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.
May 21, 2017. In the Texas hill country, massive live oaks spread their huge limbs at unusual angles. Over time the weight of continued growth lowers them toward the ground. Like gigantic vines, they swoop in strong winds. Hundreds of years old, survivors of many a storm. But not invincible. At Red Corral, a deck constructed less than 20 years ago rises alongside one of these live oaks. Initially, there was no contact between tree and fence along deck’s edge. But the tree kept growing, lowering. Now fence cuts into bark, a gash that gives pause. While wind blustered, I stood for a while listening to the tree moan, the fence creak – each stuck in their odd relationship. (Ahhh… some “fences” in my space are beginning to feel like supports.)
April 4, 2017. Not typical Spring Fever! My restless state stems from too many changes I am unable to influence – this urge to tackle something tangible, make something prettier, even if insignificant in the larger realm of unpredictables. Why not transform a once-stately (still-comfy) rocking chair into a bright turquoise meditation station?
December 28, 2016. The year 2016 is just about spent – a year to be remembered for many losses. On the numerology front, 2016 is a “9” – the completing year in recurring 9-year cycles; 2017 starts us off on a new “1”. Perhaps losses are obscure completions we must reluctantly release.
The image is a mesquite seed pod, aglow at sunset in the Rio Grande Valley. Hanging on with tenacity, intrigue, beauty. But not for long.