January 18, 2018. Tuesday Austin Texas shut down due to iced roadways – schools, government offices, many businesses sent out alerts the night before: please stay off the roadways. This happens once every year or so, usually for one day. In colder places, cities take remedial action and keep roadways open. Here, we get a day off (except schools must take away a planned free day later in the calendar.)
I slept in, waking to the lure of chicken soup simmering, gave the day’s opportunity a few select thoughts, and pulled out a jigsaw puzzle. Not just any puzzle – I chose the greenhouse scene, plants thriving while “shut in” – like me. The collage hopefully conveys my sense of being in the greenhouse while working the puzzle.
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!)
October 11, 2017. On this clear October day, I went out to wander the backyard taking photos of fall-bloomers cultivated to attract butterflies. One butterfly posed for me, and lots of bees. But my eyes were primarily focused downward, trying not to trip over plants way beyond their beds. The pathway (what I could see of it) began to fascinate more than the bright blooms.
September 6, 2017. Still on edge from Hurricane Harvey assaulting the Texas coast, I now watch with great distress as Hurricane Irma targets to pass directly over my former home in Florida. I watch with empathy for all in Irma’s pathway – the reality of Houston-area aftermath so raw, and Florida may get even more devastation.
But along with property damages, storm refugees, and gasoline supply panics, I cannot help notice all the fresh blooms arrived in response to the abundant rain here on Harvey’s fringe. The bees are noticing, too – so eager that I smile in spite of tensions.
And when I finally find pumps with gasoline, I look at the others eagerly filling their vehicles – all of us somehow friendlier with strangers than usual – smiling, waving. We’re like the bees, buzzing after our fuel. Quite the energy hum.
The collage mixes found human-essential images with bee photos from my backyard.
August 27, 2017. Hurricane Harvey has come to visit Texas, moving inland to squat over family land near Cuero. My mind races back to youthful times when the Guadalupe River overflowed and those who lived out in the country could not get to town for days and days. I worry for relatives still on the family land, as well as relatives in Houston. Houston, already flooded, is the projected target for Harvey’s meander away from Cuero.
Within Harvey’s outer rain bands (5+ inches measly compared to up-to-40 inches predicted for Houston), I mourn the uprooted live oak next door and cringe as images of flooded Houston roadways pour across my computer screen. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. To evacuate that many people is next-to-impossible. Last time they tried (Hurricane Rita) more people died on the jammed roadways than in the city behind them. I am oddly sympathetic with Houston’s mayor, now taking all sorts of flack for his earlier direction to hunker down vs. evacuate. He saw only two imperfect options. Could there have been other choices? Houston is a lesson-occurring – conclusions still beyond view.
With all this stirring my mind, I uncovered this 2013 poem in a pile on my desk. A spark of synchronicity! The image is from recent camping near Cloudcroft NM.
February 7, 2017. Still weeks till Spring’s official arrival. But given three definitive signs arriving in the span of mere hours, I am celebrating the distinct possibility that hard freezes are behind us.
The image below is a very startled young possum cowering on a shelf beneath the pet feeder after the Labrador and I discovered him – crouched in the food bowl munching happily, no doubt proud of his discovery of “easy” feeding – a perspective shattered by barking, lunging dog and camera flashes in the face. (Too dark to see the visiting cat but I know well the source of those howls. The robins didn’t stick around to pose.)
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.