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Posts Tagged ‘shadows & light’

Solstice - 20131220_205919

Winter Solstice Fire (What I Bring Into The Light), Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Winter Solstice
darkness reigns

light turns a corner




She placed last year’s Yule branches into the ring, shook drifts of snow off the woodpile. Four boots, two drums, two rattles. No wind drifted off the cattails, stiff in the frozen pond. She watched for fox; maybe he would approach the chicken carcass and fatty skin, leftovers from soup stock made earlier that morning. The neighbors’ windows glowed—holiday lights, TV screens, reading lamps. The air was an eerie blue, foggy and wet.

She wanted to let go of the death of her father. She wanted to let go of all the the things she would never be able to ask. She wanted to let go of thinking it was her. Others let go, too, circles upon circles. Drums, rattles, chants.

Morning now. Her hair smells of smoked birch and charred cedar. Her dreams were deep and dark. Her heart is lighter.

Solstice 2 - 20131220_205933

Charred Dreams (What I Leave Behind), Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




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Fire For The Autumn Equinox, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






What matters to her,
after all is said and done—

long walks in the rain;
sparks to light the blackened night;
a place to spread her ashes.






Fire 1 20130921_221742

Embers — After All Is Said & Done, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2013, photo © 2013 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, October 12th, 2013

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Northern Spark kicks off on Saturday, June 8th, at 8:58pm in Lowertown St. Paul, Minnesota. This will be our third year attending Northern Spark (a little history of the Nuit Blanche movement in this piece). Last year we stayed awake from dusk to dawn, and ended our night viewing the sunrise from the top of the Foshay Tower. It’s more difficult than you think to stay awake all night, an insomniac’s dream!

Here’s a link to Northern’s Spark’s full schedule and two more to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Last year we downloaded the Northern Spark app on our Droids and highly recommend it. The slideshow is a glimpse into our night walk around Minneapolis at last year’s Northern Spark, and at a pre-Spark gathering the week before. We are looking forward to Lowertown, St. Paul. It’s a gift to share the night, the light, and the Arts in community.


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, June 7th, 2013

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Car Wash - 188/365

Car Wash – 188/365, Archive 365, BlackBerry Shots, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, February 2011, photos © 2011-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




below blue water
underneath her deep veneer—
bundles of wet light.






-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, January 6th, 2013

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Tree  2012-12-01 14.47.11 auto

Yule Tree, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


No snow buried the ground the day we cut the Winter Yule. Huffing and puffing, we took turns severing trunk from tangled roots. Last summer we had a landscaper install a French drain that streams into the concave hollow of a rain garden we will plant next spring. The energy company marked the lines before digging; that’s when we discovered the blue spruce growing over our gas line. It would have to be removed.

In mid-December, I said to Liz, “Let’s make the spruce our Yule tree.” The handsaw wasn’t far behind. The tree is almost 4 1/2  feet tall with a wide berth that tapers to a slight curve at the top. She grew from a seedling, probably dropped by a songbird that made a pit stop on the mature spruce nearby. Trunk rings indicate that it took six years for this tree to grow 52 inches with a one and 1/2 inch base. Trees are slow and deliberate. They are the slow walkers of the forest.


Rings - 2012-12-01 14.58.06 autoGrowth Rings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Tree lovers like Liz and I will travel great distances to see hardwoods, softwoods, evergreens, and conifers in their prime. We have visited the oldest red and white pines in Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota, birthplace of the Mississippi River. We have sweated under live oaks near Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah, photographed an old gingko at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, and attended a community gathering celebrating the life and death of a 333-year-old Burr Oak near the Franklin Avenue bridge in Minneapolis. On a trip to New Mexico, I stood under the Lawrence tree painted by Georgia O’Keeffe at Kiowa Ranch. In Georgia, my mother and I talked family history under a ginkgo by the Old Government House that was planted in 1791 in commemoration of a visit by George Washington.


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Saw, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Trees are important to the spiritual aspect of our lives. I can’t imagine a world without trees. Today we celebrate the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice. Tuesday we will celebrate Christmas. The blue spruce in our living room leaves an empty space in the garden. Though wistful when she fell, I am joyful that she gleams from our living room window at the darkest time of year. And that her summer-dried bark will be kindling for next winter‘s Solstice fire.


