Monday, June 29, 2015


I am
surrounded by these
strong, substantial oaks;
their branches reaching
into the sky,
growing through the seasons,

triumphant with celebration,
as if giving praise,
with many arms.

Still rejoicing
after 67 summers.

© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations: Home Woods

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cottonwood Composition

listen to this sound;
the breeze composing music
with Cottonwood leaves

©  2015  Richard Havenga

Eastern Cottonwood - Populus deltoides

Photo Location:

Pickerel Lake Park / Fred Meijer Nature Preserve - Kent County, Michigan

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Great Blue Heron






Abreast the Nest

All Groomed

A Banner

© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Eagle Lakes Park - Naples, Florida

2, 3, 4, & 5 - Rogue River - Rockford, Michigan  

6. Cannon Township - Kent County, Michigan

7. Corkscrew Woodlands - EsteroFlorida 

8. Bostwick Lake - Kent County, Michigan 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Father's Day Message

I originally published this post in 2012. Re-published it in 2013, and 2014. During this time, some fathers have been added, and some have passed away. Happy Father's Day in 2015!

A Writer/Naturalist I've greatly admired since 1989, Rick Bass, loves his daughters dearly. In his 2009 book, The Wild Marsh (Four Seasons at Home in Montana) (Wild Marsh) , he ponders the fast and relentless pace of childhood as he watches his children grow.

In the "July" chapter, Bass writes:

"I know I'm doing what I can to slow it down. Reading to them in the evenings, cooking with them, taking them on hikes, and swimming in the mountain lakes.

"Any activity I do with them could be done faster and more efficiently, but only recently have I come to understand that the slower and more inefficiently we do things, the greater is my gain, our gain; the less quickly that galloping stretch of time passes...

"If I'll only watch and listen, they'll show me -- for a while -- how to slow time down: instructing me in a way that I could never otherwise learn from the caring counsel of my friends, and their experiences."

If you are blessed with children, and they are a blessing, I hope you are enjoying them as they are growing through their years; growing through your years.

Over the past 20 years, I've become very verbal when I see Fathers interacting with their children, in positive, caring, and fun ways. Especially when they are outdoors: in the park, at the playground, messing around in the creek, going fishing, watching insects up close, or spotting planets in the night sky. They may be working in the garden with their kids, raking leaves, building a snowman, taking a hike, exploring the woods, or simply balancing on an elevated log:

Whether I'm running, walking, biking, or even driving by, I'll often stop, and announce across the distance, to guys I don't even know, and will never see again:


I know this great Father. This is Ross Peterson with five of their six adopted children. His good wife Chanda, Home Schools these fine kids. We've known Ross since birth. He was our son Aaron's best friend as they were growing from boyhood into manhood.

I've been doing this small, but important, act of recognition since 1994. Now, I would like all of you to join me in this special mission. Six, simple, one-syllable words to say:


Give the compliment. Spend it, don't save it. Give it all you've got. Someday it may come back to you.

To the upcoming list of Good Fathers I know, some of the older guys will remember the simple phrase from a "Sweet Baby James" (Taylor) song:

"Shower the people you love with love,
 Show them the way that you feel"

And bring them to church with you, so the entire family can get to know Our Father, who art in Heaven...

Some Good Fathers I Know

Rick Adamy
Jeff Agar
Rick Amann
Roger Anderson
Ned Andre
Randy Argall
Matt Bailey
Jason Balgavy
Lazarus Banks
Wade Bernreuter
Andy Biermacher
Tom Blackford Sr.  *
Tom Blackford Jr.
Matt Block
Tom Brege
John Brillhart  *
Matt Burton
Chad Carlisle
Dirk Casmier
Jesse Causer
Charles Clark
Mike Clark
Terry Cliff
Joe Costello
Eric Curtiss
Scott Czarnopys
Don Dahlquist
John D'Amico
Paul Damon
Dave Dessellier
Nathan DeVos
Alex DeYonker
Jim Dillenburg
Peter Draugalis Sr. *
Peter Draugalis Jr. *
Tim Duitsman
Dale Dykema
Kevin Ecclesine
Bud Elve
Dick Farrer
Jerry Field
Steve Foote
Bob Gansler
Santiago Garcia
Bill Geldersma
Gil Girtz
Paul Gordon
Dennis Gray
Lee Grogg
Gary Harmon
William Havenga *
Bill Havenga
Jim Havenga
John Havenga
Bill Henkel
Chis Henkel
Jim Henkel
Kelly Henkel
Pat Henkel
Richard Henkel *
Ryan Henkel
Terry Henkel
Tom Henkel
Richard Heroux *
Gord Herrema
Greg Hewitt
Andrew Hoekstra
Jeremy Howard
Ken Hyink
Andy Jackson
Jason Janoski
Pete Johnson
Al Jongekrijg
Scott Jongekrijg
Todd Jongekrijg
Joe Junewick
Chris Karlson
Jeff Karlson
Jerry Karlson
Matt Karlson
Nate Karlson
Dick Kearns
John Keenoy Sr. 
Steve Kelly
Ernie Kenneway
Jason Kinzler *
Rick Kircheis
Harry Konyenbelt
Jeff Kowatch
Tony Kubat
Dale Lamps
Mike Lannan
Justin Leslie
Jim Long
John Longcore
Dave Lenox
Scott Lenox
Bob Mack
James Martin
Scott McDaid
Bob McElliott
Joe McGrath
Bob McIntyre *
Don Melvin
Jason Meyer
John Miller
Scott Mince
Steve Mueller
Mike Murphy
Jason Nielsen
Chris Norman
Heath Oberloh
Jeff Odem
Russ Olivier
Jessy Ouzts
Lou Palmerlee *
Joe Partin
Kirk Partin
Wayne Partin
Father Mark Peacock
Joel Peterson
Marc Peterson
Merle Peterson
Ross Peterson
Jason Piotrowski
Pete Prina
Tom Rademacher
Dave Ramsey
Jay Reed
Jeff Reminga
Jon Rick
Dathan Ritzenhein
Carlos H. Rodriguez
Gary Roode
Curtis Rowe
Peter Rowe
Bob Salik *
Roy Shaw
John Shelton
Bob Siegel
Joel Siemens
Mike Sissing
Bill Sleeman
Brad Smith
Wilton Smith
Larry Snyder
Jim Sowle
Chuck Spliedt
Rydder Sprik
Denny Stelzer
Joe Stojak
Jim Stone
Lee Strassburger
Dan Takens
Chuck Tappa
Jim Taylor Sr. *
Jim Taylor Jr.
Steve Tebeau
Manny Tendero
John Thomas
Owen Thompson
Jim Timmer III
Bill Trowbridge
Greg Uhlenbrock
Hank Uhlenbrock *
Dan Villalobos
Tom Vincent
Max Weighmink
Mel Westbrook
Joe Wilusz
Terry Winkle
Wayne Witt
Mike Zoerhoff

