~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Monday, April 30, 2012


Crinkles and creases that hide and reveal. 
Not only do they obscure the full picture but also present some parts of the image in strong relief, vivid and sharp.

The full picture laid out flat is a clear but one-dimensional snap-shot that cannot fully express the journey.

Take that same picture, clasp it between your hands and have at it, wadding it up into a ball until we have to look closely to see the image, parts of it displayed upon the exposed edges while other portions are hidden in the creases. 
Watch as the ball begins to expand on its own, unable to remain compressed because that is not the journey either. 
The journey is in the unfolding, the expansion, the expression gradually of all the colors and shapes always there but revealed more slowly as we observe.
Sharp mountains become worn away over time, the edge softening if we let nature take its course. As the mountains soften, the canyons fill out, spreading and widening, becoming broad and allowing trees to grow, to sink roots. 
Our entire life, the image, is a wadded up ball, a circle of spirit and body beginning the joureny. 
We have within us, as we lay in Her womb, all possibility, we are tightly curled, crumpled, wrinkled, and waiting to grow, to expand. 
If we were to see ourselves clearly, would we see the potential of our journey drawn upon our skin like an artistic masterpiece, all the colors and lines alluding to where we could go and who we might become? 
But the picture is blurry because we are small, compressed, hardly even able at first for our mountains and valleys--our strengths and our softness--to be seen. Our precise vision and gentle curves barely visible until we are born and begin living, expanding. 
Each one of us painted in perfection, and then crumpled into a ball so that we can find our own way, our own expression of love within the world, travel our own path.
I look at the painting of Self, reflecting upon the image. See the saturation of bright colors of family loving and happy on a trip; globs of black here and there when I was gone, had disappeared from sight while struggling just to survive a moment in danger. The dark slashes of deep valley where depression almost consumed me and the bright purple mountain top where I rose up and found my strength through Her wondrous gifts of animals and trees, of beauty and butterflies and blossoms in abundance.
Now in midlife, I can see the painting leveling out a bit, the image more clear through the unfolding, and connections more obvious. See the rough, smudged spots where tears have fallen and flooded the creases and run the colors onto another scene before being dried. A faded garden where too much was revealed to an intense moment that was unexpected. 
The crinkles and creases of my life are being smoothed, softened, as I open to the full image that is me and smiling at the tatters or smudges, the frenzied splotches that are not a taint upon the whole but rather reveal the mystery that is essence. The lines remain upon the image even as it continues to expand revealing a full life, the whole picture. 
The wrinkles are there to enhance the beauty of a creation that has been through all the journey and has survived.

I can see the beauty in each line that lingers. And it is more beautiful than a painting untouched or ironed out or re-created to be completely different than how it began. 
The truth of a life well-lived and honored is in the crinkles and creases that remain ... the imperfections that are loved and embraced.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


When I drove to Arizona from Maine in June 2011, I took what I thought would be a short-cut. Turning off of I-40 at Holbrook onto 77, at first it was a faster drive. I passed through Snowflake and Show Low, eager to soon arrive at our new home near Casa Grande. However, as I drove from Show Low to Globe the terrain rapidly changed and I found myself driving 25-35mph on narrow switchbacks along the mountain roads bordering the Salt River. Magnificent views! I couldn't help but stop to take pictures in spite of how tired I was after the nearly 2000-mile journey for the two dogs, five cats, and me.
Salt River Canyon

Why am I writing about this now? Because I was reminded of the splendid landscape while reading the latest of our Library Book Club's selection Filaree ~ A Novel of an American Life by Marguerite Noble. Ms. Noble was born in Arizona in 1910 and her novel is a fictional account of her mother's life in the Arizona Territory. My own travels cross-country seemed pleasant and even luxurious compared to those detailed in the book.

The first half of the novel takes place in what is now the Tonto National Forest--which is what I drove through on my way here. I will have to make another journey north this year to explore the land that Ms. Noble talks about through her protagonist Melissa; the road I drove from Globe to Show Low is south of the book's Filaree Ranch, with the Roosevelt Dam between them.