Home grown tree

Home Grown Tree, Droid Shots, Minneapolis,
Minnesota,photo © 2012 by Liz Schultz.
All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Winter Solstice, December 21st, 2012

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DEC SHADE4

Say Goodbye To Tungsten Light, Golden Valley, Minnesota, December 2011, photo © 2011-2012. All rights reserved.


I burn the Christmas lights long after the day has passed. The soft warm glow of tungsten soothes me. I grew up on film photography, old school, and loathed florescent and LED. Say goodbye to tungsten; the last 100 watt bulb rolled off the DEC 2011-12-18 19.40.22assembly line in December 2011. We lost poet Ruth Stone in 2011 and singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow. They leave behind a rich legacy–their poetry. We lost Hope, the world’s most famous black bear, to the long arms of a Minnesota hunting season. Did they choose their lives, or did their lives choose them?

Goodbye December, January awaits. I look forward to the New Year. In setting goals for 2012, I can’t help but think of the things I will leave to 2011. I never heard back from my father, yet I feel glad I wrote the letter. It is one less thing I have to wonder about. Mr. Stripey Pants had surgery on Monday, December 12th. Bone rubbed on bone in his lower jaw when he chewed his food. We tried to be upbeat that morning, saying he was on his way to breakfast at Tiffany’s (the name of his surgeon). A few weeks later he is almost back to normal. The scar tissue that had formed around a puncture wound near a back tooth has been removed; it was not cancerous. I am grateful for good vet care and the resources to pay for it.

Minnesota leaves behind the 86 inches of snow from last Winter, an unfair trade for the tawny grasses and 50 degree days in the Twin Cities last week. I don’t miss the shoveling, but wonder how the Art Shanty Project will take place on Medicine Lake in January. Where is the frozen Minnesota tundra of 2011? I leave behind a broiling sweaty Summer where I did little gardening. The cedars look limp and brown. Fall 2011 was 1323477165415one of the driest on record. Rain, rain, come and play, don’t wait another day. I have grown to miss the rain.

I leave behind a year of no travel, unusual for me. My large extended family lives in Pennsylvania and Georgia, so I often plan vacations around flying back East. I missed visiting with them. In 2011, I attended no out of state writing workshops. I did not take a vacation outside of Minnesota. There was one trip to North Dakota, but not for pleasure (though it had its moments). I leave behind all the angst and sorrow created by the greed and selfishness of others. You sometimes learn the most about people when things go awry. It’s not over yet. The law requires patience, and the resources to carry through over the long haul.

Dear December, there were days you left me nostalgic and somber. But I vow to enter 2012 with optimism and gratitude. Long line for A Christmas Story at Riverview!I will long carry the joy of my brother’s visit to Minnesota the week before Thanksgiving. I carry two healthy cats, Kiev and Mr. Stripey Pants. I carry the love of a caring partner, close friends, and family. I carry excitement at the prospect of celebrating Liz’s birthday in January, and a trip to Wisconsin for a self-propelled writing retreat in February, what used to be the dead of Winter. I leave behind anger, resentment, regret; I release what is no longer helping me be the best person I can be. What people, places or things do you leave behind?

The pantry is stocked. The black-eyed peas soak in the pot, ready to bless the place I call home with good luck and cheer. I am grateful for those who stick with me in times of uncertainty. I am grateful for those who come to the aid of all HOLIDAYsentient beings in this world, not just humans. I am grateful that we do not inhabit this planet alone, that there are ancient burr oaks, Southern live oaks, slithering snakes, hairy spiders, playful black bears and white winter squirrels. I am grateful that the decisions that matter most are not left in the hands of humans.

December, I say goodbye to you tonight with gratitude and anticipation. I am thankful for your rituals. It’s the night before the New Year. What will my yearly practices be? It will be around the last fire of 2011 that I choose goals for 2012. Thank you, December, for having the courage to let go.


