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
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.
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.