Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

Mandala Shield, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mandala Shield, hand-drawn mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




ONE: Hand-drawn mandala, setting pie-shaped boundaries. Made with Crayola markers, glitter glue, and Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels; started as an empty circle.




Celtic Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Celtic Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

TWO: Celtic mandala set up much like a castle and moat, with mazelike bands of designs protecting tender, leafy vines at the center. When emotions intensify, personal habits and rituals help you feel safe.




Protection, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Protection, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

THREE: Perceptions can make you feel sensitive and vulnerable, open to criticism from others (real or imagined). Mandalas during Stage 5 are about vigilance, protection and defense. The walls don’t have to be heavy – your fortress can be a connected ring of flowers.




Hildegard Of Bingen's Vision, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Hildegard Of Bingen’s Vision, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

FOUR: Mystics transcend the emotional intensity of Stage 5 by using the Target mandala to communicate insights and experiences. This mandala represents the 9 circles of angels and humans in Hildegard of Bingen’s Vision. The empty circle at the center is the mystery of the center where beauty is born.




Circle Boundaries, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Circle Boundaries, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

FIVE: Ringed mandala used to explore feelings. The inner circle is filled with things you fear most. The ring around that is a color that represents courage. The second circle contains mentors, guides, teachers (living or dead). The third, negative thoughts that arise from fear. The fourth, positive behaviors that help manage fear. The fifth circle is filled with positive affirmations.




May Mandalas — Stage 5 – Target

May is a turbulent time in Minnesota. It’s tornado season; the weather is unpredictable. Moods in the month of May seem to follow the seasons. The theme for the 5th Stage of The Great Round is similar to Frog Medicine — protection — setting and keeping good boundaries. It is a Catch-22 that strong boundaries allow us to feel safe when exposing our vulnerabilities. I found it difficult, and comforting, to work on Stage 5.

It was Carl Jung who introduced modern Westerners to the psychological significance of mandalas. He believed we all strive to live out our own unique potential, to experience wholeness.  We began Coloring Mandalas as a practice in January, working with the archetypal circle, and following the twelve passages of Joan Kellogg’s The Great Round.

Target, the 5th cycle of The Great Round, begins after age two, when you discover yourself as separate from your caregivers, and go after what you want. Sometimes seeking creates conflict, and can lead to disappointment or frustration.

In adulthood, we set and seek personal, creative, and career goals. We may run into resistance from others, feel tired and vulnerable. In Stage 5 we explore ways to set healthy personal boundaries, which allows us to feel safe when we take risks or are in situations where we are emotionally vulnerable.

Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

May’s mandalas are drawn with Crayola markers, glitter glue, and Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels. I find drawing and coloring mandalas fun and relaxing. But there are some artists who consider coloring a serious business. Last weekend, in On The Road, Jason Davis profiled Minnesota Artists. I was delighted to witness the work of Don Marco from Duluth, Minnesota who has been coloring in his Fine Art since the late 1960’s.

In an act of synchronicity that Jung would have loved, about a year ago, a 24-yr-old named Christina Nelson from Superior, Wisconsin decided to try making art with crayons. She thought she was the only one using the medium. Then she met Don Marco working only a few miles away in Duluth; he became her mentor. Now she goes under the name Tiona Marco.

According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, the healing benefits of The Great Round: Stage 5 — Target are:

  • learning to ritualize behaviors of self-care and self-protection
  • realizing and appreciating daily rituals and routines
  • knowing how to set good boundaries with others
  • knowing your limitations and working within them
  • cultivating the ability to exceed and transcend limits when needed


The high humidity and blue skies, with a backdrop of billowing, dense gray clouds tell me we are well into June. And I’ve already begun Stage 6.



Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, June 9th, 2008

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February Mandalas, Labyrinth — March Mandalas, Beginnings — April Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

Read Full Post »

Somewhere Over Milwaukee, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Somewhere Over Milwaukee, flying home from a writing retreat, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





Blurred Boundaries, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. From The Air, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Somewhere Over Milwaukee, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Winding, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




“That looks like Louise Erdrich?” I said, shuffling toward the boarding area of the DC-9 parked on the runway. Northwest Flight 792 out of Milwaukee was about to depart. Three days earlier on our flight from Minneapolis, Teri was stopped in security by a stern, expressionless woman with black, straight hair running down her back.

“What’s going on?” I had asked, sliding my laptop into a slingpack and leaning down to slip on my Lands’ End moccasins. Teri turned to me with a blank look. “It’s the soup,” she said. “The soup?” I laughed.

She had been stopped for carrying a blue ice pack in a small rectangular thermos, housing packages of Minnesota wild rice soup. Bob was bringing ribs from Missouri. We chuckled, wondering if they’d made it through the luggage scan.

“Come with me,” the security guard said to Teri. You need to go back through security.” I blindly followed. One step past the yellow striped police line, I realized my mistake. “Wait, can’t I wait here?” I asked the guard. “Too late,” she said.

I followed Teri, we checked our bags, and looped back through security, twice. Then we sprinted to Gate C3, pausing only long enough to realize we were supposed to be at Gate C7. We were two of the last to board the plane.

By comparison, the Milwaukee check-in had been effortless. No wild rice soup incidents. No blue ice packs filled with dangerous liquids. But Teri did have her backpack searched again. This time it was toothpaste. Finally we were shuffling toward the packed plane bound for Minneapolis.

“Yeah, isn’t that Louise Erdrich?” I asked again.

“What? Where…” Teri said, turning her head in the direction I was staring. “That is Louise Erdrich.”




Topsy-Turvy, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Edges, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Curves, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Tip To Toe, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Blurred Boundaries, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. From The Air, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Somewhere Over Milwaukee, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Winding, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




We played it cool. But could barely contain our excitement. A second before, we had been embroiled in a conversation about writers. And we had talked about Louise among the four of us Saturday night, during a weekend writing retreat at a cabin on Lake Michigan.

Jude mentioned that Louise was coming to Wisconsin to talk about her new book, The Plague of Doves. That spawned a conversation about a night last winter, when Teri, Liz, and I went to see Louise Erdrich and her two sisters, Heid and Lise, at the Minneapolis Central Library. They were appearing together for a local program on writers, Talk of the Stacks.

All three Erdrich sisters are writers. After the Friends of the Library book discussion, we had them sign our books, and Liz took a few photographs, including family shots that she agreed to email to Heid.

That was February. Now it was May — two days earlier, we had talked in casual conversation about our favorite Louise Erdrich books. And just like that, Poof! — she was sitting 15 feet from us at the airport in Milwaukee. Most people did not recognize her.

