Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Friday, March 20, 2015

HOW DO THE ANIMALS CELEBRATE SPRING?

Too often we forget that we share these mountains with others, the wildlife that our Native American neighbors have often called our brothers and sisters.  How would a bear, a salamander, or a raven celebrate spring?  Here are a few poems by Bill Griffin to help us begin to imagine some answers to that question.  This would be a great exercise for K-12 science teachers to use to stretch their students imaginations.   








BILL GRIFFIN is a family doctor in rural North Carolina, where his ‘writers’ group’ is a hawkswept footpath that wanders the crest of the Blue Ridge. His poems have appeared in many regional and national journals, including Tar River Poetry, POEM, NC Literary Review, Pembroke Magazine, and Illuminations. He has two chapbooks in print: Barb Quill Down (Pudding House 2004) and Changing Woman (Main Street Rag 2006).

Every summer Bill assists Mike Barnett with High Adventure Camp, leading a small crew of teenagers on their first backpacking experience in the southern Appalachian wilderness. They hope to instill in the young people not only a greater sense of self-reliance and teamwork, but also a deep sense of connection to earth, water, sky, and all life. For a week in 2007 Bill and Mike hiked Snake Den Mountain and its connecting trails; they encountered most of the creatures that speak in this collection (especially Mouse!).

Bill and his wife Linda have collaborated on plenty of creative endeavors during their 35-year marriage (including raising their two children, creative in their own right), but Snake Den Ridge: A Bestiary is their first book project undertaken together.









RAVEN

Listen.
I’m not going to say this twice.
The sum and product of words
is no mark of intelligence.
Case in point – cousin Crow,
not half as smart as all his talk.

So listen,
I know three things:
Sky, that small kiss of warm air
that rises through my primaries;

the Water on its breath, ridgeblown mist
that bathes us all and makes springs
overflow into Inadu Creek;

and Earth, slope and cup of cove,
the steep that gathers with wide black wings
to draw down Sky,
draw Water up,
that sets free all things green
into a world first fledged.

But listen.
I know from twenty circles
of snowdeep and hungry moons
and twenty circles of fresh shoots
that Sky . . . Water . . . Earth . . .
none of them are mine.

And I know none are yours.




SALAMANDER

This is my gift –
to change.
From Inadu Creek I leave behind
my frilly gills and climb
the spire of blue-eyed grass.
Having become a creature of air bathing
myself in dew, am I not still
a creature of water?

I invite you to discover
in each of my family our variations,
discern that every runnel, every spring,
every palm-sized cup of moisture
holds its lithe expectation, for this
is my gift to you –
to notice changes.

I will let you lightly touch
the welcome of my smoothness
while I drink a little warmth
from your hand. Now count
the dapples down my length,
measure the blush of my cheek,

then find when you descend
the eastern face of Snake Den Ridge
those subtle alterations my cousins
are accumulating until finally
they acquire a new name.

And when you have returned me
to my bed of blue-bead lily, then touch
a smooth place within yourself
and carry with you into the world
your own changes.




TROUT

Today Inadu Creek’s so clear
it’s like swimming in the sky.
Oh yes, sky . . . for even Trout
look up, if usually for the hopeful
rainfall of Mayflies, then again sometimes
to dream of discovering
a hatching out of stars
that sprinkle down the stream of night
between the blackgum leaves.
Heaven isn’t the other side
of darkness, it’s here
above the rocky spray that holds
piscivorous Brown and Rainbow down
in Cosby Creek, and here below
the love embrace of shade
that drips manna
every morning from its leaves.
Look closely. Learn heaven’s language
scripted on my sides –
ripple shadow of pure water,
lace of insect wings,
gold and silver speckle stars –
kisses of God.





BEAR

If you hear me, it will be a nut falling
from the buckeye. If you hear me,
it will be a dry branch
seeking earth,
it will be slender fingers
of mountain ash waving praises
to the ridgelined sky.

If you see me, it will be a shadow
only one breath deeper
than twilight.
If you see me, it will be the twist
of heart that skips
a beat, the stark
of pupils gone abruptly wide.

