Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


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The Importance of Connection, a Symposium with Dr. Bruce Perry

Dr. Bruce Perry, Santa Fe, NM Sept. 2019

“Connectedness allows people to heal,” said Dr. Perry. “The American Dream has resulted in relational poverty. The independence espoused by the American Dream has resulted in a relationally fragmented society. We’ve lost our connectedness to each other and our connectedness to the natural world.”

So began the two-day symposium by Dr. Bruce Perry, a specialist on neuroscience and childhood trauma, that I had the great good fortunate to attend here in Santa Fe in September, brought by Dr. Jennifer Duran-Sallee, Director of The Early Childhood Center of Excellence at Santa Fe Community College and the LANL Foundation.

“The American Dream, and the relational poverty we suffer as a result,” said Dr. Perry, “underlies our vulnerability to life’s stressors. The compartmentalization of our culture has resulted in material wealth, yet poverty in social and emotional relationships.

“For thousands of generations, we lived in small multi-generational ratios of 4 present adults for every 1 child. We now live in a society where children interact with fewer and fewer adults and have increasingly fewer opportunities for emotional and relational growth.”

Dr. Perry referred to his promiscuity when it comes to theoretical tools and we spent two days spanning the spectrum of the details of neuroscience and their impacts on children and society.

The importance of early childhood, highlighted Dr. Perry, cannot be overstated and the vital roles that “safety, predictability, nurturing, and play have in shaping who we become as people, and in turn what that means for the health and welfare of a culture.”

Dr. Jennifer Sallee

The essence of the detailed, cutting-edge neuroscience highlights the role of the brain in social and emotional health. Dr. Perry articulated how the relational landscape in children’s lives is changing. “Children have fewer emotional, social, and cognitive interactions with fewer people. Why does this matter?

“This matters for a number of reasons. This poverty of relationships is extremely important, because of the normal neurobiological networks that you have in your brain and body that help you regulate your physiology, your stress response networks. These networks regulate whether your pancreas works, how vulnerable you are for diabetes, and how your heart works. These networks regulate how every part of your brain works, the part of the brain involved in moving, the part of the brain involved in forming relationships, the part of the brain involved in empathy, in compassion, in creativity, in productivity.

“Every single part of the brain and all the rest of your body are influenced by relational interactions.”

“Your stress response systems and the neurobiological networks are co-organized with the neurobiological networks involved in forming and maintaining relationships. Relationships have a key role in global health, creativity, and productivity.

If a baby receives predictable love and attention for the first two months of their lives, this is a more powerful influence in emotional health than the impact of negative experiences in their lives for the next 10-12 years.

Blessing, Dr. Brooke Gondara

I am not an expert in neuroscience. The wealth of neuroscience research shared made me want to hold and love babies, read endlessly to and with children, weave generations together around conversation, presence and love, blow up electronic devices parents use to raise their children in isolation, hug, talk, hug some more, read, mentor, listen deeply, read with kids, engage with empathy and compassion, create intergenerational communities—and hold and love loads more babies and kids.

This piece reflects the tippy-tip of the top of the iceberg of Dr. Perry’s ideas. If they resonate with you, please read and listen to more of his work.

Incredible and what the world needs. 

Below some bits of beauty from my walk to and from the conference center and my car.

Flower-lined path

Clouds over Santa Fe

Speaking of the heart of relationships in our lives, our Santa Fe Community College family wishes our dearest Gerry Harris the best in the new chapter of her life back in the UK with her grandchildren. She is missed more than words and our hearts sing that she’s with her own beautiful babies, large and small.

 

 

 

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Association for the Study of Literature and Environment in dear Davis

The arboretum of UC/Davis. Noe the baby ducklings! Photo ©Brenda Lanphear

They say, “Home is where the heart is.” If this is true (and I believe it is), then my heart beats in more than one place.

I’ve written of my landscapes of the heart on the ranch, in Santa Fe, and Arizona. Another place of pulse that I have not yet written so much about are the nearly 20 years lived in Davis, CA.

