Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


12 Comments

Everyday Patterns

Beauty on my run. #11miles

Gifted shirt from my Auntie Ace. Perfect and timely.

In March 2020—roughly a decade ago—when the pandemic began, I read a piece about about a photojournalist who began “a visual diary of intimacy within isolation, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” published here: Stay Home: A Portrait of Confinement in Milan. From her home in Milan, Italy, Camilla Ferrari conveys how, “ordinary scenes and everyday patterns, sometimes paired together, take on new meaning inside the one-bedroom apartment where Ferrari finds beauty and comfort in the poetry of daily life.”

At that time, all three adult children had moved home for quarantine. Our home filled with the energies and interests of three 20-somethings. Still able to run outside in nature here in New Mexico, I wondered how different the experience to be in a one-or two-bedroom flat in Europe, without nature easily accessible. I marveled at what that must be like on my daily runs outside through the high desert. This knowledge lifted my awareness of the expanse, freedom, gifts of nature, and fresh air my runs provided, especially in a full house.

My runs also provide the gift of solitude, something during quarantine many of us crave. I have thought of the vastly different experiences of quarantine based on context; for many of us, we had young adult children move home, bringing whole new rhythms and patterns—or lack thereof. Others are separated from children they normally see. Talking with a dear friend, who lives alone, I realized the deep well of loneliness of those who live alone during quarantine, without the norms of moving within greater society, with the human contact of friends, family, and colleagues.

A run under these clouds.

As many places around the world, here in New Mexico we entered another severe lockdown last week, due to the rising numbers in in our state and throughout the US. I thought again of the “visual diary of intimacy” from that one-bedroom flat in Milan. I tend to see bits of beauty in everyday life and stop whatever I’m doing to either savor or photograph. Wherever you are, and whatever the state of quarantine or not, the emotional weight of this pandemic wears on us all. I hope these bits of beauty from Santa Fe and beyond may bring a little of another world to your home.

Yucca pod. Beauty on my run.

I am a person of rhythms. The daily rhythms of my life create the foundation which makes all else possible. Integral to these rhythms are the early morning hours of candlelight, coffee, and solitude. During this time, I write, dream, and envision. I cherish this time, with only the soft light of the candles, lights hung around the window, my journal, and pen. It is when those rhythms are disrupted, as so often now during the pandemic, that I find them even more vital.

Early morning hours in my writing room.

The daily rhythms of sunrise and sunset provide structure and mark each day. Rooftop sunrise, Santa Fe.

“November is chill, frosted mornings with a silver sun rising behind the trees, red cardinals at the feeders, and squirrels running scallops along the tops of the gray stone walls”. —Jean Hersey

How about a walk on the November prairie?  5 Reasons to Hike the November Prairie This gorgeous piece, ripe with the November beauty of the prairie by Cindy Crosby takes me to the ranch.

Crosby begins, “1. November’s prairie is a sea of gorgeous foamy seeds. Exploding asters loosen their shattered stars against the winds.”

“Let’s go look for hope. Peace. Beauty,” she writes.

Yes, let’s.

Sunlight through grass tufts on my run.

The Van Gogh French press and two cups reflects the pattern of our days. Luke and I each pause each day in the early afternoon to share a cup of coffee. Great care goes into the selection of which cup for each of us on that day. I treasure this time and these conversations with my 22-year-old son.

It’s official—I advanced to PhD Candidacy. Now to complete the dissertation/defense.

A gift of the every day beauty included receiving this beautiful photo and sharing with a Book Club to talk about Meadowlark. I just love this photo.

@Renee Roebuck

Speaking of books, a fantastic new writing book out by Linda Hasselstrom. Wise and wonderful.

A final gift from one of my runs, a reflection of the, “ordinary scenes and daily patterns that take on new meaning.” As I ran by this tree and saw this cluster, my first thought was, “Spider web or fairy home?”

I know what I see.

 


1 Comment

Language, Place, Story, Memory, Myth, and So Much More

I could run forever under these clouds. #11miles

More lovely discoveries here in my continued exploration of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination with a focus on connections between language and landscape through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination. There are pieces here on language, place, story, memory, myth, landscape, democracy, trees, and belonging. I hope you will enjoy sinking into these ideas and images as much as I did. And, speaking of landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination, I have to include a photo of these fantastic pants that Mom and Wynn brought home from a consignment store. Best. Pants. Ever.

Please make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and settle-in to explore these worlds. In this complex time, I find exploring these expansive ideas allows me to breathe deeper, hold hope, be inspired, and dream. Enjoy.

The Memory Field by Jake Skeets How time and land hold “fields” of memory that unfold through language and storytelling. Memory is a touchy thing, and I mean that in the realest sense.

Light in my writing room window.

And Peace Shall Return by Ben Okri A stunning and timely piece on power of place, story, and solitude.

Orion Magazine and Point Reyes Books presents Rebecca Solnit and Terry Tempest Williams An intimate conversation about the US election, the state of democracy, and about The Most Radical Thing You Can Do.

Skywoman Falling by Robin Wall Kimmerer: In this excerpt from the new introduction to her acclaimed book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Robin Wall Kimmerer draws upon the creation story of Skywoman and the wisdom of plants to guide us through our present moment of deep uncertainty. “The story we long for, the story that we are beginning to remember, the story that remembers us.”

