Vivid colors, vivid memories By Mary...

A MEMORABLE PLACE

February 24, 2002|By Special to the Sun

A MEMORABLE PLACE

Vivid colors, vivid memories

By Mary Medicus

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens.

-- "The Red Wheelbarrow," by William Carlos Williams

For poet William Carlos Williams, the world was redolent with sensory possibilities. Travelers wishing to journey to a deeper reality would be wise to commit his lines to memory.

New Zealand, Day 4: My husband and I were pedaling out of Papakura, south of Auckland. Thames, a town on the scenic Coromandel Peninsula, awaited us.

With the sun breaking through some morning clouds, our gear stowed in waterproof panniers and eight weeks of powering our tandem bicycle through the North and South Islands stretching before us, we were full of happiness.

But it was not to be. As the Brits say, we "came a cropper," and crashed -- the tandem went down, and we with it. Was it morning rain mixing with road oil? We searched for reasons, but came up empty.

As I lay in my bed in Middlemore Hospital in Auckland after surgery on both knees (luckily, there was no permanent damage), and with a hematoma on my husband's thigh taking shape, I thought of Carlos' poem to comfort me. "So much depends . . ."

What kind of trip could we now imagine?

Outfitted with crutches and a rental car, we changed gear and morphed into trampers. I hiked my way (first with two crutches, then one) up and into the country's volcanoes, fjords, mountains, thermal spots and glaciers.

And so began the sensory overload Williams' poem extols. Colors? Try the intense greens of the tropical palm groves and the more than 80 species of ferns; the avocado green of the parakeets; the stately grays of the giant, ancient kauri trees; the silvers of the beech forests; the brushed brown of the flightless weka birds; and the vivid reds of the rata trees.

Drown yourself in the color blue -- from the iridescent blue of Milford Sound, the aquamarine of Tasman Bay at Abel Tasman National Park, the sky blue of Lake Taupo, to the ice-mint blue of the thermal pools scattered over both the islands.

Thanks to Williams, I can now sing my own song of possibilities:

so much depends

upon

a silver

crutch

splattered with

mud

beside the azure

sea

Mary Medicus lives in Stevensville.

MY BEST SHOT

Daybreak in Maine

By Judith Mosley, Baltimore While on vacation in Lubec, Maine, one of the most eastern points in the nation, I photographed an early-morning sunrise. I was standing on the beach at 6 o'clock on a cold October morning, waiting for the sun. It was worth the wait -- and the shivering -- to get this picture of the beginning of a new day.

Readers Respond

Niagara Falls

Wendy Tune-Bussard, Baltimore

"My late parents spent their honeymoon in Niagara Falls in 1936, and the falls always had a special place in their hearts. When I got married, I promised myself I'd take my husband to see Niagara Falls. Just the look on his face at the beauty and power of the falls was worth the trip. The feeling I had, and the memories of the stories from my parents' experience, made it a powerful visit for me."

LET US HEAR FROM YOU

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

* My Best Shot -- Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

* A Memorable Place -- In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that changed you, about the nostalgia a place evokes, about the power of a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. (Cash value: $150.)

* Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

* Readers Respond -- Send a reply to our current question: Have you taken advantage of any great travel bargains lately? Tell us where you've been, or where you're getting ready to go. Selected answers may appear in a future issue. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

Because of the volume of responses, photos and manuscripts cannot be individually acknowledged or returned. (Submissions from all categories may be used as material for Readers Recommend.)

Send by fax to 410-783-2519, or write to Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or send by e-mail to travel@baltsun.com. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

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