Today’s Breaking News

Oak Creek Vista Colorado Plateau Photo: 
JoHanna Massey

“You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.-”
Like A Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan

Today’s Breaking News: 

Having voted early by mail I skipped both the latest ‘soft launch’ of  Trump TV and the third and last United States Presidential debates, both which aired in the same evening this week.

The townhouse is a clutter with Halloween decorations, the neighborhood flush with political and property For Sale signs. Familial holiday plans are  made, and  people are misbehaving in Walmart. The color and mood of tourists and residents alike is pulsing purple, as Arizona goes  Red to Blue. and JoHannaMassey.com has just over 1000 followers.

Version 2

Talk about making Granny happy! Thank you so much. I enjoy creating this space. Even more, I love being able  to connect globally with so many interesting people and learn of their lives, interact, and watch their own websites grow and thrive.  It is pure magic. A gift I never considered even possible for most of my life as the technology did not exist.

Two new bookshelves, only a few more boxes until I am unpacked, five pots of privet to grow out to learn topiary, reading The Art of War- Sun Tzu- the Thomas Cleary  hard copy translation, A Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite.  Evenings with old Woody Allen movies, Hollywood Ending, and Broadway Danny Rose up next for shared  viewing pleasure. Giving

Bob Dylan another listen, and had quite forgotten just how much I enjoyed some of his music, or how globally relevant it feels today.

Sweet Terry and I have been binge hiking, the weather and availability of so many places to explore making it impossible to remain indoors. Photographing our hikes, being inspired and invigorated by entire days spent with nature. I am  excited to share in a separate photo essay  what was a colorful day out and about yesterday, up Oak Creek Canyon to the Snowbowl to photograph the fall foliage.  Been embracing every moment in a stretch of perfect days.

And again, thank you for your part in making JoHannaMassey.com such a  success. All my best to you. Be safe and have a peaceful week coming.

You can find the photo essay on our day out from Oak Creek Canyon to the Snowbowl here:  Stretching Cycles of Years

 

 

Mothers Day!

eva massey massey

Today we honor our Mothers. Thought I would share a favorite most excellent poem by Julien Puzey and just the best photo of my own dear Mother, who was a strong, resilient woman who taught me so much about family, and the power of narrative.

Grandmothers

She had Grandmothers who tried to forget.
She had grandmothers who longed to remember.
She had Grandmothers who shipped their infant in a shoe-box to a childless sister in Sanpete County with a note: “Sorry to trouble you, but he don’t want kids right now.”
She had Grandmothers who were desperate from betrayal and killed themselves by diving
head-first into a rain barrel after carefully placing their glasses on a clean hankie.
She had Grandmothers who left the pots and pans to ‘soak’ under the lilac bush.
She had Grandmothers who took early retirement, who chose passion over security, to make time for an affair with a childhood sweetheart.
She had Grandmothers who joyfully greeted the dawn.
She had Grandmothers who braced themselves for the day with valium, coffee and TV news.
She had Grandmothers who were uprooted by their grown children and moved to an old
barrack on the edge of a windswept nowhere where she spent twenty years sipping Black Jack Daniels and reading condensed editions of books.
She had Grandmothers who loved other women openly and with devotion and she had
Grandmothers who did not speak, even to their daughters, of their love of women.
She had Grandmothers with ample pensions who moved to a retirement village where a dark haired young woman reminded her to take her pills and where someone came twice a month to clean the wall of mirrors that made her room look bigger.
She had Grandmothers who loved the smell of babies and bacon, and of coffee, oranges at Christmas, wet horses in the rain, and men.
She had Grandmothers who trailed the scent of rosewater, whiskey, and coal oil.
She had Grandmothers who reeked of smoke and patchouli.
She had Grandmothers who were beaten, berated, and betrayed by their daughters.
She had Grandmothers who were raped by their sons-in-law.
She had Grandmothers who seduced their sons and their nephews.
She had Grandmothers who read out loud and who sat on the stoop and taught the children, even the boys, how to thread strings of lilac.
She had Grandmothers whose grief and pain was bottomless.
She had Grandmothers whose laugh was contagious.
She had Grandmothers who left Sweden, who left Scotland, who left Wales.
She had Grandmothers who were born, lived, and died in one time zone.
She had Grandmothers whose brains and blood were splattered in the snow and on car windshields in the supermarket parking lot on the day her husband was served the restraining order and came and shot her in the head.
She had Grandmothers who packed imaginary bags to take imaginary trips to visit people who had died 40 years ago.
She had Grandmothers who were vegetarian.
She had Grandmothers who were Unitarian.
She had Grandmothers who slowly drank warm water for their constitution and she had Grandmothers who snorted cocaine.
She had Grandmothers who played cards with the same group of women once a month for thirty years who called themselves the “humbugs” who didn’t know that they were a “moon lodge” and never once called into the four directions.
She had Grandmothers who tried to forget.
She had Grandmothers who tried to remember.
She had Grandmothers who said we would be better off not knowing.
She had Grandmothers who whispered lies.

