Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mending Fences homage

In several of my posts, I have referred to the NY Times' occasional editorial column by Verlyn Klinkenborg, "The Rural Life." He has put many of his essays into a book by the same title which I have added to my library.

In today's 7/30/11 paper, he writes about "Mending Fences". I am using that prompt to write my entry for today.

There are walls in front of my house (across the street to the west) and walls on the three sides of our house, separating us from neighbors and the older housing cluster on the west. My Grandparents Dices' farm in Illinois had a fence to keep the boarded pony from running out onto Randall Road, a fence to keep the neighbors' Hostein cows from wandering into the Dice's front lawn and smaller fences for the chickens and garden. I used to like to hang on the pony's field gate and watch the cars go by.

There is a difference between a wall and a fence. You can see between with a fence. The spaces of separation are porous. A goosbeberry bush can have roots on one side of fence and spread its flowers and fruits to the other side. Ponies and cows can iddle up a fence and push their noses between the wires to chew on the grass which is always greener, and sometimes better, on the other side. Fireflies, bees and birds can dart between the wires of a fence with agility and speed but walls stop everything pretty cold. They are permanent markers of separation and can't be taken down to let their lines become blurred with new grass or thistles. Unless a wrecking ball comes into the picture, most walls remain for decades.

It can be like that, too, between people. Some separations are more temporary or pliable as fences are, and some are like walls: cut off from one another from sight, most sounds and feelings. I am feeling different kinds of separation from people today, and I am considering whether they are similar to a fence or wall. What kind of separations exist for you between yourself and others and how would you describe them?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Yesterday I set up my new blog, purchased a domain name and set up my new "venture" into freelance writing with it. Here is the info:

my blog is:

my new email is

I have other steps I need to take before getting into the thick of it and actually writing about details from our trip to Silver City--and other items of interest such as last night's 7 course "chef's menu" meal at Hacienda del Sol in honor of our son's 29th birthday. Mark took pics and I hope to include them in my write-up.

As I go along I hope to be looping readers back and forth with my blogs, but that's down the road a piece (as is a new website for, I need to generate income before I invest more into my venture).

But I am branching out and growing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

city of rocks

South of Silver City is a very spiritual place, called the City of Rocks State Park. It was formed 35 million years ago as a result of volcanic uplift from a volcanic site 180 miles away. Mark took pictures and I will get around to posting them. But here is the poem I wrote which was a response to last week's Poetry Asides prompt, to write a poem about emptiness.

City of Rocks

Golden velvet hills
dotted with tendrils of green ocotillo
and clusters of creyosote
encircle the preserved landscape.

In the center I stand,
surrounded by a boulder
shaped like a whale
with its mouth wide open,
swallowing desert air.

Rain-padded paths connect
spaces between rocks
with memories of lava and ash
spewing from inside of earth
eons ago.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

silver city strikes gold with us

Mark and I are enjoying a lazy Sunday morning in Silver City NM as we sit on the porch watching a cluster (6) of hummingbirds dart from flowers to pine, harvesting pollen. This won't be a long entry about our travels here--that will come later in the week as I prepare to launch my new freelance writing business, but I did want to add a few details because I have shared this blog site with my new acquaintences in this town of hummingbirds and a diverse "community of talkers" as I have identified them.

From the first moments we arrived, the dog walkers across the street from our rental waved at us, the Visitor Center staff gave my husband a roll of Lifesavers as Mark's blood sugar dropped a bit too low---early signs of the friendliness we have encountered at restaurants, gelator shoppe, even the standard grocery stores and drugstores.

The natural scenery is absolutely amazing--unblemished, for the most part, by humankind's footprints. We are eager to get out there again, today and visit Pinos Altos and find another "good eats" place for our dinner.

So more will be coming and look for my upcoming news about my new writing direction, website, etc.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

prompt for poetry about sound

Summer Noise

A tiny brown beagle
whimpers outside the door:
it's hot outside and she
wants to lie on her back
under the breeze from the
living room's ceiling fan
as it whirs filaments of dust
into the air.

Also to my readers--I saw the movie, "The Tree of Life" last night and wept at the end of the movie. It is a beautiful film, the cinematography is amazing and the story hit me hard, in my heart. I recommend it and advise you to be patient with it, as the pace is intense and non-linear. You can preview it at this link--

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

time to spend

It's interesting that we talk about time as a commodity that we can "spend" or "save" similar to money in the bank. I think it's a false comparison because the only time we really have is the moment we are living, the now.

Somewhere in our ancient, collective human-ego, a powerful male (probably) set himself up as the controller of time. We could measure time by the stars, sun, and moon and we needed those measurements to plant crops, thus calendars were created.

