Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Best to You


           Of the 41 poems I have written through March 30, 2013; (not counting 46 Haikus) the following are my personal favorites.

Click on the link below each photo to read the poem that brings the photo alive.

Then click the back arrow to view more poems, as you have time.

Here is my top ten countdown (best on the bottom) :

10. "Autumn Watercolor" - October 24, 2012...

 9.  "Conference of Crows" - December 18, 2012...

8.  "Several Seasons" - July 7, 2012 ...

7.   "gambelii" - August 24, 2012...

6.  "Sky Touching Earth" - June 25, 2012...

5.  "Lingering" - November 16, 2012...

4.  "Dividing Light" - March 13, 2013...


3.  "Worship Without Words" - October 9, 2012...

2.  "This Moment" - May 30, 2012...

1.  "Box Turtle Poem" - May 11, 2012...

There you have it. Which poems are your favorites? Top three, top five? You can also go to the "Labels" section in the sidebar, and click on "Havenga Poetry" to see more. Come back often.

Please reply in the comments section below. Give me some specific details. I love to hear from my viewers, and I will respond to everyone who writes.

Take your time; enjoy the words.

I appreciate your feedback; spread the words.

My Best To You,

Richard Havenga

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fragments of Poetry 8

When mornings and evenings roll along,
watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.

-William Stafford

Poem:  "A Valley Like This

Collection:  Even In Quiet Places  © 1996  by The Estate of William Stafford  (Stafford)

Photo Locations:

1.  La Jolla,  (La Jolla)  California

2. Kauai,  (Kauai)  Hawaii

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Canus lupus

lone wolf in a blood-red sky
time to assemble the pack
gather for the evening hunt
howling echoes over hills
filling valleys of darkness
understood in their language
Canus lupus linnaeus

Photo Location:   Cody,  Wyoming (Wyoming)

Howling Wolf recording:

Sunday, March 24, 2013


after long winter
Canada Geese have returned
prepare for landing
Photo Location:
Pickerel Lake Park,  (Pickerel)  Kent County,  Michigan

Friday, March 22, 2013


This is my favorite bird of prey. Isn't it magnificent? I was blessed to have this Osprey near our campsite on the Provo River, in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

The adult is blackish above, white below; head is mostly white with a wide, black mask through its eyes. The male and female look mostly alike, however, the female  is slightly larger than the male and may have a more pronounced band across her upper breast.

The Osprey is 23-24 inches long (58-62 cm). Wingspan up to six feet (183cm).

This face-on view is somewhat owl-like; giving the Osprey a rather menacing appearance.
This is the only raptor that hovers over water and plunges into the water feet first for fish.

The Osprey flies with a gull-like kink or crook in its wings, showing a black "wrist" patch when seen flying overhead.

Since DDT controls took effect, Osprey populations have increased. Also, human-made nesting platforms have helped increase their numbers.

Male and female are presumed to winter separately, then meet back on the breeding ground due to territorial fidelity. They arrive at the nest site within days of each other, usually the male first.

Early in the season, the male performs a "Sky Dance", a form of advertising for a mate and announcing territorial ownership.

Copulation occurs very often prior to incubation; as many as 15-20 times a day, for a three-week period. They mate for 10-20 seconds each time.

Mate feeding is also common. The male may perch within the territory, feed on the head and front portions of the fish, then fly to the nest where the female takes the remaining portion. She generally flies to a nearby perch to eat. The male brings about two to three fish per day to the nest prior to incubation.

The nest is is 2 to 3 feet in height, (up to 7 feet if used for many years); about 5 feet in diameter; the inner cup is 2½ feet in diameter. Made of large, forking branches outside; small branches inside; and lined with moss, bark, twigs and grass.

It is built in a spot with good visibility in all directions, often at the crown of a tree. Nests may be built singly, or several may be close together in a loose colony. The number of nests in a locality is related to the abundance of food in the area.

The male does most of the collecting of material for the main structure, while the female adds materials to the lining. A completely new nest can be constructed in seven to ten days. Often, an old nest is renovated. Branches for the platform are about 20" (50cm) long and are collected not from the ground as you might expect, but from the dead limbs of trees.

Picture this: the Osprey lands near the end of a dead branch, and its weight breaks the branch, which it then carries in its feet to the nest. Branches may also be broken off as the bird grabs them in flight.Some nesting material that falls from the nest may be picked up and reused.

The incubating bird sits very low in the nest. At night, the female does most of the incubation. During the day, she also does most of the incubating, except when the male brings her food. Then she flies to a nearby perch to consume the food, returning when finished. While incubating, the female may leave the nest to defecate.

Eggs:  two or three, whitish, with reddish brown blotches.

Incubation: 34 -40 days, by male and female. One brood per year.

Nestling Phase:  seven to eight weeks (unable to fly)

Fledgling Phase:  four to eight weeks (able to fly, but roost in nest at night)

Range Map of Osprey - Peterson Field Guide
Pink: summer range; Light Blue: winter range; Purple: year-round range. The Osprey is always found near water; rivers, lakes, marshes and coasts.

Look at the icy glare
of this powerful and efficient fisher.
Look at the hooked bill
that rips open its prey.
Look at the sharp talons
that snatch the fish and pierce its skin. 
Look at this magnificent predator
looking at you.

