January 7, 2020. One week into this new year, new decade … one I have anticipated for its promise of transition in my personal life. I go through a month-long process each December focusing forward and creating a mandala to guide the coming year. I named 2020 Navigate Uncertainty given mid-year expectations. Well … 2020 is showing its character up-front, in this first week!
We were camped at Lake Mineral Wells State Park (west of Fort Worth TX) when 2020 arrived. Image (from my Austin yard) is last night’s sunset in west … behind it a cloudless eastern sky dominated by a high bulging moon.
December 16, 2019. We’ve just experienced the last 2019 full moon cycle, and I’m now experiencing my first Dracaena bloom watch. You may know Dracaena by her common name – corn plant. She’s a popular houseplant, needing little maintenance, little light, asking only that you periodically cut her back and replant the cuttings. My back porch is full of her long, floppy, dark green leaves. I received a cutting from a corn plant my Aunt Mary Beth left behind in 1990, taken by my sister for her office, divided multiple times. The single stalk I took in (roughly 10 years ago) has evolved to five plants in three large pots. In all that time, I never knew it could BLOOM! A little over a week ago, we woke to find one of the five had sprouted a long bloom stalk overnight.
Fascinated, I went googling to find my plant’s real name is Dracaena Fragranz Massangeana and she does occasionally bloom – a powerful fragrance and a blooming cycle of 3-7 days. I’m still on watch as Dracaena begins Day 9, with well over half her buds yet to open. Though moon phase was not mentioned as catalyst for blooming, I find Dracaena blooming along with the final 2019 full moon intriguing. The poem below emerged piecemeal. The first image is a collage of Dracaena and Moon – the 2nd is a series of photos showing (1) full bloom stalk, (2) a bloom amid unopened buds (with the prior night’s spent bloom clutching a gem of sap), and (3) bud opening.
December 6, 2019. We returned to our haunts near Rio Grande City the week of Thanksgiving. One very good birding location is Salineno World Birding Center located on the Rio Grande River and thus in danger. The current expectation is a wide caliche roadway between river and birding, nothing to spoil the birding center so long as the birds aren’t repulsed by construction. (But there are those insisting we need a continuous WALL …) If anywhere near Salineno in the November-March months, this place is worth the search. (The birds go elsewhere to breed summer/fall.)
I’ve been thinning and tweaking photos since we got back, looking for a green jay image that captures their playful energy. Today, I encountered a poetry form that so fits the experience of watching green jays – birds flapping around noisily, people holding still quietly. I don’t think I’ve seen a puente poem before, and this is certainly the first one I’ve written. Thanks go to Ken Gierke @ https://rivrvlogr.com/2019/12/06/finding-direction-puente/ for stirring my creativity. The puente form puts two perspectives together with a single common thread, and I knew immediately which photos to collage together to show the two “sides” of Salineno: birds on the far side of a large Mesquite growing laterally; birders a few yards away on the entrance side.
December 3, 2019. Our rosemary has not looked all that well since the freezes a year ago, and cutting it back was on my list after our first 2019 freeze. Well, good thing I’m slow getting to that list!
November 20, 2019. Seems Brie gets into just about everything, even my meditative moments. I concede laughing and then snapping a photo of my cat constitutes breaking the trance … but it led to an enlightened attitude on the spot and a poem later that day. I will post it now as an odd-ball “gratitude poem” for this Thanksgiving … a bit early as I’ll be traveling during the holiday.
October 19, 2019. Monarchs have begun appearing among our blue mist blooms … any day now we expect a large number to swoop through on their way South. This is an annual delight, but now comes with a complication named Brie. She’s spending prime outdoor hours indoors – unless I’m available to go intervene on behalf of the Monarchs. Monarchs seem quiet swift in rising if a cat appears. But. Brie is under restrictions! I found her huddled on the kitchen counter with bananas, clearly pouting.
August 30, 2019. Summer travels included a week in the National Forest near Lake City, Colorado. Beautiful country – in spite of recent destructive avalanches (record snowfalls continued into June) – and in spite of beetle demise of once-lush Spruce. Spruce is “old news” there, avalanches and floods garnering all the attention. For most. My eyes kept going to the Spruce. No longer alive, yet holding form through assaults of weather, marmots, bears, moose. Like a feather: you can mess with it, but it goes back to original form.
Big grey “feathers” were everywhere, mostly in multiples that made capturing the form with camera difficult. Might be time to work on my sketching skills! One solo Spruce stood at road’s edge, and I managed to get there in sufficient light and zero traffic on departure morning. Took a while to isolate enlarged branch from background, but: a labor of love.