I am mist that enfolds the laurel.
I am stone that reclines beneath black hemlocks.
I am a rumor at Maddron Bald,
a tremor at Mt. Guyot.

Raven is mistaken – this Ridge is mine.

And if you hear me, it will be the rising chest
of the mountain and its timeless slow
exhale,
and if you hear me
it will only be because
I didn’t hear you first.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

STUDENT POETS CELEBRATE THEIR MOUNTAINS


What every mountain needs is young poets like the ones below to celebrate it every year! As you can see below, Mount Jefferson is one lucky mountain. While NC Laureate, I was myself pretty lucky to be asked to judge Mt. Jefferson State Park's annual poetry contest.  Our Jackson County teachers and students will find a lot to enjoy in the poems below---as well as some ideas for their own Greening up the Mountains poems.

If we had more poets celebrating our best loved places, our homes, our mountains, our rivers, our seashores, perhaps we would all take better care of those places, making sure that they are there for future young poets to enjoy! A friend, Sheila Kay Adams, ballad-singer and storyteller from Madison County, recently told me, "We are losing our homes." She suggested the state ask each county to choose two writers to compose either poetry or prose about their places and have them gathered into an anthology for North Carolinians to read and enjoy. These young poets have begun that project already. I salute them and urge other institutions around the state to do begin their own poetry projects. In this, my last blog post as NC Poet Laureate, I ask anyone who reads these student poems to write a poem or brief essay about a loved place that you hope will be saved and protected. You can email me through my other blog, "Here, Where I am." I will post what you send me.



(Photo by Ranger Thomas Randolph, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area--
http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/moje/main.php )



Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and Park has a program designed to encourage students who live nearby to write poems about it, and it has Ranger Thomas Randolph, who is devoted to keeping this program going. Just look at Ranger Tom's face in these photos! He's loving every second of it. He's proud of these young students and proud of their accomplishments.


If you go to an earlier blog post you will find the poets I chose in last summer's poetry contest, along with the history of this program--http://ncpoetlaureate.blogspot.com/2009/07/young-poets-celebrate-mount-jefferson.htmlNow, we celebrate Mount Jefferson's younger poets in grades Kindergarten-6, divided into two categories K-3 and 4-6. The theme was Mount Jefferson's seasons. I had a terrible time splitting hairs among these poems. I stood at my kitchen counter shuffling and re-shuffling poems. So many good ones! How could I choose? Here are my choices, along with photos of the poets. Congratulations to all of them.

And thank you teachers, students, and Ranger Tom for your good work in the name of NC's natural treasures and its poetry.


Addie Fairchild's poem in the voice of Mt. Jefferson right away caught my eye. I'll be honest--it was a toss-up between her excellent poem and Brianna McCoy's "Mount Jefferson Nature." Both had great images. Zachary Richards' "Mt. Jefferson's Bobcat" also thrilled me. It gave me goosebumps! Well, I even burned lunch while reading all these poems. That's what poetry does to you. Forget about multi-tasking while you are reading it. You have to give your heart and soul to it, all your attention.





I FEEL THE SEASONS (first place) This kind of poem is difficult to pull off, speaking as a non-human object or animal. She makes it work!



The trees that cover me are all f I feel the winter coldness on my face,
the trees that cover me are all frozen
My nose is frozen.
The air is windy


The snow is all around me.


I feel the spring breeze through my hair,


From the bottom up I'm green all over.


Animals waking everywhere,
Flowers swaying along with the wind,
Flowers all around me.


I feel the summer sun on my shoulders,


People climbing to my peak.


The fiery warmth touches me day and night,


Picnics on my tree covered skirt,


Fireflies all around me.
I feel the chill of all through my ruffled coat,


As time changes, days get shorter.