-posted on red Ravine, New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2011

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Healing Heart Mandala, created on gray, rainy day while listening to Mandala Healing: Using Sacred Symbols for Spiritual & Emotional Healing by Judith Cornell, Golden Valley, Minnesota, September 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

Once you turn the light around,
everything in the world is turned around.
The light rays are concentrated upward into the eyes;
this is the great key of the human body.
You should reflect on this.
If you do not sit quietly each day,
this light flows and whirls,
stopping who knows where.
If you can sit quietly for a while,
all time-ten thousand ages,
a thousand lifetimes---is penetrated from this.
All phenomena revert to stillness.
Truly inconceivable is this sublime truth.


—from The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life, translated by Thomas Cleary, HarperSanFrancisco, 1991, p.19


___________________________________________________________________________

HEALING INTENTIONS


   acceptance                   appreciation                   authenticity
   awakening                   balance                            beauty
   beginner's mind          creative play                  clarity 
   compassion                  connectedness               devotion 
   egolessness                  emotional healing          faith
   fearlessness                 forgiveness                     freedom to be 
   grace                             gratitude                         harmony
   healing laughter          honoring diversity         illumination 
   inspired creativity      integrity                          joy 
   kindness                       life as a celebration       listening with the heart
   living in the present   mental healing               miracles
   non-judgment             oneness                           opening the heart to love 
   patience                       peace                               perseverance
   practice of truth         radiating love                 soul illumination 
   spiritual healing          surrender                       transformation
   trusting intuition        unity                                wholeness 
   wisdom                        wonder




Healing Heart Mandala (Detail)-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

-related to posts: Labyrinth Mandala At The Aquarius Full Moon, Ears Still To The Lonely Wind — Mandala For Rabbit, Flying Solo — Dragonfly In Yellow Rain, Shadow Of A Dragonfly, Dragonfly Wings — It Is Written In The Wind, Dragon Fight — June Mandalas, EarthHealer — Mandala For The Tortoise, ode to a crab (haiku & mandala), Eye Of The Dragon Tattoo

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Summer's Last Hurrah

Summer’s Last Hurrah, leaving the Minnesota State Fair, Droid Shots, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





Buttered popcorn shrimp
grilled in sight, for your delight,
the tunnels of Ye Old Mill—
shadow people light the night
bearing Summer's last hurrah.






-posted on red Ravine, Monday, September 5th, 2011

-related to post: haiku 4 (one-a-day) meets renga 52, MN State Fair On-A-Stick (Smartphone History On-The-Go)

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MANDALA 3 2011-08-06 15.54.26 TRIM c

Labyrinth Mandala At The Aquarius Full Moon – 30/52, based on a Yantra from 18th Century India, BlackBerry 52 – WEEK 30, July 25th, 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Medium: Drawn by hand with a black Staedtler archival pigment ink Fineliner on Canson Mix Media XL Series 98lb drawing paper. Colored & collaged with Caran D’Ache NeoColor II Water Soluble Wax Crayons, Sharpie Medium Point Oil-Based Opaque Paint Markers, Sharpie Fine Point Marker, archival photo corners. Photograph taken with a Samsung DROID.


I am sitting still with the Full August Moon at my back. She is high in the sky and refuses to yield to darkness for the the annual Perseid meteor shower. I am undaunted. I know the light from these stars, guessed to be fragments of Swift’s Comet from 1862, will shoot across the heavens, even if I can’t see them in the night sky. As above, so below.

Aquarius the Waterbearer seems like a good sign for a Full Moon (progressive and objective with a crystal clear antenna-like reception of universal intelligence). When I opened the Boundary Waters calendar I bought at the LilyPad Picnic this year, it said that the August Moon was called Miinike-Giizis by the Ojibway — the BlueBerry Moon. The August Full Moon is also known as the Drying Up Moon, the Grain Moon, the Green Corn Moon, and the Yellow Flower Moon, depending on what part of the world you may live.

The Sabbats Almanac claims that the seasonal Lammas Full Moon in Aquarius reflects back to us our relationship with the collective. It is a good time to focus on community, groups, and our hopes and wishes for the future. Aquarius is also the sign of the rebel or iconoclast, so themes may arise that focus attention on unusual issues or people. At the individual level, it’s an auspicious time to notice what we have to offer to our communities and what we might release in order to fully participate.


