A flight of fancy
takes wing at the time of year in the northeast
when Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts
are pleasant memories; skies darken, days shorten,
dread of cold consumes and the force of the blend
Leaves are raked
and hoses drained, the house is buttoned up. Occupants,
too; they shiver and shake for snowfall is due and don
heavier garments for chilly rooms.
The inner man suffers
his annual fate as sunshine and natural warmth abate.
Worse, creeping shadows take their toll and clutch
Longings stir for far-off
druthers, preferring some existential other. To this end,
the brain flies headlong around the bend, settling elsewhere
so swim suits suffice--so superior to ice.
It's more fun
where the sun reigns and when it retires in its unique way
bids good day by daubing cloud fringes to delicately frame
the flat sublime line of the beckoning sea.
Desire fuels disposition
to chase warm rays--or have them chase me--on some smooth
bleached beach whose hide is rent by slim configurations
of tall trees, proudly intent on sowing fruit sweet and watery,
and sheaves of fronds; grounded, bodies spent.
In the here and now
a noisy storm intrudes to interrupt my mood. The hounds
of the hard season howl, snap and worry at the corners
of the house with white teeth of snow traces, but I ignore them
to traipse through a spectrum of other places.
To the French Riviera
where vessels have disembarked me twice for leisurely
look-sees, once with my family. Or to the High Sierras,
for a motor tour to view granite and pine passes, but
I shudder at hip-deep winter snow there, too, and seek
A fast-forward brings
the tall walls of Rome, for ancient ruins, the Basilica
and other historic churches; I leave these in the lurch
for Capri's Blue Grotto, kayaking in ultra light-blue
waters with gusto.
The next hop is Athens:
the Acropolis, a huge plus; and on to the Parthenon
where lots is going on, to explore pillars, statues
and broad stone ledges. Leaps of great height
by my kids keep me on edge before another lark,
a stroll through a wing of a tree-ringed park.
Moving on to westward isles,
I pause in Londontown to gladly spend at least
a week for a peek at the Thames and Saint James
Park and satisfy a yen to photograph big Ben again.
Then I plan to guide a van again through a span
of verdant green hills of Ireland; to visit the homes
of ancestors and the sleeping plots which contain
their bones and roam on to Cork to re-kiss the famous
My lightning enabling streaks
me in seconds to observe an Indian world-wonder feat, the
magnificent Taj Mahal, dual in a reflecting pool, part
of its double nature viewed in the cool, magic glow
of a midnight moon. The ethereal fairyland castle
is a tribute to love with inspiring spires soaring toward
a star-speckled sky above.
In daylight rays, it's symbolic of a romantic
fairyland fable, a marvel of marble with a quartet
of minaret-style towers and an Islamic dome as cover
for twin graves, designed by a sad, widowed emperor
in memory of his wife and lover.
As for bustling Delhi
a bit to the north, you may hesitate to sally forth, where
the rake of floods from monsoon rains, the risk of blisters
and sunburn pain from the daytime furnace compelling
shelter inside any available dwelling.
A great escape without fail,
if you have patience don't mind wafting wisps of incense,
is to slip into a shop equipped with indolent ceiling fans
for conversation, cokes or tea, or roost with a renowned
book under a leafy tree.
Given time, liberty sneaks
back in when the hot tongues cool, the fierce yellow eye
blinks and dung fires of villagers to prepare tea
and chappatis twinkle in the inky darkness.
More to my liking
when the plains bake is Kashmir, to appropriate
the cool sanctuary of a filigreed houseboat moored
to the shore of a placid lake, mirroring Himalayan
snowpeaks. Turbaned merchants in loose clothing display
artwork and crafts of brass and teak; they cruise up close
in small boats to ring up rupee sales, bargaining
decks of captivating markets that float.
Around Dal Lake,
carefree adventurers slake thirst with cupped handfuls
of pure water from rivulets coursing down narrow
canals of craggy blue. Gentle horses come into view,
with guides who counsel relaxed paces; peace of mind
is palpable in laughter and smiling faces.
Slight busy-ness also prevails
within nearby vales and dales: trekkers inch forward
across a snow-covered glacier; golfers stroll meadow
fairways amid a valley blessed by nature, sprinkled
with graceful Swiss-style hotels and homes. Large
herds of multi-hued goats roam unhurried, through flocks
of wildflowers, munching thick, sweet grass, fattening
up for tabletop funerals in succulent curries.
Another mental file
is images of mid-Pacific isles: banks of lava shores,
at their dark toes foam-capped, transparent waves
with their deep, humming voice lapping black, green
or white sands--one has a choice.
Another therapeutic antic
to settle down the frantic and massage the spirit
to more pleasurable heights: soaking a languid body
in a hot-pot thermal pool, promoting only the slightest
physical moves, to phase into a soothing snooze.
While the body and spirit
mend, the panoply of sensuality extends to vistas
of fishing boats plying the sea; some sway at anchor,
others are free. Their multi-manned long-boat cousins
skim along in racing mode paralleling a Kona road,
powered within by coordinated arms with brown skin.
Other motion in the ocean
becomes mammoth growing waves bearing ubiquitous
surfers, appearing in the distance like ants on ice cream
sticks. They navigate with feet and with bodies
that turn and twist, barreling through vicious curls
and mists to beach their tiny ships, only to head out
for another trip.
In my reverie I neglect
the sea and perceive sensual swaying hula girls flinging
hips and hands with provocative smiles. Attractive
ambiance, to be sure, but it doesn't endure.
I find rich recompense
in other eye-candy: green turtles and tropical fish
in a variety of colors; a society of flipper dolphin
In another ring
of the water circus, raucous humpback whales smack
broad tails in wooing ballets. The romantic brutes
of the pod of plenty throw bulky bodies around
in tons, not pounds; fins slap as giant hammers
in their pugnacious manner, splashing and pirouetting
The colossal boys of Hawaiian
winter launch a second act of jousting, taking leave
to dive. Then they turn V-for-victory tails as wide
as a sail to heave from the sea with flair to spew
fountains of crystal shards at the sun and refill their
lungs with volumes of air.
The denizens of the deep breach and sound
until they have reached and found their feminine
prey. With the catch and the match, the curtain comes
down on the water ballet. With little delay the hoary
giants retreat to seek private boudoirs and when found
mate eager bodies and procreate car- size infants
for the Pacific playground.