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Weaving the Terrain: Southwestern Poems

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Weaving the Terrain0001Weaving the Terrain is a large collection edited by David Meischen and Scott Wiggerman.  It contains 211 poems, by many poets—a minority of the contributors have supplied more than one poem.  The subject matter ranges across the southwestern states and over many themes.  There are plenty of roadrunners, vultures and coyotes, historical moments both familiar and lesser known, and a lot of sand.  There are personal stories as well, events that “just happen” to take place in a southwestern locale.

The full subtitle is 100-word southwestern poems.  This challenge, it turns out, can be met in many ways, by many shapes and styles.  Instead of the usual blurbs on the back cover, the comments are about the interesting project of fitting poems to this measure.  Every hyphen or article changed the word count.  That effort, however, rarely is visible in the finished product.P1010054

I have a poem in this collection.  It’s in the section called “Half-Lives Slowly Ticking” but is primarily about one of those lesser known historical moments, the feud between cattleman Oliver Lee and lawyer Albert Fountain.

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This book seems to me primarily a book for poets, those who will explore the shapes and guess at the choices of various poems.  But I think it might provide much interest to those who imagine the southwest but have never been there.  A gift for prospective visitors?  Dos Gatos Press managed to keep the price for 235 pages of poetry to a reasonable $19.95.P1010059

I’ve illustrated this report with a few native plants from my garden: apache plume, a cactus, and my mesquite tree.  The tree is just leafing out and that is considered a trustworthy sign that it is safe to put out tender annuals.  Frost is over.

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Turn, turn, turn

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Another cross-quarter day, better known as Halloween.  I read somewhere that this is the third harvest, the others coming at Lammas (early August) and the equinox.  Maybe in Europe?  I don’t seem to have much to harvest this year.  In fact it is planting season for Swiss chard, the one vegetable I’ve succeeded in growing here.  But I do have flowers:

P1000985The chamisa and the butterfly bush are flaunting their yellow and red, and yes, fighting for space.  In the side yard the volunteer autumn sage is blooming again:

P1000987Fortunately, it doesn’t mind in the least that I never got around to deadheading the last set of blooms.  As the weather cools I hope to give the garden more attention.

In the summer I was fighting weeds with early morning forays with vinegar and salt.  It seems to work.  My front walk is quite well behaved.  Time to spend more energy on the other sides of the house.  Who was it who commented that something is always happening in a garden?

One Day in Spring

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Not just on one day, but on one trip into the yard with the camera this past week, these different flowers all smiled at me, asking to have their picture taken.

P1000957Purple mat is a small flower which, this year, is here, there and everywhere in my yard, after some years of scarcity.

P1000954The iris came with the house.  That is, a few flat leaves showed up in unexpected places.  I’ve transplanted and fed them.  They seem to like being against the wall.  They take much more work than native flowers, and don’t last as long, but they were an accidental gift, so I keep caring for them.

P1000955No, these are not the same poppies I’ve shown before.  It’s a good year for them, they keep appearing in new spots.

With so little to smile at on the news these days, it’s a good thing we still have flowers.

Happy Equinox

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A few photos to celebrate the arrival of spring.

P1000949I tried to plant something else for the winter in this pot.  It didn’t make it.  These violas don’t care whether it is winter or spring.

 

 

 

The iris came through very well this year:

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They have a cozy corner which gives them a good head start on the season.

This volunteer jumped into bloom when I wasn’t looking.  Another case of the comfort of a wall.  P951 volunteer

And then the poppies.  They turn up wherever they please.

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It’s a new year, astrologically.  A more sensible time for new beginnings, I think, than January 1.   In this spring quarter of the year I hope to have more than photos to put on this blog.  I also hope  these photos make you smile.

The Year Keeps Turning

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Just two weeks ago we had a storm which left the mountains looking like an ice sculpture.  I don’t think we’ll be seeing any more of that this year.p1000941

Now we are half way from the solstice to the spring equinox.  For my favorite cross-quarter day I lit a new white candle in honor of Brigid, goddess of poetry and smithcraft (and all things fiery, I suppose).

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The Pennsylvania groundhog may see six more weeks of winter, but here in southern New Mexico the trees are beginning to bud.  We’re in a stretch of fine weather for walking and hiking, and I’ve just seen my first poppy.  It was in a protected spot along a wall and only half open, but there it was.

What can be said about poppies?

Gluttons for sun,
they shine it back,
closing at night.

They pop up,
not in the same spot,
new every spring.

Poppies.  Spring.
Nothing more
to be said.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

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. . . it’s time to start taking down the ornaments.  We had a unique ornament for the top of our tree this year.

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Is it a star?  Is it an angel?  Maybe it’s both.

This year we also decided, after many years of having no lights outside, to join local tradition and put out luminarias.

p1000936Thanks to son Jack for getting them properly staked among the rocks.  It was quite a job to get them in, and today, on the twelfth and last day of Christmas, it was another job to get them out.

Today begins the season of Epiphany – the light coming into the world – and we are watching for light coming sooner in the mornings.

More from Bali

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A broken hip and rehab are part of the reason it has been so long between posts.  I still have a good number of thoughts about and pictures of my visit to Bali which I hope to share.

Rather than eat breakfast at the restaurant at my hotel, I read about several coffee shop type places a few blocks away.  This gave me a chance to learn something about the neighborhood as I walked out and back each morning.  I found that religion, mostly Hinduism, is omnipresent.

There are temples in the middle of town, enclosed and not open to foreigners.

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More intimately, households often have shrines and put out offerings in small paper “dishes.” In one case these offerings were made to a statue of Buddha.

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Some households or shops have Hindu shrines where offerings are set out.

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Sometimes offerings like these are placed on the sidewalk in front of a door.  One must pay attention to where one walks – however the unevenness of sidewalks already made this necessary.  Construction sites and debris also made the route I took less than elegant. I learned that “Ati Ati” means danger, as in “danger: construction zone”.  The Balinese script is found in some museums, but has elsewhere been replaced by the western alphabet.

In a shop at another site, the offering was placed on top of fruit for sale, making it safe from missteps by passers-by.

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These offerings must fade quickly but I rarely saw one that looked bedraggled.  They are clearly important to their makers.

 

 

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