somehow the blank piece of paper becomes something else

my hands drawn
into lines—tensely
embracing
escaping
furtively from fear, riddled
with hesitation

erasing
beginning again
layering
accruals
disguised by repetiton
over and over

and yet not
the same these motions
these attempts
to capture
a moment streaming tracing
the outlines of time

I’ve used the image from National Geographic provided by De at dVerse as inspiration for my watercolor/quadrille using the word stream.

Also linking to earthweal, where Sarah discuss the harvest festival of Lammas and asked us to think about how we harvest and transform in our own lives.

incohesive

“Ecosystems are so similar to human societies—they’re built on relationships.  The stronger they are, the more resilient the system.”—Suzanne Simard, Finding the Mother Tree

we keep dividing
designating
a hierarchy
to pull what we share
apart

and so each
of us is missing
parts
each of us is
incomplete

why do we cling
to our separation
our isolation
who we think we are
alone?

the foundation
is faltering
and still
we hold
on

collapsing
into
the deep
hole
of ourselves

During a presentation Suzanne Simard made, early in her career, about her research into the interrelationships between trees and other species in the forest, and how all were necessary in order for the forest to thrive, she mentioned also the threat to climate from disrupting these systems. “Climate change means nothing in Canada” one of the audience said afterwards.

For earthweal.

who am/are

finding myself
I open the cages
I travel on paths
where I once was we

I open the cages
calm and unafraid
where I once was we
everything begins again

calm and unafraid
as intersected species
everything begins again
inside and out

as intersected species
abiding in before and after
inside and out
following life’s tides

abiding in before and after
I travel on paths
following life’s tides
finding myself

Sherry posted at earthweal this week about Jane Goodall and how her work with chimpanzees led her to start “Roots and Shoots, her program, now 30 years old, that inspires young people to plant trees and care for the areas in which they live”.

I knew I had posted before about chimpanzees as part of my endangered species series on methodtwomadness. When I went back and looked, I found that I had also talked then about Jane Goodall and her work.

Chimpanzees are our closest genetic relative. Of course we still have plenty of work to do learning to treat other humans with respect. We can start by opening the cage doors.

chimp 1s

My first pantoum of the week–there will be more.

sabbatical

It seems like every day I read a new article about the need for a sabbatical from technology and the fast pace of the world. Those slow pandemic days are fading fast.

Some people talk about a secular Sabbath, some want to revive the religious one. Some people propose not only ditching technology for 24 hours each week, but creating new shared rituals and places for community during those times. Some talk about just taking a day to go and sit with the trees, to experience the world at their pace. I wonder how many of us could actually slow down and withdraw from our devices enough to actually spend a day that way.

And all of these ideas are a hard sell in a capitalist world.

the water reflects
the world through the trees dappled
sky moving over
rocks and feet planted
like hushed reeds waiting to sing
the songs of quiet movement
and transforming light

This drawing is part of my attempt to try different things in my art journal. Many artists write on their pages as well as draw. The image is based on an advertisement photo–I removed the models and the product (I can’t remember now what it was) and wrote spontaneously about the landscape. Whatever they were selling, I wasn’t buying. But I always notice trees.

let life move
while you rest outside
and listen

For earthweal, Interdependence Day.

eating the heart out

The streets are quiet,
eerie, the walls blank.
I remain inside.

My windows are noisy
with things I can’t see.
I rarely reply to them
because the response flies
away on the wind,
storm tossed and clouded,
darkened by rain
and the fading light.

What would I say
to the ghosts
of the children?–
the ones not
on the playground not
on the streets no
longer living
in an apartment, a house,
a country, a land–
the ones no one can
find anywhere?

How to say the word
death
and to also shield them
from its consequences.
How to explain
why and how
we have come to be

living in this uncertain
tangle of lies
ignorance violence–
a place full
of humans unable
to even acknowledge
or to bridge
the rising waters.

The ones who
would rather drown
than make amends.