Leaves are falling through the brisk air,


The temperature is dropping down low,
Bright Colors all around me.


by Addie Fairchild






Westwood Elementary Schools
Westwood Elementary School

Addie Fairchild 1st Place (Tent) Far Left

Zachary Richards 3rd Place (Sleeping Bag) Second from Left

Zeb Duvall Science in poetry (Tent) Third from Left

Jamie Richey Unique Poetic Vision (Telescope) Far Right



Zachary Richards, Third Place (second from left in photo above)
Now, don't be confused. I'm skipping around to accommodate these wonderful photos Ranger Tom sent.


Here is Brianna's second place poem, and you can find her in this photo, third from left.





Mount Jefferson Nature (second prize, 4-6)




Listen quietly and you will hear

A musical sound that by no doubt

brings Joy to us.


The rippling brook gurgles quietly,

the water seems to say, "Peace, peace, peace.

A doe takes a drink form the gurgling brook

and swivels her head to take a look

at her fawn, who is sheepishly trying to hide

while peeking out from his mother's side.

A gray squirrel is alarmed to hear

the call of the wise old owl.

He must gather acorns

for he knows that winter is near!

The old owl watches the gray squirrel,

amused by his alarm.

As he glides swiftly down to hunt,

mice scurry all about.

So you see, Mount Jefferson Nature

has its own song,

to show us the way

that the mountain animals

end their winter days.


by Brianna McCoy



---A lovely poem, isn't it? And I admire the way she uses rhyme.
(Westwood Elementary first through third prizes and Honorable Mentions )



Mountain View Elementary students impressed me mightily, and I'd like to congratulate the teachers who have turned these very young students on so early to the joy of poetry.

Mikayla Mullis's poem charmed me, especially her images of tree limbs shining like diamonds and clouds so thick they feel "like a blanket covering you." I loved the haiku -like poems by Yair Valcasar, Jordan Potter, and their classmates. I just couldn't decide, so I gave a tie to Yair and Dustin Sheets for third prize. What a great way to begin showing students how poetry helps you focus on what you see!








Mountain View Elementary

Far Left 2nd Place Mi Kayla Mullis (Back Pack)


Back row far Left 3rd Place (tie)Dustin Sheets and Yair Valcazar(Sleeping Bag)


Honorable Mention EmilyFarmer, Victoria Osborne, Jordan Potter, Brandon Taylor, Quin Farmer






(Blue Ridge Elementary Honorable Mentions in Poetry)




Blue Ridge Elementary School outdid itself in this poetry challenge. Brianna McCoy and Karoline Keith wrote two poems I just couldn't resist. I chose Karoline's poem for first in the K-3 division. You will see why when you read it.



MT. JEFFERSON STATE NATURE PARK


I think it is cool that I can see
Mt. Jefferson from my front yard.


Mt Jefferson is big and tall,

It has lots of nature trails to walk and run

It is a great park for people and

animals to have tons of fun.

It's a safe place for our wildlife

friends to be

They are protected by park Rangers for you and me.

From the top of the mountain

you look out and see the horizon.

There are huge rocks to climb on

to enjoy all the beautiful views.

I'm so thankful to spend the day

with my family on Mt. Jefferson

to hide and play.

I'm very happy Mt. Jefferson is in Ashe County!

by Karoline Keith, age 8, Second Grade


Here is Mikayla's second place poem in the k-3 category.


Sun gleaming down on the trees filled with snow and ice.

Tree limbs shining like a diamond from the sun.


Animals running around without a care in the world

They are as free as birds soaring like eagles.

Mountains so high they touch

the sky. Sky so blue and clouds

so thick they feel like a blanket covering you.


by Mikayla Mullis, grade 3, Mountain View Elementary

Third prize is a tie. I was taken with Yair's poem, which has the immediacy of Japanese haiku.

Mount Jefferson by YairValcazar
Big trees 

Lots of animals 

Gray rocks 

Tall mountain


Dustin Sheets was straightforward in his praise of Mt. Jefferson:

Mt. Jefferson is a good place to live

If you live there

it is cool.

It has a lot of stuff.


