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Publication Day

Time, space, inspiration

Lady Clare by John William Waterhouse

From "Ode to Slowness" by Terry Tempest Williams (published in Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert):

"I want my life to be a celebration of slowness.

"Walking through the sage from our front door, I am gradually drawn into the well-worn paths of deer. They lead me to Round Mountain and the bloodred side canyons below Castle Rock. Sometimes I see them, but often I don't. Deer are quiet creatures, who, when left to their own nature, move slowly. Their large black eyes absorb all shadows, especially the flash of predators. And their ears catch each word spoken. But today they walk ahead with their halting prance, one leg raised, then another, and allow me to follow them. I am learning how to not provoke fear and flight among deer. We move into a pink, sandy wash, their black-tipped tails like eagle feathers. I lose sight of them as they disappear around the bend.

"On the top of the ridge I can see for miles.... Inside this erosional landscape where all colors eventually bleed into the river, it is hard to desire anything but time and space.

"Time and space. In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space--an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness.

"Hand on stone -- patience.

"Hand on water -- music.

"Hand raised to the wind --  Is this the birthplace of inspiration?"

Desert Mule-eared Deer

Yes. I do believe that inspiration is born in the land, borne on the winds...in the Utah desert, here on Dartmoor, among the rocks of Central Park in Manhattan, and wherever you're living too. We all need the land, the wild, in all its manifestations --for our art, and for the artwork that we make of our lives.

Brother & Sister by Julianna Swaney

From Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit:

"Musing takes place in a kind of meadowlands of the imagination, a part of the imagination that has not yet been plowed, developed, or put to any immediately practical use...time spent there is not work time, yet without that time the mind becomes sterile, dull, domesticated. The fight for free space -- for wilderness and public space -- must be accompanied by a fight for free time to spend wandering in that space.”

Indeed.

Deer & Jackdaws by Melissa NolanImagery above: "Saint Clare" by John William Waterhouse; a mule-earred deer in the Arizona desert; "Brother & Sister" by Julianna Swaney, and "Deer & Jackdaws" by Melissa Nolan.

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How I Knew I Loved You: A Prose Poem

Our first weekend away together, we stood on the Montauk beach
silent except for the cries of gulls, those short, insistent creaks,
and the bass of waves tom-toming on the sand. I turned to tell you
my surprised observations, colored by a lifetime of city living,
everything I saw with eyes used to horizontal spaces, sharp edges.
Your long finger was on your lips. “If we're very quiet,” you said,
turning to look towards the dunes, the inland, “we may see a deer.”
I followed your lead, words still warm in my mouth, till we crested
the small hillock of sand and salt grass, the top of this new world.
In an explosion of shells and kelp and dune detritus, a deer
flashed away from us. I watched its white semaphore disappear
over the top of a second hill, and knew that I loved you.
Even the after-image, when you showed me the telltale hoofprints
on the dark, wet sand, did not make me love you any less,
a love that has lasted fifty years, long after the flashing white
of your own leaving, your own dune leap, your death.

©2012 Jane Yolen All rights reserved

Lordy, this is beautiful, Jane.

(And I fixed your line-break problem. If there's anything else that needs correcting, let me know.)

Oh that breaks my heart. Beautiful post, beautiful poem.

Today i sign (finally) the 64yr old home of my youth over. So many memories of always being outdoors in trees, in fields, marshes, laying in haystacks...i feel a release as it's time to move on back to my 2nd half of life down those deer trails I miss to the shore. So why is there such a heavy stone in my heart. Jane your poems always clear up that dark shiny spot i hide and Terri you are always so spot on and kindred!

Beautiful, indeed -- both the post and the poem

Loss is always hard, even when it's a loss we choose. The grieving expresses love for all that has passed...while the heart slowly opens to all that's still ahead. Now, a new adventure begins -- supported by the good wishes of all of us here.

Beautiful post,I will try to get some of that authors work.I have only heard of her via your blog.I love that particular piece. Jane Yolen's poem is lovely too. I am reading a book which is fascinating by Brian Bates called The Real Middle Earth,he also wrote a novel called The Way of Wyrd. The first book shows an alternative view of looking at the world.If you have not read either I think you might enjoy them. love Angela

I am ready and willing to put foot to path...so happy to find here the words/music/pictures to fuel my journey..the gate has swung open as i hop through...blessing & kiss to Tilly!

And all the wonderful people here i should add also!!!

Hi there, Jane. Your poem is very lovely. I can feel your strong emotion on it and that makes it more beautiful. I can't help my tears from falling while reading it. You really put your heart on it. I love it so very much!

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