Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Solstice Blessings : Who Makes a Way to My Heart, I Will Deliver Poems to Yours

Photos & Collage
by Renee Podunovich
Joyous Winter Solstice Blessings to all my friends 
and to this terribly beautiful world that I love so much. 

Illustrious for Brief Moments

Today is another chance
            to be fully alive,
            present in the What
            Is —               the light and dark embodied,
                                    the movement from dreaming       
                                    to waking dreams— all of it
                                    the same mysterious fabric.

Sunrise— Juncos feast at the feeder
cheerful in the chill white,
light lands on feathers and drifts,
                                    on me at my writing desk,
                                    on you, somewhere —

Webs of distance
I won’t write about longing ever again.
I have already wandered that endless path,
followed it to the distant most planets.
I am here, not there. not anywhere else.
I exist inside the silk lining
of pockets of snow, softly
elevating me and the winter birds
far far from our summer selves,
                                    stillness, seeds and scattered
                                    words become our

dream food

We are held aloft—illustrious —for brief moments
before our feet sink through
to the solid, frozen earth,
dark matter, the underworld
that will once again
birth us at

-Renee Podunovich, 12.21.18

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Land & Water Musing: The River Beneath the Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir / Dolores River
photo by Renee Podunovich

McPhee reservoir was almost completely drained this year because of extreme drought conditions. I discovered this on my first walk along the Dolores River trail this fall, and was stunned that I could keep going on an on because the reservoir is in fact just its own skeleton again. 

I was immediately reminded of Clarissa Pinkoles Estés musings on the “Rio Abajo Rio”— the river beneath the river, which “flows and flows into our lives.”

After the initial shock at the sight of it, and after my judgments about water right issues and concerns for the ecosystem settled, I resolved to adapt to the current conditions. I decided to meet the place as it is now. This is not last year when I floated unrestricted, bobbing on my paddleboard under summer sun alight on deep waters that lulled me into a waking-dreaming bliss. And this is not all the years before that, and this is not next year either.

This full acceptance of What Is Now happened in a single moment, startling me awake from my internal landscape. It happened suddenly, as her water songs sparkling on small currents of her always flowing, finally caught my full attention—  and it occurred to me—  she is herself again. She is not buried under a backlog of restricted water, existing along the deep bottom, unseen and forgotten to those recreating above. She is fully alive as her River Self, unbroken and moving forward— to the sea—  Imagine!
“The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, its basins; we are its pools, ponds, streams and sanctuaries. The wild creative force flows into whatever beds we have for it…” –Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Women Who Run With the Wolves
All fall and into early winter, I have committed to meeting her as she is now, rather than inflicting my memories and expectations upon her. I find myself yearning to be near her often. She is the backbone of the reservoir, and fully elegant as her essential self, wending in a serpentine swagger through the uncovered land that is wide and open around her. There is a beachy quality to the landscape somehow, the blues, the wind and alternating sandy swatches and dry-as-a-bone areas in which deep crevices of petrified mud are like puzzle pieces, calling the curious to examine what might be deep inside the earth now exposed. Sunken treasure appears here and there, rusty metal objects mostly, but surprisingly little rubbish.
Driftwood Pen
photo by Renee Podunovich
I am often childlike in these explorations, stopping along the sandy banks at the far reaches where the reservoir now starts to reveal itself again. I love the small beaches along her flanks, surrounded by the dry reservoir bottom in a soaring expanse. I wish to dance in this openness, but resist as it would be ridiculous and unexplainable to others wandering out here in the bottomlands. I find an interesting piece of driftwood in the wet sand and draw a heart with the initials of a beloved in the dark mud, send a wish of wellness out, out, out and wonder how long before it gets washed away or if someone will find this declaration of sentiment in the sand and wonder as well.

The River reciprocates my attempt to Be With What Is. She tells me, “I am where I am and I am OK in this current transition that is still unknown and unfolding.” This is my life now, paired back to what is essentially meaningful to me, and often these are things that aren’t valued in the consumer driven world. Some days it takes so much self-reassurance to stay with the decision to burrow into my own creative process for awhile, when the reality of economics and career are real pressures to be contended with. This is not last year or next year. This is the year I decided to live in closer proximity to what my heart loves most.  

Of our individual creative endeavors, Estés states, 
“Creating one thing at a certain point in the river feeds those who come to the river, feeds creatures far downstream, yet others in the deep. Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed.” 
This year, for now, my life is under the reservoir, under the boats and water-skiers, the swimming dogs and splashing children. At this certain point in the river, I stand. I am at the very essential foundation of my life again—  listening for words that describe the descent, believing something of beauty and value will emerge from here.  I will continue to offer what I find—  gifts from my Soul River to yours.

-Renee Podunovich, 2018