Ears equalize on descent as the passing shoreline
recedes and the brightness of day succumbs
to filtered light, eyes adjusting to another world.
Breath calm and regulated, focus turns
to the passing terrain. Mindful of hazards,
eyes scan the river bottom for items of significance
only to the diver, any thought of value long lost
to those who lost them. In a silence broken
only by that rhythmic breathing, thoughts rise
from their compartments. The day’s events,
concerns, are processed, consideration given
to matters whose weight seems less, floating
away within the surrounding peacefulness.
As the constraints of time are felt, the world
above calls. Rising to the light of day, willing
to face its demands, that silence is left behind,
the moment of solitary existence now past.
While scuba diving during the 1980s and 1990s, more than a hundred
of my dives were done while drifting with the current in the Niagara River.
(With the arrival of zebra mussels in the 1990s, visibility was 20 – 40 feet.)
This is my response to Poetics – Solitude, from Björn at dVerse Poets Pub.
I would like to thank Dwight from Roth Poetry for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. He reminds me that so much of the enjoyment of blogging comes from interaction with other bloggers. The rules of the award include nominating 10 people to participate in the award and listing 10 personal facts. I don’t feel comfortable passing on awards, but I will include 10 bits of trivia about myself.
- I ran the quarter-mile while in high school. My girlfriend at the time was none too happy when we were late to our senior prom because I spent the day at the state track meet.
- Until 2012, I lived all of my life within 2 miles of the Niagara River, and within a quarter-mile the last thirty years.
- Since then, I’ve been living within 3 miles of the Missouri River – blue water exchanged for muddy water.
- My wedding was held outdoors last year, next to a lighthouse on the shore of Lake Erie. So was my wife’s. 😉
- I have three children – two sons and a daughter. My sons are a computer engineer and an IT/service tech for an internet provider, and my daughter is a grade school counselor.
- I was a scuba diver for 17 years. My dives included ice dives, trips to the Caribbean and Rhode Island, and wreck diving in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, the Straits of Macinac, Georgian Bay and the St. Lawrence River. The majority of my dives were in the Niagara River, finding many things that could only be considered treasures by scuba divers, including bottles, a musket and a 300 pound anchor. I have never gone over Niagara Falls (except 3 times in a helicopter).
- I was a member of the Teamsters union as a dock worker and truck driver for 33 years, and served as a union steward for 20 of those years.
- I retired with a 30 year pension when I was 53. I have since spent my time writing poetry, taking photographs, and kayaking.
- Nearly 60 years old at the time, I once was stopped by U.S. border agents when I was leaving the country to visit Canada. They inspected my car, including prying at my door panels, and emptying the trunk. I guess they thought I looked suspicious. (Canada admitted me, no questions asked, and my return to New York later in the afternoon was non-eventful.) I didn’t tell them about the time I was denied entry into Canada in 1973 – in the days before computer records. Back then, I definitely looked suspicious.
- I have met more than 40 people in person whom I initially met online, traveling to Turnersville, NJ, Reading, PA, Cleveland, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Youngstown, OH, Erie, PA, Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, Lansing, MI, San Francisco, CA, Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Shreveport, LA, and Nashville, TN, in the process.
Bonus trivia: My diving ended after my ankle was broken by a 6,000 pound forklift that knocked me over, rolled onto my ankle and stopped there. They say I screamed like a little girl. It’s one of favorite stories.
I encourage anyone interested in telling us facts about themselves to please do so. Tell us about your suspicious activities! 😉
The coast of Bonaire like a desert,
as we pull three scuba tanks
from the trunk of a VW Thing,
three friends with an appointment
with a sea turtle waiting offshore.
Under the ice at Tobermory,
rising from the deck of The Sweepstakes
to a luminescent ceiling
formed by bubbles trapped overhead.
Century-old bottles and stoneware
rescued from a river bottom
that sometimes felt like home.
Sharing my regulator with a careless diver,
out of air before reaching
the hull of The Cedarville,
eighty feet down in the Straits of Mackinac.
A three hundred pound anchor on my lawn,
a quarter-mile from its former resting place
at the bottom of the Niagara River.
Sharing this passion with my son
on his first open water dive.
their sum contained
in relics collecting dust
and pages seldom read.