Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prose - The Labyrinth

For the first time ever, I enter this place alone. The light is very low. No one else is around. It’s an enclosed labyrinth, so one is held, as if, in the womb.

It’s my birthday, I say a prayer and ask for a message. I put sliders on my feet over my socks. I stand at the entrance, ring the little bell on the table that sits next to the entry to the walk. I pause, waiting for the energy to shift. I begin, slowing my pace already, appreciating my aloneness. I keep walking, enveloping the silence, asking my mind gently, to join it.

I started noticing the way I was walking wasn’t feeling so good, or even natural. So, with the sliders on my feet, I start sliding. Not that my socks wouldn’t have done that, but the sliders seemed smoother.

I took advantage of having the place to myself and especially it being my birthday, I really got into it, sliding, I mean. It felt so good, a relief from the previous walk of before.

Within a few moments my body repositioned itself into a new walk. It was much more comfortable. As I settled into this new feeling in my body, the message came forth, (and I had not even gotten to center yet). ‘Lead with your heart’, which was what my body and whole being was easing into.

I’ve known this for years, but actually doing and living it can be another matter. It's sometimes too easy to hold back and protect our self. Letting our heart lead eases the control of the mind. It seemed now my body was getting it on a more cellular level. So many shifts and changes within, however small. My gift to me on this day; loving myself enough to take this time to be in slow still movement.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Memoir - The Owl

Once upon a time my husband came home with a dead owl in the trunk of his car. He and my daughter were driving home from Oklahoma when Charlie saw this huge owl lying on the side of the road. He couldn’t just let it lie there- it seemed wrong – sacrilegious somehow. He believed that I’d know what to do with it.

It was amazingly beautiful - soft, white and silvery brown feathers, cloaking a large solid body—about the size of a six month old baby. Part of me wanted to keep it. I wanted to own the power and mystery of the owl by owning its feathers, its powerful claws. But I knew it was wrong.

I called a friend who attended sweat lodges with a Native shaman. I got his number...
“Hello Rob. You don’t know me but my good friend Susan gave me your name. She knows you from the sweat lodges.” Having established our kinship, I explained the situation.

“Yes, I will help you. I’m not part of the Owl Clan but can receive this owl from you and relay it to the people who will take proper care of her. Have a silk scarf to wrap the owl in. I will bring the other necessities. See you tomorrow.”

I’d thought we would just give him the owl. Now there were “necessities” involved. Mmmm.

When Rob arrives at our home we go out into the back yard. The early fall garden is declining but still green with comfrey and lemon balm under the clear blue Colorado sky.
Alana and I sit on the cool grass, facing Rob, as Charlie retrieves the owl from the shed. Rob had instructed Charlie to pick up the owl with the old gaudy yellow silk scarf between the owl and his hands before joining us.

Rob burns some sage on a coal, in a sooty sea shell. He prayerfully chants for a few minutes in his Native language. While he chants he smudges us, then the owl, then himself with the pungent smoke.

He hands us gifts in exchange for the owl – a silver thunderbird token from an Eagle headdress that had recently been decommissioned in a ritual fire; and a pouch of tobacco. As instructed, Charlie offers the owl to Rob’s hands then Rob returns it back to Charlie, repeating this movement three times Finally Rob keeps the owl and wraps it up in the silk and then places it carefully in a cloth duffel bag to carry her in, as he goes back to the mountains.

“I’ll be sure to follow the proper ceremony and bring her to the Owl people. Thank you for honoring her. This ceremony should protect you from any negative consequences of the owl,” Rob says as he leaves.

The owl body was gone now. The mysterious feminine medicine of the owl has continued to steadily wax and wane in my life, like the moon. I have seen her cousin, the small burrowing owl, hunting amongst the dessert brush at twilight. I still hear owl song through my bedroom window in the darkness. Today it was just at sunrise.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Poetry: I sit and wait

I sit and wait thoughtfully
wondering at the world
and how people act
how they think
and what's important enough
to them
to do something about.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September Song

Suddenly sixty-five is looming large and you are unprepared.

In the back of your mind you’ve seen it coming for a while now.  Quietly but surely.  Like a dark force needing to be reckoned with… sometime.  Sometime may be arriving sooner rather than later. But you keep trying to ignore it.  Pretending it isn’t really happening.  But change is a’comin.


