Saturday, July 14, 2018

Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon

One of my favorite lines from Pirates of the Caribbean. And very good advice for anyone, but especially for those living close to nature and far from emergency help. Or vacationing here. Between my father with his survival training, training as a pilot, and living and working in an area surrounded by mountains and forests I am probably more alert to my surroundings than the average. And that is before adding the photographer part.

All that is probably also why I have never bonded with my cell phone, which is an antiquated flip phone with no bells and whistles. And I cannot see me ever getting a smart phone. Frankly, they are dumb, because if you are zoned in on taking that selfie you are unaware of the cliff behind you. Or the smoke filling the horizon, or the massive thunderhead building uphill on the trail you are following.

Setting off for a slot canyon hike south of Kodachrome State Park in Utah my sister and I were busy strapping on camera bags and clipping on water bottles when we noticed the top of a thunderhead just over the sandstone ridge where we would soon be following a path at its base. We reversed our preparations at great haste. Tossed cameras and water back in the vehicle and set out for pavement. We got off the slick rock (which turns to mud when rain is added) just as the first huge drops of rain began to fall.

Yesterday I stood on my deck and photographed the clouds in the photo above when the first drops hit the deck. Within ten minutes I had gotten the first half inch of rain. I received a total of an inch and a half in less than an hour, and received a "back call" from emergency services instructing all Ute Park Residents to shelter in place due to the flooding. I don't live in Ute Park. They are downhill and down stream from me.

I don't know if the clouds which rained on me rained on Ute Park as they moved along. It isn't necessary for the rain to fall where you are. Anywhere up hill from you can also cause flooding. And if you live in the mountains there is a lot of uphill to consider. And a lot of downhill to be concerned about. Ute Park is on a massive burn scar from the Ute Park Fire. Without trees and bushes to hold back the water and soil flash floods are a fact of life during monsoon season.

The key word in Flash Flood Warning is flash. A British internet friend asked me how long it took for my land to absorb this water in the picture above and I responded that it moved too fast for me to know. The water is on its route to the stream which runs through the back part of my property downhill from my house. And from there it goes in the Coyote Creek and into the Mora Watershed. Mora is surrounded by a lot of mountains. It may or may not have gotten rain but it got water. I do know the temporary stream above was gone within an hour of the rain quitting.  

Put the smart phone in your pocket and keep a weather eye on the horizon.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Noisy Mind

Noisy sky is a term in landscape photography. It makes a landscape more interesting. And is especially helpful in black and white depictions. A clear or quiet sky is often minimized in a landscape. Obviously 2/3rds of the photo in just an awesome turquoise is not optimal and so framing of the image should include less of the quiet sky. Though there are exceptions to all rules.

But I digress. The subject of this Dark Times Journal edition is a noisy mind. Not a noisy sky. This is about stress and not the perfect landscape.

And how to achieve a quiet mind. Photography or painting used to achieve that for me. But I seem to have problems of focusing on either because of the noise and the stress. I can blame the noise on the situation Trump has created, the necessity I feel to resist his goals, a busy summer schedule, my addiction to multi-tasking, etc. Or simply that I have forgotten how to clear my mind and breathe.

Friends have advised to watch less news, but that is not a viable alternative for me. My noisy mind seems to obsess about what might be going on I am unaware of like New Mexico leaving the union or the Handmaid's Tale becoming a non-fiction book. And that adds to stress. And stress makes my post closed brain trauma mind forget things. The more I forget the more stress. Vicious circle.

Be Here Now by Ram Das was one of the bibles of my youth. As well as Chop Wood and Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf. Somewhere in my recovery and learning to be competent and achieve things I forgot to practice mindfulness and focus on my present task. So time to seek to quiet my mind again for at least some segment of each day.

Mother would have called this my bouncing off the walls mode. I prefer runs with scissors. That was what they put on report cards before HAADD was invented and medicated. Nobody will benefit if I totally lose my mind.

Been colliding with a lot of signals and messages leading me back to my Zen practice days. Time to be here now and listen.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Book of Lists

I am forever writing lists.
Things to do
Books to read
Movies to watch.
Groceries and shopping lists.

I am forever losing lists.
Leaving them home
When off to the store
Wondering why
I ever started that.

I am forever using lists
as bookmarks
filling the back side
with another list
Making them a spread sheet.

And so at last
I began a book
A book of lists
Some done
Some to be done.

I am forever adding 
to my book
of lists.
Long or

Today I felt inspired to begin another to be done list which included things long not done. It seemed I finally had a plan for finishing that project. And so I did not lose that list I also began my book of lists. Or at least officially Christened it. Lying around on the coffee table was a journal never begun to which I had entered photos to be printed, and  on another page movies friends recommended, and below that books to read.

Such an idea. One place to look for all those lists. A book which held them all. Seemed it would save a lot of time. Time I could use to complete all those lists. Or begin another.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Confession Time

In my radical youth there were so many causes to be involved in from abortion to civil rights to the draft to the ERA to freedom of speech to Vietnam to the President's right to declare war. And it seemed at times so few of us fighting because we had college and new careers and marriages and babies. You could at the time avoid the draft if you were in college, then in college and married, and then in college, married, and a parent. Many a coed sacrificed herself.

And then none of that worked. Vietnam just sucked all the young men away to become cannon fodder. Birth control at the time was condoms. All else was illegal unless you were married. And one of the biggest black market drugs around was birth control pills. And if a married college friend found herself pregnant to save her husband she gave you her script. They came without instructions. And so almost as many young women got pregnant on them as those not taking them.

And abortion was illegal. 

