Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spur Of The Moment Trip To The Tetons

Smoke from Lake Moran fire,

life sprouting on twig,

golden aspen,

hike to Garnet Lake,

we meet Toni and René and run into them again on String Lake hike
(one of my most favorite things - meeting people on the trail and talking to them -
turns out Toni is also a massage therapist),

two of 13 people in lobby of Jackson Lake Lodge on mac laptops,

(below) kissing frog on end of walking stick -
still waiting for prince,

we walk through area posted, "Outfitters Only - Bear Habitat."
I guess we got lucky,

can't believe it when I run into Milo, former student
from when I taught full-time at the massage school -
I make him pose for view of his "Great Wave" tattoo,

the original "Great Wave,"

another of Richard Murray's paintings
at the Visitor's Center. He does all his wildlife paintings
life-size, so this one was more than 6' long -
notice how the shadow of the cougar extends onto the frame -
(more at bottom of blog) and here -

happy to be hanging out in the Tetons -

happy to have new digital camera!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Haunted By Hope

She appeared as religious
as girls got in that city,
fresh, hopeful;
the requisite pose of
paralyzed glee.
Had she wanted more
and pretended less,
her jewelry
would have been

But she chose 'the right'
and wore the ring
and oh my, yes,
she felt the spirit.
It filled her
with sacred whimsy
and tempting tales
of indecent promise.

On account of love
she banked on limited trust
and withdrew
her sense
of balance.
With the truth
and reality disordered,
she assumed the pose
of one who is
haunted by hope.

© 2009 by Kathryn Feigal. All rights reserved. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Zion Subway

This is not at all what 'The Subway' at Zion Canyon looks like, but when I got home from this trip, I had to document the experience in some fashion, so I got out my chalks and made this drawing. I couldn't really find words at the time to describe what had happened on this hike, and I'm not sure I can now, either. Let me just lay it out without trying to be poetic or pretentious (which I am usually wont to do).

My hiking buddy and I had decided last minute to take a jaunt down to Southern Utah. We had taken several hikes over a two-day period and on the way out of the canyon, we decided we needed just one more short hike (this was before you had to have reservations and special transportation to most of the hikes).

We took a side road and pulled off where several cars were parked. We decided this was a good indication there might be a nice hike there. I don't remember what time it was exactly when we started walking, but I know it was after lunch.

We were clipping along at a pretty good pace, when we started getting thirsty and wondered if we should turn around and call this the extent of our hike. As we were contemplating this, another couple approached us on the trail. We asked them if it was worth it to continue to the end and they assured us it was. Up to this point, we didn't even know we were hiking 'The Subway.' These kind people gave us what water they had left so we could continue.

We reached the point where the water is shallow and glistening over the rocks. We walked along in awe as it became obvious why this place was named 'The Subway.' There was no literal light at the end of this tunnel like my drawing suggests, but metaphorically, the physicality of working to get to a place of inspiration necessitated adding the punched-through paper and tissue bits of light. (pictures of the Subway follow post, so I won't try to describe further here). Several people were there, all taking pictures. I was almost glad we hadn't brought a camera so we could just soak it all in. It seemed like we were in a separate world, like that Tom Beringer movie where the bounty hunter rides through the waterfall to a primitive Indian tribe. (Isn't it sad that in an 'ah ha' moment I would reference A MOVIE?). After staying in a trance-like state for several minutes, we realized the sun was lowering in the sky so we headed back to the car.

This is where the hike took on a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" aspect. It was getting dark and I couldn't see well and that's probably why I began skipping from rock to rock in a surreal fashion. It seemed like I floated from log to stone to dirt. I suppose I hit my second wind, but it seemed like more than this. Every word I try to use here seems trite - 'transcendent' - 'floaty' - 'surreal' (I feel like a teenager who says, "like, I mean, it's like...)

When we reached the car, the sun was down and we were TIRED and THIRSTY! We had two Stewart's Key Lime Sodas in the cooler and I'm tellin' ya - nothing ever tasted better in my life!

I've never had an experience that comes this close to addressing all the senses like this Subway hike.

We were in a stunned state of exhausted bliss. I suppose what made it so exciting was how spontaneous and unexpected it was. I just love it when life reaches out and grabs you like this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is?

