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Archive for July, 2022

I was writing in my dreams last night. I kept waking up in the middle of writing. One was about moving. When you move you go through every shred of material possession that you own. Laptops of writing. Old photographs. Notebooks of Writing Practice. Volumes! Old aprons that my grandmother Elise wore in the sixties. When you move you sift through journals and boxes of family photos your mom left you. You wear her jewelry and decide — which should I keep? Which to let go? There are dishes and tea sets and bone china. Liz asked if we could stop in Cody to pick up a blue rocker her mom wanted her to have after she died. I said, “Yes, and I have my great great grandmother’s white wicker rocker stored at my brother’s and an antique tea cart I want to put plants on after we move.” Think of everything those rockers and tea cart have seen over their lives.

When you move, you decide what matters to you at this juncture in your life. At 30, 40, 50, 68. The same things that meant something at 22 do not matter now. When I was 21, I left for Montana with a canvas backpack and $200. What things will I move to Montana next year? What will I carry on my virtual back? I have the same adventurous spirit — tempered by time and more caution about falling. Everyone around me seems to be falling and breaking bones. I tripped on the cement at work a few years ago and almost cracked my head. I was alone on the dock. On one was watching. It scared me enough to instill caution.

A cautionary tale. Wasn’t that the name of a book or song? It’s funny the connections the brain synapses make. A thousand lightning snaps all dependent on the single beat of a heart. When I move I want to take this writing chair and maybe this notebook. Recall. I will need to read this again.


10-minute Writing Practice handwritten in a Blue Sky notebook with a Sharpie S•GEL 0.07 on the WRITING TOPIC: WHEN I MOVE, Friday, July 29th, 2022

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SpiralBound, Minneapolis, Minnesota, iPhone Shots, on the Day of My Solar Return, July 22, 2022, photo © 2022 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Roots that bind. Binding roots. I came home from work last week to find an empty yellow pot on the marble island. “Look,” Liz said, “I transplanted the rushfoil. It was so rootbound, the roots at the bottom became one with the pot.” I peered into the spiral chasm. “Hmmmmm. That’s kind of cool,” my lips said. My heart translated the fused tendrils as a metaphor for my earthbound feet stuck to unforgiving skeletal bones. Heavy and unmoving. Same old job. Same old routines.

But all that is changing. 

The supervisor at work (only a few months into the position) seems to see us as baggage on his journey through the company’s future. Monday when he wagged his finger at me, I pulled him aside and told him to stop treating us like robots, to cease micromanaging a team that has been efficient and exceeding our corporate goals for a decade. To stop silencing us and treating us like neophytes. He is not rooted to the way things were; he comes from another division. He moves like lightening. He makes mistakes, but he doesn’t care. Forward, at all costs.

For a team who pauses and pays attention to details, it’s maddening. Unnecessary. There are compromises that have to be made in the spaces between the 7000 steps I walk at work every day.

I retire from corporate employment at the end of the year. Next spring we rip 38 years of roots out of the bottom of our Minnesota home and transplant them to the mountains. Liz told me she had to grab a steak knife from the kitchen drawer and scrape at the sides of the clay pot to get those roots to budge. And still….the remainders are part of the clay. The croton (rushfoil is the common name) was a gift from a coworker after my dad died in 2017. She has sprouted new buds in a 13-inch frost green pot butted up to our north facing windows. She is happy. Thriving. I transformed the worn pot into photo art. Another metaphor? On the day of my solar return, I feel scratchy and unsettled.


 

10-minute Writing Practice on the WRITING TOPIC: ROOTS, Friday, July 22nd, 2022

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I didn’t know what I wanted to write about this afternoon. It’s Friday, the day I set aside for creative work. I’ve been lax in completing any kind of art. I’ve been culling, gathering, harvesting. Languishing while the mighty Ceres swings her scythe against the grain. I have filled countless journals with sketches and writing practices. I don’t know the end result. I do not know where I’m going. I envy artists and writers with completed bodies of work. They inspire me.

I’m reading the Three Tenets for a writing workshop this weekend. We’ll be doing two days of Writing Practice and a lot of sitting meditation. When I scribbled the daily schedule into my calendar, I could feel the resistance. I’m rereading The True Secret of Writing. I’m a few chapters into Standing at the Edge by Joan Halifax; this morning I read her blog piece Rites of Passage and the Three Tenets.

In the right light

In the right time

Everything is extraordinary.

-Aaron Rose

We all stand at the edge at some point in our lives. That place of not knowing. I’m standing at the edge of letting go of a day job I’ve held for 13 years. The edge of a geo-move next June when Liz and I pack up all of our worldly possessions and move to Montana for a year-long creative retreat. We have no idea what happens after that. It’s uncharted territory — leaving the familiar behind, cutting away the old. After nearly four decades of living in an urban Twin Cities landscape formed by glacial lakes, our new roots will break ground in the rural, more isolated and dry Bitterroot Mountain valley in western Montana.

Not knowing is letting go of preconceived notions of who I think I am and who I believe others to be. No attachments. It might look like it takes courage, but what choice do we have? Everyone tangles with birth and death. And all the messiness in between. We have little control. We are faced with choices each day for new direction. What do we choose?

We stopped at Noon for a webinar by Out of Chicago on A-Ha Moments in Flower & Plant Photography. Nine photographers spoke about the process and joy of photographing some of their favorite macro images. Grounding. Inspiring. Earthy. Perfect for the shift of Mercury into Cancer and a happy place for my Taurus Moon and Taurus rising. It’s the little things. A photograph. One footstep into Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden & Bird Sanctuary. To not know is to reconnect to the wild.

A few reminders from the photographers at the A-Ha Moments webinar:

  • Take your shoes off. Go barefoot when photographing the wild.
  • Details matter. Commit to work the scene. Experiment.
  • Never give up on your vision.
  • Pay attention to what turns your head.
  • Spend time on what you love. Let yourself be taken.
  • In the right light, in the right time, everything is extraordinary.  -Aaron Rose

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