Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


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Photo Journal of Oaxaca

Swirling skirts during Guelaguetza celebration.

Swirling skirts during Guelaguetza celebration.

 

Oaxaca, México

Oaxaca, México

Our time in Oaxaca, México came to an end. I will write more about all—our experiences were so multi-faceted, a single piece can’t do them the justice they each deserve. More pieces soon on the inspiration for this journey, the incredible LISTO TESOL class, what we learned about the teacher’s strike that turned deadly, the graffiti everywhere that tells the story of a non-official narrative, photos, the multiple histories told, and other experiences and aspects of life, culture, and language that compose a mosaic of Oaxaca.

For now, a photo journal to honor this incredible place. 

Street of Oaxaca

Street of Oaxaca

Birds made of corn husks fly above Calle Alcalá.

Birds made of corn husks fly above Calle Alcalá.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo - sanctuary

Santo Domingo – sanctuary

A couple steals a kiss along the walls of Santo Domingo.

6. Santo Domingo Couple Stealing Kiss

Streets of Oaxaca

Streets of Oaxaca

9. Oaxaca Coffee

“Scientists have discovered a new form of direct messaging through voice and in 3D and they call it, ‘Sharing a cup of coffee with somebody!'”

10. Oaxaca Coffee 2

The temples of Monte Albán. “Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs – the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Albán were literally carved out of the mountain and are the symbols of a sacred topography. The nearby city of Oaxaca, which is built on a grid pattern, is a good example of Spanish colonial town planning. The solidity and volume of the city’s buildings show that they were adapted to the earthquake-prone region in which these architectural gems were constructed (UNESCO).”

Monte Alban

Monte Alban

Wynn and Luke heard the Mockingjay whistle (Hunger Games) as they explored the temples and whistled back. Through a series of whistles, throughout the temples, the original whistlers and they found one another…

Luke, Dawn, Wynn

Luke, Dawn, Wynn

Steps of temple

Steps of temple

One interpretation – giving birth.

21 Giving birth

Beach of San Antonillo. We arrived after 6 hours in a van up over a mountainous pass of two-lane curving highway, particularly noteworthy in deep fog and driving rain. We experienced two completely different climate and temperatures within hours. Yes, drivers really do pass within inches of the oncoming and passing vehicles. 

Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass

San Antonillo

San Antonillo

14. Waters of San Antonillo

Underside of palm frond ceiling/roof.

Underside of palm frond ceiling/roof.

13. San Antonillo palms

The festival of La Guelaguetza! “Participants from the seven different regions of the state gather in the capital city, also named Oaxaca, to dance, sing and play music. This cultural exchange is a visually stunning exhibit of color and movement. The dancers and musicians wear clothing representative of their district…The roots of the Guelaguetza festival call upon pre-Columbian traditions that have existed for millennium. Indeed, the word “guelaguetza” hails from the Zapotec Indian language and means an offering or gift. Included in the translation is the concept of an exchange, or an act of reciprocity (Mexonline).”

17. Procession in front

18. Couple Guelaguetza

The swirling skirts of Oaxaca.

Dancing in parade

19. In front of Santo Domingo

My brief and amateur video. Turn up the volume!

Generations of dresses

Stilts in a line

Guys on Stilts

Women with orange skirts

Ribboned braids.

Swirling skirts 3

More parade

Firecrackers!

Fireworks

Little girl

Parade street

La Frida—pero, claro.

La Frida

A brief glimpse of some of what composes Oaxaca. Our time there was as varied in experiences as the place itself. Which as I think about it, feels only right. More soon.


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Journey to Oaxaca

Family Oaxaca

Santo Domingo, Calle Alcalá, Oaxaca

The journey begins. Playing spoons in Dallas airport.

The journey begins. Playing spoons in airport.

The last two weeks of July, I’m teaching a LISTO TESOL course in Oaxaca, México. We turned this into a family adventure and Noé, Luke, and Wynn are here, as well.  One never knows what to expect when traveling internationally.