Julien Puzey Salt Lake City USA
Crone Chornicles Spring Eqinox 1998

Today’s Music is for all to enjoy BUT especially to my Daughter Jericho and the Grandkids,  for making this the best Mothers Day Weekend ever.

Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance

When Great Trees Fall

“When Great Trees Fall”

Mogollon Rim: Photo by: JoHanna Massey

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

Ponderosa Pine Mogollon Rim Photo: JoHanna Massey

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

Mogollon Rim Photo by: JoHanna Massey

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
― Maya Angelou

 

 

 

I had difficulty knowing what to publish following the writing, posting, and response I received to Comfortably Numb: America’s New Normal . I had experienced a similar difficulty following the writing, posting, and response to 3 Lists: 60 Million Refugees Big serious topics.  Hard to return to the lighthearted affirming cheerfulness I try to create on my website, strive to  live in my daily life.  What I am finding though, is that this website is rather unfolding as life does.  My thoughts run today to  the families, friends, and community of those who lost their lives and were injured at  Umpqua Community College in  Roseberg Oregon.

Todays Music:  Shaking the Tree: Peter Gabriel

Photos: “Mogollon Rim Ponderosa Pine”   JoHanna Massey

Someone Who Keeps On Trying

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint
as someone who keeps on trying.” -Nelson Mandela

The WordPress Daily Prompt: Share something you love about yourself–don’t be shy, be confident!–but that few other people know about you or get to see very often.

There has been since childhood an  insatiable curiosity running in my veins. About all the various faiths and Gods, the Universe, people, history, technology, other cultures, how things are made and work, how far I can push my skill levels, love, exploring the planet, …oh there is no limit to where, who, and what can  catch my spirit of inquiry and raise me up, carry me off to levels of understanding and knowledge of such value, or perhaps toss me down flat to suck mud.

 I have also been fortunate to have been born with an extraordinary amount of  resiliency.  A good thing too, because during adolescence through my early adulthood, the time period when my insatiable curiosity was partnered with immaturity, naivety, bad intel, fears, poor advice, no supervision, insecurity,  and scant little life experience, my curiosity  often manifested itself in what Aunt Eleonore referred to as,      

“Dancing In The Devil’s Kitchen.”                                            

This beloved gift of resiliency has led me out from: homelessness, heart-break, bad teeth, grinding poverty, dropping out of high-school, being financially ruined,  too many moves,  junk vehicles, slash and burn surgery, betrayals, concussions,  familial shunning, a hit and run…….all mud sucking quicksand.

Any one or combination of these  glimpses of my bad choices, circumstances,  and their consequences could have put my  body and spirit down, emotionally and mentally broke me, never to be surmounted and leading to a further downward spiral.

imagesBut Always The Inner Knowing that no matter how awful the moment, decision, consequences, or circumstances were, that they absolutely  did not define me or have control over the rest of my life. I called it a survival instinct. I knew I could get out, over, and above the bad times. Now I recognize it as resilience.

 

I learned that if I genuinely will commit to a goal, pray with my feet and hands, make every effort to do better, to being a positive participant on the planet, that my curiosity and resilience will thrive in beneficial ways.  When I commit to good, the Universe/God will show up and assist me, obstacles will fall away, and  support shows up in ways that delight and energize.

