Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hard

This morning I failed to explain what I wanted to convey by saying that dying is hard. And on my walk, shortened due to a roaring chill wind (stabbing my throat), I remembered Mojo during his last days. He was ready to curl down into  dying, but he was acutely aware of it not being quite time. I would let him out, watch him head toward the river, stop and stand as if weighing the wind and his heart. Or perhaps he was noting the stiffness in his bones, his failing kidneys. He would pause in a frozen stance for minutes; on several occasions I went out to encourage him home. But on his last day determination and time matched. He went straight for the path to the river, slowly - but with no pause. Later that day walking with friends, we found him in the warm sun, nested in leaves by the creek in the warmest section of the steep ravine. He even followed us down to the river ever so slowly. I knew he wouldn't make it back to the house as I walked with my friends home. This is what I mean by "hard." Hard because we are in flesh that is pulled into the living; and strong as the spirit may call at us, the tug of the sinew of flesh is strong. We are attached. Hard doesn't necessitate pain,
dark or misery, it just means awareness of the process. Hard is struggle and stress, not without smile. In Ethiopia, a 116 old neighbor, visits, led by a child.

Far Niente

Far Niente


I wake to the night squalls of Playa Bonita
in my bed in the loft of the house, Far Niente,
and I hear the wind as if I am inside conch shell;
the rustling thatch.  
With the light skies, I idle with the shadows
of coconut palms as the house fills below me.
My son slides the heavy louvre doors,
opening the mouth of Far Niente to the day; 
the smell of coffee.
Still I am lulled by the surf as my grandchildren stir,
rubbing their eyes into the vision of here,
all together in one house: dads, cousins, moms,
and me who lingers upstairs dreaming the dream of us,
wave upon wave. 


2016
mhn

Thursday, December 29, 2016

One year is ending, a new one begins

I have refrained from political talk for the most part here in this blog which has developed as a photo resting place with small asides and few reviews. Shallow I think. It seems futile to ruminate and whine. I have signed up for the Women's March in DC on the day after the inauguration of The Trump. I am looking forward to the trip, to the commitment to active hyper alertness in this time of Trump. I am especially anxious about threats to women's choice, to environmental protections and to social justice. 
I am thankful that I have the recent memories of Christmas with my family to bolster me. And hand warmers for my pockets. Friends to march with. And, I reminded myself today; the days are slowly becoming longer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas in Dominican Republic

I ended up spending Monday night in a Charlotte motel after missing connection to DR, flight was fine in morning, but my checked bag went to Miami - not to be seen until the evening before Christmas Eve. Ez and Jen and Fia were at airport in Punta Cana to pick me up for 3 hour drive to Las Terranes to our rented beach house on Playa Bonita, Far Niente (idleness). Thanks to Mindy's psychic intuition, making an umpteenth call to the missing baggage claim folks in Punta Cana, we connected to the actual delivery driver who was in his van at the gate to our small beach rental community. The gate keeper wouldn't let the driver deliver the luggage until we arrived. So Santa's sleigh managed to make it. 
Fortunately I had a carry-on back pack with bathing suit and several changes of clothes and the kids Christmas stockings. Pearl and I took long walks on the beach most mornings, collecting shells, finding rainbows in the off shore rain squalls, and pausing by coral outcrops to look for small crabs. Baldwin and Ez after beach outings, cooked - fresh red snapper one night, leg of pork, another. The kids went from pool to beach and back most of the day, delighting to eye and heart. Rain in the mornings, clear skies most of the days. Ocean almost cool. 
 


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Anticipatory Anxiety time of year

I love Christmas. I hate Christmas. I want to hibernate with my dog and cat, yet somehow manage to get myself to celebrate with my kids. It doesn't help that travel difficulties have left me with a mild but irksome PTSD. This year I am already worried about the five day forecast which is confusing, 25 degree morning temp with possibility of rain...yet the day before has a high of 54. I suspect I will be fine. It is my familiar anticipatory anxiety which fires up until I'm literally on the road; then I am ready for adventure or death. And I will miss my home and mr lee and Katrina.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Driving Home Thanksgiving

