As Vessel

September 23, 2022. Another glimpse into my experiences on the mountain above Cloudcroft NM last month. Of the crowd gathered for several days of of events under the Gathering Of Circles tent, a dozen of us gathered each morning to welcome sunrise. Meditation was uphill a ways from the main circle and we’d all be hurrying back down when drums called; thus no flames in the fire pit – just incense on the rim. I captured this image before snuffing it out.

Frequently resummoning this scene sitting quietly back home … perhaps the peacefulness will come through in this post.

[www.facebook.com/GatheringofCircles/]

Stumbles

September 6, 2022. July and August travels are now memories begging to be shared. As I catch up with reading others’ blogs, I’ll post a few travel highs. This reflection is from the latter part of our stay at elevation 9000 up above Cloudcroft NM. A very cool place, in all “cool” connotations. I’ve come to recognize absence of connectivity as gift, not sacrifice. And face down kissing a mountain can prove uplifting.

Bowl Of Cherries

July 21, 2022. It’s summer, and we’re in Airstream travel mode, with all its pluses plus the one negative: behind in many otherwise routine activities – like blog reads and posts. I’ll be catching up eventually! We tend to go places with limited cell/wi-fi support.

We’ve just returned from WoodyFest (Woody Guthrie Music Festival) in Okemah Oklahoma. We put off going for years thinking the music would mostly be outdoors and knowing July is HOT in Oklahoma. Then we learned day performances are in the cool Crystal Theater. And evenings at Pastures Of Plenty are magically comfortable once the sun sets. We first went in 2017; gets better each year.

Next week we take off again for a mountain above Cloudcroft NM in the Lincoln National Forest – now enjoying rainy season. We began attending the annual Gathering Of Circles in August 2003 and that week of cool high-altitude (9000 ft) and mixing-of-spiritualities is the peak of our summer pleasures.

This poem emerged between the two events, returning from Oklahoma, my mind floating back to various musicians. Gary drives, so I’m free to tap poems into my iPhone Notes. Together we reduced the bowl of cherries to just-seeds.

Sun Blessing

June 30, 2022. Another June closes, this one filled with flashbacks of my son’s illness in June 2020 followed this June by another family death, all that mixed with current angst about mass shootings and political maneuvers wreaking havoc. Last evening I took a long walk through the neighborhood, hoping physical exhaustion might relieve the mental churn. And did I ever get lucky! Turning the last corner toward home, I was greeted by a gorgeous sun setting “at the end of the block”. This poem wrote itself. Wishing all a similar experience of surprising calm in our hectic times, wherever you may stumble into beauty.

Return To Path

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!

Questioning Hope

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.

Bow To Endurance

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.

Golden Fold

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.

Year End Pause

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. ┬áMay 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.

Again

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!)