Monday, September 21, 2015

Spirit Abhors a Vacuum

Great Mullen on Bear Trail

A former friend told me nobody liked me but her. She alone could put up with my aloof personality and separateness. I had a husband who said something similar decades ago. He died recently, alone, in a jail cell. But my mother raised me to believe the naysayers in my life. I seem to seek them out. If this is friendship and love then I prefer to be alone.

I have learned to make friends with myself. And enjoy my own company. Not having someone to meet for lunch does not prevent me from having lunch out. I do not need to go to church, as mother often advised, to meet the right man. As if life is complete only if I did.

I am an introvert. Not a solitary human.

I have found other introverts on my path. And we enjoy walking together from time to time. On yesterday's walk with two friends and three dogs I found myself hanging back to observe. I do that a lot. I was not observing my friends so much as our dogs; our truly best friends. They took the trail sometimes ahead and alone only to turn back and regroup. Hang with another for a part of the trail and then break off to explore the elk bed from the night before. A wonderful almost choreographed dance.

I was also studying the Great Mullen and the thistle. Summer rains have produced an abundance of both. Here and there would be one of these plants all alone by itself and then there would be a great horde of them. I found myself thinking of star clusters and queuing theory. Mother always said I read too much.


Thistle and friend

I think sometimes I see too much. Maybe over think it. Dad said that. It is what makes me an artist, a photographer, and a poet.

The solitary thistle or Mullen plant had small volunteers not too distant as if in a time too slow for us to perceive they were being crept up upon. And Valentine, the butterscotch doodle, after a long loopy run around the humans and other dogs ponced upon Magique, my silver doodle, as if to say, "Hey, remember me? We're pals!" Magique rolled her eyes as if to say, "Pups!"

My friends on the trail up ahead broke off their running conversation on trying to herd cats (organize artists), and stopped to let me catch up. I consider it my role to give them a chance to take a break.

Nature abhors a vacuum. It just doesn't rush to fill it. Well, at least in our sense of time. Or in our preconceived notions of how that looks. A friend responded to my post of the Great Mullen by commenting, in her neck of the woods, they are considered invasive and they are trying to eradicate them. If you take the time to watch you will find they sort of do that themselves. In time. Their time.

It is the Zen way to not fill the silence with your answer but to live in the question.

It was a beautiful day on Bear Trail yesterday. The dogs wore themselves out. Us humans had a rolling conversation about art issues. I got some photos taken. But best thing about yesterday's walk? Everyone turned their phones off or forgot they brought them. Just in case of an emergency. And in those times we paused in the shade you could drink in the quiet. It fills your spirit.

Bear Trail


Saturday, September 19, 2015

And So Came Fall

Aspens turning on distant mountains

Google has given up fonts with serifs. I remember those days with the calligraphy pen practicing the strokes which so naturally gave you serifs. I think I first did that in the seventh grade. I was so proud when I got it right. Now it seems kids do not even learn cursive in school.  And to be honest I love Arial with no serifs the most of all fonts. And my cursive daily looks more like printing. I must acknowledge Penelope, my roommate in college, who taught me prep school script which was actually printing. I practiced it in my first ever journal.

I have a shelf on a book case which contains all the journals I have managed to keep before Y!360 and my first every on line journal. I still love journals and buy them. I have four currently with a page or more written in them. There is the garden journal which I am religious about only in the spring. Time to update it. And then there is my ceremony journal in which I keep records of phases of the moon and effects of Mercury in retrograde. It usually contains a list early in the year of what I want to happen in the year. That makes it a lot like spring in the garden journal. And then there are the books of poetry. My journaling began with poetry after I discovered e.e.cummings. 

My latest poetic journal lies on the computer table just to the right. The garden journal is beside my easy chair. They seem to be waiting for me. I turn poetic in the fall. Fall is late this year. There is usually a day in the midst of August when the smell of the air has changed and it has a fresh chill to it. I think that happened yesterday and by noon it was Indian Summer. The world seems to be slowing down at the same time the days are speeding up.

So very much is going on now. It is as if the change of the seasons has knocked me off my complacency. Time for fall cleaning. Yes, Mom, I do it backwards. Spring comes to the mountains and I rush to the garden. Fall arrives and I must make the inside (and outside) ready for winter. All the blankets need washed and the pantry stocked. The house needs to be cleansed of the clutter of summer; fit to inhabit for the long winter nights. It is when I consider rearranging things. Debating moving the computer back to the studio where I will be able to greet the sunrises. But first the studio must be reordered. Fall is studio time. And time to be out and about with my camera.

Lots of things have moved from the back burner to the front. Some will be recorded in those bound paper journals and some in the electronic journals. I will wax poetic about awesome photos I have taken. And make mention of movement in my life ever wary of Mercury in Retrograde. It has been a wonderful summer and I am looking forward to a very prosperous and creative fall.

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Don't Live There

Shadows and light in Taos

Once again I have been asked about where to live in Taos. And once again I had a difficult time explaining to the friend of a friend that I do not live there. Would not live there.

I lived in Taos County for nine years and so wanted to leave that county I was willing to get a divorce to do so. I live on the other side of the mountain now. I try to explain to people how very different this side is.

