Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Here we are, already, in the borderlands between August and September, between summer and fall, between the end of something and the beginning of something else—uncertain, untried, and vast as the regions on the far side of Hadrian's Wall.  

I feel like this small bird perched on the solid old stone, the known quantity, the line already drawn that helps us get our bearings in a vertiginous landscape of change.

I feel the the liminality of this day, the last day of the month, and of my birdlike state between flight and falling as the year turns and the earth on its ponderous axis.

What auguries are in us, dear bird?

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Bird on Hadrian's Wall

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Ode to the Lemon

From blossoms
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
steeped in fragrance,
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its planetarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
born of the cool, fresh
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

sliced a small
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
oozed topaz,
cool architecture.

So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth's breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,

the minute fire of a planet.

(Pablo Neruda - as translated by Limone)

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Lemons

Monday, August 29, 2011


I am excited at the thought of getting our windows washed on Friday.  Here's a concept, though—not having glass to worry about getting dirty!

This lovely view of the River Tees and its valley was at Barnard Castle, Richard III's favorite.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Window, Barnard Castle

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wood Grain

I love the grain of this wood, the gnarly knotholes rich with color, lived life, and stories.  A board on my back fence.  There is poetry in everything, if we take the time to look.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Wood Grain

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am mostly spinning wheels this week (and a spinning-wheel is appropriate imagery in light of my recent involvement with spiders, the spinners of fate, of past and future, warp and woof, the web of life, creative patterns, complementary colors)—but have bought a new rosebush with "Chinese lacquer-red" flowers to cheer my patio so I can sit and spin more amiably.

Red isn't usually the color I would choose in roses, but I'm craving intensity, visual drama.

images:  Christie B.  Cochrell, Roses 1 and Roses 4

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thought for the Tail End of August

Lovely donkeys on the beach at Scarborough (fair), last summer.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Donkeys, Scarborough

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Garden

So much to do, and all I want is to sit in my garden at the little green cafĂ© tables doing nothing.  No, rather doing many things, if imperceptible—being, absorbing, enjoying the company of birds, healing, wishing for flowers whose colors might equal those in Santa Fe, feeling sad, glad, stunned, uncertain of my way forward, rid of the disconnect between feelings and thought.  I watch the sun climb past the Russian olive tree, trying to make sure that my new begonias and impatiens don’t lose their shade for long.  I watch the lizards flicker on the hot stone as they did once in a walled garden in rural Italy, a place I’ve never been back to.  I listen to the alpacas in the next yard sneeze, then run.  What drama has entered their day?  So many people in the past few weeks, I’m happy now with these unspeaking creatures, sitting quietly replenishing my store of words.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Garden Pots

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prayer for My Mother

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

(Navajo Blessing Way)

image:  böhringer friedrich 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Places I Would Rather Be

Holed up in the castle keep, Durham.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, University College, Durham

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thought for the Day

Is it better to have a white horse cross in front of you than a black cat?

(That may well depend on the horse!)

image:  Almaty, Kazakhstan, SSGT Jeremy T. Lock

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Roads

On my return from Santa Fe to Albuquerque I repeated like a litany the names of the pueblos I passed, the reservations—Cochiti, Santo Domigo, Santa Ana—feeling them slip cool through my fingers one by one like the glass beads of my Venetian bracelet—broken now, and down to just a single bead.

I committed too to memory the black streaks that were rain against the hills, the watermelon curve of the Sandia Mountains, the towering brilliantly white thunderheads.

This is the land and sky that is in me, the familiar old shapes and savors of northern New Mexico.

image:   Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, Scott Catron

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Taking Comfort

There is comfort in the solid land below—the fields, the curling rivers, and the shore we follow north.

And a day later in the meditative chewing of straw of the alpacas, and the restless brood of baby quails humming beside—and all over—the drive.

And then, again, today, in a cool gathering of red roses along a shaded fence.

image:  Aerial photograph, Towy Valley, Anthony Stevenson

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Light Gathering

Some quiet remedies for stressful times last week in Santa Fe:

* making gazpacho
* walking the labyrinth to its stone heart
* buying plum lavender rooibos at The Teahouse
* keeping an eye out for Black Labs
* listening to Inessa Galante singing La Vergine degli Angeli
* taking a late blossom of mock orange to the hospital
* working on my zany short-short, The Accountant

images:  teas at The Teahouse, Canyon Road, Santa Fe