Emergence Into Mirage

November 8, 2021. Sitting outdoors in Autumn, leaves coming down, shifts my inner gears into nearly-neutral. I am paused. My surroundings are part real and part mirage. Camped last week at Palmetto State Park between Luling and Gonzales (central Texas) I got all caught up in a leaf spinning in the middle of “nowhere” – no longer connected to its branch, not yet part of the pile on the ground, kept mid-air by a very-thin spider web strand. Gusts dislodging both spider webs and leaves.

No camera angle could capture the entirety. The collage is my best shot at bringing into perspective the dangle between above and below. The video shows the motion!

Watching that leaf filled me with a sense of impermanence – but connection – somehow the motions of my son’s hands his last few days taking on new significance. Suddenly he was blowing, spinning that leaf, teasing me.

Porch Vibrations

October 27, 2021. Today began with intense thunder as a front arrived right as we were letting the dogs out for their morning release. Our young one, Ramble, is afraid of the dark (really!) but will (usually) go out with just a hint of dawn (having not been out since dusk the night before). This morning she balked. Enticed onto the back porch (porch light on) for breakfast alongside elderly companion Buttercup, I closed the back door and settled into the porch rocker to wait awhile.

Quite a scene ensued – our cat Brie had slipped out also. Brie and Ramble each enjoy teasing the other, and the whole back porch was rocking with their ruckus. Buttercup and I observed. And waited.

And I thought of Lilie (Tea and Toast with Kindness) who often posts Zen bits of wisdom and observation from early hours. I tried closing my eyes to “let it be” but Brie would not let it be! Thus, this poem emerged. Lilie, this one’s for you.

Image is from a prior somewhat-calmer togetherness. Clockwise from top: Brie, Buttercup, Ramble

Ascending Vibrations

October 24, 2021 – Reflecting on a memorable stretch of New Mexico mountain/forest visited last month: Camped near the lower end of the road up to Magdalena Ridge Observatory, we opted for the thrill of a four-wheel-drive adventure, headed up to 10,000 feet elevation. Our campsite at 6800 feet meant a steep 8-mile ascent. And steep was not all! We never met another vehicle, a blessing since stretches of the road were very narrow. One or the other vehicle would have to back up (yikes!) to a wider, safer stretch. Oh, but the scenery! Magnificent!

On the rise, I was startled when three large figures seemed to rise toward me from the slope below passenger window. My husband, driving, had his eyes on the twisting road and by the time I caught my breath to mention the figures? No longer visible. And when we later came back down that road, though I scanned continually, the figures never appeared. That night, sleepless, I wrote this poem.

Next morning, I pleaded Take me back so I can know what I saw! The image is from the second drive. We stopped, got out, took photos, and my knowledgeable geography-teacher husband explained about “dikes” formed by magma rising through cracks in the terrain, the terrain later eroding away, leaving solidified ridges. Good to know all that, though for me those formations appearing, vanishing as they did seems a spirit greeting. I felt kinship, solidarity. I’m still pondering interpretation of the pause-here-now imperative.

Raven Realm

October 9, 2021. Another extended boon-docking adventure has wound up back in Austin, Airstream in the driveway until we finish cleanup, 3 days thus far of sorting mail, paying bills, and checking for oddities in the yardscape. Enough. Time to indulge, share one of the many poems that emerged during these recent travels.

I’ve long had a thing for ravens. Their “black” includes blue highlights when the sun shines on them just so, and they are full of antics that capture my fancy. The part of New Mexico we just visited is home to many ravens, seen in small groups of 3 or 4 as well as solo – their silhouettes punctuating roadway skylines and their quirky calls penetrating forested mountains. Difficult birds to photograph! Especially in flight. But I got lucky enough to make do. This image is a composite of bluffs in the El Malpais National Conservation Area plus cooperative ravens from the next day (far more “accurate” than failed attempts to capture both at once!)

The poem began as a haiku, then grew into a series, composed in the passenger seat as we rolled along the Continental Divide in New Mexico.

Swirl On

September 16, 2021. We’re packing to travel again, returning about a week into October, so I’m in a swirl of preparations for cat-sitters and packing and all those essential tasks that precede rolling out onto the road, headed for Nature’s tranquility.

Before I go, I want to share this poem. A more enjoyable sort of swirl. It felt good in the writing and I continue enjoying the visual I’ve created. Where might one find an actual paisley dance floor? Why not on the moon – so that’s where I’ve imagined (and collaged) it. Turn on or imagine your own music and enjoy visualizing your own feet swirling across paisley “up there” where you’re aware of no one but yourself. Trust me, it feels good!