Two good questions to ask at this time:

1) How do we allow our own need for space and independence
to not hold us back from connecting more with the group?

2) What can we do to create more space and independence
for ourselves so we aren't sacrificing too much of our
individuality for the sake of the collective?


The Full Moon shines the light of awareness on the answers and helps us to understand patterns and dynamics that we may need to release during the dark Moon cycle to come. To celebrate the individual within the group, it is a time to show gratitude for the qualities that each member brings to the table. How does each person in your community shine? Maybe they have a generous heart, excellent communication skills, clear boundaries, or a good sense of humor. Tell them in an email. Call them and leave a voice mail. Mail them a card. The three-day window around the Full Aquarian Moon creates space to show gratitude for the intricate pieces that make up the circle’s whole.

Circles within circles. I created this mandala last weekend after a full and busy month of July. Some days were filled with joy; others pushed me to the limit. All are necessary to grow beyond who I am. I have been studying the circle archetypes of the labyrinth and the mandala for years. A few weeks ago, Liz bought me a birthday present, a book of Sacred Symbols edited by Robert Adkinson. I was immediately drawn to the chapter on the Mysteries and a mandala from 18th century India, a Yantra for the cosmic form Vishnu.  The script around the circle is from the Dhammapada and states:




In the light of her vision
she has found her freedom:
her thoughts are peace,
her words are peace,
and her work is peace.




Peace. It’s right there, yet just beyond our reach. On a final note, if you follow skylore, there is a tidbit about Perseus at EarthSky: the Perseid shower commemorates the time when the god Zeus visited the mortal maiden Danae in the form of a shower of gold. Zeus and Danae became the parents of Perseus the Hero – from whose constellation the Perseid meteors radiate. Perseus, you are beyond sky worthy, a flying, not fallen hero — I’m counting on you.



-posted on red Ravine at the Full August Blueberry Moon, Saturday, August 13th, 2011, with gratitude to Lotus for her labyrinthian inspiration

Lotus and I will continue to respond to each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.

Labyrinth Mandala At The Aquarius Full Moon (Detail) -related to posts: Ears Still To The Lonely Wind — Mandala For RabbitFlying Solo — Dragonfly In Yellow Rain, Shadow Of A Dragonfly, Dragonfly Wings — It Is Written In The Wind, Dragon Fight — June Mandalas, EarthHealer — Mandala For The Tortoise, ode to a crab (haiku & mandala), Eye Of The Dragon Tattoo

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Suspended in Light (Haiga)

Suspended In Light (Haiga), 23/52, BlackBerry 52 – WEEK 23, June 2011, haiga © 2011 by A~Lotus, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Medium: Original BlackBerry photo Scattered Light taken by QuoinMonkey in June 2011 as part of Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche. Poetry for the haiga created and edited by Lotus using Adobe Photoshop CS2 & MS PowerPoint 2007.






No longer Earthbound,
after the melody ends —
we take refuge in the Wind.






-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Storyboard response to the haiga collaboration with Lotus. We will continue to bounce off of each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.

-related to post: haiku 4 (one-a-day) Meets renga 52

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By Teresa Williams




What if rebirth
is like stepping into a room,
something ordinary, then
              Surprise!
Giant crimson tree, temple of hexagons,
a magic cup of moon-tea.

                          Rebirth.
Incited by luminescence, light chaser, Isis.
Through layers of ancient skin you came
from black to red to breathing center.
Now here, you are the shimmering one
the one who ripples and shines
glittering the air, gold and bright. You
shooting star of a songbird light.

Once again,
feel your freshly found face
flooding the room with new freedom,
star nectar, white queen, gleaming.

And again,
savor this renewal this taste of dawn
as you swallow death's end,
from bitter and night, bitter
then sweet
             holy crescent,

oracle of brilliance

you

stepping into

       a new room.




Nacer de nuevo (To Be Reborn) by Remedios Varo,
oil on Masonite, 1960, 31 7/8 x 18 1/2 in. From
The Magic of Remedios Varo by Luis-Martin Lozano.
Translated by Elizabeth Goldson Nicholson and
Liliana Valenzuela.