Día de los Muertos 2020—Love Lives On by Dawn Wink As I placed each piece, I had to smile. When my Grandma Mary embroidered Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, when my Great-Grandma Grace ground the coffee before dawn in the sod hut on the ranch, never could they have imaged these pieces where they are now. The landscape of our altar reflects the landscape of my life. Yo soy fronterista. I am a woman of the borderlands, as used by Gloría Anzaldúa. My life is one of a fronterista, where worlds overlap: prairie and Southwest, rural and international, landscape literature and linguistic human rights. Here on the altar, prairie and farmland come together with the Southwest; German, Welsh, Irish, and English with Latino; Protestant with Catholic; past with present. The worlds, each with a distinct culture, come together to create the mosaic of the whole.

Close to the Bone by Amy Irvine  Here in the American Southwest, the now naked ground reveals hundreds of ancient spear points, arrowheads, and hand tools once buried in bunch grass and pasture. Quartz, jasper, and obsidian wink like SOS mirrors, an alphabet of artifacts spelling out a story of survival. The fine, fluted edges, impossibly sharp ends. The patience it required to knap such thick, rough stones down to near ephemera. Pierce. Skin. Scrape. Every sharp edge honed for the hides of animals.

Literary Landscape

The Randomness of Language Evolution by Ed Yong The histories of linguistics and evolutionary biology have been braided together for as long as the latter has existed through drift and selection. 

What You Can Learn by Following the Herd in Italy Transhumance, from the Latin trans for “across” and humus for “earth,” the seasonal movement of people and their livestock to and from summer and winter grazing grounds has been practiced for thousands of years by pastoral cultures.

Exploring Eco-Poetics as a Social Art by Dave Pendle I believe this sort aeistesis or sensing and articulating through writing, can be yet another a powerful aid, to reveal and discover mostly inaccessible information and energy dynamics in conventional social fields. Thus this article proposes Eco-Poetics as another possible systems sensing approach in addition to the two mentioned above.

Blue Whales Sing All Day When They Migrate and All Night When They Their mysterious songs could be an ‘acoustic signature of migration.’

Literary Landscape

What it Means to Belong in Many Places at Once by Elik Shafak Motherlands are castles made of glass. In order to leave them, you have to break something—a wall, a social convention, a cultural norm, a psychological barrier, a heart. What you have broken will haunt you…

How language shapes thought by Lera Brodisky. Reminds me of the time a friend told me that she can tell which language I’m speaking from across the room by my body movements alone.
Sharing a Place-Based Methodology and Learnings Aborigines say that their rivers don’t speak English, but they do Suraj their native language because it was born of the land and is part of it.

The Secret Life of Trees: Stunning Sylvan Drawings by Indigenous Artists Based on Indian Mythology by Maria Popova For a moment of respite from the palpitations of the present, from the American insanity, from the human world at all, stunning drawings and dreamings of trees by indigenous artists based on millennia-old Indian mythology.

Literary Landscape

Is the Environment for “Taking From” or “Giving To?” A Young Indigenous Economist Finds Answers On His Own I have always been bothered by the concept of indefinite economic growth and development with no regard for nature.

Quarantine As Ceremony: COVID 19 an Opportunity to Quietly Rebel Against the Dominant Landscape by Servern Cullis Suzuki Representing a profoundly different mental landscape, Indigenous languages reveal entirely distinct ways of being, ones that are not at odds with Life around us.  In her article, “Speaking of Language” (Orion Magazine, 2017), Dr. Robin Kimmerer writes about the grammar of animacy, describing the use of pronouns for life forms in her Potawatami language, which conveys proper respect for life by the language user. She notes, “I think the most profound act of linguistic imperialism was the replacement of a language of animacy with one of objectification of nature, which renders the beloved land as lifeless object, the forest as board feet of timber.” Indigenous languages are a portal to a relationship with Earth.

Nature word by David Lukas (Language Making Nature): LIGHTBECK ‘the haunting call of distant light’ I coined this is word for an emotion I often feel.

Ugulate Love by Amy Irvine In far Western Mongolia, near the Russian border, there is a dusty, dung-spotted hill covered in black-purple boulders. At a distance, the rocks look glowering and contused. Creep closer, though, and things are anything but grim. There’s the lattice of pumpkin-orange lichen.

Early morning candles, coffee, books, flowers.


16 Comments

Dia de los Muertos 2020—Love Lives On

Día de los Muertos Altar 2020

Día de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day, November 1st. In Latino tradition, Día de los Muertos honors our loved ones who have passed with altars laden with flowers, photos, and candles. I first learned of this tradition when I fell in love with Frida Kahlo in my early 20’s. Día de los Muertos is an integral element in our family’s life rhythms. Composing the altar this year felt especially sacred amidst the pandemic and so many people lost. So many new souls honored on the altar by Latinos in the US and throughout Mexico.

Mom’s hope chest creates the foundation for the altar. As I placed each piece, I had to smile. When my Grandma Mary embroidered Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, when my Great-Grandma Grace ground the coffee before dawn in the sod hut on the ranch, never could they have imaged these pieces where they are now. The landscape of our altar reflects the landscape of my life. Yo soy fronterista. I am a woman of the borderlands, as used by Gloría Anzaldúa. My life is one of a fronterista, where worlds overlap: prairie and Southwest, rural and international, landscape literature and linguistic human rights. Here on the altar, prairie and farmland come together with the Southwest; German, Welsh, Irish, and English with Latino; Protestant with Catholic; past with present. The worlds, each with a distinct culture, come together to create the mosaic of the whole.

As I place the flowers for my German Lutheran grandparents, Grandpa Wink and Grandma Anna, I hear my Grandpa Wink saying the Lord’s Prayer in German to delight my cousins and I as children. So many historic heritage languages and cultures fill the altar. Never did the great-grandparents and grandparents that I honor imagine a Día de los Muertos altar. The unimaginable—as I placed each piece, I thought of how very much like this expresses where we find ourselves in life right now around the world.