Sherry at earthweal has reminded us of all the grief consuming the world, and asks us to write about it. I wrote a version of this poem first in the midst of New York’s early pandemic. I’ve revised it a bit, but the ghosts of the children have not gone away.

(con)verged

the tear
in the chronology
gets larger and frays
into an edgeless rift–
it weighs nothing
this breathing out
this feather
that has lost its wing

we follow the circle
around the burning bush
the light too intense
to hold our gaze—
who is this transparent
being that takes hands
 and pulls them into patterns
made whole by what lies

beyond envisioning–
we blur like dervishes
tangled in life’s netting
until our falling and rising
are indistinguishable
until the center is outside
any definition of ourselves
until the hidden reveals

the opening in our eyes–
every nerve becomes
a soundless song
a complete chord
that pauses in nexus–
source proof reason
meaningless irreversible
stilled

For earthweal A Midsummer Night’s Dreamtime.

and linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Bjorn

composted

always digging deeper–
roots that grow below, restore–
listening through decay beyond stillness,

a place that is neither
dark nor light, yet full, aware,
gathered germinating into witness,

distilled light casting words
that linger as counterpart–
revealing mysteries in all that is

held on the wings of birds,
circulated through the heart,
absorbed into the spiraling axis

It’s poet’s choice of form at Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, and how could I resist a syllabic form called “kerf”? I meant this also to be for the earthweal challenge this week, earthcraft, but obviously did not finish it in time.

Once again, art from the archives.

Oasis

It’s a robin, I think, as the melody enters my consciousness through the window.  But then it morphs into a litany of birds from cardinal to crow.  There may even have been a frog thrown in for good measure.

I can’t locate the bird to see who is gifting me with its repertoire of local wildlife sounds.  It could be a starling—I once lived in an apartment where the local starlings would sit on the roof railing next door every morning and tell me all they knew.  But there are also plenty of both mockingbirds and catbirds hanging around.

city fades
a sanctuary
feathered skies

A meditation on sanctuary for earthweal. Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by MsJadeLi.

nevertheless

The Oracle was obviously missing the birdlings.

ghosts linger as dark stars
dazzled holes of lost time

ask the angels how to remember
flying the sky
melting color like sacred fire
dancing with air

if we sail our breath
with wild naked eyes
vast and opened into listening

who will we become?

Also linking to earthweal open link weekend.

hither

I can almost hear them
echoed
on repeat through my bones
spiralled
gifts collected in the overlap of
landsea
the fluid movement that follows
after
what hasn’t happened yet
cleansing

sheer sound waves etched in side winds
calling
I can see them sometimes—doubled
visions
currents vibrating against a blurred sky
gyring
like the shadow of a raptor glimpsed
briefly
between the singing of reflected light
sailed whole

In my mind the Prospect Cottage prompt from the Kick-About, below, intersected with the Otherworld of Brendan’s earthweal prompt and then merged with my shells, collected over years of visits to the ocean. The shore is where I lose myself and meet “Not Here” and Prospect Cottage felt like it was a portal into that suspension of the normal framing of time and space. “Like landing on the moon,” as the narrator said.

Most of my shells are still in storage, but I’ve carried some weathered whelks along with each move I’ve made, both to look at and draw. The spirals sing, and bring the sea to me. I drew three of them from different angles on the same page–first pencil, then colored pencil, then with a brush in gouache.

I decided to add grounds. It’s not always easy to tell when you’ve gone too far, but I think I definitely did so with the colored pencils. I may take an eraser to the ground to fade it so the shells don’t get so lost. I was trying to capture the garden of Prospect Cottage.

The pencil drawing was impossible to photograph well, but I like the weathered effect. I wrote words around and connecting the shells, which you can see better in the close up. These are quotes from the video interspersed with my own observations. This one has exactly the feeling I wanted, of secret messages, indecipherable voices on the wind.

The painted shells–it felt so good to get my gouache out of storage and paint with it again!–captures the colors I was feeling from both prompts–a sense both of otherness and belonging, of being just exactly in the right place without time.