Sunday, July 29, 2018

Shadows Sixteen

Zinnias and Cosmos 2014. We have them again in 2018

Shadows Sixteen July 22, 2018

The storm hit us at three-twenty and
knocked out the power. I found my
flashlight, and Tim found his. We got
candles lit. The sky bloomed light, but 
the thunder was slow to follow. Tim 
slept, and I waited for the storm’s further
withdrawal after the lights returned.
Normal life is back. My zinnia garden
lavishes color; the chicks grow plump
and feathered. The old dead oak that
worries us is still standing. The wind
didn’t harass the flowers. Every morning
I see pink and purple morning glories
seven feet off the ground, having
climbed up the sunflower stalks. I
Read Maslow’s being love again.
It’s why I stayed calm when my nose
bled, when my heart rushed, and I
had to sit quietly until it ceased to
panic. Can we heal because we’re
happy? I think so.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Shadows Fifteen

Our first zinnia in 2018

Shadows Fifteen July 15, 2018

I was afraid my heart would rebel
and keep me from leading a workshop
on writing poetry. My friend had said
to rest more. I had things to do,
but I did stop to rest. Then six people
came to learn what I knew about
poetry. “What is a poem?” I asked.
They suggested it was condensed
words, that it was like a stream running
through the soul. I told them the
fourth grader’s understanding: “A poet
is someone who writes poetry, someone
who loves all living things.” I told
them about Homer’s Muse, about
the Old Testament prophets who
cried: “The Word of the Lord came 
to me.” About how words could seem
to take off, and the deeper mind to
throw up words we weren’t expecting.
I mentioned Jacques Maritain’s hexis–
a gift we have in our unconscious
that we need to take care of and
listen to. If the poem starts in the
grocery store, make more room
in your life for the Muse. Then I 
asked them to write a simple poem,
and they all did, even the librarian.
To my surprise, they all read their
new poems. They trusted me and
each other enough on very short
acquaintance. My heart behaved and
was quieted. Another unexpected gift.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Shadows Fourteen

Judy in her writing corner July 2018.

Shadows Fourteen July 8, 2018

Our days cool ten degrees–what a change.
I pull on a long-sleeved shirt. The chicks
need their heat lamp. My son walks his
dog in the cool evening air. My body
inches its way back to normal. I am
still Judy Hogan. I can walk at the dam
again. I laugh telling tales of when I
took those in power so much by surprise
that they changed their tune. When I
fill their feeders, I stop to watch the
chicks run to the new feed or sit
placidly to watch. I load my new
book files onto the website for printing
them. I ask help from old and new
friends, and they come through. So
many things in my everyday life feel 
like miracles. I tell myself, yes, I did
the groundwork, I established the
trust, yet I am still surprised. Who
knew age could have so many
miracles even as my power wanes. I 
never did demand acclaim, only the 
opportunity to send my words out 
on the world’s waters for strangers
to read, revel in, and meditate on 
the truth they hold in their hands.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Shadows Thirteen

Vera Belikh's painting of Volga, boats, and church, at Tver
Shadows Thirteen July 1, 2018

Another hot day lives outside
my window. I’m healing slowly.
I’ll soon be able to care for the
chicks again. Two more days.
They live in the coop now in
their own “room,” only rarely
need the heat lamp. I’ll be able to
fill their feeders and waterer;
make sure their heat lamp is on
in the cool night air. My spirit
staggered under the command
to heal or bleed. I healed. Now
it’s time to find my feet again,
resume my chores, my daily
walk, live without deranging
fear, trust my heart to keep its
steady pace, my limbs to carry
me, my Muse to speak and comfort

me and others at the same time.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Shadows Eleven

Photo of my White Rock hens several years ago, by John Ewing

Shadows Eleven June 17, 2018

A friend who is four years older,
still working hard with mower 
and chainsaw, had a stroke. It’s
what the doctors worry about
with me. I’ve eased off the hard
physical labor, but I still carry
water to the hens, rake, hoe, and
plant seeds, dig out weeds. I wrote
a new novel in April and May, and
now I type it. I cook and clean,
but I rest when I’m tired, still sleep
hard at night, avoid high heat days.
The body has its signals, tells me
to ease up, take a break, but it
doesn’t mean I can’t still do most
things. And my muse is still lively. 
I notice small signs, read the souls
of others better than they know or
want to know. Wesley surprised
me. His early love not dead at
eighty-one, his fantasy still alive;
mine, locked in memory. Most
loves faded or fell silent. Only 
one burns bright still and, like
a sun in the underworld, 
outshines all the lesser ones.