Monthly Archives: July 2013

Favorable Weather for Lettering

The Poet Writes Large

For over a week, the weather here has been extra cool and wet. Today started off rainy and the high was in the mid-90’s. That worked in my favor as I labored outdoors applying vinyl letters and graphics to a storefront. I don’t have photos of the process but can share the proposed design I gave to the owner:

Motorplex signage design

My husband’s mechanic friend is starting a shop of his own. When I first visited, the only signage was a small banner, barely visible from the highway. I expressed concern about James’s business being overlooked for that reason, and Ethan said, “If you can come up with something better, why don’t you make a proposal.” Long story short, James agreed to my design suggestion and even invited me to do the work.

I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity like that, even though I’m not a professional signmaker. I bought the vinyl, made the patterns, cut the letters, and planned the installation. Today the installation took almost six hours. I was learning on the job … and I loved every minute.

Solving craftsmanship issues was the most satisfying … how best to clean glass, make measurements, position graphics, use tools, etc. After a few ruined letters, I learned to wet the surfaces and properly use a squeegee. Another important lesson was that the orange vinyl, being translucent, lost brightness when removed from its white backing and placed on a dark window. Also, letters that looked enormous at close range seemed smaller than expected at a distance.

How appreciative I am to James for entrusting me with the work and for showing his delight when it was done. I got a big thumbs up … and a big hug too.


If I had my druthers,
I’d play at work all day,
designing entertaining things,
for those who’d want to pay.

And, to find these others,
I wouldn’t have to shout,
or pay for ads, or dance and sing,
for they would seek me out.

I had a red-letter day awhile back when I started this blog. Today was an orange-letter day. I took advantage of fun opportunities to write both large (the signage) and small (this blog). Very satisfying. ♥~Jo

* * *

My Nature is Natural

Treasure Hunter

IMG_3182a Cabela bagI took two plastic shopping bags with me on my walk this morning, just in case. I’d been carrying rocks home all week for edging a flowerbed … and carrying them by hand. Bags might be more “handy.”

Ever alert to treasures—in the child’s sense of the word—I noticed ferns, tree bark, caterpillars, a turtle and a hawk, clouds, flowers, large and small stones, and … a trash bag. New. It wasn’t there yesterday. That surprise started an internal dialogue:

– Pick it up.
– What for? I already have trash bags with me.
– It’s serendipity. Pick it up. You’ll find out later why.
– Oh, please. That’s silly … just magical thinking.
– Yes, exactly. Pick it up.

– But WHY?!

– You’ll SEE why.

IMG_3183a Cabela bag

I picked it up.

Picking up on serendipities is my nature—the WHY was now self-evident, like a Declaration of Independence truth. [By the way, the bag is from Cabela’s, the outdoors outfitter. Some other person is currently enjoying these woods. Good to know.]

I returned home with three shopping bags unfilled. But I did not return empty-handed, meaning empty-hearted:


is the treasure,
the storehouse,
the key.
All “open secrets”
it opens to me.

The fruits of my treasure-hunting expedition are that poem and another. The second is about magical coincidences and the relativity of reality:


Why should magic by day—
differ from magic by night?

Are they not both

IMG_3156a road curve

My partner just came home from a hard and hot day’s work.After supper, he relaxed in a chair and asked me to tell him a story, just a child might at bedtime. I related all the adventures of my treasure hunt, including visits with neighbors. I take it as a compliment that he drifted off to sleep.

I spared you many of the treasure-hunt episodes in today’s writing and will fill you in later. Or not … depending on serendipities and further wonders. May you have many. ~ ♥Jo


* * *

The Truly Great Outdoors

Surprised by Beauty

Outdoors, when I look around, I always find surprises—something new, something never-noticed, or something that contradicts my expectations.

Fence Rail

Yesterday it was a large bee that inspected me several times from head to knee as I prepared to stretch at a fence-rail barre.After her inspection, the bee bumped around and into the rail a few times, including the bottom side. I concluded that she was a carpenter bee heading home. How smart to bore a hole in a place like that and create a wooden roof overhead.

Yellowed Leaves

Again and again, I am surprised by beauty—such as leaves on a broken branch turning color prematurely or Queen Anne’s lace shadowed on asphalt.