Sky so wide with light play on the clouds that I stopped the car and stuck my camera  (cell phone) out the window for a picture. As might be expected, I was belly full and bursting with love for the world. This land, these mountains, seem the perfect place to celebrate thanksgiving; wild turkeys thrive here! This year was particularly warm, but that made for good long walk with Mr Lee up to the swings. Sending delight out, back and forth, as I kick my legs and stretch them out. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

simple rant

I remind myself that I was frightened of Reagan's presidency, scared of nuclear war, wrote letters to the White House, agonized as a single mom with two sons that the draft might be reinstated. I then recall that we survived the Cuban missile crisis. I remember marching to end the Vietnam war; later joining the women's marches for reproductive rights. I know what Jim Crow looks like. The horror of now, with a Trump future, is that all, all of what we have fought to change is in jeopardy. It is as if the US is at the brink of moving backwards into a world of repression of women more similar to that of the Taliban. The loosening of EPA regulations can only spell doom, more pollution of air and water. So my friends and I are planning to join the women's march in DC on January 21st the day after the inauguration. It is absolutely necessary to keep vigilant, to keep speaking out, to defend the Earth and the dignity of all people, to show up. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Second Poem

11/10 A natural death?

this is the hardest hour as the evening descends like a coat, 
to not go out to call my hound home,
to stay with my soup
to leave him out where he has wanted to go
to die.
I carried him home once this morning
not able to stand his frozen stance
hesitating on his quivering hind legs
not circling down
not coming home. 
He slept hard, but
this afternoon he stood at the door
and i let him out.
he bent to the river path.

(He was born on the river, son of a plot hound and who knows dad,
elegant mutt, sitting with legs crossed in front, a
Cary Grant, and the best ever with kids.)

I’m leaving the outside light on,
I hate to think coyotes might roam,
please no,
It’s cold tonight, will hyperthermia speed him away?
I always imagine my self following this road
when I’m old, stiff, unable to eat,
taking off ever so slow, but full of intent and a pull from another domain,
curling into the leaf litter,
and tucking down close.
I’ll probably fail to stay
hobbling home, until I can’t manage the stairs
as Mojo has these past two days. But today he was
Ready.

Today I’m letting him go.

Mourning dog, Leonard Cohen and election

Mojo

I defecate on three raisin size ticks sunk in the bowl 
I try not to hate
but I hate ticks, these
who clung to the skin over bones
of my dying hound.
I gently rub along his ribs, not too hard
his hips, his gentle dignified nose
which still turns his head
on our slow slow walks, I
pick up each ear and scan
for a parasite, I freeze
on a thought of Mojo
out in the evening, gone too far,
curling down in a round of grass
and I cry.
But he’s not dead yet, I coaxed
a bit of food into his mouth this morning; 
perhaps yesterday was not the last time 
he will stand in the river
sniffing the wafting scents from the other bank.

Last night I woke to hear Mojo stir from his bed
get up like a new born colt, all legs
throwing his head as a weight, all motion down to intent,
I thought to gather a blanket around my shoulders,
go lie with my dog. But I haven’t yet.
Maybe tomorrow.




mh north 11/6/2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

time of pumpkin, skeletons

I plan to bring the lonely pumpkin from the blue house steps down to my front porch, add a candle. Far too spooky to venture down my 4/10 of a mile road, i presume on Halloween; I have never had a trick or treater at my door! 
But there is spooky news. Trump prompting cohorts to show up at polls "to watch." And scary that there are so many people who will vote for the orange man who has been endorsed by the KKK. Now this is a dangerously frightening pumpkin.
I have a rationalization dance i make in my mind: don't give power to that which is evil by fretting about the subject. Stop and imagine a good outcome. Transform the pumpkin into a deflated hot air balloon. Meanwhile address the complaints of his minions - jobs and audience. I do know how hard it is to just be hanging on with a salary that barely pays the bills, single parent and two kids. But i don't grasp the hate spewing from Trump or motivating some of his followers. 
On another note, a beautiful day!


the sycamore has leaves
the tulip popular does not
the oaks are holding on
the black walnut is bare
pine needles and cones cover path
i shed; i horde
the sight of the burning bush


