January 30, 2023. Yikes, how time whizzes by! This was to be my December 2022 post. But along came numerous interruptions to anything-planned. Things are looking up now on all fronts. And this glimpse of resilience feels all the more significant looking backward.
The image collage is from a November hike on a trail with our two frisky Labradors. Spectacular seasonal color in splotches amid the Texas always-green – spectacular, but a bit distant to capture a close-up photo. Then suddenly ahead of us was a single vivid red leaf. My heart leapt, then sank as my husband’s boot clobbered that leaf. I kept watch for another, with no luck. Then husband and both dogs took a hilly loop back toward start of trail and I retraced the easier path, delighted to discover the crumbled leaf waiting for me. If you look close, evidence of the under-boot fold is there. But this leaf was beaming beauty and resilience in spite of all. Kneeling for photo triggered this poem.
May 28, 2022. I live in Texas, blessed with beautiful Spring weather and cursed with polarization on many fronts political. Among the blessings I count regularly are the extended bed of crinums alongside my driveway: thick luscious foliage (until a hard freeze sends their energies underground to wait for a warming trend) and some amazing lily blooms in shades of pink. Blooms are most prolific in May, following Spring resurgence of foliage. I’ve been out amongst the crinums often this month, camera in hand.
These last few days I’ve been in anguish over yet another indicator of growing polarization in this state, this country. Yet another school shooting not very far away, and I am again feeling inept at making any difference in the future of this state, this country, this human population of the planet. Today I turned to a meditative practice that helps me level out emotions and let-be what-is: this imperfect world. My practice is digital collaging, a time-consuming focus-demanding endeavor. I worked with recent crinum images, and this poem emerged bit by bit as blooms fit together bit by bit.
Hoping you enjoy the imagery. Hoping we find ways to encourage compromise for the good of all.
January 16, 2022. A single leaf brought me to a stand-still. I’d been out the night before observing the getting-full moon peeking through shifting clouds, all attention upward. Next morning I took the dogs out into bright sunlight – lighting up the sole leaf still clinging to the native Texas redbud tree I’d stood next to staring at the moon. The leaf swayed in a slight breeze. Would I see it separate, fall? No. Still dangling, modeling persistence.
September 6, 2021 – New Moon. Today is Labor Day, but likely the New Moon is a bigger influence on my inner focus – responding to surrounding ruckus impossible to escape or ignore. Even (maybe especially?) for an Enneagram Nine (aka Peacemaker). This year is not over, and I’m braced for more challenges coming ’round the bend. A new moon (dark moon) suggests pausing, summoning from within courage and inventiveness to cope, to keep going.
I’ve included both before and after images, in reverse order as focus is on current conditions: messy. We have an amazing succulent in a pot on our back porch: Mother Of Thousands. Prolific bloomer from early Spring well into June. We went traveling in July and August, leaving the succulent on its own (they really don’t need much water, and I figured this one might prefer fewer camera invasions) – but a sad sight greeted us on return. Yet, a closer look offered a whole new perspective on renewal in spite of circumstances. Hence this plant becomes my model for coping with a world gone wonky in too many ways this year.
June 10, 2021. Today brought closure to stress related to our 500-year-old live oak – steadily declining the past ten years in spite of treatment for oak wilt disease. The crew came Tuesday, again Wednesday, again this morning to bring down the last of the five trunks growing from a common base. Agile men scrambled up, up into the branches with chain saws and ropes. Sections of limbs were lassoed, then cut free to swing downward at calculated angles that precluded damage to yaupons growing up and through live oak, as well as fence and crew members. An amazing display of skills and teamwork!
They arrived this morning just as I began a zoom session focused on becoming a peace agent, letting the St. Francis Prayer guide current life – my current thoughts dominated by chain saws. Just as the zoom concluded, the crew pulled away, leaving only the stump and my swirl of memories of the former tree: first glimpse in 1986 while shopping for a house in this area; my teenage son casually perched on one of the overhanging limbs calling down “Hey, Mom!”; prolific bird visitations (even one raven); cat chasing squirrel among the branches (squirrel retreating on underside of branch beneath confused cat); and many private conversations between me and tree.
Relieved that the inevitable is now behind us – tomorrow we begin restoring yard art and flowerpots moved out of the crew’s way – including statues of Buddha and St. Francis. A few flower pots will be placed on trunk pedestals – still huggable.
March 28, 2019. Spring has announced herself with an abundance of green coming up through dried leftovers of prior green frozen to the ground. Lots to clean up in the yard! I tackled the crinum bed alongside driveway a bit at a time to avoid arthritic reaction to the necessary bending, stooping at unusual angles. This poem emerged from the meditative nature of putting face repeatedly near earth … plus it was Mother’s birthday. The following day, my email brought me the poem Earth Song – including:
Those who are dead are never gone;
The dead are not down in the earth:
They are in the trembling of the trees
Indeed, Mother was right there with me in the crinums’ upward thrust.
Crinums produce large lily-like blooms – mine are a vivid pink, prolific come June.
I’m unable to find a direct link to Earth Song, Traditional from Senegal. I received it via Panhala – to subscribe, send a blank email to:
January 8, 2019. One of those stop-in-your-tracks encounters showed up in the sky late yesterday. In a rush to get away from the day’s frenzies … forgot all about those energies … standing transfixed in the driveway. Colors and textures overhead gave the appearance of winter-bare tree limbs ablaze. Just our imaginations, our luck to walk out when we did.
September 27, 2018. This poem emerged from a diverse spirituality group that meets every other month. We each share something responding to the session’s focus – then we sit in silence. Silence can be relative. Certainly sounds normally unnoticed take on new significance when human clatter subsides.
Last week I took in red yucca seeds and a quote from Florida Scott-Maxwell in response to the challenge: What can you see when you are able to look past all your comfortable assumptions, judgments, prejudices, and fears? There were several seed-related responses, and the various seeds/interpretations were swirling in my head as we began what would’ve been silence … but for the old fan directly above me.
February 16, 2018. My affinity for digital collage is two-fold — for the freedom to make a moon as dominant in the image as in my mind’s eye, and for the meditative process of detailing, removing distractions to emphasize desired geometry — directed by whim.
A nod to recent posts from Michael Fiveson (m5son.wordpress.com) and Stephanie Harper (slharperpoetry.com) – your words stirred mine.