high above clouds
a family of geese
honk back and forth
into the wind
with an urgency
beyond their ken.
How many times
have I gazed skyward
hearing their excitement
knowing that my spirit
trembles to this vibration
longing to burst out
beyond my own skin’s ken?
Sometimes they fly
so high that I can barely
but I always hear their thrust
and my heart
simply listens to the timbre
of this winged sonata.
honking geese lift the field into flight
(haiku first published in Issa’s Untidy Hut)
ag ~ 2013
Yesterday had it’s clear highs and lows. It was a beautiful October sky day – the sun and rich autumn colors warmed the air. Leaves swirled at my feet while chipmunks scurried about with swollen cheeks. The dog sunned herself as if she knew colder days were ahead.
There was a special election held for US Senator in NJ yesterday. Our elected officials chose an off day in an off month for us to vote. The senate seat was vacated when our ancient career politician passed on to the great offices somewhere other than here. Despite the open seat, the election could and should have been held on our usual Tuesday in early November – we were going to the polls anyway to vote for governor. To add insult to injury, my polling place was changed, and I could not vote. I searched other locations to no avail. The usual election ballot that circulates by mail prior to the election probably mentioned this change in an offhand manner, however I still maintain that my polling place should remain constant. I definitely feel that this election date and place was self-serving to the party in office. It made me so very angry that I vowed to always exercise my right to vote such that I can vote OUT whoever is in office until the elected officials in our state truly recognize that they work for us and get it right. Yesterday after work, I quickly showered and scooted off to vote and in my mind – I was waylaid. I cannot even begin to imagine how so many people in the past were denied outright and tricked into not voting because of their skin color or economic status. Shame on us as it continues in small yet significant ways. This haiku was written a couple of years ago and speaks to how we are quietly being led:
three leeks to a bundle
all the small ways
that we are managed
On the lighter side, I decided that as long as I was out and not in a such great mood that I would stop procrastinating, bite the bullet and drag myself to the mall. I might as well make good use of a sour mood and mall shopping fits this bill. I have had a list of things for quite some time that now needed my attention – like sox for work (I am a gardener by day). I went to a large nationally recognized store that had a very large selection of sox. This is the problem – too many choices for my head. I had to sort through all the different blends, colors and patterns, styles and prices. Forty minutes later I made some smart choices – all blue cotton crews which is really what I wanted in the first place. Here’s the happy ending – at the checkout counter I was behind two elderly women (elderly is now a dangerously relative term) when the pleasant saleswoman asked them this question “What do you say to scare people on Halloween?” to which they quickly replied “Boo!” Of course I had no idea what the answer to this short quiz was and why they were being quizzed in the first place. All I wanted to do was pay for my sox and leave until the saleswoman smiled and said “Yes that’s right – you won a 20% discount” to everyone’s amazed delight. When it came my turn, I walked to the counter smiled and said “Boo too” and I was awarded a savings of $24.48 for my purchase. The real gist of the story though is this woman’s wonderful attitude toward her work and customers – “let’s get the most out of what we are doing now while we can.” She told me that she would have helped me get the right answer even if it took a dozen more hints and she had to answer for me. Clearly here was someone who enjoyed herself and helping even the most challenged shoppers like me. We laughed and said goodnight.
After that I purchased two pairs of clogs from a walking store and a wooden stool that rocks because one leg is a bit shorter. I can probably correct that with some gum – better than going back to the mall to try again!
two pairs of clogs
should last my lifetime
ag ~ 2013
When It’s Gone – It’s Gone.
This terse piece of wisdom
is inscribed on the top of a tea tin.
It therein refers to the last cup
of a limited edition.
I felt sad reading it.
I had just come upon a photo
of my friend and me smiling
at the camera and the world.
Now she’s gone.
I took the tea from her home
on my last visit to say goodbye.
It was a pomegranate blend
however, I just read the tin top for the first time.
It is exactly one year since her memorial.
The year of firsts without her
has now come and gone.
She is once again
sending me a clear message.
Like the white flickering tail of a doe
bounding off into the brush
When it’s gone – it’s gone.
*A closing or blessing from the Native American Tradition that can be translated as “and so it is.”
another goodbye on the horizon coyotes howl
ag ~ 10/13/13
This past weekend I was a participant at a local art-walk. It was my first time to show and offer my paintings and collage work for sale. It was exciting and exhausting. I was more tired at the end of the day than I ever was after many a long day of labor as landscaper. Meeting and greeting is simply hard work!
It was beyond wonderful to see so many friends, family, co-workers and clients – new and old come through the door with a big smile on their face every time I turned around. And it was equally as gratifying to introduce each of them to the other artists’ paintings – all different and brilliant in their own way. I offered my mini-business cards, which were strategically located next to dark chocolate kisses, with the hope that the kisses would entice a visitor to take my artist card as well. This worked well to my advantage and will be a staple for future shows.
It was an exhilarating, successful and fun day. I did not sell anything other than myself and my love of creating and painting. I put my artwork “out there – front and center” for everyone to see like it or not! This was entirely out of my comfort zone. It is a very vulnerable and open stance. At the same time, it is also very liberating to share what is truly close to one’s heart and soul and trust that you are supported even if it’s only for the effort. And I am unconditionally supported by all for far more than just the effort. So it is with a sense of gratitude and happiness to all my fellow artists, friends and family (here, there and everywhere), that I can now move forward with the real work – showing up to paint and poet despite dishes in the sink, clothes to wash, grass to mow etc. etc. etc..
A beloved quote that says it all for me and my art by Pablo Picasso:
“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”
After the Storm ~
I was in Woodstock, NY this last and most lovely September weekend. Nine other artists joined for a two-day painting workshop aptly called “Exploring Abstraction” held in a multi-windowed cavernous barn at the Woodstock School of Art. Jenny Nelson who is a wonderful abstract painter, is a phenomenal instructor as well. Many, many artists are great in their selected fields, but fall short when it comes to teaching skills. Jenny, on the other hand is able to bridge her love of color, line and shape with a deft, down-to-earth and humorous ability to impart that information to practiced and budding abstract painters. Abstract works of art that are executed to a beautiful and/or emotional level are one of the most difficult and rare achievements in a painter’s process. Aside from whether or not this genre appeals to one’s aesthetic, it takes classical training and skills to execute at a high level. Jenny is one of those artists who works diligently at her craft and for those lucky enough to study with her, shares her hard-won knowledge and love of the process to create and grow abstract art.
It was also a fun weekend for five of us women-who-paint to get together in Woodstock and enjoy ourselves. Woodstock is like no other place at least on this coast. Unabashed and consistently willing to proclaim its quirky – artsy – hippie – counter-culture spirit, this town is unique. It is simply a fun place to visit. There are many galleries, an independent bookstore and art store, theatre, film festivals and of course the majestic Catskill mountains. Worth a visit!
P.S. The last photo is my own painting and humorous attempt to have the work “speak to me” and is no way a reflection on Jenny’s work. I tend to get carried away sometimes and just goof off. I love to laugh at and with myself.