Grandma Janet’s wine glass, St. Agatha, Virgen de Guadalupe

Grammie Lucille

The altar holds a treasured wine glass of my mom’s mother, Grandma Janet, as Janet’s mother, my Great-Grammie Lucille looks on as a teenager from a black-and-white photo above. The glass rests between St. Agatha, Patron Saint of Breast Cancer, Nurses, and Women’s Issues, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Virgen de Guadalupe (Artist, Jil Gurulé). The beauty and delicacy of the glass reflects Grandma Janet’s life. St. Agatha is new to the altar this year. Breast cancer has touched many women’s lives in my family. My Grandma Janet passed far too young. Her wine glass honors her life, as well as represents my decision to remove wine glasses from my own table on November 1 last year, so I could focus fully on healing.

Corn honors my Uncle Ray, a farmer who lived life with such kindness, generosity, love, and a twinkle in his eye.

In our college community, we unexpectedly lost a well-loved colleague and dear friend. Luke defined himself as a spiritual being, imbued with the traditions of Peru where he lived and climbed for so many years. Eagles represent Spirit. Fly, Luke, fly.

For all of those lost to coronavirus, a collection of leaves I found under the heart-draped tree along my running path, tucked into the bird’s nest.

In honor of those passed to coronavirus.

Forever love.

Pan de Muerto

“Mom, did you make pan de muerto this year?” Wyatt asked me hesitantly on the phone in mid-November last year. It was the first year I had not made Frida Kahlo’s recipe (we use honey from the ranch) for pan de muerto in the kids’ memory. This annual ritual grounds our family.  With the health journey of last fall, I did not make the traditional sweet bread. When I realized last year that it was November 1st and I hadn’t made the bread, in an attempt to lift my spirits, Noé said, “Don’t worry. It’s okay. They won’t miss it.” I felt somewhat better in that moment. I also worried that they would not miss it. The sticky dough of pan de muerto helps to hold us together as a family.

Manuela and Amadeo Villarreal

When Wyatt asked if I had made, I was overcome with both maternal guilt at not making and a sense of deep gratitude and joy that he had missed! We altered our traditions last year and made when all came home for Thanksgiving. The spirits were just fine with that. This mommy’s heart smiled to watch all gathered yet again around the counter, creating their small figures of dough, sprinkling with colored sugars and decorations, and then the smiles on their faces when they each took that first bite of the bread fresh from the oven.

Noé’s parents, Amadeo and Manuela Villarreal, always center our altar. I was not fortunate enough to meet them. We missed each other by a few years. Their spirits remain alive through the countless stories of laughter, hard work, family love and dedication, and irrepressible and irreverent senses of humor! How I wish I had been blessed to sit around the kitchen table, drinking coffee from the pot that was always full, to hear of their lives and their stories. Whenever Manuela is described, the sentence usually ends with, “She was quite the character! No la tenía miedo de nada.(She wasn’t scared of anything).” When Amadeo passed, he pointed to the corner of the room and told his kids gathered around, “Allí está tu mamá. Viene por mí.” (“There is your mom. She’s come for me.”)

Treasures through the generation grace the altar. Mom gave Grandma Mary’s blue glass flower vase to her friend, Mary Ann, who then gave it to me many years later.

Grandma Mary’s blue glass flower vase

I received a photo that so reflects el Día de los Muertos for Latino children in the US this year. Noah’s mom, Patricia, sent me this photo and wrote, “Living always in two cultures—Harry Potter and Día de los Muertos. Here Noah connects for his morning meeting in elementary school online.”

Noah Grillo De Dios © Patricia De Dios

Our Dia de los Muertos books, collected through the years and well-worn.

A few of books of the indomitable Frida Kahlo, La Gran Friducha, for whom Día de los Muertos represented so much.

A page from Frida’s journal:

I had very mixed feelings when I first heard about the movie “Coco.” Disney producing a movie about Day of the Dead, thoughts of cultural appropriation ran rampant through my mind. There are no princesses in the Day of the Dead. I was anxious when we sat to watch, in much the same way I’m anxious when I start a movie of a book I have loved, worried that the movie will mar the beauty and power of the original. I was delighted to discover a beautiful honoring of this sacred tradition. “This makes me think of my parents,” Noé said when the movie ended, a tear rolling down his cheek.

Trees of Life are often found on Día de los Muertos altars. We received desperately needed moisture through snow earlier this week, as seen here through a Tree of Life.

Snow through Tree of Life in my writing room.

As I composed the altar and lit the candles this year, I gave thanks to each person represented and all they brought to our lives. We all live with the weight of 2020, the isolation, the restrictions, the lockdowns, the unknown. All lend an extra resonance to the creation of the altar and an honoring of how we are not alone and how the love and lives of others continue in our own.

As I placed each piece, lit each candle, arranged the flowers, memories of each washed over and through me.

While our loved ones pass, their love does not die.

Their love lives on through us and into the lives of those we love.


28 Comments

A World of Octobers, Fall in Santa Fe


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

While every season has a particular beauty, fall in Santa Fe carries its own special magic. Vibrant shades of red, gold, yellow, citrine, and every color of the spectrum between blanket the mountains, as the aspens celebrate the end of summer with a grand finale. This mosaic of changing colors of the leaves on the mountains felt the essence of my exploration of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination. Spicy, pungent scents of roasting chiles float from open lots throughout the state as chiles tumble over open flames in grated roasters. When we smell roasting chile in the air, we know fall has arrived in the Southwest.