I was beyond blessed to return to University of California/Davis for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference 2019 for a time of idea exploration and reconnection with deep roots.

First, the UC/Davis Campus—the arboretum where I studied, read, and ran for years.

The quad with inevitable bikes in the Bicycle Capital of the US:

I presented with the panel “Beyond Retreat: (Re)thinking Pastoral Landscape in the Posthuman Turn” (Chaired by Stefano Rozzoni, University of Bergamo. Gratitude to my professor, Dr. Jennifer Wells, for connecting me to this organization and Stefano). I presented on “Pastoral Landscape Through an Ecolinguistic Lens.”

Dawn Wink, Rachel L. Carazo, Lisa Robinson, Stefano Rozzoni

My doctoral work focuses on exploring the relationship between language and landscape through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination.

Ecolinguistics and linguistic human rights ground this work.

Ecolinguistics explore the role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species, and the physical environment. The first aim is to develop linguistic theories which see humans not only as part of society, but also as part of the larger ecosystems that life depends on. The second aim is to show how linguistics can be used to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice (Skutnabb-Kangas & Harmon, 2018).

Linguistic human rights can be defined as “only those language rights . . . which are so basic for a dignified life that everybody has them because of being human; therefore, in principle no state (or individual) is allowed to violate them” (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2008, p. 109).

It was fascinating to hear the other presentations and how we each approached pastoral landscape through a vast spectrum of understandings and experiences.

At the end of my presentation I posed these thoughts to muse:

          Language as natural element of landscape.

          Language diversity as element of ecological diversity.

          Diverse linguistic landscapes as integral for global sustainability.

When not immersed in all things literature and ecology, it was a time of reconnecting with deep roots and friendships. My final years in Davis were all about babies, babies, and babies—having them, holding them, loving them.

Davis, 1999. Wyatt (3), Luke (1 1/2), Wynn (2 days).

Because of these baby years, when I found myself at the Farmer’s Market in Davis Central Park a newborn (grandson of a deep-roots-bookclub-friend) I felt all of the places where my heart beats slide together.

 

Works Cited

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2008). Linguistic genocide in education or worldwide diversity and human rights?” Hyderabad, Telangana: Orient Blackswan.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & Harmon, D. (2018). “Biological diversity and language diversity.” In The routledge handbook of       ecolingistics. New York City, NY: Routledge.


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Reading—No Single Path (The Power of Story by Joan Wink)

 

Grammie and Wyatt reading, 1998

Grammie and Wyatt, Christmas 2017

In the last post about The Power of Story by my mom, Joan Wink, I shared that I’d originally intended to try and convey the whole of the book in a single post. What was I thinking?! The more I read, the more ideas about what to write about I scribbled in my journal. One of the stories that leapt out was of Wyatt’s (my son and Mom’s grandson) path to reading.

This journey taught Mom and me that there is no single path to literacy. This has enriched our understandings about literacy, kids, and schooling ever since. 

To provide some context to the story, I read to the kids aloud for hours a day since birth. We read aloud at least 2-3 hours a day reading for years and years. (Sometimes we read more—the kids were quiet, we were cuddled-up sitting down, and I was so tired!) These times are some of my very-favorite life moments. 

Reading together with Luke, Wyatt, and Wynn, 2003

According to literacy research, Wyatt should have started reading spontaneously sometime before Kindergarten. He did  not. Throughout Kindergarten, then First grade, and then into Second, we continued to read aloud, and Wyatt continued to not learn to read. Mom and I spent hours talking about what might be happening. None of this made sense. What I did know, and this was not from any literacy research that I’d read, was that whatever was happening was part of Wyatt’s path. It was sheer mother’s intuition and had nothing to do with being in education. Thankfully, I trusted this, as you will discover.

Mom includes Wyatt and my journey in The Power of Story (Libraries Unlimited, 2018, p. 24-37).

