The Place Where I Walk

photographs by Ethel Mortenson Davis



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The Builder

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

We were hoping
to catch a glimpse of
the one who made this place,
a summer home
by the water.

We wanted to see him or her,
but we keep missing him.

Perhaps if we rise
early in the morning
when it is still dark
we will glimpse this one.

Or if we delay in the evening,
when the summer light
lays on our shoulders
for endless hours,
we will see the builder.

I know he or she has left gifts everywhere,
like the pile of stones
at the water’s edge.

It is a masterful display
of color and size,
each one shiny
from the motion of water,

a universe within itself.




Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

In the Time of Miracle

Our grandson, Joey Bingen, has severe autism. He is fourteen years old and cannot communicate with words. He does have a couple of sign language signs and uses them when he wants something, but has basically not been able to communicate with his parents, brother, or anyone else. Then . . .

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working with the therapist he wrote this message on his iPad, which, in the past, he has only used to play games. He has followed these words up with additional communications, the beginnings of written conversation. Fourteen years of silence and then words!

Where will this sudden ability to communicate lead? What will it mean in Joey’s life? His parent’s life? His grandparent’s life? Ethel and I believe in miracles at the moment. We believe in miracles.


Filed under Essays, Photography

Emerging Into Freedom

by Thomas Davis

Waves rolled with curving lines into the shore.
Lake Michigan horizoned into sky.
They watched a dark brown, white crowned osprey soar
Above the waves and heard its hunting cry.

Inside pinched spirits chained by slavery
And endless hours of suffocating fear,
Bonds loosened as the dream and fantasy
Of freedom suddenly seemed real, so near
To where they stood above the giant lake
They were not sure they had not reached a future
Aware of who they were, the earth awake
To spirits that had passed through deadly danger.

Inside the distant swamp they’d been but slaves.
They stood upon a hill and listened to the waves.
Note: I have been working on a novel about a black fisherman community founded on Washington Island prior to the Civil War in the wilderness of Wisconsin. This is the eleventh sonnet published here that heads chapters in the novel. I have made slow progress, but the novel keeps expanding, so we’ll see if I have the energy and capability of finishing it. I am less than half way through at this point.


Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Cascade Falls, San Juan Mountains

Cascade Falls, San Juan MountainsI am headed to New Mexico and Navajo Technical University, but will drive past this spot in the San Juans on the weekend in order to visit my mother in the nursing home in Grand Junction.  Kevin took a group of photos in the San Juans when visiting us when we lived in Continental Divide, NM.  Ethel and I treasure all of his photos, of course, but I have a special place in my spirit for his Colorado photos.

Photograph by Kevin Davis, Alazanto, our son


Filed under Art, Photography


For Brand Windmiller

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 You take a boy,
ten or eleven,
and put him
into the wilderness,

let him do
the hard work
of boating
before the destructive
influences permeate him,

let the wilderness
finish his training.

Let him eat berries and nuts.
And let him hear the sound of
the red-eyed loon
as she carries her young
on her back.

If once is not enough,
bring him again.
Let the wilderness
do her work.

Early in the morning,
push the bow
into the darkness
as the white fog
sits on top the water.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry


a photograph by Sonja Bingen

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