January 17, 2020. As I open mentally and emotionally to the uncertainty of 2020 … this poem honors an experience way, way back in 1983 working for IBM in Boca Raton, FL … I became the lucky alternate when the guy chosen to attend a Santa Monica 4-week class could not go. The class was Modern Engineering, and its primary purpose was to encourage life-long learning. We were blessed with UCLA professors delivering all sorts of engineering specifics I had no immediate use for. But the experience was indeed mind-opening. Gone was my notion that “engineers” were a super breed. They were mathematicians, like me, theirs a specialized focus.
The Mobius band given on completion has been my reminder since that life IS continuous learning, that whatever is occurring right now is both temporary and influential on what follows … everything changing all the time. I look to the Mobius band as a “walking stick” to steady me through unorientable uncertainty along the path of 2020.
(A Möbius strip, band, or loop, also spelled Mobius or Moebius, is a surface with only one side and only one boundary. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being unorientable.)
January 7, 2020. One week into this new year, new decade … one I have anticipated for its promise of transition in my personal life. I go through a month-long process each December focusing forward and creating a mandala to guide the coming year. I named 2020 Navigate Uncertainty given mid-year expectations. Well … 2020 is showing its character up-front, in this first week!
We were camped at Lake Mineral Wells State Park (west of Fort Worth TX) when 2020 arrived. Image (from my Austin yard) is last night’s sunset in west … behind it a cloudless eastern sky dominated by a high bulging moon.
December 16, 2019. We’ve just experienced the last 2019 full moon cycle, and I’m now experiencing my first Dracaena bloom watch. You may know Dracaena by her common name – corn plant. She’s a popular houseplant, needing little maintenance, little light, asking only that you periodically cut her back and replant the cuttings. My back porch is full of her long, floppy, dark green leaves. I received a cutting from a corn plant my Aunt Mary Beth left behind in 1990, taken by my sister for her office, divided multiple times. The single stalk I took in (roughly 10 years ago) has evolved to five plants in three large pots. In all that time, I never knew it could BLOOM! A little over a week ago, we woke to find one of the five had sprouted a long bloom stalk overnight.
Fascinated, I went googling to find my plant’s real name is Dracaena Fragranz Massangeana and she does occasionally bloom – a powerful fragrance and a blooming cycle of 3-7 days. I’m still on watch as Dracaena begins Day 9, with well over half her buds yet to open. Though moon phase was not mentioned as catalyst for blooming, I find Dracaena blooming along with the final 2019 full moon intriguing. The poem below emerged piecemeal. The first image is a collage of Dracaena and Moon – the 2nd is a series of photos showing (1) full bloom stalk, (2) a bloom amid unopened buds (with the prior night’s spent bloom clutching a gem of sap), and (3) bud opening.
December 6, 2019. We returned to our haunts near Rio Grande City the week of Thanksgiving. One very good birding location is Salineno World Birding Center located on the Rio Grande River and thus in danger. The current expectation is a wide caliche roadway between river and birding, nothing to spoil the birding center so long as the birds aren’t repulsed by construction. (But there are those insisting we need a continuous WALL …) If anywhere near Salineno in the November-March months, this place is worth the search. (The birds go elsewhere to breed summer/fall.)
I’ve been thinning and tweaking photos since we got back, looking for a green jay image that captures their playful energy. Today, I encountered a poetry form that so fits the experience of watching green jays – birds flapping around noisily, people holding still quietly. I don’t think I’ve seen a puente poem before, and this is certainly the first one I’ve written. Thanks go to Ken Gierke @ https://rivrvlogr.com/2019/12/06/finding-direction-puente/ for stirring my creativity. The puente form puts two perspectives together with a single common thread, and I knew immediately which photos to collage together to show the two “sides” of Salineno: birds on the far side of a large Mesquite growing laterally; birders a few yards away on the entrance side.
December 3, 2019. Our rosemary has not looked all that well since the freezes a year ago, and cutting it back was on my list after our first 2019 freeze. Well, good thing I’m slow getting to that list!
November 20, 2019. Seems Brie gets into just about everything, even my meditative moments. I concede laughing and then snapping a photo of my cat constitutes breaking the trance … but it led to an enlightened attitude on the spot and a poem later that day. I will post it now as an odd-ball “gratitude poem” for this Thanksgiving … a bit early as I’ll be traveling during the holiday.
November 4, 2019. Recently, walking into my kitchen, my memory took a leap back to the kitchen I grew up in – the center of family activities. The table was cleared for each meal and then immediately cleared for the next activity – homework, paying bills, making a new slipcover for the old rocker. In early hours (before anyone else was supposed to be awake), Mother sat at the table drinking coffee and reading magazines. The memory that won’t let go was a rare day when Mother sat down for coffee mid-day. I was elementary-school age.
(I’m still puzzling why this memory pops up now. I lean toward synchronicity, not coincidence.)
The table (now in my sister’s home) was available to photo for this collage with a map of the Monahans area in West Texas as backdrop. (No recall of Mother’s coffee cups, though I do remember a metal coffeepot heated on stove top – just-poured coffee was surely boiling hot.)