_________________________




About Teresa: Teresa Williams is a psychotherapist, poet and translator in Seattle, Washington. She has been writing and trying to live poetry for as long as she can remember. Her love for travel and the Spanish language has called her into translation work. She is also an active member of Grupo Cervantes, a bilingual writer’s group and literary community in Seattle.

Teresa’s poetry has been featured at births, weddings, funerals and several talent shows held by the closest of friends. Her first piece on red Ravine, Sound Falling From One World Into Another, was published in August 2010 and featured the poems: Swans, Two Coyotes at Dawn, and Tarot. It was followed by The Devil’s Bridge, a poem that speaks to the legends and mythology surrounding bridges throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, and continental Europe. Her last piece for red Ravine featured the poem Tortoise Highway.

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OWL FEATHER 2-IMG01800-20110218-1034 AUTO

Owl Feather Study In Blue 2, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



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Owl Feather Study In Blue 5, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



OWL FEATHER 4-IMG01808-20110218-1037 AUTO

Owl Feather Study In Blue 4, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



OWL FEATHER 3-IMG01802-20110218-1035 AUTO

Owl Feather Study In Blue 3, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



OWL FEATHER 1-IMG01801-20110218-1034 AUTO

Owl Feather Study In Blue 1, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
February 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



It was a windy 10 degrees when I found this downy owl feather blowing across a parking lot. I decided to photograph it with my BlackBerry over a break. The bright sun made the shadows pop against the texture of my lunch bucket. Feathers are symbolic. Ordinary as extraordinary.

Yesterday we drove down to Monticello, Minnesota to see the wintering Trumpeter Swans. Again, two downy swan feathers floated across the observation site and landed by my foot. I’ve added them to my feather collection. Hope is the thing with feathers. And, thanks to Yves Klein, I think I’ve entered my Blue Period.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, February 20th, 2011

-related to post: WRITING TOPIC — LIGHT AS A FEATHER

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Joy. My heart is full of joy. Even though much of December has been a struggle. Joy is connected to giving. To the Holiday Spirit. I feel joy when I am connected to people who are close; I feel joy when I am alone, writing, doing art, sitting in silence. I live in the times between. Joy is not temporal, not limited by time or possessions or Earthly matters—like human happiness seems to be. Joy rises above the everyday slothing about. When I remember what I am grateful for, I feel joy. When I see the Downy Woodpecker at the suet feeder, I feel joy. I feel joy when I am out shoveling the driveway at 8pm, stop to stand in the snow and stillness, view the December Moon rising in the dark.

I remember a time when I was afraid to feel too much joy, or let it grow too big in my life. I was afraid of what would be left behind when it vanished. I waited for the other shoe to fall. I feel more connected to a Higher Power these days. I believe in what I cannot see. Joy lives in the invisible places. Tears that well up when I watch a sappy movie; the director’s vision, a tugboat of joy. Things no longer bring me joy. They might make me happy for an hour, a few days. But I’m not in the mood to accumulate things to fill the Void.

Driving through the snowstorm this week, I started thinking about the future. A solid Cancer/Taurus combo, I dwell mainly in the Present or the Past. The Future, it’s not here yet. I have to sit down and make myself plan. That’s where a yearly practice comes into play. Scheduling time in the studio, writing retreats, or art events. Goals, deadlines, something I can shoot for in the creative fields. What I was thinking about on my drive along snow packed roads and layers of black ice, is that if I live a full life, I may only have a good 30 years left. Then I started to panic. I have so many books I want to write, so many photographs I want to take, so much love. How will 30 years ever be enough?

The thought process continued over lettuce, ham & cheese, past the Grain Belt sign on the Northeast Gateway, and around the bend where the Mississippi River crosses the Plymouth bridge. Then it came to a screeching halt. There are no guarantees that I will live to the end of the day. I am planning for the future; I don’t know if I will even be alive. I still need to plan. But it’s not where I’m going that matters. It is where I am. The panic subsides. This morning I am too serious. Yet the Joy — she’s still there.