(grade 3, Mountain View Elementary)

Here is another poem that I really liked from the k-2 division.
Mount Jefferson by Jordan Potter
I can see...
deer
bunnies
squirrels
I can hear...
birds
bears
leaves crunching


If we had more poets celebrating our best loved places, our homes, our mountains, our rivers, our seashores, perhaps we would all take better care of those places, making sure that they are there for future young poets to enjoy! A friend, Sheila Kay Adams, ballad-singer and storyteller from Madison County, recently told me, "We are losing our homes." She suggested the state ask each county to choose two writers to compose either poetry or prose about their places and have them gathered into an anthology for North Carolinians to read and enjoy. These young poets have begun that project already. I salute them and urge other institutions around the state to do begin their own poetry projects. In this, my last blog post as NC Poet Laureate, I ask anyone who reads these student poems to write a poem or brief essay about a loved place that you hope will be saved and protected. You can email me through my other blog, "Here, Where I am." I will post what you send me.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BRING ME ALL OF YOUR GREEN DREAMS

This poem by Langston Hughes has inspired poets, especially young ones, by the dozens. If you go to my October post on The Basketball Poets in Supply, NC, you will find Alyssa Miller’s poem inspired by this particular piece. ( http://ncpoetlaureate.blogspot.com/2008/10/springboards-for-students-and-teachers.html. )I suggested students take this poem as a model and see what they themselves could bring to their own poetry. Liz Cronan’s 5th Graders at Sugar Loaf Elementary School in Taylorsville accepted the invitation and soon I received 48 poems in response. Here as one long post are their poems, preceded by Hughes’ poem.  And a poem I just this minute wrote, using Hughes' poem as a springboard.  I hope to see some poems using this prompt in our Greening Up the Mountains gathering of poems.

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

--by Langston Hughes

Bring me all of your heavenly scent
Lady Lilac
Bring me all your new buds
about to unfold
another spring shivaree,
follow me everywhere when
I walk out to the garden,
and wrap me in your all too
ephemeral negligee,
lavendar lace round the edges,
let me dream I wake up
swathed in sunlight and silk.

KSB











Thought keeper
Bring me all your thoughts,
you thinkers.
Bring me all your brain storms,
that I can put them in a safe.
Only for you to see. -SD


Moon keeper
Bring me all your craters.
Keep away all the cold memories
So I can be free of nightmares,
That haunt me at midnight. -AB


Bring me all your happiness,
you happy people.
All your happiness will come to me.
I will wrap it in a green cloth,
So I can keep it away from the hands of the sad. -LS


Bring me all of your beliefs
Bring me everything you believe in.
So I may wrap them up in a green cloud cloth,
Away from the bad minds of the world. -ES


Bring me all your madness.
Bring me all your bad memories.
So I can lock them in a dark jail cell.
So you can carry on with your life. --DS


Faithkeeper
Bring me your faith,
You religious people.
So I can put them in a box.
Where only God can see. -MW


The Laughkeeper
Bring me all of your warm laughs,
You laughers.
Bring me all of your feelings,
So I may wrap them in a soft yellow cloth
Where only hearts who see happiness may see. -LW

Bring me your happy thoughts,
Bring me the fun times.
So that I may wrap them in cool feelings
and be in peace from the world. -PT


Bring me all your faithfulness,
Bring me all your warm memories,
I may take them away to a
World of freedom so you may keep all. -MC


Bring me all your beliefs,
you believers.
Bring me all your desires,
so that I can soak them up with a gentle touch of feeling
and no enemies will lay eyes on these faithful gifts. -KC

Bring me all your braveness,
Bring me all your good times,
So I may wrap them in a brown cloth
and keep them away from the darkness. -ZD


Bring me all your hopes,
you hopers.
Bring me all your heart beats of hope.
That I may wrap them in a deep red cloth,
Away from the rejecting souls of the world. -CB


Bring me your courage,
The fall of your faith,
The wish of your commands,
however the small act of kindness.
I shall wrap them up in the crystal cloth
And they shall stay mine. -KL


Bring me all your thoughts,
Bring me all your ideas,
So I can put them in a box
Away from the evil world. -SW