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gone to the dogs

Woke up at 3:30 this morning to fix breakfast for the departing family. By 7 AM I was home again with dogs and cat and hole in heart. Or seemingly so. I know I am lucky to have son and family within walking/shouting distance for 7 months of the year. But I get spoiled and need time to wean off the energy of 8 and 4 year olds. Text from DR, they have arrived!
Walked with dogs up to Blue house to glean jalapeƱo peppers from their garden as fearing frost tomorrow. Picked about 4 pounds and fortunately Alma is up for canning them (pickled with olive oil, carrots and garlic). Now waiting to crash into bad around 9. 
Good news from Houston, my daughter-in-law has cast a nasty woman vote for Hillary - I forecast, Hillary taking TEXAS!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

dark by 7

Chickens are on the roost by 6:15; I've been letting them wander the yard in the late afternoon which they seem to delight in. Would hope that they enjoy ticks along with other bugs. Last night big harvest moon, I woke early to see before the sun brightened the sky. Heavy fog transformed the landscape, all as if a painting, and the big moon hanging with a soft rainbow aura. My cell phone took a magical photograph!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Distraction, insidious distraction

I would like to say that I have not been 6 or more times a day checking my phone for the latest news on the antics of Trump, but obviously I have little to show for how I have spent the last couple of months - AND October is 1/2 over! Yikes, I can only hope to rack this time up to experience, fuel for art, increase in work with Hillary's campaign and coalition for justice. More walks, more meditation, more qigong - all in an effort to find balance in the Trump fouled air. Lately I have been turning off the news and playing music. Rejoice at the recent Noble Prize for literature given to Bob Dylan - playing Dylan for hours. There is yet the good in the midst of the maelstrom. Which prompts me to think of Haiti after hurricane Matthew - where is the good there? Can the world respond with real long term help this time, empowering aid?
It was inspiring to attend a workshop on Schussler's 12 tissue remedies - I will seek to increase my use of them. I had not thought of Nat-Phos for acidity balance, and possibly a remedy to think of when someone is trying to wean off a proton pump inhibiter. I am excited to have Mag-Phos to consider for sciatica; indeed, a wonderful remedy for muscle cramps (works for glucose metabolism in muscles). I have been a proponent of the use of Ferrum Phos at the sign of a cold (this mineral delivers oxygen to cells and strengthens the immune system). I wish I had thought to give my dog, Calc-Fluor for his teeth; this mineral helps to re-mineralize teeth and to strengthen bones - excellent for osteoporosis. Especially in the winter when we have less fresh vegetables from the garden it is  a good idea to add Bioplasma to your diet (this is a combination of all 12 salts). 
I have filled my green house in preparation for frost - but we have escaped the killer so far and this week temperatures are forecast to rise into the 80's!!!



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

First day of Fall

Local TV says that the equinox for us,  in the Blue Ridge, is on Sunday at 1:11 PM when sunrise and sunset are both at 7:11.  The weather has been more of summer than of fall; though mornings are cooler, I need a sweater. The afternoon is for shorts and river walk. My children of the winter in Dominican Republic will be leaving the end of October - I am trying not to think on this leaving.

Fun with blocks:



Sunday, August 21, 2016

September out the window

I stood in the New River last evening, up to my chest, watching Diane, Pink and Kathy (with her dog in an inflatable doggie vest) swimming; yet, I hesitated to submerge.  Too cool. We walked up Ann and Rick's new serpentine path from river to house to enjoy Ann's latest libation (a concoction of raspberries, mint, ginger liquor, Italian soda and vodka - i think) and goat milk cheese. Dinner at Palisades with most delicious conversation. Diane and Pink and I driving out in blue taxi, decided our feeling of gloom was due to the tropical depression heading up from Florida.
Here's picture of Fia on first day of school in uniform. Ez says that she likes school, after some morning tears.  I miss her!


And here my two girls on a swing!

summer time disappearing

Baldwin took this wonderful picture of Fia and True coloring.  Fia is home now and starting a new school tomorrow, pre-K, in the neighborhood. Her mom or dad can walk her there in her uniform, carrying her lunch. True was 4 on Friday; he told us that he wasn't officially 4 until he blew out the candles on his cake. Oh, what delight these two year olds, of the Dragon people are.
Today there is rain and a cool front passing; it feels like on-coming fall.  I need to swim again in the river, I need to float down with Pearl again and ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

mid-August

I look forward to this time of play, of family, of good food and happy heart. I never imagined this, surprise gift of hanging in with life with all the amazing love of my two sons and their families. 
The rain before Ez and Jen and Fia arrived raised the river enough that Ez, Baldwin and I took a kayak trip. While I was on the river, musing on the zen of travel by boat, Jen organized the kids into house cleaning. I enjoyed mornings with Fia and her dad, playing with the doll house with Fia, sipping good coffee. The week was intense, leaping into an intimacy of family which most of the year is 1,000 miles apart. And there was so much to do. We did go tubing on the river twice; True in his small blow up boat tethered to Baldwin's inner tube. Fia on her mom's lap, wanting to try the boat. The river cool and fast. 