While the shifting colors of the seasons may feel familiar under our feet, for most of us little else does in this uncertain landscape and time of Fall 2020. We hoped the pandemic would ebb with summer and by fall the flow of life might return to more familiar terrain. Instead, the world often feels ever-more uncertain and holds a future we cannot foresee. I read recently that reading the headlines is now referred to as “doom scrolling.” It is in light of this uncertainty that I offer here a bit of beauty for your day. While we remain active and engaged in often difficult times and challenges, a bit of beauty here to fill the spirit and the soul as we move forward. I hope you enjoy the textures and shifting clouds of color of Aspen Peak above Santa Fe and a stroll the Plaza.

Harbinger of fall in New Mexico—(sexy comma) the scent of roasting green chiles lifts and lingers in the air and fresh chile ristras hang from trucks and will soon adorn gates, doors, and portales.

@Luke Wink-Moran

@Luke Wink-Moran

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.”~Elizabeth Lawrence

“I had no idea,” said my dear friend who took her first trip to see the changing colors. “Mountains dipped in gold.” Here she saw the heart of the mountain in the trees.

Heart of the Mountain, ©Jeannine Kamman-Soon

“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!” ~Winnie the Pooh

“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.” ~Virginia Woolf

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~Lauren Destefano

The Plaza, Santa Fe, NM ©Luke Wink-Moran

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” ~John Burrows

Sunflowers and Russian Sage blowing in our backyard.

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”~Shira Tamir

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, NM ©Luke Wink-Moran

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~Stanley Horowitz

“Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha” Estella Loretto, Artist is honored to share genuine spirit of Kateri embracing Kindness, Forgiveness, Love, Compassion, and Joyful Peace ©Luke Wink-Moran

“I loved Autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” ~Lee Maynard

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe ©Luke Wink-Moran

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe ©Luke Wink-Moran

“Another fall, another turned page…” ~Wallace Stegner

©Luke Wink-Moran

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and autumn was awakened.” ~Raquel Franco

“Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end.” ~Remy de Gourton

©Luke Wink-Moran

Central Plaza, New Mexico – Indigenous Peoples Day (Formerly Columbus Day)

@Luke Wink-Moran

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.” ~Victoria Erickson

©Luke Wink-Moran

Look closely…RIP RBG.

RIP RBG ©Luke Wink-Moran

©Luke Wink-Moran

Coyotes singing one morning as I go out for a run. Turn up the volume.

“The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure upon the leaves.” ~Charlotte Bates

©Luke Wink-Moran

“Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them— The summer flowers depart— Sit still— as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart.” ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

Here a tiny posey of late-blooming cosmos from our garden.

I hope that we all might remember to take time to “sit upon a lofty hill,” even if that is just at our own desk and focusing on a bit of beauty.

Our musing hearts need this.

Especially now.

 

 

 

*~*~*~*~*

A extra special thank you and hug to Jeannine Kamman-Soon, who wrote to me of the “mountains dipped in gold” and allowed me to share her exquisite Heart of the Mountain photo.

And to Luke, who donned his mask and went to take these gorgeous photos of Santa Fe in fall, because his mom asked if he might.

Much love!

 

 

 


17 Comments

The Exquisite Artwork of Landartist Hannah Bullen-Ryner

“Dawn, I sent you a message of some absolutely beautiful bird art,” my friend, Amanda, wrote. “Take a look. It reminded me of you.”
I saw Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s art and fell in head-over-heels in love. The more of her art I saw, the deeper in love I fell. Thank you, Amanda! As I immerse myself in all-things landscape, wildness, beauty, imagination, and language, Bullen-Ryner’s art seems to me an exquisite expression of all. I connected with Bullen-Ryner and asked if I could share the beauty she creates from nature here and was granted permission.
During this challenging time of deep uncertainly, the pandemic, and wildfires, I lift the beauty and spirit of this art. Art and quotes come directly from Bullen-Ryner about her work. I hope you will enjoy this respite, an oasis of peace, beauty, joy, expression, whimsy, colors, textures, and creativity. I hope this will be an experience of bathing in beauty. Here lifting up beauty for—and of—the natural world.
Bullen-Ryner describes herself as a, “Landartist & woodland pixie in love with the natural world and finding my place gently within it.. 🙏 💚🌿 I work with only found, foraged, natural items. With no fixings, my birds are temporary visitors and fly away on the breeze…🙏💚 Using only natural materials found locally and no permanent fixings, each piece I form is inspired by the organic shapes of the natural environment around me.
I create to share my love of nature and to soothe my soul.
Welcome to my little pixie world…”

“I can’t stop making Hummingbirds! 💚”

ARTIST BIO—Originally a painter and a photographer, finding the medium of Landart has allowed my art and my connection to the Earth my soul so needed, to combine. As a full time mama of twin girls, landart is my quiet time, my peace. I flow purely with found materials, creating ephemeral Mandalas or little bird visitors underneath my favourite Oak tree.  Within moments sometimes, my offerings fly away on the breeze.

A little messenger of hope sent out to all who need it this evening.. 🙏💚

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” ~David Attenborough

“My beautiful little afternoon visitor and I send you some calm from the edge of the field..🙏💚🌿
Firstly as you read this, relax your shoulders, unclench your teeth, relax your tongue from the roof of your mouth and take a nice big, deep breath in, and out… 💚💚💚💚💚 There is an Oak, Hawthorn and Bramble hedgerow behind me and I have heard many a little scurry of little feet.. little mice, foraging birds in the hour I have been sitting here. There is next to no breeze today and the sun is blazing. The treeline makes for some welcome shade for both me and all these tiny creatures. Birdsong fills my ears and my heart. From us, to you. 🙏💚

“It’s okay to rest a while.. 🙏💚🌿
The winds have been strong today and little one wanted to fly away quicker than I could flow! Managed to get a few shots before she left on the breeze.”