Your hairdresser and doctor are your new best friends.  Your doctor has been coaching you to resist the change. Exercise, vitamins, anti-oxidants, lots of fiber and ibuprofen.  Trips to the beauty solon are more frequent and frantic.  But the cold hard fact is that you have tipped into that last (gasp!) third of your life.


You spend time resisting, trying very hard to believe that your joints are stiff and sore when you rise up from the floor because you were over active yesterday.  Yeah, right.


You don’t care what the current pop hit tune is, what Brittany is up to, or Paris for that matter.  You haven’t seen a Hollywood movie in months. But the funny thing is; you are happy at home… moving slowly.  You might watch the debate tonight if you aren’t in bed first.


And you thought middle age wasn’t until you turned sixty, right?  Think again, sixty is when you stop pulling out the grey hairs because you need all that hair.   Sixty is not the new forty.  It means really weird hair, really deep wrinkles, rickety joints, pains in the ass and unplanned poops in the night.  BUT you are still alive, right?  And, you can still pretend, right?


I say, go for it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feeding Time / Part 1

The railing that runs around the deck is where I place birdseed at least twice a day, ideally once in the morning and once in the afternoon. A beautiful wide rimmed copper basin sits on top of a three-legged stand and has it’s home in a corner. This provides access, from two sides of the rail, for the all-important drink-water. Its location makes it easier for the baby birds to hop from the rail onto the edge of the basin. It is truly amazing how many kinds of birds appear, their different behaviors and how they interact. I grow more enchanted with them everyday. There is a mountain chickadee that likes to take his seed and sit on the iron rail that runs under a bench and chip away as he holds it between his feet. I surmise he likes to eat in his own private space, though I’ve noticed lately another is starting to join him. There are three kinds of nuthatches that come; the white-breasted, red-breasted and pygmy. The pygmy, the smallest, took a little while to figure out he could stand on the side of the water basin and dip his beak in without sliding spread eagle to his tummy, which is hard not to laugh at. The white-breasted, largest of the three, have an entertaining feature I’ve never observed in a bird. They will attempt, quite bravely, by opening up their wings, batman style, to intimidate either another bird or chipmunk from moving in on their precious spot. It is something to see this four-inch bird, standing on the rail, opening his wings and rocking from side to side pretending to be big and I guess scary. It works for some birds but hasn’t stopped any chipmunks. The chipmunk takes pause, as he gazes on this absurd vision, probably thinking “what the heck?’ before running him off the rail and continuing on his way. Chipmunks are highly entertaining, particularly when they are babies out and about for the first time. We had a batch of three one summer that were born with little stubs instead of full fury tails for an unknown reason. At least one survived for four more years and I nicknamed him Stubby. Stellar jays are usually the first to arrive in the morning. They keep a lookout jay that lets all the others know, once I’ve put the food out, with loud squawking. There are much sweeter bird songs than this one to wake to. I’m always so impressed though, at their ability to step aside and let the smaller birds have their turn. A pecking order seems to exist that they all somehow know. Pine siskins come in groups and sometimes completely fill the length of the rail, two to three deep, up to seventy or eighty at a time. They also love to line up around the water basin and I’ve seen them do a see-saw motion, one coming up as one goes down for their drink. These are just a few of the visitors that come. They bring me their various antics, inherent beauty, and sweet selves. I provide some seed and fresh water. Seems like a good deal to me.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Feminine American Pelvis

As I was busy painting my bedroom doors, I was playing Latin music on the radio. Before I knew it I was dancing. Here I was, attempting to shake my pelvis from side to side in the Latin way, doing the Macarena. Paint a little, shake a little, was the momentary theme. This side to side motion has always been a little difficult for me. Suddenly, I had a memory from about fifteen years ago. There were several of us at my house. I sometimes rented a room to students coming to Boulder to do the Rolf training. This is a form of deep tissue body work focusing on the fascia and realignment. One of the women was Brazilian. She was giving us dancing lessons, or to be more specific, how to move the pelvis. Let me tell you, this person was moving her pelvis so fast it was unbelievable. They all wanted to help me get the movement going faster. This was one time I felt truly Southern, no way my pelvis would move that fast.

Years ago, before my oldest daughter left home, I suggested we take African dance classes together. I loved the sound of the drumming. It was a challenge for both of us, but we had fun, got a good workout and so we continued. It became apparent to me that no young woman should leave home for good without knowing how to move her pelvis. It’s the main part of our body, so much depends on how flexible and how well it moves for our general good health and well-being. I have been a body worker and yoga instructor for many years. It seems for a lot of us American women there is a disconnect with the pelvis.

