Fields of Gold

For the summer solstice, I thought it appropriate to revisit a dreamy Californian day trip my sister and I took in April. Taking advantage of the mild spring weather, we drove about an hour out to Antelope Valley, through winding mountain paths and past flat, rural fields.

Our destination? The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, where our state flower was in super bloom. We’d missed the height of the bloom, but it was lovely walking through the hills and seeing the subtle colors revealed with each wind-ripple through the grasses and wildflowers. Poppy orange, of course, but also shades of green and silvery-whites, ashy-purples, the cheerful yellows of tickseed and goldfields.

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We hadn’t been since we were children, but I remember it had been so windy, my ears hurt. It was very windy this time, too, but seeing the golden poppies was worth it. (But I would highly recommend bringing a jacket, sunglasses, and maybe a bandanna or scarf to cover your face. Also, hang on to your hats.)

 

BLOOM

A gray winter, wet and fresh with
the wound of leaving, clung
damp to my shoulders.

I needed to shed it like old skin,
to awaken from cold slumber.

The snakes wrote the way into the hills
in the warm dirt, in the secret tongue of
the Mother murmured in the wind.

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I planted my heart in the long grasses,
soft against my bare calves,

watered it with joy and sorrow.
Let it steep in sunlight.

The earth returned to me
fields of gold.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

 


Supplements:
(Music) Stay Away | Rooney

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Alexander and Me

Two years ago today, the Sister and I were breathlessly seated in the very last row at the Public Theater – about to see Hamilton on stage for the first time. In honor of that anniversary, it seemed appropriate to share a little about my long-time history crush and the road that brought us to that room.

It took 5 years to get me into “the room where it happened” – or rather the house where Alexander Hamilton and his family once lived. The morning was bright and cold, and I had followed my friend uptown, navigating icy sidewalks until we arrived at the edge of St. Nicholas Park in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. Nestled in drifts of snow was a cheerfully yellow house built in the Federalist style. It was a Saturday at the end of February 2015, and it was the culmination of a trip I’d convinced my sister to take with me – flying across the country to a New York City still in mid-winter so that I could indulge my history geekery.

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The Sister marveling at the snow outside the Hamilton Grange.

An almost magical confluence of events and connections had led to this trip, involving a friend discovering my love of Hamilton and text messages about an upcoming off-Broadway musical that I honestly thought was not real. But the heart of this is my crush for the oft forgotten Founding Father, but that’s a story I have to the start to tell.

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Well-Met

For this Flashback Friday, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote in February for a monthly challenge using a photo or artwork as prompt. Since the challenge is over now and I wasn’t sure what to do with the poem, I thought I’d share it here. Plus, it’s National Poetry Month! Let’s celebrate!

The poem is also a throwback because it’s about winter and riffs on some of the feelings I had when I was in New York City in February 2015. Fountains were frozen, and there was snow on the ground but no clouds in the sky. I was wearing pants under my pants and regretting my lack of gloves, but I felt invigorated and content.

Well-Met

I love winter in the city
when everything is crisp and drawn in clean lines,
muted to neutral colors or classic
black and white –
timeless
like a photograph.
Something I can grasp
with my hands.

The sky descends to the earth,
gentle as a flurry, soft as first snow,
meeting at the horizon
in a lover’s kiss
like we did
all those winters ago.

I can’t remember when it was with precision,
only that it felt frozen and perfect
mirror-clear,
a framed moment under glass,
a promise
like a breath held.

met

P.S. For a look into my poetry process and other fun things, my friend Amparo has interviewed me here: STAYING AWESOME INTERVIEW SERIES: ALICE.

If you enjoyed this poem, consider leaving me a tip!

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*Thanks to Alz, Eva, and Tracey for their comments on this poem.
**Photos taken by Catherine.

Supplement:
(Music) Kiss Me Slowly | Parachute

Concord & The Revolution

On this day, April 19, 1775, two skirmishes occurred between the British Redcoats and colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. These events together are seen as the opening “battles” of the American Revolution. The confrontation that happened in Concord, in particular, would later be known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” a phrase coined by American poet and writer – and Concord native – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And in October 2015, I visited the place where it happened with the Sister during the last leg of my U.S. History vacation. Yes, I requested and planned a vacation with my friends around seeing Revolutionary History sites, and you’ll be hearing more about that in time on this blog. Concord wasn’t originally on my itinerary and is not a place I thought I’d see given that it’s a small town and a bit out of the way from Boston, but when my friend Tracey* offered her hospitality at nearby Lowell (another historical town – an old mill town, in fact) and a ride to Concord, I couldn’t say no. She knew to tempt me with Revolutionary and literary history (and apple cider donuts).

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How Nerds Travel (Pt 1) – Preparations

To tell you the truth, I’m a wanderer of convenience. My destinations are often based on whims, and once I’ve chosen the destination, I start digging in to see what geekery I can get up to. That said, there are destinations that call to me because of my nerd interests.

Greece, for example, has been on my travel bucket list since I was a kid because I was (and still am) obsessed with Classical Mythology. To tread through the ruins at Delphi and to stand atop the Acropolis are dreams of mine. The reason I keep getting drawn back to the northeastern United States is because of my love for the American Revolution. And then there’s stuff like – oh, I don’t know – San Diego Comic Con. 

So let’s talk how nerds make travels like the above happen.

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