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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.)
September 6, 2021 – New Moon. Today is Labor Day, but likely the New Moon is a bigger influence on my inner focus – responding to surrounding ruckus impossible to escape or ignore. Even (maybe especially?) for an Enneagram Nine (aka Peacemaker). This year is not over, and I’m braced for more challenges coming ’round the bend. A new moon (dark moon) suggests pausing, summoning from within courage and inventiveness to cope, to keep going.
I’ve included both before and after images, in reverse order as focus is on current conditions: messy. We have an amazing succulent in a pot on our back porch: Mother Of Thousands. Prolific bloomer from early Spring well into June. We went traveling in July and August, leaving the succulent on its own (they really don’t need much water, and I figured this one might prefer fewer camera invasions) – but a sad sight greeted us on return. Yet, a closer look offered a whole new perspective on renewal in spite of circumstances. Hence this plant becomes my model for coping with a world gone wonky in too many ways this year.
February 2021 blooms – Mother Of Thousands
March 30, 2021. I turn to a labyrinth to focus inward – the image here is my frequent walking meditation choice as getting there involves minimal traffic and usually I have it to myself (my preference, although there are gifts in walking a labyrinth with a group.) Since discovering labyrinths back in 1999, they have become my visual metaphor for “life’s path”. In both, the goal is “centered” where pestering perplexities sort of make sense and a calm settles in, acceptance of conditions and recognition that conditions almost surely equal opportunity, even if details are elusive. An alternative to walking a labyrinth, I also turn to finger labyrinths – small enough to fit in a lap, circuits traced with finger tip while eyes remain closed.
Bothered ongoing through the past year about divisiveness in attitudes toward politics, COVID precautions, and what my role might be in the midst of what our country is going through, I recently took my befuddlement to the labyrinth. Stepping into the path, I thought of finger labyrinths I’m creating for a group experience in August, puzzling how to add a tactile confirmation of having reached center (to ease the urge to open eyes to check!) This poem emerged as I walked toward labyrinth center curious: How will I know on my life path when I’ve reached center?
If you count life center as mid-range in years lived, I am surely way past center. But if life center is the point of centered awareness of why I exist at all … well, I need to keep going.
March 09, 2021. For several years, our yard has been graced by a delightful pink flamingo patiently staying wherever last placed, yet seldom immobile – true to her design, she swirled left, right with even minute breeze and somehow that triggered the bobbing of head which always seemed to me a nod of acceptance. I took that as a model. And thus in February this poem wrote itself in my head while I stood transfixed by the rhythmic-yet-unpredictable sways.
I’m posting today to honor the flamingo, who sadly had a different sort of appeal to our new dog Ramble, still puppy-enough to want to chew just about anything. Ramble is forgiven. Flamingo is missed. I’ve collaged seasonal views of the flamingo – last spring amid the pond irises and a couple of weeks ago in the snow.