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.
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!)
February 25, 2022. I’m happy to no longer be as tied to “place” as when I wrote this poem during the first week after my February 2 hip replacement surgery – I am now “me” again mentally and my eyes again focus sufficiently for digital collage. Oh, what surgical meds and pain meds do to one’s psyche and vision and energy! Good to have all that flushed away! I now walk around the block daily (with my rollator of course!) but I am still sitting in my grand dad’s rocker a good bit – often with Labrador companions – each of us “placed”.
January 16, 2022. A single leaf brought me to a stand-still. I’d been out the night before observing the getting-full moon peeking through shifting clouds, all attention upward. Next morning I took the dogs out into bright sunlight – lighting up the sole leaf still clinging to the native Texas redbud tree I’d stood next to staring at the moon. The leaf swayed in a slight breeze. Would I see it separate, fall? No. Still dangling, modeling persistence.
January 6, 2022. The historic significance of January 6 is pervasive in the media and most of our minds today. In between resurgences of anger and angst, I find myself returning to a mindful session yesterday with a group of poets zoomed together to focus on pause and intention. That hour and a half was a pause – opportunity to focus on the temporariness of many things: my self, the Dracaena blooms on the back porch, the moth drawn to those blooms. I feel I was gifted my moment with the moth as a touchstone, to align my intentions with matters I can influence though many other matters vie for my attention. I share this poem from yesterday in hopes it might stir in others recall of a similar touchstone moment of pause. May pausing nurture growth of both acceptance and change.
The blooming of a plant is a progression through moments … as is the passage of time in any way one chooses to measure it … as is the life of a moth or a woman observing moth and plant. Impossible to pause the flow of such, but we can bring focus to specific points and hold those “paused” in our hearts. In a sense any point in time is both an end and a beginning – I’m tagging my moment with the moth as my YE2021.
Background image is today’s remains of December’s Dracaena blooms – moth inset was taken Christmas night, above blooms still not fully open.
December 19, 2021. Winter Solstice approaches – Moon was just full – I am feeling the energies. And writing. And learning to hold all plans as “tentative” … December hip replacement has been canceled while my aging heart steals focus. What next? Meanwhile, I hobble forward … happy to see my Dracaena put forth blooms a fourth time. We did not think this plant bloomed … until it did two years ago; twice since; and now again. (A night bloomer, best views after midnight – lights off, aim camera and hope flash and focus cooperate!)
November 29, 2021. Some travels prove to be temporary escapes from habitual patterns and problems. I’ve just returned from a very different jaunt. My daughter as constant witness was a blessing. And I sensed the tug of Minnesota my son summed up with “I’m through with Texas!” His ashes are now up there, spread ‘neath a beautiful blue sky in one of the natural areas he frequently hiked.
Spreading ashes is meditative. Perhaps chilly air contributed to vibrations running through me. After the ashes, a few miles away we stood to watch the Mississippi River flow around Nicollet Island (smack in the middle of the river and the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolis). I’d never experienced such togetherness with All – feeling like just one tiny fleck, yet absolutely essential. Definitely grateful.
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.
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!
This poem materialized in response to W. B. Yeats describing an aging man – startled me coming forth – had fun creating the collage (grinning from the label of my preferred wine). Perhaps the combination of aging perspectives will trigger your own self-portrait?