Take Fifteen, then Tackle that Mountain

Tackle that mountain, I will,
but first let me rest.
Fifteen quiet clicks are all I need,
because I can’t climb feeling like this.
Exhausted thoughts and limbs
just need a brief escape,
and then those shoes with extra grip,
I will lace.
Lights off and eyes closed before
I begin my late afternoon ascent.
My body instantly melts into the mattress
and my mind, into the mysterious abyss.

Fifteen stretched into thirty.
Still too brief –
this siesta needs an encore.
A peaceful room records
automatic and rhythmic echoes –
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale …
My body sinking deeper and deeper,
releasing all tension, increased
by this nonstop 21st century.
My mind floating freely,
far removed from this
earthly existence.
A screaming alarm,
I wanted to ignore
but I chose to respond –
uniting my mind and body
once more.
My heavy eyes I opened
and my heavy feet,
I placed on the floor.

My mind and body shaky and unsure;
I took one step, then another,
then another,
then another …
Breathtaking splendor in all directions
soon made me forget
about my weighty hesitation.
My mind now alert,
grateful to be walking this path.
Thankful, it was, to have abandoned sleep
and to have settled back in
to a body that likes to resist.

Walking alone for stretches at a time.
I completely lost sight of you.
Isolation, except for the tiny figures I see
in a boat or a canoe.

We started our walk together,
but you quickly disappeared.
Slow steps –
too much to capture
through my lens.
Quick steps-
Eager you were
to keep up your pace.

Maybe I should keep up,
maybe the sun will set
and alone at the top I will be,
maybe there is a mountain lion
tracking my speed,
maybe, waiting and watching,
she crouches behind me.
Maybe I should just breathe
and enjoy the crunching of the rocks
beneath my feet
and the sound of the solo flyer,
flying higher than any peak.

I am so glad I didn’t let rest
steal my afternoon,
because if I had kept sleeping,
look at all my mind and body
would have missed.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem about hiking on what would have otherwise been a lazy afternoon. I am so glad I laced up my shoes and made it to the top! I caught up with my husband, who took this shot. 😏 I hope you have tackled your own mountains this week and that your climb has energized you. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

50 Life Stories Update: I am working on Story 46. When I complete this one, only four more to go. I am so close! 😊 50LifeStories.com

Pictures 1-9: Taken while hiking Yavapai Point Trail, Lake Pleasant, Peoria, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

She Weaves Color with Stardust

I am fortunate to have two visual artists in my life who lose themselves in their art and help others see where the expected ends and the imagination begins. One is my daughter, an art and technology major, and the other, is a former coworker and cherished friend. Both inspire me, every week if not every day, by their devotion to creation and their expressive ways.

Creating art is a translation of experiences and a way of communicating, in ways that spoken language isn’t able to. It’s a way of exploring feeling through color and a way of bringing in other realms and realities into our own.” – Sammi Lee

A Poem for visual creators~

She dances through my dreams

barely touching the invisible ground

before moving on to the next scene.

She weaves color with stardust as she floats –

transforming the gray images into technicolor

and the silent movie with heavenly notes.

The brush, her scepter, she wields with purpose and poise,

as her mind transcends, turning the chatter

and chaos in and around her into calming white noise.

The blank canvas charmed by her regal hand;

it waits ready as she captures captivating subjects

and recreates their otherworldly lands.

To the present and corporeal,

these scenes she brings forth,

giving others a chance to see

what can exist beyond static thoughts –  

beyond our limits of perceived reality.

In a form with countless variations,

lives a universe scattered with

fragmented and far-reaching lines,

faint and oppressive shadows,  

bold and dim hues,

sharp angles and soft curves,

and an abundant palette of colors,

that can be brushed together

into endless combinations –

that we simply define as art.

These free-spirited artists who ornament

my world and my walls,

have their individual reasons for doing so.

One is painting toward an extraordinary vocation,

guided by inspiration and higher education,

and One is painting a colorful path back to herself,

after dedicating her life to selfless service.

Different styles, pieces, and mediums they explore,

but, both create to release their expressive souls.

Diette, my friend and One expressive soul.

To view more art by Sammi Lee, visit https://www.instagram.com/hazeluminous.art/ or http://www.sammilee.com

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem written with two free-spirited artists in mind. My poem is dedicated to all creators who quiet the noise and let their brilliance soar. I hope your week has been full of color and imagination. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Image 1: Sammi Lee painting Mechammonite (acrylic on canvas) Image 2: Sammi Lee, Seshat (acrylic on canvas) Image 3: Sammi Lee, Paro Drip (digital) Image 4, 5, 6: Diette, (acrylic pour) Image 7: Diette @ DBG Image 8: Sammi Lee, Orchid Queen

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Love Can Scatter the Clouds

The veil that blew away in

the autumn wind

is blowing toward me again.

