Toward Sunset

Recently returned from what’s become an annual November outing to Rancho Lomitas – a native plant nursery near Rio Grande City, in deep south Texas.  The ranch includes RV accommodations amid an amazing abundance of plants and birds.  This visit found me out walking as the sun set several evenings in a row, good therapy for sorting thoughts and settling restlessness.  This poem wrote itself on the third walk.  I was entranced while looking down due to the intensity of the sun in front of me.  The video way exceeds recommended size limits – apologies if it will not load for you; if it will, please enjoy stepping along. (On my end, works with either Windows Media Player or iTunes.)

Of Pick-Up Sticks And Hope

November 13, 2020. Scenes of burned forest embody both horror and hope … and present an apt metaphor for the current political scene in the U.S. Imagery here is from New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness which includes forest land that burned several years ago and promises to evolve eventually into renewed (albeit different) beauty. While there in September, many days the sky was darkened by smoke from active Arizona fires. And the news was full of Colorado and West Coast fires. Reminders that the devastation in front of us was not a one-time freak occurrence.

What can I contribute toward healing either former forest or former democracy? I offer imagery to promote hope.

Destination

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.

Spinning

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.

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Spectacle

April 16, 2020.  I saw the alert of an unusual alignment of the moon with respect to Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.  Wee hours of the morning, as moon is waning thus rising later, later each night. Clouds precluded photos the first two tries, but this morning at 3:00am the skies were clear.  Whoopee!  Then ooops … come back in an hour after the moon is above the trees.  Still, I took one cluttered shot.  (I did go back an hour later for uncluttered pics.  None nearly as interesting, though.)

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Uncertainty

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.

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Bloom Watch

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.

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Green Jays Stage

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.

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Praying With St. Francis

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.

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