few days after Dad’s passing. After arriving, we unloaded our stuff and “suited up” just like on our first trip. While we prepared and packed, as well as on the drive, Matt repeated to me, “It’s only a mile and a half to the lake!” What he failed to mention was that the hike entailed an ascent over a huge granite dome. I stared at the dome that I was about to embark on and became anxious because I did not feel physically prepared. But Matt’s confidence in my ability was apparent, so we began the uphill hike. What was I going to do, back out now?

After hiking for forty-five minutes, we reached the top, and when I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, quenched our thirst and souls with water that tasted better than ever, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I felt relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and rested on a nearby log. I was so overwhelmed that I did not fight the tears. I let them roll down my cheeks with purpose. I cried for the loss of Dad and I cried for having completed this hike that I did not think I was capable of. I would have wiggled out graciously had I known the details much earlier.

Once the last tear had fallen, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water was a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough, but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

This Sierra adventure provided a chance for hiking and granite-rock hopping. The sun was our alarm clock, bidding us good morning and night as it rose and faded behind the hills. In the evenings, we sat mesmerized by the campfire’s dancing flames and were enchanted by the dark, star-sprinkled sky. No matter where we explored, magic wrapped us in its warm embrace. This trip challenged my mind, body, and soul. I gained insight into my deepest being, learning not to limit myself. This amazing destination and experience proved to be the best medicine.

I approached that summer with enthusiasm for a new adventure to backpack and I am proud of my ascent over the granite dome. I often wonder if my grieving process would have been more difficult had I not agreed to go on the second trip. I will never know, but I believe I made the right choice at a time when my life unfortunately shifted in a hard-to-process direction. I thanked my sisters for encouraging us to go; their intuition knew it would be the right thing to do. Now, I can honestly say that my footprints are embedded in Point Reyes and the Sierra, and I am grateful to finally be my own narrator. I know Dad would be proud and I can not wait for a new story to emerge on the horizon.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020