Yesterday in class, we did a Listening Lesson on what happened on our trip:
1) Friday: Got up at 3:00am to leave Albuquerque at 5:00am.
2) 7-hour layover in Dallas.
3) Luke and I take flight to Mexico City, where we will meet Noé and Wynn 1-hour after arrive.
4) Luke and I wait 3 hours at the customs gate in Mexico City.
5) Noe and Wynn do not arrive. Luke is making “Taken” jokes. I do not find these funny.
6) I receive a text from Wynn that their flight was full, they were bumped, and are now flying to Los Angeles.
7) Wynn and Noe fly to Los Angeles and wave to our house, which they left 24 hours ago, as they fly over.
8) Luke and I guiltily go to our hotel to eat and sleep. Okay, only I felt bad. Luke ate and watched soccer.
9) Get up at 5:00 am to be there for Wynn and Noé when they arrive at 5:30.
10) Wait for 3 hours and Noe and Wynn do not arrive.
11) This is because Noé’s luggage is lost.
12) Noe and Wynn emerge and we head to AeroMar for our flight to Oaxaca.
13) Despite the printed documents of confirmation of our flight to Oaxaca, AeroMar tell us that these reservations do not exist.
14) We have no way from Mexico City to Oaxaca. I teach the next day at 9:00 am.
15) We decide to rent a car and drive the 6 hours.
16) Despite telling the bank that we would be in Mexico, my debit card does not go through at the car rental, because of “suspected fraud.”
17) We are stuck in Mexico City.
18) We remember that Noé spoke to a different person for his card at the bank. This person actually did their job and we can use his card.
19) Man at rental place reviews car and shows us the spare. The four of us laugh, because of course at this point, we will get a flat.
20) I drive, since Noe has not slept in more than 24 hours at this point.
21) We make it out of Mexico City, because some kind couple sees us looking for signs and pulls over to tell us how how to drive to Oaxaca. Since the rental place had no map and we have no clue. Again – Luke making more “Taken” jokes, that this is a ruse. Again, I do not find these funny.
22) We drive through AMAZING, raw landscape. 
23) Until we come to the bridge that is closed down due to the striking teachers.
24) We double-back and go around – and drive past burned out buses and cars and signs with photos of the teachers killed. We drive past groups of men with bandanas tied over their faces who check every car that goes by. Teachers have not been paid in months. We use as learning opportunity to discuss strikes and oppression. And we just hope the masked men with the rifles and pick axes let us through…
25) Drive another 3 hours. Kids say Oaxaca does not exist. Kids now punchy with exhaustion and start wrestling in the back seat. I sing, “To Dream the Impossible Dream” of arrival. Kids do not see humor in this.
26) Sunday 7:00 pm. Arrive to Oaxaca. Have no street address for our apartment. Our cab driver starts calling friends to ask where this might be.
17) Sunday 8:00 pm = 65 hours after leaving ABQ, we arrive to our hotel.
18) Noe and I ask where we can buy food for starving kids – and wine for us.🙂
19) Let the adventure begin!

Made it to our apartment.

Made it to our apartment.

Class is off to a marvelous start! Some images of Oaxaca.

The art store on the corner of our apartment.

The Frida Kahlo Galeria beside our apartment.

Colors and textures of Oaxaca.

Colors and textures of Oaxaca.

Chapulínes con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime. Noé says to take the legs off first, since they get stuck in your teeth.

Chapulines con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime.

Chapulines con chile y limón. Grasshoppers with chile and lime.

Dresses of Oaxaca

Dresses of Oaxaca

20) I still have to figure out how we’re getting back to Mexico City for our return flights…


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Mother Tongues: Two Writers Explore the Words and Cultures that Shape Their Connection to Place

Morpho Butterfly of South America

Morpho Butterfly of South America

Mother TONGUES:

Two Writers Explore the Words & Cultures that Shape Their Connection to Place

Dawn Wink & Susan J. Tweit

(Originally published in Langscape: Voices of the Earth, Part I, Summer 2016)

Of all the arts and sciences made by man, none equals a language, for only a language in its living entirety can describe a unique and irreplaceable world. I saw this once, in the forest in southern Mexico, when a butterfly settled beside me. The color of it was a blue unlike any I had ever seen… There are nine different words in Maya for the color blue in the comprehensive Porrúa Spanish-Maya Dictionary, but just three Spanish translations, leaving six butterflies that can be seen only by the Maya, proving beyond doubt that when a language dies six butterflies disappear from the consciousness of the earth. –Earl Shorris

When you talk about plants, I think languages.”

