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Dreaming

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I have a poem in the just released issue of the online magazine Melusine.

It’s called “Floor Plans,” but what it’s mostly about is dreams, the daydreams of a child and the night dream of an adult.

Melusine is an elegant site, nicely organized.  I recommend it: http://www.melusine21cent.com/mag/current.

The Old and the New

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This post is about what’s new and what’s not so new in my garden.penstemon 2This past year I added two Penstemon superbus plants.  One did not make it through the fall and winter.  This 50 percent ratio is typical of my efforts in the garden.  But the one that has survived makes me want to try again.

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

This winter I cut back the out-of-control chamisa, as close as I could get to the ground.  I thought perhaps it would give up.  As you can see, it did nothing of the kind.  chamisa

I can only hope this growth will be thicker and sturdier than last year’s, when I did not cut it back far enough.  The plant growing around the stumps is Mexican primrose, which has spread as if it, too, thought the chamisa was not coming back.  mexican primroseBut what is this little blue and white flower?  pansy

It’s a pansy from a seed that wafted from another part of the garden.  I am delighted when nature adds its own touches to my efforts to work with plants.  I can pretend we are a team, though I know I have much still to learn.

The Other Side of the Mountain

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Recently I wanted to get out into some green.  I decided to visit Picacho Peak.  The name is redundant, since “picacho” is Spanish for peak, but that doesn’t seem to trouble anyone.  There is one in Arizona, too.  Like the one near Las Cruces, it is an isolated mountain.

Looking west from Las Cruces, the mountain looks very dry.  To climb it, one goes through several housing developments and some private land to a BLM parking lot on the western side.mtn from parking area

To get to the peak from the parking lot one must go through an arroyo and a few other ups and downs.arroyo

After that the trail is surprisingly straight.  In this closer picture, the hole at the right is along a particularly steep part of the trail, which then angles up across the picture to the outcrop (a small dark splotch) at the left. closer to mtn

That outcrop was a far as I got.  The trail is steep and I was definitely out of condition. I don’t think this trail was laid out by recreation experts, but by people who wanted the shortest way to the top.  I estimate I got about half way up the one and a half mile trail.outcrop

But it was nice to be on a green slope for a while.  Here’s a view from part way back toward the parking lot. to parking area

“For Love of Lit” Reading, February 28

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Reblogged from http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com for my local followers.

Sin Fronteras (the organization, not the Journal), in conjunction with Artforms, is sponsoring a poetry reading Saturday, February 28, 1-3 p.m. at the Branigan Cultural Center (Swartz Room), 500 N. Water St. in Las Cruces.  The reading, “For the Love of Lit,” will be part of For the Love of Art celebration.  The following poets will be reading:  Win Jacobs, Michael Mandel, Catherine McGeehan, Lee Ann Meadows, Joseph Somoza, Tim Staley, Gerry Stork, Dick Thomas, Joanne Townsend, Frank Varela, and Ellen Roberts Young.  The reading is free and open to the public.

February has been “For the Love of Art” month in Las Cruces for many years.  This is the fourth or fifth annual “For Love of Lit”  reading.  The readers are local poets who may or may not be connected with the Journal.

Issue #19 of the Journal has just gone to the printer and should be out in about a month.

Ft. Craig, Part II: Long Term Rivalry

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Ft. Craig sits on the western side of the Rio Grande.  In this photo the river is hiding below that dark line, where the land drops to the river’s level, and soon rises to the mesa on the other side.rio grande

To the west, there is mesa for some distance to the mountains.  These mountains are one set of geologically recent protrusions which have pushed up at intervals, scattered across the landscape.  This view is taken from a lookout site at the top of one of the large storage structures.366west warmer

These photos are closer to what I experienced as the color of the land and bushes than the ones I posted in my previous post.

And to the north is Black Mesa.  On the north side of Black Mesa one of the important battles of the Civil War in New Mexico took place.  The site is Val Verde, a set of arroyos and streams that drain into the Rio Grande.  The Confederate troops came up the eastern side of the mesa; the troops from Ft. Craig went up on the western side.black mesa 3.warmer

While the regular soldiers fought, New Mexico Volunteers, led by Kit Carson, held the fort.  The South won the battle, but the New Mexicans would not give up the fort.  The Confederate troops did not have enough resources to lay siege, so they withdrew.