(Click on Photos to enlarge)

Photo Locations:

Provo River,  Coalville, Utah  (Utah)

Stillman Creek,  Heber Canyon,  (Heber)  Utah

Snake River,  Grand Teton National Park,  (Teton) Wyoming (Wyoming)


Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America - (Peterson)  Roger Tory Peterson © 2008

Guide to Bird Behavior  (Volume 3) - (Stokes)  Donald & Lillian Stokes © 1983

Many thanks to my friend, Tom Blackford, who found this video for me to use here:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

a bit o' green

a pinch of purple
a bit o' green
spring is coming
and needs to be seen
take a walk outside
nearly every day
and open your eyes
to the grand display 

1. Butterfly Violet (Viola papilionacea)

2. Blue Flag  (Iris versicolor)
Photo Locations

1.  Home Woods

2.  Ada Township,  (Ada)  Kent County,  Michigan (Michigan)


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dividing Light

cool fog smothers melting March ice
sweet serenity broken briefly by
fabric of feathers whooshing vapor
slicing through the soft silver air

hear the rush of its broad wings
whew, whew, whew, whew...
resonant, throbbing,  fanning forward
whew, whew, whew, whew...

this ethereal sound of Spirit, breathing 
I Am
this great white bird
this white cross dividing the light
providing the grace, giving the gift.
I Am
the sacrifice.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Mute Swan  (Cygnus olor)

Photo Location:

Petty's Bayou,  (Petty's)   Spring Lake,   (Spring Lake)   Michigan  (Michigan)

Try this YouTube recording of the wing beat of a Mute Swan: 

(suggest play 3:00 to 4:30)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Photo Haiku - Desert Series

looks like a mirage
color and texture surreal
Teddy Bear Cholla

mounds of Prickly Pear
Saguaro dominating
Poppies paint our path

three strong Saguaros
reminds me of Calvary
rise from bouldered slope

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo Locations:

1.  Gateway Loop,  McDowell Sonoran Preserve,  Scottsdale,  (Scottsdale)  Arizona

2. Finger Rock Canyon,  Pusch Wilderness,  (Pusch)  Tucson,  Arizona

3.  50 - Year Trail,  Coronado National Forest,  (Cornado)  Tucson,  Arizona  (Arizona)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Hike We Like - Great Sand Dunes

The sun was sunny.
The wind was windy.
The sand was sandy.
The hills were hilly.
The heat was ..... hottie?


This shot is ¾ of the way into our climbing hike, just to grab your attention. But let's take a few steps back.

We drove up from New Mexico, and found a decent campground near Blanca, Colorado. We ate lunch in the RV, and from the kitchen table window we looked up at spectacular Mt. Blanca; 14,385 feet elevation.

We arrived at the parking lot of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, in southern Colorado. The Visitor Center is at 8,175 feet above sea level.

           We looked out at vast piles of sand. Piled high and wide. 19,000 acres of sand. In 1932, President Hoover declared this a National Monument. In 2004,  under President George W. Bush, it was designated a National Park.

Here, Mary points out our destination, the highest point in the Great Sand Dunes; Star Dune, at 750 feet (230m.). But distance-wise, it's a long haul from our starting point.

These are the tallest dunes in North America. They cover about 11% of an enormous sand deposit that spreads more than 330 square miles.

How did this happen? Prevailing westerlies picked up sands from the San Luis Valley, the only true desert in the southern Rockies, and carried them eastward. Where the winds rose to funnel through the Medano and Mosca Passes, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the wind lost power, and deposited the sand on the east side of the valley. Located 30 miles (50km) northeast of Alamosa, Colorado.

We laced up our running shoes and started climbing these massive dunes. Up the loose sand, sinking in deep, losing ground with each step.
We walked only 1½ miles out, but up, up, UP  

Ahh, some nice Cumulus building in the clean, blue skies of Colorado.

Here, we're looking back at some of the people that ventured 20-30 minutes away from the parking lot. The crowds quickly thinned out, diminished to a handful, at our level.

Now Mary and I set a pretty swift pace when we're walking the roads and trails around home. Aerobically, we're hard to keep up with. On the trails through woods, wetlands and mountains, however, we intentionally slow down for my photographs and Mary's birding with binoculars.

See all the little people down below; smaller than Mary's thumb.

But here, ankle deep in hot sand, even our moderate pace was challenging. Speaking of challenges, I noticed a group of four, vigorous young men, about 400 yards behind, and slowly gaining on us. Now in these situations my competitive spirit kicks in. I wanted to beat these guys to the summit. Only because I stopped several times for photographs, they eventually caught up to us.

These men were sophomores at the University of Maryland, out visiting an aunt on her Colorado ranch. So, they were 20 years old, and we were in our mid-60s. Among the hundreds of people wandering around below, on the flats, gazing up, only the college kids plus Mary and I had churned up these sandy ridges. So, the four "Terps" complimented our fitness and climbed on, up the ridge, departing with a  "See you at the top." You definitely will, I thought.

We did meet at the top, a mere 750 feet (230 m.) from the base, but thousands of steps to achieve our goal.

Father Nature feeling proud at the peak.

His lovely wife, Mary, trim and fit.

I took some pictures of the four Terps. They reciprocated with this picture of us:

Rich and Mary on cloud eight.

We remained at the top, absorbing our fabulous 360° view. The clouds, the sky, the wind. This panorama of a southern Colorado landscape.

The Sangre de Christo range. (Blood of Christ Mountains)

On the return hike, we made up our own route. Bushwhacking they call it, although there was not a bush in sight. Using gravity as our friend, we ran, with huge strides.
Although we had to stop three times to empty sand from our shoes, it was an exhilarating descent. A huge return of fun for the work we  invested into our climb.  
Our momentum encouraged more speed. We accelerated to the edge of uncontrollability.
Leaping and shrieking, "Whoo-hooo!" We sailed down the hot hills, over the sunny sand, catching air, catching the wind, and out of the corner of my eye, I believe I caught a fleeting glimpse of childhood.

"Singing Sand" Phenomenon (YouTube video
Photo Location:

Great Sand Dunes National Park   (Great Sand Dunes) , Colorado (Colorado)