Archive for the ‘My trips and travels’ Category

A Colorado Autumn

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Awaiting the adventure just ahead

A highway through the state of Utah on the way to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Photo taken while on a trip in August, 2013

 

If the path you choose

seems an arduous journey

look for adventure

 

around the corner.

It might be just the thing that

brings you sweet reward.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes; Things I’ve learned along the way. Looking back on the fun and adventure of summer vacations I remember our kids saying all the time while taking road trips, “Are we there yet?” That line later made its way into movie and TV scripts with the kid asking the same question over and over. Even now we can get impatient in life not just with the literal trips we take, but metaphorically speaking of the long journey in life of our chosen path, and it may seem it will take forever to achieve. Some will have their rewards and others  may not. But, a chance taken is sometimes worth the risk. How we travel and whether we carry baggage along the way often determines its success.

In the eye of the storm

Lighthouse in New England

 

Waves buck, lashing the sides of the boat. Wind thrashes the sea with every gust.

Did they get my SOS? There’s too much static. No contact. No connection.

The black of night pervades the skies. Rocks emerge, scraping across the hull.

I can’t see them, but feel them, tearing, ripping the keel.

A soft cone-shaped light rises from the mist. The lighthouse?

The fog lifts to reveal a bright moon. I hear the sound of a clanging bell.

I sense a presence, calming, peaceful.

The sea is stilled inside the storm that rages all around.

I am safely home.

________________

Footnotes; the above story is fiction, unrelated to any incident or event. The photo is one I took while on vacation in the New England states (U.S.) years ago. Because we covered so many miles and territory on this trip by car I cannot remember the exact location of this particular lighthouse. We took pictures of several of them where we went. It was an awesome trip, beautiful to see and visit.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Another place we call ‘home’

 

DSCF0863

DSCF0885DSCF0875

DSCF0887DSCF0865DSCF0884

A young deer near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado

Bright and wild they grow

raising petals to the sun

dotting mountain sides

where game graze and run

through green fields of early dew

and nature thrives where abides

all things living, old and new.

It is a place where deer roam

the peaks on which the mountain stands;

Deercrest, a place we call, ‘home.’

__________________________

Footnotes: Deercrest is the name we gave our four-acre lot of mountain property located 32 miles northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado in a mountain resort community called Glacier View Meadows.  We have had our property there for over twenty years now and though we live in Loveland this is our other ‘home’ where we love to get away, and  enjoy the quiet and peaceful mountain air and rugged,  natural environment.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Revisiting old favorites in digital form


The Colorado River runs between towering cliffs and sandstone bluffs.

It winds around meandering through like a Turquoise vein.

Mesas and plateaus rise above scrub brush plains.

Peering down into the depths’ steep massive canyon walls

to the aqua river’s shore are canoes and kayaksers

that push away with paddle and ore.

_____________________

Footnotes; the above photo is one taken while on a trip to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. When I took this photo I could not get the kayakers in view as they looked so tiny at the bottom of the ravine. These scenic sites are phenomenal wonders in their natural unaltered state.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Moose hunting in Colorado- with a camera

 

DSCF0847

DSCF0855

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF0835

HPIM2341

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a recent trip across Cameron Pass, (elevation 10,000 + ft.) in the northwest part of our state we spotted these two moose along the road and took these pictures. The moose on the left is  a young male, his antlers still  small, but distinct.  The  moose on the right is a female. There is an estimated 1,700-2.200 moose population in Colorado, but they are hard to find or detect when hunting or looking for them as they blend into their surroundings. So, we were very happy to have found these two grazing near the road. We have taken these day trips several times and this was the first time we have found any, so it made the trip all the more exciting.

The bottom left photo shows the marshland, a prime habitat area where moose are often found. It is located near the town of Walden where we stop, and eat at this very quaint, little cafe. Walden is a small town, typical of a mountain hunters’ community and fun place to stop and explore before heading back home to Loveland.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Stories

Misc. and family 1488Misc. and family 1489

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley and Hampton

 

He scuffed along in prospector’s boots, plaid flannel shirt, and dungarees made of the stock of heavy blue denim. Too many years in the harsh elements had turned his skin the color of rust and as tough as dried apricots. The rare nuggets or elusive gold vein was all but non-existent now. He’d seen little of it. The sun bore down on him with a vengeance from the 10,000 foot Sasquatch range.  He lifted the felt brimmed hat from his head and wiped his shirtsleeve across the sweat beads on his forehead.