I saw this documentary on Lifetime. It's disturbing, yet inspiring.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is the winner of the first prize in the UN's competition for children portraying some of our planet's environmental challenges.

The picture is painted by a 13 year old girl, Charlotte Sullivan from England.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

9th & 9th Street Festival, Sept. 19

Adopt me

Any toy tank made out of a helmet and scrap metal
that destroys gnomes
is OK by me.

I bought a felted crocheted flower pin.

Great folk-rock band, Highway 6
causes spontaneous dancing to erupt.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept. 12, Sundance

'Hay' you? Want to go on a hike?

Hey, there's a rusty old swing set over there in the woods...

Hey, those gossamer-like dried flowers look pretty...

Hey man, you can't stop beauty, don't even try...

Hey, there's the horses my friend, Richard Murray painted in the Foundry Grill
(more at bottom of blog)

Hey dude, that's a pretty cool haircut you've got there...

Hey, that's a pretty flower over there. Looks like a Begian Lily or Cosmos...

Hey, there's some Sunflowers right here in the parking lot.

Hey, what did you say?... What?... You're tired of me saying 'hey' and you won't ever hike with me again if I don't simma downa? Hey, OK. I'll quit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Green Lake

Bark beetles derange the Elms,
Thickening the path with leaf rot.
Naked limbs of Ash, stripped by downy mildew,
tap coded insults
on the cottage roof.
Inside, albino spiders
sentry the walls
with mazes of webs.
Here, miles from Wayzata,
we make love on the bed you have loved on before.
We sleep
and in your dream
she walks the beach,
tempting the tide to take her.
billowing with a passion
that is not her own,
she becomes the wave,
through the engorged channel
toward the cabin,
licking the edges,
nipping the trusses.
When we wake,
the air is dank
with her name.
It seeps between the eaves,
through the floorboards,
driving us outside.
It is too cold to swim
and every direction we walk,
the wind is against us.
In another place,
the day will be warm
and the evening full.
We will have cool drinks
and sit on a porch
listening to crickets, who,
only when the heat
is most intense,
sing of love.
© 2009 by Kathryn Feigal. All rights reserved. 

I studied poetry with Mark Strand at the University of Utah. This is one of the poems I wrote in his workshop.
(see some of his poetry here)

Mark StrandMark Strand was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His collections of poems include: Dark Harbor (1993), The Continuous Life (1990), Selected Poems (1980), The Late Hour (1978), The Story of our Lives (1973), The Sargentville Notebook (1973), Darker (1970), Reasons For Moving (1968), and Sleeping With One Eye Open (1964). He has also published a book of prose, entitled The Monument (1978). His books on artists include William Bailey (1987) and Hopper (1994). His translations include two volumes of the poems of Carlos Drummond de Andrade. He has also published three books for children. He has been the recipient of Fellowships from the Ingram Merrill, Rockefeller, and Guggenheim Foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been awarded the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets (1979), a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award (1987), the Bollingen Prize (1993), and has served as Poet Laureate of the United States (1990). He is currently the Elliott Coleman Professor of Poetry in the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins.
(translation into German from an earlier draft)
Grün See
Du bringst mir zu Grün See,
wo du in frührern Sommern
mit eine andern Frau gewohnt hast.
Der dunkele Himmel liegt schwer auf uns
wie eine muffige Wolldecke
bedeckt mit Hülse vergangenen Lebens.
Borkekäferen zerrütten die Ulme
und Netzen von Blattfäulnis,
den Weg verdickend.
Auf dem Hüttendach, klopfen Nackte Lindenäste
ihre Beleidigungen heraus.
Drinnen, albino Spinnen mit labyrinthischen Geweben,
bewachen die Wände.
Hier, Meilen von der Welt entfernt,
erfüllten wir die gegenseitige Sehnsucht
an dem selben Bett,
wo du mit ihr gelegen hattest.
In deinem Schlaf,
schlendert sie den Strand entlang,
und fordernt die Wellen,
sie hinunter zu ziehen.
Mit fremder wogender Leidenschaft
verwandelte sie sich
in eine Mächtige Welle.
Die Welle Wälzt ihre Fluten dir zu,
wo du liegst, voller Sehnsuchts
um ein Überfluss Wasser.
Die kursierte durch deinen Leib
erreichte die Hütte beleckend
die Klinke versuchend.
Als wir aufwachen hat sich
der Himmel seine Enttäuschung entladen,
und der See murmelt seufzend.
Zum Schwimmen ist's zu kalt
und in jeder Richtung ist
der Wind gagen uns.
Ich verlange von der Luft,
sich zu verzehren
verbrannt zu werden.
Ich will, dass die Liebesperlen meine Wunde heilen.
In noch einem Ort, zu noch einer Zeit 
wird der Tag bequem sein
und der Abend befriedigend.
Wir werden kühle Getränke schlürfen
und an die Veranda sitzen,
die Grille zu hören
als sie in der wärmende Luft
von Liebe singen.
© 2009 by Kathryn Feigal. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dance With Me