“Should we say something?” Teri asked.

“Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe she wants to be anonymous,” I said, throwing another glance toward Louise. She wore frameless glasses, a long brown skirt, and a print blazer. When you run into a well-known writer in public, how do you know the respectful thing to do? Would the writer want you to acknowledge her work, or respect her privacy. What would my published writing friends want. What would I want?

We scanned our boarding passes and headed to our seats. We thought she’d fly First Class. But then, we didn’t even know if she was on the same plane. We were quietly surprised a few minutes later when Louise elegantly walked down the aisle with her leather briefcase. She stopped while a young man in the row across from us almost knocked her over while slinging his carry-on luggage up to the top rack.

After one more look over our shoulders, we buckled our seat belts and settled in. Louise sat down in the opposite aisle, three rows from the back of the plane. It was inspiring be in the company of a famous writer known for her craft. It felt auspicious that she was on the same flight.

“Well, at least if we go down, it will be with one of Minnesota’s most famous writers,” I quipped. “And after a great writing retreat in Wisconsin.” In some twisted way, a moment of spontaneous, dark humor made sense to me. I never board a plane without saying my prayers.




Topsy-Turvy, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Edges, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Curves, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Tip To Toe, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Blurred Boundaries, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. From The Air, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Somewhere Over Milwaukee, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Winding, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Tired from the weekend, I stared out the window. The curves of Lake Michigan receded into the distance. I thought about Maurine’s funeral pyre on the beach Sunday night. I thought about how the wet sand stuck to my feet the morning I wrote haiku on the beach. I thought about literature, about writing. I thought about Louise Erdrich. She was carrying a CBS bag. Was she on book tour? Had she been in Chicago? New York?

How do you stay grounded, traveling all over the country promoting a new book. I remembered something Ann Patchett said when I saw her speak last year at the Fitzgerald — when you go on book tour, prepare to talk about the last book you wrote. It’s the one people have most likely read.

Teri struck up a conversation with the law student in the seat beside her. He was from Washington, D.C. They exchanged stories throughout the flight. He talked about his travels; she told him about the writing retreat, and that Louise Erdrich was on the same plane. Smiling, I looked down at Lake Michigan and the skyline of Milwaukee.

We rose to cruising altitude, the wings swooped, the plane tipped. We were heading for a bank of clouds with an open slice of light. I quickly unstrapped the Canon from my backpack under the seat, and clicked off a few shots.

The law student dropped his cell phone under his seat. It slid back toward me, resting under my pack. Camera in hand, I pushed it up under Teri’s seat with my right foot. “It’s under your seat now,” I laughed. “Can you reach it?”

She leaned down to pick it up. The glacial lake faded into darkening rain clouds. I focused on the rays of light between them. And wrote a haiku.





Openings, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

                Openings, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all photos © 2008
                by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






at the city’s feet
Lake Michigan from the air
changing perspectives






Topsy-Turvy, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Edges, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Curves, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Tip To Toe, May 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Post Script:   Teri and I bumped into Louise Erdrich again at the MSP baggage carousel. She was engaged in conversation with a woman she seemed happy to see.  We wanted to mention how much we enjoyed her talk with Heid and Lise. But the timing wasn’t right.

Liz met us at the curb with a big smile on her face. I hugged her, threw my luggage into the backseat, and mentioned that Louise Erdrich was standing at the baggage claim. “Really?” she said, peering through the sliding doors. Teri hopped inside the Saturn and we headed to Hiawatha Joe’s for debriefing and iced tea.

I decided it’s enough to send good thoughts. Though I know her books, Louise Erdrich is a stranger to me. Perhaps the greatest gift was to leave her to a peaceful trip in relative anonymity.



-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

-related to posts: Flying With Strangers & Other Anomalies, Louise Erdrich – No Love for “Fighting Sioux”

Read Full Post »

Swirl, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Swirl II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved






Eye Of God, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Eye Of God II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Dust Devil, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Celtic Cross, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’m cutting it close on the March mandalas! In a few hours, it will be April. Though you would not know it by the 9 inches of blizzard outside the window. The Great Round: Stage Three mandalas follow one of my favorite forms — the labyrinth.

These have been the most fun for me yet. And to my delight, Liz began hand-drawing her own mandalas in March. She has a natural sense of design and color, and creates intricate patterns with line detail more delicate than the templates.

Again, I used Crayola markers and colored pencils. Liz used Fimo modeling clay (for the snake), Uniball gel pens, glitter glue, and Crayola markers. The Stage 3 mandalas are about exploring the body and its surroundings, and organizing the information into a map of reality.


According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, The healing benefits of the labyrinth as mandala are:

  • creating flexibility & openness in healing old wounds
  • communicating with the Ancestors
  • contacting animal Spirit Guides
  • encouraging active searching & exploring that is not goal-directed
  • translating information from the ego into symbolic language that communicates messages from the unconscious to the Self


FIRST PAIR:  The first mandala pair is designed after M.C. Escher. They are the same mandala, photographed from different angles. The challenge of Stage 3 is to show up and keep walking, even if you don’t know final outcomes and goals.

SECOND PAIR:  The second mandala pair is also the same mandala, shot from different angles. The center rings were added in the process of coloring (the center space on the template is empty white space). Stage 3, the Labyrinth, includes experiences of divergent realities and nonordinary states of consciousness. Shamans cultivate their abilities to move in and out of this stage at will.

THIRD PAIR:  The two mandalas in the 3rd pair are different templates, the Spiral and the Celtic Cross, often designed and used by medieval Irish monks. In the Celtic knot, what appears to be a single endless meander is actually two separate pathways, crossing many times but never joining each other.



Spring Dance, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Chromosoma, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Diptyph, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Turtle Bread, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Spring Dance, Chromosoma, Diptych, Turtle Bread, hand-drawn labyrinths created by Liz, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


The four mandalas above are the beautiful hand-drawn labyrinths that Liz created for The Great Round – Stage 3. She agreed to let me photograph them from her sketchbook and post them with the March mandalas. The coiled snake below is 3-D, made out of clay. You can see names, titles, and more about each one if you click on the image.

Mandalas have been used in Christian churches in the form of stained glass windows and labyrinths since the 12th century, and their centers are often occupied by a mystic rose representing Spirit coming into matter. Walking the labyrinth is a metaphysical pilgrimage, and many travel to Chartres Cathedral in France to walk and meditate on the medieval labyrinth there. The grass labyrinth I walked last year at Sisters of Carondelet in St. Paul is based on the Chartres design. More mandalas to come in April!



Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, March 31st, 2008

-related to posts:  Coloring Mandalas, The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

Read Full Post »

  Wings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Wings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

  Wings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Wings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Do you have a tattoo? Otzi the IceMan has 57 of them. His 5000-year-old body was discovered in 1991, on a mountain between Austria and Italy, by German tourists trekking the Oetz Valley. The IceMan is one of the best preserved Neolithic corpses ever found.

He was still wearing goatskin leggings and a grass cape. His copper-headed axe and a quiver full of arrows were lying nearby.

Maybe Otzi will show you his tattoos if you show him yours. He has a cross on the inside of the left knee, numerous parallel lines on his ankles, and six 15 centimeter straight lines above his kidneys. There is speculation that the tattoos were applied for therapeutic treatment of arthritis.

Tattooing has existed across cultures since 12,000 BC, though the purpose varies from culture to culture. The word tattoo is said to derive from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means to strike something, and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means to mark something twice.



    Courage, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Courage, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Courage, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In Borneo, women tattooed symbols on their forearm indicating their particular skill. The Greeks used tattooing for communication among spies; markings identified the spies and showed their rank. Some tattoos are for status or to show membership. Others are strictly for adornment. There are also demeaning uses of tattoos throughout history. The Romans used them to mark criminals and slaves.

Tattoos (once stereotyped as the body art of sailors, jailbirds, and bikers) have had a resurgence in the last few decades. They’ve become a hot topic of discussion at more than one family dinner table. Teenagers coming of age begin to ask the hard questions:  “When can I get my nose pierced? Oh, and can I get a tattoo?”



Flying, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Flying, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Flying, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Flying, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Write about your relationship to tattoos. Are you offended by them? Or are they a form of self-expression. If you have a body art tattoo, write about the color, imagery, and location. Where did you have it done? Most people choose symbols that mean something to them. Did you design your tattoo? Was it painful to sit under the needle? How did you get through the pain.

Using the rules of Writing Practice, write as many details as you can remember.

If you always wanted a tattoo but could never get up the nerve, write about that. If your teenage daughter or son has a tattoo, write about your experiences negotiating with them. If you gave them a firm, “No!” – why?

Remember the cover of the Rolling Stones 1981 album, Tattoo You? The record spent nine weeks at Number One, boosted by radio favorites “Start Me Up” and “Waiting on a Friend.” Write about the album cover art. Do you remember any other music about tattoos?

What’s the most shocking body art tattoo you’ve ever seen? If you need images to stimulate your memory, check out the art at Tattoo You. Or the photographs and sketches at A Brief History of Tattoos.



Love, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Love, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2007, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Love, Central Pennsylvania, June 2007, all photographs in this post © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Read Full Post »

The Sky, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Stars, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Possibilities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Mother Goddess, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The World, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The World II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





These are our February mandalas for The Great Round: Stage Two – Bliss. Again, we used Crayola markers and colored pencils. The feel of coloring the Stage 2 mandalas was very different than The Void mandalas of January. I pay attention to the colors I am drawn to when I sit down with the circles. My body responds to color.

According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher:

Color is produced by waves of electromagnetic energy perceived by cells in your eyes, your skin, and your bones. Reds have the longest wavelengths and transmit the least energy. Violets have the shortest wavelengths and the most energy. Red is stimulating, blue causes relaxation. Color is simple, direct, and measurable in the natural world.

Color is a way in to your personal life story. Wearing colors we associate with a specific memory, or another time in our lives, layers our experience. Color is universally physiological, personal, and cultural. If I start to make a list of the colors I have used in the last few months, patterns start to emerge.

I wanted to get these up before February ends. Of course, it’s a Leap year, so there’s one more day of February in 2008! Stay tuned for Stage 3 of The Great Round in March.


FIRST PAIR:  The first two are the same template, Sky & Stars. One is completed, one in progress. We are shaped by our choices. The challenge of Stage 2 is to focus on only one choice, and take it as far as you can.

SECOND PAIR:  The first template of the 2nd pair is about living a life pregnant with possibilities. The second is based on an illustration by archaeologist and archaeomythologist, Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess. It is about the mystery of memories of birth (and before). The regenerative powers of the Great Mother were worshipped by many of the Ancients.

THIRD PAIR:  The two mandalas in the 3rd pair are the same template, Earth, the universal womb. The first is Liz’s in colored pencil; the second I did in marker. I enjoy seeing the same templates, side by side – same lines, different colors.


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, February 28th, 2008

-related to posts, Coloring Mandalas, The Void – January Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

Read Full Post »

Walking with my friend around a shadowed pond, -25 wind chills. We talked and talked and talked, ate tomato soup out of two ceramic cups while the wind floated snow between icy gusts. And then we slowly walked, holding crimson ears with the palms of our hands, ungloved to take a photograph of a tuft of cattail in the late day sun. Blue, windy, clear.

Wind blows thuds out of a spinning mind. The cold wakes me up. It is why I live here. The wind can be relentless. You don’t want to be caught alone, out in the frigid night.

There are stripes across the sky, white streaks of clouds, flurries whip against the naked elm, I sweep the deck with a stiff broom, bristles, John Deere green, rigid, a permanent swoop up, out, over the floor boards. Racing. Everyone is still racing to get somewhere, spinning out at stoplights, sliding on black ice.

I want to reach out a long arm, grab them by the scruff, and ask them to slow down. I want to say, “Go, walk on the pond in -23 wind chills, deer running off the peninsula, cinnamon cattail heads, bobbing, stiff, soldier tight, except for those little cottony streaks reaching up to the sun – go slowly, walk, then tell me again why it is you need to race.”

Winter slows me down. I get home just in time for supper. The cats are resting on the bed, deep warm depressions where their bodies curve back against themselves, paws over the ears, lick to the tongue, back over the ears again. I’m thinking about safety now. At the poetry reading and meditation last night, we were talking about maps, mind maps, the bubbles that extend out from the body, that tell us our place in space and time.

I’m not good at navigating. I can’t find my way without landmarks. I was talking about how strange it is to be in a large city for the first time with no landmarks to guide me. “It’s a matter of safety,” I said. “That’s a certain kind of fear.” And then we were talking about Tom Petty at the Superbowl and how Prince was better last year, sliding on his knees in the rain.

Athletes are good at mapping, at knowing where their bodies are on the field. It’s a skill, the well-developed map. It is not just in the mind. It’s physical, an extension of the body.

This was all after the hour of meditation and listening to the quiet, solid, succinctness of Ted Kooser. He writes about Iowa, sadness, farmlands, family, land, and hands. Lots of hands. I can relate to hands. Every word counts. He is not afraid for every word to count.