His burro, Hampton, coarse tufts of stiff hair sticking up from his neck clopped alongside him dutifully carrying the old miner’s picks, shovel, tin pans and ax dangling to one side of the mounted leather girdle. The noise could be heard clear up the mountain side as they traversed their way down steep hills.

“Hampton, I think we’ll camp here for the night. I’ll find us a jack rabbit or something for supper.”

He noticed a rundown old store from the road. It looked deserted, desolate. There were no stirrings of life save the deer and small game. He pulled the shotgun from its scabbard on the burro’s pack and led him along the overgrown weeded path into town. The wind roared through the canyon, ricocheting off the peaks. He didn’t notice anything unusual at first. There were so many Chinook winds that came round in late spring howling so loud they sounded like the growl of a hungry bear on the scent of prey.

Tendrils swirled about where wind gusts kicked up dirt and gravel. Some stopped, forming dust clouds emanating sounds like boards rattling, or shovels clanging. Raucous laughter could be heard from some near place. The wind currents carried the sound as it echoed down the meadow to the dry streambeds, and back again as if settling near the old store.

“Welcome,” came a booming voice.

Harley’s hair and beard bristled. He nervously scanned everything in sight afraid of what they might see as he rolled his eyes from side to side.

“Hampton! You hear that? I could’ve sworn I heard a… ” And, then he did. Again.

The old burro raised his head, ears flicking, as if swatting a fly.

“Welcome, newcomer,” came the sound louder, closer, all around him. It roared through the valley sounding like multiple voices, one after the other.

He would have made a hasty retreat from the valley back up the hillside if not so tired and weary.

“What… are you? Where are you?” the old miner yelled back in a shaky voice.

“I’m right here. Can’t you see? Oh, I’m sorry. I forget sometimes those who are not like us cannot see us. I’m the town mayor. Let me introduce myself. My name is Grayson.”

“Mayor of what? What is this place?”

“It’s called Thornbush, named for the founder of this here mining community. He sometimes walks about checking on things, making sure things are done properly for all the newcomers. We have a nice cabin available if you want to check in, or just rest a spell before sojourning on your way, and supplies in the store. What can I get for you?”

“I can’t even see you. How do you expect me to find a cabin?”

“It’s here, right down this road. I’ll take you there. It’s been years since we’ve had any newcomers in these parts. Folks just want to hurry on by, not stop, though we try to make them feel at home.”

The air suddenly felt cooler as dust clouds swooped down, swirling around him until he felt caught in the storm that blew from all directions. Unable to move or see which way to run, they suddenly released their grip, and Harley tightened his hold on Hampton’s reins as he brayed again, resisting the pull of his owner.

“You said your name is Grayson? Where are you? What are you, a ghost?”

“Well, I guess some would call me that, but I don’t like to scare people off and it doesn’t sound like a good job description for the mayor of a mining camp, does it? But, I take my job seriously and it isn’t easy running a town like ours. What is your name? We like to record our visitors’ names in our town’s register.”

“It’s Harley. My burro’s name is Hampton.”

“Well, Harley and Hampton, welcome to Thornbush. Now, let’s get you settled where you will be more comfortable.”

They passed a cemetery on the way to the cabin. The dust clouds moved about the cemetery, hovering over graves, the sound of shovels hitting against the stones. The old miner’s hair stood up on end. Hampton brayed again. “hee-haw. hee-haw.

“Who are all those buried there?”

“Just other miners who stopped one day, and decided to stay.”

“What happened to them?”

“Well, they remained, and lingered on until their time came. God bless their souls, and rest their bones. They wanted to belong, and after all we are an obliging bunch.”

One hundred years later a traveler happened upon the old mining camp with its collapsing buildings, saloon and cabins nearby. He heard the braying of a donkey somewhere and entered the rundown vacated store with the mind to just wander around and explore. He pulled out his camera to take some shots when a dust cloud settled, and began to speak.

