Preserving the remnants while I stitch new days.
                               As usual, I’ll be following the Thread.

                                          – Jessica Spichalova (“Remnants”)

Funny that I am writing about landmarks
where the muses reside on this ground
as my daughter blogs about a white
wedding dress and shirt hanging in a closet,
clean and ready, with some life left in Kauai.

Oh, you skeptics—so great a leap across
the Pacific for some muse to make, that mental
space you cannot measure mathematically,
that stellar alignment, that genetic trace
we cannot prove! I believe what I want,

fortunately, and don’t need endorsement
for the existence of a place where voices
other than our own can be heard, collecting
remnants on separate landscapes, gathering
what seems to have gotten away from most.

                                                                 for Jess




Our email discussion of “Agriculture and the Creative Muse” with Linda Hussa and Sean Sexton continues. My contribution this morning as follows:

I awoke this morning telling myself that we mustn’t forget the landmarks, those places where the memories are held, so that when we pass by them, our stories are triggered, remembered and retold. And if as proof, when they are removed to accommodate some notion of progress, the stories and history of a place become easily forgotten.

Whether truly one of the muses or just a phenomenon of living in a place for a long time may be an academic question, but I remember my feeling of personal loss when a portion of the Sycamore Alluvial Woodland on Dry Creek was felled for a rock and gravel operation—that place I walked along the creek, Easter Break on my birthday in 1969, contemplating Canada or Viet Nam; that place I roped my first cow to doctor by myself; that place I played and swam with my sister and brother, catching and bringing tadpoles home in a bucket to watch grow legs to become bullfrogs.

It’s such a short leap for me to feel the spirits of this place where I’ve spent my life, goddesses, muses or past lives seeking a voice, triggered by certain rock piles and oak trees, especially among the evidence of old homesteads and native habitation well before me, all waiting around every corner of this ranch to enrich my history, my sense of place.

Logically, landmarks come with the landscape, and it could be argued that this muse is specific to our culture of grazing and herding livestock, even small scale farming, that once becomes corporate seems to clean the slate and erase a place’s history. I hear the voice of my father on this ground, all the old cowmen neighbors I learned from, as well as their dead fathers, remembering the stories and sayings. I feel their presence here, everyday. What more fertile ground to write from!

It does, of course, become part of our spirituality, but in the scope of ‘prompting’ a poem, or any art for that matter, our muses reside in these landmarks.

One response to “REMNANTS

  1. I have contemplated this concept of the natural elements holding memory, since you shared this view with me over 25 years ago. It rings true for me and is something I experience too. Whether walking the landscape where I grew up, or moving in the tropical jungle where I live now. The rocks speak. The trees remember. And yes, even clothes sometimes hold threads of life and memory. Thanks, Dad.


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