IMG_3161 Queen Anne shadows

Recently I noticed the latest in a series of hickory nuts that had fallen to the pavement. The first ones appeared about two weeks ago, and the nuts have been getting larger as the hickory crop matures. So far, the insides of the nuts have not been eaten, just exposed.

TO EACH THING A SEASONIMG_3157a hickory nut

Already in early summer, yellowed
leaves and tree debris find their way
to the ground, whether by weather,
insect, bird, or squirrel.

An occasional small hickory nut— 
gnawed open but uneaten, and
found on the pavementtestifies
squirrels have been honing
safe-cracking skills in advance.

Many things can be hurried,
many cannot; 
and many things seem
falsely premature
or delayed.
But all is in order, and even 
the skill of
discerning this 
must ripen in its own time.

Beautiful surprises are life’s real poems. My words here are primarily records of my appreciation . . . love letters to this lovely world. ♥ ~Jo

* * *


It’s More   (?)   , Y’All!

Newspapers as mulch . . . that was the edging treatment I had just put down beside our front deck. When I watered it with a hose to keep it in place, this little fellow hopped out. He courteously stayed put while I went inside, located my camera, installed its memory card, and returned.


Froggie may have been captivated by the honky-tonk ad on which he’s sitting, wondering if bull-riding has anything to do with bullfrogs. (I was certainly captivated by him.)

Actually, the local watering hole is on the other side of the house …  a set of fountains where local toads gather for croaking duels each night. This guy looks like a city slicker in comparison, but I hope he sticks around and can fit in. Then we can find out WHAT it’s more of, Y’all!  ♥ ~Jo

* * *

Observing and Musing

My Daily Walk

I live uphill from a lake and my daily walk usually takes me to it or near it. One route takes me down a hill, alongside the water, and eventually to a boat ramp. The other begins on gravel then shifts to pavement, winding fairly level till the end when it takes a downward incline to a hideaway vacation compound. From its entryway surveillance sign, I can see lake water ahead.

Daily Walk Route

Both routes are scenic, but the second tends to be more private and shaded. I often encounter hawks, deer, squirrels, turtles, and other creatures on that road or in the woods alongside it. And I have plenty of time to observe and muse.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir

Yesterday I had my camera with me and photographed a word that had been spray-painted word on the pavement by a utility worker. That word figured in one of last week’s walks and poems:


Most people I know
are Superglued to their beliefs.
I’d rather set mine free
to drift downstream, paper boats.

“Where are the others like me?
I wondered aloud yesterday
to no entity in particular …
“Where is my family?”

I happened to be walking “alone”
on a paved country road.
Some utility company, I noticed,
had spray-painted cryptic guidelines
at its edge—along with the
single word “LOCATE.”

My answer came, as a knowing,
in that one moment.

 Locate Sign


In other words, Kindred Spirit, I now have my radar out for you.  ♥ ~Jo


Writing, Spirituality, and Marketing

Starting to Get Ready to Begin.

Last night I listened to a webinar about ebook writing and promotion. Is it intimidation, sour grapes, or what that I feel so alien toward speedwriting, keyword orienting, list building, joint venture partnering, upselling, and similar concepts? The overarching concept of the presentation was marketing … with emphasis on ecommerce.

eBook Button

As I search for my own resonance in this arena, it helps to recall this favorite analysis:

Selling is getting rid of what you have.
Marketing is having what you can get rid of.


As for poetry and spiritual musings … are there people who want that? And is it counter-productive (for lack of a better word) to combine those two things with marketing?

I’m grateful to authors who did that combining. I also sometimes wonder if their books, articles, videos, workshops, and counselling are—”bottom line”—spiritually positive, negative, or neutral. If the real orientation of spirituality is to go within, do these methods spur or stall?

My assumption is that it ultimately doesn’t matter … and that Life is operating through me to do what it wants. Yesterday’s poem seems apropos:


I see that you’re in trouble,
mostly because you think
you’re a special case.

I have remedies.

But even I hope
you can pull this off.

—Your  Inner Guide

I also pondered yesterday about a God who pondered creating the universe. Why? What would be the enticement? I decided it wouldn’t be for worshippers or passive companions. It would be for playmates, as in a great cosmic game of hide-and-seek.