“Welcome to Thornbush. My name is Harley. Can I get you something?  We have a cabin available if you’d like to rest for the night.”

_______________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

None I see…

 

There is none I see

Who walks this lone road with me

But one who whispers

In the wind’s soft breeze that blows,

“It is I who walks with thee.”

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

If I could catch a sunbeam

102813_1756_Sunriseover1.png

If I could catch a sunbeam

I’d keep it in a jar

 and save it for the times

when cloudy skies or rain would fall

 and threaten to spoil my plans that day.

I’d open up the jar

and watch my sunbeam spread its warmth,

its golden rays and magical waves sweep across the sky

and everyone would wonder,

“From where did the sunshine come”?

I would then reply, “It’s just a bit of magic

I kept in a jar.” 🙂

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


The Galilee

 

 


The Galilee, stilled,

cold and quiet mourns His death,

the slain Lamb of God

~~~

 who walked on water,

 fed the hungry, healed the sick,

helped the poor and weak,

~~~

taught us how to live,

and how to love our neighbor,

then humbled himself,

~~~

 and died on a cross

bearing the sins of the world;

God’s redemption plan.

________

The above photo of the Sea of Galilee was taken by my husband on our trip to Israel in May of 2001. References to the ‘stilled Galilee’ can be found in the New Testament in Matthew 8:23-26 (NIV). Other miracles of Jesus and his ministry is told and reported throughout the books of Matthew, Luke and the Gospels.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014) 


Our life is a journey

On The Road of Life

Along life’s journey

we meet new travelers who

make it all worth while

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Manitou Springs (Day 14 of NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month)

That's me in front of the old Ute chief in old Manitou Springs, Colorado (Nov. 1969)

That’s me in front of the old Ute chief in Manitou Springs, Colorado (Nov. 1969)

MANITOU CHIEF

His ghost stalks the town of Manitou Springs

where the Ute and Cheyenne came.

Little remains where much is new,

but the history and the name.

The trading post where goods were sold;

its pottery, blankets and crafts were

produced and made by the young and old.

They came for the water from the springs

filled with rich minerals found in the earth,

and all the benefits from which it brings.

Their tribal villages are all gone,

the ghostly past of a place grown old,

but the soul of the Manitou lives on.

The village grew and with it came change;

white men settled, houses were built,

roads were put in, and cars came to town.

Now the red stone chief bowing with clay pot,

pouring his water is no longer around,

and the springs have too gone dry.

______________________

Notes: Manitou Springs, Colorado is a historic town that sits just below Pikes Peak and merges with the city of Colorado Springs where I was born and raised. It was a favorite place back then in the fifties and sixties when tourists and local residents would visit, shop, and tour the Indian cliff dwellings where Indian tribes settled and lived. The Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls and Pikes Peak are just a few of the popular tourists sites to see. The mineral water was also popular for its health benefits and also was very good used in beverages like Cool-aid and lemonade drinks which we made when I was younger and went to Manitou for the water. When I moved away from Colorado Springs and relocated Manitou Springs was still a favorite place to visit and see all the new changes, shops and tourist attractions, but the springs dried up and I missed the water whenever we went back to visit. Today, the town is still a main attraction, and its history and surroundings have been preserved.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Morning Blue

scan0002

Morning Blue

The sky, lit only by a silvery moon

spreads its dark blue across the dawn.

The quiet, cold shadows of the five–o-clock hour

hover on mounds of old dirty snow

pushed aside the asphalt lot.

Hearing no sounds but our padding steps,

speaking softly while all others sleep,

“It’s so peaceful, so serene.”

The moment is ours to own the scene,

to capture on film this beautiful sight.

Our stay here ending, its time to check out,

before a new storm comes with

blowing winds heading our way.

Swirling flakes rush at our car

frosting the windshield in blizzard white.

Leaving Grant Village we turn west,

then north from Yellowstone National Park.

__________________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

The oddest tree ever I did see

Walking trail along the Missouri River

Walking trail along the Missouri River

There stood in the woods a tree

with the oddest shape ever I see.

Where is the beaver that chewed

nearly all of the tree now strewed

along the river by me?

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


Galveston Sunrise

Dawn’s soothing glow heals,

caressing Galveston bay;

the sun’s rays warming

