"A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist." ~ Colleen Redman
I asked her if I had to wear cowboy boots when I heard it was a barn wedding.
She said I could if I wanted to but I might be the only one.
I think we clean up pretty good.
There were hugs all around.
And a few happy tears.
The official grand entrance was followed by cheers.
There were stringed lights and bubbles.
And street hockey too!
Great mountain views
And happily ever afters.
There were first dances and kisses
and homemade apple pies.
Congratulations, Dylan and Kerri!
We love you! / Our World Tuesday
Climate changed blooms
come a month too soon
forsythia flowers died
the year Trump won election
tampered in his favor
by Russians and traitors
refugees had no place to go
Their numbers grew
as glaciers diminished
in a tsunami of sorrow
while people like me
wrote poems while driving
in carbon spewing cars
We rode behind tractors
in intractable times
we slowed to watch
the landscape pass
hit the brake
1. “He introduced a few new songs. Before playing “My Baby Loves Me,” telling us how the muse had woke him too early, and he didn’t want to get up. “If you don’t take it, I’ll give it to Arlo,” the muse said, and so he got up and wrote a new song. – More from the Tom Rush concert we just went to at Harvester Performance Center HERE.
2. As we were leaving, Joe told me that he had just purchased a ticket for us to see Jesse Collin Young (of the Youngbloods), another one of my mainstay favorites back in the day, who I also saw perform in the late ‘70s. “It’s like meeting up with old boyfriends!” I told him.
3. ! and xo are the only emojis I use!
4. What’s New Pussycat? What’s up Doc? What’s it All About, Alfie? and What’s Happenin’ were the pop culture greetings of my generation.
5. And when we were ready to leave, we literally said “gonna bolt” or “gonna split.” But the most common catch-phrases we used were “Wow” and “mind blowing.”
6. “There are alternatives to oil and gas. This is no alternative for water.” – Meme recently seen on Facebook
7. “Meals on Wheels will now be Deals on Wheels, offering senior citizens health care products at reduced rates in exchange for liens on their property in a literal pay as you go plan.” – My Dharmacratic poet friend Will
8. Will also said, “Forgiveness means letting go of all hope for a better past.”
9. Too Much Time at the Bar? HERE
10. THIS video of a swan cleaning trash from a lake kind of breaks my heart.
11. The reverse psychology and projection going on in the Trump administration is astounding. They accuse others of what they are actually doing, bringing a new twist to twisting the truth.
12. Bullies feel small inside and are trying to feel bigger when they pick on others, and when people project blame and can’t be honest or take responsibility, the truth tries to reveal itself somehow and eventually. Often the offender makes Freudian slips or their body language gives them away. I think falsehoods are ultimately not sustainable in the long term. There’s a price to pay for deceit.
13. Candles were lit, and sage smoke wafted through the spacious spread of rooms. The altars were decked with ceremonial objects. Drum beats rolled and voices rose in song. A black shawl draped. A gold fabric flowed… Read more about our recent Women’s Community Croning HERE.
Candles were lit, and sage smoke wafted through the spacious spread of rooms. The altars were decked with ceremonial objects. Drum beats rolled and voices rose in song.
A black shawl draped. A gold fabric flowed.
Earth, water fire and air, east, south, west and north were called in.
A priestess declared, “It has all been done … It has all been felt before … You are Maiden, Mother … You are Crone who can claim it all … Continually renewable…”
More than 20 women were anointed into their elder stage of life, blessed with rose petal offerings and generous words, given and received.
A young maiden spoke of learning about the world. A mother spoke of the fierceness and furiousness of motherhood, “A mother knows the value of a life,” she said.
An elder spoke about how being croned is like being crowned. “I’m standing as the queen of my own life,” she said.
Together, we danced and we feasted.
Together, we laughed and some cried.
“May you feel the benediction of your fullness. May you always be open to the wise woman within…”
_______Read about our last community croning in 2007 and my personal rite of passage into it HERE. To learn more about life passage ceremonies, visit Katherine Chantal’s webpage life HERE. / Our World Tuesday
A Brave Heart
A Tender Trap
A Rough Start
Weather Dilemma in March
_______These were taken a week ago. It was no bluff. We lost our forsythia and daffodil blooms from the frigid temperatures that followed the light snow. / Our World Tuesday
It was our first time at The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, and we went for good reason, to see the iconic singer songwriter whose 1970 album that bore his name played regularly on my turntable throughout the ‘70s: Tom Rush.
While settling into our seats, we ran into friends from Floyd who also wore out Tom’s early albums. One of them, my friend Jonathan Rogers, went to Harvard University at the same time Tom did. Jonathan and I had fun reminiscing about going to the old Boston Tea Party, where we heard some of the best bands of our generation before they were even famous, Led Zepplin, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and so many more.
