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How I Welcomed Summer at Grand Canyon: Poems from the North Rim

August 2, 2011

During my three weeks at Grand Canyon’s North Rim in June 2011, I led three creative writing hikes. What fun! We worked off of  the same “prompt” I often use when leading similar hikes in Orange County (as a volunteer with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy/OC Parks): Start the poem with “it is (season) again,” include some specific details about where you are, end with something learned.

Zoe and Sophia are 8-year-old cousins who were traveling out West with their fabulous grandparents . . . we had such a good time.

It is Summer Again

by Sophia, age 8

The Sun brushes against
us with heat.

Trees grow to the clouds
where birds can make
nests. It seems as if
a new world is starting.

The Sun tells us
to wake up and
feel the air run through
our body.

Another prompt I like to use: Sit quietly with eyes closed for several minutes, jot down sensory details, then begin writing sentences that start with “I wonder.” Here’s what Zoe created:

I Wonder

by Zoe, age 8

I wonder how the wind
reacts when it touches
our skin. It is
whooshing all around me.

I wonder what the ants
are doing under
the sand,  and as they
walk on our skin.

Rocks are all around on
the ground spinning
everywhere. As they
roll into the canyon
they make a thumping

A few days later I led another creative writing hike–on June 21, the first day of summer!

Poem for June 21, 2011
On the trail with writers
at the North Rim

by Thea Gavin

It is Summer again—

the sun and breeze

compose a perfect

duet of forest

warmth and chill.

We pick our spots
on the multi-colored rocks
and begin together:

It is Summer again—
a spider’s tight-rope
in the pine tops
gleams and glints.
A few cloud wisps
shirr on the horizon.

We are all here—
patched with shifting
ponderosa shade,
creating the first day
of summer
together, enjoying
the sway of wind
and company of writers.

The invisible rush—
inspiration and community—
like the first breath of Summer,
a cause for celebration.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 7:02 pm

    What a wonderful inspiration you are to all the budding poets, Thea! There is nothing so pure as a childs thoughts!

  2. August 2, 2011 8:24 pm

    that is a beautiful way to spend some summer days! Thank you for sharing these poems and your thoughts.

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