              Wink, J. The Power of Story, p. 34-37

“BENCHMARK #1: POKEMON  

Hell has officially frozen over. This is what I muttered to myself as I stood in line about to purchase my first pack of Pokémon cards for Wyatt. Pokémon intuitively appalls me. Wyatt’s peers have been collecting the cards for years, but I refused to by any for Wyatt.

“Mom, you and all the girls’ moms are the only ones who don’t allow Pokémon,” Wyatt told me earlier one day. I remained unmoved.

“Then one day, one of Wyatt’s friends came over to play. He brought his binder full of Pokémon cards to show Wyatt. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, no. How quickly can I get them away from those cards and onto the trampoline?” Except that Wyatt spent the next two hours reading those cards. He and his friend sat on the living room floor going over every letter and word in detail. As I dried dishes in the next room, I became aware of Wyatt’s efforts to read all of those cards. Wyatt usually shies away from any attempt at individual reading. Now he sat poring over letters and words, trying to make meaning. 

“He’s reading!” I thought to myself. The next day I purchased Pokémon cards.

BENCHMARK #2: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

“I continued to read with Wyatt and his brother and sister. Our stories grew more and more complex, and Wyatt used extremely complex oral language. 

He loved the complex action stories, with hints of the super natural; for example, I have read aloud the J. R. R. Tolkien series and Redwall series, the entire Harry Potter series (four times!), umpteen Norse, Celtic, and Southwestern myths and legends to all three kids, but still Wyatt’s teachers told me they would have to intervene to help him begin to read. I agonized and reflected: Could it be that these stories were too intimidating for Wyatt to try to read by himself? Were the books simply too big, the print too dense, the visual clues too infrequent?”

At this point, Mom suggested that perhaps the Captain Underpants series might be more approachable to him. I was aghast. We read Tolkien, Jacques, and C.S. Lewis. We did not read some weird little dude running around in his tidy whiteys! But, I was desperate and Mom sent Wyatt a box of Captain Underpants books and forbade me from interfering. Wyatt descended gleefully into the graphic novels whose primary focus are the sounds of bodily functions. 

Pie graph (2003) Wyatt made in 2nd grade of the books he’d read

“BENCHMARK #3: PULLING WYATT OUT OF A SCRIPTED READING PROGRAM

‘Mom, I’m so stupid. I’m just so stupid. I don’t  understand any of this stuff.’ Wyatt threw his head down on his folded arms at the kitchen table and cried. 

‘What are you working on there, Wyatt?’ I asked. I sat down beside him to look at the worksheets of homework spread out i front of him. Black and white dittos filled with line after line of words broken down into incomprehensible parts. Slashes, dots, and hyphens turned words into a trail of shrapnel. “Wyatt, I don’t understand how to do any of this either, honey. Not a thing. You’re NOT stupid. This reading homework is stupid.’ 

The next day I pulled Wyatt out of school to homeschool him for the remainder of the year.”

Wyatt was mid-way through 2nd grade. I had no idea what I was going to do. None. This was not an academic decision, this was a mom’s decision following her intuition. Mostly, I read aloud to him. We certainly did nothing academic. I knew anything even remotely like a reading program would be the kiss of death forever for his love of books and stories. So, whatever Wyatt wanted me to read, I read aloud, us cuddled-up together.

With Luke and Wyatt, March 2018, Tucson, AZ. Luke and I off for a run. Wyatt off to climb a mountain.

“BENCHMARK #4: HARRY POTTER

Two days ago, I walked through Wyatt’s room and discovered him lying on his bed reading aloud to himself. On my way through, I realized that he was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I feigned casual nonchalance and kept walking until I was out of his room and on the other side of the door…when I immediately and silently started jumping up and down pumping “Yes! Yes! Yes!” into the air with my fist. Remember, this was the kid who couldn’t read two months ago. 

As I walked up the stairs, different scenes from the past flashed through my mind—of the countless times I’d encouraged Wyatt to read, to be met with stony silent tears; of the previous couple of years of complete and total refusal to try to read; of my awareness during that time that if I asked him to read, the entire mood of our time would change, would go from one of togetherness, happiness, and enthusiasm, to one of sadness; of the inevitable feelings of failure on both of our parts. And tears, always there were agonized tears involved, whenever Wyatt was asked to read. 