Monday, August 8, 2016

good times with cousins and all

True must be just off to the left by Baldwin. What fun, movie than dinner at the new movie theaters in Blacksburg.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The river slake in heat wave

Water snake surprised on the island below the shelf falls yesterday with a fish in its  mouth, half swallowed. I didn't want to disturb it, but the dogs and I caused it to flee with fish. 
Several days of almost 90 degrees here; but yesterday and today, thunderstorms mitigate the heat. I have yet to turn on the A/C for the nights are still cool, and daily I can hang at the river. 
I ate the first ripe tomato from the garden, first of the larger ones. I have had several ripe small cocktail tomatoes. A large yellow "Kellogg breakfast" heirloom variety which I cut and, except for the  pieces I had to immediately taste, added to a bowl with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. oh, delight. 

One week from today,  Ezra and Jen and Fia arrive for a visit, and maybe Kingsley too (Mr. Lee's pal). I so look forward to seeing them, to see the cousins playing, to feel my heart fill with happiness watching my two sons together with their families. (a photo from last year!)



Monday, July 18, 2016

Geese

The flock of geese I saw down river below the shelf falls, must have visited the swimming hole last evening, because today I was greeted by their tracks and their scat. I carefully moved the black like cheetos into the current. Later in the river I noticed one lone black swallowtail hovering over one dropping I missed and realized that in clearing the beach I had upset the butterfly's banquet. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Like a summer school kid, I lapse

into nonverbal habit, trying to mimic bird calls at best. I do rise into chatter when grandkids appear and at qigong class and with friends. It is the summer green, tumultuous greening that lulls me into a kind of torpor, a not unhappy state. Like this morning as I weeded the onions and unfortunate beets and pole beans coming back from a trimming by some creature of the evening. Perhaps it isn't the speaking out loud that is suffering, but the occasional visit to blog. oh, yes. Lazy moi.
Perhaps these many carved figures, from a store in Addis Ababa, will prompt me to muse and linger here. I wonder if some of the faces were purposefully modeled on an enemy, a voodoo? Or perhaps some might be fertility fetishes? Or a relative honored? We did not linger and I did not ask. 
The jumble of faces reminds me of the crowds at the markets in small towns south of Addis Ababa. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

cool rainy July 4th

I've slept wrong on my left shoulder and aggravated a pulled muscle and am tired and slightly hanging low with the sky, gray. Missed a call from eldest son, and sad to have missed his voice. Hiked up this morning to blue house to check on garden. Seemed in good shape until bean area; though I can't say that the top leaf buzz cut is worse than the night before! However, it does look like a deer ate tops of 3 cucumber plants. I sprayed more deer away as deer snorted from the woods. I may check again this evening. Some vermin has eaten beet tops in my garden - again last night. I can't find an access, not at least large enuf for groundhog, but perhaps a rabbit slid under the fence somewhere hidden by weeds? Ah, small small issue in the scheme of things!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Beautiful Hair


The braids held until recently. Her mom worked the braids into rows of a pattern traditional. The care, the touching, erasing the separation. It may have taken 2 hours to work the hair into the thin braids. Hannah bound the baby sister onto her back with a shawl, when the baby woke we all took turns amusing her. The braiding was the center of us all; we moved away and returned. I see the love permeating to Pearl's toes. 
Many of us grow up with two to four grandparents or some configuration of adoring aunties and uncles. We bask in multi faceted love. But it is not always so easy to accept two pairs of loving parents. It takes us time to sort experience and expectation - to let our selves relax and just absorb the grace. 




Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What I am remembering, before I forget!