Why all the words? We don’t really need them. And if a picture is worth a 1000 of them, why talk? Why not color mandalas or strike a pose for a doodle on a plane to Portland. Or why not a photograph of a cattail burr gleaming in February sun. February is a strange month, that period between winter and the beginning of spring. The bear is having her cubs in a cave in the mountain, the fox and skunk are mating. How can it be this cold?

The three cats are stir crazy. Every morning we get up to shuffled and disheveled rugs, cabinets propped open, water and food bowls empty. “What were you guys doing all night?” I ask while I scoop Colombian into a gray plastic cone. Heat the thermos with scalding water. Careful, don’t burn your hand.

Safety is an illusion. We are never safe. It’s only the perception of safety that we cling to. I trust that if I walk the perimeter of the pond in a setting winter of sun, -25 degree skin, that I’ll make it back to the home to rub the hands together, and thaw the rigid fingers molded to the camera button.

It’s true. I thawed out and drove home. I made it this time. But what about the next? It takes a lot of faith to believe everything will be okay. What about trust. Is that an illusion, too.

I am not sad. No not today. I am thinking, pondering, reflecting. Yet I can’t trust these words in the head. They are only words. I try to move the cold down to the fluttering heart. The heart, it works harder to keep me warm, to keep blood pumping to the extremities. The body says, “Wait, first feed the brain, the heart, the head. If I have to give up a few fingers to do that, I will.”

Strange, this notion of safety.

I used to be drawn to rust. I was anemic and my body was drawn to anything that was iron. I started to love the color orange and dragging rusty objects home to sketch and photograph. A piece of door to a rusty potbelly stove, rusty pulleys and cables, a bike chain, frozen in place – it all got incorporated into my art. I’m no longer anemic. But I still photograph pockets of rust, what is decayed and riddled with wormholes, the leftovers, the forgotten.

I like what is abandoned and left behind. I’ve had that feeling in my heart before. My body relates to rust.

Just now a tattered, hollow leaf turned by the window, floating on the wind, the way the witch pedaled her bike in the Wizard of Oz. Determined, it crackled and looked straight into my eyes. Another haiku.


-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – NO TOPIC and safety hides (blizzard haiku)

Read Full Post »

The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The Void - Three, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Clear Light, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Void - Two, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   



We finished up our January mandalas for The Great Round: Stage One – The Void. We used Crayola markers and colored pencils with names like Tomato Red, Inchworm Green, Pinky Pink, Little Boy Blue, Small Potatoes, Sunwave Yellow, Green Sprout, Coral Orange, Gnarly Purple, Pipeline Green, Black Shades, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, and Hang Ten Purple. We each chose two of the three templates to color.


FIRST PAIR:  The first two are the same template. What makes them appear different are our individual color choices. The patterns that emerge with color show up more when posted side by side.

SECOND PAIR:  The top mandala in this pair is another Stage 1 template. I was drawn to the organic shapes and bodies. The second in this pair is Stage 0 (zero) – Clear Light. Stage 0, the empty circle, represents wholeness. It is a place to focus, to meditate, before choosing colors and templates.

THIRD PAIR:  The last two are the Stage 1 mandalas Liz chose, side by side. Mine are the second and third as you scroll down the page.


Color, color, color. We had a lot of fun with these exercises. The weekend is nearly over. Temperatures have warmed up. Day by day, spring is on the way.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, January 27th, 2008

-related to posts, Coloring Mandalas and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

Read Full Post »

Mandala Coloring (Beginner's Mind), Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Coloring Mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Bliss, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.    The Roundness Of Fire, Minnepolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved    The Void, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Coloring Mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Coloring Mandalas, A Few Snapshots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Relaxing Saturday winter night. Liz and I are coloring mandalas and watching a documentary on Beat Generation poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Liz bought a book on Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher. It contains 48 sacred circle designs for a means of entering the Circle of Life.

There are many ways to approach mandalas. We’ve decided to follow the structure of the mandalas of The Great Round, as identified by American art therapist, Joan Kellogg. There are 12 mandala forms associated with each stage of The Great Round. We’re starting with Stage 1, the Void, in January. Stage 2, Bliss, in February. Stage 3, Labyrinth, in March. Well, you get the idea.


Here’s an excerpt from the book about creating mandalas:


Creating a mandala begins with drawing a circle. It can be as simple as the circle a child draws or as complex as the sacred images created by Tibetan monks. Mandalas arise from the compelling human need to know our own inner reality, to align this knowing with our body’s wisdom, and to awaken in ourselves a sense of being in harmony with the Universe.

As Lama Nubpa Chodak Gyatso has explained, mandalas are “manifestations of the lucid radiance of being.” The word mandala, from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, translates as “sacred circle.” In Tibetan the term for mandala is kyil-kor, which means “center and circumference.” In the Eastern tradition mandalas also suggest a complete cycle, such as the rituals that comprise a liturgical year.

-from Coloring Mandalas, For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression by Susanne F. Fincher, Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2000

The word mandala also translates as “cycle,” as in a prayer cycle or a song cycle built around a single theme. A Labyrinth is a mandala. So is a Medicine Wheel, the 12 hexagrams of the I Ching, and the Buddhist concept of emptiness. What does the circle mean to you. Is it openness? Emptiness? Is it inviting, full, safe? Or scary, as in the empty circle of the Void.

As the Full Wolf Moon fades and we head into the next New Moon, it is a good time to begin something new. The New Moon symbolizes new beginnings. At the New Moon, you plant the seeds of what you want to come to fruition at the Full Moon. And then, start all over again. The Ouroboros. Yes, the Ouroboros is a mandala, too.

It’s time for me to start coloring. The show on Ferlinghetti is over. We’ve moved on to a PBS show on cheetahs. It’s fitting to be meditating on mandalas while listening to Lawrence read at City Lights Bookstore. I’ll keep you posted as we progress with our mandalas. We’d love to hear anything you’d like to share about your own experiences with these sacred circles.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, January 26th, 2008

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

Read Full Post »

The Places I've Walked, brick labyrinth, Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

The Places I’ve Walked, walking a brick labyrinth, Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved


It’s New Year’s Eve (almost a whole New Year, ybonesy!). I’m working on the black-eyed peas and rice post. And I’ve got to say the orangutan’s butt is a pretty hard act to follow! But I’m going to risk it and post an ABC meme morph of my practice and Gratitude List for 2007.