Those memories floated back to me again that night when Wyatt and I cuddled in bed together; he was reading aloud to me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. “Oh, don’t worry, Mom, I’ll just read this. You don’t have to read anything tonight. Here we go.” He read to me, page after page, complete with inflection and enthusiasm. He drank in the storyline, adventure, humor, and mystery.

With Wyatt, Christmas 2017. Me just back from a run and him just awake. Same hair.

I discovered that Wyatt is definitely a sight word reader. He is like his mommy, sounding words out, and phonics only serve to confuse us both. Wyatt sees a word the first time, learns it, and from then on knows that word. I’ve learned when he’s reading aloud and stumbles on a word, if I just say it aloud immediately, he’ll look at the word, read it, and move on. the next time we encounter that word, it will flow fluently from his lips. If I encourage him to sound it out, disaster follows; he gets very frustrated; the soft, warm, fun mood of our reading disappears; and he doesn’t commit that word to memory for the next time it’s read.

What do I attribute his newfound literacy to?…Well, obviously, the hours and hours and hours spent reading aloud, everything from children’s books to adult fiction, greatly influences the rapidity with which he now gains reading fluency. Some of this event, I do believe, it also just part of his inherent nature Wyatt never crawled. He sat for nine months, then one day stood up and started running, almost identical to his literacy journey. 

Ultimately, though, it took me being ready to throw my beliefs about what we should be reading out the window, and being open to books that captured Wyatt’s fancy that he would read independently…namely…Tra la la!…that weird little fellow in his BVDs, Captain Underpants. Wyatt was so busy giggling at the delightfully disgusting adventures of these characters, with the words actually readable to him in small sections, that he completely forgot that he couldn’t read—in fact, he hated to read. Instead, he remained captured and engaged, reading about one deliriously appalling thing after another, giggling and exclaiming “Eeeeeeewwwwwww” happily throughout.

Wyatt, ice climbing, 2017

Now, he’s reading about Harry Potter flying about on his broom high above the Quidditch field, in search of the golden snitch. And along with Harry, Wyatt, too has learned to fly.”

Many years have passed since this journey. The power of story lives in Wyatt. He continues to be a voracious reader.  Wyatt is a college student at Adams State University, with a major in Wildlife Biology and minors in Programming and Computer Science and Adventure Leadership. Wyatt loves rock climbing and  just qualified for the National Competition.

Wyatt embodies all of the qualifies of the heroes he loves to read about. Wyatt teaches his grammie and mom, who adore him, a lot about literacy—and life. 

Today is Wyatt’s 22nd birthday.

Wyatt, rock climbing, 2017


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The Power of Story by Joan Wink

Dr. Joan Wink, aka Mom/Grammie Extraordinaire, The Power of Story ©Chyllis Scott

It is with tremendous pride and pleasure that I share Mom’s latest book, The Power of Story (Libraries Unlimited, 2017) with you. It is FABULOUS!

Dr. Joan Wink

Yet, I get ahead of myself. I always assume that anyone who knows me, also knows my mom, Dr. Joan Wink. For those who do know and love her, and those who are yet to know and love her, let me share a little about Mom.

First, the professional:

Joan Wink is professor emerita of California State University, Stanislaus. Since retirement in 2007, she has been an adjunct professor at Black Hills State University, South Dakota State University, and in the Global Education Master’s Program of The College of New Jersey in Mallorca, Spain.

Joan began a six-year term to the South Dakota Board of Regents in April 2017. Throughout her career, she focused on languages, literacy, and learning in pluralistic contexts.

Dr. Wink completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Texas A&M, 1991), two masters’ degrees from the University of Arizona (Spanish, 1981; Educational Foundations/Bilingual, 1985; Spanish and English undergraduate degrees from Yankton College 1966.