Just rest, close your eyes, sleep –  

it is there you will find some peace,

the floating shroud whispers its appeal.

Enticing and inviting, are these thoughts of repose.

More comforting than scabs being exposed –

forcing me to relive pain and sorrow.

Don’t resist, just collapse, give in

an escape is where you should begin,

the hovering cloth murmurs its deception.

I listened once, and that was just fine

because a rest is what was needed at that time,

but I am stronger now and ready to fight –

for my self, for my voice, for my life.

I stand firm, ready to face that enveloping cloud,

that hovers above, ready to enshroud.

After a hiatus, nourishment, and rest,

I am stronger, but I need more than strength

to face this approaching cloud and scatter it to shreds.

I need what we all need, a vital supplement –  

of which we don’t always get enough.

I need an infusion of love from dawn to dusk.

To fill my space with joy and drive the sadness away,

starting today, and lasting until the 29th of February,

I will begin a twenty-nine-day Love campaign.

Every odd day I will take a moment (or two)

to comfort myself with extra Love.

Whatever brings me joy, I will make the time to do.

Every even day I will wrap others with the Love,

that from my expanding heart will flow.

The more Love I give away, the more it will grow.

Turning these approaching clouds and their gloomy ways

into scattered fragments that enhance, not retract, Love’s far-reaching rays.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way.

That a month devoted to hearts and candy,

can sometimes betray.

Focusing on Love, when I want to retreat,

won’t be easy; I want to quit

before I even begin.

To stay accountable to my goal,

my Love shares I will post.

Spreading more Love with each scroll.

On this Love quest, I invite you to join,

turning my dream of an infused Love month,

into your own.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my introspective poem that addresses moving through sadness and helping others do the same. I hope your January gave you many moments of joy and your February delivers lots of love. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Picture 1: Crescent City, California Picture 2: View from hotel in Oakland, California Picture 3: Crescent City, California Picture 4: Lake Pleasant, Arizona Picture 5: Walking on the beach in California

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

A Pointless Poet Writes While the World Waits

I am the explosion of color before the setting sun disappears.

I am the final display of magnificence before twilight descends.

My color-splashed canvas is brief – a transitory existence.

One of a kind golden photos that are easily missed.

I am an ever changing portrait that continues to unfold –

beautiful and breathtaking, I am a sight to behold.

I am both a moment in time and every story ever told.

A twisted tapestry of light and elements refined.

Everything that we wish to be, exquisitely defined.

As the invisible brush and palette blend,

an awareness washes over me –

not one of melancholy, but guided urgency.

Before the brush and palette are put away a final time

I too will live vibrantly and outwardly –

living a life that is uniquely mine.

Stop. Wait a minute. Is this really what I should be doing

on a Friday, late afternoon?

Are these meandering lines a frivolous waste of fleeting time?

Surely, they are, and this pointless poet should just walk away –

to find a greater purpose, a greater plan for her day.

Many things left undone and many thoughts left unsaid

while my fingers and metaphoric mind continue their dance.

I should quiet the lyrical melody that keeps my Dell humming and

puts me in a temporary trance.

What is the point of blending words, rhythm, and rhyme?

After all, it’s music that only I can hear, a song that is only mine.

Instead of clicking the black keys and making words appear

I should slip on gloves and to my garden, start tending.

When I am done with that chore,

I should grab the mop and start scrubbing my floor.

If I start now, I will still have time to fold socks

before preparing dinner, with fresh veggies I must chop.

Those tasks, and more, like saving the world,

have a greater purpose, a greater plan for my day.

Much greater than the frivolous lines filling up this page.

Before I save the world,

I will grab those gloves, and that mop,

but first, just a few more lines I must type.

Because, I can’t stop the words from spilling out.

So, for now I will let the melody play and the words escape.

Words that have learned how to dance

over and around the shoulds and can’ts.

And that is how this pointless poet prefers it to be,

because long after our gardens die,

our floors need replacing,

and our socks need mending,

the world will still need saving.

So poets, let the quiet melodies continue,

the spilling of words.

Because frivolous lines, like a fleeting canvas,

will endure.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my reflective poem with a playful twist. I hope that your week has had a few unexpected (and delightful) moments. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post.

50 Life Stories” update: I am writing my way through Story #41. I am so close to my goal! Maybe unrealistic, but I am pushing to finish Story 50 by Valentine’s Day. ❤️

Picture 1: View from a cabin at Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 2: Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 3: High Street Shopping Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

In Balance and Beauty, I want to Believe

Symmetry and perfect vision are writing themes that began my year –

represented by four numbers that appeared, when 2019 rang a final chime.

