Still, Tamales

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.)

Symbol Synchronicity

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.

Remembrance

January 29, 2021. Yesterday’s nudges from full moon and fresh rosemary blooms to memories of January 1990 collectively took me into one of my indulgences in image-isolation, a game of sorts, a way to release creative urges. The rosemary plant (associated with remembrance) caught my eye while I was in the back yard watching my husband plant a Texas redbud tree. A bit like memories catch our attention in the midst of some seemingly unrelated activity. This post honors the two mother figures who shaped me: my birth mother, and her sister with whom I lived in the 8th grade and summers thereafter until college years. First Aunt Mary Beth and then Mother died in January 1990 – both remain within me, blooming forth at times both unexpected and (like yesterday) predictable.

Haverhill Solo Hours

September 26, 2019.  Periodically, I get lonesome for times, places past.  One such evening, I dug out this poem about just such evenings … and went to work on a collage to capture the primary elements of mini-trampoline, best-ever rocker, parquet floor.  I added a dream catcher to symbolize the only way I can go back.  Haverhill is an extension of West Palm Beach, Florida – where my first husband and I built the house (1970-1973) – where my kids came to be (1974 and 1977) – where the kids and I continued to live after Dad departed in 1979, up until I brought the kids to my origins in Texas (1986).  If I could’ve figured a way to bring that house along to Texas, I would be rocking in it still!

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Blanket Thoughts

January 28, 2018.   This poem (for my mother, on the anniversary of her death) was triggered by the surprise appearance of her blanket.  Our kitten managed to tug this particular blanket out from the bottom of a stack of blankets and quilts … and leave it where I would step on it getting into bed.  I don’t believe in coincidence – I lean toward synchronicity, and I went to bed (but not to sleep!) with Mother, the blanket, and numerology swirling.  Mother was 28 when I was born, so she lived 28 years without me.  She has been gone now for 28 years, so I have lived 28 years without her.  Also intriguing, I am now the age she was at death.  A lot to contemplate on a cold night.  I got up and wrote this poem!

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Greenhouse Meander

January 18, 2018.  Tuesday Austin Texas shut down due to iced roadways – schools, government offices, many businesses sent out alerts the night before:  please stay off the roadways.  This happens once every year or so, usually for one day.  In colder places, cities take remedial action and keep roadways open.  Here, we get a day off  (except  schools must take away a planned free day later in the calendar.)

I slept in, waking to the lure of chicken soup simmering, gave the day’s opportunity a few select thoughts, and pulled out a jigsaw puzzle.  Not just any puzzle – I chose the greenhouse scene, plants thriving while “shut in” – like me.   The collage hopefully conveys my sense of being in the greenhouse while working the puzzle.

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Roadside Puzzle

March 23, 2017.  We recently returned to Rancho Lomitas in lower Texas near the Rio Grande border – an area with birds and plants that just don’t come further north.  When there last fall, we took a photo of what we thought to be peyote growing along the roadside.  To everyone’s surprise, the proprietors pointed out the distinctions between peyote and our picture of a star cactus – an endangered cactus that Rancho Lomitas is helping propagate in their nursery but had never seen growing natively on the ranch. Wow!  This revelation came minutes before our departure, no time to revisit the star for more (better) pictures.

On this return trip, a high priority was finding that star cactus!  Oh, did we look and look and look – walking slowly, eyes trained on roadside edge, up and down the stretch of road where the tiny star “had to be”.  Well, maybe.  Hours of looking yielded no star, but did prompt a poem.  Afterward, a seasoned resident at Rancho Lomitas comforted us with the comment that rabbits do eat such (indeed the nursery samples are in wire cages) which leaves me eager to return again to photograph bunnies for an update to this collage. (Image note: fingers show a peyote the same size as the elusive star – star enlarged in center of collage – the two look alike to novice eyes.)

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Release

December 28, 2016.  The year 2016 is just about spent – a year to be remembered for many losses.  On the numerology front, 2016 is a “9” – the completing year in recurring 9-year cycles; 2017 starts us off on a new “1”.   Perhaps losses are obscure completions we must reluctantly release.

The image is a mesquite seed pod, aglow at sunset in the Rio Grande Valley.  Hanging on with tenacity, intrigue, beauty.  But not for long.

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Between Drops

August 30, 2016.  Again today, the crinum patch alongside my driveway is moist with rain. Getting into the car means getting a bit damp.  And today I found myself “getting into” moments from a few days back – in the same predicament when distracted by a green anole.  I am growing increasingly fond of my new iPhone6+ camera – present and already on when a shy critter grants me a pause. Dewitt Jones says the best camera for any shot is the one you have with you.  Indeed!

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Grasping

March 26, 2016.  This is my mother’s birthday, and I have spent it (somewhat oddly) thinking about another’s mother – Mom Kendrick.   This began in the wee hours piecing together how various rooms connected in the house I grew up in – yielding a flawed floorplan – but the sketching helped connect some dots of memories sabotaging sleep. For example, in the back bedroom helping Mother put up new wallpaper; and in the living room gleefully lending a hand the day a wallpaper pro pulled down the stained red roses that had covered those walls as long as I was old.

It fascinates – how memories overlap and create a loosely-woven backdrop for what’s going on in the present.  Foorplan struggles were followed by not knowing where the pretty crystal near the kitchen door came from.  I’m getting older, forgetting more!  What to do?   Gary’s mom zooms to mind, her habit of labeling everything.  On the surface, her labels seemed foolish.  But perhaps essential to her?  How many were created in sleepless fits?  I’m not about to label every souvenir rock, but here’s a nod to Mom Kendrick for aging and recording her own way – poetry serving as my way to record life.

The image (a collage) assumes a bit of poetic license – the floorplan  (not true to scale) and the crystal are not in true proportion.

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