Memorial Day

the lost shall not be forgotten –

the selfless service, the warriors of old –

would that battles could resolve with words –

instead of leaving orphans in the cold –

would that heroes need not die –

for truth and justice to take hold.

COVID-19 Lock-up by Rose Mary Boehm

Here is a taste of lockdown from my friend Rose in Lima.

As the country reels from increasing cases, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra announced that Peru’s state of emergency and quarantine measures will remain in effect until the end of June.

Silver Birch Press

door 2Lima, Peru, 29 April 2020, COVID-19 Lock-up
by Rose Mary Boehm

These bars surprised me when we bought
the flat. Hated living behind bars.
But most people in the days of the terror
lived behind bars, and soon they
made me feel safe
in Lima, the town of thieves.

Coronavirus, and the bars are no longer
in place to keep out, but to keep in.
How many weeks has it been?
Too many, too few… It’ll be a while
yet. There are those who don’t believe.
Who defy the orders, authorities
who can be bought, too many who
drink, dance and make merry,
too many who die.

A conspiracy of death. The elderly, the young,
the black, the white, the gay, the poor, the evil,
the out of work, the workers,
and prisoners.

And we have become prisoners
of reason and of fear.
The front door opens,
the gateway to…

View original post 180 more words

navigating new worlds

the college woods, half a block from home

We have been immensely privileged to be able to enjoy open spaces and forest walks in these complicated times, but as the weather warms and more people are out, we have to find new, less traveled routes. Our masks are not enough when others do not wear them, nor honor the distancing that keeps us safe.

We have been spared the harsh nightmares that others are living through with COVID-19, but there is no escaping the new reality. The invisibility of the enemy and the uncertainty of the future are constant undercurrents.

With friends and family scattered across the globe, many in places where the virus has been devastating, we are extremely lucky to have had our little bubble of isolation in Tennessee. We have been sharing our quarantine with on of our sons and his family -only ten minutes from us – and were able to hold our new granddaughter as soon as she got home. (Thankful for the Knoxville hospital’s careful protocols!) Our Click List online shopping has been working well, except for the lack of bleach and other disinfectant products. We open the trunk, they load our groceries, we shut the trunk. No contact. The little sanitizer we have left stays in the car for gas pumps and drive through pickups.

Nevertheless, there is always a hovering nervousness, a fear of unwitting contamination. Did we wipe down every inch of packaging? Will a slip in the wiping of that bag of frozen peas come back to haunt us? Apparently, the virus can survive 6 months in a freezer!  We haven’t seen our usual mailman in a while. What if he sneezed or coughed on our mail?  Did we get too close to our neighbors while talking in the yard? Unlike us, several still go to their workplaces. Considering that the active virus has been found even on particles of air pollution, everything becomes suspect. I don’t walk around fearful, but at the back of my mind is the ever present possibility of inadvertent exposure to someone or something or some surface where the demon virus hides in wait. Nothing is taken for granted. No guarantees.

In the back of my head, a thousand future scenarios play out. I imagine a post-recovery period, looking back at the Before, considering the After. There is a new line drawn in the sand. Who will not be there? What businesses will be gone? How will architecture prepare for future pandemics? What new systems will be in place?

And what will be too quickly forgotten?

corona virus - the new pachakuti

Cries in the Woods

Here’s an author to watch! Stay on the lookout for whatever stories, novels, or series might spin out of her posts. J. Federle will take you far beyond Hansel and Gretel, past Red Riding Hood and her big bad wolf, and will leave Beauty in the safety of the happy-ever-after realm while Federle takes you into serious, often disturbing adventures with the unknown. Yet just as easily as she can terrify us, she can serve up humorous encounters with the paranormal and philosophical reflections on being and non-being…

J. Federle's Author Website

Last spring, my sister and I drove to a dog park a bit further into the country. This “dog park” is better pictured as a pasture for horses: a wooden fence frames a massive field of rolling grass. The dogs did their dog-thing, and we headed to leave.

Before piling into the car, though, I begged my sister to let me take a photo.

Across the road from the parking lot, an old red bridge led into the woods. It fed whoever crossed it onto a walking path, one that dipped and turned before disappearing into the trees.

We didn’t think much of walking over. But as I took the photo, we heard… something.

It was an almost-scream? High-pitched and brief, but organic. From the fleshy throat of something living. We glanced at each other. At the direction it had come from—toward two trees to our left, where between them…

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It’s out!

The Legend of Yuraq Orqo

You can sample a taste of Daughter of the Nazca Moon via an excerpt “The Legend of Yuraq Orqo” on https://poydrasreview.com/blog/2020/2/9/the-legend-of-yuraq-orqo

This story is part of a larger novel. The dune-covered mountain Yuraq Orqo (yuraq means white in Quechua, orqo means mountain) was sacred to the ancient Nazca culture. It became known as Cerro Blanco after the Spanish conquest. I read and heard several versions of its origin story while researching my novel, and wanted to include the essence of the tale, while weaving in some of the differing perspectives. Some were told like cautionary tales (the unfaithful wife will be punished), some were tales of liberation (the young savior who frees the unhappy daughter). Some featured battles between ancient gods, others were post-conquest intrigues between Lords and Ladies. What still strikes me as significant food for further rumination and exploration, is that the god/lord/curaca/chief and the lover/rescuer/thief both had names, but the female character was consistently referred to by the name of the mountain she became. She may be revered as a sacred mountain, but as a woman, she remains nameless.

