Toward Sunset

Recently returned from what’s become an annual November outing to Rancho Lomitas – a native plant nursery near Rio Grande City, in deep south Texas.  The ranch includes RV accommodations amid an amazing abundance of plants and birds.  This visit found me out walking as the sun set several evenings in a row, good therapy for sorting thoughts and settling restlessness.  This poem wrote itself on the third walk.  I was entranced while looking down due to the intensity of the sun in front of me.  The video way exceeds recommended size limits – apologies if it will not load for you; if it will, please enjoy stepping along. (On my end, works with either Windows Media Player or iTunes.)

Of Pick-Up Sticks And Hope

November 13, 2020. Scenes of burned forest embody both horror and hope … and present an apt metaphor for the current political scene in the U.S. Imagery here is from New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness which includes forest land that burned several years ago and promises to evolve eventually into renewed (albeit different) beauty. While there in September, many days the sky was darkened by smoke from active Arizona fires. And the news was full of Colorado and West Coast fires. Reminders that the devastation in front of us was not a one-time freak occurrence.

What can I contribute toward healing either former forest or former democracy? I offer imagery to promote hope.

Destination

October 15, 2020. I’m almost back from a month’s retreat from home base. I’ve been physically and energetically disconnected from computers and routines. In the next week or so I’ll be catching up on blog posts from others – another sort of cushion comfort! Come end-of-October, I’ll be traveling again …

This haiku was written in response to the visual impact of sky-gazing from the mountain over Cloudcroft NM (a place we return to at least once a year). In typing it up today, I realize it speaks also to my “destination” of adjusting to losing my son. Life seems a continual journey toward an ultimate destination difficult to envision. I savor interim pauses.

Good Grief

September 9, 2020. Two weeks now since my son’s death. He was here the seven weeks prior, seldom leaving the house except for a daily walk around the block. The Labrador and two cats blinked at furniture rearrangements and accepted my son’s desire to be left unlicked, unrubbed. That said, he spent hours observing the canine/feline maneuvers and interactions. It was soon clear they were meditative entertainment through long hours of “just sitting” in the living room. I’d peek at him from behind my computer screen … or gaze at him from my rocking chair … grateful for the nonverbal companionship he enjoyed. Pets don’t ask questions.

Labrador and calico have acclimated, but I keep finding the ginger cat prowling the now-empty room we turned into his bedroom and sitting on the doorstep – signs of searching: where’d he go? For seven weeks his energy filled these rooms, and that remains. I sense a smile of sorts penetrating the space, his pleasure that this cat is seeking him. Perhaps he speaks to her in ways I cannot hear – perhaps they’re engaged in an adventure game. So much I cannot understand.

Because It Feels So Good!

July 27, 2020.  Following my prior post (also on personal encounter with creativity)  I’m  reusing the image as it perfectly suits!   I stumbled onto both poems while clearing clutter … on two separate occasions.  Prior poem is repeated below this additional poem from same era.  (I’ve no clue which was written first!  Nor what may emerge from next decluttering urge.)

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Referenced poems:

Robert Okaji’s Dry Well @ https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/59487473/posts/10774

Ken Gierke’s Deer Enclosure @ https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/66499778/posts/23176

Lured Between Lines

Wednesday, July 15, 2020.  Recently, clearing clutter, I stumbled on a handwritten poem clearly written back in my Old Normal: mornings wandering through poems on WordPress, evenings lost in yet another jigsaw puzzle – both meditative practices, both prone to spark poems. Usually such poems go quickly into the computer; some connect to photos I’ve taken (or decide to take after writing); and some of those arrive here.

I’ve not posted in a while. Life got very complicated, and will continue in that vein for a while. My son was taken to ER in Minnesota (where he’s lived a couple of years) and ended up having brain surgery: glioblastoma stage 4. Devastating. Since, I’ve been to Minnesota, packed up my son and his things, and brought him here for what lifespan remains.

I am bit by bit turning back to meditative time-for-me (which benefits everyone under this roof!) and this poem has me blogging again. This collage merges imagery from the referenced posts with my own photo of lines in the sky.

