Opening of Voices in the Leaves

Yesterday we hung the pieces created in the workshops at the Leonora Curtin Wetlands. Everything looked so beautiful! Linda Wiener catered the event (plus Michael G. Smith brought donuts–my favorite.).
About 40 people strolled through and looked at the art and poetry.
Hope to keep it hanging, weather permitting, for about the next two weeks. The Wetlands will be open Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons in October.



Turning by Linda Whittenberg–a poem written at the wetlands


Asters’ seductive lavender, endless varieties of tawny grasses,
sunflowers bobbing across an open field, cottonwoods
already beginning to yellow, chamisa radiant along every road—

here it is again, that raucous parade that leads only to barren limbs
shriveled petals and cold. Here it is again, that familiar jumble
inside that comes with autumn. Until this season has wrung me out,

there’s little solace in picturing next spring’s garden or remembering
life goes in cycles. My grandfather would conclude most meals
by whipping butter and honey with his fork

and spreading the mixture on white bread. I can still see that whirl,
that spinning, his big hand stirring, the sweet smear on his plate.
I am that stir, nectarous and melancholy,

when autumn thrusts upon me scarlet vines, orange-red mallow,
graying mullein. I’d like to flee with the migrating birds,
but I am exactly where I’m meant to be,

wrestling with beauty that heralds endings. It was spring
when each of my parents died, winter for my brother.
My dearest uncle left just at harvest time. Perhaps that’s where

the sadness lies, for autumn was especially beautiful that year.
All I know is with the first turning of the colors, this mood
comes, a riddle so old you forget where you first heard it.


Linda Wiener and I have been teaching a combined nature drawing and poetry class. We end this Sunday with an exhibition of our work, hanging from the trees along the main trail at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve in La Cienega. The preserve is beautiful right now.

DIRECTIONS: The preserve is located on t…he I-25 West Frontage Road south of Santa Fe. From I-25 take Exit 271 for “La Cienega” and turn right onto West Frontage Road heading north. The parking lot entrance is 1½ miles north after turning onto West Frontage Road.
From New Mexico State Road 599 (NM-599), turn south onto West Frontage Road heading toward the Downs at Santa Fe Race Track. The parking lot entrance is two miles south of the Downs at Santa Fe Race Track.


Working on a Piece for the Wetlands Installation by Pamela Wolfe

The group that met last weekend at the Leonora Curtin Wetlands in La Cienega is preparing to complete our pieces of poetry and drawing. On Sunday, we’ll hang all the pieces in the trees along the path and have an opening from 4-6 pm, with refreshments. Please join us!
Right now, we’re in the thick of creative process.
Here are the ideas one writer/artist is working on. Thank you Pamela!

This might go with a pen & ink of a cluster of flowers from the rabbit brush, field guide style.

Compositae (Asteraceae) – Sunflower Family
or working through the keys

Ray flowers purple?
Y: Did you bring a trowel?
N: Flowers yellow?
N: you’ll need a hand lens
Y: scalpel, forceps, prayer

Here’s another (who can resist sunflowers, eh?)

…are not afraid that,
Like Semile, they will be
Destroyed. Wish granted.

And those frogs…

Are they color blind, the frogs?
Twenty pairs of eyes.
Heron, still, among the reeds.
Nineteen pairs of eyes.

This with a water color of a few reeds in greenish, Japanese brush strokes, with a pair of heron legs, bluish gray.

And, for those of us who spend far more time thinking about doing than doing (and incidentally, read some of Vincent’s letters to Theo)

Thinking about painting
Random complements.
How many steps, gray to green?
Vincent, where are you?

This could appear with several color mixing exercises – payne’s grey to yellow, payne’s gray to purple, payne’s gray to green, payne’s gray to red, and so on.
This might go with a pen & ink of a cluster of flowers from the rabbit brush, field guide style.

