Summer is winding down in interesting ways - It's been a pretty busy one, with two vacations, new grandparenthood, a teenager gearing up for college applications, driving, Eagle Scout, and a summer job.
I already talked about our awesome 40th anniversary vacation to Vegas, but last week we took the "family vacation" - to Massanutten, a huge resort area near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We and our teenager had a great time - we visited Luray Caverns (an otherworldly experience), as well as three presidents' homes (Jefferson's Monticello, James Monroe's more modest Ash-Lawn Highland, and Woodrow Wilson's birthplace and presidential library in Stanton, VA), and saw a very funny musical comedy at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stanton ("Return to the Forbidden Planet", based loosely on the 1950's sci-fi classic film Forbidden Planet, which in turn is loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest - the play used classic rock-n-roll hits like "Good Vibrations", "Gloria" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" -very entertaining). We also engaged in some resort activities, especially my outdoorsy and active teen, who mountain biked, zip-lined and hiked (we joined him on a short but steep hike on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park). We also did mini-golf and disc golf, crafts and yoga, etc. It was a full and fun week.
We're seeing a lot more of our granddaughter now that her mom has a full-time job and we (especially my wife) are the daytime caretakers. She's a little gem, and being a "pop-pop" is a great experience. At two months, she's already smiling and "talking" (mostly "goo").
Tonight I just returned from another victorious "Quizzo" competition at a local watering hole. I'm a trivia buff, and have had fair success as a mostly solo "team", but I hit a dry spell until I joined forces with my sister-in-law and her best friend (who are both teachers), as well as her friend's son and tonight, her friend's husband. Tonight's quiz was tough, but for the second straight time, we emerged as first-place winners. Our team name? "Sharknado!"
Poetry: I'm still in a major dry spell so I don't have much new to offer. I do have a review of Billy Collins' upcoming collection, Aimless Love, on Amazon.com. I did have one recent acceptance: US 1 Worksheets will be publishing my poem, "Interview with a Metaphor" in their next issue. I'm also looking forward to attending the Poets' Forum in New York in October.
Billy Collins wrote a rather amusing poem in his new collection about the phrase "after Li Po" (the ancient Chinese poet), which appears in so many poems. That reminded me of this "golden oldie" from 2002, which won second prize in a contest sponsored by Writers' Journal:
That night in the drunken boat,
so the story goes,
you leaned up and out
to embrace your lover the moon,
and with that reach
that exceeded your grasp
fell into dark waters,
shattering your lovers sister
to a hundred flashing pieces.
And as she re-assembled
on the black-glass surface
to smile at her twin above
you were already gone,
your legacy bubbling
back up to the world.