The Mountain Between us
We're the wet side. We can drive through the pass to the other side in 45 minutes to an hour. But there is a huge cultural divide between the two sides. Taos was on the Camino Real and settled by the Spanish who took the land from the Native tribes who lived there. Then they enslaved them.

The Moreno Valley was settled by miners at Elizabeth town and homesteaders who took advantage of the 1862 homestead act to settle the Black Lake area and the Moreno Valley grasslands. The Trujillos and Torres built huge ranches by blending their 160 acre homestead plots together. They were invaded by the Texas ranchers who had already overgrazed Texas and came west to overgraze this rich grassland. We had our own version of the range wars. Texas is still invading. They are called tourists.

Meanwhile the New York artists invaded Taos to turn it into an art county.Then fought against the hippies in the 60's. Now they believe they are the only place on earth able to paint and will not allow artists from my side of the mountain to compete in their shows. Even Music from Angel Fire had Taos artists for their posters 33 out of 35 years. The trust fund babies from New York are the last invasion. They say no to all development.

Frankly, I try not even to shop there. Las Vegas has a better Walmart. So does Trinidad. Amazon delivers. And even when I lived in Taos County I shopped Alamosa. Santa Fe is a hell of a lot more fun to visit. Cimarron cheaper. I feel safer in all those places because they have less gangs or none. And they prosecute crimes against women. Taos doesn't.

So why is it I am suppose to know where to live in Taos? Why won't anyone believe me when I say I do not know. Why do they think all residents of New Mexico are Taos wannabes. Hell, I went through my first ten years in Black Lake trying to explain where I lived without mentioning Taos. And when Taos posted signs declaring themselves the Soul of the Southwest I started the rumor if that was so they needed and exorcism. And now the Santa Fe New Mexican is trying to force us to buy the Taos News after closing our newspaper.

I don't live there. I don't want to read about it either.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Revealed Truth on the Road to Raton 123?

The Palisades in afternoon light

Truth is where you find it. It can be in a book or a movie or a short scene from television episode. Or, quite frankly, for me in alone time on the road to Raton. Or maybe the road to Raton is just the processing time I need; the pause to meditate on the signs showing up in my life.

There was this StarTrek episode with Harvey Fenton Mudd as a pimp for women to be wives of miners on a far and distant planet, Mudd's Women. He gives the women pills to transform them into goddesses and it turns out it is really an inside job. How we perceive ourselves is so much a part of how others perceive us. I first saw this show originally decades ago so it has been stashed in the back of my mind for a long time.

Yesterday it joined up with another scene from something I just watched in season four of Longmire. It dealt with a rape victim and how part of her was stolen and she needed to call it back to her to be whole. Nobody could do it for her. It isn't just rape which steals our essence. Abuse, verbal and physical, can do it too. Or just being misused by someone we thought was a friend. Bad marriages, sick friends, the wrong company can all rob us of our power. We can be less than we once were without even knowing it. Until alone on an empty highway driving to Raton.

I had this vision of myself as fat and old. Frankly, I was beginning to look like my mother entirely too much. I had always looked more like Dad. I love clothes and have entirely too many I have not worn lately because I look fatter in them. I was down to the favorite sweats and hoodies. And yet in the last month I have discovered my glad rags again, and ventured forth from my cave. I am always rather surprised when people remember me. I must be infinitely forgettable if I cannot remember who I am.

I am not sure there is a direct or indirect cause and effect but in a little less than four weeks I have lost eight pounds. Last night I dug down in the dress jeans that did not fit ,slated to go to the thrift shop, and pulled out an old favorite. They fit. I also unearthed from the bottom of the closet boots I once loved and forgot. And my power jewelry. I have often thought the pieces I have made or bought from jewelers were talismans which held power for me. When I felt powerless I hid them in boxes.

I am not sure the process is over yet but it has begun.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Play's the Thing



The Play's the Thing

We met in the laundry mat
I was in an off campus apartment
He was in just out of a marriage house.
He invited me to tryouts
for Night of the Iguana.

I didn't much like him
Don't think he liked me
I got a small part and lights
He had a bigger role
A brain and a car.

I first fell in love
with the theater.
The director fell for all I could do
My neighbor was in charge
of delivering me.

I remember my first lines
Spoken in an amateur play
I do not remember our first kiss
The first time we shared a stage
I remember better.

I designed the costumes and sets
for the Importance of Being Ernest
He slept with the ingenue
I did a 20 minute monologue
In Androcles and the Lion.

I played Mercy
In The Crucible
Proctor laid the lead witch
I danced the cast parties
With every actor but him.

Moving in with him
Seemed just another role
A part to be studied
And memorized
Line perfect.

The curtain never came down
I just exited stage right
In the middle of the second act.
The blessed silence
Ringing in my ears.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Professor



A call
to remember things
some best forgotten
from decades
past and gone.

Dead
she said.
Not unexpected news
how and where
was.

A cell
in the county jail.
The child of bright promise
died
a drunk.

A man
at the end 
I thankfully never knew.
I left to avoid
knowing.

The call
became more
about the past 
we knew
not him.

Alone
drunk
in a cell
the professor
died.

Jacqui Binford-Bell
September 1, 2015