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.
December 5, 2017. I spent yesterday foraging through 15 years of digital photos, seeking the right image for this poem. Finding the poem was a simple search on title. The search was triggered by reading Robert Okaji’s poem “Shakuhachi Blues” (on his blog: https://robertokaji.com). It took me back to the mountain above Cloudcroft NM, sitting around an evening campfire, watching a young man whittle while listening to my man play a wooden flute – feeling the flute vibes reshape me.
That evening was in 2008, before I began pairing poems and photos. In time the right photo surfaced – an image from elsewhere in New Mexico, at sunset, man and flute in beautiful trance.
July 8, 2017. Travelling again – had a wonderful evening in Hannibal Missouri under the influence of a local band in an outdoor setting … full moon rising … a time to ponder and savor. A time well worth a poem. If you ever stumble upon Bummer The Drummer and The Kansas City Street Band – by all means sit down awhile!
June 1, 2017. The last half of May was a bombardment of encounters – a piling on of understanding my own impermanence, connectedness, and choices. This poem has been finished multiple times, only to reopen given the next day’s encounter. Not all-inclusive, some pieces were trimmed to make space for others. I’m calling this complete now. (Though there could be a sequel!)
This began with breaking open during Jimmy LaFave’s final performance three days before his death – witnessing his choice to live his last year on his own terms, embracing life rather than fighting death. The wrap-up arrived as a scientific article on lichens.
June 10, 2016. Traveling for several weeks. After navigating the boulders strewn in the path of departure (too many to enumerate!), we departed exhausted. Our first stop is Linden TX, on our projected path to North Carolina via Arkansas and Tennessee. Linden is home of Music Texas Theater, host to many top performers. We are here to applaud J. D. Souther (of Eagles affiliation and much, much more) – his tunes come tonight.
In search of a wi-fi signal, we ended up at the theater mid morning, ahead of the crowds – stumbling into serenity.