New Growth Poetry Exhibit

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

My poem below was selected, by the Olympic Peninsula Writers through a juried submission, to appear for a year in the PAFAC New Growth outdoors exhibit in the Webster Woods sculpture garden. Following a year, it will be moved with other poems to a number of parks in Port Angeles. It’s very exciting to have been chosen! Below is a photograph of me with the installation on the day of the poetry reading.

Here is a recording of my reading:

Laura E. Garrard reading her poem “I Have to Chase That Squirrel,” June 18, 2022.
I Have to Chase That Squirrel

Start at a run from the door
And accelerate to top lope
Just as I reach the base of the Douglas fir
Even if I’m too late to catch it
My instinct must be served
You laugh and shrug
For me, it’s not just for fun
It’s my essence, my expression
My way to tell the world
What kind of dog I am
So free me to do 
What I want, what I must
Responsibility, according to whom?
My number one purpose right now
Is to chase that squirrel
Even though I’m scared 
I won’t succeed
I must look skyward to see
On which limb the squirrel may be

Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022

I took these photographs as spring turned into summer on the “Moments in Time Trail,” Olympic National Park. I feel they tie in nicely with the New Growth theme. (Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022.)

I Catch Sun on Lake Crescent

When I Catch Sun on Lake Crescent

There is a point where
I like to linger in the late light
Among the arms of a hugging alder.
I use my left foot to leverage
And perch myself on a limb
Not far from the ground beneath her.
I cherish course gray modeled skin
As wrinkled as an elephant’s
And run my fingers across the thickened ridges.
I look into a dark recessed knotty eye
From where I gather empathy and kindness.
The chatter and clatter of breaking waves
Keep us company with laughter and stories.
Like old companions familiar in fondness
I pick at the white lichen pieces
That slough easily from her aging skin.
When the sun begins to vanquish
I carefully and respectfully lower from
This grand gentle beast my friend.
Ambering arms flailing frozen about me,
I glimpse a couple’s infatuation carving 
Cut deeply into her thoracic body,
The same initials of myself and my own love.
Not my affront, I trace them apologizing,
Relish remembrance can be caught
As effaced longevity upon an alder trunk.

Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022
April 8, 2022



All blog photographs by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022
“Not My Affront, Yet Our Initials Still Caught,” by Laura E. Garrard, 2022

I’m Already Looking Forward

I’m Already Looking Forward

As the height of golden color
Becomes baked and matted
I can already see in mind’s eye
The blooming locations of next year’s beauties
And smell the sweetness of black cottonwood resin
A mere six months to wait
Things may be so different
I don goose down and Gore-Tex
In preparation of the colder and greener moss walks
Today’s azure brightness however
Forecasts a vital turnover
From nebulous to distinctive images
Only of fertile soil building
The winter wait will create cell space
Time will combine the correct mineral and organisms
I along with garden and forest will renew
As that is what seasons and bodies do

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022
Oct. 31. 2021
“Winter to Summer,” By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022
Elusive Winter Sun

Elusive winter sun
Shine through frozen limbs
And warm my chest

Bring my inflexible bones back to life

Show the way to peace
I once observed
In your summer shining
Warmth through and through
Basking in the new grass

Sleepy relaxed muscles
A dragonfly lighting
On my stillness

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022
Dec. 28, 2021



[Photo Gallery By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2022]

Broken Halves

Broken Halves

Broken halves

Jagged lines

A leaf

Has fallen

My hand

Chosen

This one

Split open

Creating

A heart

Torn

Explosion.

Fresh fall

Beginnings

Unfold

Voice uncovered

Discover

Within

Releases

Outward.

Comes the child

Dreams held

Deeply

In folds

Buried

Creates canvas

Of remembering

What I

Had left behind

And cherish

The child within.

She held magic

In soulful

Self portraits

Desire for

Expression

And hope

In movement

Of her body

Inward poetry

Spoken.

She loved

So deeply

Dancing within

Wanting to show

Herself without.

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021

Sept. 20, 2021

Photo by mauro savoca on Pexels.com

Lead top photo and those below by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021.

Enjoying the Calm

Enjoying the Calm

Today I approached the lake
And observed that she was very still.
She said, I’m thinking.
About what? I asked.
My destiny,
About where I’m going.
Ah, me too, I said.
I’d rather stay here with you.
Me too, I agreed,
This valley holds infinite beauty
And nourishes my breath and body.
She said, But if we stay here
We will not discover 
What may happen
If we were to explore
Elsewhere.
I said, True,
But we can be
Here together now,
Enjoy your sparkling sunshine,
And not worry about leaving just yet.
She said the winter storms are coming-
I don’t want them to, but they will-
The waves and current 
Will carry this me away.
I know, I said,
We will spend some time
And enjoy the calm.

