Snow Day

Start the year under the cover of snow,
Giving us the pretense of innocence.
We really have no place we need to go,
So let the storm outside rage more intense.
From the safety of my frosted window
I’ll watch the growing accumulation.
It is my favorite afternoon show,
Better than the lies on television.
I love to listen to the cold wind blow
As I take another sip of coffee.
Winter has yet become my greatest foe,
But wait until April, and we will see.
I believe I have given my reason
Of why I enjoy this change of season.

The Feywild

You have walked into the land of the fey,
And now you are subjected to their laws.
All the creatures look like they want to play,
Petting you gently with their enormous paws,
But beware of their secret intentions.
You are another beast among the trees
Who responds well to gratification,
And soon you will do things for them just to please.
The forest needs a human touch to thrive,
And those foolish enough to cross that breech
Will forfeit what’s left of their simple lives
To suggestive whispers of fey speech.
You are not the greatest of creatures
And only valued for pretty features.

The Best Posts of 2021

2021 was another rollercoaster of a year, and though Covid continued to make life difficult, things loosened up enough to allow me the opportunity to travel a little more this year than the previous one. It is always fun for me to look back at the posts from the previous, and it shows me how great the last year has been. I hope you feel the same way as you take a trip back through the year of 2021.

#10 – Hindsight

This is the perfect post to start off this list for the year 2021 considering how difficult a year 2020 was. Based on how little we learning this year and how it feels like we are in the same place this year where we were last year, it might be an important poem to start the 2022 year. This post is also one of three poems that appear on this list which is the most that has ever appeared on any of the end of the year lists I have ever created.

#9 – The Dead Sea, Jordan

I moved to Jordan at the beginning of August, but did not have the chance to explore it much until October. There are many places that I want to visit, but I got a gift card for a night’s stay at the Kempinski Hotel at the Dead Sea, so this was the first place I voyaged off to. It was a great experience, and floating in the salt water really surprised me by how easy it is to do. I am hoping to post many more travelogues from places I visit in Jordan and other close-by countries in the coming year.

#8 – Rain on a Work Day

I do enjoy sharing the poetry I write while traveling with you, but only a select few people really get into it. This is why I love it when one of my poems pops up on the top ten list for the year. This one was written during a rainy afternoon in March when I was visiting Khao Sok, a reservoir in southern Thailand. I had taken off work to take this trip, and I enjoyed the way the rain forced me to take things easy on a day that I should have been working.

#7 – A Desert Feast – Wadi Rum, Jordan

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is not about spending more or giving gifts. It is all about sharing time with family and friends. Since I have moved overseas, this holiday has meant something a little different for me, but this year I was able to have an experience that will make it one of my favorite memories of this day of celebration. I was able to head down to Wadi Rum with new members of my school and spend some time with the Bedouins that live there. The meal was not a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but it was the best one I have ever had for a meal that was cooked underground. You seemed to be intrigued by this process as well to make it one of the bigger posts of the year even though I posted it so late.

#6 – Walking Street – Koh Lipe, Thailand

I did get to travel to a lot of different places in Thailand during the pandemic, and I feel lucky to have had that experience. Out of all of them that I went to see, Koh Lipe will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only was it a beautiful place to relax during my Spring Break right before the country went back to lockdown. It was also my last hurrah while living in Thailand. Though there were many parts of this island paradise that I wrote about, it was this feature that resinated the most with my followers. I hope the information I gave will give those that eventually travel there the hints to enjoy this place as much as I did.

#5 – Elephants in the Morning Mist – Khao Sok, Thailand

One of the many stops I was supposed to go on my road trip through Thailand last Winter Break was to the reservoir at Khao Sok, but we had to cut that portion of the trip out when the country started to close down. Luckily, the people at the resort let us rebook for a time in March. It create a moment in my life that I will never forget, wild elephants eating breakfast while I was kayaking nearby. This was even more remarkable considering that these elephants rarely come out to be viewed. I was told that because of the recent decline of tourism, they are more willing to come to the shore, and I was happy to be able to share this moment with those who cold not travel there and see it for themselves.

#4 – Problems and Possibilities

Late in 2020, I received an offer for a new job opportunity in Amman, Jordan, and I spent a lot of my time early this year preparing for the move. Part of that preparation meant signing on to a new email account at my new school as I started to transfer things over. The head of the school sent out an email describing the difference between problems and possibilities to inspire his staff who had been struggling with the pain of online teaching. It was the inspiration for this poem which seemed to connect with other people. It also makes me happy when one of my poems connects with people in this way.

#3 – Elk in the Backyard – Black Butte Ranch, Oregon

I have written a lot about Black Butte Ranch in central Oregon because I am lucky enough to get to spend a couple of weeks there every summer. It is also a place close to my heart because it is where I got married. The place is a beautiful collection of cabin-like houses underneath the shadow of Black Butte that is off the beaten path of the busy tourist towns and cities of central Oregon. Because of this quiet atmosphere, the wildlife likes to hand out in the forests. Most of the time this is squirrels, deer and coyotes, but I had never seen a herd of elk, so when they came wandering around the house I was staying at, it was reason to pull out the camera and take some pictures. Apparently, other people enjoy seeing these pictures as well because they kept of visiting this post long after its first publication.