Tom Rush paved the way for the singer/songwriter genre and helped launch the careers of people like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne by singing their songs before they were known. He told stories of his days of playing around in cafés in Cambridge. “Any old misplaced New Englanders out there?” he asked. Of course, I let out a whoop.
Hearing him perform The Urge for Going, one of the earliest that Joni Mitchell wrote, choked me and my friend Ellen up.
When I met Tom in the lobby during intermission, he remembered the South Shore Music Circus, where I first heard him in concert around 1976. He talked about how the merry-go-round outdoor stage made him feel like he was going to fall of it. I secretly admired his shoes.
I thought of my sister Sherry the whole time because we loved Tom Rush together, and it was she who sat next to me at the Music Circus in Cohasset, Massachusetts so many years ago. I hadn’t known it at the time, but I had just contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which had no name then) and was just figuring out that something was really wrong. Sadly, what I remember most about the concert in Cohasset was how tired I felt, and because it took so much energy to lift my arms to clap in between songs, I left them mostly in my lap, even though I loved the songs.
I still love them.
Here’s Tom talking about how his song No Regrets took on a life of it’s own, was widely covered and helped put his kids through college. You can hear me and Jonathan laughing louder than anyone else.
He introduced a few new songs. Before playing “My Baby Loves Me,” he told us how the muse had woke him too early, and he didn’t want to get up. “If you don’t take it, I’ll give it to Arlo,” the muse said, and so he got up and wrote a new song.
Matt Nakoa accompanied Tom on piano. A fabulous musician in his own right, Nakoa took the stage on two occasions to play some of his own songs, on piano and guitar. The one above is called You are My Moonshine, introduced by Nakoa as a drinking song, a love song and a children’s song (new take on You are My Sunshine).
At the end of the show when Tom was in the lobby again, I joked with him and half-hugged him while thanking him for playing the requests I made during the intermission (like the one above). I told him I wouldn’t have been able to even talk to him back in 1976 because I was so young and star struck (aka crush). Joe snapped the picture of Jonathan and me with Tom (below), one to go down in history.
As we were leaving Joe told me that he had just purchased a ticket for us to see Jesse Collin Young (of the Youngbloods), another one of my mainstay favorites back in the day, who I also saw perform in the late ‘70s. “It’s like meeting up with old boyfriends!” I told him.
We all left singing the Youngbloods Let’s Get Together …Come on People now… Smile on your brother… Everybody get together… Try to love one another right now … and feeling the full circle of life.
1. I once had a bumper sticker that said ‘Why be normal?’ and I hung it on my car upside down.
2. Does “The Luck of the Irish” cancel out “Murphy’s Law” (if something can go wrong it will), or is it the other way around?
3. “Do you ever think how the grass feels being stepped on so much?” asks my 8-year-old grandson Bryce
4. It was Bryce who turned me on to Google Gravity, and we had a good laugh. Click HERE and watch it go.
5. A dream / A sunbeam / An omelet / with olives / A new poem/ The news / A dustpan / and broom – Read the rest of “Day Job” HERE.
6. Shadow Patio art HERE.
7. About the only thing I did this year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day was to eat some Shepherd’s Pie, made by Daniel Weizenfeld at Floyd’s Blue Ridge Café, previously known as the Blue Ridge Restaurant.
8. But we’re going to hear Tom Rush at the Harvester on Friday and I’m planning on wearing my green Celtic triple Goddess scarf, which I have on in the video clip below.
9. Some Irish and American progressives are organizing a St. Patrick’s Day Rally Against Trump in New York on St. Patrick’s Day. “We have a strong voice and we need to use it. We have to say, ‘Look, on this day, on the day that everyone considers themselves a little bit Irish, we have to speak up for immigrants everywhere,” said Irish Labor Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, whose impassioned appeal for the Irish government to criticize Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric went viral in November. The rally, called Irish Stand will be held at Riverside Church and will feature speeches from a number of Irish civil rights advocates, including Ó Ríordáin and actor Gabriel Byrne.
10. “Bannon, Conway, Pence, Spicer, Flynn, Kelly, Ryan ― these are all Irish-Americans, these are all Irish names. These are all people that in my judgment have completely forgotten their family history, because the Irish story is one that has been replicated now by other people… We were once the people who came to America as refugees. We were viewed by the British as being terrorists. We were people who suffered sectarian discrimination in the United Kingdom and in the U.S. as well.” – Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
11. Last week I went up the road to Tuggles Gap Motel to watch local singer/songwriter Morgan Wade make a music video. THIS is the finished product.
12. “With a gritty powerhouse delivery and her outlaw country twang, Wade comes across as rebel, but her songs are heartfelt. She admits that her first public performance was to debut a song that she hoped would win back a lost love. “It made him cry,” she said.” – More from my Floyd Press story on Morgan HERE.
