August 19, 2017. Home from summer travels, I am finally able to connect a poem written right before departure with images I did not have along on the trip. This one’s been waiting for me to get home!
We lost our tabby Ziggy unexpectedly earlier this year. I painted the back porch rocker turquoise, all that sanding and painting a way to deal with grief. Since then, I keep seeing turquoise everywhere I turn. And every time, Ziggy comes softly to mind. One such encounter was an Eremos-sponsored day of Contemplative Poetry at St. Matthews Episcopal (in Austin) in June. I did not yet know about the turquoise table movement to encourage neighbors to sit together and get to know one another. The table pictured seemed just one more appearance of turquoise! So I sat down and communed with Ziggy about turquoise.
July 23, 2017. Traveling still, now in cooler temperatures and higher elevations. This afternoon’s rain kept us campsite-bound – an agreeable pace! I’ve encountered several times lately promotions for “forest bathing” – Japanese Shinrinyoku – preventive healthcare practice of getting oneself out among trees. Research proves its value. My experience here bears witness.
July 19, 2017. Traveling, taking in (our first time!) the 20th annual Woody Fest in Okemah, Oklahoma; WONDERFUL music experience for anyone considering what to do in future Julys!
Research led us to Pine Trees RV about 2 miles out of town – w,here we were under pines, overlooking a beautiful pond, at the end of a gravel road. Blissful! Those trees were most welcome in Oklahoma July heat.
We discovered a female kildeer thought so too – her “nest” barely out of traffic’s path. Speaking gently, approaching slowly, it was easy to get close. But the moment I crossed her perceived boundary, she tripled in size and fierceness. And I apologized! (Right after snapping this image …)
July 8, 2017. Travelling again – had a wonderful evening in Hannibal Missouri under the influence of a local band in an outdoor setting … full moon rising … a time to ponder and savor. A time well worth a poem. If you ever stumble upon Bummer The Drummer and The Kansas City Street Band – by all means sit down awhile!
June 16, 2017. Big changes often involve multiple facets fitting together. Such was our decision to go from a small travel trailer to a larger one. Not just the trailer changes. The tow vehicle must also change. And after months of planning, selecting, and financing our dream – one last essential piece about did me in: something called a weight distribution hitch that serves to help Blackie (truck) and Silvie (trailer) move smoothly together. Using friction to control sway – fascinating. A variety to choose from, but a strong preference for the kind we had with the small trailer (only bigger). Precise measurements of the trailer still sitting on the dealer’s lot an hour’s drive South proved elusive, highly frustrating in ordering the new hitch. A few cross words flew between the two of us piecing together our bits of understanding (and not!) of hitches and measurements … but ultimately all came together. And in the process, the weight distribution hitch emerged as symbol. Notice those chains. Ties that bind.
We’ll be rolling through Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, and New Mexico shortly. Trusting our hitch!
June 8, 2017. Every family has drama episodes. And while the family of my childhood was not much like the family observed in this poem – I wrote this encounter because I so identified with the little girl’s spirit flattened by a simple mishap and the repercussions thus triggered. I’ve included an image of me at age 8 – a bit more cheerful than the girl in the poem. Someone must have told me to smile. (In Mrs. Camp’s 3rd grade classroom, I was not a happy camper!) Looking at the collage, I notice I’ve put myself on a pedestal – not the sort one dreams of – but appropriate given the skittery nature of being young, being trapped in your family’s dramas.
June 1, 2017. The last half of May was a bombardment of encounters – a piling on of understanding my own impermanence, connectedness, and choices. This poem has been finished multiple times, only to reopen given the next day’s encounter. Not all-inclusive, some pieces were trimmed to make space for others. I’m calling this complete now. (Though there could be a sequel!)
This began with breaking open during Jimmy LaFave’s final performance three days before his death – witnessing his choice to live his last year on his own terms, embracing life rather than fighting death. The wrap-up arrived as a scientific article on lichens.
References:  Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “Dear Christie”: https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2017/05/22/dear-christie/  Scientific American June 2017 issue, “The Meaning of Lichen”
Collage: Raven from Bryce Canyon, UT. Lichen from Red Corral Ranch, TX.