Sunday, December 21, 2014

a snowdrop by the road today bowed gracefully - celebrating the solstice with a walk in the stinchcomb wilderness

Celebrating the Solstice with a Walk in the Stinchcomb Wildnerness
Oklahoma City
December 21, 2014


WINTER, a sharp bitter day
the robin turns plump against the cold
the sun is week
silver faded from gold
he is late in his coming and short in his stay
Man, beast, bird and air all purging, all cleansing, 
earth already purified awaits the rite of spring
Her bridal gown a virgin snow and frosts in her hair
A snowdrop by the road today bowed gracefully 
and high upon the wing up in the sparkling nothingness, 
a lone bird began to sing
Can gentle spring be far away?


WINTER - by Tommy Makem

Thursday, December 18, 2014

zacatal ranch cemetery

Zacatal Ranch Cemetery
Hidalgo County, Texas
Zacatal Ranch was located in the Llano Grande Land Grant allocated to Juan Hose Hinojosa in 1790 by the King of Spain. Named for a small tribe of Tejones y Sacatiles Indians who inhabited the area, it was the largest settlement of the Hinojosa family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

incidents of travel through the south texas coastal plains


Out of the paleozoic muck rises a stunning, subtropical and very much endangered ecosystem of salt marsh, sabal palm, thornscrub and spartina grassland habitat that is home to such exotic endemics as ocelots, green jays, jaguarundis, tropical kingbirds, chacalacas and american alligators.

The Road at Chacalaca Bend
Los Fresnos, Texas

Queen Butterfly
Danaus gilippus

The Inn at Chacalaca Bend
Rio Grande Valley
Los Fresnos, Texas

Tropical Kingbird
Tyrannus melancholicus



Green Jay
Cyanocorax yncas


Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge









Sunday, December 14, 2014

unveiled

French Lake
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Winter raised its ugly fist early in this part of the world - record breaking cold slammed into Oklahoma mid-November. The harvest of fall color was frozen in its midair reverie and left hanging lifeless on the trees like worn prayer flags still daring the soul to swoon to the seasonal and now frozen beauty.

Fog lifting in the Charon Garden Wilderness
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Fortunately that polar mass ushered in an early winter whose bark proved worse than its bite - it has been wet and warmish in the days since and two of my friends and I could not pass up an opportunity to hike in the Wichita Mountains as part of a road trip stop along the way to a wedding in Austin.

Add caption

We slipped out of Medicine Park in the early dawn under the veil of fog so thick we could only see 100 yards.

But once unveiled - the five mile hike toward Treasure Lake in the Charon Garden Wilderness proved to be the most magical of hikes.


Independently of each other, we've hiked all over the world. As childhood friends and former classmates who now travel and hike together - we've renamed ourselves the Fab Five and have most recently rendezvoused in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park and Joshua Tree National Monument in California for some absolutely spectacular hiking.


But nothing prepared us for the exquisite beauty that was revealed once the veil of fog lifted on this incredibly unique mountain range. We've traveled long and far only to discover that some of the richest beauty in the world is right here in our own backyard.


We said our goodbyes to this sacred part of the world and quickly headed due south to Austin to meet up with the two other friends that collectively complete the Fab Five.


And it was the beautiful daughter of one of the Fab Five whose marriage we were celebrating this weekend in Austin. I have to admit it is an incredibly rich feeling, at this juncture in my life, to be able to experience such exquisite beauty -- be it a blushing bride or a breathtaking landscape -- among the comfort of the equally exquisite beauty of childhood friends.

Monday, December 8, 2014

negative space




Negative space
is that in which you are not
the longing and angst
for your presence
enlightenment comes as a realization
that negative space has a value
in the algorithmic of everyday life
quotidian as existence can be
the glow on your skin
amidst the shadows of night
the flicker in your blue eyes
deep as a midnight dream
reflecting a sea of stars
I sum up, subtract, divide and multiply
each sensation when in your nearness
until the result is infinitum
no way to count
or account.
Miguel Angel G.
San Diego, December 2014

Photo:  TR Ryan ©December 2014 - North Canadian River, Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma City

Sunday, December 7, 2014

travels along the north canadian river in early winter; plates 1-3

Plate 1
East of the North Canadian River
Stinchcomb Wildlife Reserve - Oklahoma County


Plate 2
North Canadian River, Oklahoma County

Plate 3

Sunday, November 30, 2014

relentless pursuits

Sunrise - Edgemere Park
Oklahoma City
November 30, 2014
Despite the relentless pursuit of winter, Autumn hangs on one more day in its colorful and blustery bliss. Soon these panes will be like prison bars keeping me inside and dreaming of sun-filled days in  distant places yet to come as my passport twitches between my fingers.

