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.
May 27, 2019. We are gearing up for another summer of travels … to places we’ve never been before, to places we’ve been yearning to get back to … in both cases, places that might present the next Native American wooden flute (or two) for Gary’s collection. He is selective! He trusts my skills and selectivity to yield the right custom bag for each flute.
Bags pictured were made last September, for flutes acquired last summer.
April 30, 2019. How to convey a magical experience? I was so into it while it lasted that “make a video” never occurred to me. The image here (collage of a prior moon photo with clip-art) hopefully conveys the impression of moving along at eye-level with the Good Friday full moon – view constantly bouncing due to varying swag of heavy black power lines. What a start to a weekend camping trip with a loooong drive down to Seminole Canyon State Park (West of Del Rio Tx). Who knew Austin’s I-35 offered a moon-viewing deck?
September 4, 2018. We drove Saturday to Odessa TX, to spend Labor Day weekend with good friends. Not a new drive – a couple of known paths from our house to San Angelo, one obvious path from there to Odessa. Only … somehow we missed a turn and by the time we noticed the road no longer looked familiar, we were waaaay past that turn. Unwilling to forfeit time retracing, we proceeded to the next town (Goldthwaite TX). Studying Google Maps on my phone, strange changes kept occurring. Our printed maps were all in the truck that tows our Airstream – not with us in the Prius.
Goldthwaite further frustrated with no indication where its roads out of town would lead. But Lady Luck presented herself in a Welcome Center. (Who’d expect such in the middle of nowhere? And open on Saturday!) She sent me back to the car with a county map stating on left edge: “To San Angelo”. We were not yet aware at the county line our road dead-ended into a T … with zero indication what lay ahead in either direction.
Oddly, I have an urge to drive that way again (intentionally) for photographs. I’m relying here on images from maps and a photo of a similar pasture. Maybe next Spring when the wild flowers are blooming … to San Angelo for lunch and back again, with a map and Garmin along for the ride …
June 30, 2018. Another travels snapshot. You know you’ve slipped into full travel mode when afternoon coffee is followed with afternoon napping. Nothing like a downpour to encourage staying in, dry, reflective.
May 29, 2018. The school year wraps up this week, setting my teacher partner free to travel. He has been prepping our Airstream, and I have been busily tweaking reservations along the path we’re targeting this summer. Some returns, some new locations. All of it flexible should we change our minds! Our minds are crammed full … no question we are overlooking something (to be further tweaked down the line).
In our yard, every day something new blooms … bringing regrets that we must miss this to venture toward the other. This collage blends purple coneflowers with datura, both prolific bloomers frequented by bees.
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!
March 23, 2017. We recently returned to Rancho Lomitas in lower Texas near the Rio Grande border – an area with birds and plants that just don’t come further north. When there last fall, we took a photo of what we thought to be peyote growing along the roadside. To everyone’s surprise, the proprietors pointed out the distinctions between peyote and our picture of a star cactus – an endangered cactus that Rancho Lomitas is helping propagate in their nursery but had never seen growing natively on the ranch. Wow! This revelation came minutes before our departure, no time to revisit the star for more (better) pictures.
On this return trip, a high priority was finding that star cactus! Oh, did we look and look and look – walking slowly, eyes trained on roadside edge, up and down the stretch of road where the tiny star “had to be”. Well, maybe. Hours of looking yielded no star, but did prompt a poem. Afterward, a seasoned resident at Rancho Lomitas comforted us with the comment that rabbits do eat such (indeed the nursery samples are in wire cages) which leaves me eager to return again to photograph bunnies for an update to this collage. (Image note: fingers show a peyote the same size as the elusive star – star enlarged in center of collage – the two look alike to novice eyes.)
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.