June 16, 2017. Big changes often involve multiple facets fitting together. Such was our decision to go from a small travel trailer to a larger one. Not just the trailer changes. The tow vehicle must also change. And after months of planning, selecting, and financing our dream – one last essential piece about did me in: something called a weight distribution hitch that serves to help Blackie (truck) and Silvie (trailer) move smoothly together. Using friction to control sway – fascinating. A variety to choose from, but a strong preference for the kind we had with the small trailer (only bigger). Precise measurements of the trailer still sitting on the dealer’s lot an hour’s drive South proved elusive, highly frustrating in ordering the new hitch. A few cross words flew between the two of us piecing together our bits of understanding (and not!) of hitches and measurements … but ultimately all came together. And in the process, the weight distribution hitch emerged as symbol. Notice those chains. Ties that bind.
We’ll be rolling through Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, and New Mexico shortly. Trusting our hitch!
June 8, 2017. Every family has drama episodes. And while the family of my childhood was not much like the family observed in this poem – I wrote this encounter because I so identified with the little girl’s spirit flattened by a simple mishap and the repercussions thus triggered. I’ve included an image of me at age 8 – a bit more cheerful than the girl in the poem. Someone must have told me to smile. (In Mrs. Camp’s 3rd grade classroom, I was not a happy camper!) Looking at the collage, I notice I’ve put myself on a pedestal – not the sort one dreams of – but appropriate given the skittery nature of being young, being trapped in your family’s dramas.
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.
References:  Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “Dear Christie”: https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2017/05/22/dear-christie/  Scientific American June 2017 issue, “The Meaning of Lichen”
Collage: Raven from Bryce Canyon, UT. Lichen from Red Corral Ranch, TX.
February 27, 2017. I’m stepping back into 2007 for this image and poem, which feel appropriate given prevalent prickly agitation. This image was taken on Alamo Mountain, near El Paso, on a hike to view ancient rock art images left by a culture challenged daily with adversity. Perhaps we, too, will learn to live with constant conflict. But maybe we can bridge polarized opinions – it’s a challenge worth considering.
January 31, 2017. Lately, a series of dreams have occurred driving solo in my Rav4, and while I puzzle over the varying symbols (a horse in the back seat, a bear hauling me and Rav4 up a huge tree) the constant of behind-the-wheel is perhaps of greater significance. Pondering if the Dream Maker is promoting solo travel, I found my way back to this poem.
My last big solo drive was January 2013, to Taos NM for a meditative intensive. I was quite hyped about going, both for the experience once there and for the long hours driving. Driving solo is a unique meditative experience in and of itself.
But going entails separation … this poem wrote itself between home and Taos. While I have no photograph of the departure scene beyond the poem’s imagery, I do have the contrast view a few hours post arrival. Parting words of caution rang in my ears as I skidded into Taos along with a major snow storm, icy roads, and much anxiety. Nothing prettier than an undamaged car, blanketed down for a few idle days.
June 3, 2016. I go several times a year to Red Corral Ranch with a group sponsored by Seton Cove – each a day of reflection; each preceded by a request to bring something for the altar relating to the upcoming day’s focus. Often the focus defies concrete symbols. And the recent focus on relationship with inner critic had me scratching my head … until suddenly Figment and a famous Rilke quote came to mind arm-in-arm.
Like me, Figment has faded a bit with age. In 1982 I lived in South Florida and visited Epcot (a Disney World companion) on first opening. Most impressive at the time and certainly most memorable was Kodak’s walk-through. A large elusive purple dragon appeared here and there along the way: Figment (of imagination). I came home with my smaller-but-tangible Figment, intended I suppose as a child’s toy (bearing the Disney copyright). A child at heart, I loved Figment at first sight.
For a number of years, Figment has perched atop a cabinet, overseeing my annual intention mandala. Indeed, my intentions are my most valuable treasures. Indeed, they have a dragon guardian. This image is of Figment returned to post following the Red Corral outing – where he posed adorably on the altar. (Where is it written an inner critic must be grumpy?)
January 27, 2016. Yesterday morning, driving along a familiar freeway, attentive to motions of other vehicles, exit signs, all the usual stimuli – suddenly James McMurtry’s voice singing “I only want to talk to you” leapt out of memory and song context to put me in Mother’s kitchen, desperate to talk to her. She’s been gone since this month, 1990. Her kitchen is not an option.
I went instead to my journal. Among other insights, this poem emerged.
The image is from the dining area at Red Corral Ranch, a retreat center I visit several times a year, near Wimberley, Texas. The shadows were moving as the breeze stirred the curtains. Not unlike thoughts changing partners for the next round in a square dance.