March 13, 2020. Today the governor declared Texas a disaster area. (No doubt others before have deemed Texas a disaster in some vein … this official designation stems from COVID-19 … health and economic issues.) We are headed into Spring Break, so my teacher husband will be off work next week; likely the week after that; unknown how long the panic and the virus causing the panic will prevail. I fit into an age bracket considered more vulnerable to this invasive virus, though I do not feel old (apart from several joints that ache). Difficult to believe this virus could feel any worse than my severe reaction to Shingrix back in November! Anticipating my 2nd Shingrix coming in April, I choose to remain optimistic that I will make it through that and this disaster. I expect to be reflecting a year from now on lessons learned while moving blindly, unsure what I’ll bump into next (shelves empty of essentials … canceled events counted on … local businesses shutting down) yet comforted by others sharing this not-knowing.
Last August, I sat for several days with an old lady named Bella. Bella is blind. Bella is quite old for a cat. Bella keeps purring. Bella taught me a thing or two. This poem, written with Bella, was subsequently accepted for the 18th annual Story Circle Network anthology: Real Women Write: Growing / Older, Susan Schoch, Editor — https://www.amazon.com/dp/0979532957 — paperback & e-book
February 14, 2020: Insomnia. Some nights prove unsleepable. As though I’m being kept awake by invisible energies, wearing down my cognitive defenses that I might receive some message, some vibration from the Universe. I often happily honor such wee hours … but when the coming day demands I be alert reasonably early … well, then I summon the Sleep Angels.
No mistaking the effectiveness of repetitive motion, in a dark room, with a cat purring. I’ve collaged my trusty glider with an angel photographed 3 years back (knew I would want that image down the line!)
January 17, 2020. As I open mentally and emotionally to the uncertainty of 2020 … this poem honors an experience way, way back in 1983 working for IBM in Boca Raton, FL … I became the lucky alternate when the guy chosen to attend a Santa Monica 4-week class could not go. The class was Modern Engineering, and its primary purpose was to encourage life-long learning. We were blessed with UCLA professors delivering all sorts of engineering specifics I had no immediate use for. But the experience was indeed mind-opening. Gone was my notion that “engineers” were a super breed. They were mathematicians, like me, theirs a specialized focus.
The Mobius band given on completion has been my reminder since that life IS continuous learning, that whatever is occurring right now is both temporary and influential on what follows … everything changing all the time. I look to the Mobius band as a “walking stick” to steady me through unorientable uncertainty along the path of 2020.
(A Möbius strip, band, or loop, also spelled Mobius or Moebius, is a surface with only one side and only one boundary. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being unorientable.)
December 3, 2019. Our rosemary has not looked all that well since the freezes a year ago, and cutting it back was on my list after our first 2019 freeze. Well, good thing I’m slow getting to that list!
November 4, 2019. Recently, walking into my kitchen, my memory took a leap back to the kitchen I grew up in – the center of family activities. The table was cleared for each meal and then immediately cleared for the next activity – homework, paying bills, making a new slipcover for the old rocker. In early hours (before anyone else was supposed to be awake), Mother sat at the table drinking coffee and reading magazines. The memory that won’t let go was a rare day when Mother sat down for coffee mid-day. I was elementary-school age.
(I’m still puzzling why this memory pops up now. I lean toward synchronicity, not coincidence.)
The table (now in my sister’s home) was available to photo for this collage with a map of the Monahans area in West Texas as backdrop. (No recall of Mother’s coffee cups, though I do remember a metal coffeepot heated on stove top – just-poured coffee was surely boiling hot.)
September 26, 2019. Periodically, I get lonesome for times, places past. One such evening, I dug out this poem about just such evenings … and went to work on a collage to capture the primary elements of mini-trampoline, best-ever rocker, parquet floor. I added a dream catcher to symbolize the only way I can go back. Haverhill is an extension of West Palm Beach, Florida – where my first husband and I built the house (1970-1973) – where my kids came to be (1974 and 1977) – where the kids and I continued to live after Dad departed in 1979, up until I brought the kids to my origins in Texas (1986). If I could’ve figured a way to bring that house along to Texas, I would be rocking in it still!
April 14, 2019. Recently I had the opportunity to sit in silence by a campfire, letting the dancing flames erase just about every thought … then present a face smiling at me from a burning log. Not a laughing grin … a serene smile. Apart from the added circle, this image is what my phone captured. The next morning I stared again at the face, recalling how it had indeed smiled all the way to sudden collapse. The haiku here is the result of multiple revisits to figure out just what message to take from that smile.
Maybe you will see a different message.
April 7, 2019. No, nothing to do with martial arts!
One week into Poetry Month, and under the influence of an evocative SoulCollage® group session yesterday, I take my stand – as poet, yes, but not just poet – as creative human giving creativity space, attention, support to flourish.
A word about SoulCollage® – a Jungian therapy process developed by Seena Frost – I’ve been practicing this since 2007. It’s something you DO as opposed to read about, but if curious, go here: https://www.soulcollage.com/
This image is a collage for four SoulCollage cards created yesterday. Image details were clipped from calendar/magazine pages and pieced together intuitively. Each of the four cards (5×8″) can be “read” – imagery speaking to whatever inside me chose and arranged the pieces. Collectively, they delivered this poem.
March 28, 2019. Spring has announced herself with an abundance of green coming up through dried leftovers of prior green frozen to the ground. Lots to clean up in the yard! I tackled the crinum bed alongside driveway a bit at a time to avoid arthritic reaction to the necessary bending, stooping at unusual angles. This poem emerged from the meditative nature of putting face repeatedly near earth … plus it was Mother’s birthday. The following day, my email brought me the poem Earth Song – including:
Those who are dead are never gone;
The dead are not down in the earth:
They are in the trembling of the trees
Indeed, Mother was right there with me in the crinums’ upward thrust.
Crinums produce large lily-like blooms – mine are a vivid pink, prolific come June.
I’m unable to find a direct link to Earth Song, Traditional from Senegal. I received it via Panhala – to subscribe, send a blank email to:
January 13, 2019. Reflecting on my recent routine visit to the Ear-Nose-Throat doc – a remarkably pleasant space for waiting your turn – light coming through windows along the outer wall of the receptionist area – then passing through a cheerfully frosted panel into the make-yourself-comfortable area. Usually, one or two others share the wait. But this last visit got crowded.