“When you talk languages, my mind goes to the land.”

We sat propped up against pillows in our hotel beds, laptops open, preparing for our conference workshop “Soul of the Land: Place as Character and Inspiration.” As we each scribbled presenter’s notes, our conversation returned again and again to plants and languages.

Prairie in Bloom © Susan J. Tweit

Prairie in Bloom © Susan J. Tweit

That hotel-room conversation evolved into an ongoing dialogue about what we call “mother tongues,” the critical importance of biological, linguistic, and cultural diversity to the health of whole landscapes and human survival. The more we exchanged stories and learnings—drawing on our respective backgrounds (Susan’s in plant biology, Dawn’s in multilingualism)—the more we focused on the diversity of plants and the diversity of languages as intertwined symbols of biological and cultural richness. Just as native plants “speak” of the diverse genetic adaptations and sustainability of the ecosystems they create—each individual species representing a set of relationships and adjustments that help the whole system survive disruption—so do native languages carry the unique stories and knowledge about the places and people where they evolved. Both are, in essence, the mother tongues of place: the plants of the biological realm, the languages of the cultural realm.

Dawn: What I find amazing is all of this research about the correlation between diversity and vibrancy of plants, animals, and languages. As the diversity of the land, plants, and animals deteriorates, so too does the diversity of languages and their cultures. We are exterminating languages faster than at any other time in human history. For example, many of the Indigenous languages of the Americas are now endangered. This is true of Indigenous languages around the world. If we keep going at the same rate we’re losing languages now, 90 percent of the world’s languages will be extinct within the next 100 years. Tens of thousands of years of wisdom, lost.

Susan: Plants speak the mother tongue of the landscapes I call home. I first understood these rooted beings as the living vocabulary of the North American West in my childhood, long before I claimed science as my second language or had any notion I would spend a career and a life listening to plants, parsing their relationships to each other and to us oxygen-breathing beings. My initial inkling about plants’ role and parlance came on a sunny morning in late June, at the beginning of one of my family’s weeks-long camping, hiking, and naturestudy expeditions through the West. My father was driving, gas-pedal to the floor, reveling in the open road of brand-new Interstate 80 west of Laramie, Wyoming. My mother, as chief navigator, sat in the front passenger seat; my brother was perched between them, scanning the landscape for birds new to his life list. I sat in the dinette in the back, head down, absorbed in a book.

“Homogenization of a landscape … reflects the ill health of a landscape, just as the homogenization of language diversity … reflects the weakened health of a culture and people.”

The van engine knocked hard on a steep grade. Dad pressed the clutch pedal and shifted down. I looked up. Elk Mountain, its top still splotched with snow, rose out of the expanse of shrub desert like a massive ship, its prow cresting wave after wave of sagebrush, silver-green and spangled with spring moisture.

Sagebrush Country ©Susan J. Tweit

Sagebrush Country ©Susan J. Tweit

Lupine exploded in purple flower spikes between the flat-topped shrubs, and the air pouring in through the open windows bore a fragrance that has always spoken to me: a mix of turpentine and piney resin touched with honey and orange blossoms. Sagebrush, I said to myself, rolling on my tongue the name I had recently learned for the shrub. Years later, with a new degree in Botany, I would identify the plant that is the inland West’s most common shrub by its scientific name, Artemisia tridentata, the plant with the three-toothed (tri-dentate) leaves, named for the Greek goddess Artemis, feminist, hunter, and herbalist. I would detail the plant’s relationship with hundreds of other species of animals and plants that depend on its sheltering over-story to thrive in these harsh landscapes. But that June day, I only knew what the shrub and its fragrance said to me: Home.

My heart swelled with feelings my nine-year-old self could not explain. I went back to my book.

