Saturday, August 14, 2010

Note In A Bottle

     This spring I gave a workshop and lecture at The Northwest Poets' Concord held in Newport Oregon, a small town on the Pacific coast. We stayed at the Hallmark Inn, where all the rooms had an ocean view. When John and I checked in, I noticed on the room map they gave us that we were right next to a corner room. A corner room—maybe with an extra window to the sea! The woman behind the desk said it was available. 
     When we entered the room, I spotted a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket sitting on the table. Pretty good service, I thought, especially since we were getting a reduced conference rate. Next to the champagne was a bottle filled with sand and a note inside.
Our friend, Ce Rosenow, joined us that evening for sunset cocktails. As we sipped our drinks, we mused about the note in the bottle. What did it say? But we were soon distracted by the sunset. The colors were incredible and, as it sank into the ocean, we saw the rare "green flash." Now it was time to read the note in the bottle. I asked Ce to do the honors. "Congratulations," it said and, below was a generic "Happy Anniversary from the staff at the Hallmark Inn."
     The following morning, I saw an employee walking down the hallway carrying an ice bucket and another bottle filled with sand. He knocked on the room next door. My suspicions were confirmed—we had been given the 'anniversary room.' I felt so bad that I decided to write a poem on my note in the bottle and leave it on the doorstep of the couple next door. Anything had to be better than an impersonal congratulations. I remembered the poem a friend had given me when I moved to California and wrote these lyrics by the Incredible String Band:

     May the long time sun shine upon you.
     All love surround you.
     And the pure light within you.
     Guide your way home.

And congratulation to Ce Rosenow for her new haiku collection Pacific, published by Mountains and Rivers Press, P.O Box 5389, Eugene, OR 97405. Check it out at

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