Joan continues sharing, writing, and speaking nationally and internationally. Joan maintains an active website and blog, WinkWorld. She has published widely in scholarly journals and is the author of Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real World (4 editions), A Vision of Vygotsky with LeAnn Putney; and Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It? with Dawn Wink.

There is a scroll of international accolades for Mom that rolls out and reaches into the horizon.

With Mom, Cascabel, 1978.

And here’s the woman her family and friends know and why The Power of Story sings with wisdom, power, and truth. Mom’s life is composed of stories—stories of love, stories of pain, stories of joy, stories of loss, stories of resilience, stories of students around the world, and stories of friendship and roots decades deep.

Yes, Mom writes as the internationally renowned scholar that she is. And, what makes her writing, teaching, and living so powerful is all is based in real, lived experiences. The stories in this book made me laugh, cry, reach for my journal, drink some wine, informed my instruction as a professor, then laugh and cry some more for the sheer humanity that threads every sentence and every story of this book.

Mom does not write from some Ivory Tower of Academia. Mom writes from our cattle ranch on the Great Plains of South Dakota, summed up best when she called me while writing the The Power of Story. “I was working on Chapter Three and then the bulls got out on the highway. Wink and I ran to the pickup and headed out into the blizzard to try to get them off the highway. We barely made it up the lane through the snow. Took several hours to get the bulls back in, including your dad coming back for the four-wheeler and then both of us heading out. A couple of near misses on the highway. Your dad’s out feeding the horses now. Diving back into Chapter Three.”

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

The behind-the-scenes story of The Power of Story is one of family and the ever-present realities of writing on a cattle ranch. Just when a writer sits down to write, the bulls get out, the pump blows, the well freezes, the horses get out, the heifers get into the wrong pasture and have to be moved, the hay baler quits, there’s a hailstorm in the hay field, and…

This is the reality that grounds and lifts every page of this book.

The stories of this book are real.

Mom and her Little Free Library at the top of the lane.

Now, if you are interested in dry data and prescribed curriculum, this is NOT your book. If you are a reader, lover of words and language, a parent or grandparent, a teacher of students of any age who wants to sink into story-after-story of how to create a love of reading, the research about why woven seamlessly within, then this is your book.

I‘d originally thought that I would write a single piece on The Power of Story.

Then, I started reading it. By chapter Three (when the bulls got out on the highway), I’d already laughed, cried, taken notes for my own teaching, written on sticky notes on what to connect about with the kids, and scribbled in my journal about language, literacy, and story.

So, I’ll be sharing here some of the stories that made me laugh, cry, reach for my pen to remember to share with my students about literacy, reach for my phone to call and share with the kids, or just sit and stare out the window while I pondered.

First, a story:  If You’re Not From the Prairie by David Bouchard

 

 

 

 


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Travel, Teaching, and Tampico for MEXTESOL

Tampico, Mexico and Coastline

We landed in Tampico, Mexico for the MEXTESOL Tampico Conference 2017 “Evolving and Involving.” 

Our hosts, Jorge Torres and Kim Soriano, and I studied together during a workshop intensive in Puebla, Mexico. It was lovely to reconnect and continue our shared journey of teaching and learning. Jorge and Kim invited us to the gorgeous campus of The American School of Tampico where we met with teachers and talked about Informal Assessment: It’s All About Authenticity. (click link for PPT) Informal Assessments – It’s All About Authenticity

With hosts Jorge Torres and Kim Soriano, The American School of Tampico

With teachers from The American School of Tampico

Gorgeous tree at the American School of Tampico

During our time in Tampico, the earthquakes in Mexico City and Oaxaca continued. We felt nothing where we were, but watching the news learned of the volunteer rescuers of Los Topos (the moles). We never watch news in the US, but did watch in Mexico and learned so much about the courage and heroism of these volunteers, whose initial volunteers began spontaneously in the aftermath of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City: Who are Los Topos Volunteer Rescuers. Héctor Méndez, one of the original founders of Los Topos, “”Society changed in 1985 after that earthquake. It was a kind of cleaning. Because suffering cleans your spirit… So Mexican society now is a kind of catharsis — kind of a social catharsis, you see.”

