Conversations In Snow

It’s the last day of January  already, and at the same time, it feels as if half a year has passed in the last week alone. It’s softly snowing outside alternating between light flurries and squally white. A couple of inches have fallen since morning and not much more predicted to adhere. It’s a “nice” snowy day – just enough to feel like a winter postcard and to sweep a path rather than shovel away. Nature’s shawl, rather than a blanket, looks as peaceful as it feels.

~

Soft snow clings to the Pine,
its needles purr a gentle white.

Fresh tracks scamper under the fence –
some look hurried, some not.

It’s always a joy to see
an animal’s track of travel

In the snow
picking up a rhythm

if I just close my eyes
and listen.

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Lack of Judgement

The news is changing and charging by the hour let alone day. I wrote this two days ago and while I wrote it – I felt good about it. Not so sure anymore, even though it is still pertinent. This is the first time in five years of blogging about simple thoughts during my January days, that I’ve had a difficult time posting. Alas these are difficult days both politically and personally for many of my friends and family, and it surely colors these blog posts. So with only one more blog post of this sort – I am going to publish this piece. I send it out with the intention that true peace is an inward turned outward process and practice and not the opposite. Namaste: I honor the spirit in you that is also in me.

~

I read an article in The New York Times Magazine by Taffy Brodesser-Aker on Andy Cohen. I don’t know why I read this piece, however there was a gemstone imbedded in the writing that stopped me cold.

“He has a lack of judgement about the way the world works, and therefore doesn’t have the willful ignorance that the rest of us do.”

Wow! It’s the second part of that compound sentence that grabbed me and forced me to think about my own lens, attitude and judgement on current events. “… and therefore doesn’t have the willful ignorance that the rest of us have.”  Let me break that part of the sentence down even further “… willful ignorance…”  That’s a hat and a heartful to someone who believes she is empathetic, sympathetic and sensitive to the core. Am I really? I even recently blogged about walking (or driving) in someone else’s shoes and had a long conversation with two artist friends about our ignorance of those with opposing views and/or plight. But the word willful  never came up alongside ignorance. Think about it – whether we like it or not – there is truth in the concept that we are unwilling or unable at this point – to relate to others if their viewpoint or set of values appears to differ either drastically, or now-a days, somewhat mildly from our own. It’s the black or white mindset on both sides of the proverbial fence. In this case, the white picket fence or black chain-link variety cuts across both progressive and conservative backyards alike.

~

not in my backyard fences in black and white

Don't fence me in!

 

A Winter Walk

Winter crept back into town yesterday. There were scattered snowflakes and a whip to the nip in the air. I took a long walk around a deserted park/ballfield that was once the site of a summer camp in the 1940s for folk fleeing the city’s oppressive oven-like heat before air conditioning.

There was one young man practicing with a skateboard and a lone jogger disappearing in the distance. A crow rested on a fence wire, and a Pileated Woodpecker circled a tall pole from bottom to top. Its red crest stood out against the grey sky – a reminder of the start of the Chinese New Year and bright red cockscomb of the Fire Rooster. It also reminded me of Woody Woodpecker as it stopped every so often on its climb to look around and check out the scene.

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After gazing skyward, I looked low to sight lichen and moss that trumpet their full glory in winter and stopped to photograph winter’s varied palette and sinewy vines, weeds and wood.

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Empty benches and pond reflections added a stillness to the scene.

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At the end of my perambulation (Yes – I did look up the definition of perambulate to make sure I was using this long word correctly, and yes it is correct, to my great delight!), I came close to the parking area and its attendant litter which I carried to the trash.

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 tossed cigarette pack along my walk wabi-sabi or waste?

~

Chinese New Year ~ 2017

It’s the Year of The Fire Rooster. Happy New Year to all who celebrate.

I had some witty but irreverent haiku ready to share, however I just could not press the publish button. It would be an affront to our Chinese friends to use the urban version of rooster in haiku for the sake of political humor and cleverness  at the expense of such a happy holiday. It would also be demeaning to real roosters everywhere. Not that I am above irreverent humor – just the opposite really. However, I strongly believe that humor and political humor/commentary in particular, needs to be held to higher standards to be truly effective, like all great art everywhere.

Roosters are confident, self-assured, perfectionists, proud and also a little eccentric. They are not only hard-working but also punctual. They are always eager to learn new things in life. Element Fire represents warmth, passion and brilliance.

Fire is the element associated with Summer, red, south, passion and enthusiasm. Red can also be chaotic. I really do love the way  cosmic energy aligns with that part of the world that I am familiar with.

~

Fire Rooster
tonight I drum unruly energy
into song

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Rain

I love rain and rainy days. I need the break between too many sunny days ~ yin and yang; light and shadow; feminine and masculine. And I recently realized just how very much I enjoy the start of rain showers. Having worked outside my entire adult life, I was often present when rain moved into my area. What always soothes and never fails to delight me still, is hearing rain before I feel or see it. There is a real pleasure to hear it splatter softly onto treetops and filter down. Even in winter, without any leaves to splash, I heard the rain on an early morning walk, before I felt it. It’s a sweet plushy sound.

I am inclined toward melancholy states of mind which lends a gentle poetic kinship with rainy days, puddles, storms and twilight.

~

would Camelot really be as sweet without rain?

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Intention vs Attention

I was going to blog this morning about the difference between setting an intention and paying attention in regard to my painting. I  was also preparing/writing for the start of the Chinese New Year – 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. I spent quite a bit of time writing  some very sharp, double-entendre, off-color-crass-albeit-funny short poems. All political and using the urban version of cock for rooster. I’m sure I do not have to elaborate. It was almost fun, and yet it wasn’t. I love when humor is used to make a point otherwise lost if it doesn’t make us smile at the same time. On the other hand, I do not enjoy or appreciate humor when it is used at someone’s expense, feels mean or like a hidden attack. I also do not believe that just because someone is in the public view by choice, that they are candidates for personal attacks through hurtful comments or humor. Comedians, just as jesters and fools in the King’s court before them, do play a critical role in keeping us attentive and honest. When humor rises to its full potential as a trickster who teaches, it is on a par with wisdom in my book.

So here I was using humor in a more derogatory rather than understated manner. It was not my intention to be hurtful or just  clever in the name of haiku or humor. But I wasn’t paying enough attention. Thankfully, my heart and my body (gut) hold my head accountable. I woke up in a sweat. It was time for a review of my intentions, and how I’m paying attention. More to come.

All that being said, I probably will post a few of the haiku I wrote. I’m not opposed to gallows humor or laughing at myself/ourselves when the situation calls for it.

~.

all the language
managed in a lifetime
play ball