January 11, 2018. It’s been a little over five years since I slipped my left wrist into the silicone band bearing the wisdom Celebrate What’s Right With The World – motto of Dewitt Jones, photographer and philosopher. I’d just spent a week “on Molokai time” recalibrating with Dewitt and others. I wondered how long the band might last. At least five years: the one I am retiring to my altar shows no wear until placed on top of a new one. Then I can see it has thinned, which explains sometimes slipping off.
2012 held a pair of life-changing encounters. A week with Mr. Poetic Medicine, John Fox, in Canyon De Chelly broke me open. Mother Nature delivered a Vision Quest where I’d anticipated just poetry and nature appreciation. I came home wobbly, at best. Within days, notice of a Dewitt Jones workshop on Molokai slid into view, and I signed up on the spot. I was a fan of Dewitt’s philosophy from videos in wisdom classes. With crossed fingers, I began another adventure. Getting to Molokai felt a lot like another Vision Quest, but the Island way and the people (once there!) were what I needed. I will never forget returning, standing outside the Austin airport waiting to be picked up, unable to contain my smiles, eager to say THANK YOU! to the one picking me up (the one who put up with me after Canyon de Chelly!)
December 21, 2017. As this year moves closer to closure, usual seasonal mood swings squeeze into limited interior space crowded with national tensions, frustrations way beyond individual control and impossible to expel. Thank you, Nature. Your cycles remind “this, too, will pass”. Optimistic fingers tightly crossed, I look toward 2018.
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 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.