Prairie Grasses © Jodene Shaw

Prairie Grasses © Jodene Shaw

Dawn: Diversity can be fostered, encouraged, and expanded. Homogenization of a landscape—reducing a biological community to a single type of grass, for instance—reflects the ill-health of a landscape, just as the homogenization of language diversity—a single language replacing multiple languages, for example—reflects the weakened health of a culture and people. When my dad walks the land of our family ranch on the Great Plains of North America, his eyes scan the ground to pick up the different grasses. One summer my mom picked as many different types of grass as she found on our ranch and taped them to a sheet of white paper. One piece of paper became two and two became three. The Great Plains and its grasses were new to me then, as I was raised on a ranch in the Sonoran Desert in the North American Southwest. I studied and memorized the grasses of the body of this new world. Now, it was just a matter of learning them.

Prairie Grasses

Prairie Grasses

I held the pieces of paper with the grasses in my hands and walked out onto the prairie. The endless prairie wind whipped the sheets between my fingers. I watched for the bluish tinge that Big Bluestem casts on the prairie. Wild Rye bobbed above many of the grasses, its flowering spikes curving to the ground. Side-oats Grama, its oat-like seeds sprinkling downward from the stem. Prairie Brome, Blue Grama, and Buffalograss grew in small clusters under Bottlebrush that cast its sprays skyward. While the grasses were new to me, the focus on their diversity was not. In our family, we knew: the more types of grasses, the better. To many of us, it has become clear that multiplicity of languages is as vital to the land and her people as the necessity of diversity of plants and animals. Without diversity of language and culture taking center stage, along with plants and animals, the potential conversation remains limited. Biologists look to the diversity of plants and animals as a reflection of the land’s health. A single type of grass reflects a monoculture inherently limited in potential. So it is with languages and cultures. A monolingual, monocultural state weakens all inhabitants.

Susan: I was born to a small tribe— my parents are both only children, and their brood numbered just two, boy first, and then me, the girl. In the 1950s of my childhood, our country’s culture was envisioned as a huge pot that melted away individual cultures and languages, leaving English as our home tongue. Still, my family spoke a second language: science, our lexicon bursting with the names of plants, animals, rocks, stars. Nature-study was our shared culture. Drawers in the basement cabinets of my childhood home held neatly labeled collections of seashells and rock specimens, plus a black light for identifying minerals. TV dinners in our kitchen freezer were stacked side-by-side with roadkill for study; my mother’s tidy garden borders included

“Multiple languages, multiple cultural understandings, rhythms, and ways of walking through this world reflect healthy linguistic landscapes and cultural landscapes expressed in languages of every place, spoken with freedom in all spaces.”

one lively section devoted to wildflowers rescued from development sites. Our family “car” was a tradesman’s van converted for camping, our conversations peppered with the names of wild birds and plants. My suburban schoolmates’ heads were filled with G.I. Joes, Barbie Dolls, and the opening bars of “Goldfinger”. Mine held the courting songs of robins, the habitat of ladies’ tresses orchids, and the geology of glacial valleys. Other families’ vacations took them to Disneyland or the beach; ours took us on hikes and backpacking trips into the wild reaches of state and national parks and wildlife refuges.

Butterfly Susan Tweit

Susan J. Tweit; year: 2014 (That’s a two-tailed swallowtail on Rocky Mountain Beeplant in my yard…)

I learned how to focus binoculars and read nature field guides before I learned arithmetic and cursive in school. I began to look for patterns in nature and the relationships that create them—plant to soil and rock, plant to plant to plant, creating whole interwoven communities; mushroom to tree root, bird to prairie or mountain forest, frog to lily pad, wolf to elk, grizzly bear to spring flower bulbs—the way other kids learned baseball statistics and players’ names, or movies and movie stars.

As I grew older, my family’s language of nature split on taxonomic lines: my father and brother spoke bird, while plants gave my mother and me a shared vocabulary. Even after a lifetime of studying and writing about plants and their patterns and relationships on the land, I still cannot entirely articulate why it is sagebrush, a shrub so ubiquitous many never notice it at all, that to me speaks for the region I call home. I do know that it is the culture of plants—those seemingly mute beings rooted in place but so much more attuned to their environment than us wandering verbal creatures—that gives me the words to explore my species’ role on this living planet.