I met with friends a few nights ago for poetry, music, and silence. We did timed writings. I chose to make a Gratitude List. It was 99 items long. I admit, I was slowing down a bit near the end, but I think I could have gone longer. My scattered, discursive thoughts turned a corner into this giant web of connection.

When I got stuck, I’d think of the places I walked over the last year. Where did my feet hit solid ground? From there, the strong, silky tendrils spun out across the room, connecting one detail to another.

Each place held its own blessings. I was an unreluctant traveler. There is some sadness in looking back. But through the lens of gratitude, it’s mostly Joy.


Some things I learned along the way:


  • Looking back with gratitude, provides clear vision for the future.   After we reflected and wrote about 2007, we shared. Then we visioned about 2008. Not resolutions – Visions. I took the web of gratitude and laid out a detailed visual map of 2008. In the cluster map, everything seemed clear.

  • The Vision for 2008 is in place. Creating a workable structure and learning how to prioritize my time (balancing internal with external) are paramount to making the Vision reality.   Balancing writing, work, art, relationships, and care of the self are my challenges: (1) Setting up a structure detailing where I spend my time and sticking to it. (2) Limiting the things that seem most addictive or time wasting. I find that I can easily get lost in frittering away time. I know exactly how long it takes to get a task done. I am good at planning. I need a yearly structure that honors and balances internal time with outer action.

  • Time alone is a must for me. Taking action out in the world will be the hardest part of realizing my Visions. Setting intention. Following through.   A friend said how she needs creative space every day, time to just sit and stare at a wall. Most extroverts don’t understand the act of wall-staring, but I’m in full agreement! I get my energy from going within, not from other people (true definition of an introvert). I love connecting with people. I have good social skills. But my creative energy, my refilling of the well, comes from reflection, internal musings, silence.



Practice. Structure. Community. Intention. Follow through. Action. Many of these connections came from sharing my writing practices in community. My original gratitude practice was a free form list. I revisited the list and boiled everything down into general categories, the ABC’s.

May your New Year be filled with peace and gratitude, as close to balance as humans can get, and some semblance of what we homo sapiens like to call happiness.



Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved



A – APPRECIATION – appreciation for what has passed. People, places, and spaces – I want to preserve and write about them. Places contain our roots. People are memories. History, I don’t want to repeat it or make the same mistakes. I have to know the past for a clear future. The ability to deeply feel leads me to empathy and compassion.

B – BUZZING AROUND ON THE MOTORCYCLES – our little purple Honda Rebel 250 (Ramona) and Suzuki Savage 650 (Suzi) floating by the Mississippi River in summer. Can’t ya smell that smell.

C – COFFEE & CATS – Colombian or French Roast every morning. We make one pot and split it. That’s it for the day. Hmmmm. Don’t forget to take a good long whiff. And then there are the 3 Musketeers: Mr. StripeyPants who made it through a near-death experience in the last few months (a miracle); the elegant mistress of the house, Kiev; and nervous but sleek, Chaco (after the canyon).

D – DULUTH – going up to Lake Superior at Duluth once a year for our weekend getaway. I look so forward to that. Lake Superior is like the Womb of the Earth. It feels like I could be anywhere in the world.

E – EXPLORATION – outside of my comfort zone. In many ways, it was a hard year for me. I was challenged to push myself through situations that were not comfortable but were good for my growth. Sometimes I failed and went back to the drawing board. It was a hard year financially. But I didn’t give up. Looking at 2008, I feel willing to do more exploration. I’m hoping all the structures I put into place this year will bear fruit. Both financially and spiritually.

F – FRIENDS & FAMILY – many communities. I only have a few very close, intimate friends (I’ve known my friend, Gail, since 1980). My blogging partner, ybonesy. And ever-widening circles of communities like red Ravine, Flickr, Taos writers and people at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, recovery communities, all people I’ve met by showing up and stretching myself beyond my comfort zone. Family and extended family – at least one person in my blood/extended family supports me and my writing in some small or large way, every single day.

G – GRANDMOTHERS, GHOSTS, & GENERATIONAL HEALING – the Grandmothers that guide me, not only the Ancestors, but Elise and Ada who come to visit me often. The ghost of Mabel Dodge visited in Taos and I often feel her when I’m there. Her creative vision was admirable. And I wonder if she feels how writers and artists are still convening under her roof. I believe these Spirits guide us in healing the wounds of the past. In letting go between generations. I saw this on every trip I took home this year.

H – HOMETOWN – Minneapolis, living in the most literate, clean, and green city in the U.S. We’ve got the Walker, the Loft, the Guthrie, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN Book Arts, Talking Volumes, Minnesota Public Radio, the Fitzgerald (oh, that’s Saint Paul!), all the warehouse district artists and writers, and on and on and on.

I – INDRIA – the white cottage on the gently sloping hill, new gutters, freshly painted deck, small flower gardens, cardinals, flickers, downys, nuthatches, bluejays, view of the sunset, changing of the seasons, I love living just outside the city proper. It’s silent, quiet, peaceful.

J – JOY – the pure joy of doing art and writing every day. Journaling, blogging, business, lists, practices, poetry. Photography, papermaking, painting, printmaking, sketching, mapping. Any of it. All of it. These creative endeavors bring me JOY.

K – KINDRED SPIRITS – those who walk parallel paths. The faces change from time to time. Some walk hand in hand for a while, then drop away. So many different reasons. But I’m grateful for the time I walked with them. And now I’m grateful for those who are new to me and have come into my life at just the right time.

L – LIZ – her belief in me, her love, acceptance, gratitude, giving nature, smile, giggle, support of my writing, huge and open heart. When she’s in the mood, she also loves to cook, bake, and do laundry. 8)

M – MENTORS – Natalie Goldberg, books, writers that came before me, great literature, my business partners and clients of every nature. What about all the writers and artists I saw this year in the Twin Cities: Ann Patchett, Galway Kinnell, Mary Oliver, Josephine Dickinson, Steve Almond, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Riane Eisler, Mirabai Starr (oh, that was Taos), Ani DiFranco, Nancy Crampton, Diane Arbus (retrospective). All the art profs who mentored me in school.

N – NO REGRETS – I’m never bored. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I haven’t always made the best choices. But I’ve learned from them. I’m learning to forgive myself.

O – OPPORTUNITIES – so many presented themselves this year. Teaching with and assisting Natalie twice, helping others to write and structure their time, the writing Intensive at Taos, unexpectedly traveling home for Mom’s 70th, cheap flights to New Mexico (twice) and Pennsylvania (twice), road trips to New Mexico and Georgia, quality time at Mabel Dodge Luhan House, time spent in my childhood homes, researching, taping, discovering personal histories of the past.