~~~

waves that wash ashore

now a gentle tide, rising

roll back out to sea

~~~

The storm came and took

the lives who sought not to leave

Ike is gone now too.

__________________

Hurricane Ike made landfall on September 14, 2008 at Galveston, Island Texas. It was the third costliest hurricane to the U.S. mainline next to hurricanes Katrina and Ivan. The death toll was 195 with 23 still missing when reported. In October 2009 my husband and I flew down to Galveston to vacation. We rented a car and stayed in the Commodore Hotel on Seawall Blvd. where I took the above photo here and the one used in the story recently posted, The Search (Parts 1 & 2) from our hotel balcony four stories up. We were able to get a good view of the gulf coast through our binoculars and camera lens. While in Galveston for 9 days we walked around town, visited a number of scenic places, toured museums, and drove east and west along the coastline. Wherever we went we could see some of the reconstruction and repair still going on in the aftermath of Ike. The trip and the many photos we took there inspired me to do the story (The Search), and the poem above in honor of those victims who lost their lives, and those never found. The research I did and videos I watched gave me more insight into the massive, unbelievable  strength of these hurricanes. There are some good videos on Youtube of hurricane Ike with incredible footage of the storm as it happened.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


The Search


The Search (Part 1)

Galveston Island, Texas, January, 2008

Brian stood on the balcony of the Commodore watching waves roll gently into shore. A seagull perched atop the light pole as if searching for something or someone, too. Two lone silhouettes came into view through his binocular lens as they strolled leisurely along the quiet beach on Seawall Blvd. He adjusted his lens to get a better look, but could see nothing in them that looked familiar.

He’d taken a leave from the company to continue his search. Faces in crowds, shops and hangouts, news reports, phone and address directories, Internet records: all produced nothing that led Brian to believe Jed was still alive, but nothing either had proven him dead. Showing strangers a picture of his son, leaving flyers, talking to those who knew their local clientele came up empty too. Hope diminished each day as time dragged on. Still, he gave every contact his business card with his cell phone number.

It had been months since hurricane Ike hit the gulf coast on September 13. Galveston received the worst damage with the largest number of reported deaths and missing. At times the surf washed up debris on shore that had been swept out to sea during the storm, even the remains of a body as the sea gave up its dead. He’d given the authorities all the information he could, even recent pictures of Jed that would aid them in the search, or identifying his remains if it came to that. One photo showed Jed standing beside his surfboard with the image of a huge orange sun hovering over a turquoise sea and a shark fin protruding up from its depths. Was there one waiting for Jed that day? Or was it the tenacious, unrelenting jaws of the sea that swallowed him, instead?

According to Jed’s friends at Texas A&M he went out alone in the water that night before it came to shore. There had been hurricane warnings and alerts posted for the entire gulf coast days earlier.  Jed didn’t have the sense to get out when evacuations had begun. No one saw him after that day. He was always chasing after the next big wave or adventure. His friends knew when to quit, find shelter or evacuate. But, not Jed. He would swim out, climb the swells to surging, frothy whitecaps, and ride them back to shore. It was to him, “the perfect ride.”

Brian’s thoughts drifted like the incoming tide when his cell phone rang, and he realized he was still holding the binoculars staring at nothing now but the open sea. The sun had risen to its place in the sky, the darkness less pervading. “Hello?”

“Mr. Mathews?” the voice said.

“Yes. Who’s this?”

“My name is Walt Gibbons. I’m a bartender at O’Reilly’s Grill on Seawall Blvd. I wasn’t working when you were in, but saw the flyer you left here. I have a friend who rooms with a guy that looks like the one in the photo of your son…”

“Yes, go on. Do you know him? Where can I find him?”

“I met him once, Billy’s roommate, that is. But don’t know him well. He came in here with Billy when I was working. He said his name was Paul, or something like that. I called Billy and told him about the photo of your son, and asked if it could be him.”

“What did he say?”

“Billy said Paul doesn’t talk much about that day, can’t remember it, or anything before that, where he lived, or what he did; says he doesn’t talk about his past, or having any family. Kind of weird. I have to admit at first I was kind of suspicious of you when I heard that. I mean, who would just forget things about themselves like that, you know? I wondered if he was running from someone or scared. But, then Billy told me something else about Paul…”