Curiosity and resilience partnering with an ever growing faith has resulted in my  flying airplanes, looking  migrating whales in the eye, the best marriage to a kind man, crewing a twin masted schooner, a comfortable home, great smile, ability to support issues I believe in, interesting challenging employment, a college degree, economic solvency, JoHannaMassey.com, Grandchildren!, physical strength/health, global travel, loyal friends, giving and receiving love, joyful retirement, and complete confidence that each day holds the potential for unlimited possibilities, knowledge, and adventure.

I make every effort to keep out of mud sucking quicksand. I also know that there are never any guarantees that life won’t toss me in once again without my consent or fore knowledge. I’ll  have my curiosity, my resiliency, waterproof boots, and my faith on the ready.  Grateful to have them.

Peace and Blessings.

Todays Music: Joni Mitchell- Hejira

 

Camera Lucida: The Sign

“Raven was not thought of as a god. He was thought of as the transformer, the trickster. He was the being that changed things—sometimes quite by accident, sometimes on purpose.”
—Christian White, Haida artist

Julia at My Red Page has chosen The Sign for this weeks theme for          Camera Lucida, her ever growing in popularity and participation photo challenge.

This week’s theme: The Sign

  1. an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.
  2. a gesture or action used to convey information or an instruction.
  3. a notice on public display that gives information or instructions in a written or symbolic form.

Your challenge this week is to take a photo of a sign that gets your focus, something out of the ordinary or just a snapshot of ‘the simple’ from a new perspective.

Here is my entry:

DSCN0419Arriving home

To Ravens.

On the roof

Announcing

Not just the season

Was gonna change.

 

 

Don’t you think it is time you stopped on over to My Red Page and joined Camera Lucida.?

Peace and Blessings to all.

Today’s Music: Joni Mitchell “Black Crow”

Summer’s Out of Reach

 

“Nobody on the road. Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house, but you’re not home”

Boys of Summer- Don Henley

 

Two red tailed hawks looking down as I pass.  I pretend not to notice. They remain on their cottonwood fence posts.   Barb wire clipped, rusted, curled and forgotten creates spiraled sculptures back-lit by the arrival of the sun. This arroyo bottom I walk is mostly dry after yesterdays monsoon,  and everything is clean, crisp and the air is charged with the change. Oh there will be a few more weeks of hot weather, but the punch that is summer in the desert is gone. The mesquite trees are dropping their pods, the cypress becomes more fragrant, the sky gets that cobalt blue. The southern hummingbirds gorge at the feeders preparing to migrate. Long sleeves would have done nicely this morning.                                                                                  Taken by surprise, I recognize Summer is out of reach.

DSCN0366
“The Shaman”- Bill Worell                                                                             Photo:  JoHanna Massey       (view more photos of my very first Gallery taken later this very day by clicking here)

By the time I returned to sidewalk, I was seriously unsettled. No matter the Autumn Equinox is weeks away, I have felt the shift of a summer spent.

Started a new MOOC (Massive Online Open Class)  last week: Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens. Offered by the University of Melbourne in Australia through Coursera I am just thrilled for this opportunity. The course offers basic journalism skills, but applies them to the evolving fast paced changes taking place in what is termed the ‘new media.’ How news, views, opinion, and information is researched, documented, and published today. Writing skills, interviewing, ethics, law, accessing public documents, and the basic investigative skills as they apply to our Brave New World is passe′ planet. Taught by Dr Margaret Simons (Journalism at the Crossroads – Crisis and Opportunity in the Press Scribe 2013. What’s Next in Journalism? Media Entrepreneurs Tell Their Stories) and Denis Muller (Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age Scribe 2014.), this is a most needed class for me as I strive to create an  excellent website, one that not only functions well, but is relevant and interesting. I am half way through  the second week and I am feeling optimistic that I will be able to keep up with the majority of the students who are way more tech savvy than me, that at the point where people want their planet returned to them to begin healing it that the means to do so are available for activism, and I have so many new curiosities  to get answered which is always exciting. A go to class for me that is  bringing together through lectures, excellent materials and  the timeless rules of writing all these new gadgets.

Sophia Connor doesn’t seem to want to return to the not quite solid ground of the Cohansey River marshes. To say I am struggling with Connor’s Reach        does not touch describing this experience of novel writing. I have three separate draft versions of the second chapter, each told from the perspective of various participating characters. All that needs to be accomplished in this chapter is a days worth of sailing from one tributary to another. A sail that in reality I have actually done many times in my past. So what is the issue? You might think I was attempting to write about a  successful Mars Expedition and Settlement project  in first person narrative.