Mind you that did not prevent you seeking one out. My college had a medical school. My roommate was premed. And she shared there was no reason to use a coat hanger. You could force a miscarriage by taking double the birth control pills for ten days and then stopping. And for the next three days doing everything active you could. Participation in gymnastics soared.

Then you either wound up in the emergency ward because of excessive bleeding or had your doctor check you in for a D&C or you wound up in the morgue. This was billed safer than the classic knitting needle which was more upper class than the coat hanger. And cleaner than Juarez, Mexico, though some went there for the D&C. You had to have a fake ID so you didn't require parental permission. And you, under no conditions, wanted to go the college infirmary. A weekend away was desired so you had to have permission (most likely forged) to spend the weekend off campus. And you had to have a friend to go with you in case you passed out on the hotel bathroom floor. A friend who knew to take you to that emergency room.

I went to Boulder, Colorado with my college roommate. I will forever remember that hotel room. And later I would be the companion for other friends. It wasn't that we wanted an abortion. It was that we did not want to be pregnant. There was so much to do (see paragraph one) and being pregnant would prevent ALL of that. And especially graduating from college. We were going to college to get degrees; not a prelaw husband.

Bottom line is laws don't stop abortions. They kill women who don't want to be pregnant just then. When a years later I shared with my mother what I had done she shared losing her best friend because of an illegal abortion. And she made me promise to make safe and legal abortion a priority in my causes. It went with the Equal Rights Amendment.

And it strikes me as Trump and the GOP get to remake the Supreme Court that women still do not have equal rights. And they want to take away the right to control our bodies. Make our own choices. And the young women today have never known the horrors we lived through. And they don't have all our "folkways" experience shared in the dorms.

Yes, it is easier to be pregnant and unmarried these days but Trump is also cutting of insurance for pre-existing conditions (pregnancy), and birth control to prevent that, and access to affordable women's clinics.

Are you ready for the blood bath? 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Failure to Communicate

Some days
Are so heavy
I want to hide
 it all
into the

 This has been one of those weeks. What seems so very clear to me seems so absurd to others. And what they say seems to make sense to them but reaches no connection in my soul or heart. Clearly there is a disconnect. A total failure to communicate. So why is everyone continuing to talk? I want to ask them what they want for lunch. Pizza or hamburgers?

That is where hostage negotiators begin. With the simple stuff. Coke or Pepsi. But in this day and age I fear even those simple questions are not simple. Asking them could lead to bigger verbal wars. I know people in the south which define friends on the basis of Coke or Pepsi. You are obviously a northerner and ergo an enemy if you like Coke.

And where do I, who likes water or coffee, fit in that paradigm. It classifies me as a bleeding heart liberal an acquaintance recently pronounced and I felt absolutely no reason to continue the conversation.

Was a conversation even possible. Are all these people talking or delivering their talking points even capable of conversation. Nobody seems to be listening. Maybe we need to come up with a paper on listening points. Will anyone read it. Can they read.

Note: If you know the answer or do not expect an answer, if it is a rhetorical question you do not need to use a question mark at the end of a sentence.

The news is filled with questions nobody wants to answer or is capable of answering. Even hamburger or pizza.

I talk to the rocks
they talk 
to me.
What they say
in my life.

More sense
than the echos
of people
as they walk.

with talking points
of their lives.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Their Reality is Not my Reality

Looking Beyond My Windows

It is never wise to watch too much news or spend too much time on Facebook. Even have changed my streaming fiction choices. I don't like violence on documentaries about Hitler. Even Star Wars, once a favorite, now gives me the chills especially when the droids march in huge numbers.

Just before I got off of Facebook today I watched a short link about Trump's rally last night. Mistake. And they interviewed a couple of his loyal following and they were in tears about how WE were treating HIM. And they seemed to believe the whole child separation thing was the fault of Obama. 

Do they read? Do they watch anything but Fox News? Do they listen to anyone other than a Republican talk?

But then because of the hateful things they say I have gotten rid of all my Trump voting friends. And about 2.5 minutes is the max I can listen to Trump without throwing up. I tried to watch Fox News just to see what the other side was saying. I was afraid I would be brain washed by the brainless. Do not even look at the polls. The GOP is now predicting a Red Wave instead of a Blue Wave.

I have only one question? How awful does it have to be in central America that that many people are seeking asylum here? That is the stuff of nightmares.

But the good news, if there is good news, is I no longer blame the German people for Hitler. It is now so easy to see how they were compromised. And I totally understand the rise in suicides in the United States.

Just wanted to say that before signing off of the Internet. I think I am going to watch Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries again tonight. And why not eat another bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


The Offending Fountain

It all began with the fountain which stopped working well. The pump obviously needed cleaned. It is always a random arrangement of rocks and shells and broken pots. Nothing you could find at Jackalope. And taking it apart and beginning again always causes a mess. A mess which must be cleaned up. And that led to moving the plant bench. And then clean behind that. And at last it was possible to refinish the window sills. And then the windows needed cleaned.

That is not the story but the excuse for getting entangled in Facebook again. High drama with the whole internment camps for kids on the border and where were the girls and babies. They seem to be gone.

When I could not stand another horrid story I escaped to sanding sills, or staining them or applying polyurethane to them. High energy because I was so pissed. And so anxious because of all the unresolved memories and issues. But the friends on FB became group therapy for me.

I spent more time than I thought I had. More time than I wanted. I exceeded my self-imposed limits. But not time wasted because it was like an online therapy session. And you cannot deny how much I got done.

All which brings up another use for Facebook: I coffee break. An excuse to sit down and take a breath not far from the work site. Doesn't work as well with gardening but great for cleaning the room where the laptop sits.

But here is the good news. I recognized the entanglement with the drama on FB. Awareness is the first step to changing. And I did not sit numb in front of the computer screen. I got things done.