October 26, 2015
burrowing, hail, seasons
There are seasons and there are seasons. Nature’s seasons go at a regular pace, though the weather varies. Not so the internal seasons. I’ve been lax at the blog posts for a while now, because I feel like I’m in a burrowing season, not a communicative one.
It didn’t help that we’ve had two hail storms this month. The first destroyed four skylights. The second destroyed the roof. There’s something about holes in the roof that makes one feel that there is really no place safe.This post is to explain my silence, so I can stop feeling guilty about it. I’m going to play prairie dog and dig myself a nice, comfy hole to winter in. And see what I find down there.
October 7, 2015
Festival of the Written Word, New Mexico, poetry, Silver City, writing
This past weekend I attended the South West Festival of the Written Word in Silver City. Silver City has a lovely compact old downtown, preserved partly by the collapse of main street into a flooding river over 100 years ago. It is now a big ditch.
Across the ditch from the visitor’s center is an area of art galleries, coffee shops, antique stores and a few other services, on sloping streets and sidewalks with huge steps at some of the corners. There are even a couple of small independent hotels. I stayed at the Murray Hotel.
The Festival of the Written Word is an enormous undertaking. I was told the steering committee consists of 24 volunteers, and many more assist at the event. There were as many as four events – readings, panels, lectures, etc.- going on at once, and one could easily walk from one to another. At Javelina coffee shop I heard two young poets lamenting lost languages.
At the Old Elks Lodge, Demetria Martinez talked about writing and activism.
Later, several writers gathered in the same place to discuss their inspirations and their frustrations.
A sample of the mix of art and artifacts inside Elks Lodge.
Many local businesses supported the event by hosting programs. At Seedboat Gallery I listened to two poets: Simon Ortiz read about injustices suffered by his Navaho people and the trials of Vietnam vets; Jules Nyquist shared her work in progress about nuclear weapons and their influences.
And those were just one person’s choices on one day. Between events I noticed some of the decorated walls around town. One building features native shapes.
Another looks like a Mondrian.
This weekend event is held every other year. I am looking forward to the next one in 2017.
September 21, 2015
amaranth, gardening, native plants, red trumpet flower, sunflowers
Several years ago, I put a trellis in my garden where I wanted to grow roses. I did not succeed. After giving up that attempt I planted amaranth there. A few plants survived; when I returned from vacation they were bent over, going to seed. The next year I planted a few sunflower plants there. A few of them survived. They had competition from a few amaranth volunteers, which, like the year before, bent over. One was worth staking for a while.
This year I planted nothing in that section of the garden. Several sunflowers volunteers came up. They had reverted to a smaller, more native look. And there have been lots of them.
Several amaranth plants also appeared. Nothing special at first. Now, at the end of the season, a giant appears―a giant which is also absolutely straight. Nature has taken its time to do far better than I can.
At the opposite side of my yard I have a red-trumpet-flowered bush with dark green leaves. I bought it three years ago, and I have had to prune back the bushes on either side to keep them from crowding its space. It is blooming abundantly this year. Unfortunately I have lost the papers from my purchase and I can’t remember what its name is, or what feeding and pruning I should give it.
This week I took a piece of it with me to a small flower show. I found a piece of the same plant in one of the bouquets on exhibit. I asked around. Some people thought it a Cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis). Others suggested a salvia. The flower tube opens up into four equal narrow petals―unlike anything I can find on Google or in my native plant book. I guess I will have to keep calling it Red Trumpet Flower Bush.
September 7, 2015
Sin Fronteras Journal
The editorial decisions have been made. The acceptance and rejection notices have gone out (the last of them just this weekend). Now Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Issue #20 moves to the production phase.
It has been a busy summer. We had many more submissions once we opened an email address. Half-again as many for poetry and about three times what we’ve had before for prose. We had a lot to work with and we think this will be a good issue. It is exciting to receive material from many different places around the world. We accepted more but we also had to turn down more than in the past few years.
After this first experience with email submissions, you can expect some changes in procedures next year. Be sure to check the website(www.sinfronterasjournal.com) for the reopening of submissions in Spring, 2016.
August 4, 2015
peace, quilting, ribbon project, Washington D.C.
Thirty years ago a huge crowd of people connected a “ribbon” made of yard-long panels around government buildings in Washington D.C. Justine Merritt had a vision to make a ribbon for peace that would be a mile long, enough to encircle the Pentagon. Her idea “went viral” as we would say now, in that pre-internet time, primarily through church and women’s groups.
The ribbon grew and grew to eighteen miles. It went around the Pentagon, down the mall, around the White House and around the Capitol. My place to stand was near the Capitol building. (There were not as many barriers in those days.)
There were quilted pieces, appliqued pieces, painted pieces. Some had words, some just had images. I did a country scene, a city scene, and a fish. Already in those days I was concerned about water. It was a wonderful way to use scraps from my many sewing efforts. I did not find such an outlet again until I discovered Project Linus about six years ago.
There were many follow-up events. The ribbon is now an international organization which is still active, though not much in the news: http://www.theribboninternational.org/
August 1985 was the fortieth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year is the seventieth. Has the cause of peace advanced?
August 1, 2015
Chautauqua, sacred dance
This past week I went dancing with a few of my friends, actually, quite a large number of friends. I attended the Sacred Dance Guild Festival at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. One day we made a trip to Chautauqua Institution where these pictures were taken. (The rest of the time I was too busy dancing.)
Chautauqua was established in the 1870s. Many of the buildings still date from the early years of what became a small enclosed town which, for nine weeks each summer, has a very lively program of events and many, many outside visitors.
The Hall of Philosophy has no walls. That seems fitting. At the time I went by, there was a concert before a worship service. Across the road a building with “Aula Christi” over the door was filled with people watching a slide show about music in movies.
For more on the organization which sponsored the event go to http://www.sacreddanceguild.org