No matter what happens, I feel like I have already lived a full life. During one of my 10-year, single jags after art school, I started a timeline of my life. I drew a long thick line on a yellow parchment scroll, began with the year I was born, and started marking in significant life events. The scroll is rolled up on a shelf in my art studio. I want to take it out and look at where I left off. It’s been at least 7 years, maybe longer, since I added a new cairn. It’s a way that I honor my life, the fact that I have walked on the Earth. I am only a small dot on the planet, loved by a few, invisible to most. It’s easy to get lost. The visual teaches me to pay attention to what has passed; it informs the future.

Joy is a day of making art, writing a story, working on photographs, posting on red Ravine. Joy is not fleeting like happiness. It’s always there, waiting for me to recognize its face. Joy is not what numbs me. Joy is the first strawberry on the vine, the Strawberry Moon, the Winter Solstice, Summer in Minnesota. Joy is a film that moves, a tumble in the hay, a Stripeypants in the hand, a Kiev curled in a ball next to me on the couch. Joy is a loving partner, a new dream, the center of the labyrinth, along the edges, too. Joy is a handful of October leaves, tumbling down a mountain path. Joy is a Giant Moon rising over the Bitterroots, half in Shadow. Joy is Light.


-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — JOY

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Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice, Winter Solstice Celebration, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Sitting, staring out the window. The Hairy Woodpecker has found our suet feeder. This year we moved the deck feeders two feet South to protect them from the squirrels. The rodents can jump about 4 feet from the deck rail to the feeders if they put their minds to it. I love the woodpeckers and am happy they have found a safe place to feed for the Winter.

Last night we celebrated Winter Solstice. Holding On, Letting Go Letting go of what we want to leave in the Dark, making conscious choices about what to bring into the Light. I was quiet, more withdrawn than usual. Liz wore the Bear this year. I loved watching her dance down the path, calmly and playfully.

Ice Candle The night was cloudy, with a frigid West Wind blowing right into our faces. My fingers grew numb; I pulled them into my coat to keep warm. Homemade ice candles lit the path down to the fire ring. We didn’t hear the coyotes. Or the Great Horned Owl from last year. There were times when we stood by the fire in complete Silence. Other moments when drums and rattles were going full force. The drummer in me is happy at these rituals.

Morning finds me tired, sore, smelling like smoke from last year’s Yule tree. Solar Tree It’s 4 degrees as I type. A powerful Solstice is a day away. What makes it so potent is something that has not happened in 450 years — the combination of a Winter Solstice Blue Moon (the original meaning of a Blue Moon was Four Full Moons in one season) which coincides with a Total Lunar Eclipse.

According to NASA, an eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s Winter Solstice Fireshadow. Unlike a Solar Eclipse, it is safe to view with the naked eye. From a Shamanic perspective, the Total Lunar Eclipse collapses time and accelerates what’s already in motion. The rare Winter Solstice Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse is a time that creates maximum synchronization of Solar and Lunar cycles, strengthening the power and intensity of the Sun and Moon together. When this happens the New Year brings increased understanding of a larger cycle of events at work in the world, and of lineage, the knowledge passed down from the Ancients.


Here are the times for Solstice & Eclipse events in Minnesota (CST):

Total Eclipse of the Moon — Tuesday, December 21st, 1:41am to 2:53am CST
Full Blue Moon in Gemini — Tuesday, December 21st, 2:13am CST
Winter Solstice 2010 — Tuesday, December 21st, at 5:38pm CST


Hours to view the reddish hues of the eclipsed December Moon vary, depending on where you live. In Europe and the eastern United States and Canada (time zones AST, Tiny Solstice MoonEST and CST), the entire eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of December 21, 2010. For the western United States and Canada (time zones MST and PST), the eclipse begins before midnight on the night of December 20, and ends sometime after midnight on the morning of December 21. In Alaska and Hawaii (time zones AKST and HST), most of the eclipse occurs on the night of December 20, but ends early on December 21.

You can find official times in your area at Mr. Eclipse and a detailed breakdown of the phases of this year’s Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse. If you don’t feel like braving the elements, NASA is providing a live webcam at their site.


Another year is coming to a close. The frost on our windows tells me Winter is here to stay. We have had a cold December. One that finds pleasure in mimicking the sub-zero temps we usually see in January. And the snow! Almost three feet of it. Last weekend we were digging out. This weekend, back to the mundane chores of living. Chop wood, carry water. You can’t get away from it. Blue sky peeks over the oaks and ash. The woodpecker has flown from the feeder; a Lunar Eclipse is on the way.


