June 30, 2022. Another June closes, this one filled with flashbacks of my son’s illness in June 2020 followed this June by another family death, all that mixed with current angst about mass shootings and political maneuvers wreaking havoc. Last evening I took a long walk through the neighborhood, hoping physical exhaustion might relieve the mental churn. And did I ever get lucky! Turning the last corner toward home, I was greeted by a gorgeous sun setting “at the end of the block”. This poem wrote itself. Wishing all a similar experience of surprising calm in our hectic times, wherever you may stumble into beauty.
December 19, 2021. Winter Solstice approaches – Moon was just full – I am feeling the energies. And writing. And learning to hold all plans as “tentative” … December hip replacement has been canceled while my aging heart steals focus. What next? Meanwhile, I hobble forward … happy to see my Dracaena put forth blooms a fourth time. We did not think this plant bloomed … until it did two years ago; twice since; and now again. (A night bloomer, best views after midnight – lights off, aim camera and hope flash and focus cooperate!)
December 6, 2021. Year end/beginning is near enough to see well enough to expect 2022 delivery of still more uncertainty on multiple levels (political, social, personal). I’m back from Thanksgiving travels which stressed me on the final half day of driving: hard rains, slick roadways, stalled traffic, detours, tension … But I was also graced with driving through Waco Tx under a sky thick with clouds reflecting both the green lights of Baylor’s stadium and the myriad red taillights. Like a trance at the time. In hindsight, the perfect image for a poem I wrote in 2017 about entering misty times. I’ve tweaked the lines just a little and collaged one of my favorite bridges (John Dunn Bridge near Taos NM spanning the Rio Grande River) onto a snapshot of that weird Waco sky. Likw a dreamscape. Indeed, 2020, 2021, and anticipating 2022 resemble dreams of moving forward without clues, fueled by curiosity.
Headed into green “go” and red “stop” encounters 2022 has up its sleeve, to toss into my path!
November 29, 2021. Some travels prove to be temporary escapes from habitual patterns and problems. I’ve just returned from a very different jaunt. My daughter as constant witness was a blessing. And I sensed the tug of Minnesota my son summed up with “I’m through with Texas!” His ashes are now up there, spread ‘neath a beautiful blue sky in one of the natural areas he frequently hiked.
Spreading ashes is meditative. Perhaps chilly air contributed to vibrations running through me. After the ashes, a few miles away we stood to watch the Mississippi River flow around Nicollet Island (smack in the middle of the river and the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolis). I’d never experienced such togetherness with All – feeling like just one tiny fleck, yet absolutely essential. Definitely grateful.
An incredible Thanksgiving!
November 8, 2021. Sitting outdoors in Autumn, leaves coming down, shifts my inner gears into nearly-neutral. I am paused. My surroundings are part real and part mirage. Camped last week at Palmetto State Park between Luling and Gonzales (central Texas) I got all caught up in a leaf spinning in the middle of “nowhere” – no longer connected to its branch, not yet part of the pile on the ground, kept mid-air by a very-thin spider web strand. Gusts dislodging both spider webs and leaves.
No camera angle could capture the entirety. The collage is my best shot at bringing into perspective the dangle between above and below. The video shows the motion!
Watching that leaf filled me with a sense of impermanence – but connection – somehow the motions of my son’s hands his last few days taking on new significance. Suddenly he was blowing, spinning that leaf, teasing me.
2021-09-11. Today is notable as 20th anniversary of the terror of 9/11/01 attacks. The aftermath has changed perspectives worldwide. So solemn seems appropriate, in spite of a sunny Saturday with no commitments.
The poem I sponsored in support of Brick Street Poetry is up on Robert Okaji blog: https://robertokaji.com/2021/09/11/day-four-poem-pondering-perpetuity/
(You, too, can sponsor some Okaji magic – details here: https://robertokaji.com/ )
I’d offered “Perpetuity” thinking of global concerns about humanity, planet, etc.; when Bob scheduled my sponsored poem for today, I anticipated something related to 9/11. What a lovely surprise to read his applicable-any-day poem concluding with Wisdom/Owl hugging with feathered wings our deepest dreams.
I got lost, immersed in online imagery of owls, especially wings. If you too need to get lost, try this — the abundant variety is startling. And if that doesn’t break a solemn mood, send someone out to bring back home-made tamales!
This post is a thank-you to Robert Okaji and a miss-you to my son, gone just over a year now. (I talked myself out of ordering an owl-wing-print shawl though I sensed my son giving a thumbs-up as I perused options.)
August 31, 2021. I gave myself the month of August “off” from blogging, though not from writing. Journaling and writing poems are essential no matter what else is swirling around me. I chose this poem to share as descriptive of this August’s outer adventures (New Mexico) and inner reflections. Last August my son Tom died the day after his 46th birthday. It happened rapidly, and I was with him his last two months. This past year hence, I’ve had countless questions arise that I wish I’d asked! Stirred together in my thoughts were the questions along with comments from others missing him – when a blue speck sparked a numerology review.
The John Dunn Bridge outside Taos NM is a beautiful spot to get into the Rio Grande River for a swim (or let your dogs do that while you watch!) We went back earlier this month while visiting Taos. First splash in the Rio Grande for our young Labrador Ramble. And a photo opportunity for me. What caught my eye as a pink bloom proves with research to be the seed head of a white bloom on the xeric shrub Apache Plume.
That plant had drawn another closer in days prior. My find near plant base was almost buried in the sand, only one surface visible.
June 10, 2021. Today brought closure to stress related to our 500-year-old live oak – steadily declining the past ten years in spite of treatment for oak wilt disease. The crew came Tuesday, again Wednesday, again this morning to bring down the last of the five trunks growing from a common base. Agile men scrambled up, up into the branches with chain saws and ropes. Sections of limbs were lassoed, then cut free to swing downward at calculated angles that precluded damage to yaupons growing up and through live oak, as well as fence and crew members. An amazing display of skills and teamwork!
They arrived this morning just as I began a zoom session focused on becoming a peace agent, letting the St. Francis Prayer guide current life – my current thoughts dominated by chain saws. Just as the zoom concluded, the crew pulled away, leaving only the stump and my swirl of memories of the former tree: first glimpse in 1986 while shopping for a house in this area; my teenage son casually perched on one of the overhanging limbs calling down “Hey, Mom!”; prolific bird visitations (even one raven); cat chasing squirrel among the branches (squirrel retreating on underside of branch beneath confused cat); and many private conversations between me and tree.
Relieved that the inevitable is now behind us – tomorrow we begin restoring yard art and flowerpots moved out of the crew’s way – including statues of Buddha and St. Francis. A few flower pots will be placed on trunk pedestals – still huggable.
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/
October 15, 2020. I’m almost back from a month’s retreat from home base. I’ve been physically and energetically disconnected from computers and routines. In the next week or so I’ll be catching up on blog posts from others – another sort of cushion comfort! Come end-of-October, I’ll be traveling again …
This haiku was written in response to the visual impact of sky-gazing from the mountain over Cloudcroft NM (a place we return to at least once a year). In typing it up today, I realize it speaks also to my “destination” of adjusting to losing my son. Life seems a continual journey toward an ultimate destination difficult to envision. I savor interim pauses.