It’s Sophia causing the trouble.  Not content to stand on the bow and enjoy the Scanjourney, she has entered into me with a Vulcan Mind Meld form of possession, and declared she will not only use me to tell her own damned story thank-you very much, but give me no peace until she does. I am  drifting off  considering her motives and impulsive behavior forgetting to add yeast to bread mix,  not hearing Terry reminding me I am due at the dentist in twenty minutes, or throwing a very nice dinner party for a dear friend who is leaving for Nicaragua and spend what may our last evening together behaving like a serving wench,  eavesdropping with Sophia’s ear, because SHE is on her way to work in a boarding house.

I am as a child who spends her days playing with her imaginary friends. Realizing that I must get out of Sophia Connor’s way and let her dictate to me this now fourth  draft of Chapter Two.

It is a time when my peers are experiencing illness. One in the hospital for twenty-five days with ‘complications’, another having surgery this week. Yet another is recovering from a fall that broke an ankle. This is the part of being old that frightens me and I do not want to know the details, feel self conscious and apologetic in their presence because I remain strong and healthy. I consider the time I  invited my Mother to bring her entire Sunday school class to go sailing on the Schooner Pioneer. They had an old broad  rioter’s good time. Ten years later, on a shared walk around her block ,  she told me that she was the only one still alive from her entire church class. She has since passed and I am now the sturdy old Grandmother in the family.

“Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
A little voice inside my head said:
“Don’t look back, you can never look back.”

Boys of Summer- Don Henley

Indeed, The Summers Out of Reach, and we ( Terry, Sophia, and I) are taking this day to go visit The Exposures Gallery to take some inspired photos in their sculpture garden to bring back and share with you.  Please join us. Entrance here.

"The Symbol" Bill Worrell

 

Today’s Music: Don Henley- Boys of Summer

Peace and blessings to all.

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”       Helen

What does a reader do with that kind of opening line? There is no risk of giving away the plot to this book to you, because Alice Sebold gives it all away on every page. This book grabbed me up, shoved me deep into the ragged Lazyboy recliner, and summarily cancelled my carefully planned day.

I had no intention of reading this book. I did not enjoy The Lovely Bones, skipped Lucky entirely, and only hauled The Almost Moon home because I got it for a quarter at my libraries book-sale. I  am so deep into the research for Connor’s Reach I had not opened a novel all summer, and the back page promised me a no deep thinking empathy read of the familiar tangled relationships of family, friends, and issues I like to keep at arms length: old age, dementia, and care-giving. This is a worst case horror story about all three.

I was jerked inside of our narrator Helen’s racing mind and activities for a slice of life twenty four hours of a reality made terrifying because she appears to articulates in searing observations such a clarity and insight  about parenting, friends, fathers, marriage, neighbors and communities, and especially her mother. She reveals her life, past and present, and  may  have you nodding in agreement with her as she struggles to move the cooling down body of her dead mother, then quickly betray your understanding. Helen will voice ugly thoughts, the kind of thought filled  frustrations  we do not/would not admit to having, the kind we keep secret even from ourselves about ourselves.

Helen  has killed her mother off methodically, in detail, and as she says “easily”  before we even get to the Second Chapter of the book. Is she a sociopath, psychotic, or a worn out life long caregiver pushed to over her limits?  Are we,  or someone we know,   able to  sympathize, identify, relate, or have experienced some of Helen’s  frustration and in recognition  have the ability to quick slip down to this unpardonable act? The question of who is capable of what leaped  out of the book and lodged in my  head.  Just when I got a grip back on the storyline, Helen veered off again into carefully constructed, plausible, and suddenly totally inappropriate behavior.

As  Helen prepares her coverup of what she acknowledges is a crime, she lays bare to us the public and private lives of her family members, neighbors, friends, and her own childhood.  Innocent or not, anyone connected with her  may find themselves thrust suddenly  into being complicit to a matricide.

Neither our murderess Helen, or ALice Sebold  linger over scenes or sentiments in this book.  They have a lot to take care of in the 24hours that follow Page 1 Sentence One:

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”

  A 291 page summer afternoon Lazyboy Recliner read.

Today’s Music:  Guess Who “She’s Come Undone