February 14, 2021. Central Texas is experiencing a much-colder-than-usual February. Hasn’t been icy cold like this since 1989! It’s impossible to console the cats and the Labrador: They want to be outdoors frisking around … well, until they’ve been out there for a very few minutes. Restless myself, I tried to take our dog for a walk around noon, knowing sleet and snow were coming but not realizing sidewalks were already slick in places. It was a short walk. Came back and settled into writing this poem and then collaging icy images to capture the out-there essence: frozen (Look close and you’ll see St. Francis sporting a chin icicle.)
January 24, 2021. Took a walk this afternoon with my aging and declining Labrador Buttercup. Walking with her is a great opportunity to reflect on recent triggers, and today I paused half-way to jot down the gist of this poem. I was triggered by today’s post from Ken Gierke whose poem Now was triggered by today’s post of Memorial by Ron. Lavalette. My thanks to both.
Ken Gierke @ https://rivrvlogr.com/2021/01/24/now-3/
Ron. Lavalette @ https://rlavalette.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/memorial/
For several weeks everywhere I turned, more emphasis on the coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. This grabbed me – association with once rescuing 2 kittens only days apart – Jupiter first, then Saturn. Jupiter indeed the brighter hued being equally black and white; Saturn just black except for a few stray white hairs. They came from different parts of Austin, “conjuncting” in my elaborate cat enclosure (now history). My sky-watcher husband invested in a new camera lens and we arranged to be camping in a dark-skies area on Solstice, focused upward at the rare view of planets Jupiter and Saturn crossing paths (conjunction).
Plans played out well until Solstice was upon us and things began shifting. Clouding up. As uncontrollable as everything else in 2020! At end of evening, I reflected on the day’s unveiling, concluding the elusive armadillo more relevant than planet maneuvers. Here comes 2021, bringing more hype about all matter of things! No doubt more clouding as well.
Clouds did part briefly for a couple of very boring images of planets nowhere near predicted overlap as viewed from South Llano River State Park, central Texas.
Wishing all open minds and access to safe hide-a-ways when our minds need a break.
December 12, 2020. In the mood for something other than pandemic and politics, I’ve been out in the sunshine pondering many curiosities. One that came (back) to mind was my not-quite encounter with a raven on the mountain above Cloudcroft NM. Back in October. Enjoy.
September 9, 2020. Two weeks now since my son’s death. He was here the seven weeks prior, seldom leaving the house except for a daily walk around the block. The Labrador and two cats blinked at furniture rearrangements and accepted my son’s desire to be left unlicked, unrubbed. That said, he spent hours observing the canine/feline maneuvers and interactions. It was soon clear they were meditative entertainment through long hours of “just sitting” in the living room. I’d peek at him from behind my computer screen … or gaze at him from my rocking chair … grateful for the nonverbal companionship he enjoyed. Pets don’t ask questions.
Labrador and calico have acclimated, but I keep finding the ginger cat prowling the now-empty room we turned into his bedroom and sitting on the doorstep – signs of searching: where’d he go? For seven weeks his energy filled these rooms, and that remains. I sense a smile of sorts penetrating the space, his pleasure that this cat is seeking him. Perhaps he speaks to her in ways I cannot hear – perhaps they’re engaged in an adventure game. So much I cannot understand.
April 11, 2020. I’ve been sewing … first time in awhile! Making face masks to wear into grocery stores and such per COVID-19 expectations. In years past I did a lot of sewing, but not recently. Feels good to be back in the saddle, so to speak.
March 26, 2020. We humans do well to pay attention to wisdom beyond our own, channeled perhaps, direct perhaps, intuited probably. Some questioning (especially of the disparate advice regarding the COVID-19 influence) is inevitable.
Snow Sez is one of my favorite comics, and I have been distressed at his absence this past week. He was just gathering wisdom, it seems … delivered today. I took it immediately to my resident “seer” and she gave a nod. (But note: she continues cleaning her paws in traditional feline fastidious ways.)
(My mother would be 102 today … I sense her nudging me to lighten up.)
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
January 7, 2020. One week into this new year, new decade … one I have anticipated for its promise of transition in my personal life. I go through a month-long process each December focusing forward and creating a mandala to guide the coming year. I named 2020 Navigate Uncertainty given mid-year expectations. Well … 2020 is showing its character up-front, in this first week!
We were camped at Lake Mineral Wells State Park (west of Fort Worth TX) when 2020 arrived. Image (from my Austin yard) is last night’s sunset in west … behind it a cloudless eastern sky dominated by a high bulging moon.
December 6, 2019. We returned to our haunts near Rio Grande City the week of Thanksgiving. One very good birding location is Salineno World Birding Center located on the Rio Grande River and thus in danger. The current expectation is a wide caliche roadway between river and birding, nothing to spoil the birding center so long as the birds aren’t repulsed by construction. (But there are those insisting we need a continuous WALL …) If anywhere near Salineno in the November-March months, this place is worth the search. (The birds go elsewhere to breed summer/fall.)
I’ve been thinning and tweaking photos since we got back, looking for a green jay image that captures their playful energy. Today, I encountered a poetry form that so fits the experience of watching green jays – birds flapping around noisily, people holding still quietly. I don’t think I’ve seen a puente poem before, and this is certainly the first one I’ve written. Thanks go to Ken Gierke @ https://rivrvlogr.com/2019/12/06/finding-direction-puente/ for stirring my creativity. The puente form puts two perspectives together with a single common thread, and I knew immediately which photos to collage together to show the two “sides” of Salineno: birds on the far side of a large Mesquite growing laterally; birders a few yards away on the entrance side.