But now, the American fad is on movement and dance. So there’s hope the pelvis is gaining momentum here. It can only bring us more into integration, creating less attitude, filling us with joy in motion.

Dance anyone? I’ll paint later.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Poetry - Wrestling with the Angel of Romance

The Angel of Romance bright suddenly is here, between us.
Luckily, I have my sunglasses on, and ask
“What is the difference between an angel and a devil?”
It swiftly silently reaches for my sunglasses.
“Damn it, I don’t believe in devils or angels!”
My sunglasses are in its hand. I reach for them and I am pulled
into its unhuman form
& before my blinded eyes you are transformed into my dreams.
Now, you are not.
We relate only as phantoms.

The Angel of Romance bright suddenly is here, between us.
“Do you see it?” I ask you hysterically.
Luckily we can talk about it.
We touch each other, you hold me, stroking my head to calm me.
Together we dismantle the angel’s wings
feather by feather
And donate its fading body to science.

The Angel of Romance bright suddenly is here between us
Luckily, our relationship would have been only a passing fantasy anyways.
The angel becomes your real body,
its halo is yours,
soft wings wrapping us together in my tender passionate dreams.
Though I worship your image, I have complete control over the ritual.
When I see you, to keep from embarrassing us,
I pretend not to see the faint glow around you.

The Angel of Romance bright suddenly is here between us.
Together we climb on its broad back
& are swept up into the blue blue heavens.
Luckily we each have a parachute.
Before the air becomes too thin to sustain life,
we jump, plummet down,
then caught by the air in our parachutes,
we float safely to the ground.
We laugh & lay in the grass,
talking about how exciting it was.

--By Terra Rafael

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poem: Swimming


Swimming in pure consciousness,
Your breath a rhythmic in and out,
Another stroke, another lap,
There is no room for fear or doubt.

And when the waters rise and swell,
And waves get rough and churn about,
Stay in there now and persevere,
Don’t even think of getting out.

And on this breath that rides the wave,
As smooth and buoyant as a yacht,
You’ll sail into some unknown sea,
And learn what is and what is not.

And then, when all is said and done,
You’ll know you’ve given all you’ve got,
Each breath, a lifetime full of Grace,
And that is saying quite a lot.

Prema Rose

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prose: Into the center I go...

Into the center I go…careening past supposed-tos, avoiding the have-tos like the plague, and trying to find the void where the dark exists and language doesn’t.

Here there is quiet. Here I find myself like I did in the high country woods all last week. Here I sit and await the muse and see if she deigns to visit with me.

Here there is no time, no images, yet my pen moves across the page and gives me words to use in my own process. Here the darkness envelops me, calms my nervous system and dreams me in and out of the void and my longing always to know.

In sitting with not-knowing as a meditation form, in allowing my mind to not-think, I’m opening myself to larger concepts than what my small everyday mind thinks in. I’m also allowing the larger consciousness that I am a part of, to speak to me in its own terms, in its own images, and see how it lands in my own awareness.

What changes in the translation, I don’t know, glimpsing what I can and then translating it once again to pen and paper.

Somehow the process is more important than what I thought would happen or the ideas I would glean. Somehow I feel blest by the experience rather than the end result. Somehow I know this pathway I have just re-cleared to that deeper, inner part that is comfortable in the void, in the dark, is a healthy was of keeping my writing and my consciousness clear.


Friday, September 19, 2008

One Summer Morning

The sun is shining but I am not. I am lying on the floor crumpled up in fetal position, bawling. There are pains moving in slow motion down my lower back through my hips and down my legs. It goes on and on. My belly is a knot. I’ve never experienced anything like this
in my twelve short years. I feel like I am dying but the pain is so alive.

I had gotten up in the morning as usual, had breakfast and listened to my mother give us her orders for the day. She was on her way over the pass to Idaho where she would get groceries for the ten people in our family. She’d be home about dinnertime.

My assignment was to fix lunch. Ham sandwiches and carrots with some leftover cottage cheese green Jell-O. All the food groups. I mentally calculated how many carrots and slices of bread; but I wasn’t feeling any too chipper. We had been taught to take care of ourselves so I didn’t say anything. Mother had enough on her mind as it was.

