There are many approaches when it comes to travel. Some folks like the big cruise ships. The Jet Set, well, flies off to chic-chic hot spots – and skips everything in between. For more down-to-earth vagabonds, there are camper-trailers and the like, and a whole range of campgrounds geared to their needs. Add to that bus tours and trains or the ol’ family car or even a bicycle or motorcycle.

And the destinations can be just as varied – from big cities, foreign countries, mountains or seaside, resort or casino, dude ranch or nature preserve, family or friends.

That’s even before we throw in factors like snow (either to escape or use for skiing) and sunshine.

My preference leans toward the back pack in one way or another. When I was “on the road” covering 14 states in sales, I used to call my valet bag a businessman’s back pack, for good reason. On my own, I’m likely to be using my sleeping bag, too, so you get the picture.

Maybe now that I’m retired I’ll even get back to some backpacking in the nearby White Mountains. We’ll see. I learned the lessons well as a Boy Scout.


Back Pack 1To go further, click here.


One of the biggest lessons I carry from backpacking as a kid is the importance of traveling light. Take no more than you need. Be resourceful.

In those days, I should add, everything weighed more than today’s high-tech, lightweight gear and dehydrated food packets.

On our week along the Appalachian Trail, I was a 12-year-old hauling a 60-pound pack in what seemed endless uphill marathons.

It’s a lesson you don’t easily forget, even when you’re going by airplane.


Back Pack 1To learn more, click here.


They’ve become a kind of signature for our place every summer, even though it’s been a number of years since we’ve planted any. The neighbors tell us how much they enjoy the sunflowers. They’ve become self-seeded, no doubt enhanced by our bird feeders.

As for all of the goldfinches, now that’s another matter! Just look at that bright yellow on bright yellow …


I still miss the Douglas firs and the Western red cedars. In their maturity, they stand tall – not quite to redwood stature but still impressive, especially when they’re massed together or the clouds roll through the branches.

Close your eyes and let the aroma present another unforgettable impression.

Maybe off in the distance of night you’ll hear the singing.


Mountain 1

For more, click here.


Dwelling at the edge of a large Indian reservation, I found it impossible to ignore a vibration in the earth itself of their spirit.

Had I remained there a few more years, I no doubt would have collected turquoise-and-silver jewelry, the work of many Native masters.

Sometimes I still see their inspiration in the stars, though. Especially on a clear night. A very clear night, at that.


Mountain 1To see how it’s inspired my collection of poems, click here.


I’m tempted to say there are two sides to the mountain – a wet one and a dry one. Or even the side you see and the one you don’t. Or what’s ahead of you and what’s behind.

But none of that’s quite accurate.

You could, for one thing, be standing on the summit.

Or you could realize it’s one continuing side, like a Mobius strip, to explore. Even in your mind.


Mountain 1For a set of related poems, click here.


As I said at the time …

It’s a quirky process, this exercise of seeking homes for personal work – the reactions of editors and readers so idiosyncratic and varied that the same piece can be considered too intense, by one, and not raw and bloody enough, by another. I can never predict who will accept what, no matter how long I’ve known a publisher or journal.

Contributor’s note? Just say I hope soon to be tent camping again.