Yucca and Echinacea on Great Plains

Yucca and Echinacea on Great Plains

Dawn: In Wisdom Sits in Places, Keith Basso writes of how to the White Mountain Apache, the land speaks in languages that span time, their messages pooled and embedded within the earth to become place-worlds. Basso cites Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux) and his observation that most American Indian tribes “embrace ‘spatial conceptions of history,’ in which places and their names—and all that these may symbolize—are accorded central importance… Knowledge of places is therefore closely linked to knowledge of the self, to grasping one’s position in the larger scheme of things, including one’s own community, and to securing a confident sense of who one is as a person.” With the loss of language comes the loss of place-worlds; with the loss of place-worlds comes the loss of the sense of self.

These messages extend into distinct languages through each distinct plant and animal, each unique and integral. Grasses and plants and languages and cultures—the more diversity, the healthier the land, the healthier the people. We often see photos of an unhealthy environment side-by-side with a healthy environment, a fence-line the divider. A healthy environment is reflected in a multiplicity of grasses, plants, and animals, while in the other photo a barren monoculture reflects that land’s lack of health. Birdsong of unique trills, chirps, and caws float on the winds, above the varying textures of the grasses and plants, the flaxen, the bluish-gray, the emerald, among ochre.

The mother tongues of plant and language carry the critical stores of knowledge—genetic and cultural— that we need in order to continue to thrive on this singular, living planet.”

Multiple languages, multiple cultural understandings, rhythms, and ways of walking through this world reflect healthy linguistic landscapes and cultural landscapes expressed in languages of every place, spoken with freedom in all spaces.

Landscape of the heart © Susan J. Tweit

 Landscape of the heart © Susan J. Tweit

Susan: I call plants the living vocabulary of landscapes; they are the lives that restore the structure and function of healthy ecosystems. They provide the basic food all life on earth depends on, complex carbohydrates made using the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide plus minerals from the soil; they grow the structure that supports nests and burrows and homes for other species; they synthesize a wide vocabulary of aromatic chemical compounds which they use to communicate with other species. Native plants are the vernacular, the dialect of individual places. Like unique human languages, these local plant-voices connect humanity—breath, story, and soul—to each other and to place.

Dawn and Susan: We know that plants benefit us in many ways—as food, as fiber, as raw materials, and as beauty to nurture our spirits. But our connection with these rooted, photosynthesizing beings goes deeper. They are our “breathing buddies,” as the poet Clifford Burke writes, inhaling and fixing the carbon dioxide that we and our industrial processes exhale as a waste gas, and exhaling the very oxygen we require, the breath we depend on. Language and culture root us individually and collectively to the earth and to Place. With the loss of each language, so go generations of wisdom, belonging, and identity. So goes peace. These mother tongues of plant and language carry the critical stores of knowledge—genetic and cultural— that we need in order to continue to thrive on this singular, living planet.

Further Reading

Basso, K. (1996). Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Moore, K.D. (2010). Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature. Boston, MA: Trumpeter Books.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T., Maffi, L., & Harmon, D. (2003). Sharing a World of Difference: the Earth’s linguistic, cultural and biological diversity. Paris: UNESCO.

Tallamy, D. (2009). Bringing Nature Home. Portland, OR: Timber Press.

White, C. (2015). The Age of Consequences: A Chronicle of Concern and Hope. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press. Wilson,

E.O. (2006). The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Susan J. Tweit and Dawn Wink © Nancy Fine

Susan J. Tweit and Dawn Wink © Nancy Fine

Dawn Wink Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the beauty and tensions of language, culture, and place. Author of Meadowlark, Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (with Joan Wink), and “Raven’s Time: Critical Literacy in the American Southwest,” Wink is Director and Associate Professor of the Department of Education at Santa Fe Community College.

Susan J. Tweit A plant biologist in love with life, Susan J. Tweit is the author of twelve books, as well as essays and articles featured in publications including High Country News, Audubon, the Los Angeles Times, and Popular Mechanics. Her writing “melds the passion of a poet with the precision of a scientist,” and has won numerous awards.