13. That’s me reading “My Grandmother’s Brogue” at a Spoken Word Open Mic on St. Patrick’s Day in 2007.
“All day there is a sadness running through my mind. As I’m constantly reminded you once left me behind.” –From Left Me Behind by Morgan Wade
– The following first appeared in the March 9, 2017 issue of The Floyd Press
Morgan Wade listened to a lot of Elvis Presley when she was growing up. Three years ago, the 22-year-old singer/songwriter mustered enough courage to sing her own songs at a Dogtown Roadhouse Open Mic.
“I got a good response and it grew from there,” she said.
Today, Wade cites Raleigh-based American Aquarium as one of her current influences. Last November, she and her band, Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers, opened for them at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount. In recent months, Wade and her band have played at Dogtown in Floyd, Martin’s in Roanoke, the Songwriter’s Round at the Daily Grind in Martinsville and 2 Witches Brewery in Danville. They’ve had gigs in Tennessee and played at Go Big Fest in NC, Front Porch Fest in Stuart and the Floyd Yoga Jam, where they will return this year.
With a gritty powerhouse delivery and her outlaw country twang, Wade comes across as rebel, but her songs are heartfelt. She admits that her first public performance was to debut a song that she hoped would win back a lost love. “It made him cry,” she said.
The Floyd native, who recently graduated from Jefferson College with a degree in Health Sciences, has been writing songs that draw on her life ever since that first open mic. She has a knack for lyrics but doesn’t write anything down. “The words start coming. I just pick up my guitar and kind of run with it,” she said, adding that she usually has a rhythm in mind.
The Stepbrothers consist of Wade’s boyfriend, Joe Link, who is also from Floyd and plays the mandolin and harmonica, and Ed McGee, the band’s bassist. Roanoke-based drummer Bengy Wagner and electric guitarist Drew Sprinkle round out the band’s full sound.
Recently Wade cut a single, Left Me Behind, for her upcoming debut CD/record. A music video for the song was filmed at Tuggles Gap Motel by Straight Jack-it media production.
The new CD, still untitled, is expected to be out in April. The video will soon be released online, and the songs from the album are expected to be available on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora. A tour is being scheduled by the band’s booking agent Jay Calfee, and Wade is up for it. She’s ready to devote herself to her music and see where it leads. “I really like how we’ve been progressing,” she said.
Post Note: Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers will be at Martin’s Downtown Saint Patrick’s Day Block Party in Roanoke at 7:30. Also, look for them at this year’s Cabin Fever 5 in Pilot. All proceeds from this June 9 – 10 memorial picnic bash will go to St. Francis Service Dog program.
1. We don’t just have family game day around here. We have “make your own game play day.”
2. The name of this game, made by our 8-year-old grandson Bryce, is Banker Tanker. Watch us play HERE.
3. This week I held my friend Amy’s 4 month-old-baby Pearl while Amy was checking out groceries at the Harvest Moon, and Pearl and I made a connection. Later, while driving home this song came to me and I started singing: Pretty girl / Precious Pearl / She wakes up early in the morning / Pretty girl / Precious Pearl / Her hair is curly in the morning.
4. The KIND was in top form for their 31st anniversary show at the Pine Saturday night. THIS is one of my favorite songs, so I had to cut it short to dance!
5. Last Thursday blogger Sandy posted THESE 13 fabulous water fountain sculptures.
6. And later I found THIS orchestra playing ice instruments in an ice cave concert hall. Unbelievable!
7. Red is the caffeine of colors.
8. My desk is a metaphor for my mind. It’s complicated.
9. My friend Chris just reported on Facebook that all his Amazon Echoes powered by Alexa went down on March 8, A Day Without a Woman, a general strike to bring awareness to women’s rights. So I looked it up and sure enough, I found this: “Alexa is participating in a Day Without A Woman. She will be down for all of 3/8/17. It’s not your device.”
10. “I used to respond with surprise / Upon hearing Trump’s venom-filled lies / But his yarns are so chronic / (A self prescribed tonic)/ That banking on fiction is wise.” – My Facebook friend/poet Greg Beale
11. Equating Trump’s travel ban to urgent protection for Americans is like calling Iraqi’s oil ‘weapons of mass destruction.’
12. “Just fearlessly try to find the actual, factual truth refreakinggardless,” says my Dharmacratic poet friend Will.
13. Your move.
-The following first appeared with a larger spread of photos in the March 2nd issue of The Floyd Press
The annual Floyd Mardi Gras is an epic night for Floyd, but it’s not just for Floydians. Saturday night’s Mardi Gras attendees came from far and wide – from Lynchburg, Clifton Forge, Martinsville – as well as from neighboring counties.
