December 10, 2018. Today marks 2 weeks since a hurried scurry in my driveway left me flat against the concrete wondering briefly what all have I broken? And who saw me fall? Good news on all fronts – nothing broken and no distressed neighbors hovering. I got myself up slowly, marveling that everything still worked, and began puzzling why I tripped on something always right there, why on the day before I go to my aunt’s 94th birthday, why, why, why?
Richard Wehrman’s poem “Traveling” helps make sense of a seemingly senseless stumble. I’ve added bloom and swirl to a photo of my purple-puffed chin.
P.S. I am back to normal skin tones. More attentive in the driveway. Pondering still.
October 23, 2018. Once a year the Lone Star Flute Circle (Native American flutes) meets at Austin’s premier garden (and more) center – The Natural Gardener. Unique flute voices float out from the porch of the main building, hovering over ever-changing seasonal plants and yard sculptures. Husband Gary stays on the porch, taking turns with the others, contributing several of his flute voices. I wander the grounds, returning intermittently to the porch, listening to flutes all the while.
Except – as I approached the labyrinth in the back corner of the property, flutes were overridden by a raven calling, calling, calling. The stark shift in tone from flute to caw jogged my thoughts back to words read earlier – glass half full – calling as insistently as the raven – commencing a labyrinth walk focused on capacity to add more to my glass.
Referenced: RobertOkaji.com – “Letter to Harper From Halfway To The Horizon”
September 27, 2018. This poem emerged from a diverse spirituality group that meets every other month. We each share something responding to the session’s focus – then we sit in silence. Silence can be relative. Certainly sounds normally unnoticed take on new significance when human clatter subsides.
Last week I took in red yucca seeds and a quote from Florida Scott-Maxwell in response to the challenge: What can you see when you are able to look past all your comfortable assumptions, judgments, prejudices, and fears? There were several seed-related responses, and the various seeds/interpretations were swirling in my head as we began what would’ve been silence … but for the old fan directly above me.
April 23, 2018. Yesterday, a poem I read sent me searching through old photographs looking for a specific dress worn in high school. I found it! But only in black and white. The memories, like the trigger for this search, are yellow. Vivid yellow. Same yellow as the Chiapas sage in my yard, which I resolved to let stand-in for the dress. When I found the photograph, I decided to layer dress and blooms – hence the strange collage.
This morning I opened Word-Of-The-Day to Cathexis (Analyst perspective) — investing psychic or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea. I certainly have these past 24 hours! Cathexis (Poet perspective) — holding onto associations, such as with a color (perhaps yellow).
This poem is a mindful reflection on the significance of simple things, like a dress, in defining memories – and likely spreading associations to future encounters.
Read Robert Okaji’s poem Yellow, Lost at https://robertokaji.com/2018/04/23/yellow-lost/
January 28, 2018. This poem (for my mother, on the anniversary of her death) was triggered by the surprise appearance of her blanket. Our kitten managed to tug this particular blanket out from the bottom of a stack of blankets and quilts … and leave it where I would step on it getting into bed. I don’t believe in coincidence – I lean toward synchronicity, and I went to bed (but not to sleep!) with Mother, the blanket, and numerology swirling. Mother was 28 when I was born, so she lived 28 years without me. She has been gone now for 28 years, so I have lived 28 years without her. Also intriguing, I am now the age she was at death. A lot to contemplate on a cold night. I got up and wrote this poem!
January 11, 2018. It’s been a little over five years since I slipped my left wrist into the silicone band bearing the wisdom Celebrate What’s Right With The World – motto of Dewitt Jones, photographer and philosopher. I’d just spent a week “on Molokai time” recalibrating with Dewitt and others. I wondered how long the band might last. At least five years: the one I am retiring to my altar shows no wear until placed on top of a new one. Then I can see it has thinned, which explains sometimes slipping off.
2012 held a pair of life-changing encounters. A week with Mr. Poetic Medicine, John Fox, in Canyon De Chelly broke me open. Mother Nature delivered a Vision Quest where I’d anticipated just poetry and nature appreciation. I came home wobbly, at best. Within days, notice of a Dewitt Jones workshop on Molokai slid into view, and I signed up on the spot. I was a fan of Dewitt’s philosophy from videos in wisdom classes. With crossed fingers, I began another adventure. Getting to Molokai felt a lot like another Vision Quest, but the Island way and the people (once there!) were what I needed. I will never forget returning, standing outside the Austin airport waiting to be picked up, unable to contain my smiles, eager to say THANK YOU! to the one picking me up (the one who put up with me after Canyon de Chelly!)
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.