With Nana and Papa

With Nana and Papa
Family Times at Flathead Lake

Monday, June 24, 2013

Green Stars

Some updates first, and then a silly poem.  Rob and I celebrated our anniversary on Saturday by eating STEAK (when it's that good it must be capitalized). We had raw seafood for appetizers and vegetables on the side. As a friend said to me, "If I can't kill it with a rock or spear, or pull it out of the ground, I'm not eating it."  The delicious dinner (thank you to Bill and Connie and Nana and Papa for that one!) was the second date in two weeks; a record for us after the year of illness and surgery. The week prior we went to see Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks at Red Rocks. They were great, but we were pleasantly surprised and excited by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who opened. Their hit "Stars" is on the radio right now and I highly recommend it, as well as their other music.

In other news, the kids did great at the swim meet on Saturday, best times all around and fun relays to be had. Mom struggles with 7 hours in the sun and lots of cheering, but the kids are superstars. Rob did a ton of research on new mattresses and we got a new one after 12 years; hopefully this will fix the lower back issues that come with (ahem) age. I remember getting the old mattress after Aden was born - we had to get a king because we were up and down so much in the night, and often with a baby in arms, that we needed room for the whole family. We still do, though no one else is invited in these days, we still get visitors.

Aden is at a Poetry Camp this week through Cherry Creek Schools. I am begging her to share some of her poetry on this blog (or at least through email) because it is just so good. I am very proud, and actually jealous of some of her metaphors! Can't wait to share, but until the good stuff arrives here's a quick ditty on green:

Green

We need more words for green.
During my morning stroll
I saw at least nineteen
Shades on a leafy knoll
From spring to bluish to sea,
Forest, granny smith and pea.
Olive and asparagus can't match
The first silvery blush
That hides a robin's hatch
Or vivid grass that slows a bunny's rush.
If the Eskimos can have a hundred words for snow
Then I want to know,
Can we apply more of a sheen to green?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Focus on the Unmoving

Last week in yoga I was working on the balance pose "dancer" with a small class. The goal of the pose is to balance on one leg while holding your other foot behind you in the palm of your hand. You may stand up straight or lean forward with the other arm extended, keeping your chest lifted. There is a strong temptation to look up at yourself as you bend forward, with the mirror only feet in front of your face, but this temptation leads to falling almost every time. "Focus on something that is NOT moving," said the teacher, and that excludes you!"

I thought about her comment as I fixed my gaze on the lines of tile on the floor. It seems true of every activity I do: piano, guitar, poetry, blogging, yoga, that when I get lost in the flow and forget myself I perform at my best, but when I stop to pat myself on the back, with comments like "Wow! I've got it now, I must be getting good" I imvariably hit a flat or fall flat, on my face.  The other extreme wreaks havoc on my flow, too; comments such as, "I will never get this, this is SO hard, and that other lady over there looks awesome" distract and topple my efforts.

Thich Nacht Hahn says ( in Your True Home) that "when you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything." It seems to me that if you are touching a moment with deep awareness, you are not simultaneously aware of yourself doing so. The self is lost, you are more the Buddhist idea of "no self" as you rise or fall with the sensory perceptions and emotions of that moment. This is difficult, as it runs contrary to many goals of Western society: to be important, with self well-defined, to be busy, hardly aware of moments passing as we focus on the calendar or to do list. Trying to embrace a moment deeply is like walking on a tightrope, fighting off the demands from all sides as we pause in our swift passage through time. We may fall, but for a short time we will be present in alll moments, past present, and future.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Gave My Heart

New verses below, still a bit of a work in progress. Wrestling with the theme as well as word choice. Comments welcome . . .

I gave my heart
I gave my heart to God and he did not give it back.
Once I thought he might tear it in two pieces,
Throw it down on the ground and walk away
Without a backwards glance.

For it beats shallow and rapid, appears bruised and broken from
Battling through long nights when I could not calm
My center, which fought even when I failed to recall
What I was fighting for.

Though it contains all I love and who love me, it is a small thing.
But he holds it tenderly, revolving slowly in tapered fingers,
Sighing over the tears and cracks and open spaces,
Cradling and consoling with whispered solace.

Slowly, racing tempo eases to three – quarter time,
He smiles over the weight and fullness now,
Gently encouraging my heart to open wide,
For a moment embracing the universe.