P – PROMISES & PROSPERITY – the Promises of Recovery hooked me on letting go of self-destructive behaviors. It works if you work it. And you’re worth it. I’m lucky to be able to (almost) make a living doing something I love. I’ve also got a part-time job that is flexible, supportive, and allows me independence in my writing. I’m getting there. I believe.

Q – QUALITY TIME – with myself, with the people I love. The most important thing to me is connecting with those close to me. And learning how to keep the well full so I still have something to give back. I’m especially thankful for all the extra time I had with my mother this year. To walk along the Susquehanna and Savannah rivers, to meditate together, to travel to Georgia, to work on the family tree, to spread mud masks on our faces, to excavate memories, to eat homecooked meals, to be with family.

R – RECONNECTING & RED RAVINE – Mrs. Juarez (after 39 years), Aunt Annette (after 50 years), Aunt Emmalyne (after 41 years), my step-dad (after 41 years), my immediate family, siblings, and Mom and I are the closest we’ve ever been. Launching red Ravine has reconnected me to writers and creative people I’ve met in Taos, to extended family and friends, to other writers all over the world. Through writing and comments I learn new things about people I’ve known all my life. And old things about people I only just met.

S – SILENCE & SNOW – the golden sound of silence, meditation, practice, slow walking the labyrinths of the world. The silence of snow and winter. Winter Solstice by the fire. The exercise from shoveling the driveway with every muscle in my body. Strength in the vulnerability of silence.

T – TAOS MOUNTAIN – for sitting there century after century, just being the mountain.

U – UNDISCOVERED DREAMS – an openness and willingness to go where no QM has gone before!

V – VINTAGE – I’m into what’s old, not what’s new, borrowed or blue. Studying vintage items (books, music, stereos, lawnmowers, tools, historic places, etc.) how they work, the place they once held in the world, fascinates me.

W – WARM COATS, HATS, MITTENS – And don’t forget all my hooded sweatshirts that keep my body thermometer (the neck) warm. I’m grateful for the warmth every day. Your survival here depends on knowing how to dress and being prepared for anything in winter. There are some who only have the clothes on their backs.

X – X-RAY VISION – No, just kidding. I’m more thankful for my Wonderwoman wrist cuffs and strange powers of getting people to tell the truth.

Y – YOU – whoever is reading this at this moment. I’m grateful for you.

Z – piZZaZZ – I lived 2007 with courage, bravery, and pizzazz. I haven’t been perfect. I’ve had sleepless nights. I’ve made bad choices, hard choices, but I tried to do the right thing for the moment. I ran myself ragged early in the year. I rested in December. But life keeps me on my toes. I’ve got gratitude for pizzazz.


Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved  Walking The Winding Brick Road, labyrinth in Martinez, Georgia, June 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved


-Happy New Year, posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 31th, 2007



Read Full Post »


By E. Elise


Liberty's Torch, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

Liberty’s Torch, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.



It’s my Granddaddy’s birthday. We were going to New York by train. In New York we’re going to see the Statue of Liberty, and the “Vampire State 50 Cents, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedBuilding” as my cousin, Isaac, used to call it.NYC - Room With A View, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

My family that went with me was Granddaddy, Jenny, Uncle Larry, Isaac, Erica, and Paula. We had to wake up extremely early at 3:00 am to be on the enormous train by 5:00 am. I could hear people yawning and groaning like bears coming out ofhibernation because it was so early. The train can go more than 170 mph. I could barely see a city full of energy because of the smog.

When we got out of the train, I could smell the nice warm breakfasts. Also I saw so many suitcases, I thought it was an airport! We went on the subway Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.quite a number of Face Of Freedom, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedtimes. The seats felt like ice. I could hear it roaring and screeching to a stop, like a car about to drive off a cliff. Also it was really nerve-wracking to jump on the train.

On the ferry ride to Ellis Island, I could taste the fruit punch Gatorade from the snack shop on the lower level of the boat. Some people were standing on the benches with high-priced cameras trying to take beautiful snapshots of the Statue.



“This is the original torch,” said the tour guide. In the Statue of Liberty, the base is like a museum of her. The Statue of Liberty was supposed to be the artist’s mother, but she was unable to stand. So he used his wife’s body and mother’s face. At her feet are chains to resemble the end of Ellis Island, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reservedslavery.

When it was time to go to the train station again, we were tired and hungry like an animal who didn’t catch their prey. We had dinner and a smoothie. On the way to Harrisburg’s station, we saw a skyscraper with a flashing light in every window. It was almost like everyone was taking pictures of the train. I love New York!

Yes, that’s what I said, New York was awesome! One of my favorite parts was security. In the Empire State Building youhad to go in a box where it blows air from the ground. My hair went wild. Next time, if ever, I want to see everything in New York.



The Statue Of Liberty, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.           The Empire State Building, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reserved




About E. Elise:  E. Elise lives in Central Pennsylvania with her mother and older brother. She is currently a student at Broad Street Elementary. She likes to swim. One exciting time was when she went to New York. This is her story.




Liberty's Robe, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

Liberty’s Robe, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.



The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This tablet with her sonnet to the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty engraved upon it, is placed upon these walls
in loving memory of Emma Lazarus

Born in New York City, July 22nd, 1849
Died November 19th, 1887


-quote on the bronze plaque from the Liberty exhibit in the base of the Statue of Liberty (photo above). It was presented by philanthropist Georgiana Schuyler in 1903, twenty years after Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet. Originally displayed on the interior wall of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, it was placed in the Liberty exhibit in the base of the monument in July, 1886.

Post Script:  When I was visiting home in November for my Mom’s 70th birthday, my niece, E. Elise, tugged at my sleeve, and asked if she could read me her latest pieces of writing. She said she had asked her teacher if she could bring her writing folder home to share with me. And even though the folder was never supposed to leave the classroom, her teacher agreed.

I listened intently as she read (Whose B-Day) Going To New York out loud to me and my family in the dining room on the couch before the cake was cut. The story was about her Granddaddy who came up to visit from South Carolina last August. And over his birthday, my brother arranged a family trip to New York City.

I was ecstatic to see E. Elise so excited about writing (she is named after her Great Grandmama Elise). I loved her piece. And after I saw the family photos of the New York trip, I knew it would be a great post for red Ravine. I hope you are thrilled as I am to see my 10-year-old niece as our Guestwriter this week. And to see the young ones so jazzed about writing!