It won't be long before the trees replace their leaves with the froth whipped up by the ever-present howling winds from the west and north.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

apollo's chariot

Sunrise - La Mamounia Hotel
Marrakech, Morocco
November 13, 2014
Passing through the Levant, where I spent some many wonderful days in Jordan's warm grasp, over the pyramids of Egypt, across the shores of Tripoli, lighting the Tunisian coast and Algeria's Saharan desert, Apollo's chariot streaks over the final stretches of North Africa and is now on the way to my slumbering and freezing friends back home.

Sending you my 75 degrees from Marrakech with love!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

room with a view: riad oulaya off the djemma el fna in marrakech

Riad Oulaya
Djemma el Fna, Marrakech
November 2014
It's late morning before the rising sun reaches the windows in the back alleyways of Marrakech's walled medina. Even in the most out-of-the way, unexpected places - a mesmerizing convergence of color, texture and design constantly enchant and delight the senses. Photographed from a guest room in Riad Oulaya near the infamous Jemma el Fna square.









PHOTO DETAILS
Date Taken:
Nov 8, 2014
Location:
Marrakesh, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco
Camera:
Apple iPhone 5
Focal Length:
4.12 mm
Shutter Speed:
1/137 sec
Aperture:
f/2.4
ISO:
50

self portrait with the barber of souk el kabir

Self Portrait with the Barber of Souk el Kabir
Jemma Fna Square
Marrakech, Morocco

Thursday, October 16, 2014

i have always loved the desert

Sunrise at Wadi Rum
On tour with National Geographic Expeditions in Jordan
October 15, 2014


I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

through the portal of time: jordan's ancient city of jerash

The Ancient Roman City of Jerash
toward the Syrian Border,  Jordan
October 2014
It was so unexpected to see this nearly intact Roman settlement rise up out of a remote, tranquil valley only 45 minutes from the bustling capital city of Amman.  Jerash is said to to be the most complete example of a provincial Roman city to be seen anywhere.

In its thousands-of-years lifespan, this spot has also been a Neolithic settlement, an Early Bronze Age village, and part of the Nabotean Kingdom. The founding of the city is sometimes attributed to Alexander the Great or to Ptolemy II. Emperor Hadrian wintered here in 129-130 AD. Its both ancient and legendary and a definite must see as part of any visit to Amman.

Check-out the rest of the photos in this 33 second slide show below:

video
Photographic montage of the ancient city of Jerash in Jordan

Sunday, October 12, 2014

room with a view: from amman in the hashemite kingdom of jordan

 The city of Amman, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, as seen from the Le Meridien Hotel.



Monday, September 22, 2014

on sacred ground





Cache Creek through the Narrows
Wichita Mountains - Oklahoma
September 2014
Sacred land to several aboriginal tribes


I stray onto sacred ground
The resting place of souls bygone.
Solace is what I seek,
But there is no solace
No succor to be found
Not here among broken, fallen stones.
Nor bent, wilting trees.
I search for you under the moon
Thoughts of you race through my mind
Feelings better left unspoken.
This was our place
The fertile earth from which the black rose of our love took seed.
We exchanged blood amidst these graves.
Transfused our darkest thoughts and dreams.
It is here too that our love died.
A fitting place for something that is no more 


-grim blackheart

Sunday, September 21, 2014

some rivers i've known

Crossing the River at Lome
 Togo, West Africa
February 2012

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Langston Hughes

Saturday, September 20, 2014

i gave it back to the sea



Monday I found a boot –
Rust and salt leather.
I gave it back to the sea, to dance in.

Tuesday a spar of timber worth thirty bob.
Next winter
It will be a chair, a coffin, a bed.

Wednesday a half can of Swedish spirits.
I tilted my head.
The shore was cold with mermaids and angels.

Thursday I got nothing, seaweed,
A whale bone,
Wet feet and a bad cough.

Friday I held a seaman's skull,
Sand spilling from it
The way time is told on kirkyard stones.

Saturday a barrel of sodden oranges.
A Spanish ship
Was wrecked last month at the Kame.

Sunday, for fear of the elders,
I smoke on the stone.
What's heaven? A sea chest with a thousand gold coins.

George Mackay Brown: Selected Poems 1954-1992

Monday, August 18, 2014

ode to an old barn

Ode to an Old Barn
Washington County, OH
August 18, 2014

It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell--as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope; and whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

 from Charlotte's Web - E.B White

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