I remembering sitting on one of the well worn 3 legged stools in Pearl's family gojo bet, watching the buff colored lovely cow across from me, chewing. The talk quiet and only occasionally throwing a recognizable word out, like bunna (Amharic for coffee). The chewing was like a mantra, I fell into. Perhaps, too, it was the round enclosure that made me feel comfortable. Deeply familiar affinity. I am one of the 3 grandmothers! 
From the distance of here, I worry about the future for this family. The kids have to walk 30 minutes to collect water which must be paid for. There has been a drought the last two years; they have survived with food rations. No water for washing. No water for washing clothes. We have brought them clothes. Blankets for the grandmothers and soccer balls. One of Pearl's sisters now lives with an aunt. We take the family to lunch at a park in Hosanna. It is a big outing for the kids. Pearl's older brother is transfixed by a small tv that is playing in the gojo bet where we have injera. Pearl's mom braids Pearl's hair. Mindy's wonderful idea. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Addis Ababa

I liked Addis, with its round-abouts (traffic circles) - one with a statue of Bob Marley - and many embassies and construction everywhere (with the external scaffolding of bound eucalyptuse poles). Addis is 7,700 plus feet - cool mornings and evenings. Coffee is native and the coffee ceremony is performed twice a day. The cups are demi-tasse size, often like Japaness tea cups without handles. On the streets of Addis and in the country, beans are roasted over charcoal - the aroma wafts throughout the city. In the morning coffee is served with sugar; in the afternoon, salt is added to the coffee and sometimes herbs. Yonatan, our guide/driver, took us to "the Best Coffee" shop in Addis to buy coffee to bring home. 

Drifting Back to Africa

Downloaded some of the pictures from my phone so that I can illustrate my travel accounting. Glad to have an Ethiopian flag to fly from my upstairs porch, a reminder of the trip. I haven't really sorted thoughts in any order, mainly I would gladly join family for trip anywhere - it was great to have the good company, to not be "in charge" and to feel useful with care of Pearl and True at times. 

Donkeys to begin! They are the main beast of burden here, usually towing a cart. These two were part of a contingency of several donkeys bearing bundles of teff hay. Teff flour is used for injera, the large "pancake" like food of Ethiopia. A circle of injera is served dotted with different dishes: greens cooked in gee, meat dish seasoned with Berbere, lentils, chick peas, cold tomatoes and others I am unfamiliar with. We passed donkey carts with large bags of cabbages when we drove south of Addis to Hosanna. There were carts of eucalyptuses poles and some of sugar cane. Donkeys saddled with clever slots to hold large water jugs. Often the empty carts driven by young men balancing on their feet. Donkeys grazing by gojo bets and in the fields of sheep and cows and goats. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Back from Africa

So much to say, I'll leave with this picture and return. Amazing country,  Ethiopia, from the 7,700 plus feet of Addis Ababa to the below sea level south near Red Sea where Lucy's bones were excavated. Middle of the country of rolling hills all in cultivated plots, pinned to the Earth with goo bet round houses of mud, straw and thatch.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Waking to 40 degrees and big wind

And now I fear tonight without blanket clouds, without the big wind, frost might harm seedlings in garden or/and lime tree on deck. I've brought a few plants from the deck into house or green house. I plan to cover plants with table cloths - find containers to cover tomatoes in the garden. And I will go to sleep imagining a bubble over this house and garden, protecting. 
On another note, almost satisfied with packing for the trip to Ethiopia; we leave Tuesday morning for two weeks. I can't imagine this Ethiopia, it will be bursting with wonder, it is beyond my scope - but must be deep deep down in my genetic mix the place of home.We will see some of the rift valley; and we hope to see Lucy's bones in the museum, and maybe hippos! We will drink lots of coffee, coffee also originates in Ethiopia. My grand-daughter will introduce me to her place of birth.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May

April was surprisingly dry, May has brought rain, even cool weather. This evening I planted 1/2 a row of corn and one teepee of beans, and tomato and pepper seedlings. Okra is coming up as well as squash. Everyday, I am gathering greens from the garden. The strawberries look beautiful, with many fruit - though I fear I will not be here when they turn red. Katy can enjoy. 
Packing and unpacking and repacking for Ethiopia. It is difficult to fathom being there. Mindy spoke to a friend who has just returned from there, reports cool mornings warming into 70's with rain. But what to wear on a long long flight? 
Happy to think of 2 weeks without news of the election.
Mr Lee has been limping since Saturday, his right rear leg. I have been treating him with Symphytum the last two days and he has been using the sore leg occasionally. His spirit is good, no fever - just a limp. Of course, he doesn't like the suitcase out.