 

 

Chrysler Building, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by reccos62. All rights reserved  South, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by januaryshadows. All rights reserved  Ode To Ground Zero - Detail, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved. Vertigo II, visit to New York City, August 2007, photo © 2007 by R3. All rights reserved.

 

 

Photoblog Credit:  The photographs were taken by members of my family who graciously allowed me to upload and post them in this piece. I gave anonymous credit in the links (thank you reccos62, R3, and januaryshadows). And if you click on each photograph, it will take you to my Flickr account with larger views and more NYC photographs not included on this page. I also wanted to mention that the names in this post (other than the author’s) were changed to protect the innocent!

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, December 26th 2007

Read Full Post »

I write often about the movement of Providence. She is tied to Goethe’s dreams, but she is not Goethe. Each time I write of Providence, I can’t remember the quote that stands behind my words. They are the words of Scottish expeditionist,  W. H. Murray.

 
 

So I don’t forget:
 

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

    Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
    Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

– W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

The Goethe couplet Murray refers to is from a loose translation of Faust 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835. Anster translating Faust written by Goethe and quoted by Murray (reference at The Goethe Society of North America).  Like I learned from my art professors at MCAD, there are no original thoughts.

Murray was a writer of many works of fiction and non-fiction. Mountaineering in Scotland was written on toilet paper and destroyed in a WW II prisoner of war camp. He started from scratch and rewrote the whole book again. It was published in 1947.

Providence moved too.


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Read Full Post »

I’ve been here before.
Said to live for hundreds of years.
Yet, you need agua to live, and where is theirs?
More beautiful in mythology than in person.
Although, the new Rental Car Center is like a museum.
I wonder if Dumbledore knows where I am (was).


Road Warrior Mystery

Read Full Post »

3043 - What's Left Behind, Orr Books, Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

3043 – What’s Left Behind, inside what used to be Orr Books, Hennepin Avenue, Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


While walking to dinner in Uptown a few weeks ago, I snapped a few photos of the shadowy insides of 3043 Hennepin Avenue, last location of the (almost) 40-year-old Orr Books.

The independent Minneapolis bookstore closed last summer. Read a full account of its closing in the related post, What Happened To Orr Books?


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Read Full Post »

It’s the end of June. ybonesy and I will be traveling over the next two weeks. Different times and separate destinations. Expect slight delays, possible blasts of summer rain, seeds of a sunset poppy, the beat of a gyrfalcon.

Tonight I feel like poetry. Away from home, there is ground in the simple. A blinding light pours through the picture window. And I am not alone.


Fourth Moon (June)
by Li Ho

Cool dawns and dusks
lots of shade
a thousand emerald mountains
rising toward the clouds

a fragrant rain
patters through green foliage
thick leaves and blossoms
shine behind gates
water in the pools
quivers with green ripples

in heavy summer
blossoms expect to fall
fading red flowers
glowing in light and shade.


…every day he would go out riding on a donkey….with a tapestry bag. As he wandered through the countryside, he would compose poems and toss them into the bag. At home in the evening, he would dump out his day’s work and finish the poems, allegedly provoking his mother’s comment: “My son will not stop until he has vomited out his heart.”

-from 12 Poems on the Months by Li Ho (791-817)
Five Tang Poets, Translated and introduced by David Young
Oberlin College Press, 1990

-related to these two posts:  

Among Ruins – Li Ho (791-817)
Tu Mu on Li Ho, 15 years after his death

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Read Full Post »

red Ravine as Blog of the Day on Fuel My BlogHey, for the past day-and-a-half, red Ravine has been featured as “Blog of the Day” on FuelMyBlog, a fairly new directory of blogs.

FuelMyBlog is one of our favorite blogging social sites, and not just because they gave us some free press. The blogs registered there are from all over the world, many newcomers to the blogosphere. So far, there are no so-called “A-list blogs” like there are on other blog directories, such as Technorati.

FuelMyBlog has a fresh feel to it; if blog directories had a zen-ness to them, FuelMyBlog would be “beginner’s mind.” (In a good way. A very good way.)

So, if you are so inclined, we’d much appreciate if you would go out to FuelMyBlog and fuel our blog. You’ll need an account, which is EASY to get. There’s a form to fill out, but you only need to input the account name, password, and your email address. Everything else is optional. You can vote once a day for our blog.

While you’re there, check out and vote for other blogs, too. There are A LOT of good ones, many in the Art/Design category, as well as Literature and Photography. Keep going back; new blogs are added daily. And by all means, if you have a blog, register it! And then let us know so we can fuel your blog, too.

Read Full Post »

Savannah River Near Augusta, June 8th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 

Savannah River from the Bridge, Augusta, Georgia, June 8th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


“It seems I have always lived near rivers and trains.”


The day we went to Eve Street, I remembered I hadn’t taken any photographs of the Savannah. I had zipped off a couple of shots of the 5th Street Bridge, a landmark in disrepair. My grandfather helped build that bridge. It was strange to go back to a place where my family had so much history. I’m used to living in towns and cities where I have no immediate blood kin.

It stands to follow that in those places, I have to forge my own bits of history. But spending time in a city where family members are woven through architecture, church, field, and stream, made me feel connected. Close. The water there plays a big part in my childhood.

The Savannah River is about 350 miles long and its source is in eastern Georgia at a confluence of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers. The headwaters originate in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia near Ellicott Rock, the point where the borders of those three states meet. The river flows from a cool, clear stream in the Blue Ridge Mountains and empties through tidal plains into the Atlantic.

Savannah and Augusta are the largest cities on the Savannah River and most of their history evolved from commerce and trade on her waters. Savannah is on the Atlantic, Augusta on the fall line.

Lake Hartwell is a 56,000 acre manmade lake built in 1963 by the Army Corp of Engineers on the headwaters of the Savannah. The 71,535 acre Clarks Hill Reservoir was built by the Corp in 1954 and is 22 miles north of Augusta. Clarks Hill is where my mother wants her ashes to be scattered. She says she spent some of the happiest times of her life waterskiing and swimming in Clarks Hill.

The Savannah River’s history goes back some 12,000 years to the Ice Age. That makes my 400-year-old family history look paltry. Human history along her banks includes Hernando de Soto, James Edward Oglethorpe, the Westo Indians, and a wandering tribe called the Savannah Indians, armed by a group of Carolinians, who drove out the Westos in the Westo War of 1680 and gave their name to the river.

Part of my ancestry can be traced back to Oglethorpe. But the memories I have are of Grandmama Elise picking me up from Belvedere Circle in her black, 40’s Pontiac and singing The Good Ship Lollipop to me as we crossed the 5th Street Bridge. (My great grandfather told them they would run into quicksand when they built it, but they didn’t listen.) When we drove across the river border between South Carolina and Georgia, the wind from the rolled down passenger window roared through my hair; the smell of the paper mill on the river is something a child never forgets.