 “Patya had heard so many variations of the legend that she once asked her grandmother which one was right. Kuyllay replied that they all were. ‘There is never only one way to see something,’ she said. ‘Stories should keep you thinking.’ ”

too long away

just need to touch in here, to remind myself to leave a few tracks – in sand, mud, forest, hyperspace – to remember where I might have been in the world, in my head, or on the page.

I have a new story coming out Feb 10, 2020 on https://poydrasreview.com/ – excerpted from Daughter of the Nazca Moon (the novel hasn’t found a US home yet, but is is currently being translated into Spanish with possibilities of publishing in Peru)

NaNoWriMo kept me busy in November, working on the sequel where Patya travels to the altiplano of Peru and Boliva (still sixth century) in search of answers from the fabled society of Tiwanaku and the mystical Lake Titicaca.

In October, made a few dramatic hikes overlooking the lake, beginning at 3,800 meters above sea level… on up to nearly 5,000. slow but steady…

respectfully conscious of the movement of clouds, the direction of the wind, the proximity of the lightning, and the absence of refuge at the summit

Autumn Again After 14 Years

View from our front porch. We are not in Lima anymore

It has been a long process, but our transition continues to be a true pachacuti in our lives, in the most positive sense of that Andean “turning over of worlds’. Closing chapters. Launching new beginnings. Re-prioritizing. Re-energizing. Refocusing. But above all, breathing in the mountains, enjoying family, and reinventing our surroundings. Such a blessing to be here! We have always had one foot in Peru, and one in the US. That will never change.

one of our favorite spots during our walks on the malecon in Miraflores, Lima

…on my mind

Climate change.

Polluted oceans.

Orcas.

J-pod.  J-35. Tahlequah

Holding her dead calf above water, wishing her child to breathe.

I still think of those seventeen days and thousand miles, of

Tahlequah carrying her child,

Holding her grief visible for the world,

Refusing to let go.

Propping her daughter on her forhead, trying to keep up,

Even as her calf decays,

Refusing to let go.

A thousand long miles and seventeen days,

She grieves.

We watch.

The day she lets her baby go,

a call echoes in their wake.

The image remains.

And now,

I cannot let it go.

20180725KMBcrop_SJ2-173.jpg

FROM THE CENTER FOR WHALE RESEARCH

Date: July 26, 2018

Subject: Newborn Orca dies

We are saddened to report that a baby Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) died a short time after it was born near Victoria, British Columbia on July 24, 2018. The newborn whale was reported alive and swimming with its mother, J35, and other members of J pod near Clover Point on the Victoria shoreline in mid-morning. A Center for Whale Research team was on the water in Haro Strait at the time and immediately responded to photo-document the newborn calf for the long-term census study we maintain for the US and Canadian governments. Unfortunately, by the time the CWR crew arrived on scene, the newborn calf was deceased, and the pod had traveled several miles eastward of the reported sighting location. The baby’s carcass was sinking and being repeatedly retrieved by the mother who was supporting it on her forehead and pushing it in choppy seas toward San Juan Island, USA. The mother continued supporting and pushing the dead baby whale throughout the day until at least sunset. A resident of San Juan Island near Eagle Cove reported: “At sunset, a group of 5-6 females gathered at the mouth of the cove in a close, tight-knit circle, staying at the surface in a harmonious circular motion for nearly 2 hours. As the light dimmed, I was able to watch them continue what seemed to be a ritual or ceremony. They stayed directly centered in the moonbeam, even as it moved.” 

Tahlequah’s Daughter:  July 24, 2018 – August 11, 2018

A BLEAK REALITY FOR SOUTHERN RESIDENT ORCAS    

The toxins build up, grow more concentrated with each generation. 

Births continue to decline.

Of those that make it to full term, most are stillborn. 

After being shot in the 50s to keep them from eating the salmon, they were hunted and captured in the 60s for entertainment. Once people began to realize that orcas were intelligent, social beings who suffer in confinement,  protections were put in place. The orca population slowly began to recover. But the depletion of food supplies and increase in pollution has led to such decline that the southern resident orcas have become an officially endangered population. 

Scientists are now referring to the orca as the planet’s canary, the reflection of the ocean’s health. 

In a mere handful of generations, human ignorance and indifference has done more harm to the earth than we can begin to fathom. We can’t afford to duck away from that reality, a truth which can indeed be very inconvenient.

Instead, we need to amplify the voices that remind us where to focus…

perspective

Chief Seattle quote: The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All...

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realise that we can not eat money.”   Chief Seattle

Qwe ‘lhol mechen  means “our relations below the waves.” The qwe ‘lhol mechen are fighting for survival, and we must act boldly to help them. As one Lummi elder has said, “What happens to them, happens to us.”
                                                                             https://sacredsea.org/blackfish/

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