Four numbers, marking a new decade, that I have written several times.

I write the first two familiar digits, then my fingers hesitate.

Holding my pen, or resting on keys, my fingers wait.

Waiting for a signal for the number that should come next …

concentration complete, I can now duplicate the pair.

Did my fingers stutter, did I accidentally repeat?

No, these are the numbers, two zero two zero, twenty twenty –  

a balanced beginning, simplistically revealing harmonious things.

I ponder that this balanced theme may be just a dream –

a fabrication of my mind.

My desired theme, may actually be

a mislabeled container that doesn’t reveal what is inside.

“Numbers never lie,” or so they say, but these digits

are deceptive; they made me want to believe.

That our 365 days, plus one leap,

would be a path of perfect vision and symmetry.

But I only need to click on the remote, or open a feed,

and see that these themes do not exist in everyone’s reality.

Blurred vision and imbalance are what I see,

when missiles are launched at the enemy,

and fires rage as residents and animals attempt to flee.

Marking the year, the passing of seasons,

the balanced digits are only that, not a universal theme.

If perfect balance was achieved, what a blessing it would be,

but for now, my paradigm exists only in the land of make-believe.

Realizing that balance can never survive,

when the goal is to destroy or devour,

as powerful governments, and raging fires try.

I walked away from my keyboard and my screens,

and set out to find another model of symmetry.

Delighted, I found it under me, around me, and above me.

Nature restored my hope in symmetry, if not humanity.

I stood in awe of her grandeur, her balanced harmony.

Diverse plants and animals coexisting, taking only what they need.

Not caring about the passing of a year, or an attached theme.

Nature – symmetry beautifully designed,

if we leave her alone and allow her to thrive.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem about seeking balance, beauty, and symmetry. I hope that you are finding balance and beauty in your world.

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Picture 1: Agave Plant, Desert Botanical Garden Picture 2: Charred tree, Havasu Riviera State Park, Arizona Picture 3: Saguaro Skeleton, Desert Botanical Garden Picture 4: Palo Verde, Desert Botanical Garden Picture 5: Small Barrel Cactus, Desert Botanical Garden Picture 6: Hiking Calderwood Butte Trail, Peoria, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Ushering in Vision and Symmetry

Adios 2019.

An uneven year you were,  

leaving me undone and barely passing your test.

A descending arrangement, 2019

A year that began with labored conversation and bedside visits.

A year that stretched me beyond my defined limits.

When the beginning of the year delivered a sad ending—

to the depths of darkness, I could have easily regressed.

I’ve been there before.

I know how sorrow and despair can quickly tear one’s soul.

But being consumed with sadness is not what came to pass.

Rather, I found inspired purpose and a renewed appreciation for life,

recognizing that there will come a day that will be my last.

In my rearview mirror, I watch it disappear.

That uneven and unsettled year.

I look forward with goals, desires, and dreams.

A new year stretched before me with secrets,

yet to be revealed.

Hello 2020.

An even year you are,

offering vision and symmetry at its best.

Balanced like a horizontal teetertotter, 2020

A year that began with a toast, 1920s décor, and smiles a plenty.

Me in a flapper dress and my date in a bow tie,

we celebrated with others, dressed in similar attire.

We ended the evening, back where we started the night-

in a historical hotel in downtown Chandler,

whose history, with ours, is intertwined.

A stroll to an underground speakeasy, revealed a cool vibe.

When the clock struck midnight, the quiet whispers came alive.

Adios 2019.

An uneven year you were,  

leaving me undone and barely passing your test.

Hello 2020.

An even year you are,

offering vision and symmetry at its best.

View from Westwing Mountain, taken January 1, 2020

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem about endings and new beginnings. I hope that you had a relaxing and enjoyable season and are recharged for the new year.

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Picture 1: Tortolita Mountains, Pinal County Picture 2: Westwing Mountain, Peoria, Arizona Picture 3: On the road to Lake Havasu, Arizona Picture 4: Lobby, Sheraton San Marcos, Chandler, Arizona Picture 5: 2020 Celebration, Gilbert, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Nonstop Rain, the Mighty Rogue River, and a Swimming Bald Eagle

Relentless rain transformed the park near my home into a lake.

I haven’t left my city all week and yet I feel as though I have been transported to another location, as I have watched the dry Sonoran Desert turn into an expansive wet landscape. A magical transformation, that has also been treacherous for many, with streets and homes flooding. The greater Phoenix area just saw three days of relentless rain. Quite a change for us considering we haven’t had significant rain in 270 days. Our 72-hour downpour that, in some places, delivered six months of our annual rainfall (average 4-8 inches), now feels like a distant memory with the sun drying streets, yards, and parks.