But, as I watch my time experience shift a bit with more "time on my hands", I realize that time is a concept that has confounded thinkers much deeper than I am. Episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" sketch out different dimensions of time, and, of course, the 1950s TV show, "Twilight Zone" has its protagonists wrestle with time and life choices in various story lines.

In any case, I seem to have a surplus of time this July and the next question is how to wisely experience it (my head wanted to write "use it" but my heart edited out that common phrase).

Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

survival of the fittest

From this week's Poetry asides prompt to write from the perspective of a member of a group.

I'm the smallest bird of the bunch at the bird feeder,
so I get pushed around a lot.
Fat pigeons flutter their wings in my face but
I hold on to the edge with my sharp beak,
head bopping as the feeder swings in the breeze.

Mostly, I get the tiny pieces stuck
in the feeder's wire base,
but I survive just fine.
Small birds are tough:
we are quickest to fly
to the next feeder
on the

Saturday, July 9, 2011

poetry reading

Last night I went to my first poetry reading in ages. I was acting outside of my comfort zone so I will give myself credit for doing the footwork and showing up. Having said that, let me also say this about the experience:

*I know it takes courage to read one's soul in words (i.e. poetry) in front of others and I appreciate that courage.
*The poet I heard read well. She had a strong voice and read clearly, preparing the poems with some preface comments before she read them.

*I left before the last poem she read because the preceding poems were all "dark and gloomy" which she herself admitted, but the substance of them--incest, child and domestic abuse and violence were not subjects I wanted to hear.

*I looked around the room and saw almost everyone was over 65 and mostly female and white. I wondered if this was my future and I didn't like it very much. So, from that, I am wondering about my poetic stance, voice, purpose and what my next poem will be about. Stay tuned if you are curious, too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

one fine day

[prompted by Verlyn Klinkenborg's essay in The New York Times, "The Rural Life", 7/2/11, same title]

Today, has been a day I would happily claim as "almost perfect". It started with a good night's sleep and pleasant dreams of my son as a 4 year old, so vivid, I could almost feel his hand stroking my cheek, and another, where one of my high school best friends, Joan Lange, actually looked and sounded like the actress Rachel McAdams (currently costarring in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris; an enchanting movie I encourage my readers to see). Then, it was a slow read of the local newspaper, followed by a slow swim and pool conversation with a new neighbor, Diane, who's earthy laugh is a sound I will look forward to during my 8 a.m. swims.

I skipped most of the dreary news in the New York Times, and wallowed a bit in a story about the old (94 is old) actress Celeste Holm who is fighting her two sons for her money and her old-age independence. But I didn't stay stuck in that emotional swamp for long---I read my morning literature of hope and serenity and then Mark and I decided to take in a matinee of "Larry Crowne." It's light and funny, but has an American understory of second chances at love and careers and when he was fired from his employer, I could feel Mark squirm in his seat, so there's a layer of economic reality to it that well warrants the packed audience (of 50 and over-somethings) and, I predict, box office "legs" through the summer.

Then we enjoyed a modest meal of Baja-style tacos and I read a wonderful review (again, in the New York Times Book Review section), of a book by Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins, "Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics." [see for a good review of the topic and why the reference Nicomachean is used]. I couldn't begin to summarize the review, written by Harry V. Jaffa, but here's the intriguing last sentence which I hope encourages you to find the review and maybe even buy the book:

"All the more reason for them [reference to Athens/Greek philosophy and Jerusalem/Biblical morality] to join forces in the desperate struggle, still going on, between civilization and barbarism."

Wow--that reading linked me to not only (!) Plato, Aristotle, Moses and Jesus but also to Churchill and Aquinas. A powerful example of how writing about reading about writing about philosphy makes leaps that cover centuries and cultures in one lovely afternoon.

After that, we touched back to reality with light shopping at Target and a good workout at the Y. When we came out of the Y, the monsoon clouds were darkening the hills of the mountains and tablespoon size raindrops were tapping against the smudged windows of our car. A few swipes later, the windows were clean and I, too, felt cleansed of the residue this difficult week had left on my psyche. In the book review, the authors cite that Aristotle offers "a solution to the problem, or crisis, of human well-being...." Who doesn't need that these days? I know I do. And I love the solidity of Aristotle's philosophy and how other human minds have grown from his examination of the human soul and mind.

Yes, yes, this is a lofty plain I am floating on right now, and I have menial tasks that await me. Unlike Verlyn Klinkenborg, I haven't wandered into the farm field and observed bees, foxes, insects and spiders that remind me of the connection all organisms have with each other. Instead, I have wondered into the field of words and that field, for me, makes today, one fine day. What kind of field-wandering makes your days fine for living?