Stars and spinning galaxies unfold and recede with
Floods of compassion and love for creation.
Bending low, he returns my mended heart
Bestowing not rejection, but resurrection.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Empire Strikes Out

And they're off . . .  the starters round the first turn with William in the lead, followed closely by Aden with Daniel tagging along at her heels. Mom and Dad have been left in the dust at the starting gate but hope to pick up speed as soon as they untangle the reins and pick up their feet!

Seems an appropriate way to describe the first week of summer, which has been loaded with activities and heightened intensity due to record heat. Last weekend brought us a 6-hour swim meet and five full baseball games. Daniel claimed a win in his game and then William's team played well above their seed and went 2 - 2 in the double-elimination tournament. At the conclusion, thought it was time to take a deep breath, but no, this week brought sports camp, aeronautics camp, and a full slate of swimming. Dinner has rapidly become a lost art and free time has not yet emerged, but we're having fun hanging with friends and cheering everyone on.

At the one family dinner we managed last week, the kids were discussing the intricacies of Star Wars (as we do regularly), and Daniel announced that there was one Star Wars movie he had not yet seen. Rob asked what that was and he replied, between bites of hamburger, "The Empire Strikes Out!" After recovering from a fit of giggles and a serious case of water-up-the-nose, I assured him it was "The Empire Strikes Back." But my older son corroborated the younger's story and explained that there actually was a mini-movie made that put the Empire and the Rebellion on opposing ball teams. Fitting metaphor for our weekend!

I am trying to fit in creative time and work on a new poem, but have not had much luck yet. Stay tuned for more verse soon and enjoy the long summer days. Hope you are not as hot as we are here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mumford & Sons in Taos

How can I possibly describe the concert or how I feel about this band? The concert was absolutely, ****ing amazing, and the road trip with girlfriends felt like a great adventure, that I felt so grateful to be able to take! The Mumford& Sons concert in Taos was the biggest event that the town had ever seen. With 5,000 residents and a police force of 24, the town went into high gear to welcome 8,000 ticket holders and up to 3,000 more visitors - you could hear the music from every restaurant, store, perch in town!

We waited in line through a driving thunderstorm that brought hail, wind and rain, though fortunately we were under a wooden overhang that protected us from the worst. Our fellow concert-goers were easy to talk to; a couple from Albuquerque, a high school sophomore with goals to attend Georgetown and Harvard and then to make it big in politics, a mother and daughter from Durango and Boulder, respectively, and senior Boy Scouts on their way across country to a camp at Philmont.

We got into the tree-filled park an hour late, due to the weather, and waited somewhat impatiently through two warm-up bands until M&S hit the stage at 10pm. It was cool, with mist leftover from the rainstorm, and the instrumentals and vocals were amazing, not to mention the guest appearance by Robert Mirabal, a chief of the Taos/Pueblo Indian Tribe. He played a Native American flute to open the show, and joined Mumford on Awake My Soul and I Will Wait. The eerie, penetrating sounds of the flute were a delicious accompaniment to the tunes that we loved, and the orange, yellow and green lights playing out over the crowd fit perfectly.

"Was it worth the four-hour drive?" I was asked the next day. Still in a stupor from lack of sleep, I could only reply, "hell, yes!"  I thank Heather for planning the weekend and driving the whole way, and Heidi for joining us on the trip. I am thankful to be on the road again, welcoming music into my life and the life of friends and family. I might still be catching up on sleep but my soul is definitely awake!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Updates!

Congratulations to John and Katie Dravenstott! On May 31 Katie gave birth to 7 pound, 1 ounce Evelyn Kate. She is beautiful and we are so happy for them all!

We are also enjoying a great visit from Bill and Connie ho drove out from Ohio for a full weekend of swim meets and baseball games. Thev saw the kids swim great racers and compete well in baseball and have already fixed Rob's car radio and the dish washer, as well. Many thanks!

Now - here's a poem about the Dunes. Pictures still to come!

Dunescape
El Sangre de Cristo flows through
This wondrous place of resurrection
Where mountains diminish to coarse
Iron-tinted grains and are
Reborn as vast tidal thrusts of
Sand embraced by holy water.

Surreal expanse of gently sloping mounds
Like shoulders, breasts, bellies of
First Nations people long passed.
All shades of living tan, they turn
Shift in their repose, restlessly yearning
For the strong hold of the mountains.

Picture the ripple of arcing wings, bird flock
Silhouette on migration path each spring.
Now see same shifting patterns ripple across
Hard sand and streambed alike,
Waving under sage-scented wind which carries

Sound of children splashing, God laughing.