Stones gathered on chiseled limestone counting souls who have gone before me. Coins on headstones, flags on tall poles, but not so tall as the mighty sycamores. The cool brisk air broken by a warm cup of tea to sip from. Pouch of lavender takes me back in time to wood floors, dirt floors, glass bottle windows. I look out on the valley, low water as the land suffers from drought. Crying to Mother Earth to bring the rains, to color the leaves of autumn. Sisters gathered in purpose of words, infinite love with cosmic relations as we, the daughters of time bring forth the future of the stars. Written while sitting on the Blacksmith Cabin's porch swing during an Indiana University, Center for Rural Engagement, session for girls and women of all ages with author and professor Catherine Bowman.
My feet are planted on quicksand, Never to stay too long I’m told, The changing tides, the roaming winds Blast me to my knees. I’ve never reached solid ground, Not known of a homestead my own, The grasping of my arms Jerks me back to a ledge. Pulling up, seeking dry land, I dream of a garden of light, My children there, their babies too, As my roots cling to the soil I’ve found. My dear mother, let me grow, Let me plant my tree right here, I need the nourishment found, I need my own spot on your earth.
Hearth is the heart, warmth, fire, raging and tranquil. Gathering us together, we warm ourselves by its flame. Suckling bosom of knowledge, a hall of words, books and catalog cards. Legal debates pulling reason in opposite directions, but never too far from the center of cold limestone turned warm by wood of surrounding land. The dragon leads the menagerie, two heads with sight of towers where grotesques and serpents keep watchful eye on all who enter. Serpents taking flight at night, playing in darkness as they slither from transom to transom, never touching the floors of men. Grotesques howling and flapping their wings as though in discussion, as though in defense of the shield they bear for love of building, and craft, and university. Yet the dragon is the seer, the knower, the one with thought and knowledge too powerful to expose. Does he envy the others’ views of the hills? Or does he find solace in hearing the whispers, the secrets, the plans of women who now grace his throne with beauty? Art now conquers the cold limestone, while humanities compete with the science of masons. But with transcendent words our beloved beast changes, studies, creates. Words devoured by the dragon, it feeds on new dreams, new hearts, new love for its majestic survival. As I leave this place, these grounds, this building. I whisper to the protectors my gratitude, my respect. I tell them of my jealous heart that cannot grasp the treasures only they consume.
The opening date is set! The exhibit will be at the Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities, Indiana University, Bloomington, Maxwell Hall, beginning September 22nd, and will feature a variety of artists and media formats. I'll be exhibiting one of my historical fiction poems written at Beck's Grist Mill, an Indiana landmark in Washington County, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of my photography will also be displayed. More info as it arrives, but add this stop to your calendar! The exhibit will only run for one month!