The memories I have are of rolling over the river to Reynolds Street and my Granddaddy’s shop where my step-dad worked part-time as a mechanic (in addition to his full-time job). I remember the girly calendar on the wall, the smell of grease and Gojo, and pulling an ice cold Coke out of a shiny, red vending machine that gripped the blue-glass bottles like a vice. Then we’d drop salted peanuts from a bag of Planter’s into the lip and alternate swigs of Coke with the soggy crunch of peanuts between our teeth.

My memories are from four years ago, scooting along the Riverwalk in Augusta with my sister and her family when we drove down to visit relatives. We were fresh and tan after body surfing in the Atlantic at Ocean City, Maryland, and spent the day ambling around the Riverwalk museum where we stuffed ourselves into a photo booth for a couple of crazy, animated snapshots. 

My memories are from a week ago, driving back and forth across the Savannah River, photographing landmarks, recording conversations, creating new memories with my step-dad and mother, laughing and conjuring up times long past. My memories are of breaking and mending, of leaving and of coming home.

Here they are, details on the page, the beginning of something much bigger, a creative force spawned from the bowels of rivers and oceans and mountains and trees. Bones. Here are the memories of last week’s water wings, and the flowing, dry humidity of the Savannah.

But I sit on a gray deck near the banks of the wide and rambling Mississippi whose mouth bubbles out not far from the Canadian border in a lake called Itasca.


Sunday, June 17th, 2007

-from Topic post, Water Wings

Read Full Post »

By mimbresman


kayak-beach-1.jpg

Kayak Beach, photo © 2007 by mimbresman. All rights reserved.



Winter 1977/78Mimbres River, NM:
I wanted to explore the Cook’s Range with my Jeep CJ-5. I get to the lower Mimbres River which was flooding due to warm rain melting snow in the mountains. On the far bank of the river was a sign that read “If you’re fool enough to cross this…it’ll cost you $20.00 to get pulled out!” I got out of the idling Jeep and looked in my wallet: $8.00. (I was just 17-years old.) I looked at the river, looked at the sign, and decided to go for it. Locked the hubs, put the CJ in 4-wheel drive, low-range and start across. Meanwhile a guy across the river was starting up his tractor, ready to take advantage of the situation. No problem until I was 3/4th the way across the river…water was coming in through the bottom edge of the doors and bubbling up through drain holes, and the current was starting to push the Jeep down stream. I steer upstream, mash the accelerator and hit the opposite bank, front wheels clawing their way on to dry ground. I made it! The first vehicle to do so!


Summer 1978Gila River, NM:
Nearly drowned in a riffle due to panic. I calmed myself, stood up and found myself in knee deep water.


Spring Break 1982 – Boquillas Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Rio Grande, TX/MX:
A friend and I hiked Telephone Canyon to the river while two other Range Bum buddies rafted down it in a small yellow raft. There was only room for two people on the raft so we had to take turns. The hike was hot, but the river was refreshing. We were treated to the sound of canyon wrens and mysterious flute music. We hiked out, shuttled to get the guys at the La Linda Bridge, then it was our turn to paddle Boquillas Canyon.


Spring Break 1983 – Mariscal Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Rio Grande, TX/MX:
A follow-up to the previous year’s excursion. We had a bigger raft, which proved to be a dog on the water. We ended up slogging through low water, dragging the raft for miles through the meanders before reaching the canyon.


Spring Break 1984 Death Valley National Monument, CA:
Without water here, you die. We Range Bums found ourselves hanging out at the Furnace Creek Resort swimming pool more than we wanted to. It was unbearably hot! Determined to escape the crowds, we headed to the back country and were not disappointed. We saw all sorts of interesting formations due to water erosion or because of the lack of water. The most interesting place was “The Race Track,” a dry lake bed where rocks move on their own. How exactly they move is still a mystery but it is an awesome place indeed!


June 1994 Arkansas River, CO:
A weekend whitewater retreat with two friends (ybonesy was one of them). Fun time on the water, and ended with us watching the OJ Simpson slow-speed car chase at the bar/restaurant in Buena Vista.

June 2001 Pouder Cache River, CO:
Nearly drowned in a Class IV rapid when the inflatable kayak I was in hit a raft that was pinned on a rock, and rolled. I was forced underwater by the hydraulic pressure and was held there for several seconds before I could reach the surface, where I then had to deal with bouncing down the Class IV rapid with my body. I was exhausted when I reached the shore.


July 2001 Puget Sound, WA:
Had a bad experience paddling big open water. Tide rips, strong tidal currents, waves, a weird and strange companion who I found I didn’t like too much, plus my inexperience as a paddler, all added to a very bad trip on the water.


March 2002 – Playa Mansa to Isla Borracha and back, Venezuela’s Caribbean Coast:
My wife was out of town and so I paddled the double kayak, solo, from the beach near our apartment to Isla Borracha 7 miles off shore. I was ill prepared for such an excursion; no food, only small mint candies and some water. When I got to Isla Borracha, I found there was not much there. I eventually had to paddle back to the mainland without eating. My only source of calories was “Mintitas,” small mint candies. I found that I could paddle for about 5 minutes per Mintita.


Summer 2002 – Playa Mansa, Venezuela’s Caribbean Coast:
Nearly drowned less than 20 meters from shore when I was practicing in my single kayak. I accidentally rolled the kayak, and was pinned inside the boat by the spray skirt. I tried reaching for the release toggle several times and I kept missing it. Finally, calming myself, I remembered the drill; rub my hand along the combing of the kayak until I reached the toggle. I was then able to pull and release the skirting and make a wet exit from the kayak.


New Year’s 2005/2006 – Cumana to Lechería, Venezuela:
A coastal kayak expedition with Douglas and Matt, a gay couple from San Francisco. They came to Venezuela to paddle, but had several bad experiences with police harassment. When they reached Cumana, they called me and I met them there. It was a good 5-day paddle of about 60 miles total. Very fun and interesting times. Matt was a diva, and Douglas did what he could to keep Matt from going into his “fits” (as Douglas called them). Douglas taught me how to surf my kayak on the big, following waves.



About this writing practice, mimbresman says: I wanted to write on this topic but got bogged down each time I started. Finally I decided to make a chronology of memorable experiences I’ve had with water. I guess that’s what this is all about: experimentation and writing.


-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – WATER WINGS

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »