March 10, 2018. I spent February studying Zen poetry – reading many of the classics and writing to suggested prompts. Lorraine “Bird” Mejia is a skilled online teacher and manages to pull things from me I did not expect. True with the Zen writing, for sure. But one of the exercises took me a bit off-prompt, smack dab back to the New Mexico mountain where we camp every August – specifically, back to the “snag” (a tree dead but standing, top broken off) where I sit in solitude. I posted about that snag in 2015, and here I repeat that earlier poem followed by my “Zenish” perception. One snag, two takes.
Who knows? There could be more snag poems to emerge …
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.
May 11, 2017. Reflecting on a day at Red Corral Ranch in the Texas hill country – I go every other month with a spiritual awareness group. Last week, right after group reflection on a Stanley Kunitz poem – we went out into the May sunshine to spend some quiet solo time reflecting and observing. Red Corral is home to a number of peacocks, noisy birds, calling back and forth to one another. Their squeals are intense, sounding like “HELP” – mixing in with Kunitz words, the birds helped this poem emerge. They reminded me who I am – poet.
April 4, 2017. Not typical Spring Fever! My restless state stems from too many changes I am unable to influence – this urge to tackle something tangible, make something prettier, even if insignificant in the larger realm of unpredictables. Why not transform a once-stately (still-comfy) rocking chair into a bright turquoise meditation station?
March 28, 2017. I’m wrestling with the loss of our tabby a couple weeks back – just when I think I’ve gotten over it, I find myself in tears again. Yesterday I watched the calico sitting in dappled shadows – I drifted deep into meditating on her focus in the moment, pondering her intuitive feline ways of adapting to this loss of companion. I found more questions than answers, but also acceptance that I don’t get to choose when grief resolves.
March 8, 2017. For those who ponder how poems materialize, today’s example (not exactly repeatable, but representative): Morning routines are just that – routine … Sketch begins trancing … Gary pauses on way out the door to describe a scene he’d rather stay home with … I tiptoe to peer at cat and experience a flash of envy … Pen in hand first, I think of camera a little too late … I rely on words to convey the scene.
The image is thus of resulting state rather than feline process of “getting gone”.
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.