 

Friday, April 29, 2016

shedding time

This was two days ago; today a slim garter snake on the rock rim of pond. I tried to show True who was here, but shy snake coiled into his hole in the rocks. I have been attempting to reach the chicken house before another black snake finds the treasure. So far, I think successful. Alma says that the baby chicks are growing, acquiring wing feathers. 
Cleaning house in preparation of visitors, cleaning what I would neglect. True helped me. My broken vacuum wand is just his size now - a back breaker for me! We even swept the deck. Very quiet with just True here; twice he said that he was tired and lay down on the rug with the bears (stuffed ones). I think he was bored without his sis who was spending the night at Claytor Lake. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trusting in a warming trend

I have been pulling plants out of the green house, assuming that there will not be a frost. Risky, but long term forecasts look good. Geraniums seem happy! The deck looks more lived in; and Friday the deck will be filled with people too. Alma has baby chickens at her house which she will mother until ready to join my 6 hens here, probably not until July or August. True helped me plant some dwarf zinnia seeds in a pot. We duck taped one of my deck chairs whose seat had split. I need to get a few new ones, but am reluctant to get rid of a perfectly good frame...maybe yellow this year? Yesterday evening I planted some more potatoes - I fear that I've used part of a row that sported potatoes last year. I should have consulted last years planting map. The dada spots of green cover Red Bud mountain's head. So quickly spring undoes the winter bland landscape. In the photograph the severed plastic milk jug on the ground is a clever green house Alma made containing many poppy seedlings. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baldwin Birthday Kayak

A very very good day for a kayak trip on the Little - though the water was pretty chilly, the air was eighty. I played with P and T on the island below the shelf falls shortly after Baldwin and Mindy paddled off. P and T had water cannons which shoot water way across the creek. P sculpted a sand "snowman" while T and I built a stone house. We dawdled in the creek all the way home. A very fine day. 
I carried True to the island, then went back to tote Mr Lee. Mr. Lee figured out how to get back all by himself, letting the current take him ten feet down from the path. 



Thursday, April 14, 2016

April Afternoon

still under red bud
crazy with neighbor's bees, a
levitating dome.



young rabbit at door
in mouth of cat
in shock.
i would not let them in
suppose under the deck
the slaughter begins
later a token left
of guts and fur.



Spring in the hollow. Scent of the flowering wild plum in the evening air as i walked up the road for the mail. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Older





Wonderful birthday, even the rain went away - first walk with dogs up the cabin logging road, second with Pearl and True and Baldwin down along the left bank of river, third up to the blue house for delicious dinner. wow! 
Picture up on the road to the cabin before the sky cleared.
Pearl with bluebells on left bank of river.

Monday, April 11, 2016

All beaches are not alike

Blue house is home and back on beach time - though indeed a change from Playa Coson. Finally today the weather has warmed; T celebrated by wearing his birthday suit - though the river is hardly warm enough for swimming.
Had a good time with P Sunday, learning how to blow bubble gum bubbles on the drive to Floyd for the Empty Bowl benefit for the backpack program in the county. I delight in this benefit, getting to choose a bowl, then picking a soup to fill my bowl - taking a seat with friends while music plays. P was as delighted as I was - hugging her bowl, the colors of her red/black outfit, to her chest. P's braids done in the DR.
When I walked along the left bank of the river this afternoon where several clumps of Virginia bluebells bloom, I saw a clump of 12 yellow swallowtails in a patch of sand by the water.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

careening wind - bones cold

Crazy April, snow flurries until this late afternoon; bundled up for walk with dogs - but not warm, nor could I warm to walk. Tried in the wind to cover raised beds, but the wind fought me off - i managed only one of the four. Hay covers small plants, but I think all will survive the 20 degrees - or pray this true. Reading a book, White Dog Fell from the Sky, Botswana in the 70's - beautifully written. A good day to fall into another world of a book - although I suffer the horror of that time, I learn. 


gratitude

this home that has not been a shell
out-grown, but has coiled inward
creating sound or capturing it
until at heart the center
aligns with nothing
more than me
and all that is 
not-me,

the universe, i suppose.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Busy in Nanee Land

Blue house is filled again and Mojo is sometimes there and sometimes here. Since I roasted a chicken for a welcome home dinner, I am the dog choice abode for I have scraps. Both Pearl and True have grown taller, seem more confident and delight me with their play. Pearl drew a picture of her brother on his red balloon - it was so funny to watch as True posed, winking one eye and twisting his face, sticking out his tongue. Then she drew a self portrait on her balloon - i do wish I had taken pictures. 
It is a leap at first to Nanee land, but now it seems I never vacated, not completely. Somewhat like motherhood, a permanent twist of the mind - hijacking of synapses? It has been a cold week, cold wind, snow flurries forecast tonight after midnight. I cover the raised beds, but the plants seem ok. Not growing much in the  cold, but the arugula and spinach are treats which Pearl and I nibble. Cilantro is looking promising. Some of the strawberry plants have flowers. And in the green house the lime and lemon still bloom, scenting the air. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Yellow Swallowtails at river


red bud and the balcony

This picture reminds me of our house in New Orleans - the flowering tree and the balcony. The red bud are outstanding this year, or so it appears to me. I am glad that Baldwin and all will be home in time to see the spring still happening, sorry that this week is forecast to be colder than many weeks in March. But then April is always a bit more crazy and teasing. 
I wrote an email to the board of supervisors urging them to investigate the open burning at the Radford arsenal. A meeting Saturday was informative and disturbing. The permit for the Arsenal's open burning is up for renewal this year. There is no NO transparency in dealing with the Dept of Defense it seems. For years the hazardous waste at the arsenal was dumped into a sink hole on the 7,000 acres. There is a relatively high incidence of thyroid cancer here about. In 1999 the arsenal was put on the EPA's superfund lists - but mysteriously disappeared from that roster. Makes one wonder about any town/city adjacent to an arsenal - and to think that Blacksburg is a "great place to retire!" Grrrrr.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

River stones

Over 40 years I have collected rocks from the river and brought them home to set in pots of flowers. Yesterday it occurred to me that when I reach 80, I will begin to bring a stone back to the river, each time I manage the trip down. A gesture of thanks, a giving up of things i have collected. Perhaps it will inspire me to disseminated other possessions. And leave less for my children to bother with after i am hanging out in another dimension, whatever. Or maybe they would rather bear a rock with them as they walk to the river, place them on my grave, if I have a grave - or just a depression in the field as do the graves of the two llamas. Unless I am ashes, and that would be easier to deal with, the only spot on this rocky land to dig a grave, is the sandy bottom land. If ashes, maybe a spot under an old oak on the top of Red Bud would be nice.

April Fools' Day

Met Alma at Tractor Supply to pick out some baby chicks, but the chicks we wanted were sold out. Alma has said that she would raise chicks for me and herself as she has all the equipment. I decided that I need 3 or 4 laying hens as I have only three hens laying and three hens dying. This morning I found the last of the Barred Rocks dead; my lace wing doesn't look long for the world. 
In celebration of April Fools' Day, I took a good walk with dogs, smiling over memories of my mother's cotton stuffed cheese snacks she would serve with cocktails on this day. I often rack my brain for something silly to do on this day to fool friends, and I listen to NPR closely to hear the bogus story (I still remember the duck tape farm). 
This spring awes me as if I have never walked in spring - as if winter erased all memory of spring from my mind!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Goose egg

Mojo and I stumbled upon a nest with goose on top, neck bent like a snake - so still I first thought dead goose. I stayed back and managed to coax Mojo to follow me off the small island. Not a great spot for a nest as high water could easily destroy. When the goose moved from the nest as Mojo neared, she revealed a large egg - suitable for Faberge.

Several walks today, blustery but sunny, and although frosty morning, the garden was fine. Strawberries look good in the raised beds too. Walked in the small field behind the chicken coop, which now has several teenage black walnuts. It was the area the first years we moved here where we planted several fruit trees and even pecans. Ha! Cows and deer quickly decimated them. A decade later home to Roberta pig. Then more than a score after that Winston and Chrissy llamas romped
.

Monday, March 28, 2016

one week

Next week at this time I'll be drinking coffee in preparation of driving to the airport at 10:30 PM to pick up the people of the blue house! Had fun this morning buying goodies for our delayed Easter egg hunt and some clothes for the kids as they return to cool evenings. And most fortunately Cooley worked me into his schedule to work on my irritated piriformis muscle. 
The blood root is blooming by the river and violets are up ( I think of Unka Don every time I eat the wild violets as he told me of the flower's B12 content). I remember the first year living here, making mint tea from the wild mint by the creek. eating watercress salads all spring and fall and watercress and peanut butter sandwiches. Coming down from the walk up Red Bud I pulled the top off dried bergamot stalks, thinking of adding some to tea. 
The raised beds with lettuce, arugula, spinach, cilantro, radish and beets look healthy. My onions are up 2 inches, but I think I need to plant more sugar snap peas as only a few have sprouted. The cabbage, kale and broccoli look good, though the swiss chard looks a bit weak. The twiggy pear trees have promising buds! Excited.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter in the Pagan woods