* Deceased

My Father: Richard John Havenga  (1923-2006)  I Love you Dad.

My only Son: Aaron Richard Havenga  (1975-1994) I Love you Aaron. I miss you Buddy.

Aaron would have been an excellent Father, but his Heavenly Father called him home early.

So, can you really slow down the passage of time? No.  But there are ways to enjoy the passing of time.

Think: There may not be a next time.

Live each day as if life is a blessing.

Take time.

Make time.

This time.

Now, my friends, here is the best daughter this world has created, and I thank God that she is my daughter, a true blessing in my life... Sarah Havenga Partin. I love you Sarah.

Remember the six words.

You may also like to read: Journey of a Journal - April 2, 2013.

Photo Locations:

1. & 2. Home Woods.

3. & 4. St. Andrew's Cathedral, (St. Andrew's) Grand Rapids, Michigan

5. First Home

6. Lake Michigan - Pentwater State Park,  Michigan 

7. Platte River - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,  Michigan

Thursday, June 18, 2015

delicate touch

landing on a shelf
of pastel yellow petals,
delicate meets soft
© 2015 Richard  Havenga

Rough-fruited Cinquefoil - Potentilla recta

Cabbage White - Pieris rapae

Photo Location: Lowell Township - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, June 15, 2015

Striders II

Dimpling the surface
of the silky smooth stream
with waterproof feet,
children love to watch you
"walk on the water."

Your long, spindly legs
stretch out in angles
way, way beyond
your narrow cylindrical body
held neatly above the surface.

You thrust yourself forward
making minor ripples
with your long middle legs
acting like oars,
yet you glide smooth and ripple-free.

Your hind legs
become rudders
when you need to steer,
sneaking silently
toward your target.

Your short front legs
are ready to snatch
unsuspecting prey that may
drift into the territory
you patrol with authority.

You are the Strider,
the efficient rider
on the H2O,
and the children say:
"Way to Go!"
© 2015 Richard Havenga

For an earlier, creative non-fiction version, see: Water Striders - June 19, 2012

Photo Locations:

Bear Creek - Townsend Park - Kent County, Michigan

Page Creek - Fallasburg Park - Kent County, Michigan

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dusk II

Cloud fingers stretch for last light, 
as dusk drains color from the day.

Slow ripples soften to calm,
as water plants cease wavering.

Soft summer night settles in,
as the poet searches for words.

© 2015 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy:

"Dusk" ~ May 30, 2013 

"velvet dusk" ~ September 26, 2014

Monday, June 8, 2015

God Whispers

allow the eyes of your heart
to open with wonder
and see the gifts
that quietly surround you

let creative desire
wash over you
like the current 
surrounding boulders
in a cold mountain stream

as you reach for the reverence
this moment is building toward,
let the silence surround you,
accepting words from that quiet voice;
the whispers from God

recognize the miraculous,
accept the Spirit's inspiration,
turn the voice into words;
write your own page of praise.
© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Virgin River - "The Narrows" - Zion National Park, Utah 

2. Arkansas River - Buena Vista, Colorado

3. East River - Gothic, Colorado 

Thursday, June 4, 2015


a mountain bluebird
sunlight splashing its feathers
feeds fledgling again

© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Location:

Pike National Forest - West Creek, Colorado  

Monday, June 1, 2015

white flags

tiny flags of white
brighten the understory
Flowering Dogwood
© 2015 Richard Havenga

Photo Location:

Cascade Township, Kent County, Michigan