Hola Del Cabo

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I haven’t been blogging much lately, one reason being eight weeks of an arm cast complete with pins, which were all recently and successfully removed.  And then I got on a plane for Cabo with one goal: enough daily physical therapy to remind my immobilized arm and fingers how to work and play with friends once more.

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So far, so good.

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So blue and beautiful.

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All the news of home we read is extreme: the Polar Vortex, according to the weatherman. and ‘life threatening temperatures.’    One more day of warmth…                                                                        Another reason I haven’t been posting much is that I want to do longer, deeper pieces, but in this environment, there’s nothing more exciting than the temperature, whale sightings, fresh fish, healing, water ten times a day, a little shopping in the charming village of San Jose del Cabo.  Not very eventful, except perched up on this mountaintop in an infinity pool, literally hanging off the edge of Mother Earth’s nether regions in southern Baja, I sometimes imagine the possibility of an earthquake, even a little quiver set off by an innocent sneeze. I don’t stay there long in my mind because it’s a little too relaxing here, but as you read these words, you must know the fragility of life is never forgotten by me.

Fragments on the Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve got bones on the brain, a cast on my arm, nothing to do but forensically comb through buried memories of the subject of bones.  Winter with broken bones seems apt.  Every stark landscape, the bare trees, frost on windows, they all remind me of bones, bones, bones…

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Still in Missouri in the early eighties, I was visiting St. Louis with Martin Griffin.  He’d quickly pulled the car over in an impoverished neighborhood at a tire shop made of faded black tar paper draped like aging skin over a wooden frame.  The outside of the building was encrusted with chrome plated steel discs, made from an array of hub caps from decades of different cars.  “Folk art,” Martin said as he left the car with his Nikon around his neck.

When Martin wasn’t back in the few minutes I assumed it would take, I fished out a current copy of The New Yorker from my purse and read a short article before I realized how long I’d been waiting for his return.

When he plopped in the driver’s seat, he reported that the guy who owned the shop came outside.  An older African-American in oily overalls, he demanded that Martin get off his property.  Martin convinced him that he admired the creative spectacle of his garage and they engaged in a playfully antagonistic conversation that ended with the old man saying, “You know, when you die, your skin is going to turn as black as mine.”  And Martin answered, “Yeah, and when you die and there’s no skin left at all, your bones will be as white as mine.”

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It wasn’t until I was an adult before I gave the bones much thought.  They have little symbolism here but great significance in other cultures.  I remember a character from Gabriel Garcia Marquez in One Hundred Years of Solitude, who carries the bones of deceased loved ones around in heavy suitcases.  It made such an impact, all these years later, it’s the only thing from the book I recall with any clarity.  Travels in Mexico introduced me to Day of the Dead, which is actually three days that begin at midnight on October 31st.  Miniature skeletons are on display, for sale all over that colorful country: skeletons cooking, wearing wedding gowns and top hats, dancing, children skeletons playing, sleeping, doing all the same activities of those still going through life in flesh and blood.  For The Day of the Dead, an altar is set up for the spirits to visit their loved ones.  It’s a festival of  communication and celebration of one’s ancestors.  In Mexico, the skeleton brings life and death together as one.  In the United States, it symbolizes death and is something to fear.

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Rather than wait for my mother;s ashes to be delivered, my sister Melanie I drove directly to the crematorium to retrieve them before our flight back to New York. It was a crisp southern Missouri February day. The weight of her life on my lap in the front seat of the car was so real, I had to place her behind me. It didn’t seem right to leave her alone back there, but the dense gallon size cardboard box of ash and crushed bone was more than I could bear.  It screamed of a larger than life woman with huge impact on those who crossed her flaming path, and every ounce of the remaining box said ‘This is what’s left of your mother.’  It was considerable, yet dead.

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As an avenue to entwining these fragments on the subject of bones, I read that the DNA in the bones is destroyed by cremation.  They represent so much more than calcium and marrow that stand and move as a living armature: they contain information, are formed by, and inform the life we lead.  Case in point: The Cheddar Man, a 9,000 year old skeleton discovered in a cave in 1903 in southern England, and it turns out his DNA was perfectly intact. Ninety years later, researchers analyzed a tooth from his head and found a maternal strain that matched a living school teacher in the area.  They weren’t exactly a tribe of nomads.