#2 – The Bat Cave – Railay, Thailand

One of the nice things about Covid was it forced me to explore Thailand than I would have normally explored it. I spent the whole of the last Winter Break traveling through the southern portion of the country, and the city of Railay was one of my favorite spots. It was a small isolated town that can only be reached by boat where people go rock climbing, kayaking, and lounging on the beach. One of the most prominent features is a cave off of the Princess Beach that people hike up to all the time. My wife and I made this trek one day, and the story of how to get there has now helped a bunch of other people make the same hike.

#1 – Wingspan versus Everdell

Board games have become quite the hobby for me during the pandemic. They have been a great way to get together with friends, and continue to be social. The first one I bought to bring me back to this hobby was Everdell, but I had spent a lot of time researching whether this one of Wingspan was the one for me. I ultimately chose to build a woodland village, but I did have a chance to play Wingspan over the summer and compare the two. I have given my thoughts on both games in this post, and which one I thought was the better buy. The post did so well that I have considered doing more board game reviews in the future.

Honorable Mentions

Though there were many posts from the last year that were worthy to see, here is the lists of posts that continue to do well even though the were written in previous years.

The Mythology of Thailand – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Never Forget Dachau – Germany

A Toast to the End of the Semester

Being Indiana Jones – Hua Hin, Thailand

Lessons from Angkor Wat

Bend Sucks! Move Somewhere Else – Around the World Day 39

The Sight to See in a Morning’s Beam of Light

We should all take the time to watch the grains
Of dust as it swirls in the morning light.
The weight of responsibility’s pains
Are the ones that we must battle and fight,
But they don’t mean a thing against the beam
Throwing a spotlight on the dancing specs,
Losing its inhibitions to the dream,
Living a schedule that has such flex.
They wait about for the closing of night
Before they jump up to perform their show.
You have to look closely to see the sight
Of their gently played ballet done in slow.
It is a choice they are willing to make,
So we may learn that ours is a mistake.

Life of a Bedouin

It’s a long day’s journey through rock and sand
Before I can reach my intended goal.
Though the trials I face never go as planned,
A miracle’s in each moment I stole.
I will teach my children to hide behind
A boulder, so a weary traveler
Will find our game of Boo! the merry kind
That makes any hard hike less of a chore.
I will find my friend with a hot kettle,
Making a sweet tea with the herbs he has found.
In the west, when the sun starts to settle,
I will watch it on a soft patch of ground.
Everyday is a day that I win
When I live the life of a Bedouin.

Insurrection

Are you ready for our revolution?
‘Cuz we are comin’ with our wife-beaters,
And flags bearing forgotten solutions.
Look at our ideology’s features,
And accept them as what should be believed.
We’ll open your eyes to hypocrisy,
And in the end, you all will be relieved
That we have shown you what you could not see.
Do not talk to me about what is true
Because all those facts cover up the lies.
It is more about what you wish you knew
As you sit back and watch how the truth dies.
Peace is over. It is time for combat,
So I will yell, “Where are my soldiers at?”

Puppy Love

We found you among the garbage and trash,
But your big eyes instantly stole our heart.
We will never think our decision rash.
To find within our busy lives, a part
Where you could stumble and pounce and grow up.
We would play with your younger energy,
Cuddle when you tired of being a pup,
And create a life that was struggle free.
Into our home, you brought your innocence,
And left us with joy swelling in our chest,
While lingering was a distemperence
That we could not save, though we try our best.
While you look down on us from up above,
Please understand, we did it out of love.

The Mud Dance

It is time to go and play in the mud,
Lathering it all over your body.
It will help you pump out all the bad blood,
And take your living, that has been shoddy,
To allow for it to feel young again.
Getting sloppy is not only for kids,
So do not allow pretention to win,
And do as the wallowing custom bids.
If it’s too much, look to the salty sea,
And let the warm waters wash away clean
The grime of the day, leaving you pretty,
Ready to return to the adult scene.
You don’t know when you’ll get another chance
To lose yourself in another mud dance.

Salt

If I were living in the Dark Ages,
Where my feet tread would be worth a fortune.
The spice that’s collected here in stages
Would have been mined from the base of this dune.
What could be carried away in a sack
Would be stored away in someone’s attic,
And when a little flavor they did lack,
A tiny pinch from their stash, they would pick.
But it did not work well for currency
Because it would diminish when they ate,
Then they would have to go back to the sea,
So they could buy more morsels for their plate.
You cannot give them grief for this small fault,
For life is better with a little salt.

The River

Freedom can be found along the river.
I just need to follow the water north.
Across a certain line, they deliver
All who may be seeking who have come forth.
I know that my man will search for me there,
But it is my only form of guidance,
And it is within its rushing flow where
I can find a road map that gives a chance
To a diff’rent life than the one I live.
It is a life where I can have a voice,
And where all of the options that they give,
Allows me the right to make my own choice.
It is a journey that may take me years,
But it is worth facing all of those fears.