~ * ~*~

Thank you to Langscape for including our piece in the issue Voices of the Earth, Part I. Langscape also published Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language. Please find more below about the work of Terralingua and this issue of the magazine. 

Langscape Volume 5 Issue 1 Cover-small“We are marking Terralingua’s twentieth anniversary by “going back to our roots” with this issue’s theme: “Voices of the Earth”. In 1996, we chose the name Terralingua to suggest two things at once: the language of the Earth—the voice of Mother Nature; and the languages of the Earth—the many voices of the world’s diverse peoples, which have evolved through intimate interaction with the Earth in each specific place. We wanted to hear from and about the Voices of the Earth, and so we did! This issue brings you fascinating stories and images of biocultural diversity from all over the globe.

To get a taste, take a look at the Editorial and the Table of Contents.


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Of Graduation, a 50th Anniversary, the Ranch, Laborers—and Sunsets

Dawn-Lukie-UofA-e1464385055739-768x1024

With Luke at his graduation party.

So, sometimes life is a ripple and sometimes it’s a tidal wave. The past month has been a tidal wave kind of life, resulting in both my being OBA (Officially Behind in All, including writing to you!) and so awash in gratitude that it drops me to my knees. I swing back and forth between the two and grab firm ground when I can.

Last I wrote, dirt was flying, cement was being poured, and flowers planted in preparation for Luke’s high school graduation. The flurry of activity continued up until the last minute (reminding me Noé and my wedding!), including the great ramada-raising, which now included the arrival of the mounties to help.

ramada

Wyatt, Noé, Dad

 Luke graduated in fine style with the most enthusiastic cheering section.

winks

Noé, me, Wynn, Wyatt, Luke, Dad, Mom

Every minute of planting, building, copious amounts of watering and wine was worth it. 

View from the roof. ©Rosemary Dunston

View from the roof. ©Rosemary Dunston

‘Twas the season of celebration. Immediately after Luke’s party, we headed to the ranch to celebrate Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. We arrived just as the sun was setting on the lane.

Wink sign arrival

If you look closely, you’ll see Wyatt and Wynn fishing amongst the clouds here. 

Fishing in the clouds.

Fishing in the clouds.

Wynn and I went to spend time with my favorite horse, and inspiration for Mame in Meadowlark, Josie. 

Wynn and Josie

Wynn and Josie

I was taken with Wynn’s hair next to Josie’s mane – the colors and textures of both…

Hair:mane

…and made a ring from strands of Josie’s mane, now in my jewelry box. 

Horsehair ring

One of my all-time favorite photos of Wynn, now on the ranch. I have no idea why we called her the The Pink Pistol…

Wynn, the Pink Pistol

Wynn Elizabeth, The Pink Pistol

What began with this June 4—50 years ago…

Mom ad Dad wedding

Dean and Joan Wink, June 4, 1966

…now looks like this. What a life Mom and Dad have created.

Whole fam-damily

Whole fam-damily, June 2016. Bo, Austin, Garrett, Dad, Mom, Wyatt, Wynn, Luke, me, Noé

Cousin time!

Cousin time—Wyatt, Austin, Wynn, Garrett, Luke

Came back to head to Tucson for Orientation, where Luke will be studying International Business at the University of Arizona—because, he is the luckiest guy we know.

Bear Down, Wildcats! #WildcatMom

With Luke Orientation

And then to Chicago to meeting again with two incredible communities that come together once  a year at the Annual Instructors Conference (AIC) for the LIUNA Training and Education Fund. Once a year in Chicago, instructors in the Laborers’ International Union of North America and international educators from all over the world come to work together in an incredible week. Through the years, I’ve come to love the people of these communities deeply. People always ask me what we do at this conference. There is so much happening here, better to watch for yourself.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/131241866″>The 2014 Annual Instructor Conference Recap</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user17215533″>LIUNA Training &amp; Education Fund</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Home to teach three classes of Orientation to the Teaching Profession. Clearly, we needed flowers and stones for our first night of class. 

Flowers for first night

After class, watched this sunset unfold from our roof…

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Peace.