The book itself was a fast read, albeit a depressing one for the most part. Not just because of the hardships that Melissa endured, but because she didn't have any gumption (as her sister told her more than once) and could rarely find even a single moment of joy. And yet, who knows how each of us might respond to the kind of life that the author's mother experienced?

As stated in a review on the back of the book, Ms. Noble "tells her story in plain country American dialect" but there are glimpses of poetic flow as well such as

She looked at the filaree covering the yard. The rains had come generously at last, and it had responded. The land everywhere was layered with the plant and stippled with its blossoms, as if quilted in a green-and-purple fabric--a fabric fastened by the giant pins of the saguaro cactus.

Melissa also reminded me of how we often, in hindsight, see more delight in an experience once time has provided distance from the pain we experienced alongside it. She reminded me of the possibility of finding that delight right now rather than waiting for it to bubble up years or decades later. She saw her sister's joy in life, but Melissa simply couldn't reach into that space and embrace any happiness for herself. Near the end of the book, Melissa desires to return after leaving The Mesa years earlier:
Melissa lusted for the land, The Mesa land. It had been fourteen years since the wagon had taken her from that valley cradled between the Sierra Anchas and the Mazatzals. She wanted to tell Mary Belle [her daughter] about the hurting inside her, which compelled her to go back, to see the country that had taken so many years of her youth. Melissa longed to see Shug [her sister], to hear her laughter, to feel her love of life, her warmth, her caring, the support of her strength. She wanted again to see the distant jagged peaks, the endless sky, to touch again the broad flat earth cut by Tonto Creek, to walk in the country she had pushed from her thoughts for so many years.
All in all, I'm not sure I would recommend this book to everyone because I found it depressing and frustrating for the first half to three-quarters of reading. On the other hand, the details it contains of a woman's life 'out West' at the turn of the century are remarkable. As with everything else I've experienced and seen this past year, there are treasures and joy everywhere, in unexpected nooks and crannies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Every few weeks, we have the rare cloudy day or two...
As I thought of the slender green-skinned limbs of the Palo Verde
dancing in the breeze I suddenly saw them morph into the
Orion women of Star Trek fame, seductive and irresistible...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a holiness that dwells and dreams

... Informed by the logic of our creaturely senses, the story gestures toward a great secret: that there’s a blazing luminosity that resides at the heart of the earth. The tale suggests that the salutary goodness of light makes its primary home within the density and darkness of matter. That the transcendent, life-giving radiance that daily reaches down to us from the celestial heights also reaches up to us from far below the ground. That there’s a Holiness that dwells and dreams at the very center of the earth. ~ David Abram, Becoming Animal-An Earthly Cosmology

Nonetheless, the older, more primordial style of prayer sustains a very different stance toward the local terrain than that which resolutely directs itself toward a divinity beyond the world. While the latter feels the sensuous landscape as a finite and restricted realm relative to its transcendent source, the first experiences the sensible world as the source of itself--as a kind of ongoing transcendence wherein each sensible thing is steadily bodying forth its own active creativity and sentience. ~ David Abram, Becoming Animal-An Earthly Cosmology

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Relaxing Into It

We are relaxing into our new life, fully embracing our home and landscape, with a serene weekend that began last night exchanging foot massages (our feet were grateful for the oil that seals cracks and heals dryness), then up early this morning for a pleasant walk around the neighborhood.

The palo verde are bright with sunny blossoms in harmony against green skin, the ocotillo are still showing off their red tips on slender stalks, all against the Tucson Mountains.

After our walk, we venture to a delightful restaurant nearby--Coyote Pause (photos front of building and courtyard taken a few weeks ago, not today--no clouds today!)--where the mesquite pancakes (an authentic Tohono O'odham recipe using flour from the Mesquite tree's seed pods) are fluffy beneath the river of agave syrup. Yum!

Outside the restaurant, we enjoy the gardens of the Cat Mountain Emporium. The prickly pear cactus is particularly lovely as its flowers begin to bloom.