We watched her drive off in the green woody station wagon. My brothers went running down to the river and my sisters argued about which kind of cookies they wanted to make. I sat on the sofa with my book. By now I was feeling rotten. My stomach hurt. I went into the bathroom and threw up. I went back to my book but instead I lay down on the floor in the sun thinking maybe I would feel better soon. That is when the pains started marching down my back. (Years later I would learn that this was something called back labor, unusual for young girls with menstrual cramps)

I look up to a sea of familiar faces staring down at me. “What’s the matter, Kappy?” Asks my little sister with a worried look. I shudder through another pain as it hits my pelvic floor. My twin brother, Jack, bends down to put a hand on my shoulder. He knows I am in pain and for once in our dual life together he shows sympathy.

Far in a distant land I hear another brother say, “she’s probably got a‘pendicts, people die from that you know.”

I am riding on another wave of ripping pain as it slides over my hips and down my legs. In a sea of pain, my soul moves out of my body and I look down on myself. I see my siblings moving around me. Someone brings a blanket and sits next to me. I watch my little sister go find, Marie, who is making cookies. Marie is in charge when Mother is gone. She does her job lovingly, like any good Nazi.

I am sweating and cold at the same time and still bawling. I can’t seem to stop crying. Marie comes into the room licking a big wooden spoon filled with cookie dough. She stands looking down at me for a moment.

“COM’ on, get up and quit that!” She says as she kicks my tush. Mind you, it’s not a hard kick but it did bring me back to reality. I roll over moaning.

She kicks me again saying, “COM’ on! You gotta fix lunch pretty soon. It’s just your period and you can’t let that bother you.”

It seems like a year before Mother arrives with a car full of groceries. My younger siblings run out to greet her saying, “Mom, Mom, Jesse’s been crying all day and she won’t tell us why.”

Marie meets Mom at the door saying, “Oh, it’s nothing she’s just being dramatic.”

I get a little sympathy from Mother as she makes me a cup of tea explaining about cramps (something none of my other sisters ever experienced) as she unpacks bags of groceries.

In fact, it was my second menstrual period. I had had some bloody spotting about three months earlier without cramping. I had not told my mother because she was busy that day. It was my older sisters who had fixed me up with a used belts and a kotex (not used). They had shown me where the box was kept and how to roll it up in toilet paper like a little package to throw away. It was our little secret, except they didn’t tell me about the pain…

As a bonus they did me that dad couldn’t hit us now that we had our periods.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poem. A Prayer of Being

Dear God, Goddess, Creator of All that Is,
thank you for being with me this day.
Unlike others, I do not remember that time an eternity ago
when I was but a spark, traveling through the stars
to seed a new life form on a new planet.
But I do remember the night that the stars of Pleiades
made them themselves known to me.
They came down to earth and filled the frame of
my windshield with their startling brilliance
~ just for a moment ~
till I had become fully conscious of their presence,
“We are you, you are us”
and then as before, they warped back into their heavenly orbit.

And I am sure that it could be said that I took my earthly family by surprise,
as I, in my own startling brilliance,
and with the help of my angelic family,
dreamt myself into yet another excursion in a human body on Earth.
I chose well.
My mother once told my sister that our father had saved her.
Yet it could be said that it was me, for I gave their life together a purpose.
I was the glue that held them together.
Two young kids, seniors in high school,
came together and created "me" ,
~ was I not also the creator of our life together?

As the innocent child, I urged them to remember
that this is one of the life paths that we all agreed to.
We have been shaping and molding one another this lifetime,
learning the lessons that we chose for ourselves.
We get in each others way, we scream and yell and fight.
But sometimes we act as the light bulb of reason and grace for one another.

Who dreamt me into being? I did.
We chose well.

* annette

Monday, September 15, 2008

Memoir - A Grown Up First Grader

Being a grown up first grader, I walk to school by myself. There’s one big street I have to cross really careful because there are lots of cars and some go fast. I know how to wait for the green light, look both ways, and then carefully hurry across before the light changes.

Today is hot. School is almost over for the year. I’m so thirsty as I walk home from school. So I’m going to stop at the corner drugstore for a drink. I’ve never tried it before, but I’ll die of thirst if I wait to get home.

The door is a little heavy for me. It feels nice and cool in here. There’s the snack bar. Next to the counter are stools attached to the floor with red plastic seat covers. They swivel around. I can climb up myself. It’s fun turning myself a little from side to side as I wait for the waitress to see me.

