Here I Grew

Up on the limestone banks the patterns I see are centuries lived
by no one I know. Small bugs and sea creatures, occasional fish
tell me life was different, that I wouldn’t be able to breath here as I am.

But I breathe here as they did once. I walk upon land they knew
as water and the water I look to, the river, creates canyons in
what they knew as air.  I don’t feel close to their remains even

as I sit bone to skeleton. They escape my ability to grasp so many years
even as I watch the crow fly who perhaps has known them as
well as me. The sun I know has seen all, even as I watch it set.


photo taken by my nephew David Mesker  

Beautiful Mama

Who you are and where you are is important in what you see as beautiful and what is not.
This beautiful mama will not lay her eyes (all puns intended) on her progeny. No bonding needs to take place for the tikes – in this case expected about the end of July – issuing forth from what is to my eye a hastily dug hideout/birth place. She will be far away and they will somehow make their way to her. I know I could do it by the smell alone except the first steps would be hard – she came from a place way beyond my olfactory abilities!

This one, however, is well within my reach! And when we walk around in our world with her, she is mightily sniffed! All manner of human experiments come close to place their noses on her head. She responds positively; luckily for us! I suspect the tiny turtles have the same response to their mom. For all I know she might be recognizable to them if met.

Sun

With even the days getting cooler now and me waiting for Indian Summer, the sunflowers are really important.

There isn’t much to say about them. They stand tall, so tall it’s amazing to me they can do it. I feel that way about all of us. We keep showing up. We take what is here. Smell the air, feel the wind and the abundant rain. I am reminded that our words, our expression of ourself is as significant as the sunflower and as obvious. Our words, our thoughts are within us in such a way as to mark us who we are.

We never question the butterfly or the pigeon.

Who they are.

Sometimes I wonder what they are thinking, but not for very long.

Beings exercising themselves are not a mystery. Nor am I on my walk with the dog.

But diving into a flower. driving into the rain. sluicing in the warm effluent of life.

There is mystery. And why does the butterfly come to certain flowers?

Why does my eye catch the light

 

Pinpoint

This photograph of Paula in a now torn down mansion in Palenville, N.Y. evokes for me the mystery and loneliness of us in our human skin. How our awareness of our surroundings comes through the filter of our lens – our mood, our history, our physical placement on this earth. We are like pinpoints, each one of us, so committed to our own point of view, it is often hard for us to pull out and see the whole of where we are and who we are with.

We are not the fixed point of the compass. We are wanderers, peripatetic of nature and soul. Unaccountable, not counting, subject to myriad winds and influences, shifting our moods, our boundaries in microseconds.

A wonderfully illuminating book about our macro/micro life is Parasite Rex which shows how mutable we are, how subject to inhabitation. It’s an eye opener to anyone who thought we had free will!

There is a quality of stability to our life, a personality, a container to get used to. A shift can be so swift and sudden, or so long in coming we hardly know how we got where we are. Awareness is a good and helpful friend but it’s not everything. Sometimes it just How It Is and we are in the game whether we asked to play or not. It is not what we have, but what we do with what we have that defines us.

Where We Meet

Look at your thin brown fingers against my willing ear, nose to nose and lips lightly swept into the moment. I remember the outfit I was wearing, one of my favorites. You can see the straps, they were so light, very fine cotton lightly ironed, I remember its being so smooth and just a little crisp. Like you. I would put you up to so many adventures – we celebrate them now – so many rises and falls of our breaths. You’d look to me at the end of The Lone Ranger – was it Him? I could always tell. And I would say yes – or, no, a fake this time. I knew, just like you knew to take me in that moment and a mother, yours, I think, knew to ready her camera so we can thank her forever for this shot.

And for this one I can thank my daughter Bimala. Gordie and I looking like the tame West, sunstruck on the beach, sharing a glance, a moment in the sunlight, the years still kind, Gordie the ten year old Galgo when we met. I promised her freedom of expression for the years left to her and for seven years she larruped and gallumphed in our lives. On the Rail Trail in the wet spring of Conneticut, Gordie unleashed, promised to stay on the trail, just an old dog. In an instant of my looking away she flies into the nearby pond, home to frogs now wildly dashing and flopping and splashing off lily pads so happy to connect to her old self, her power. She meets the tame with the wild. She is Queen of the pond.

 

The Queen. Whenever I am, wherever I am it is an opportunity for a nap, a pet, a lot of sliced turkey. I have sanctioned this. Invited and upheld the now institution of the Queen of Cats. In bed I am plucked at and turned for comfort, cold, hot, food, or an upset stomach. There is no reason to complain; I have invited this guest of my heart. She is a miracle of clarity, of focus, of warmth and creatureness. She is the Isle of my heart, the root of my response to faith. She has taught me to leap into faith, to trust my own instincts and that I can get sliced turkey when she needs it.

 

 

Still Poetry Month


1-05 Fern Hill
I feel like I grew up with Dylan Thomas, though he had succumbed to alcoholism when I was young. My mother read him and his poetry was around the house. I love hearing “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” every winter. I was fortunate to go to a school where our headmaster read it to us.
The passion of his reading, reading any poet’s poem, was thrilling and brought the vibrancy of his observations to my ears.
Once I spoke to a friend in graduate school, we talked about Dylan. She said, “Oh my professor said he reads Fern Hill all wrong.” And then she went on to elaborate. I can’t remember what she said. I can’t think what it matters. How can you read a poem wrong? Particularly if you wrote it!
Today I want to open my ears to listen to sounds as they are. Dylan reading Dylan. Dylan reading anything. My own reading. What anyone says, what my dog is barking, what the cars sound like as they round the hill near my house.
Listen and be and celbrate what is.
That’s It for today.

When The Universe Sends A Kiss



When she was little, when she first came to us, we used to sing “All the Pretty Little Horses” every night. It was the beginning of her English and her song.
Now, here she is graduating from high school and being welcomed at Sarah Lawrence College. When she went to the accepted students revisit day and went to sign up for next year, the young man taking her name said, “Oh, I read your application!” and the woman who had written her a note on her acceptance letter came up and hugged her. What a day!
How far she’s come and how far she will go – and she’s just being who she is, our kiss from the universe.

This Is My Dog Beeker

This is me with my dog Beeker when I was about 8. It was taken by a friend of my father’s from Australia who came to visit us every few years. This is important to me because he seemed so normal and what he did was so exotic and exciting to me. I longed to go somewhere. Be somewhere else. I longed to hit the road with a camera and feel the wind in my face.

His name, what was his name, he was a friend of Uncle Sid’s, someone my father had gone to MIT with – even he was cool. They’d been at MIT together – last class of steam engineering – and then Sid had decided to become a doctor and he’d gone back to school – MIT – to end up a plastic surgeon . He was funny when he told stories about all the ears he’d pinned back on people – people were upset by their ears sticking out, I don’t know if they still are, I don’t hear about it much.

So this friend of Uncle Sid’s came and asked me to let him take my picture. This was only possible if I had Beeker at my side. Beeker was actually my sister’s dog but I was around and she wasn’t and Beeker became mine.

Now you should know that Beeker never in his life had a rope around him. Never was tied, there were no leashes. We lived on a farm with hundreds of acres around us and the dogs and I grouped ourselves by choice, we were always together. But I remember so clearly getting the rope and how important it was to me, how important to show the connection physically, palpably.

I’m so proud of this photograph. I love it, I love that someone exotic took it even if I can’t remember his name. There I was in the middle of this big country and got my picture taken with my shirt and my dog on a day I will always remember. Beeker and I were connected, we still are. He has been back several times now in this lifetime of mine and I keep him close to me, I keep him palpable and secure.