Still, Tamales

2021-09-11.  Today is notable as 20th anniversary of the terror of 9/11/01 attacks.  The aftermath has changed perspectives worldwide.  So solemn seems appropriate, in spite of a sunny Saturday with no commitments. 

The poem I sponsored in support of Brick Street Poetry is up on Robert Okaji blog:  https://robertokaji.com/2021/09/11/day-four-poem-pondering-perpetuity/

(You, too, can sponsor some Okaji magic – details here: https://robertokaji.com/ )

I’d offered “Perpetuity” thinking of global concerns about humanity, planet, etc.; when Bob scheduled my sponsored poem for today, I anticipated something related to 9/11.  What a lovely surprise to read his applicable-any-day poem concluding with Wisdom/Owl hugging with feathered wings our deepest dreams. 

I got lost, immersed in online imagery of owls, especially wings.  If you too need to get lost, try this — the abundant variety is startling.  And if that doesn’t break a solemn mood, send someone out to bring back home-made tamales! 

This post is a thank-you to Robert Okaji and a miss-you to my son, gone just over a year now.  (I talked myself out of ordering an owl-wing-print shawl though I sensed my son giving a thumbs-up as I perused options.)

A Peacemaker’s Nightmare

September 6, 2021 – New Moon. Today is Labor Day, but likely the New Moon is a bigger influence on my inner focus – responding to surrounding ruckus impossible to escape or ignore. Even (maybe especially?) for an Enneagram Nine (aka Peacemaker). This year is not over, and I’m braced for more challenges coming ’round the bend. A new moon (dark moon) suggests pausing, summoning from within courage and inventiveness to cope, to keep going.

I’ve included both before and after images, in reverse order as focus is on current conditions: messy. We have an amazing succulent in a pot on our back porch: Mother Of Thousands. Prolific bloomer from early Spring well into June. We went traveling in July and August, leaving the succulent on its own (they really don’t need much water, and I figured this one might prefer fewer camera invasions) – but a sad sight greeted us on return. Yet, a closer look offered a whole new perspective on renewal in spite of circumstances. Hence this plant becomes my model for coping with a world gone wonky in too many ways this year.

February 2021 blooms – Mother Of Thousands

Symbol Synchronicity

August 31, 2021. I gave myself the month of August “off” from blogging, though not from writing. Journaling and writing poems are essential no matter what else is swirling around me. I chose this poem to share as descriptive of this August’s outer adventures (New Mexico) and inner reflections. Last August my son Tom died the day after his 46th birthday. It happened rapidly, and I was with him his last two months. This past year hence, I’ve had countless questions arise that I wish I’d asked! Stirred together in my thoughts were the questions along with comments from others missing him – when a blue speck sparked a numerology review.

The John Dunn Bridge outside Taos NM is a beautiful spot to get into the Rio Grande River for a swim (or let your dogs do that while you watch!) We went back earlier this month while visiting Taos. First splash in the Rio Grande for our young Labrador Ramble. And a photo opportunity for me. What caught my eye as a pink bloom proves with research to be the seed head of a white bloom on the xeric shrub Apache Plume.

That plant had drawn another closer in days prior. My find near plant base was almost buried in the sand, only one surface visible.

Cumulative

July 27, 2021. Traveling again.  Collectively adapting to togetherness in limited space of the Airstream.  Patterns that worked in the past require adaptation with addition of a 2nd Labrador  – doubling obstacles in hallway and accumulation of fur thus increasing our desire to all get outside!  Of course, periodically we have to maneuver around dogs and each other to clean house.  Usually this realization sends both humans and Labs into a tizzy.  After recent sweeping up of fur and frustrations, I was struck with the absurdity of it all … and how I thoroughly enjoy indulgence in travel, complete with challenges and chores.  A togetherness bonding experience!  Affections in all directions growing steadily.

Givens

July 7, 2021. Between adventures in our Airstream lifestyle, I play catch-up at my desktop prowling through many, many photos to determine keepers (still “many” though I do discard duplicates and fuzzies) and pair photos with poems written along the way. Some poems call for collaging multiple photos to reflect what I “saw” while writing. We’re packing now for the next jaunt, so high time I finish my “work” from prior jaunt. We went in June to South Llano River State Park, where we’ve been many times. This time in a site new to us, seeing things not previously apparent. Like the mesquite tree with twisted limbs forming a beautiful heart for viewing from the picnic table. We arrived on my 75th birthday and one of the best gifts ever was an hour of solitude at dusk while my generous husband took both Labradors for a long walk. Headed out, he handed me an ale which paired nicely with the view and triggered this poem. (Later the moon rose a bit to the right of the mesquite heart.)