“What? What did he say?”

“Well, it was about him having suffered some kind of amnesia or concussion during the storm.”

“How did Billy meet him?”

“Billy has an apartment in Houston, but came down after the hurricane as a volunteer to help with recovery and locate the missing. Paul was one of those found after the storm.”

Brian hurriedly scribbled down the address and phone number Walt gave him. When he called the number, “Billy” answered. Brian identified himself, told him about the search for his missing son, and a meeting was arranged.

He pulled into a parking lot at the address given him. He knew better than to get his hopes up, and be disappointed again. He had photos, even some sentimental things of Jed’s with him. He picked up the backpack and walked up a flight of steps to the second floor entrance of the apartment building and walked down to # 9, and buzzed the apartment.

Billy answered the door. “Come in Mr. Matthews. I don’t know if Paul is your son, but when you told me a little about him and his obsession for surfing, things made more sense. He’s in his room watching TV. But, before I get him I think you should know some things, first. Have a seat.”

___________________________

To be continued…

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Note: I am breaking up my usual posting schedule for the continued story, The Informant’s Agenda to introduce this new fiction story I have recently completed which will be posted in three parts. It gives readers an opportunity to read some newly created material. This story, ‘The Search’ is fiction, my characters and plot all fiction as well. But Hurricane Ike was real, one of the costliest ones to hit the Gulf Coast in lives and property lost, next of course to Katrina. The above photo is one I took while on a vacation to Galveston Island, Texas in October, 2009.

The Informant’s Agenda will return with the next chapter following the postings of the story, The Search. I welcome all feedback and comments on either and all my fiction and posts and helps me to know what my readers are enjoying, what they are not, what kinds of posts they like best, whether it be fiction, poetry, photos or prose, or any other comments to things posted on my blog. Thanks all for reading, commenting and following. All is appreciated.

Reflections on life

A summit is reached

only by climbing what once

looked impossible

_____________

The above photo was taken on a trip several years ago on the way to Yellowstone Nat’l Park in Wyoming.  This is the Grand Teton Range. We took the trip in June and was surprised to find so much fresh snow on the peaks there. When we got to Yellowstone Nat’l Park there was several feet of snow in places so hampered our driving and hiking into places usually accessible. When we drove out of the park a few days later it was snowing heavily again and we got into a blizzard on our way further north as we headed for Glacier Nat’l Park in Montana. They had a lot of new snow there also, but we were able to hike and walk on trails open and drier. It was cold and wintry like through the whole trip.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Upon His Rock

A firm foundation

will not fall or crumble; but

stand the test of time

____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Per request made by another blogger I have agreed to post more photographs done with text messages, or poems.  The above photo was taken in 2013 while vacationing in Utah and The Grand Canyon, Az. I took several shots of rock formations as there were so many unique ones of various shapes, and color. They were all beautiful and all inspirational.

Inspire

2009-vacation-Galveston-152.jpg

To inspire others

Live by example; wisdom

is a great teacher

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

The above photo is the Gulf Coast,  taken from my hotel room in 2009 on Galveston Island, TX. while on a vacation.  I have been experimenting a little with some old photographs, adding text messages, or haiku poems.

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon’s North Rim

I froze this photo from a video we took while on a vacation in Sept.,2013 to The Grand Canyon’s North Rim in Arizona. photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

Standing near the edge

 of a precipice rock face

viewing the Canyon’s crater

over this massive hallowed space

there rises with slow ascent

a crowning glow of light

piercing still and quiet skies,

sunbeams’ penetrating bright

rays that break through forest trees

leaning over canyon cliffs

like bowing subjects to nature’s throne

 waiting dawn’s announced decree.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2013

Looking for the Blessed Hope

A heart for Israel...and Israel's Messiah!

Reflections

My writings of poetry, prose and fiction

dVerse

Poets Pub

Pens and Journals

Thoughts, Stories and Photography by Nancy Janiga

%d bloggers like this: