June 12, 2018. Summer travels are underway – currently enjoying Arkansas near the Coleman Crystal Mine. People here are genuinely friendly (unlike the mocking birds!) Digging in red dirt, relaxing under forest shade – a place we return to whenever we go eastward. Tennessee by weekend.
This image is poor photography pieced together to illustrate a memorable encounter … iPhone on zoom yields blurs, but: “The best camera for any shot is the one you have with you” (Dewitt Jones savvy wisdom).
June 6, 2018. A landscape chore neglected several years taught me a few things. Our suburban backyard is “yard” surrounded by a U-shaped “dog run”. Chain link fencing (once part of a cat fence-in of “yard”) proves an inviting trellis. Over the years we’ve planted deliberately while battling such as wild grape, cat brier, and a good many unknowns. Uncensored, Moonseed vine and Virginia creeper took over the section of chain link beside the back porch. Beyond, in what’s now the Labrador’s run between chain-link and wooden privacy fences, Mexican petunia (Ruellia) flourishes. I love those blooms – enough to tackle downing a mass of vines.
But I was in for a rude awakening: I was ripping down beauty in its own right, albeit not showy like Ruellia.
May 29, 2018. The school year wraps up this week, setting my teacher partner free to travel. He has been prepping our Airstream, and I have been busily tweaking reservations along the path we’re targeting this summer. Some returns, some new locations. All of it flexible should we change our minds! Our minds are crammed full … no question we are overlooking something (to be further tweaked down the line).
In our yard, every day something new blooms … bringing regrets that we must miss this to venture toward the other. This collage blends purple coneflowers with datura, both prolific bloomers frequented by bees.
May 18, 2018. Transitions happen, ready or not. I wasn’t. This is day eleven of our new indoor-only cat living the outdoor-only lifestyle. I’ll spare details, but she violated Gary’s tolerance one too many times. This has been harder on me than on the cat, but I am observing her absolute glee with the outdoors and coming around to interpreting her plaintive meows as less complaint than plea for me to join her out there!
All changes again when we begin summer travels. Both cats will be indoors for the duration. Both will be very ready to explore the yard when we return. And perhaps at that point, the older cat and younger cat will share in-and-out privileges equally. I have fingers crossed. But I am open to the possibility that this little catalyst may have yet more to teach me.
This image I created for the 2010 Gathering of Circles – http://www.gatheringofcircles.com
May 3, 2018. Yesterday afternoon I ventured out in weather that could not quite rain but refused to calm down … I had one of those moments of recall that brought me home to write down the memories. Searching through files, I found photos from 2017 of the same place, on a similar overcast day – which I’ve coupled with a closer view of the prickly poppies prevalent this time of the year. I go back once a year or so, preferably in the Spring. My aunt’s house is long gone, but the road remains pretty much the same – near Cheapside, 20 miles out from Cuero TX.
My memories are of the year I lived in the country with my aunt, who worked in town and got home a good 2 hours after the school bus dropped me at the front gate. I spent those 2 hours daily walking the country road, solo except for cows off in the pasture. I was in the 8th grade, a pivotal year, and I owe so much to those walks! One day in particular, the wind nearly knocked me down, but I charged into it rather than go inside to be “safe”.
April 30, 2018. April brings beautiful wildflowers to Central Texas. My favorite is the pink evening primrose, Oenothera. My first April here (1987) the median strip between walk and street proved to be primrose territory. A bonus the realtor never mentioned. Thereafter, I was careful not to mow until after the blooming! Until … in 2011 a new neighbor on the block (from out of state) created a stink about my “weeds” and sent a cop out to read me the rules. I had multiple cats and zero doubts that no rats lived in my median strip. But: rules are rules and fury is fury. I made sure I’d never be asked to mow that strip again – paved it with sandstone slabs and spite.
Now, every April, I wish I hadn’t. This year, I offer a poem to honor the missing pink and a collage to convey imagined petals – petals much larger in proportion to walkway than any Texan’s bragging might suggest; but hey, my imagination knows no limits!
April 23, 2018. Yesterday, a poem I read sent me searching through old photographs looking for a specific dress worn in high school. I found it! But only in black and white. The memories, like the trigger for this search, are yellow. Vivid yellow. Same yellow as the Chiapas sage in my yard, which I resolved to let stand-in for the dress. When I found the photograph, I decided to layer dress and blooms – hence the strange collage.
This morning I opened Word-Of-The-Day to Cathexis (Analyst perspective) — investing psychic or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea. I certainly have these past 24 hours! Cathexis (Poet perspective) — holding onto associations, such as with a color (perhaps yellow).
This poem is a mindful reflection on the significance of simple things, like a dress, in defining memories – and likely spreading associations to future encounters.
Read Robert Okaji’s poem Yellow, Lost at https://robertokaji.com/2018/04/23/yellow-lost/