As Vessel

September 23, 2022. Another glimpse into my experiences on the mountain above Cloudcroft NM last month. Of the crowd gathered for several days of of events under the Gathering Of Circles tent, a dozen of us gathered each morning to welcome sunrise. Meditation was uphill a ways from the main circle and we’d all be hurrying back down when drums called; thus no flames in the fire pit – just incense on the rim. I captured this image before snuffing it out.

Frequently resummoning this scene sitting quietly back home … perhaps the peacefulness will come through in this post.

[www.facebook.com/GatheringofCircles/]

Stumbles

September 6, 2022. July and August travels are now memories begging to be shared. As I catch up with reading others’ blogs, I’ll post a few travel highs. This reflection is from the latter part of our stay at elevation 9000 up above Cloudcroft NM. A very cool place, in all “cool” connotations. I’ve come to recognize absence of connectivity as gift, not sacrifice. And face down kissing a mountain can prove uplifting.

May Sway

May 28, 2022. I live in Texas, blessed with beautiful Spring weather and cursed with polarization on many fronts political. Among the blessings I count regularly are the extended bed of crinums alongside my driveway: thick luscious foliage (until a hard freeze sends their energies underground to wait for a warming trend) and some amazing lily blooms in shades of pink. Blooms are most prolific in May, following Spring resurgence of foliage. I’ve been out amongst the crinums often this month, camera in hand.

These last few days I’ve been in anguish over yet another indicator of growing polarization in this state, this country. Yet another school shooting not very far away, and I am again feeling inept at making any difference in the future of this state, this country, this human population of the planet. Today I turned to a meditative practice that helps me level out emotions and let-be what-is: this imperfect world. My practice is digital collaging, a time-consuming focus-demanding endeavor. I worked with recent crinum images, and this poem emerged bit by bit as blooms fit together bit by bit.

Hoping you enjoy the imagery. Hoping we find ways to encourage compromise for the good of all.

Toward The Inevitable

March 27, 2022. Multiple influences overlap in this poem. I created a collage to portray my vision – using found bridge image with one of my own full-moon photographs. The poem stemmed from reading Ram Dass (Walking Each Other Home) and a zooming of poets focused on aging. I am awed to have lived longer than either of my parents – whenever my departure comes, I will not feel short-changed. In the interim, each day is an opportunity to reflect (and wax poetic!)

Bow To Endurance

March 06, 2022. As for so many (in many geographies) – my prayers are currently focused on the people of Ukraine – those enduring the assaults, those who have fled their homes, those in other parts of the world looking on in horror at what’s happening in their homeland. I bow to their anguish. I bow to their endurance, though nothing can put Ukraine back together as it was before these attacks. I bow also to synchronicity, triggering my response to a familiar scene with new awareness of sunflower as symbol for Ukraine.

A rather amazing sunflower sprouted in our front yard from birdseed last summer. I took multiple photos of its enduring bloom, noting the gradual tilting downward of the head. Around YE2021 I considered removing it from our landscape, but was frankly captivated by its durability – I am still waiting to see what Nature has in mind – confident the greedy squirrels did not eat all the seeds – new sprouts expected. Earlier this week I went for a walk, returning as sun was lowering, and I literally stopped in my tracks, stunned by the light, the bow, the association with St. Francis, the “what next” curiosity embodied in cat sculpture poised between them. Also embodied in me, somberly following the news.

Golden Fold

January 16, 2022. A single leaf brought me to a stand-still. I’d been out the night before observing the getting-full moon peeking through shifting clouds, all attention upward. Next morning I took the dogs out into bright sunlight – lighting up the sole leaf still clinging to the native Texas redbud tree I’d stood next to staring at the moon. The leaf swayed in a slight breeze. Would I see it separate, fall? No. Still dangling, modeling persistence.

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.

Autumn Astound

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!

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

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.)