September 23, 2022. Another glimpse into my experiences on the mountain above Cloudcroft NM last month. Of the crowd gathered for several days of of events under the Gathering Of Circles tent, a dozen of us gathered each morning to welcome sunrise. Meditation was uphill a ways from the main circle and we’d all be hurrying back down when drums called; thus no flames in the fire pit – just incense on the rim. I captured this image before snuffing it out.
Frequently resummoning this scene sitting quietly back home … perhaps the peacefulness will come through in this post.
September 6, 2022. July and August travels are now memories begging to be shared. As I catch up with reading others’ blogs, I’ll post a few travel highs. This reflection is from the latter part of our stay at elevation 9000 up above Cloudcroft NM. A very cool place, in all “cool” connotations. I’ve come to recognize absence of connectivity as gift, not sacrifice. And face down kissing a mountain can prove uplifting.
July 21, 2022. It’s summer, and we’re in Airstream travel mode, with all its pluses plus the one negative: behind in many otherwise routine activities – like blog reads and posts. I’ll be catching up eventually! We tend to go places with limited cell/wi-fi support.
We’ve just returned from WoodyFest (Woody Guthrie Music Festival) in Okemah Oklahoma. We put off going for years thinking the music would mostly be outdoors and knowing July is HOT in Oklahoma. Then we learned day performances are in the cool Crystal Theater. And evenings at Pastures Of Plenty are magically comfortable once the sun sets. We first went in 2017; gets better each year.
Next week we take off again for a mountain above Cloudcroft NM in the Lincoln National Forest – now enjoying rainy season. We began attending the annual Gathering Of Circles in August 2003 and that week of cool high-altitude (9000 ft) and mixing-of-spiritualities is the peak of our summer pleasures.
This poem emerged between the two events, returning from Oklahoma, my mind floating back to various musicians. Gary drives, so I’m free to tap poems into my iPhone Notes. Together we reduced the bowl of cherries to just-seeds.
June 30, 2022. Another June closes, this one filled with flashbacks of my son’s illness in June 2020 followed this June by another family death, all that mixed with current angst about mass shootings and political maneuvers wreaking havoc. Last evening I took a long walk through the neighborhood, hoping physical exhaustion might relieve the mental churn. And did I ever get lucky! Turning the last corner toward home, I was greeted by a gorgeous sun setting “at the end of the block”. This poem wrote itself. Wishing all a similar experience of surprising calm in our hectic times, wherever you may stumble into beauty.
June 12, 2022. Seven days ago, following weeks of deliberate seeking, we took two kittens from their foster home into our home. Right at 2 months old, furry purring little balls of energy! We were set on a calico (having lost our elderly calico earlier this year) and once-weaned, the younger the better to bond with us. Here in Austin, really young kittens are put in foster homes and their photos posted online. We zoomed in on “Brawny” and eventually met her and sister BusyBee. Silly names, but delightful kittens. Took another week of forms and delays before we could bring them home.
Suddenly the energy shifted. No more angst about whether we were first in line as takers. No more logistics about pick-up. A huge inhale and we were off into the naming! We took this seriously, wanting names an adult cat would identify with, names that rolled easily off our tongues.
Already off-track from weeks transferring (reducing, adapting, copying) files from old computer to new computer this naming energy swooped me further from normal. I am now a month plus behind in so many ways. But kittens were the reward for transfer drudgery, and now I look forward to returning to near-normal routines. But first: celebration of kittens with collage and poem!
May 28, 2022. I live in Texas, blessed with beautiful Spring weather and cursed with polarization on many fronts political. Among the blessings I count regularly are the extended bed of crinums alongside my driveway: thick luscious foliage (until a hard freeze sends their energies underground to wait for a warming trend) and some amazing lily blooms in shades of pink. Blooms are most prolific in May, following Spring resurgence of foliage. I’ve been out amongst the crinums often this month, camera in hand.
These last few days I’ve been in anguish over yet another indicator of growing polarization in this state, this country. Yet another school shooting not very far away, and I am again feeling inept at making any difference in the future of this state, this country, this human population of the planet. Today I turned to a meditative practice that helps me level out emotions and let-be what-is: this imperfect world. My practice is digital collaging, a time-consuming focus-demanding endeavor. I worked with recent crinum images, and this poem emerged bit by bit as blooms fit together bit by bit.
Hoping you enjoy the imagery. Hoping we find ways to encourage compromise for the good of all.
May 17, 2022. While going through recent photos, choosing keepers, I was drawn back into a surprise earlier this month, reliving the energies inner and outer of my first labyrinth walk since February’s hip replacement. This is one of my two most-frequented labyrinths, yet I’d not walked it for over a year … had not planned to quite yet. Some of the best experiences arrive unplanned – serendipity!
April 30, 2022. This is a mix of reflective and forward views. I’ve chosen the plum blossom as hope’s portrait based on the annual cycle of blossoms to fruit but also for personal associations.
As a child growing up in arid West Texas our backyard was blessed with Daddy’s fruit trees. The largest were a pair of Texas Plum trees planted a couple of yards apart but grown together with outer limbs drooped to the ground surrounding – a tent beneath those branches – tall enough for adults to stand upright, with trunks sufficiently sturdy to climb up for a sit between foliage above and sand below. A fantastic hide-away! Spring blooms brought hope: soon leaves would return, my refuge re-established.
Last summer we planted a small Texas Plum in our Central Texas back yard – photo taken earlier this month conveys my hope this little tree will grow, grow, grow as I age, age, age – my companion.
April 17, 2022. We’ve had Ramble with us a little over a year now – half her young life. She has some unexplainable behaviors! Some we have mediated via training, some (like aversion to being outdoors after dark) we are coming to accept. And some are puzzles, not so much to solve as to engage and explore. Like her morning barks: clearly a ritual for her.
The image below is pulled from a backyard snapshot – blue sky replacing a lot of additional greenery – this better represents my sense that she is gazing off into the “wild blue yonder” during her ritual.
March 27, 2022. Multiple influences overlap in this poem. I created a collage to portray my vision – using found bridge image with one of my own full-moon photographs. The poem stemmed from reading Ram Dass (Walking Each Other Home) and a zooming of poets focused on aging. I am awed to have lived longer than either of my parents – whenever my departure comes, I will not feel short-changed. In the interim, each day is an opportunity to reflect (and wax poetic!)