“My little morning visitor.. 🙏💚 It it is all done by hand.. 🙏💚🌿 I do often find a tiny point of the end of an Ash seed pod or a small blade of grass to help me manoeuvre stray pieces into place. But I also sometimes watch the breeze move a piece only for it to look better than where I originally placed it! 🙂

“I found this bit of plastic netting on a wooded pathway yesterday. I immediately picked it up to cut up and dispose of safely. This little one wants to remind you that he, alongside countless other creatures are at risk of getting fatally trapped in something like this. Please be responsible and recycle where possible. 🙏💚🌿 The little ones are relying on you.”

“A little messenger of hope sent out to all who need it this evening.. 🙏💚

“With the UK looking likely to go back on lockdown, the days drawing in, everything still very much in the air, and following on from the success of the EPC zoom call I am putting some feelers out…I want to help lift and raise vibrations and continue to share the positive steps I take to feel better through the medium of Land Art. 💚💚
“Today has felt overwhelming for lots of reasons.. luckily I have had beautiful visitors to help me find some calm..🙏💚🌿 Little fluff-head. 😊💚

“This little guy tells me his name is “Pan” 😊🙏💚🌿 He was so eager to meet you he came right up close 🌿

“There is something truly magical when a butterfly comes and sits on you, even when you are a mystical ephemeral creature yourself! 🤗🦋🙏💚

“I have been told in no uncertain terms that I should not be offering opinions on Faery head-wear by this little one today! 😂😉🙏💚🌿 Her name is “Belladonna” or Deadly Nightshade, so I think it’s rather fitting she seems a little bit cross! 💜

“All I did was *mention* that the Faery crowns *might* a getting bit OTT… 😄🤗🙏💚” (over the top)

“Friendship comes in the most unlikely combinations.. seek out those who see you for all your colours and let you fly…🙏💚🌿

“Little shy one really wasn’t sure if she wanted to meet everyone…🙏💚🤗🌿 She is adorned in lavender petals but still a nervous little thing.. I call her Anxiety.💜

“Little Baby-Blue one in amongst the Mugwort.. 😊🙏💚

 

I close with Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s words “Keep finding the light.. 💪✊🙏💚. Here’s a little one stretching her wings after a rain.🙏💚🌿” 

Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s exquisite landart on Facebook: Hannah Bullen-Ryner on Facebook and Instagram: @hannahbullenrynerart


20 Comments

Birds, Dissertation Proposal, Flowers, and Scarves!

Last week, I defended my dissertation proposal, “Exploring Stories at the Intersection of Landscape and Linguistic Literatures through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination: A Scholarly Personal Narrative.” This review was delayed several months due to all happening in the past year and then the pandemic and all of the professional and family-moving-home dynamics.

The Zoom review reflected perfectly the essence of so many of our experiences in the past months—Zoom was just not playing well with others. One of us was suddenly bumped off and then the Screen Share button for my presentation wouldn’t work. I called Luke in the next room with a simple and loud, “Help!” Luke finagled a different way for me to share my presentation and we were off.

I am extraordinarily blessed in my Dissertation Committee: May Elawar, Jennifer Wells, Luci Tapahonso. Each phenomenal woman brings worlds of unique lived experiences, expertise in a spectrum of fields, and an engaged heart. Our time together was one of deep conversation about the ideas, clarifying questions, visions and potential possibilities for the unfolding of the dissertation itself. All tremendously exciting. My committee passed the proposal. Now, of course, must pass through the Dean and Provost for official acceptance to advance to PhD Candidacy. Many, many candles lit.

In essence, what I hope to do with my dissertation is convey the research and knowledge found within the fields of ecolinguistics/linguistic human rights and holistic resource management into the genre of landscape literature through creative prose, specifically through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination.

This idea came to me many years ago and the ember has grown since. I am passionate about linguistic human rights and ecolinguistics. I am passionate about landscape literature. I am passionate about the ranch and the holistic, global methods of holistic resource management. I read widely within each of these fields and want to bring all together into an integrated whole with language as an element of landscape as the unifying theme. Now, the journey enters the next stage. I dive into my 25+ years of journals and why I write in my journal. Piles and piles of journals to identify and codify the themes of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

While discussing with Luke and Noé this next chapter of writing my dissertation, the following conversation took place:

Me: In my dissertation book, it says I need to get rid of the unessentials from my life to focus on writing.

Luke and Noé (look at each other): That’s us!

Me: Don’t worry, I already did that years ago. You two made the cut.

Luke and Noé (looking at each other): It could still happen. We better be useful! You make dinner. I’ll clean the yard.

Me (slow smile…): Excellent plan. Keep that thought.

Luke and I talk a lot about writing, words, books, ideas, life. We were talking about grammar the other day (as one does over coffee, while watching the birds in the birdbath), and Luke mentioned his delight of discovering the em dash (—).”The em dash, the sexy comma.” Yes!

Stained glass of Meadowlark cover by Marie Hooper.

The birdbath and tiny bird sanctuary that we’re creating in the backyard continues to bring exponential, crazy amounts of joy. Here is my view from my writing room.

I spend a lot of time looking at this view and thinking, planning, dreaming, organizing this next chapter of writing the dissertation and future book. Right now, a tiny hummingbird lifts from one hummingbird mint bloom to the next to sip nectar. Especially after the last year and the unanticipated delay of my proposal defense amidst all, I am very grateful to have completed.