These poems are well worth reading (again, if you already follow the poets):

Robert Okaji’s Dry Well @ https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/59487473/posts/10774

Ken Gierke’s Deer Enclosure @ https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/66499778/posts/23176

 

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Odd Hours, Odd Moments

May 9, 2020.  COVID-19 makes for odd times, the new normal ever evolving.  I feel my sense of time (days, hours) slipping further and further from the forefront of thoughts and actions.  I’ve begun putting routine tasks on my calendar, but then I forget to open it, and oops!  Two days late dosing the pets with monthly heart-worm preventive.   This poem was written in those hours that challenge my dating the page:  is it still yesterday or already tomorrow?  I had great fun creating the collage, though difficult to choose which of the 40 photos taken of our first 2020 echinopsis cactus bloom.  So many petals, so many angles, so intriguing to steadily observe, wishing I could slip between  petals for a snooze.     

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What Lands In My Lap + Book Review

Includes Book Review:  Dancing In The Narrows by Anna Penenberg

May 1, 2020:  The past six weeks have been a continuing transformation of “normal”.  Settling into new stay-home isolation, two challenges arrived simultaneously: a beautiful but ultra-difficult 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle and a book-review request. The jigsaw image is by Sara Steele, one of my favorite modern painters, and ultimately worth the agony that prompted visions of a mini bonfire, puzzle pieces aflame.  The book, by Anna Penenberg, chronicles a single mother’s heartaches and strengths as she and her daughter (stricken with a debilitating illness later diagnosed as Lyme Disease) are propelled  through one medical intervention after another, hopes rising and falling. I welcomed this book to better understand Lyme Disease.

Certainly I had ample time to work this puzzle and review this book. They made interesting “lap” companions! The puzzle flowers took me virtually out-of-house, and the book took me out-of-now back to years as a single mother. The timing of reading this book is notable.  A book about rising to meet uncertainties, about survival through adapting – along with a world-wide call to face uncertainty, to adapt.

I’ve collaged together the imagery, as these two have become interwoven symbols of my pandemic stay-at-home experience.   I’m breaking usual form with this post to include the book review, below.  You can pre-order now on Amazon; availability is July 2020.

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Dancing In The Narrows by Anna Penenberg (She Writes Press, July 2020)

This is a true tale of resilience facing uncertainty.  Lyme disease is the villain.  Mother Anna Penenberg and daughter Dana are each victims, though only the daughter harbors Lyme. Both are also heroines.  Though many Lyme specifics are covered, read this book for its model of perseverance against odds, against unknowns.  The book is hard to put down.  And when the last page turns, you will see your own challenges through a clearer lens.

~~~Woven into the struggles are spiritual connections to nature, labyrinths, and dance.  Author Anna Penenberg studied dance in college to become a therapist using bodily motion to heal. Exploring treatments takes mother and daughter on several road trips, each a mix of serious business with natural and spiritual encounters.  Like the sunset viewing of the Grand Canyon while pelted by hail, doubling over in laughter, needed relief.  “Everything bothered Dana.  When pain overwhelmed her ability to be civil, we drove in silence.”

~~~The Narrows, a slot canyon in Zion National Park, is a 16-mile stretch of the Virgin River where tall canyon walls come closer and closer together. On a rare week away from Dana, Anna returns to this place during a rainy season, and hikers must stop short of her desired point.  She is allowed 10 minutes on her own, a little beyond the group.  She splashes along a sandbar, hugging the cliff, finding herself “not broken.” The book is named for this pivot point.

~~~The phrase “She will turn a corner” captures the essence of years of searching for answers, “as if we were driving in a neighborhood where, if we made the right turn, we would meet the cure for Lyme disease.”

~~~As Dana begins to improve (in 2012), Anna celebrates turning sixty with a circle of women, reflecting: “I’d had the heroic job of standing by my ailing daughter day and night for years. It wasn’t a job that could be hired out. It wasn’t a job I chose. It wasn’t a job with tenure, benefits, retirement, or prestige, but it transformed me.”  The illness began in 2007. In 2013 Dana could finally live on her own.  “I took off the cloak of survival and stepped naked into my life.”

~~~Each chapter opens with a poignant quote.  One, from Alan Watts: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” This book has much to offer anyone (male or female) facing a challenge that defies resolution — hence, all of us facing the 2020 pandemic. This odyssey encourages survival through persistent pursuit. Protocols embraced by daughter Dana make 2020 rigorous hand-washing seem trivial.

Book Review posted on GoodReads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3309921796?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1

 

Spinning

April 29, 2020.  Yesterday (another day isolating at home) included a nap, and an awakening that stirred up a poem.   This is NOT a black&white image of my blue bedroom – somehow afternoon sunlight shifted perspectives right out of color ranges –  for my eyes, and for the phone camera synchronistically beside me (I don’t usually nap with  phone!).  I’ve added an icon to depict inner spin with Uncertainty.

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