I enjoyed every drop of it. Maybe I can, because it is such a rare occurrence for us living in the Southwest. While out taking photos of our neighborhood park that was transformed into a lake, I closed my eyes and for a moment I imagined that I was in Oregon, walking through my daughter’s neighborhood and enjoying the cool breeze, an abundance of water, and the fresh crisp air that was enveloping me.

Feeling as though I had been transported to the Pacific Northwest, I was reminded of another magical misty moment that occurred when we were traveling seventy-five miles down the mighty Rogue River. My family and I spent the day on a speed boat tour. We saw some sights that can only be experienced in the wild and a few that we may never stumble upon again. Our knowledgeable captain and guide educated us on the history of the river and the wildlife in the area – life found in the river, on the land, and in the air. We saw osprey and bald eagle nests, deer swimming to the opposite shore, breathtaking channels, and whitewater rafters and kayakers.

Many wonders to behold in all directions, but two sightings captivated us, and they revealed the incredible natural cycle of life in the wild. The first sighting happened traveling downstream. Our captain noticed something odd floating near the shore. He slowed the jets and moved closer to the bobbing object. Closeness revealed both the size and identity of the object. The object was a deceased bald eagle that was floating with its fierce face pointing down and its massive wings stretched and lifeless. A sad moan rippled through the passengers as each realized what our captain had found. I did not take pictures. My response was to mourn, not take pictures of the loss of this magnificent creature. We waited by the shore while our captain radioed his findings to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials. Following protocol, the feathered creature would be examined to determine the cause of death, which hopefully did not involve intentional harm. Eventually we left the eagle, and continued downriver, bringing some sadness with us, and an appreciation for the fragile existence of those living in the wild.

Our second memorable sighting happened on our return voyage, travelling upstream. Once again, our observant captain noticed something floating in the water, and once again he slowed his jets to not frighten what lay in the distance. The object was another bald eagle, except this eagle was fully alive. It was swimming! Every passenger jumped up and ran to the edge of the boat to catch a glimpse of the swimming eagle. We watched in awe as the animal looked back at us and then carried on with its business, which was to bring its prey out of the water. The scene unfolded quickly, but I managed to capture some video that you can view below (scroll to bottom of blog for four videos). The captain told us that the bird would swim to the shore, eat, and then after drying off its wings, which might take some time, fly away. The captain was right on all accounts, except for the, taking some time to dry off its wings, comment. The eagle flew off quickly, leaving us unprepared to capture the moment, but it was glorious all the same, because the memory of that moment is etched in my mind.  

Bald eagle drying its wings. Sadly a plastic cup sits behind.

Balcony View Above the Rogue River

Flowing water below, streaming cars above.

Permeable liquid and solid steel,

both flowing fast and changing with each glance.

One shares union with divinity and carries secrets from the past.

The other was forged with modern hands and unlike the timeless river, will not last.

Diamond jewels appear along the crest, then twinkle and vanish.

Ancient rocks below are not moving, but changing all the same.

A verdant duck glides close to the water’s surface,

its evolved eyes searching and skimming.

A butterfly descends in an effortless tumble, guided by the invisible wind.

The arms of trees reach for each other, waving to the giver-of-life below.

The trees speak in a language that only the quiet among us can truly know.

The cool breeze carries seeds, leaves, and stories from the ages.

A moment suspended above The Mighty Rogue River,

offers a glimpse into the unceasing flow of creation.

Thank you to the life-giver and soul-nourisher – water. Thank you for giving us life and for enriching our lives.

I hope that my Saturday posts bring you a spark of inspiration at the end of your week and the beginning of your weekend, or whenever you choose to read my words. As I write this post, late Friday afternoon, I am so grateful to do so. I am wrapping up a week of annoying and frustrating life stuff, nothing serious, but the type of scenarios that make you want to pull your hair out, scream, punch, or all of the above. I am grateful that the week’s frustrations were resolved yesterday evening and now, what a blessing it is to take a moment and focus on that which inspires me, lifts me up, and brings me joy. It is my desire that some, or all of that extends to you.  

Photo taken at Kartchner Caverns State Park 20-year anniversary (11/16)

If you are reading my words early Saturday morning (MST), I will be beating the sunrise and climbing Sunrise Mountain while working as a trail host at the Copper Hills “4 Peak Challenge” Hike (#CH4Peak). Please send me and the hikers and trail runners good vibes as we make our way up the mountain.

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to follow my blog. For optimum viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. However you choose to look at my posts and pictures, thank you! Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Hawaii interview update: The inspiring family of five who recently moved to Hawaii are very busy getting settled and, well, being a family of five. I hope to complete their interview and story soon.

© 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.