Monday, April 16, 2012

a little bird

(c) sophia rosenberg, we'moon 2012
a little bird
once told me I could ...
I could do anything be anything
because I am me
no one else like me 
and yet I know she meant
that it was because I am part of all life
connected in a unique way
all forms fit together
and flow as one unit
even when we resist
still we remain connected

a little bird
pure and white
reminds me of truth and trust
on the path
she perches on my shoulder  
whispers in my ear with chirps and song
I recognize
they are the sounds 
of joy and peace
of heartbeat and breath
tiny heart fluttering in her chest
quick breath that lifts her 
filling her hollow bones with light

a little bird 
comes to wish me well
encourage and inspire
she and "mister bluebird on my shoulder"
bring me into the wonderful day
I could skip into a cartoon drawing
how vibrant and vivid the moment feels
world an incredible gift

a little bird
flits and hovers
making its way around orange tree
darting in and out
among gleaming leaves
circling entire tree
briefly touching wood
quickest of pauses

a little bird
woke up with me
together we watched 
the sunrise in our hearts
warming the flowers of new ideas
until they open to create a garden
infinite color texture love
dream or real?

a little bird
sings and all life listens
notes carried upon downy feathers
up into the air
across field and canyon and forest 
and lakes great enough to be oceans
crystal notes resonate
within our cells
bring message of love and possibility
we answer
singing back in rivers of creativity 
that flow from brush and pen and fingers and lips red 
with the blood of life connecting us all in woven threads

a little bird
once told me I was worthy
found beauty in my charred soul
from which the seed cracked open
a tear falling raised this flower into the light
he inspired
through passionate living of
his own truth
saw an ancient spark deep within me
tiny lumen of soul-love
revealed by artist's eyes and hands long ago
touched my soul
I blossomed

a little bird
falls from the sky
time stops as I cradle the fragile moment
cupping my hands to hold its blessing
of light so quickly come and gone
yet knowing it will come again
returning always
in a million beams of 
rainbow curves
sparkling droplets
winsome giggles of inspiration

a little bird
calls and I follow her voice
into the words
down the path to the waterfall
bathe in her essence
as she pours over me
we transform in this moment 
changing like quicksilver
we flow down the mountain and then 
lift onto the current of wind 
that offered us a ride 
she goes right
I go left
then we are One again

a little bird
drinks from the fountain of youth
knows the infinite wisdom
the present moment
is our soul's journey
forms fade and are born
dust of the desert becomes
fairy magic 
sprinkled over all who sleep
calling us to awaken

a little bird
pecks my cheek
sweetest of kisses
tilts her head
flies away
into the ethereal expanse 
of cosmic consciousness