The woman in a white dress with a checkered apron bends over the counter and asks me, “What can I get you, young lady?”
“I’m dying of thirst.”
“Do you have any money with you?”
“OK, I’ll give you a nice glass of water.”

She fills up one of those curvy Coke glasses that are smaller at the bottom, with some ice and water. In the muggy air it starts to sweat. I carefully hold the slippery glass and drink down the water, gulping it quickly. I stop to look around at the colorful displays, and then I sip the rest.

“Thank you. That was the best water I ever had.”
“You’re welcome. Don’t get lost on your way home from school now.”

I twirled off the stool. An entering gentleman holds the door open for me as I leave the drugstore for home, feeling a few inches taller than when I entered.
-By Terra

Sunday, September 14, 2008



I lift up my voice
And cry to the depths of the spaciousness,
“I care!”
“I care that our hearts bleed profusely
For our children”.
“I care that we respect ourselves so little
That we are unconscious of the pain
That we inflict.”
“I care that our Beloved Mother
Becomes so disturbed by our inflictions
That She is moved to move.”
“I care!”
My Heart is passionate!

And, in the core of that
“I care”,
I enfold all hearts in Mine.
So precious is this Life
That is enlivened by our consciousness.
Awake to the need of the moment.
Meet the cries and the tears
With a Love that embraces all Beings.
There are no differences or distinctions
In the Heart that knows Itself as One.
Purify, purify our intentions.
Then we are held so dear
Within the Compassionate Heart.

Beyond it all,
This story of our woes and joys,
Beyond our dramas and our sufferings,
There lies an inner-outer stillness.
Here, in this Space, is held the knowing
That it is as it is.
Here the Perfection is revealed.
We came to play our roles
In the unfoldment of this movie.
This is our agreement.
We signed the contract with our Life.
Let us play it consciously
Being the Dispassionate Heart.

Prema Rose

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prose: Dark fell hard and fast...

Dark fell hard and fast and unexpectedly early tonight. The sun has already tucked herself behind the mountain ridge and blurred the outlines of houses I walk past and trees I slip under.

Orange light glares from overhead street lamps as they come on and cast an image before me and after me. that shadow self. My mind jokes with itself that I am coming and going at the same time.

The shadow presents a bulky outline on the sidewalk, one that belies the refined features and intimate detail of a human being. It’s substance contains all the disowned and ignored parts of a person and casts it upon the shore of public awareness at unexpected moments.
In this way it reveals those deeper parts than the usual mirror provides.

As I near home, lights begin to shine from windows and I realize how soon Fall will arrive. It was still full light at this time just a week ago. Summer is slipping away.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


In my low riding Honda civic I could not see over the tall stalks on either side of the road. It looked as if someone wielding an accurate machete had clear cut a narrow path through the forest of green. I was heading home on a thin asphalt strip between row after precision row of ramrod straight warriors. The heat of the day had elevated the growth fervor of the stately plants and the heady aroma of hot corn silk permeated the air. Checking the rear view, I slowed the car and rolled down all the windows. Inhaling deeply I was transported back to childhood days.

My grandfather had a one acre garden almost half planted in sweet corn. He planted both yellow and white corn, but the new bicolor hybrids soon gained favor as they combined the two colors on one lovely ear. Ahhh, life was good. On the farm we waited in anticipation every year for the corn to “come on”. My grandpa picked it in the dew of the morning and that same afternoon we would deliver it to family and friends in town. They treated it as the glorious gift that it was.

In the kitchen, my grandma would have at least two large turkey roaster pans filled to the brim with corn, with water to cover. Bring to a boil and quickly turn off the heat. She would cook up dozens of ears for lunch and then again for supper. I remember eating 8 and 10 ears of corn at one setting!! I mean ~ when the season was over ~ it was over. Oh sure, we froze corn, canned corn and made beautiful corn relish, but it was never quite the same as juggling a slippery hot ear. We put a stick of butter on a saucer, sprinkled salt on top, and passed it around. It was the fastest, most efficient way of getting the job done. At the beginning of the meal we might butter up 2 or 3 ears at a time to keep us good till the saucer made it around the table again. In the morning, Grandma cut the left over corn off the cob and fried it up in a little butter or bacon grease. Truly, the breakfast of my champions.

