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!)
November 29, 2017. I love to wander the aisles of hardware stores, or Home Depot. Usually I have a problem on my mind, looking for some fix. But I can be sidetracked by a gizmo with no apparent use. Like the day I found the goddess, thinking she would never set posts!
The new power line to the tiny house my daughter is building needed to be elevated, visible above grasses soon to regrow from recent mow. Though others had previously borrowed the goddess for such, this was my first post thrusting. Impressive.
(Yet I continue to revere her for hue and curve aesthetics.)
August 27, 2017. Hurricane Harvey has come to visit Texas, moving inland to squat over family land near Cuero. My mind races back to youthful times when the Guadalupe River overflowed and those who lived out in the country could not get to town for days and days. I worry for relatives still on the family land, as well as relatives in Houston. Houston, already flooded, is the projected target for Harvey’s meander away from Cuero.
Within Harvey’s outer rain bands (5+ inches measly compared to up-to-40 inches predicted for Houston), I mourn the uprooted live oak next door and cringe as images of flooded Houston roadways pour across my computer screen. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. To evacuate that many people is next-to-impossible. Last time they tried (Hurricane Rita) more people died on the jammed roadways than in the city behind them. I am oddly sympathetic with Houston’s mayor, now taking all sorts of flack for his earlier direction to hunker down vs. evacuate. He saw only two imperfect options. Could there have been other choices? Houston is a lesson-occurring – conclusions still beyond view.
With all this stirring my mind, I uncovered this 2013 poem in a pile on my desk. A spark of synchronicity! The image is from recent camping near Cloudcroft NM.
February 27, 2017. I’m stepping back into 2007 for this image and poem, which feel appropriate given prevalent prickly agitation. This image was taken on Alamo Mountain, near El Paso, on a hike to view ancient rock art images left by a culture challenged daily with adversity. Perhaps we, too, will learn to live with constant conflict. But maybe we can bridge polarized opinions – it’s a challenge worth considering.
October 30, 2016. Over the past week, through all sorts of stress and disruption, I have been watching a morning glory vine protruding from a water bottle – sitting on my front porch to catch sunlight, I see it going in and out. That vine has kept me sane!
I guess the plant had to adapt, learn how to bloom in a bottle, as the first 3 buds to mature did not quite make it before dropping off. Then the fourth (pictured) and a fifth succeeded with flourish. Hoorah!
July 22, 2015. My partner and I have just completed a walkway that keeps reminding me of a poem I wrote back in 2011 when I was working on a similar walkway, using his favorite hoe to slice into the hard-packed ground and create a recess that could be filled with decomposed granite and limestone slabs. This poem was first published in the anthology di-verse-city 2012, © Austin Poets International, Inc.
The diamond hoe, a marvelous tool for weeding, was relatively new to us in 2011. It was his hoe, his constant companion in the yard, and I was reluctant to use it for fear I’d chip a point. He assured me it was the right tool for the job at hand (he was right) – and using it proved eye-opening in unexpected ways.
The image is a collage of the trusty hoe (unchipped through the digging of much rocky terrain) and the new walkway. Stepping on the walkway, I am mindful of his skill at placing the stones, our joint endurance at digging, hauling, and then filling without cross words. The work was hard. The walkway is a beautiful tribute to our togetherness, and it seems fitting to honor the hoe a second time around.
July 13, 2015. Even though I am retired, my daily patterns fluctuate with those of my employed partner – a high school teacher. Student perspectives on summer freedom are amplified big time by teachers! And I echo them, noting each summer the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts in both outer and inner landscapes – his and mine. Stress drops, and amazing pleasures seem to turn up – as though they’d been waiting for us to notice. I attribute my increased alertness to leisurely waking after sunlight creeps into the bedroom: the best of summer’s gifts!