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.

Curious Endorsement

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.)

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Aging Model

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

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Uncertainty

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.

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Green Jays Stage

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.

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Praying With St. Francis

November 20, 2019.  Seems Brie gets into just about everything, even my meditative moments.  I concede laughing and then snapping a photo of my cat constitutes breaking the trance … but it led to an enlightened attitude on the spot and a poem later that day.  I will post it now as an odd-ball “gratitude poem” for this Thanksgiving … a bit early as I’ll be traveling during the holiday.

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Monarchs Rule The Yard

October 19, 2019.  Monarchs have begun appearing among our blue mist blooms … any day now we expect a large number to swoop through on their way South.  This is an annual delight, but now comes with a complication named Brie.  She’s spending prime outdoor hours indoors – unless I’m available to go intervene on behalf of the Monarchs.  Monarchs seem quiet swift in rising if a cat appears.  But.  Brie is under restrictions!  I found her huddled on the kitchen counter with bananas, clearly pouting.

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Beckoned

October 3, 2019.   Had a relaxed nap this afternoon in my zero-gravity recliner – recently moved into the living room to increase wiggle space in the den.  When I woke, I was staring at two images blurring together, becoming one big tug on my imagination – a waking dream.  I lay back awhile exploring possibilities, then got up and did the obvious next thing:  I wrote a poem.

The oil painting (perhaps by my grandmother) is of Texas bluebonnets along a country road, near Cuero, Texas.  The cat is one of many feline figures decorating various surfaces in my home.  Positioning cat within the frame was not entirely imagination – my angle looking upward (glasses nowhere near) contributed.  I’ve reconstructed what I “saw” as collage.

Tomorrow I plan a repeat nap, same space.  Who knows what I’ll see?

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Response Able

September 10, 2019.  This is Mary Oliver’s 84th birthday.  This is also a day of numerous stirring poems in my morning read … including cats with whom I have a life-long close affinity (thank you, Cate) and Karma (thank you, LuAnne).   Synchronicity arrived to tie it all together nicely: my cat Brie delivering an opportunity to practice good karma on behalf of a not-yet-adult green anole.  (I call those lizzies.)

Cate’s poem: https://zenofhen.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/unbecoming-2/ 

LuAnne’s poem:  https://intentionalinterplay.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/karma-dharma/ 

No camera in hand when I went to investigate Brie’s yowls.  And when I returned with camera, my subject was hiding deep, deep in the succulents.  Hence, this image is a collage of today’s planter with prior lizzie as stand-in.

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