The Battle of Val Verde took place on February 21, 1862.  On March 28 that same year, the Confederates lost a battle at Glorieta Pass, near Santa Fe, and their push to control the west was over.

I wondered why the New Mexicans were so supportive of the government from far away.  I was told it was because the Texans had already made a grab for New Mexico land earlier.

Kit Carson Slept Here (maybe)

Kit Carson Slept Here (maybe)

This rivalry continues.  I heard two instances of it just last week.  In a meeting about education in the state and financing, the new PARCC testing was discussed.  This testing is created by the Pearson company.  How much are they benefitting from adoption of this testing?  The question was asked “How much money is going to Texas?” where Pearson is based.

On another occasion, in a discussion of Voter I.D. laws a researcher, whose work had led a Texas judge to decide against a new law for that state, got a big laugh when he said, “Let’s see what we can learn from Texas.”

New Mexicans around here go down to El Paso often.  Some even work there.  But they still like to put down Texas.  After all, the Texans did try to take our land.

Ft. Craig, Part I: Ruins

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I drove up to Santa Fe to visit the Legislature this past week.  When I make a trip like that I think it is good to mix some pleasure with business, so I stopped at a historic site I hadn’t been to before.  Ft. Craig is near the Rio Grande roughly 100 miles north of Las Cruces.  It is located just south of Black Mesa, which was a landmark from the earliest years of Spanish travel into what is now New Mexico.  The Rio Grande curls around the mesa.

Black Mesa

Black Mesa

Ft. Craig was the largest of several forts built around the time of the Civil War, partly because of the war, partly to secure the area for people moving in to territory which had been acquired by the United States in 1848.  This fort was in use from 1854 to 1885.  Most of the buildings were built of adobe which has collapsed.  A guardhouse was built of stone.guard house

The remaining walls of the commanding officer’s quarters have been covered with material to preserve them.   Paths have been created by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, which has jurisdiction of this property) around the parade ground which doesn’t look like one anymore.

Parade Ground

Parade Ground

Some mounds turn out to be walls.

Wall

Wall

Other walls remind me of Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” poem.  I associate this poem with ruins like this because there are wall long & signmany collapsing territory-marking walls back east in what is now woodland.  “Something there is that does not love a wall,” I used to think as I walked a section of the Appalachian or the Horseshoe Trail.  Yet parts of them persist.storeroom above

Adobe work can be seen in a set of large storage buildings, which were buried in dirt after construction, the only way to keep things cool in hot New Mexico summers.

Storeroom

Storeroom

I took so many pictures I’ll save a few for my next post.  And maybe before then I can figure out how to correct the color in these photos.  The yellow of the grass and the green of the bushes do not come through as they should.  New Mexico is not really this purple.

Anniversary and More

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The Biography

The Biography

Today, February 8 completes three years on this blog.  It has had its busy and its slack times, but I’ve enjoyed it all.

I began this blog to publicize my biography of John Emerson Roberts. This was one piece of an effort which involved a variety of Linked In Groups and even Linked In Ads, as well as connecting with other bloggers.

I named this blog “Freethought and Metaphor” in part because I hoped that I would in

My new poetry collection

My new poetry collection

future have poetry books to advertise – and now I have one.  I realized as soon as I came up with the title that these are indeed two sides of my mind, as my subhead says.  My left brain thinks about ideas and my right brain creates poetic material.  Sometimes these two sides cooperate, sometimes they wander down different trails.  And there are times when my left brain pretends to cooperate but really wants to run the show.  Those times do no produce successful poems.

Humans are bilateral, but who really had only two sides?  A third place where I put my energy is work on hunger and justice issues.  There are disputes about what constitutes justice, but most people agree on what hunger is, even when it is hidden under fancy names like “food insecurity.”

I was delighted to discover Word Soup, an organization which uses poetry to support hungry people by asking for a small donation to their local food bank to accompany submissions.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to combine these two usually separate parts of my mind.  They accepted two of my poems, which can be found at: http://wordsoup.weebly.com/issue-five-february-2015.html

My father-in-law used to count his age not by years completed, but by the year he was in.  He was well into his 99th year when he died.  Today is not the end of three years for this blog.  It is the beginning of the fourth year.  And I plan to keep going, though I have no plan laid out for it.

Please check back to see what I come up with.  And check out my books on the Books page.

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