Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Late Years Sixteen

Photo of Bald Eagle near Jordan Lake Dam by Doc. Ellen, DVM

The Late Years Sixteen, February 17, 2019

You are the flower of my aging heart,
always there, in person or by email.
I called you my support system. More 
than that. Like you see into Wag’s soul, 
quiet and reclusive though she is, and
into the hearts of the eagles that keep
an eye on you while you check on
their precious nests and even attend
your public talks on eagle lore, you see
into mine. Yes, despite my suffering
when his love claimed mine, and yet
so much we had to let go, you understand
my contentment nearly thirty years
later, when our story will take its
destined place in the history of our
two warring cultures. I said, “I’m so
glad I found you in my older years, 
and you echoed the thought. Love 
becomes eternal in such moments.
Years aren’t necessary. Certain
instants in a long life when time 
stands still are all we need.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Late Years Fifteen

This is a view of the Black River in the Taiga (wild forest) in the Mezha District of the state of Kostroma, where I was taken in 1992 to see the area of Mikhail Bazankov's rodina or birth place. 

The Late Years Fifteen February 10, 2019

This week I proofed the first long 
chapter of my love story. He’s gone.
I’m alive. His sons and his wife live.
I live, to tell our story, our history.
At times we wanted to forget, to
escape our love. We tried and failed.
It plunged us too deep, well below
consciousness, where the Muse
dwells, and the inmost truth of our
being. Later this week, the world
will know all the details. Maybe
some of the hate will subside. What
need is war and making souls into
enemies? We got past all that at the
end of the twentieth century. Now
we have to relearn it. I lost him, but
the words still live. Those movements
thirty years ago that taught us the
permanence of love when soul is
drawn to soul. That won’t disappear
even when I die, but I have some 
years yet, and three more books
to put out into the world. We ached.
We rebelled. We hurt each other,
but we couldn’t let go. We didn’t.
Our story, our history now rests 
like those suffering ancients did

in the stars.

Baba Summer Part One will be published on February 16, 2019. This is the first of four memoirs about my experiences in the 90s in writer exchanges getting to know Russian people. I knew that Adelaide Books of New York City was to publish it this year, but I learned only earlier this week that it was to come out February 16, 2019. That’s a week away, folks. It might be a couple of weeks before I get the books I’ve ordered, but feel free to send in checks now for a signed copy.

Paper: ISBN-13:968-1-949680-74-9 $22.30, with tax, $24. With postage: $26 from Judy.
E-book, ISBN-10: 1949180-74-3. $9.77.

You can also buy it from the Adelaide Books website, and see some comments on my writing from Susan Broili.

Baba Summer, Part One (520 pages) is a memoir by writer Judy Hogan of her first visit in August 1990 to Soviet Russia as part of a Durham, NC Sister Cities Writing Exchange with the Writers Organization of Kostroma, a city which had been closed to Americans during the Cold War.  In diary, and letters with her new Russian friends, she shares her experience, not only of falling in love with her partner in the exchange, Mikhail Bazankov, but also of many other new bonds she made with Russians: a nationally known painter, a school teacher, a translator and proof-reader at the VAAP copyright agency, and a student of philosophy.  Hogan learned to speak, read, and write Russian so as to enhance communication with her new friends.  The exchanges and their mutual projects continued through 2001, and Hogan anticipates publishing another three volumes of diary, narrative, letters, and poetry.  She names the twelve years of her intensive experience with Russians as the most important event of her eighty-one years.  This book begins in August 1990 and ends in June 1992.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Late Years Fourteen

My orchid when it was young.

The Late Years Fourteen  February 3, 2019

We met in a Baptist Church. Some of us are
church-goers, some of us are not. We had a 
prayer from Debbie–non-denominational.
We introduced ourselves. We were nine,
with our two lawyers. They were eight, with
their staff and lawyers. The Christian rule
is to love your enemies. First, we talked
briefly, each of us about our concerns.
Then we went over the history of what 
happened in court over the five years.
So far, we’ve both won and lost. So have
they. The appeals court said we had to
start all over, go back to the beginning,
but we all chose mediation. The mediator
was kind and respectful, treated us all
well. First, he listened to us. Everyone got
a chance to speak. Then he took our list
to our enemies to see if they could agree
to any of our wishes. Meantime we ate
a potluck lunch and rested. They’d 
brought sandwiches and ate in their designated 
rooms. The mediator returned with three
of our wishes granted, all minor, and yet
a good sign if our enemies could yield in 
small ways. We think they don’t want to
go back to court. As the afternoon wore
on, they never yielded on the big things. Our 
lawyer proposed having a break of several 
months, when more information would be
available, and they agreed. As the clock
moved toward five, we all wanted to leave. 
We said goodbye and shook hands. If we
didn’t exactly love our enemies, we did
respect them more than we had before, and 

we hope they came to respect us.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Late Years Thirteen

My figs back in August 2011. They've been hurt in recent years by late frosts, but they're still alive.