I celebrated by laying down for a short rest afterward—(sexy comma) and fell asleep for a three hour, sleep-of-the-dead nap. Three hours! I woke and asked Luke if he wanted coffee. He looked at the clock, “How about dinner?” It was 5:00pm!

Best way I can think to celebrate.

In other events of the past few weeks, I share the following definition:

Parotidectomy (pa-RAH-ti-DECK-tomy) (n)/ An increased appreciation of colorful, bright scarves. (Reference also found under PRADA-dectomy).

This was a few weeks ago. All good.

Onward to write!


38 Comments

When a Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer

I had several of these cards. They lived on our fridge, lined my pockets, were bookmarks in my books and journal.

Back from our run, Luke noticed that with his lilac-colored chew toy in his mouth, Angus and I matched. It’s important to choose one’s running attire to match your dog and his chew toy!

This piece has been a while in the making. I take a deep breath and offer these thoughts, as during my own journey with breast cancer I came to realize how very many lives breast cancer touches, whether it’s you or a woman you love, mother, sister, friend, cousin, and on and on. If a woman you love has breast cancer, I hope this piece might provide insight and ideas.

If you are the woman with breast cancer and this reflects your experience, but you may not have the words or energy to express, you can text or email this piece—”This is how I feel,” or “This is how I felt”—so people will know how to support you, without you needing to tell them.

I offer this reflection on my own experience, as I realized that when the words “breast cancer” enter a conversation, often people don’t know what to say. I can only speak from my own experience and what my mom and other dear friends have shared with me about their breast cancer journeys.

While this piece cannot encompass the infinite experiences of all women, I hope it might include common threads and make the ground firmer under your feet.

Some possible language and things to think about when a woman you love has breast cancer:

“I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” When in doubt, go with this. That was really all I needed or wanted to hear. An acknowledgement of the journey, no explaining, no joking, no trying to make me feel better, just an acknowledgment. I knew I could take the rest from there.

Listen. When this journey begins, you are bombarded with different procedures, tests, and possible treatments. Some are optional, others not so much. I learned that the decisions made are intensely personal for each woman. Listen to her and support her in her decisions. I know that I made decisions that those who love me did not initially agree with. It meant the world to me that they listened, supported me, and did not try to change my mind, even though I knew how they truly felt. It’s her body, her decisions. Listen, trust that she knows what’s best for her, and support.

Follow her lead. For some women, this is an external journey and others an internal one. Some women seek comfort outwardly, and others turn deep within. “It seems like the women I know with breast cancer go either all one way or the other,” a dear friend said to me. “Either it’s intensely public or intensely private, not too much in-between.” Whatever her natural inclination, follow that. Some women find great comfort and strength in sharing with their friend and family communities via email, social media, talking about it, sharing the journey. Whatever path the woman you love walks, follow her. It is such an internal and intuitive urge, it’s really not even a choice.

For me, the journey was extraordinarily private. It’s always been like this for me. When I go through tough times, I put my head down, go deep within to get through it, and emerge into the world after. Another reason I kept this journey private is that I did not want to see that look in peoples’ eyes. That look of sympathy. I wanted to feel and be as strong as possible.

If she is someone that goes within, often those who love her feel helpless at not being able to help or feel left out, not included. This is not personal. For that woman who needs to go within, providing her with both presence and space is an enormous support. She feels your love and presence. It’s just taking every ounce of her energy to get through this right now and when she emerges on the other side, she will connect. There are many reasons why the woman you love may go deep within for this journey. Presence and space.

Until she jokes about it, it’s too soon. I believe this comes from the very human response to make someone you love feel better through levity and humor and with the best of intentions. Until she jokes about it, it’s too soon. And, if you want to make her feel better and initially joke too soon, she understands where that comes from and the love it expresses. When my mom was going through chemo, we finally laughed when she described putting on her make-up foundation the day after shaving her head, “I went to put on my make-up today and where do you stop?” she said as she moved her hand up her forward and just kept going up and over her bare head. “Your neckline in the back?”

Grief and mourning. Her grief and mourning are real and deep. I learned later that after visiting dear friends during the depths of this journey, after I left the husband said, “That wasn’t Dawn. She just seems so sad.” I was so very, very sad. Doing my best to cover for that, but clearly there were cracks. Grief for my body. Grief about the journey. Just soul-deep grief, and I couldn’t figure out how to come out of it. I did my best to put a smile on, so as not to spread that grief. I read something Brad Pitt said about going through tough times that resonated with me, “I clean up okay on the outside, but it’s still pretty rough underneath.” That was me—with lipstick. Because my journey was private, most people did not find out until after all my surgeries, when I was on the other side of healing. Eventually, slowly and on it’s own time, the light began to shine in my soul again.

Pink. Not all women with breast cancer embrace the color pink immediately. Remember my own near Great Pink Balloon Rampage? It would be an understatement to say that I immediately embraced pink. I remember Mom expressing this, as well. Philosophically, I whole-heartedly embrace pink and the research and at last naming and holding space for a woman’s cancer marginalized in the medical community until recently that it represents. I just didn’t want to wear or see it during the most intense times. I embrace it now. It has taken quite a bit of time and I’m out of the deep throes of the journey. Other women find tremendous comfort, community, and support with pink. Whatever she feels, it is deep, visceral. Go with it.

Don’t even try to explain her experience to her. Please, please, please do not explain how she’s feeling or what she’s going through to her. That’s a great way to get throat-punched.

Just do it. If you want to provide support or show love, just do it. Do not say, “Let me know if you need anything.” That sentence hands another responsibility to the woman you love who is already doing all she can to keep one nostril barely above the water. Just send flowers or a card. Just send luxurious face creams or have take-out delivered. Put together a care package with an impossibly soft blanket that she’ll curl up under and feel your love. Send tea and candles. Bake homemade bread and send. Whatever feels right. Just do it.