I have often declared that I am a “corn snob”. And it is true. I love the new bar-b-que place down the road, but the water logged bright yellow half ear that they include on my plate ~ is a give away. I would rather eat my napkin. I need corn that is picked fresh the day you eat it. Now here I am with my “four-ears-for-a-$1” seasonal addiction that I purchased from a neighborhood farm. Oh Lord what a beautiful sight: my plate loaded with thick slices of red tomatoes and shiny green beans from my garden lying beside long ears of lightly buttered-no salt sweet corn. It is the closest I will every get to becoming a vegetarian. Clang the dinner bell and God bless our farmers!

* annette

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


No topic, just jump in the pool of thoughts swimming around my head or life and run with it. Thoughts of swimming float to mind, how swimming has interwoven itself with its reflections of changes in my life. As sun dazzles us in its dance on all surfaces that are fluid, I see my many sides though how I have approached swimming. Starting as a youngster of four in summer camp being thrown in to fend for myself, (the sink or swim mentality) surrounded by camp mates and a group leader, gasping, I emerged, now christened by my fearless friends into ocean swimming. To floating or flailing through my teens and twenties and never really learning proper stroke technique through any of those years. Then, around thirty, laps became a means to being fit, something I never ever thought about before then. It was a couple of years later masters swimming found me in Santa Monica. I finally learned what a good stroke was and how to swim. I went from starting in lane one of fifteen to swimming in lane eight. (Lane 15 had ex-Olympic swimmers). I swam five days a week. I took workshops on weekends and was filmed underwater from every angle. I had my stroke analyzed, pulled apart and put back together till I knew every millimeter of it from the films. My right side, that has always suffered from being different, slightly twisted, and just never the same as my seemingly aligned left side, emerged and showed it’s quirkiness right there on film in my right side stroke. My coach, amazed, said he’d never seen a move like that. I swam my brains out through my thirties even jumping into competition for a while. I even went to the Nationals in Nashville just to have the experience. I burned out finally, over swam. Too much of a good thing is not so good. I took myself out of the pool and stopped for a long time. I’ve returned and swim now for the sheer delight of moving through water so efficiently. I approach it with great respect as water continues to reflect and dazzle me in the pool of life.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008



It happened in the late 80s when I had just separated from my husband of 27 years.
With a broken and apprehensive heart my long time friend and I packed up my husband’s little yellow Alfa Romeo convertible (he was unable to drive it because of a health crisis), and headed south to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. This was when Ojo was still funky, spiritual and magical, before it was bought by money and sterilized.

My friend and I had done the baths and were now luxuriating in the Milagro Wrap of cotton flannel and wool. By then we were the only ones in the women’s wrapping room which was small and cozy.

As I lay there, sweating profusely, unexpected tears began to flow as I saw all my married life flash before me, like a wind-up movie, rolling across my consciousness.
Tears flooding my sweat, mixing, cleansing, and washing away all that had been.

Finally, stillness came, quiet, silence and peace.

As I was reveling in the lusciousness of my reverie, all of a sudden, a soft angelic voice started singing a beautiful song. I didn’t realize my firend had such an amazing singing voice. My eyes were covered so I didn’t bother to look, I just accepted she was the only other person around.

Later, back in our room, I asked her, “what was the song you were singing?”
“That wasn’t me, it was you, I heard you clearly,” she responded.
“Well, it definitely wasn’t me, I think I know when I’m singing, no, it wasn’t me”.

So now our curiosity was beginning to soar. My friend walked back over to the bath house to ask the attendant about the song we had heard.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Visits to the Land of Dementia #2


His tight jaw is an echo of the more angular good looks of his youth. Irving now speaks little, smiles seldom and dozes in the land of dementia most of the time.

He has a stubborn resistance to lifting his feet when we push him forward in his wheelchair. He shows us just how strong he must have been in his prime.

Irving will sometimes play kickball with us for awhile. But, like anytime we play with a ball in our circle of elders, he suddenly decides to pick up the ball and hug it on his lap. The other residents complain until I run and get another ball for us to kick. I let Irving keep hold of that ball, satisfying some unknown.

Last week was the Olympics in China. At the Reserve we had our own Olympic games. We played bean bag toss, disc toss, horseshoes, basketball, and kickball. And I made gold medals for everyone – some awarded for kickball skills, others for being a “Champion Music Lover”, or “All Around Champion.” One woman, who tenaciously maintains her possession of her favorite chair in the common room was named “Champion Chair Holder.” And Irving was “Champion Ball Holder.”