By Laura E. Garrard
Oct. 8 2021


All photos above and below by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021

Resilient & Creative National Juried Art Exhibit – Port Angeles Fine Art Center

I am proud to announce that my multimedia figurative painting “Flowing Through Impermanence” has been selected to appear in the Resilient & Creative Art Exhibit at the Port Angeles Fine Art Center, Aug. 13-Sept. 26, 2021.

14×18″ Acrylic, Pencil and Ink on Canvas, Custom Framed in 2″ White Oak – $600

Here is the link to the show’s virtual tour: https://www.pafac.org/rc2021.html

This is the the poem that inspired my piece:

The Walk

Tall, striking 
New pink sneakers
Countenance of a tree
She glances at me
Actually, looks directly
I see her full expression
And feel myself weeks ago
Scared, strong, in fear, clear, near tears
The unknown has hit
The big leveler
The death inviter
The life challenger
Out of her experience
Out of her control
Swing set emotion
Up to down to up
Turning up the compost
Bringing up the rot
Mixing rich earth
With decomposing parts
She walks with dignity
With desperation
Because she knows
That her present and future
Are in constant question
And she's trying to flow
But not give in
Life is too precious
And the trick is
Not wanting it too badly
There's the rotting rub
How to survive
Remain oneself
Be the gracious woman
You've learned to be
Without handing your life, body and soul
Over to those
Who have no idea what makes you full
I smile to her
For I'm in it too
Just a different side of the walk
Looking across I'm now able to see
My own feelings reflected
And put two and two together
For myself, perhaps for her
And I hope my simple smile
Provides a calm kindness
The truest type of assistance
No overstepping, no talking, no giving
Having been there myself
Now walking not just for me

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021
Dec. 5, 2020
Photo by Evie Shaffer on Pexels.com

All photographs above by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021

I’m So Glad I Can Often Understand

I’m so glad I can often understand
The deeper meaning within poetry

That I can peer through dormer windows
Into your personal abstract stories

Like the sideways glance of shy eyes
And all you’re not saying

Revealing to me
Your truth

Tiny secrets you tease me to tug out
From your words but not

Your being

By Laura E. Garrard Copyright 2021
May 3, 2021

All photographs and video by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021.

I Became a Drop of Water One Day

In celebration of Poetry in Your Pocket Day, during this Poetry Month of April, I recorded myself reciting this poem (in the above video) while kayaking on Crescent Lake.

I became a drop of water one day
I floated from a cloud into a high hillside creek
And flowed downward to join a magnificent turquoise river
The river rushed into an emerald oblong lake
Where I greeted trout and merganser feet
I filled the entire lake as all drops linked together
I felt my body reach from one shore to the other
As well as separate to myself, the original droplet
After I had known fully my lake environ
I streamed out to the bay, then rougher moving sea
Joining currents stronger than me
Carrying me to other shores and other beings
I grew in knowledge, strength, and courage
Finally after a lifespan, I recognized myself again
For the water is me
Fills me
Nourishes me
And heals me
I became a drop of water one day
And through it realized the essence of all creation

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021
Feb. 5, 2021



[Top and Below Photos all by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021]

Forest Spotlights

Forest Spotlights


Have you noticed how light shines into the forest

To spotlight, transfix, invite us

Drawing attention to focus on its present priority of beauty

How would we stand a chance to notice anything at all

If we were left to our complete wonderment and awe

Without sun’s focus letting us light on what’s chosen

How else would we turn to the fern furl at the base of a Douglas fir

Or spot Olympic’s first spring snowdrop flower

Why, we would miss the most spectacular moments

Falling subject to the broad view

When there are ants in our midst and bliss awaits through the lens

Magnified mosses moving ever so slightly as budding leaves quiver

We would overlook it all if it weren’t for the filter of sun’s selection

Through cedar webbings, I am taken in by the playing and the pointing

Parameters within which I am to study the smaller

A student of tree sculpture captured in my camera

Clicking over and over the short-lived painter’s shades

Of permanent green and ochre amber

In just a minute or less, the magical moment has left

And I continue on until she shines again to point my head


By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021
April 12, 2021


[Top Photo: "Sunshine," by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021]


Spotlight and Closer Focus Gallery
All photographs by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021

“Nature” Art Exhibit in Jackson Hole

My poetry and photography will exhibit in the show “Nature” at the Center for the Arts Theater Gallery and Glenwood Lobby in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: April 19-June 14. My photograph appears on the exhibit book cover as well. For more information, link to the Center for the Arts Event Page. Join me in celebrating one of the included poems, “The Forest.”

The Forest

We smell your freshness
Taste your salt
Until our skin
Lets you in

I am bound by your beauty
To be bolder, truer
Than the sum
Of my tomorrows

By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021
Feb. 5, 2021
9×7″ Print on Wood, “The Forest,” By Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021

Top photo and below photos by Laura E. Garrard, Copyright 2021