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.
February 14, 2021. Central Texas is experiencing a much-colder-than-usual February. Hasn’t been icy cold like this since 1989! It’s impossible to console the cats and the Labrador: They want to be outdoors frisking around … well, until they’ve been out there for a very few minutes. Restless myself, I tried to take our dog for a walk around noon, knowing sleet and snow were coming but not realizing sidewalks were already slick in places. It was a short walk. Came back and settled into writing this poem and then collaging icy images to capture the out-there essence: frozen (Look close and you’ll see St. Francis sporting a chin icicle.)
January 16, 2021. Today has been quiet, reflective on the home front. I indulged – creating a photo collage of magnolia blossoms (from Austin’s Natural Gardener in 2016) to illustrate a poem written a short while back about an encounter from a long, long while back (eight grade!) At the time I was living with my aunt in the country 20 miles from Cuero TX – her front yard filled with a large, spreading magnolia tree. I still recall the elation high in the limbs surrounded by blooms … and moving toward one “just over there” …
For several weeks everywhere I turned, more emphasis on the coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. This grabbed me – association with once rescuing 2 kittens only days apart – Jupiter first, then Saturn. Jupiter indeed the brighter hued being equally black and white; Saturn just black except for a few stray white hairs. They came from different parts of Austin, “conjuncting” in my elaborate cat enclosure (now history). My sky-watcher husband invested in a new camera lens and we arranged to be camping in a dark-skies area on Solstice, focused upward at the rare view of planets Jupiter and Saturn crossing paths (conjunction).
Plans played out well until Solstice was upon us and things began shifting. Clouding up. As uncontrollable as everything else in 2020! At end of evening, I reflected on the day’s unveiling, concluding the elusive armadillo more relevant than planet maneuvers. Here comes 2021, bringing more hype about all matter of things! No doubt more clouding as well.
Clouds did part briefly for a couple of very boring images of planets nowhere near predicted overlap as viewed from South Llano River State Park, central Texas.
Wishing all open minds and access to safe hide-a-ways when our minds need a break.
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.
July 27, 2020. Following my prior post (also on personal encounter with creativity) I’m reusing the image as it perfectly suits! I stumbled onto both poems while clearing clutter … on two separate occasions. Prior poem is repeated below this additional poem from same era. (I’ve no clue which was written first! Nor what may emerge from next decluttering urge.)
Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Recently, clearing clutter, I stumbled on a handwritten poem clearly written back in my Old Normal: mornings wandering through poems on WordPress, evenings lost in yet another jigsaw puzzle – both meditative practices, both prone to spark poems. Usually such poems go quickly into the computer; some connect to photos I’ve taken (or decide to take after writing); and some of those arrive here.
I’ve not posted in a while. Life got very complicated, and will continue in that vein for a while. My son was taken to ER in Minnesota (where he’s lived a couple of years) and ended up having brain surgery: glioblastoma stage 4. Devastating. Since, I’ve been to Minnesota, packed up my son and his things, and brought him here for what lifespan remains.
I am bit by bit turning back to meditative time-for-me (which benefits everyone under this roof!) and this poem has me blogging again. This collage merges imagery from the referenced posts with my own photo of lines in the sky.
These poems are well worth reading (again, if you already follow the poets):
May 9, 2020. COVID-19 makes for odd times, the new normal ever evolving. I feel my sense of time (days, hours) slipping further and further from the forefront of thoughts and actions. I’ve begun putting routine tasks on my calendar, but then I forget to open it, and oops! Two days late dosing the pets with monthly heart-worm preventive. This poem was written in those hours that challenge my dating the page: is it still yesterday or already tomorrow? I had great fun creating the collage, though difficult to choose which of the 40 photos taken of our first 2020 echinopsis cactus bloom. So many petals, so many angles, so intriguing to steadily observe, wishing I could slip between petals for a snooze.
April 29, 2020. Yesterday (another day isolating at home) included a nap, and an awakening that stirred up a poem. This is NOT a black&white image of my blue bedroom – somehow afternoon sunlight shifted perspectives right out of color ranges – for my eyes, and for the phone camera synchronistically beside me (I don’t usually nap with phone!). I’ve added an icon to depict inner spin with Uncertainty.