 


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That would be “Backyard Tango”

Dear All, can you tell that I was thinking about all to be done today? For the first time ever, I sent out the last Dewdrops with the draft title of “Backyard-Luke.” It had to happen sometime and today is the perfect day! 

Out the door. The “Backyard Tango” continues!

Love, Dawn

Firepit

 


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Backyard Tango

Cara's bouquet

Cara’s bouquet

Of course, the first mason-jar bouquet of the year in our new home had to be in honor of Cara.

Our home—more specifically, our yard—has been a swirl of activity lately in preparation for Luke’s upcoming high school graduation festivities. We kicked off Mother’s Day with all that I asked for—working in our yard with loads of planting and digging. Despite the wind and rain, the kids dove in and we spend the day outside. 

Flowers to plant

Wynn Luke working on the yard

The next day, we poured the slab of cement for the ramada. A couple of Noé’s friends from work came to help. I felt as if I were in Cascabel—large machinery, Spanish flying everywhere. The guys constantly referred to the other as, Mi rey (my king), a common term of endearment in Spanish. 

Pouring slab

Couldn’t resist.

Casa Villarreal Wink 2016

We moved on to laying flagstone.

 

Wyatt Wynn laying flagstone

Flagstone

I hope our neighbors don’t mind classic 80’s, 70’s, and 60’s music, as that is what is playing to rock us through our work. 

Work cre

El Blanco has pulled through like a charm. Cannot imagine how we ever made it without.

Dawn El Blanco

When you need more room for 18 foot boards, improvise! Noé said people were anxious to pass and get ahead of him on the highway. 

Noe el blanco

Saw first rattlesnake of the year on my run. I saw as my foot almost came down on its head. I was deep into mile six and my mind a million miles away thinking of everything needing to be done. Then suddenly, the “rattlesnake hop,” when suddenly your heels grow wings and you find yourself flying several feet forward. Rattlesnake

Today is Sunday and Luke graduates tomorrow. The day will be filled with putting up the structure for the ramada—a “ramada raising,” the southwestern version of the Amish barn raising. My bonnet is ready. Then, on to decorating the ramada and trees with as many little white lights as I can wrap around everything. We’re starting early, in hopes of actually finishing and getting some good work time in before the late-afternoon southwestern winds kick up. Breakfast of egg burritos, made with fresh eggs from a colleague. I love their mosaic. Fresh eggs

As I was looking around yesterday, thinking of the yard last year and even last week, I said to Luke, “We may actually pull this off yet, buddy.” 

Firepit

When not digging holes, Luke’s 1600 meter relay team took First in the New Mexico Track and Field Competition. More on that, and how life gave me a second chance, in a future piece. For now, the State Champ himself.

Luke's team #1

Luke’s cheering section.

Luke's team

And his very proud Mommy Lady.

Dawn and Luke

 


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A Mosaic for Mother’s Day

A sunrise run.

Sunrise run.

A mosaic of photos for Mother’s Day. Bits of beauty from the past few weeks to share together.

Early morning writing by candlelight.

Early morning writing.

Layers and textures of clouds overhead.

Layers of clouds over Santa Fe.

First lilac in honor of Cascabel and Grandma Grace to bloom.

First lilac

A new discovery for Friday Night, Family Night. Highly recommend.

Hatch Red Chile Wine

Running trail and partner.

running trail

Postcard from Switzerland of the incredible library in St. Gallen. Heaven. One day I’ll go.

Postcard St. Gallens

Postcard from Kay Schimke. Thank you!

The guitar inspired by Song in Meadowlark unfolds…

Meadowlark guitar Song
The artist, Jodi Shaw, at work. I must say, this makes me a bit teary.

This photo hangs above my writing desk. I adore. I lose myself in this image and all it evokes. Photographer unknown. Wings to all.

Woman and wings

In honor of mothers the world over. My maternal great-grandmother, Lucille Clark, age 13. Or, as I knew her, Grammie Cile.

Grammie Cile

My grandmother, Janet Clark Richardson.

Grandma Janet

With my incredible, phenomenal mom.

Dawn baby and Mom

In honor of beauty, wings, and mothers the world over. 

Rooftop sunset.

Rooftop sunset.

 

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