The Late Years Thirteen January 27, 2019

After Julia Kennedy’s Bijoux 12 painting

It’s the way my life is now. Some days
pale blue, threatening to turn pink like
the clouds at sunrise. Then next thing I
know, a darker blue, with streaks of 
very dark navy blue. These years have
their triumphs when I break a dead limb
off a still vibrant fig tree or the hen
whose become a successful escape
artist, trusts me enough to wait on the porch
rail at the back door for me to open the
coop and let her back in. Other days the 
light blue darkens to nearly black. I lose 
people who were always there, who
helped me in a pinch. Or I fall in the
night, reaching for the light switch. I
walk slowly, deliberately, keeping
an eye on the path lest I stumble,
but every now and then, before I
can re-balance, I’m down. Somewhere
though, just beyond, the clouds are
pink, and that’s my destination. I do
all I can do, and I still walk without
a cane. My health holds. The people
I love love me, forgive me my 
forgetfulness and my stubborn streak.
I’ll take the pale blue as skybluepink 
and imagine that more rewards will

arrive while I’m still alive.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Late Years Twelve

Photo taken by Sanford Herald  reporter Kathryn Trogdon back in April 2015, before a hearing for permission to dump coal ash in Lee and Chatham County. Two people in this photo have either died in 2018 or are sick with cancer now.

The Late Years Twelve January 20, 2019

Mediation? Find a middle ground?
There is no such place. We were
wronged. They forced killing ash
on us, sent it through the air off
their trucks and trains: arsenic, lead,
Chromium Six, Silenium, radioactive
ash. Tiny invisible particles we’ve
breathed in that went straight to our
brains, leaked into the groundwater,
poisoned the earth where our wells
were sunk centuries ago. Babies,
the unborn, our elderly, at risk, and 
this land has been poisoned many
times before by the old Cape Fear
Steam plant, by the particle board
manufacturer, by the company that
made seatbelts. Ten factories along
the Haw and the Cape Fear Rivers.
The trains and trucks roaring past our 
homes. We could not leave. We had
no money to leave, and who would 
want what we loved: our homes
belonging once to our ancestors, back
to slavery times? Once there were
plantations, and before that, land
grants. Now mainly factories here,
thousands of workers, a few homes. 
Down our two-lane roads the trucks
come and go, leaving their poison.
The wind blows, the water moves
above and below ground. We have
been sacrificed. No more! You got
into our midst. Now, leave, but before

you go, clean up your mess.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Late Years Eleven

Let’s stop the poisoning of our water, our air and the Neuse River! Let’s hold Duke Energy accountable for the devastation they have done and continue to do to our community! This poisonous coal ash has caused cancer, heart conditions, respiratory conditions and so much other sickness and even death in our community. We must protect our families! Please join us!

From our friends in Goldsboro fighting against Duke Energy, advertising their next meeting of the Down East Coalition. They also are to have a "Star" processing plant, as are we here in Moncure. We worry about the Haw and the Cape Fear River. We already have had 7 million tons of coal ash dumped in our community. Now they want to poison the air with a Star processing plant that pollutes every time it is turned on or off.
The Late Years Eleven January 13, 2019

The rain pours down. The mud from
earlier drenchings had finally dried,
but this is our year to get rain and more
rain. The rivers were still over their
banks. My dog hesitates, then plunges
into it. She accepts the towel when she
comes back in. For me it means
another day inside. Time to accept
what I can’t change. My age, too.
I debate how much I can reasonably 
do, what I need to postpone or cancel.
My days have their limits, and yet I
do still write and publish books. I still
fight our oppressors, Duke Energy
among them. The governor has failed
us. The state environmentalists ignore
our truth and deny our sufferings. We
still have voices, and we still own
the truth. None of our enemies take
it up. They pretend they can’t hear us.
They have their bag of tricks and never
tire of bringing them out. So they give
an unpublicized Open House instead of
a publicized open hearing. But truth
will out, and the death toll grows. Wear
your gas masks and wait. More flooding
will come and prove how wrong they are.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Late Years Ten

My garden okra August 2011 after Hurricane Irene.

The Late Years Ten  January 6, 2019

I have to measure everything I do,
take rests between chores, quit my
writing work early, be careful not to
exhaust myself, or my heart will race,
my nose will bleed. If I’ll miss lunch,
I take a snack. And here is January. 
I long for my garden, and it’s time
to order seeds. Maybe I can plant peas. 
Day by day, twenty minutes a day, 
pull out the weeds, untangle them 
from the sign-holders I propped the 
peas with; cut the strings that held up 
the tomato cages. Fix the gate so it closes 
tightly; rescue the thyme and oregano, 
if they’re still there, and the self-heal.
Probably the soil is still fertile if I can 
get down to it. Add some compost 
and feather meal, some wood ashes 
from the stove. I think my days would 
balance better. Most of the time I hold
my own, do my inside chores, sleep 
well, make headway, hour by hour on 
my new book about aging. What can 
an old woman do? If I could have
garden peas and beets, tomatoes, beans, 
and okra to eat, I’d feel rich again. 
My twenty minutes a day  might make 

a miracle. Worth trying.