2004 Lunar Eclipse Sequence, (c) 2004 Fred Espenak, courtesy Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse at http://www.mreclipse.com


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 20th, 2010 , partially based on a Sunday Writing Practice about Frost

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Dark when I get up, dark when I drive home. Ghosts like this time of year. They can wander freely throughout the Universe, come and go, visit whoever they please. I haven’t seen any real ghosts in a long, long time. Yet I lay awake this morning from 4am to 6am, the time I got up to write this practice. I can’t help but think of Ada my grandmother when I think of ghosts. The way she came to see me in Minnesota after she died, made the trip all the way from Tennessee. I was a young woman the last time I saw her alive. She came to me in a ghost-like dream, told me she was alright, that she loved me, and said good-bye. It was the day after that I called Mom to see if she had died. I regretted not seeing her in person for so long; she let me know it was okay. I could feel at peace.

Leslea was more playful, the way she pulled at my toe and knocked the writing book off the shelf. It was around the time I was deeply immersed in my study with Natalie, debating whether to quit my day job for writing, haunted by the ghosts of what-if’s. Looking back, maybe I should have kept my day job. At least if I had wanted a secure financial future. But, then again, looking at the recession of the last few years, maybe it didn’t matter. I was happier leaving. And have made great strides in feeling secure as a writer, in setting up practices that sustain me, a community that holds me. That’s half the reason we started red Ravine.

I watch shows about the paranormal because they fascinate me. I’m fascinated because I’m curious about what happens after we die. I do believe that some souls are trapped between worlds. They wander and attach themselves to places where they lived in their physical lives. I also believe that most of us move on. To do different things in the next spiritual life. Maybe not all lives are spiritual. I happen to believe the work I do here now takes me to the next phase of whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. This is all vague. Because it’s a Writing Practice and it’s the stream of my mind. It’s also vague because the afterlife is vague. No one really knows what happens after you die.

What if the afterlife is only what you believe it to be? That would make it different for each person. Some don’t believe in life after death at all. The physical death is the end. If I believed that, I would lose hope. That people can improve themselves and go on to something better. But back to Ghosts. I don’t summon them up, play the Ouija Board anymore. I don’t look for ghosts or ask them to appear. I don’t provoke or ask for signs. I might fall over if I saw a ghost of a person I didn’t know. Somehow, it doesn’t scare me to get visits from those I know who have passed to the other side. I count it as one of the many blessings of being in a body.

I want to be comfortable with my own death. But sometimes I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it a lot this year because my brother has been very sick. His liver has been failing for some time. I was prepared for the worst. Then, miraculously, the week after I got back from my last writing retreat on Lake Michigan, I got a text from him that they had a liver. He was on his way to Philadelphia. Last night we IM’d over Facebook as if nothing had happened. Except the miracle that is his life. He is energetic and full of energy. The 45 staples come out on Tuesday, the day I arrive. The story could have ended differently. In this case, the ghosts are Wonder, Joy, fragments of Disbelief in how a life could move so quickly from Death’s door.

Oh, and Death. I’m not so sure about the sickle and scythe thing. It’s too daunting. Maybe you should lighten up your wardrobe. It’s scary to the living. Or maybe you already have and we all don’t know how to change your ghost of an image. Whatever you are, I don’t want to be afraid. Shadow and Light, they all play in the same forest of autumn leaves.


-Related to Topic post: Ghost Hunting — Tips & Tools Of The Trade

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IMG02262-20100906-2238

Double Ferris Wheel, Minnesota State Fair, September 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






dark cycles of life,
giant octagonal stars —
dive into your fear






-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, September 12th, 2010

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), red Ravine At The MN State Fair — Minding Our P’s & Q’s, MN State Fair On-A-Stick (F. Scott Fitzgerald — A Night At The Fair)

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Sun-Drenched Sweet Corn - 234/365

Sun-Drenched Sweet Corn – 234/365, BlackBerry 365, Golden Valley, Minnesota, August 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






best part of Summer
sweet corn from a local stand
drenched in salt butter








-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

-related to post: haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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