As with each medal, I announce, “And the Champion Ball Holder is . . . Irving!” Everyone cheers and claps. I place the ribbon and yellow construction paper medal around his neck. As I do, Irving gets a huge smile on his face, and looks me straight in the eye.

At that moment it is as though he let me see into his inner self. I see him, not as his physically diminished self, but as he had been – a virile young man. And new words to describe Irving came to me – “the strong silent type.”

by Terra

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I am an expert procrastinator. This is a skill that I have been practicing all of my life, or so it seems. The funny thing is that, all of a sudden, the thing that I have been putting off appears to be the only thing that must be taken care of right then. There it is and the opening that it presents is palpable. There is a knowing that it is time.
Well that time came this morning. The garage had been piling up for two years and was filthy. Mud was caked on the floor from driving in and out in the muddy seasons and the dust lay thick on every item. There were the huge boxes that roommates had deposited when they moved in and the scraps of lumber and building materials that I know I’ll need for some distant project, not to mention the cans of paint lying hither and thither. Oh, yes, the bicycles belonging to my daughter and grandchildren that are right in the way of the tidying up, are still there despite the pleas to take them away. The tiller and the lawnmower and the this and the that, became the focus of the morning hours. When I get into it, I get into it. The hours progressed, as so much sweeping was needed to make a dent in the dust. I made a pile to take to the dump and, finally satisfied that four hours of work and sneezes were enough, I brought my grimy self into the house to have lunch, clean up and rest.
Oops! It suddenly dawned on me that it was Sunday, my day to blog. I had succeeded in procrastinating again! Well the time to sit down at the computer presented itself and here I am. At least, it still is Sunday.

Prema Rose

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Prose: Into the center I go...

Into the center I go…careening past supposed-tos, avoiding the have-tos like the plague, and trying to find the void where the dark exists and language doesn’t.

Here there is quiet. Here I find myself like I did in the high country woods all last week. Here I sit and await the muse and see if she deigns to visit with me.

Here there is no time, no images, yet my pen moves across the page and gives me words to use in my own process. Here the darkness envelops me, calms my nervous system and dreams me in and out of the void and my longing always to know.

In sitting with not-knowing as a meditation form, in allowing my mind to not-think, I’m opening myself to larger concepts than what my small everyday mind thinks in. I’m also allowing the larger consciousness that I am a part of, to speak to me in its own terms, in its own images, and see how it lands in my own awareness.

What changes in the translation, I don’t know, glimpsing what I can and then translating it once again to pen and paper.

Somehow the process is more important than what I thought would happen or the ideas I would glean. Somehow I feel blest by the experience rather than the end result. Somehow I know this pathway I have just re-cleared to that deeper, inner part that is comfortable in the void, in the dark, is a healthy was of keeping my writing and my consciousness clear.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Essay: Free Flowing

I am wearing sandals that have a crack in the sole under my right big toe. I have nearly worn them out but I took them back to the shop where I purchased them; they had told me that Birkenstock’s were practically guaranteed for life. $80 to make them good; $120 for a new pair. So I glued the torn leather down but they are not comfortable. Every step hurts my feelings.

I was told a few months ago that my Honda was wearing out and I needed to start thinking about buying another car. I cried for 2 days and then I prayed to the angels of Honda’s to give her strength that she may live until I get my credit card paid up. This summer when it was 90 degrees I was afraid to use my air conditioner. When I noticed the temperature gauge going up quickly, I had to turn on the heater to pull excess heat off the radiator. I made a joke to my son, about loosing weight in my eyebrows as I was directing the heat through the windshield defrost. Pretty funny.

My old dishwasher broke last week. A fellow came and said the motor is definitely shot. I poured a little Clorox over the small amount of standing water that I couldn’t get out with my turkey baster. It may have to set there for awhile and I don’t want it to stink up the kitchen. As I wash my dishes in the sink, I am thankful that it wasn’t my stove or refrigerator.

I just received my electrical bill. It is $30 more than it was last month and $25 more than this time last year. I called to question the number, surely this was a mistake? That is allot of fricking electricity! The lady was very nice, but said they had certainly made no mistake. How can she be so sure from her office in Texas? Pay and shut up; the alternatives suck.

