When the Door Closes

My secret life as a poet, writer, photographer…



I Walk – a Haiku

Eschewing a plane,
I walk towards solitude
ten minutes from home.

Desert wilderness,
stippled in olive and beige,
lures soles to pavement.

Posted for the Daily Prompt: Aimless
©2016 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved


Jewel box lays empty.
Rather, I wander the woods,
boots begrimed by earth.



***Hats off to the ladies who work full time while raising babies and still manage to post on time. <sigh> I, on the other hand, have only myself to baby, and I still miss deadlines. Sorry. 😦

Posted for the Daily Prompt: Simplicity
©2016 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved


Angel's Landing

Red Earth stains my shoes,
climbing Angel’s Landing in
clear-headed silence.


Posted for the Daily Prompt: Rebuild
Photo: ©2011 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved
Haiku: ©2016 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved

Last week I hiked on a whim,
choosing a trail just above the sea.
I passed gulls gossiping like old men
and jumped crags deeper than a tall me
while the wind capered across the water
and light danced about the waves with glee.
Diverted, I worried the journey would end too soon,
but on rounding the bend, I found eternity.

Posted in Response to the Daily Prompt: Me Time
©2015 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved

Hiking Bumpass Hell

Just a few short weeks ago, I embarked on a road trip with pit stops at federally protected lands (i.e., national parks and monuments). “Amazing,” “awe-inspiring,” and their synonyms surely flitted through my mind during that drive, but I remember only one word: WOW. A mere 3 letters too inadequate to describe the incredible vistas upon which I gazed.

Lassen National Volcanic Park was my last park and Bumpass Hell Trail the last hike of the trip. According to the National Park Service, the trail is an easy 3-mile, round-trip, day hike “though the altitude (8,000 feet) can make the trail seem moderately difficult.” Deconditioned desk jockeys like me should take this to mean that a cardio workout of almost-needing-to-use-a-defibrillator proportions is about to begin.

I meandered through evergreens and peered down into forested canyons, all the while listening to silence occasionally broken by birds trilling somewhere off the path. And then I caught the whiff of sulphur just seconds before my first glimpse of Hell, which was anything but. It was gorgeous! Milky, light blue water. Trees of varying shades of green. The name must have been a mistake.

The steep descent into the basin gave me pause, however, and when I stopped to read one of the trail info signs, I realized Bumpass Hell was entirely too appropriate. The milky, blue water which invited unwary hikers for a dip was actually boiling water. Boiling acidic water. Yikes.

Leave it to Mother Nature to create something so beautiful yet so deadly. I wonder what lesson she’s trying to impart? Leave her creations alone? Enjoy but don’t touch? (She should have given the vandal who recently defaced at least 10 national parks private instruction! But, that’s a story for another day.)

I choose to think Mama N is simply advising us on life in her own subtle, spectacular fashion. No pleasure without pain. No joy without sorrow. Sweet and bitter. Yin and yang. So, I spent the rest of my last hike downwind and with my camera in rapid fire mode, thankful for the circumstances which led to this place and this time.

Happy holiday weekend!

Posted in Response to the Daily Prompt: Let It Be

© 2014 All Rights Reserved

Glacier Point

View of Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley from atop Columbia Rock
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Village, CA

Posted in Response to the Daily Prompt: Great Expectations
©2010-2014 All Rights Reserved

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning
at nine,
when low-lying clouds
still hovered above
the vaulted cathedral of trees,
we gathered
at the trailhead,
coaxing old jackets to zip
and tying well-worn boots
caked with technicolor dirt.

We three hiked,
for a million miles
it seemed,
tramping on rocks and mud
and shriveled leaves of faded glory,
weaving between maples and firs
sweater’d cozily against the clime
by delicate moss of neon green.

Higher and higher
we ascended
til the clouds receded
and the sun shown through
brown boughs,
illuminating the trail we trod.

At the summit,
we rested and communed,
sharing sandwiches and water
while gazing down at the I-84
as it snaked beside the Columbia.

rising as one,
unzipping jackets and
discarding hats from heads matted with sweaty hair,
we trekked back down
to the beginning.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

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