The next day we were off to the MEXTESOL Tampico Conference in the gorgeous Casa de la Cultura.

Casa de la Cultura, Tampico, Mexico

Angel, Casa de la Cultura

We dove into ideas around Teaching Passionately Passion, Freedom, Structure (click link for PPT).

Talking and making meaning ©MEXTESOL

MEXTESOL Conference 2017

Mil gracias, MEXTESOL Tampico, Jorge, Kim, and teachers. Here’s to all of our shared journeys!

Leaving Tampico


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Women of the Red Clay—Las Mujeres del Barro Rojo, Oaxaca, México

Macrina Mateo Martinez, Woman of the Red Clay (Mujer del Barro Rojo)

Of the many experiences that touched my soul during our time in Oaxaca, México through LISTO Oaxaca, the Women of the Red Clay, las Mujeres del Barro Rojo, is the ember of story that illumines all else. Our bus bounced off the beaten path and over rock-studded dirt roads to the Zapotec community of San Marcos Tlapazola to visit the Women of the Red Clay.

Road to San Marcos Tlapazola ©Randy Grillo

Macrina Mateo Martinez greated us with a smile and Spanish laced with her Zapotec mother tongue.  “I watched my grandparents and my parents when I was a little girl. I had one dress for a year. We slept on dirt. It was so cold.”

“I watched the beautiful red clay pottery that my grandmother made, taught by her mother, who was taught by her mother, for as far back as we can remember…I watched her trade a bowl that had taken hours to make for a small bag of beans or corn.”

Macrina Martinez and Alberta Mateo, Women of the Red Clay (Mujeres del Barro Rojo)

Trenzas, Braids.

“We had nothing. At sixteen, I decided to try to sell the red clay pottery that the women of our village had made beyond time. I didn’t speak Spanish then, only Zapotec. I went to Guadalajara by myself. The villagers spoke badly of me for leaving and of my family for allowing me to go. Girls did not travel by themselves. The villagers criticized my family.

Sufri mucho, mucho. I suffered and suffered. After many years, my pottery began to sell. Through the years, I have traveled to New York, Portland, Santa Fe. My pottery is in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. Now, all of the women in our village sell our red clay pottery all over the world.”

The strength, artistry, and determination of a lone sixteen-year-old girl who did not speak Spanish in Mexico brought the beauty of red clay pottery to the world.

With Macrina Martinez and Alberta Mateo.

Our class gathered as Macrina and Alberta shared their story of how Zapotec women for generations had walked into the mountains to gather the clay, the stones for dye, and harvested the branches to burn to fire the raw clay into pottery.

Alberta Mateo took an unformed chunk of clay and rolled the corn cob up and down to create the pot within the unshaped form. Up and down rolled the cob under Alberta’s hands, as Macrina spoke to us about the history and experiences of the Women of the Red Clay.

“The men all had to leave to go find work for most of the year. The rest of the time they worked outside in the fields. It was only the women and girls who stayed. I started to learn how to work the red clay when I was a little, little girl. All of the mothers taught their daughters how to work the clay.”

Alberta Mateo

Alberta Mateo

Young girl warming food.

Young girl warming food.

What stayed with me is the difference the vision and strength of one young girl can make. Macrina now hosts groups from around the world. The underlying dynamics of life pierced our conversation when I referred to her as “Señora,” to honor her age and accomplishments. Señora also assumes one is married, the equivalent of Mrs.

“Yo soy Señorita,” she said. “Miss. I never married.” She lifted her eyes to look out the window and then turned back to me. The look she gave me felt like the conveyance of a cost for being the independent and brave girl who left the village against all to become a world-renowned artist and business woman.

