Becoming a Horizon

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

I am an intrepid decision maker, but sometimes my coping skills struggle to keep up with the fearless nature of my choices. The past several weeks I’ve been scrambling to acclimate to modern life.

When I lived at the Piedra Rahada I felt well organized when I knew what day of the week it was, rich when there was an extra 10 pesos for beer;  thus, carrying internet on my body, honoring schedules, disposable cash and availability of products, have left me feeling rattled and unfocused.

But thankfully,last year I gave my self the gift of walking while memorizing poetry; Mr. Strand and the ocean are bringing me back to center.

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Walk this Way

Daily walks are essential to me, so today I set out to chart and time my route to work and find a good daily stroll.

What my  walk to work looks like.

What my walk to work looks like.

About twenty minutes later…

I arrive at the club house.

I arrive at the club house.

Twenty minutes is perfect to clear my head before work, but for health and sanity at least an hour is required.

After an hour on the trails...

After an hour on the trails…

Playa Escondido

Playa Escondido

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

The end of the trail.

The end of the trail.

After a couple of hours on Rancho Santana’s clean but thankfully not overly groomed hiking trails, I will rest well and be ready for my first day at El Finca y El Mar.

What do you do the day before you start a new job?

Conclusions

My Morning Walk

Recently, I read an article about interpreting poetry. The author scrutinized and explained a poem line by line. I felt like was in 7th grade biology, a poor little frog, dead and spread eagled with pins before me.  I thought, do people really do this? I prayed, please don’t tell me this is how poetry is taught. If so, it’s no wonder so few people read and honor it.

There’s a lot of poetry that isn’t immediately accessible, but during this last year I learned, by walking with poems, that the body will teach you. Thinking will not gift you a great understanding of poetry, the language is not a dead thing to be dissected. Reading and then going for a walk, letting the words roll around, saying them loud, imbuing them with breathe — gives them life. Then let yourself be distracted by the trees, or a fly or your life for a while, the poem will settle and you will not understand, you will know it, in the way that you should, not the way someone else thinks you should. I don’t think there was ever a poet who hoped their poem meant only one thing to all people.

It wasn’t coincidental that I choose to walk to memorize, the literary tradition of walking is long and well acquainted with poets. I was vaguely aware of this, but I didn’t start walking and memorizing because of it. It was a natural inclination .

When I went for my first couple of walks after my project was completed, I felt liberated. I didn’t have anything I had to do —just walk, enjoy the scenery, and let my mind ramble. But then I started to feel a little naked heading out on the path without a poem in my pocket. So I wrote one down, and I’m carrying it around, living with it and it with me, as I imagine I will, as long as I can write and walk.

I took on the project to memorize and recite 52 in a year , because somewhere along the line I got it in my head that a “real” poet “knows” poems. A real poet reads poetry — A LOT of poetry. I wasn’t doing either. I was writing poems, but my commitment was facile.

I was correct in my assumptions about memorizing and reading.  I am not the novice I was a year ago. I don’t know that my own poetry has seen the benefits yet, but I now know where to go, and how to get there.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did 🙂

 

These were my favorites.

Saint Francis and the Sow, by Galway Kinnell

The Envoy, by Jane Hirschfield

Happy Ideas, by Mary Szybist

Often I Imagine the Earth, by Dan Gerber

Let Us Gather In a Flourishing Way, by Juan Felipe Herrera

 

 

Proud Flesh

followed only by the plume of her tail

followed only by the plume of her tail

“In dark times, the eye begins to see.”

                                  Theodore Roethke

Shortly after I returned from the U.S., I set out with my dogs , Lilly and Moechi, on our favorite walk . The walk begins on a gravel thruway, turns into a farm road and ends in a mountain trail passable only on foot, or hoof. When I turned onto the trial I noticed Lilly wasn’t with us, I called her, and when she arrived she was shaking and foaming at the mouth. Somewhere in that remote and lovely landscape she’d found poison. She was dying.

I was memorizing Jane Hirshfield’s, For What Binds Us, as we walked.  I’ve had a very difficult time continuing with this poem, or even going for a walk since her death. But it is so appropriate, I wanted to share it. I admit I used a cheat sheet to make the video.

I’ve questioned my choice to allow my dogs to be free, since I’ve lost four in two years  to poison and disease.  I don’t know that the answer is sufficient or responsible, but, it’s because they are campo dogs. Freedom is their life.  I know, though not as safe, they are happier than the poor dogs I walked in the U.S. that spent hours in their crates every day.

Long ago, I decided my responsibility was to aid in the fulfillment of their daily lives, not the near impossible safeguarding of their future. After Elvis was implicated in the death of a calf and became a public enemy , I tried keeping him on a leash, watching him constantly if he wasn’t; I made him stay indoors at night (no one got a good night sleep). But it only took a rabbit sighting to send him deep into the woods if I wasn’t hyper-vigilant. Finally, I realized I could not watch my dogs all the time, and that even if I had a fenced in yard someone could and likely would throw poison over the fence again someday ; I could not protect them. So I let them live their lives, until it kills them.

I can imagine the look Lilly would have given me if I had tried to keep her on a lease for our walks. I’m sure she would have sat down in the dirt and refused to accompany me in such a degrading position, she was very good at getting her point across.

Good bye Little Bear…I will always save the heart for you…

 

I will return when I can feel that anything is very simple, very easy, or very good again.