Blithely making it through a tomboy-tree-climbing-childhood without breaking any bones, I remember twinges of jealousy when a peer came to school in a cast.  It was a badge of honor.  And all the sympathy and signatures that came with the condition…  Fortunately, that was then and this is now and now demands consideration.

Turning to Revelations for a New Millennium by Andrew Ramer for enlightenment, there is a chapter on the symbol of the major bones of the body.  The arms represent expression of creativity and intention.  The ulna is the Creative Measure bone and the radial is the bone of Creative Expression.  As I type one handed, both those bones are in the miraculous process of mending while I dig deep to make sense out of a fall on the ice on an upstate country road.  I’m getting there, forming theories as I do all the things to encourage cellular growth: energy work, imaging straight, elegant, lovely bones that serve the rest of my precious life and times.

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Official Announcement

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As I sit perched upstairs at The Ledge on a snowy day,  contemplating the close of another year, I know in my bones it’s time to announce a change in my blog.   Photos and short lines of poetic prose have served Wild Nature well, but as a writer of a certain age who has so many stories inside, I want to write more.  That means upcoming short pieces with only a photo or two.  The challenge in this change is finding the balance of brevity and juicy depth that keep me as a writer and my readers engaged, yet not overwhelmed.  So now I’ve said it out loud with the intention to begin soon…with a Christmas party story where I met Ruby Flame, a drag queen in the early 80’s: Springfield, Missouri.                                    Thanks to all of you for the inspiration to keep it new.

Our Unisphere

As the world came together in the wake of the typhoon, a fog of grief for the people and homes lost to the highest winds ever recorded left me limp, without language, and unable to write a frivolous phrase.

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There have always been natural disasters, but veiled by commerce, war, and an exploding population,

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The earth requires great consideration In order to support the vast life upon it.

IMG_6477She holds every one of us, our children, our dogs, our trees, our food, water, and reflected back to us is what we do and are not doing.IMG_6449

In the name of our Unisphere, we must come together to do more.

A Day of Tripled Importance

Not only is it a glorious day of fall

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As well as Day of the Dead celebrating those who left before us.

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It’s the titan in my life’s birthday: Ron Canal.

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Over years of shoes on Ron’s feet,

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In locales all over the world,

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I have photographed them in action, in pose, in passing,

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Always in the back of my mind his burial instructions.

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When the crushing day comes, for Ron is loved fiercely by many, including me, he says he wants an open casket.  But not open at the head: it’s to be open at the feet where he intends to sport a pair of clown shoes.

   I can only hope I don’t live to see this, that I might humbly go before him, hopefully with language as my legacy.  Language and laughs, which is much of what has kept Ron and I bound for all these many years.                                                                                                                                                                                Ron, may your feet and the rest of you be healthy for many years to come, your life be spent feeling loved, and may your birthday be all you imagined.  Even better than your planned last laugh from the other side.

A Ghoul’s Lament

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This past week, writing has been daunting,

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Leaving me scorned by the mighty pen,

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Floating unanchored,

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As if a branch of skills is screaming for attention.

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The haunting question remains: how does one not use the blood of blogging as a distraction from the longer pieces that are boiling through my brain, begging for mercy to be written.

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Without discipline for simultaneous both, I’ll end up a speechless ghoul.

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A telltale, but fading heart,

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In the sad, sad life of a writer.

October Blush

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Where the sun in clouds meets the moon in sky,

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And mix once more in water,,

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As the broomstick of Wicked Winter winds down the hours,

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  I navigate the awe of Fall.   And oh what a ride it is.

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Pondering the speed of seasons, Mother Earth blushes.

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                         Time ticks away like an old fashioned double bell alarm clock.  I think,                                            Whew!  Hang on and Tick Tock!’

Before you know it, before you imagine it will happen to you, it will most assuredly be.            And nothing is a better reminder of the fleet of life than the colorful days of autumn.

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