Marie Longserre on “Honey and Salt” by Carl Sandburg

Honey and Salt
Carl Sandburg

A bag of tricks—is it?
And a game smoothies play?
If you’re good with a deck of cards
or rolling the bones—that helps?
If you can tell jokes and be a chum
and make an impression—that helps?
When boy meets girl or girl meets boy—
what helps?
They all help: be cozy but not too cozy:
be shy, bashful, mysterious, yet only so-so:
then forget everything you ever heard about love
for it’s a summer tan and a winter windburn
and it comes as weather comes and you can’t change it:
it comes like your face came to you, like your legs came
and the way you walk, talk, hold your head and hands—
and nothing can be done about it—you wait and pray.
Is there any way of measuring love?
Yes but not till long afterward
when the beat of your heart has gone
many miles, far into the big numbers.
Is the key to love in passion, knowledge, affection?
All three—along with moonlight, roses, groceries,
givings and forgivings, gettings and forgettings,
keepsakes and room rent,
pearls of memory along with ham and eggs.
Can love be locked away and kept hid?
Yes and it gathers dust and mildew
and shrivels itself in shadows
unless it learns the sun can help,
snow, rain, storms can help—
birds in their one-room family nests
shaken by winds cruel and crazy—
they can all help:
lock not away your love nor keep it hid.
How comes the first sign of love?
In a chill, in a personal sweat,
in a you-and-me, us, us two,
in a couple of answers,
an amethyst haze on the horizon,
two dance programs criss-crossed,
jackknifed initials interwoven,
five fresh violets lost in sea salt,
birds flying at single big moments
in and out a thousand windows,
a horse, two horses, many horses,
a silver ring, a brass cry,
a golden gong going ong ong ong-ng-ng,
pink doors closing one by one
to sunset nightsongs along the west,
shafts and handles of stars,
folds of moonmist curtains,
winding and unwinding wisps of fogmist.

How long does love last?
As long as glass bubbles handled with care
or two hot-house orchids in a blizzard
or one solid immovable steel anvil
tempered in sure inexorable welding—
or again love might last as
six snowflakes, six hexagonal snowflakes,
six floating hexagonal flakes of snow
or the oaths between hydrogen and oxygen
in one cup of spring water
or the eyes of bucks and does
or two wishes riding on the back of a
morning wind in winter
or one corner of an ancient tabernacle
held sacred for personal devotions
or dust yes dust in a little solemn heap
played on by changing winds.
There are sanctuaries holding honey and salt.
There are those who spill and spend.
There are those who search and save.
And love may be a quest with silence and content.
Can you buy love?
Sure every day with money, clothes, candy,
with promises, flowers, big-talk,
with laughter, sweet-talk, lies,
every day men and women buy love
and take it away and things happen
and they study about it
and the longer they look at it
the more it isn’t love they bought at all:
bought love is a guaranteed imitation.

Can you sell love?
Yes you can sell it and take the price
and think it over
and look again at the price
and cry and cry to yourself
and wonder who was selling what and why.
Evensong lights floating black night water,
a lagoon of stars washed in velvet shadows,
a great storm cry from white sea-horses—
these moments cost beyond all prices.

Bidden or unbidden? how comes love?
Both bidden and unbidden, a sneak and a shadow,
a dawn in a doorway throwing a dazzle
or a sash of light in a blue fog,
a slow blinking of two red lanterns in river mist
or a deep smoke winding one hump of a mountain
and the smoke becomes a smoke known to your own
twisted individual garments:
the winding of it gets into your walk, your hands,
your face and eyes.

Marie Longserre …. “Evensong lights floating black night water, a lagoon of stars washed in velvet shadows, a great storm cry from white sea-horses— these moments cost beyond all prices.” … Carl Sandburg – “Honey and Salt” is a poem about love. It flows with detail and abstraction, surreal and reality, the mundane and great beauty, cool rhythm that carries the reader on a wonderful ride that ends in intimate immediacy … like love, like life. It never fails to surprise with something new from unexpected depths of what seems very simple. ….