Tuesday, March 27, 2007

All Our Days

And what, my dear, are you thinking of on this fine spring day? Sex. It’s everywhere and nowhere. Don’t be alarmed. All my classes touch sex in one way or another, usually peripherally, afraid to dive in. Sometimes I wonder if we’re going to be hashing out sex until the very end of the earth. I guess that will give us something to do all our days.

Anyway, we’re pulling apart Tess in one of my classes, wondering about the inside and outside biological nature of sex for women and men and how that translates into larger issues, such as how women and men view themselves and their relationships (sexual or no) with others. Sex, for women, is ultimately an inside experience, but for men, sex happens on the outside. Feel free to chime in and disagree. Or just quietly close this page. I’m not going down a hyper feminist path here. I’m just trying to articulate a few things, straighten them out in my own brain. I can’t help myself. Blame spring.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Old New Things

The weekend killed the winter and birthed spring. Everyone wanted to feel it. Tom & Spencer went mountain biking over at Rum Village, turned a corner and saw everything: a couple naked on a blanket, the blanket rising into the air to cover the scene. At home we boiled ten gallons of sap down into one quart of maple syrup. It never hurts to experiment, play around with the old new things.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Grandparents' Graves

One afternoon my husband’s grandfather came home from work and shot his wife’s dogs. They had become too tame. He was a miner. She ran a boarding house. They were Finns living in The Keweenaw. Those were different days. He spent some time in the Marquette prison for stabbing a man in a bar, although some say he took the rap for a brother who had ministerial aspirations. The structures are all still there. The prison in Marquette, the ghost town/hunting camp in Mandan, Edna’s bar turned tourist trap called The Last Place on Earth, The Lakeview Cemetery with the grandparents’ separate, solitary graves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Beneath A Blue Flame Sky

(A day late and a dollar short, another first draft to endure. What can I say? At least the paper isn't blank anymore?)

Mystics walk Arizona
Across days and deserts
Beneath a blue flame sky

Our bodies
Wet from Indiana
Wonder at the signs
Do not enter when flooded
We never see rain

Is thirst the same
As desire?

The mountain finds us
Shivering in the pines
We cling to each other
Because we want to survive

Water trickles
Down our spines

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Vacationing Muse

It’s easier to post pictures than to write words on blank pieces of paper, but time is sifting away. I emptied my brain in Arizona. I took no books, except a couple of field guides, in the hopes that I could absorb new landscapes and think fresh thoughts. My muse must have stayed on vacation, because I’m having a hard time convincing her there is anything to say.

I have a poem due tomorrow, of course, and so far just one phrase “beneath the blue flame sky.” That phrase is quite lonely standing on the page by itself. I hope some other words show up to keep it company. It seems impossible to convince enough of my thoughts to gather together in one location for a group photo while my family is hanging around. I’ve learned this lesson before, but I keep forgetting. The dilemma of balancing the soup pot and the cabin in the woods dogs me every day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Nogales Road

Okay, yes, they're just cows. We have cows in Indiana. But this is the open range. They're walking across the road, going where they please. It pleased these guys to stand in the shade for awhile.

Things to Come

We took a 60-mile, four-hour trip on a dirt road from Coronado National Monument to Nogales, the whole way a stone's throw from Mexico. The Border Patrol was everywhere. We got them to take our picture. The guy said no one had ever asked him to do that before. This pic, to our eyes, looks like the makings of the fence they want to put on the border. We came across several piles like this. It made me pretty sad. Thirty years ago (jeez) I was in Germany and saw the border between the east and the west. There were armed guards in towers across the farmland pointing their guns at things and a no man's zone between the two sides. We saw the makings of that here. Out our left window we saw restricted access signs and even a helicopter patrolling. Next time we come this way it will probably look more like Germany 30 years ago. The population in these parts is of a mixed mind. Some folks patrol their property like vigilantes, others leave water in the desert.


Not a great pic, but I was so excited. This is a javelina (collared piccary, not a pig) crossing the road. I'm like a little kid when it comes to seeing animals.

Chiricahua National Park

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Unexpected Pines

So, the story is we unexpectedly found ourselves among the pines. We dreamed of camping on the desert floor, but the National Forest campground was full. The ranger pointed us up a mountain to a primitive State Forest site. Twelve miles further and 2000 feet higher we pitched our tent at 7000 feet. We saw patches of snow across the dirt road. We brought a light tent and light sleeping bags and no wood. The fuel we picked up for our pocket rocket stove was the wrong size. So we gathered wood and built a fire and froze. We suspect it probably got down in the 20s. Gene left the tent to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and came back shivering uncontrollably. He couldn't stop shaking for about 20 minutes. We slept (sort of) with our bodies cemented together. No, that isn't very poetic, but that's the way it was. Maybe I'll think of a better way to describe it later. The next morning we were happy to find out we were still alive. We climbed down from that mountain and headed for Bisbee. Our taste for more camping this trip had run fairly dry.

Little Pink Garages

We were listening to John Mellencamp shortly after we took this pic. Arizona puts a whole new spin on little pink houses (and garages).

Dropping Out

We're sitting at a coffee house in Bisbee and we have stories to tell. But for now I just have time for a pic from a few days ago. We've camped and survived, but barely. Now we're enjoying the Bisbee air, which frequently has the aroma of pot wafting by. This is the home of society dropouts. I love this place.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dry Rivers Blue Sky

Arizona is dry, but it's a warm dry. Still, I'm a Midwestern girl. I'm not used to rivers that look like this one. All along the side of the roads and highways we see signs. "Do not enter when flooded." I'm dying to see that time. This is our second visit to Arizona and we have yet to see a drop of rain.

There's a lot to be said for a blue sky, however. You can see the birds. Yesterday two Harris's hawks and a red tail hawk circled above our heads in the desert. Later, two A10 warthogs from the military base screamed by.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Higher Elevations

A short 25-mile trip up a mountain and we came across this stuff.

Dead Embrace


Yes, I've been quiet, living in the shadowlands. Well, not actually. Just trying desperately to get enough stuff done so that we could escape from the cold for a week. We've run off to the desert, a totally foreign land. I have no language for this place. It's like landing on Mars. I'll post pics when I can. I'm not too happy about this one. I'm not quite that fat and Gene is not quite that skinny.

Friday, March 02, 2007


This March snow looks so serious and grim. Seconds later the sun is shining, the water is pouring off the roof. You can’t take March snow seriously. Birds are chattering. Spring is on its way. I’m lacing my boots. It’s almost time to go tramping through the fields to examine the stones.