Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Letter to my Mom

Dear Mom,
began yesterday with the intentions of crafting a heartfelt photo blog in homage to your own RedOrGray style, simple words and simple images that together create quilts full of bright thoughts and intricately stitched emotions. After a long day at work, my camera and I hiked about my favorite wild area on the ranch snapping photographs and picking up rocks. A startled deer berated me before bounding off into the trees. Dried algae patterns showed that a creek or pond usually sweeps along the pathway I followed. I climbed through the dense trees, their twig fingers grasping my hair, and found my favorite sycamore with the perfect sitting spot just a few feet up off the ground. Still sticky from the day's dried sweat and sore from a week's worth of ladder climbing I pulled my tired self up into the arms of this tree and rested my head upon its trunk. The stillness allowed my thoughts to wander through the much more dense and tangled wild in my head, mulling over imagery and theme, composition and what exactly it was that I wanted to say to you with this gesture.

Back at the house, I perused your most recent entries to help me structure my post. The beauty I saw there stopped me in my industrious tracks. I climbed into the still place your words shape and rested my heart against the loveliness I found there. The internet attributes the adage, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” to a nineteenth century magazine man, but I'm sure that the words came from his mom. Similarly, looking at your art is like reading an earlier translation of my own thoughts about the world. In your creations, I see the crisp lines and textures that satisfy me and the purposeful words that convey so much while leaving space for further interpretation.

Your most recent post about Grandma echoed the untyped thought fragments swirling about my brain, and my heart swelled to read the words I had hoped to write about you, “My mother [is] an artist. She [personifies] the word unconditional.” When I see beauty in the world, whether in the excitement of one of my students or the constant stretch of a sycamore towards the sun, I see through the eyes you created and trained. When I search my brain for the perfect words, I lean upon years of red letters in rough draft margins. When I love, when I sing, when I encourage I repeat the words and kindness you have given to me. I am one of the ripples you have created with your life, which Grandma helped to create, and her mother before her, and today I thank you for my beautiful existence. I would not see it without you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Senior Tower Climb

"If growing up means
It would be
Beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I'll never grow up,
never grow up,
never grow up
Not me!"
-Peter Pan

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Even though poetry seems to have emerged as my preferred expressive method, my mom's blog constantly reminds me of the poetic power images can have. So, today I have decided to post a selection of the photographs I took over the weekend.

This summer I will work as a gopher ("You go for this, and go for that.") at Mo Ranch Presbyterian Conference Center. I grew up going to camps here and loved every minute.

When I'm taking pictures of nature (as opposed to my crazy friends) I like to play around with the sunlight. Also, Mom introduced me to the Japanese boka (boca? bokka?) method of focusing on the foreground, which I find a fun experiment.

Some shots work better than others, but it's fun to play around with the technique. As you can see, I love the yucca. They're such a strange mix between sharp lines and the succulent blossoms. Couldn't get close enough to sample their scent (those needle tips are sharp!), but I bet they smell rich.

Also, the Mo Ranch grounds keepers very kindly rolled out their blue bonnets for my viewing pleasure.

Welcome home.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

rough draft, random thoughts, good day

When I wear my rain boots, the stiff plastic sides hold my ankles steadier than usual.
Instead of tripping and skipping over the ground, I stride.
Feeling the earth's physical force pushing back at the soles of my shoes
perhaps my brain feels the earth's physical force pushing back at my soul.
I think about the earth and she is a beautiful goddess again,
forever holding her love for the sky at arms reach for fear of exhaustion.

Some days my being must bear the strain of walls made from thickest bone.
On the best days my chains dissolve and I see how small and insignificant I am
next to and inside of the great I Am.
On those days I belong to the world around me and out from this knowledge
I stride, powerful goddess.
Connected to everything, shaping the world around me with the falling of my feet
on ways that I do not choose, but rather choose me.

I'm striding on the ground.
I'm looking at the sky.
I'm breathing in microscopic pieces of everything around me
and my body knows and names all the life that we encounter.
I am the descendant of that creator deity.
Behold, the manner of this love!
Names hold power and we are called
descended from this magic, this power,
Be loved.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


You thought you would break me,
Boy, you don't even know me.
Aeons ago, I dropped my heart into a stream
and rode in a wicker picnic basket to the sea.
Thought your mouth had found the last line
I forgot to sever, but we were just
playing pretend.

No use hiding in the closet, because
even the pretend things can hurt you
and I whistle as I sew my shadow
back onto the soles of my feet
and you don't let the pane
hit you on the way out.

Forever in motion, when do we
Rest? Where is the mermaid's grotto,
cold seaweed bed, octopus garden,
and the waves forever crashing,
pounding wicker walls into sand
cradling the heart, still breathing
although underwater.

I'm sitting at my window. I'm waiting
for the wind to sweep me off my feet.
Second star to the right and
straight on 'til mourning,
Boy, why are you crying?
I haven't broken yet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

“Dancing Drifters”

future forms freeze
under umbrellas
cement chrysalises
knock, knock knucklebones.
yawning, yesterday
obstructs one option
useless eulogy, undulating
nebulously nears
yet your yellow
overtones obliterate,
rain, restless, rinses,
scours senseless sainthood
ending every entrance
never nothing now.
situation simply
intrinsic isolation,
bruising barely,
light lisps;
ebony exits earn
fragile failure.
rabid reverberations
haunting hurts,
ointment on
wobbly western walls
creates cacophony, complete
nudging new
interactions, ideas
hover haphazardly.
oscillating obstinately
levers lift
different doubts dubiously
axing away as
gears grinding
rolling ridges rising
dancing drifters
glide gradually
effortlessly evade

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Kite Strings"

Your eyes track blinking signals as we speed along
On a road with no wind wafting us forward except
Using up ten minutes under stars, unraveling

Seconds out of open windows like string.
Hold that pose, close your eyes and say the magic words,
“Open sesame?” and perhaps fly outside, under even our own radar into
Uncharted seas. No sign of familiar fish acrostics here.
Let you drive? How hard can it be, to let you lead the
Dance? Apparently surrendering the

Kite string goes against my personal beliefs. Odd,
I swerved to evade a butterfly and hit a bird instead;
Steady my hands, why won’t my fingers
Stop shaking.

Maybe that means I shouldn’t drink this
Early in the day, but caffeine usually

Aids my creativity, amplifies my energetic gifts,
Glistening spools of words running down fingers, leaving
Aged coffee constellations on the kitchen floor
In no particular pattern. But are there truly
No portents to be found in these sunroof stars?

Well, I'm not in any poetry writing class this semester, but some of my friends are getting me back into writing. I'll post what I write, but it'll probably be pretty erratic pacing.