Go! ...You’re IT!  ♥ ~Jo

* * *

[Photo by Wallyir of morgueFile]

Red-Letter Day

Ten Poems Today!

Digital Ten

That’s a record, I do believe. Malcolm Gladwell (the author) might say such productivity derives from the ten thousand I already wrote. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask a higher power for help … with anything … or everything.

At any rate, here is number ten. After posting its text, I retire for the day. The sharing is the culmination of the whole endeavor and I’m glad you’re here to receive it, whenever.


Let me, please, attest:
the thing that you do best
because you make request
of muse or other such—
that very spark or touch
sets up creative flow.

At first, you feel so blessed!
But that’s before you know
the stream has undertow . . .
quite soon it takes you down
and you begin to drown
by being blessed so much.

I affirm that this is so—
because, with poetry, I know.

Good night, and may your creativity be exactly as abundant as you desire.  ♥ ~Jo

* * *

[Photo by Alvimann of morgueFile]

Joint Explorations

Why this Website? Why Poetry?

They both have the same prompt: Oprah.
Poetry is a response to a life-mission remark she made. The website is a response to her recently-issued “Grow Your Life” challenge. In 150 words or less, entrants told which of their dream(s) they most wanted to advance. From the submissions, a winner will be chosen to have lunch with Oprah in Hawaii.

Machu PicchuI resonated with the challenge and entered, via a poem. (Creativity will figure strongly in the judging.) The dream I described has two parts: to fulfill a long-cherished wish to visit Machu Picchu, the ancient sacred city in Peru, and to combine that wish with my everyday poetry. I envision approaching the Inca site from a spiritual perspective, recording the experience in an art-and-poetry journal.

The website is a further outcome of my spirituality and writing liaison.

Writing Tools file00077014446

Part of my yearning and resonance is to keep very private with these joint explorations. That is counterbalanced by another part encouraging me to become more open and visible. I wonder which part invites more vulnerability, growth, and/or learning? We shall see. I already enjoy the creativity.

♥  Jo

* * *

Spiritual Trajectories

Puzzlement and Exploration

Years ago, I was impressed by a New Yorker Magazine cartoon. In a series of panels, a person in a fog and standing on a small jigsaw-puzzle-piece ice flow makes a larger place to stand by assembling similar pieces in the water nearby. Then, as the fog lifts, he notices that other people have been doing the same thing all along. Each stranded soul has created a larger puzzle piece that can now be assembled into an even larger platform. Presumably, the people will now mingle and collaborate even more.

I think that’s how spirituality goes. So much begins as puzzlement. And subsequent  exploration seems to be done in isolation, but that isn’t so …


Each of us is at odds
with our culture in some way,
each an outsider;
that’s how we
 are alike,
how we are united,
how we are one.

As for myself, I can’t really say I’ve been exploring on my own. Because, for so long, I’ve had books. And here I am writing, myself. Why?

It’s probably part of a trajectory I’m not even aware of. Somehow life suggested to me, a decade ago, that I write poetry. And I said yes, not suspecting that poetry would become more than a hobby or daily journal. It became a spiritual practice.(I was musing on that term earlier today: “spiritual practice.” I used to think it meant learning how to be spiritual; now I think it means actually and consciously being spiritual.)

Anyway, I now feel prompted to write here, at least for now. Not that I have “arrived” with any kind of message to share. But that I’ve begun to benefit from, rejoice in, and understudy other people who are making similar spiritual explorations. I’m glad they began to share their musings and experiences early enough that I can witness their trajectories. Most recently, I’ve resonated with the sharing that Wayne (Wirs) does through his writing, photography, and videos. THANK YOU to all my spiritual teachers, mentors, and friends.  ♥ Jo 


Poems — Jun 2013

These poems are drafts, not final versions, and are not to be shared outside this website.

Selected Poems



If, if, if.
Be done with ifs.

Rest within what you know—
and, should that be nothing,
be nothing.

Or—be anything you choose.
What is there to lose?

* * *



As I write
these poems
each day,
I wish I knew
what I were
trying to say.