I talked to a girlfriend this morning who told me she and her husband had to borrow money from her parents to make their house payment. I heard the struggle in her voice; she didn’t want to say it out loud but she wanted to share the grief.

Another friend told me last month that she made her mortgage payment and then added up the possible late fees on her credit cards to decide which ones to pay now and which ones to default on. She said it so matter of factly, I was stunned.

My tenants gave me seven days notice that they were moving out. They were a nice couple and I will miss them. Moving was not their choice; I understand it is a family matter, but what do I do? I have tried for 5 years to sell that house. I have no money to make the mortgage payment. Let people know. Craig’s List is free and the local newspaper takes a …. credit card.

I could go on.

How does this make me feel? It is so easy to go into fear. How can I stay strong? I put on a brave face and do the best I can. I pray for Strength, Wisdom and Grace. The challenges that I have mentioned above are just that. A sense of humor is a MUST have. I want to be alert so that I can actually “hear” the answers to my prayers. If this is a test, I will pass.

I am eternally thankful that all of the folks I mentioned above have their health… and good looks.

* annette.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

No More Time

The laundry needs to be done,
  dishes washed, garden watered,
teeth brushed....all the ordinary things
  keep needing tending.
It seems OK to cut away the 
  dead flowers.

The numerous machines keep his life going.
  So many wires, tubes, monitors, numbers
  all become an extension of his insides.
The same insides in an intense war 
  with an enemy no one saw coming.
Or was this battle ordained, ordered
  and delivered
for a special delivery to the other side?

There isn't much time,
  there is nothing but time,
  time and time again.
When you have no more time with someone,
  never again will you greet them,  meet their eyes, 
reach for a moments embrace,
   time unravels.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


“Did you ever hear from that Black man who brought you down here last year?” my l03-year old cousin asked.
“No I didn’t”, I told her.
“Well I’m glad”, she said.
“I’m not, I would have liked to have heard from him”, I added.
She went on to talk about why it was good I hadn’t heard from him. And then suddenly she started talking about Obama. Now this is a real Southern woman who has been a staunch Democrat all her life and all her family before her. But the way she was talking about Obama, I couldn’t hold back. “Why Mary, I didn’t know you were such a racist”, I injected.
“I will never vote for a Black man”, she added vehemently. I had never heard her voice so loud and strong. Both of us were expressing an anger we had never shared.

My family and I had stopped for a short visit with Mary and her sister Elizabeth, my 2nd cousins on my father’s side, on our way to the Gulf and the beach. My Mother was sitting next to Mary and I was on the other side of her. Elizabeth, Mary’s younger sister was on the other side of me. She kept quiet the whole time, as she usually does, unless she’s more distanced from Mary.

An old family friend was with us, sitting next to my Mom. My younger daughter and her husband were also present with their three children, ages l4, l0 and 7. They were all meeting each other for the first time, except for the l0 year old. I had taken Jake to a family reunion with our Southern relatives a year or so ago.

Everyone was just listening to the banter between Mary and I, maybe a little shocked this had even come up. Just as quickly as it had begun, it was on to other things. Without coming to any solution or resolve we had moved on.

But on our way out, Mary had to say, “now don’t you vote for Obama”.

As we were going to our cars my l0 and l4 year old grandsons said, “I like Obama, I would vote for him”. I later learned the l0 year old is really keeping up with the whole political scene.

The South seemed even more Southern this time. Has it always been like this or is it mainly the tensions of the election?


Monday, September 1, 2008

Poem: Beginning of Patriarchy

women were part of creation.
we painted our faces with our moonly blood,
offered freely from deep in our bodies to Mother Earth.
we painted our breasts with it.
our power flowed freely, as our blood did, without struggle.
we did not hold power to ourselves,
it was like ripe fruit falling from trees.
& when the blood did not come
it grew into a child & milk to feed the child.

the men could not offer blood so easily.
they did not bleed without danger.
their blood did not grow into children.
they began to hunt & sacrifice animal blood & eat animal flesh to try to
take the power of the animals to themselves.
they cut themselves to bleed in imitation of us women.
they began to pretend giving birth.
they made things & treated them better than the children.
we watched them, not wishing them such pain.
they began to do their magic in secret from us.
they said the blood they offered was real blood,
their god wanted no women’s blood.

by Terra

their god wanted us to hide our blood as unclean & not worship near men.
we did not understand why blood that makes life & is given freely is bad
& blood made of death is good.