The Wishkeeper
Bring me all of your wishes,
Bring me all of your hopes,
So I may pack them in a small brown box,
Where only the person who seeks them may see. -HF


Bring me all your wisdom,
Bring me all you know.
So that I may hide them from the world,
so no one else can see. -LO



Bring me all your courage,
Bring me all of your braveness,
that I can cover them,
away from evil. -NR


Bring me all your knowledge
Bring me all your wisdom,
So I may wrap them up in bly sky cloth
Away from those untrusted. -TS



Bring me all your worries,
Bring me all the bad ones,
So I may wrap them up in a light blue cloth and replace
Them with good thoughts. -AB


Bring me all your warm memories of your hearts’ desire.
Bring me all the sweet melodies
That I may wrap them in all the hearts’ love
Where no one will see. -AM



Couragetaker
Bring me all your courage,
Bring me all your bravery
So you can have it when you need it,
To climb a tree. -MC


Bring me all your love,
Bring me all your sadness,
Bring me all your hopes,
Bring me all your failures,
So I can lock them all away,
From the negative world around. -KB

Bring me all your beliefs in politics,
So that I may fix them to be right
And cast the wrong ones in fiery depths
So the world can be fresh with Republicans. -CGN


Bring me all your knowledge
Bring me all your wisdom
So I can wrap them in a cloud cloth,
Away from the hands of the world. -CR
November 12, 2008 11:54 AM





Bring me all your happiness,
Bring me all your laughter,
So I may wrap it in peacock feathers,
Where good people can see it. -JF

Bring me all your love,
Bring me all your kindness,
So I may wrap it in soft black and white cloth,
Where only people that deserve it can see. -JC

Bring me your beliefs,
Bring me your faith,
So I may keep them in my heart,
Where only I can see them. -TD


Bring me all your secrets,
Bring me all your thoughts,
So I may lay them in a pink blanket,
Where only worthy ears can hear them. -KB

Bring me all your happiness,
Bring me all your joy,
So I may keep it safe,
Where I can listen to them. -JL

Bring me all your respect,
Bring me your honor,
So I may respect other people,
Where I can be respected too. -DD


Bring me all your memories,
Bring me the best memories you've ever had,
So I may keep them in a little box,
Where no one will ever see them. -KC



Bring me your memories,
Bring me your thoughts,
So I may wrap them up
Where I can keep them safe. -MF


Bring me the memories of your heart,
Bring me all your happiness and all your sadness,
So I amy wrap them up in a red cloth,
Where I will keep them for all my hearts desire. -MF


Bring me all your hopes,
Bring me all the things you are dreaming of doing,
So I may lock them away in my heart,
Where only I can see them. -JeF


Bring me all your angry feelings,
Bring me all you madness,
So I may wrap them in a black cloth,
Where no one can touch them. -HD


Bring me all of your sweet love,
Bring me all of your lost love,
So I may spread it throughout the world,
Where everyone can experience it. -KE


Bring me all your feelings,
Bring me all your happiness and sadness,
So I may wrap them up in a purple silky cloth,
Where others can't get to them. -CB



Bring me your feelings,
Bring me your sadness, happiness and love,
SO I may wrap them in soft yellow sun,
Where only you may seee. -AC



Bring me all your happy thoughts,
Bring me all your memories,
So I may keep them warm and safe,
Where anyone can't see them. -MM


Bring me all your sadness,
Bring me all your bad feelings,
So i may make them into great feelings,
Where only happiness can grow. -JacB


Bring me all your love,
Bring me your heart,
So I may respect you,
Where ever you are. -CD



Bring me happiness,
Bring me all your joy,
So I may wrap them in an orange cloth,
Where I can give it to Jesus. -HB


Bring me all of your sunlight,
Bring me all of your warmth,
So I may keep it
Where I like best, in a blanket of safeness and warmth. -DB

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

WRITING KWANSABA POEMS

First daffodil in my front yard!

My friend Lenard Moore, one of this year's North Carolina Awards
winners in Literature, introduced me to the Kwansaba poetry form.  Go to this link on my laureate blog, My Laureate's Lasso, to read more about Lenard and the the http://ncpoetlaureate.blogspot.com/2009/05/kwansaba-poems-by-lenard-moores.html

The Kwansaba came into being as a praise song.
The Kwansaba is a poem consisting of seven lines. Each line has no more than seven words. Each word has no more than seven letters. Thus, the form, revolving around the number 7, adding up to 49 words, is based on the seven principles of the Kwanzaa celebration.

Here is a Kwansaba I just wrote, after looking up at the leafless trees outside my window,  waiting to turn green again.

March 18

Spring is almost here. I can smell
it in the wind. See my dog's 
nose twitch! He sniffs the valley air
and dreams the red fox we saw
last spring runs again along the ridge
where green gets ready to leaf out
and we get ready to sing praise!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Work






Published in The Georgia Review, Summer 2014





Black Work

She stood at the window and watched me.
How long she had waited for me to wake up
I dared not ask, nor could she have answered,
her jaws woven shut by the undertaker’s twine,
a trade she knew well, having taught herself
black work by night in the attic,
bodies laid down like her quilts lifted
out of the chest come the first killing frost,
dry ice tucked under their torsos to keep their corruption
from drifting downstairs to the breakfast nook
where she'd have set out a plate for my father,
her only child, knowing he rose early.

Last summer I found the quilts,
gnawed to batting by rats.
I sat awhile at her Singer that stitched
gowns and frocks during Hoover days,
the treadle still singing its rusty toil under
the soles of my feet as I pedaled it briefly.
Side-stepping chamberpots, I turned
the key left behind in her book case
where I might have rummaged through Latin
and palmistry volumes, ignored those
that detailed with stark illustration the inexorable
death of the tissues that swaddle
our bones, the journey of blood
that keeps trying to push its way down to the toes
before giving up. To give up the ghost

as the Bible describes the last breath--
how those words used to frighten me,
sleepless for fear I could hear her still
stitching and snipping, the body upon
which she lavished her skill not protesting
one last knot to pull its smile tighter,
so the bereaved might exclaim, as in life
they had never, “So pretty!
Look at her smiling for Jesus.”



Monday, June 23, 2014

WHO SPEAKS FOR OUR MOUNTAINS? WHO SINGS THEIR SONGS? POEM #4

This morning I decided to take an early morning walk down by the Cullowhee Community Garden, along the side road where my daughter and I used to stroll when she was a child.  There was a rusted swing set that we liked to visit, with a mountain meadow rising up behind it.  A few years ago we saw a fox,  all flaming elegance, running up toward tree line.  "Running" comes nowhere close to how the fox flowed through the twilight, disappearing into the trees at the meadow's edge.  Yes, this morning the wire was fresh and the critters were skittering, mostly rabbits.   Two hefty black Labs came charging out of the tall wet grass to investigate me, a stranger on their turf.  They were wet and shiny from the heavy dew.  All sorts of birds were making a racket, the most vociferous being, of course, the crows.  The Queen Anne's Lace was in full bloom.   As I turned back toward home, someone had pulled into the Community Garden parking lot, ready to till her plot in the fresh morning air. 








Mountain air


By Skyler Sutton---Cullowhee Valley


Fresh air in the morning

Critters running

Tall trees

With small leaves

Slimy fish in cold water

Little birds

Blue green yellow

Plowing fields

In the

Mountains

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Singing the Mountains on Summer Solstice





Beauty Surrounds Me



By Rebecca Pechman--Cullowhee Valley School



Wind

Whispers

Sings and calls

Creeks rush and race

Barred owls dance and hoot

Flowers burst and blossom

Stars sparkle, twinkle, and twirl

Crickets are chirping and calling

And the moonlight does a little jig,


Casting shadows on the mountains above me

The sun peeks out from behind the mountains

The first rays of sunlight hit the slopes

As if the sun is calling them,

Worms wiggle and bluebirds chirp

Salamanders scurry

Clouds drift to and fro

Butterflies dance

And beauty

Surrounds

Me