If you’re the woman going through this. I’ve been on the other side of this for a few months now, some things that I would say to myself or any woman going through this. Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the very best you can. Trust yourself and your intuition. Sleep when you can. Create a soft nest with an impossibly soft blanket, candles, tea, flowers, meds. Stay there as much as possible. Your body will be different, not worse. Embrace the stories of your scars. This one will may take a lot of time. I’m just starting to maybe get there. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Trust what feels right for you.

While these ideas cannot encompass the infinite ways that a woman experiences breast cancer, I hope they might provide light in what can feel an opaque and unfamiliar landscape.

Follow her lead.

Trust that she knows the right decisions for her.

Presence and space.

Listen.

 


9 Comments

Exploring Language, Landscape, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Dear Dewdrops Community, I hope this note finds you well and safe in these wild times. Please know how much our connection means to me, always and especially now.

My current work explores the connections between language and landscape through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination. I live in multiple worlds, as so many of us do. One of my worlds is that of creative prose and narrative with a focus on landscape. Another world that I am passionate about is the academic world of Linguistic Human Rights and ecolinguistics. I now intertwine these worlds together, with the hope of enriching each with the beauty, research, knowledge, and wisdom into the other. Into the creative prose of landscape literatures, I bring language as element of landscape and the research of Linguistic Human rights and ecolinguistics. Into the academic world, I express knowledge and research through creative prose.

Here the works found in such journals as Orion, Emergence, Terralingua & Landscape, braid with the ecolinguistic and Linguistic Human Rights research of Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, and Sune Vork Steffensen and the powerful prose of Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston, Amy Irvine, Robert MacFarlane, and Craig Childs.

If exploring language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination interests you, I’m creating a Twitter community with this focus.

While I’ve had a Twitter account for years (@dawn_wink), I really haven’t spent much time there. Or any time there. As I dive deeper into my current work, I’ve discovered world of kindred spirits in academia, creative writing, and readers who love wildness, beauty, and imagination. My own space is one where these worlds and ideas mingle.

Current reading landscape.

In that space, art, nature writing, academics, creative writing, gorgeous prose, and photography thread together. Anything that resonates with me as conveying an essence of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

Some of the pieces shared there include:

Orion Magazine | Speaking of Nature: “While it’s true that words are simply vessels for meaning, without meaning of their own, many cultures imbue the utterance of words with spirit because they originate with the breath, with the mystery of life itself.”Finding language that affirms our kinship with the natural world with Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Emergence Magazine: Coyote Story: “THE SKY ON that day was the color of the paper on which I write this story.”

Knowable Magazine: The Fragile State of Contact Languages These linguistic mash-ups are at high risk of extinction. The race to save them is a matter of time, with more at stake than words.

Raven’s Time: Critical Literacy in the American Southwest “The raven looks out the window from the corner of my desk.” A piece on place, landscape, language and healing.

Orion Magazine | Together Apart A series of letters from isolation. Every week under lockdown, we eavesdrop on curious pairs of authors, scientists, and artists, listening in on their emails, texts, and phone calls as they redefine their relationships from afar.This first exchange is between Amy Irvine and Pam Houston

The beauty of a mosaic of languages. SIL International @SILintl Today, about 75% of the world population speaks approximately 8% of the world’s languages. Conversely, 25% of the world’s population speaks the remaining 92% of the world’s languages. This represents about 1.8 billion people.” Dr Michel Kenmogne, SIL Ex Dr

Veins of Turquoise: Migration, Immigration, Language “Let us create turquoise in the political and social fissures surrounding immigration and languages, as the land does amidst geographical eruptions. If turquoise is the stone of spirit, of healing, of prosperity, of protection, of journey, of safety, and of homecoming, then let us bring it to the land and our people.”

Linguistic Rights Are Human Rights: A Hope for a Future of Linguistic Diversity / Smithsonian Folklife. “Yet my hope for the future goes beyond this: it is that every soul, whose existence happens to manifest itself on the planet, continues through the generations to bring something new into the world, retains their  individuality, develops their own sense of humor, and tells their own unique story in a distinctive way.”

Dr. Gerald Roche @GJosephRoche—In the same way that dehumanization precedes genocide, the construction of languagelessness precedes language oppression. /fin

Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language Terralingua. “I listened to the desert. I listened to water. This is what I heard.”

Discovery of this world of kindred spirits would have been welcome any time, but right now with the pandemic and all of our social and travel restrictions, I feel a sense of an opening up the world. This discovery infuses a sense of energy and expansiveness.

So, if you’re interested in exploring these ideas, please join me on Twitter at @dawn_wink. There’s a whole wide world of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination out there to explore!

Hummingbird mint.

Robin in the bird bath.

One of my great joys of this summer in this time of social isolation and working remotely from home has been the birdbath and hummingbirds right outside my writing room window. Watching these birds and their antics, which I can see from my desk, brings me crazy amounts of joy.

This little spot has become the happen’ place! Robin comes every day to splash and cavort. A big white wing dove has taken to doing full-on cannonballs! Tiny songbirds flutter around and wait their turn, often descending in groups of four of five, dipping their little wings into the water and then fluttering and dancing around.

The hummingbird mint blooms around the birdbath and at least three hummingbirds have made their home in our yard this summer. They sip from the blooms throughout the day, diving and whizzing about. This swirl of birds throughout the day… crazy amounts of joy.

Sunrise and raven on early morning run.