* * *



Which is the world
we wish to see,
of the myriad perceptions
and interpretations available?
Which impressions
do we choose to filter in
and which to filter out?

Was I simply open, this morning,
to the intuitive prompt
that let me catch an “I’m with you”
snippet of a radio song?

And the moth my dad noticed
in the grass of my mother’s grave
on this, the first anniversary
of her death—
like the moth that appeared
on her ceiling last year, was that
a connection or a happenstance?

A visitation, I say.
Chance? Not a chance.

* * *



The final trick of life
is death:
the final twist
at one’s last breath …
when the truth of the reckoning
is revealed to be the beckoning.

* * *



I slept with my concretion
last night—the rounded rock
that looks like a popsicle off its stick,
the one given me as a sacred talisman
by a sort of medicine man
or con artist.

I’m using it as a ritual device—
as something meaningful to hold
while I count my daily blessings
and magnify my gratitude.

The giver of the stone told me
that it was formed in the heart
of Mother Earth and that I should
carry it close to my own heart always.

Like many other aspects
of my life, I’m grateful for the
conundrum of how to do that.

* * *



When we set our sights on flight
into internal realms,
nothing truly overwhelms.

There, there are no rules to obey,
debts to incur, pains to endure,
or costs to defray.

There, in that lustrous night,
the heart is sure; it knows the way.

* * *



I keep thinking
I’ll get clear,
keep thinking I’ll know
and, knowing,
will not fear to act.

But, oh, it’s so not so.

* * *


READY, AIM . . .

Planning involves research,
exploring, and dreaming,
plus setting goals and strategies,
masterminding, scheming.

Planning sets agendas
and also trouble brewing,
for there’s no more effective way
to postpone ever doing.

* * *



Success or death.
Make your choice;
you will get no other.

Life’s a test
you must win—
that, or do it over.

* * *



I keep my writing true to truth—
won’t substitute “old man” for “youth”
just for some effect. But heck,
if I could sometimes just bluff well …
OH, the poems I could tell!

* * *



From first days … from babyhood
… others dictate what is good;
we imbibe that with our mush.
“Eat now. Burp now. Sleep now. Hush!”

Monitored to be just so
(not too fast, not too slow,
not too rich or smart or wise),
we live out those others’ lies.

Preached a thousand kinds of truth,
we go crazy playing sleuth.
Preached a thousand kinds of hell,
comes a day our souls rebel.

To our true selves we awake,
early, late (perhaps near death);
sort our inner wheat from chaff;
think own thoughts, breathe own breath.

* * *



Does a pigeon pre-know death?
Does a kitten hold its breath?
Does a mollusk play the martyr?
Being human—what is harder?!

* * *



Everything is meant for me.
There’s nowhere else I need to be;
these tests are ones I chose myself
and all the steps from first to twelfth.

I’m here to learn the ways of mind
and leave its trickeries behind
until I know: below, above—
all that’s real embodies love.

* * *



Dark body,
white wing-tips,
wings that rowed.

Not a buzzard,
not a crow.

Till today,
never seen.
Something in between.

* * *



PB sammich
wif nanner or appy.
I so happy!

* * *



These are the days of cloud changes,
of puffy whites being devoured
by gigantic amoeba grays.
Then comes the rain.
Then back again to spacious blue
and puffy whites above the greens,
and songbirds all about.

On high, the buzzards own the sky.

* * *



Dear dead fawn,
come into me
and breathe the air;
use my eyes to view the sky.

Life goes on.
Much is here
to see and be.
Know that love is everywhere.

* * *



Hurrah for rationales!
How else could we
assume our human role—
how reconcile the absurdities,
complexities, and contradictions
of what we don’t control.

* * *



We so love light
(aurora-bright or purest white)
we think its lack is trauma—
but, oh—not so!
Dark is drama.

* * *



How was I to choose among
mother, artist, nun, or nurse?
Which is better; which is worse?

How could I decide between
worker bee or worker queen
without, regardless, getting stung?

Was I foolish; was I wise?
I didn’t choose to specialize.

* * *



All I know
is how I am.

And how am I?
As I am.

* * *



At last she wakes
and finds her wings.
At last, at last,
the nightbird sings.

* * *