The river thru the tulip populars, yesterday. Today, Easter, dogs and I have walked to the blue house to gaze up from under the blooming magnolia. We're off for a walk to the river, pagan delight, and give great thanks. 
I'm excited that the kids would like an egg hunt when they get home! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Down from the Cabin

I love the old logging road up to the cabin, down from this spot you can hear the roar of Big Bear Falls. And this afternoon we could hear the geese on the river honking. The dogs and I didn't make it to the cabin as I didn't want to exacerbate the sciatica in my right hip. Maybe tomorrow.
Working on a poem this morning:
Good Friday



light rain, my cat’s fur damp as she nudges my arm,
pushing me further from the dream
my bed a door to the other house
where my twin lives
deja vue cathedral ceilings, 
a transposed room with odd configuration
i see a diary on a shelf
i can’t find her,
flowers heavy scent

i find myself looking for keys.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring in another form


These are by the house, just peaking thru sand at the river. Very very blustery today, blowing smoke all the way from fire in Franklin County - or so I assume. Hope it is not a fire closer. Rain coming tonight. Walked up to the diving rock with Katy and Elliott this afternoon - wonderful warm day. 
Yesterday, I received a wonderful video of Fia opening her Easter package from me and dancing like a masterful whirling dervish in her new dress - slow motion and then Fia speed. Then this afternoon, Mindy posts Pearl like a dervish on playa Coson...I've two sufis in the family. Wow. A week from Monday and I'll have the company of Pearl and True. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

wild goose shows me

This afternoon at the swimming hole, a wild goose flew off from his mate to settle in the shallow water lapping the eroded beach. He preened and extended his great wings. I watched until my small dog began to bark, and left not wanting to disturb.
Earlier in the day I went to a planned parenthood meeting at the UUC which was very informative with several young people joining our group. On the way out I noticed a freshman at Tech who had come, but obviously wasn't getting into a car so I asked if she needed a ride. i gave her a ride across campus, learning that she was from Charlottesville (parents both professors)and that she had double major (English and Physics). I said, "you must write poetry!" Right she said. I gave her one of my cards and said I'd feed her if she needed a brake from school. 
Lovely warm day! Tomorrow supposed to be warmer.


Monday, March 21, 2016

After reading Mary Paterson's The Monks and Me

Breathe in the exhalation of my neighbor tree
Breathe out a small gift back

Breathe in as far as blooming pussy willow
Breathe out a tender breeze

Breathe in to toes
Breathe out and bend to touch

Breathe deep to here
Breathe out to now I am

Breathe as the gold finch at feeder
Breathe out to fly away with him.


Mary Paterson writes of her 40 days at Thich Nhat Hanh's French monastery which inspired me to write the lines above.  In one part of the book she mentions Thich Nhat Hanh speaking of finding your hermit and I realized I found mine in Red Bud, the mountain who looks over me!




Sunday, March 20, 2016

They say It better

I've been heavily distracted of late by articles on FB from Bill Moyers interviews, NY Times, Huffington Post, Alternet and other sources speaking of the trouble with our country, the primaries, the candidates. All very well said, I could not possibly do better. Although, along with others, I have been bemoaning the money in politics, the power in the hands of lobbyists, the lying corporations, the insidious defense conglomerate. Years ago I learned that in every state of this nation, there is some business which manufactures a necessary part of the weapons industry. This insures that every legislator Democrat or Republican votes to keep funding the defense budget. All elected officials of either party must spend a good portion of their day raising money - it is insane; no wonder there are few good candidates for office. Who wants the job. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

wake up rain

Alma came to dinner last night and helped me cover my 4 raised beds with plastic, but not frosty this morning, rain. I've uncovered the four and will leave them topless until Sunday night. I want to climb up to the blue house to see the Japanese magnolia this morning. Mojo restless this morning with the rain, perhaps he'll enjoy a walk. I think I will go into town for errands as it isn't a great day for other activities except perhaps crawling in bed with book - which I might do.