Archives for posts with tag: camping

At Middle Falls
by Tamara Madison

Icy water drops
from the rocks
in sheets

We swim like otters
in the pool the falls
have filled

How hot the sun
How sweet the water
My children near

PHOTO: Middle McCloud Falls (Siskiyou County, California). Photo by Adri.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is about a camping trip to the McCloud River, near Mount Shasta, California. There was a heat wave that week, and the campground had no showers. Fortunately, the cold mountain water was always available and we loved swimming laps in the pool below the falls. The photo of me and my son jumping in was taken at a different spot along the river on that same trip.

tamara m

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison is a native of the California desert. A retired teacher of English and French, she is a well-traveled lover of nature, dogs and water. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Chiron Review, The Writers Almanac, The Worcester Review, Pearl, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, and many others. She’s the author of two chapbooks and two full-length collections of poetry, with two more in the wings. More about Tamara can be found at

olga tarakanova
Growing Faster Than Swamp Bamboo,
My Mother Liked to Say
by Jackie Craven

August turned our lake into a gloomy puddle
where minnows sank from the weight
of their own bodies and grownup voices
drifted on smoke from sad little charcoal fires
which made me wish for a cigarette—
a cloud of sin I could hold in my lungs
and no one would guess the darkness
inside me—or a secret tattoo
like a dragonfly or a message written in code—
impossible to decipher as I waded into the deepest
green. The water used to reach my chin but now
my legs were so much longer—
Even out by the rusty buoy
my feet touched bottom and mud pushed
between my toes. Above the din of lovelorn frogs
I heard her call and call.

Previously published in Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters by Jackie Craven, Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018.

IMAGE: Bamboo with leaves (watercolor) by Olga Tarakanova.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During the summer months, my family used to go camping at Lake Sherando in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Oh, the frogs and minnows, so fat and easy to catch. Oh, the nights lit by campfires and fireflies. As I entered my teens, the enchantment mingled with a desperate need for detachment . . . and a longing to hold on.

PHOTO: The author, age 11, at Lake Sherando (Virginia).

Author Jackie Craven in red turtleneck shirt and dark red glasses.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Craven has recent poems in AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, River Styx, and other journals and anthologies. She’s the author of Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018) and two chapbooks, Cyborg Sister (Headmistress Press, 2022) and  Our Lives Became Unmanageable (Omnidawn, 2016), winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award. After earning a Doctor of Arts in Writing from the University at Albany, New York, she worked for many years as a journalist covering architecture, visual art, and travel. Find her at

My Son Slows Me
by Dick Westheimer

His backpack was bigger than ours,
bulged with more than tent staves,
his little sister’s sleeping pad
and his mother’s foul weather gear.

At noon on our first day out, we find
a shade cave, just five miles
into the high desert canyon,
where we, black-fly bitten and

painted red by the midday
blaze, stopped for rest.
As I reached into a side pocket
for a mushed up pb&J, Gabe

called me over. Get out the stove
he asked, turned to his brother,
said, Pull out the cook set. Do we
have time, I asked, for this?

He replied, gesturing
to the gathering stream below,
the red rock canyon walls,
the generous overhang we found

ourselves under, All we have
is time, he said. Brother
and brother and father,
set to work while the others

drifted in heat dreams.
I chopped greens and sweet chilies
while the boys assembled the stove
ignited the flame, sautéed sweet

onions in oil awaiting my sous chef
prep. We seven ate like queens
of the caverns, cleaned up in the chorus
of the rushing waters, slept,

heads rested on packs, til the sun
lowered a few degrees to the west.
Awakened, I heard the older boy
say: Greens today. Carrots tomorrow.

Beans can wait. And I knew
what he carried was so much more
than the weight he’d offered
to take off our less robust backs.

Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My eldest son Gabe is an adventurer and an extraordinary cook.  But he is not goal oriented like I am. Both adventuring and cooking for him are part of a larger appreciation for “the moment.” On a backpacking trip together, I learned the joy of “being there” rather than “getting there” from his simple example.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dick Westheimer has—with his wife and writing companion Debbie—lived on their plot of land in rural southwest Ohio for over 40 years. His most recent poems have appeared or are upcoming in Rattle, Paterson Review, Chautauqua Review, Whale Road Review, Minyan, Gyroscope Review, Northern Appalachia Review, and Cutthroat. More can be found at


by Shoshauna Shy

It wasn’t like sleeping with the friend of a friend’s friend (which translated means sleeping with a stranger), because we knew each other, occupied the same circles, half-flirted now and then. But not enough spark on either of our parts to get a flame going, let alone a blaze. Then we found ourselves in sleeping bags away from the others, and in our chill half-sleep, moved closer together. We went skin-on-skin, and soon hit our heads against that cellar ceiling called No Chemistry, No Appetite, No Combustible Lust. I wouldn’t say I was offering myself, but more that I was borrowing from his better future. Borrowing him from the throes of some sweet lady. One day, she would want him very much.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of flash fiction is 122 words. I was 17 during the Sexual Revolution of the late 60s-early 70s when you did not wear a boy’s ID bracelet while going steady, or even go on dates.


ABOUT THE THE AUTHOR: Shoshauna Shy is the author of four collections, the most recent having won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poetry has recently been published by RHINO, Main Street Rag, Carbon Culture Review, and First Class Lit. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was a finalist for the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid poetry prize sponsored by Winning Writers in 2015. Her flash fiction has been published by 100 Word Story, Fiction Southeast, Literary Orphans, A Quiet Courage, Sou’wester, Thrice Fiction, Crack the Spine, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Every Writer, Red Cedar, and Prairie Wolf Press Review. Read more at



by Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the

Boulders at night, it stays

Frightened outside the

Range of my campfire

I go to meet it at the

Edge of the light

Photo: Eugene Dodonov