Macrina Mateo Martinez, Woman of the Red Clay

Barro Rojo pieces

Macrina and I spoke for several minutes, surrounded by the beauty of her pottery and art. Sufri mucho, mucho (I suffered and suffered), came through in our conversation again and again, most of her story not said, but felt. The strength of her voice whispers back to me over the miles, the border, the time since I left Oaxaca. I think of this woman who through sheer talent and determination brought the beauty and artistry of generations of Zapotec women to the world.

I gathered the pieces of pottery that I could carry back with me on the plane. Tucked into the woven palm leaf bag, each piece wrapped in clothing, so too came Macrina’s story.

The pieces now adorn our table. Every time I walk by and see them at the center, I think of Macrina’s hands running the corn cob along the lines until the piece emerges. The beauty of each piece carries with it the generations of womens’ hands and life stories, and the strength of Macrina’s spirit, to lift and inspire.

As I pass, I run my fingertip along the rims.

With las Mujeres del Barro Rojo © Randy Grillo

With las Mujeres del Barro Rojo © Randy Grillo


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Every Mother Counts – Running for Global Maternal Health

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Finish line! Duke City Half Marathon, 2016

How about we do something great for the world that is far more expansive than political parties or elections?

A few months ago, I discovered the organization Every Mother Counts (EMC) an organization founded by Christy Burlington Burns to raise awareness and funds for global maternal health.

Run through the desert

Run through the desert with Clyde.

I’ve been a runner for 30+ years. For the past 25 years, running a marathon has been one of my life goals. My running has always been private—a sacred time to be alone, dream, plan, laugh, cry, sweat, push myself, connect with the elemental; the land, my spirit, possibilities and potential for the future. The 3 R’s of constant inspiration and partnership in life: ‘Reading, Running, and ‘Riting.’

O'Keeffe on the ranch.

O’Keeffe on the ranch.

My only partners as I run are first the four-footed kind, first my beloved O’Keeffe and now the indomitable, Clyde. I don’t run with headphones, music, or people. That is my time to be and listenWith the discovery of Every Mother Counts, this sacred, private time had the potential to make a difference in the lives of women and children around the world. This organization inspired me to bring the very private to the public. 

With the discovery of EMC, my running takes on new purpose. I think of the women featured in documentary film by Turlington, “No Woman, No Cry.”

wyatt-and-luke-1998

Wyatt, 2 years old; Luke, 3 months, before the race.

dawn-runningI ran half marathon 18 years ago. Luke was 3-months old, Wyatt was 2-years old, and we loaded up and drove from California (52 feet above sea level) to Steamboat Springs, Colorado (6,732 ft. above sea level) the day before the race.

I had never heard of acclimating for altitude. One really has to question running a half marathon at high altitude 3 months postpartum. Yet at the time, it seemed like the perfect thing to do. I ran the next morning. 

When I completed the race altitude sickness set in and my main memory of this time is  of intense pain and being curled up in the fetal position on asphalt on the side of the highway, breastfeeding a 3-month old Luke, my head on the paint lines of the highway, the wheels of vehicles speeding by. I thought, “This must be the lowest moment of my life.” Yet, I had finished.

Through the years the goal of running a marathon stayed with me. With the discovery of EMC, running now had the potential to create positive effects in a world desperate for it. I trained for the Duke City Half Marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico to raise awareness for Every Mother Counts.

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Before the race, October 2016.

Of course, I had my Frida Kahlo earrings on and her spirit ran with me. 

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Cottonwoods lined the trail and hot air balloons hung above.

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Cottonwoods and hot air balloons along the trail.

I crossed the finish line in 2:23, my main goal completed—to finish. Turlington describes best the inspiration and work of EMC:

25 years after setting the goal, I now train to run the Tucson Marathon on December 10, 2016, in support of Every Mother Counts and global maternal health. When I listen to the news the national discourse in the US that defies belief and the faces of migrants forced from their home around the world desperate for safety and peace, the need of the world overwhelms. But perhaps if we each do one thing that calls to us, what may seem small may make a world of difference. Please join me in the journey: 

Now, I just need to run those 26.2 miles for us.

early-morning-running-with-clyde

Early morning running with Clyde. #everymothercounts