Year End Pause

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.

Porch Vibrations

October 27, 2021. Today began with intense thunder as a front arrived right as we were letting the dogs out for their morning release. Our young one, Ramble, is afraid of the dark (really!) but will (usually) go out with just a hint of dawn (having not been out since dusk the night before). This morning she balked. Enticed onto the back porch (porch light on) for breakfast alongside elderly companion Buttercup, I closed the back door and settled into the porch rocker to wait awhile.

Quite a scene ensued – our cat Brie had slipped out also. Brie and Ramble each enjoy teasing the other, and the whole back porch was rocking with their ruckus. Buttercup and I observed. And waited.

And I thought of Lilie (Tea and Toast with Kindness) who often posts Zen bits of wisdom and observation from early hours. I tried closing my eyes to “let it be” but Brie would not let it be! Thus, this poem emerged. Lilie, this one’s for you.

Image is from a prior somewhat-calmer togetherness. Clockwise from top: Brie, Buttercup, Ramble

Raven Realm

October 9, 2021. Another extended boon-docking adventure has wound up back in Austin, Airstream in the driveway until we finish cleanup, 3 days thus far of sorting mail, paying bills, and checking for oddities in the yardscape. Enough. Time to indulge, share one of the many poems that emerged during these recent travels.

I’ve long had a thing for ravens. Their “black” includes blue highlights when the sun shines on them just so, and they are full of antics that capture my fancy. The part of New Mexico we just visited is home to many ravens, seen in small groups of 3 or 4 as well as solo – their silhouettes punctuating roadway skylines and their quirky calls penetrating forested mountains. Difficult birds to photograph! Especially in flight. But I got lucky enough to make do. This image is a composite of bluffs in the El Malpais National Conservation Area plus cooperative ravens from the next day (far more “accurate” than failed attempts to capture both at once!)

The poem began as a haiku, then grew into a series, composed in the passenger seat as we rolled along the Continental Divide in New Mexico.

Cumulative

July 27, 2021. Traveling again.  Collectively adapting to togetherness in limited space of the Airstream.  Patterns that worked in the past require adaptation with addition of a 2nd Labrador  – doubling obstacles in hallway and accumulation of fur thus increasing our desire to all get outside!  Of course, periodically we have to maneuver around dogs and each other to clean house.  Usually this realization sends both humans and Labs into a tizzy.  After recent sweeping up of fur and frustrations, I was struck with the absurdity of it all … and how I thoroughly enjoy indulgence in travel, complete with challenges and chores.  A togetherness bonding experience!  Affections in all directions growing steadily.

Honeysuckle Revival

March 20, 2021. For Spring Equinox, I received the prompt “I remember” and immediately connected to the honeysuckle out back, remembering how to re-leaf after our rare (and disastrous) Arctic blast three weeks ago. The storm arrived after the honeysuckle had put out abundant blooms. We feared more than those blooms were wasted – that we might have to prune the honeysuckle down to the ground, that branches too could well be dead. The sight of honeysuckle covered in lifeless blah-brown leaves was very disheartening. But within a week, tiny green leaves began to push the brown ones off branches. Hoorah! Now only a few brown leaves remain, with green ones out to the tips of each branch. Plus new blossoms!

The image is a collage of a single 2nd-round blossom over backdrop of ice-over leaves and 1st-round blossoms. (I took no photos of the blah-brown mass.)

Chill Pace

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.)

Together Now

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/

Winter Solstice Alerts

Such anticipation!

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.

Good Grief

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.