October 2, 2017. A few days ago, on a ranch out in the Texas hill country, a group of us spread ourselves out for individual silent contemplative wanders. Our intended focus: “Earth connection”. I headed for the labyrinth, which consistently helps me focus … and is made of Nature’s materials.
Even on the labyrinth, focus is vulnerable to the unexpected. But then, paying attention to Nature’s surrounding energies is, in fact, connecting with Earth.
September 17, 2017. For several days, I’ve been rummaging through old photographs (from before I went digital) hoping to spy a certain mug. It was white stoneware, with a pink primrose painted on the side – part of a set, four different flowers. Those mugs were my first purchase post divorce, back in 1979. Symbols of independence – kept through the years though discolored from tea and coffee. The pink one, most used, was the worst. When Gary and I merged our lives and belongings under this roof in 2006, off to Good Will went the ugly mug. I kept its blue mate, least discolored, as souvenir.
Striking out finding an old photo of the pink mug, I’ve let the blue one take its place in this collage. Behind the mug is a scanned 1997 view of my backyard swing – scene of the drama.
Here’s to memories of mindfulness before I claimed such as part of my practice.
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.
August 19, 2017. Home from summer travels, I am finally able to connect a poem written right before departure with images I did not have along on the trip. This one’s been waiting for me to get home!
We lost our tabby Ziggy unexpectedly earlier this year. I painted the back porch rocker turquoise, all that sanding and painting a way to deal with grief. Since then, I keep seeing turquoise everywhere I turn. And every time, Ziggy comes softly to mind. One such encounter was an Eremos-sponsored day of Contemplative Poetry at St. Matthews Episcopal (in Austin) in June. I did not yet know about the turquoise table movement to encourage neighbors to sit together and get to know one another. The table pictured seemed just one more appearance of turquoise! So I sat down and communed with Ziggy about turquoise.
July 23, 2017. Traveling still, now in cooler temperatures and higher elevations. This afternoon’s rain kept us campsite-bound – an agreeable pace! I’ve encountered several times lately promotions for “forest bathing” – Japanese Shinrinyoku – preventive healthcare practice of getting oneself out among trees. Research proves its value. My experience here bears witness.
July 19, 2017. Traveling, taking in (our first time!) the 20th annual Woody Fest in Okemah, Oklahoma; WONDERFUL music experience for anyone considering what to do in future Julys!
Research led us to Pine Trees RV about 2 miles out of town – w,here we were under pines, overlooking a beautiful pond, at the end of a gravel road. Blissful! Those trees were most welcome in Oklahoma July heat.
We discovered a female kildeer thought so too – her “nest” barely out of traffic’s path. Speaking gently, approaching slowly, it was easy to get close. But the moment I crossed her perceived boundary, she tripled in size and fierceness. And I apologized! (Right after snapping this image …)