Wearing feathers and glitter, masks and beads, a parade of costumed attendees filled the upper level of the Winter Sun and Dogtown Roadhouse building for the 8th annual Costume Ball, a signature fundraiser for the Blue Mountain School.
This year, Mardi Gras organizers premiered Krewe du Bleu, an exclusive pre-show meal that featured an authentic Mardi Gras menu prepared by chef/food historian Richard Perry of Classic Catering and the Longfin Grille in Salem.
“Oh my goodness, it was exquisite,” said Ben Flint, a diner from Roanoke. The fare included Oyster and Crab Bienville Casserole, Cajun Kale and Collard Gumbo with Homemade Andouille, Delta slaw, Traditional Po’boys, King Cake and more.
A stage for acoustic performances complimented the dinner event. A Blackjack table and a silent auction display of donated Floyd arts and crafts, gift certificates and more were also set up in the Winter Sun Clothing Store.
In the Roadhouse, the sold-out celebration featured the music of Floyd-based Jam Sandwich, Blacksburg-based Badunkafuk and two sets by Sol Roots with a Lagniappe all-star cast of surprise musician guests.
Dance performances are a traditional part of Floyd Mardi Gras entertainment, and this year they were a highlight. Throughout the night, Katie Wells, Leia Jones, and the Gyroscopic Belly dancers performed to an enthusiastic crowd.
But the dance performers weren’t the only ones moving to the beat. During band sets practically everyone in the house got in on the dancing act, filling the Roadhouse dance floor and sometimes spilling into the aisles.
As the night went on, the crowd’s anticipation to see the 2017 crowning of the King and Queen grew. With the help of past Mardi Gras royalty, event promoter Jamie Reygle, crowned community volunteer Grateful Steve (Messinio) as King and Shamama (Siobhan Lowe) as Queen. Shamama, a past Blue Mountain School parent, was also the Mardi Gras emcee and judge for a best costume contest.
Before introducing Sol Roots’ second set, Shamama thanked the crowd for coming and reminded them how important it is to support Blue Mountain School, Floyd’s independent Contemplative Progressive School that fosters creativity and emotional intelligence.
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” organizer Jamie Reygle later said. This is not a platitude. The Mardi Gras would not be possible without the contributions—big and small—of so many people.”
By Monday, Reygle reported that Fundraising figures weren’t in yet. “But “I can tell you that there will be a lot of happy kids running around Blue Mountain School next year who wouldn’t have been able to attend without your contribution of support.
-See more photos and video clips HERE.
Sol Roots performed two sets with an all-star list of guests.
I just now noticed that Shamama’s dress was made of Barbie dolls!
My father died in the hospital
where he held a remote control
the same one he hung on to
while watching TV at home
We hoped it would put him at ease
and give him a sense of control
but there were no new chances
or rewind features
Just pause and mute
Just wait and hope
In the end the channel did change
but he didn’t call for the nurses
The fates played out
His heart gave up
A blood clot
turned his life off
_______Colleen Redman / Poets United
The stir of blur
The well of pastel
The sign of shine
The allure of floor
The trance of dance
The glimmer of shimmer
The flow of glow
Blue light and shadow / Shadow Shot Sunday
1. So last week I posted ‘It’s my bag or is it my baggage?’ and my friend Rick answered, “Depends on if you’re James Brown.”
2. That’s my friend Miriam pictured above at the 8th annual Floyd Mardi Gras. The picture below of Joe and me is titled “Twin Souls?’
3. Removing our environmental protections: It’s a degradation against my religion.
4. Paid protesters? Where can I apply for that job?
5. Well Trump did say he wanted to bring more jobs to the country, but I don’t think he meant that.
6. My poem Remedy was just published at The Poets Haven HERE.
7. How to Write a Poem: You’ve got to begin / the conversation / If you don’t listen / you can’t respond / If you don’t ask / there is no answer / and it ends before it starts / if you don’t write it down
8. “All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you.” – Filmaker Barry Jenkins, accepting his Academy Award for Moonlight
9. “Last night’s Oscar blunder made me think of how I wanted the announcement of Trump winning to have someone come out and say it was a mistake. Didn’t happen, and now we’re in La La Land.” – My friend June on Facebook.
10. America First is turning out to be so un-American.
11. I think that reshaping reality through misinformation is the new form of conquer and plunder in the wild west of the internet, and the right has been being groomed for years: “How do you change the way a nation thinks? You can take an existing trending topic, such as fake news, and then weaponize it. You can turn it against the very media that uncovered it. Viewed in a certain light, fake news is a suicide bomb at the heart of our information system. Strapped to the live body of us – the mainstream media. More on this, the best thing I’ve read all week HERE.
12. “The Sun does not pick and choose who to shine on,” says my Dharmacratic poet friend Will
13. She Comes in Colors HERE.