a little bird
voice always near
notes strong and clear

writing prompt image from We'Moon 2012, image (c) Sophia Rosenberg 2006

Friday, April 13, 2012

waves of wind

A photo reminds me of walks through woods lined with tall pine trees standing straight and wise. They are with me still in my heart and I can feel their protection when I close my eyes in stillness. For ten years in a womb of rebirth I was gestating within Gaia. Soft, moist, strong, solid, calm, easy, slow, mellow. I knew this, felt Her and all became clear--the elements, the elementals, the resonance of all life in various blends. Pure perfection every one.
And now, the winds, the air, the warmth of sun and desert, the cool clear nights--all opposite in the extreme and yet I lift my face into the winds and inhale so deeply I am floating like a balloon across the expanse of all moments at once.
As the breeze passes by, she waits with patience for new clothes, for a fresh coat of colors of desert wildflowers and indigo dusking and a tan once more of nut-brown skin. Spirit Woman of the Garden, she travelled from Missouri to Maine to Arizona and yet where did she begin? I think here, her southwestern roots embedded within the concrete that shapes her graceful image. She has come home and I feel her smile widen just a bit, the energy she carries is peaceful and spreads throughout our yard, a serene xeriscape in which I see the vibrating threads of connection that were once long and tangled now creating the simple web of Oneness with their cohesive closeness once more. 
They all stand so firm upon the land, these desert beings, the winds racing around them as if they were obstacles on a course of infinity. See the spirals and figure-eights left in the wake of the zephyrs? The wind does not blow straight across the land down here but rather curves around the mountains, and twists among the cactus, agave and yucca, then flows over the heads and up into the sunlight streaming strong and bright. I sit among these beings of light in their uniforms of plant and rock and earth and we call out to each other, feeling and loving our mystery among the world, sharing our magical awareness to celebrate the diversity of the Divine. We breathe in and out together as One.
Her breath cools the heat within me that still rises in cycles at times and I am grateful for the lull upon my cells, the stillness of the flash for a moment that then settles and calms. Moving to the desert while still in the midst of transition might not have been wise and yet somehow it feels right--like Fate's hand was guiding, weaving Her own tapestry of transition around me so that our energies could merge into a beautiful rebirth. 
Spirit Woman's peaceful gaze calms the tempest, she is a drishti that calls me home to Gaia. 
Gaia is the Siren of my Soul that opens my eyes to new possibilities and to blessed return. For return is coming always closer, and is welcome when it appears, the little deaths along the way that herald and open and precede this form's ultimate demise. See how they prepare the way so that Fear does not put a blindfold upon my eyes?
Ahhh ... feel the free-flowing ocean of air upon the waves of energy that rise from all life? Soothing and invigorating all at the same time in her Oneness.
The brim of my hat shields my eyes from the glare of sun that is not hot for now because wind cools with her breath. Wild and sassy, she dances and caresses. At the top of her inhale, a pause, and heat awakens upon my skin, quickly followed by a gusty exhale that rapidly cools whatever heat had been building. Waves of wind, cascading or churning, lifting and falling, laughing and teasing as she quenches my thirst and cools the burn in ways only imagined in once-upon-a-time. 
She fills and empties and transforms as I continue the journey of life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

second hand

She stretches out her hand, not the right one--the primary one--but her 'second' hand that isn't as strong or coordinated, the one that usually takes second seat, plays second fiddle, to the other, always being 'left' behind. Yet it holds a moment of love upon its finger that leads to infinity and straight to the heart, and it provides for balance like the scales of all the experiences. It holds the pot steady while the other stirs and blends and creates. It steadies the page for the other to write. The second hand allows the other to be free and flowing. 
Almost forgotten, the second hand is a subtle tick of each measure. While we look to the hour or the minute, the tiny second hand keeps on moving through space as its petals unfurl so gradual that we only know the flower and not the opening of each moment. 
The second hand store across the street and down three blocks is always busy never forgotten except by those who only want to see the new, the fresh, the primary objects before they have connected and grown character and exuded an ambience from serving and being treasured.
A second hand house that knew love, that has grown children and felt loss, beauty and anger, resolution of conflict and acceptance of life. A house became a home and is reaching out now for acceptance as a new home. A space where harmonics of bird and bee sing the shadows into gentle blankets for sleep and renewal. A space where light streams grace and creativity up into the highest corners of the ceiling and spreads among the arches, gliding along their curves with the laughter of a child on a yellow slide.
I take my second hand clothes to be worn as new by someone else, and I slip into the frayed pants that were once new yet have become old and comfortable and now attained the status of second hand yet will remain with me until they fall into rags and then my second hand will hold the cleaning water bucket while the other brings a shine to the well-worn gently-used stove that cooks the pot of food that nourishes body and hands and soul into this moment of creating home again and again.
"Tic-toc-tic-toc" the second hand moves in near-silence without interrupting as I feel time changing, as the sun appears to move, as the birds become more scarce, as we advance into the heat of the day. Does that mean morning becomes second place and takes a back seat to the advance of noon? Or does morning transform into a new moment because the past is no more? Surely we can touch the past morning's light of creation in the new day? No, of course not--silly. Morning is gone but we can touch the moment's it created, each one upon the other, because morning is not second hand in its presence--within all nature, all are primary. 
Nothing, no life form, no experience, is second hand because all play their part in the whole and realize the primacy of each others' moment as One existence.
* "second hand" was a writing prompt emailed via Peggy Tabor Millin, ClarityWorks

Monday, April 9, 2012

radiating light from our core

Another photo of "Bella" our Bottlebrush tree ... 

I also made a flower essence from her, and you can read the messages she shared with me HERE.

May your Light shine brightly!
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