 

 


11 Comments

Wink Ranch, Part II – Welded Art Sculptures in Lemmon and Rock Climbing in Spearfish, South Dakota

Prairie moon over Wink ranch, July 2020.

My week on the ranch overflowed with too many wonderful times to fit into a single post. We took a few days away from the ranch and went to Mobridge (the town where Mom grew up), Lemmon, and Spearfish, SD. Even by South Dakota standards, Lemmon is remote—close to the North Dakota border with a population of 1,989. Lemmon is the hometown of John Lopez, one of the premier welded sculpture artists of the world. We have wanted to see his sculptures and after a day in Mobridge, we headed back to the ranch via Lemmon. We were not disappointed. We loved Lopez’s incredible art at The Kokomo Gallery. Check out his website for professional photos of this artwork, stunning detail.

Custer’s Last Stand

Tree of Life

We headed to the Grand River Museum to see more of John’s work. For those familiar with the movie The Revenant, the film is based on the life of Hugh Glass. We discovered the 200-mile journey Glass walked after being mauled by a grizzly and left for dead, took place along the prairie lands, rather than the mountains portrayed. Here is the piece photographed in full glory.

Delightfully surprised to find Meadowlark on the shelf in the book store and right next to one of Linda Hasselstrom‘s books—perfect!

Earlier in the day, we’d been to Mobridge and saw another of Lopez’s pieces, Fishing Cowboy.

With Mom.

Lots of surprises in this small town, including the Petrified Wood Park, including dinosaur claw marks and bones.

Petrified Wood Castle

Spearfish Canyon of the Black Hills shines as one of the true treasures of South Dakota. Mom’s maternal grandparents, Grammie Lucille and Grampy Dave, lived in Spearfish. I have memories of playing in the water ditch that ran along their house as a child with my cousins. Spearfish is a jewel of a college town nestled right at the base of the Black Hills. This is where the prairie sharply ends and the green forested carpet of the hills begins. On Very Special Days on the ranch, we get cleaned up, put our town clothes on, and head for Spearfish.

Spearfish Canyon

I had two Very Special Spearfish days during the week on the ranch—one when Wyatt and Natasha took me rock climbing and another with Mom, walking the green paths and picturesque downtown. As we find ourselves sticking close to home due to the pandemic, a bit of art, greenery, and liquid beauty for us all.

Spearfish Canyon

For those who know Wyatt, he lives to rock climb. Wyatt never crawled. He stood up at nine-months and started running and climbing everything in sight. He hasn’t stopped since.

Wyatt climbing.

My first time climbing outdoors. I knew my guy wouldn’t let me fall.

Then a beautiful hike along the trails. I was taken with the gorgeous bark of the trees.

Mom and I returned a few days later for another Very Special Day. We walked the trails, strolled the picturesque downtown, and visited the fish hatchery. Mom playing in the stream.

Considering I was only on the ranch six days, we made the most of every minute.

I needed to leave far too soon. Time there filled my spirit and I’m already hoping to make it back this fall. The photo of the full moon over the dam made me think a song that Mom used to sing to us, and often still does, when there is a full moon. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SXi1Xvi7Mk

 

 


50 Comments

Wink Ranch, July 2020

Amidst the pandemic and all else, I made it to the ranch for a week in July. It had been far too long. A balm for my spirit.

I recently discovered the music of Ryan Bingham and listened throughout the trip, as I crossed the wide expanses of open country. I chuckled at the name of this coffee shop when I stopped for gas in Lusk, Wyoming.

Only in Wyoming—and a fairly apt description of me on many days. Thirteen hours into the trip with only one to go, I crested a hill to this storm cloud. Stunning.

And fourteen hours after leaving Santa Fe, I turned down the lane at last.

The stars aligned this year with Bo and I were both on the ranch at the same time. Wyatt is working on the ranch, joined by his girlfriend, Natasha, whose veterinary school classes went online. Luke spent a number of weeks. Work kept Noé and Wynn in Santa Fe.

A molten sunset the first evening. 

This was the first time in many years these four Winks managed to be in the same place at the same time. A gift.

Too bad we had no fun at all!

Checking water tanks with Daddy and Bo.

It was July 3 and Mom referred to us as her “three firecrackers.”

A gorgeous rain came through. I only wish I could include the scent with this video! Imagine it’s there.

The shifting light, colors, and textures of the land and sky on the Great Plains.

Work continued for Daddy and Wyatt. As Mom would say, “What could possibly go wrong?”

We squeezed as much as possible into this week, including trips to Spearfish, Mobridge, and Lemmon, South Dakota treasures. More on those soon.

Of course, one of my favorite times on the ranch was my time with Josie, who holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons. She was the inspiration for the mare in Meadowlark. She’d been out for the summer and one evening Daddy and I headed out to the pasture to see her.

Josie is a grullo with her wild and wonderful coloring. In the winter she hairs-up so much she resembles a yak. Her mane reflects her grullo coloring with threads of russet, blonde, roan, black, sorrel, and the spectrum in between. I cut the tangle from her mane, trimmed the rest, couldn’t quite leave on the ranch, and brought home. My family is not quite sure why hair from Josie’s mane remains on our kitchen counter.

Because laced within the beauty of the horsehair strands are all they represent. Shades and textures of the prairie entwine within, as does the ranch and all that holds—birdsong, shifting light, textures, and colors, and years of family love and memories. One of my guiding quotes is, “Children need two things: roots and wings.” So many of my kids’ deepest roots thread this land, roots that ground them through the sunshine and the storms of life.

As I go about my day, I find myself reaching over to run the tips of my fingers across the coarse, colorful strands of Josie’s mane and my heart smiles.