May 17, 2022. While going through recent photos, choosing keepers, I was drawn back into a surprise earlier this month, reliving the energies inner and outer of my first labyrinth walk since February’s hip replacement. This is one of my two most-frequented labyrinths, yet I’d not walked it for over a year … had not planned to quite yet. Some of the best experiences arrive unplanned – serendipity!
April 30, 2022. This is a mix of reflective and forward views. I’ve chosen the plum blossom as hope’s portrait based on the annual cycle of blossoms to fruit but also for personal associations.
As a child growing up in arid West Texas our backyard was blessed with Daddy’s fruit trees. The largest were a pair of Texas Plum trees planted a couple of yards apart but grown together with outer limbs drooped to the ground surrounding – a tent beneath those branches – tall enough for adults to stand upright, with trunks sufficiently sturdy to climb up for a sit between foliage above and sand below. A fantastic hide-away! Spring blooms brought hope: soon leaves would return, my refuge re-established.
Last summer we planted a small Texas Plum in our Central Texas back yard – photo taken earlier this month conveys my hope this little tree will grow, grow, grow as I age, age, age – my companion.
March 06, 2022. As for so many (in many geographies) – my prayers are currently focused on the people of Ukraine – those enduring the assaults, those who have fled their homes, those in other parts of the world looking on in horror at what’s happening in their homeland. I bow to their anguish. I bow to their endurance, though nothing can put Ukraine back together as it was before these attacks. I bow also to synchronicity, triggering my response to a familiar scene with new awareness of sunflower as symbol for Ukraine.
A rather amazing sunflower sprouted in our front yard from birdseed last summer. I took multiple photos of its enduring bloom, noting the gradual tilting downward of the head. Around YE2021 I considered removing it from our landscape, but was frankly captivated by its durability – I am still waiting to see what Nature has in mind – confident the greedy squirrels did not eat all the seeds – new sprouts expected. Earlier this week I went for a walk, returning as sun was lowering, and I literally stopped in my tracks, stunned by the light, the bow, the association with St. Francis, the “what next” curiosity embodied in cat sculpture poised between them. Also embodied in me, somberly following the news.
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.
January 6, 2022. The historic significance of January 6 is pervasive in the media and most of our minds today. In between resurgences of anger and angst, I find myself returning to a mindful session yesterday with a group of poets zoomed together to focus on pause and intention. That hour and a half was a pause – opportunity to focus on the temporariness of many things: my self, the Dracaena blooms on the back porch, the moth drawn to those blooms. I feel I was gifted my moment with the moth as a touchstone, to align my intentions with matters I can influence though many other matters vie for my attention. I share this poem from yesterday in hopes it might stir in others recall of a similar touchstone moment of pause. May pausing nurture growth of both acceptance and change.
The blooming of a plant is a progression through moments … as is the passage of time in any way one chooses to measure it … as is the life of a moth or a woman observing moth and plant. Impossible to pause the flow of such, but we can bring focus to specific points and hold those “paused” in our hearts. In a sense any point in time is both an end and a beginning – I’m tagging my moment with the moth as my YE2021.
Background image is today’s remains of December’s Dracaena blooms – moth inset was taken Christmas night, above blooms still not fully open.
December 19, 2021. Winter Solstice approaches – Moon was just full – I am feeling the energies. And writing. And learning to hold all plans as “tentative” … December hip replacement has been canceled while my aging heart steals focus. What next? Meanwhile, I hobble forward … happy to see my Dracaena put forth blooms a fourth time. We did not think this plant bloomed … until it did two years ago; twice since; and now again. (A night bloomer, best views after midnight – lights off, aim camera and hope flash and focus cooperate!)
November 29, 2021. Some travels prove to be temporary escapes from habitual patterns and problems. I’ve just returned from a very different jaunt. My daughter as constant witness was a blessing. And I sensed the tug of Minnesota my son summed up with “I’m through with Texas!” His ashes are now up there, spread ‘neath a beautiful blue sky in one of the natural areas he frequently hiked.
Spreading ashes is meditative. Perhaps chilly air contributed to vibrations running through me. After the ashes, a few miles away we stood to watch the Mississippi River flow around Nicollet Island (smack in the middle of the river and the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolis). I’d never experienced such togetherness with All – feeling like just one tiny fleck, yet absolutely essential. Definitely grateful.
October 27, 2021. Today began with intense thunder as a front arrived right as we were letting the dogs out for their morning release. Our young one, Ramble, is afraid of the dark (really!) but will (usually) go out with just a hint of dawn (having not been out since dusk the night before). This morning she balked. Enticed onto the back porch (porch light on) for breakfast alongside elderly companion Buttercup, I closed the back door and settled into the porch rocker to wait awhile.
Quite a scene ensued – our cat Brie had slipped out also. Brie and Ramble each enjoy teasing the other, and the whole back porch was rocking with their ruckus. Buttercup and I observed. And waited.
And I thought of Lilie (Tea and Toast with Kindness) who often posts Zen bits of wisdom and observation from early hours. I tried closing my eyes to “let it be” but Brie would not let it be! Thus, this poem emerged. Lilie, this one’s for you.
Image is from a prior somewhat-calmer togetherness. Clockwise from top: Brie, Buttercup, Ramble
October 24, 2021– Reflecting on a memorable stretch of New Mexico mountain/forest visited last month: Camped near the lower end of the road up to Magdalena Ridge Observatory, we opted for the thrill of a four-wheel-drive adventure, headed up to 10,000 feet elevation. Our campsite at 6800 feet meant a steep 8-mile ascent. And steep was not all! We never met another vehicle, a blessing since stretches of the road were very narrow. One or the other vehicle would have to back up (yikes!) to a wider, safer stretch. Oh, but the scenery! Magnificent!
On the rise, I was startled when three large figures seemed to rise toward me from the slope below passenger window. My husband, driving, had his eyes on the twisting road and by the time I caught my breath to mention the figures? No longer visible. And when we later came back down that road, though I scanned continually, the figures never appeared. That night, sleepless, I wrote this poem.
Next morning, I pleaded Take me back so I can know what I saw! The image is from the second drive. We stopped, got out, took photos, and my knowledgeable geography-teacher husband explained about “dikes” formed by magma rising through cracks in the terrain, the terrain later eroding away, leaving solidified ridges. Good to know all that, though for me those formations appearing, vanishing as they did seems a spirit greeting. I felt kinship, solidarity. I’m still pondering interpretation of the pause-here-now imperative.
2021-09-11. Today is notable as 20th anniversary of the terror of 9/11/01 attacks. The aftermath has changed perspectives worldwide. So solemn seems appropriate, in spite of a sunny Saturday with no commitments.
I’d offered “Perpetuity” thinking of global concerns about humanity, planet, etc.; when Bob scheduled my sponsored poem for today, I anticipated something related to 9/11. What a lovely surprise to read his applicable-any-day poem concluding with Wisdom/Owl hugging with feathered wings our deepest dreams.
I got lost, immersed in online imagery of owls, especially wings. If you too need to get lost, try this — the abundant variety is startling. And if that doesn’t break a solemn mood, send someone out to bring back home-made tamales!
This post is a thank-you to Robert Okaji and a miss-you to my son, gone just over a year now. (I talked myself out of ordering an owl-wing-print shawl though I sensed my son giving a thumbs-up as I perused options.)