I have always loved to dance
but I never had a dancer's body.
I'm short and chunky.

When I was in High School
I was in Dance Club.
I wanted to be one of the dancers
in the flowing, romantic dance number
at the year's end program,
so I went to a blind "Doctor?" on the Avenues
who put me on 500 calories a day
and injected me with urine from a pregnant horse.
I lost weight, but I got a heart arythmia
and worse yet, I was put in
the comedy dance!

I like to say I have danced on Broadway.
Because I have.

If I have one very definite prejudice in life, it is this:
I think EVERYONE should dance.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy 31st, Mary Ann

I had a Birthday Party for Mary Ann yesterday. Mary Ann's friends and family always make a special point of confirming she will be at gatherings because she has the greatest laugh and makes everyone feel so good.

I know a lot of experts say we need to be parents and not friends with our children, but that's hard to accomplish when our children turn out to be such great 'friend material.' Mary Ann and I are so close that we finish each other's sentences and reference our own special language ("Hoser beedy in der sneevy." - don't ask).

Mary Ann has always had a certain wisdom and maturity beyond her years. As an enthusiastic massage therapist who believes in the energetic component to healing, I have shared a lot of techniques with Mary Ann, beginning in her childhood. Her child-like simplicity and faith have proved more effective than all of my studied maneuvers.

Mary Ann worked as a Nanny for years and has tremendous patience and concern. As the co-caregiver to my 95-year-old mother, she is so sweet and patient, it brings tears to my eyes.

What a privilege to know this great woman!

("I Could Have Told You Anything," by son, David - sung by Mary Ann; David; guitar & background vocals)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Everyone Needs A High School Boyfriend Who Is A Poet

if i could whisper softer,
a single rose
would be the slenderness
of my words to you.
the moment blooms
dark and sweetsharp
with delicate time, yet
clinging petals
part and fall away.
now, when time plucks the beauty
of this moment,
i would whisper (soft) to you
of roses spreading
endlessly in bloom.

bob terashima, 1966

(High School) cryings#2 (to Kathy)

in the clouded-over moment
of blind wanderings
of pointless struggles
(o dont get me wrong
i gasp the brittle breath
my flesh turns blue
like theirs)
i sometimes pause.
in my own mire to
think of you
you stand
in the still-same mud
im standing soaking in and
tho you smile you
know muds mud and
yet you smile...
dont know and
yet i know you smile.

bob terashima, 1966

My Father's Father

My father's father lies in bed,
his form molds faintly through the sheets.
Laid bare, his head
upon the pillow holds the cracking of his age:
the suns that summered over fields of beets
and dried him out.

Strange. I watch him breathe slow mouthfuls
down his sleep. The drought
for life that parches at his lips
is strange to me;
I do not know this man who slips
away to death.
And yet, I grew up in his withering days.
I heard the shuffle of his feet through empty rooms
he waited in, and felt his gaze
grow hollow. Sometimes, when he smiled
his crooked mouth at me, the quiet growth
which fed upon his sorrow showed its roots,
and I would wonder why
I couldn't love my father's father.

Now I know. And now, as both
his dying and his living days are planted
in my mind, I wonder why
in time before my time, he sailed the sea
between himself, his wife and son, to dry
in fields of beets.

How he came to live with us
I never knew; just
that his strength was cracked,
and he had come to suffer through a wait
that only death would rid.
(I could have loved my father's father,
but my father never did)

bob terashima, 1966