Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12

Written Receipts for Paid Attention
Carolina Wren 12/12/12 by Michael Douglas Jones




    At 12:12:12pm on 12/12/12, I sat on the small wood wall behind my cottage, near the line of tall pines, beneath the winter roost of the Cooper’s Hawk. A wisp of whitest clouds carried the sound of distant dogs, and the laughter of school children on the recess playground across the valley. The sun, to the south, settled low on this short December day, but warmed my cheek, like wool wrapped around me. Beneath the redbud, on the split-rail post, a Carolina Wren rattled a warning about the Cooper’s Hawk above. I breathed in the crisp cooling air that warms our ancient hearts, and knew that this was indeed an extraordinary moment, never to be repeated. A moment not unlike this moment; or this moment. Or this.




Monday, December 3, 2012

All the Day

#Reverb12
All the Day
a composite photograph by Michael Douglas Jones




All the day, at every hour, the travelers wish, and worry; each with equal effect. Here, near the seven mile marker on a hundred mile rail, built on bridges above the rivers, I work one task at a time to quiet my mind, and watch the wonder of this world, all the day, at every hour.





#reverb12 Day 3: What do you really wish for?



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Rest

Reverb12
Waiting by Michael Douglas Jones



Patient,
stands the empty vase in winter,
waiting for the summer blossom.



I am spent; you will not see me in my winter rest, thirty steps down the bank, off the burnt hill road, beyond the long line of scrub pines, where the split-rail remnants trail off; there I am, blending back into the breath of soft soil. My last companion is a wake of vultures, the black angels of carrion come. I am the ribcage in the cornfield.

I know I had more to give, but I would not walk with you, held back by my doubts, not in you, but in me. On every road, I turned off before reaching the ridge. This day, my will is too weak to return to the road, so I rest here until spring.

Try as I might, when I return, I won’t remember this; the days will grow longer; I will walk these roads with you again, and one day, we will reach the ridge.



Posted in response to Reverb12 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Perhaps Tonight

#Reverb12
 How are you starting this last month of 2012?
That Last Day
composite photograph



 Death’s ice hand, scratching at my door front, cracking, tapping, like sleet, on my window glass; that reaper with the raspy whisper, that skeptic with a swindler’s smile, sending missives, and missionaries, to bring me over, to pull me under, to turn me into soil and water. Until dawn, I hear the tapping, of imagination, or memory, hammering my heart in the pitch of winter night. This year of disappointment and death waits for me until the dawn of the last day of this final year. I start this month not knowing.

 Wrapped in oakwood smoke and overwhelm, I rise, in ache, slowly from my pinewood cot; I rise in awe that I am still here as light arrives. I wish for little else.

 December sun is late to rise; just moments into dawning, the turkey vulture takes to his day, seeking the warmer sunlight that reaches the tallest dead oak in view, passing eight hand spans above my head, with wet wings sounding like distant dogs on the ridge. Giving me a knowing nod as he lifts higher, up and away; he waits to clean my bones, but I am not yet ready. Oh, Pensée; they have such patience; perhaps tonight, but not today.








Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Still Dancing

Written Receipts for Paid Attention

The whispering muse
requests your prescience
for the dance of life
occurring at this moment.



Life is heavy loaded on my shoulder in the long shadows of late November; my cottage is cold, and quiet in candlelight, but out beyond the gate, our ancient mother calls me to the dance of dayend.  Just before the sun sets behind the line of tall pines, I, in my winter wool, walk out into the silence, to stand still on my step, as the wood wind begins.

Curled, crisp oak leaves, like field mice, skitter and click across the cobblestones, beneath leafless locust branches that sway in hypnotic joy, as the senior silver maple joins the whispering rhythm. A kettle of vultures’ allemande left, above the east valley branch, seems like silhouettes of graceful angels in the air. Beyond their flight, clouds circle from the north in silence surrounding, miming the sun’s last rhyme. The waxing moon, the soloist on this stage, rises slowly, softly, higher into the vault of heaven.

Beneath the woodwind’s whisper, I join the dance as the circle's still center, while the unseen symphony, the ancient mother, whirls around me. I am the still, steady beat of breathing in, breathing out. The still dancing.

A flutter of dark-eyed juncos trill, and scratch at the pine needle floor, searching, in this day's last light, for the last sunflower seeds of the season; the dance slowing into winter rest, listening close, attuned to the still breathing in, and breathing out. Still.






This is part of Kelly Letky’s birthday celebration of life; to see more celebrations visit Mrs.Mediocrity 



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Learning





One hand span above the hickory on the ridge, behind the fog façade of predawn dark, November’s waning moon is a soft chalk smudge on the washed blackboard sky, and I, on the rain wet road, watch and learn; teacher’s pet.


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Friday, October 5, 2012

My Brother, My Hero

Tracy, Jeff, Michael, Bruce

Life, in any form, should be impossible; every moment, however mundane, is a miracle. Very few people ever see that, and that is as it should be; otherwise we might stand about all evening, staring at leaves of grass. When I first read Walt Whitman, I saw that he knew the mundane miracle. My brother, Jeff, also saw miracles at every turn of the world. He had no B.A. or B.S., especially no BS. His word was truth, and you could count on it like coins.

He was a robust man, an eighteenth century man, cutting through the fog facade of politics, while felling a tree with an iron axe; laughing at the foibles of religion, while whispering with the spirituality of a saint. He held all people, of every station, in high esteem. He was my hero, even though he was younger by four years; he had grace, wisdom, and rough-hewn character. I thought he was invincible; death could not touch him. This day, he passed. He is invincible; even in death, he cannot be touched, unless one could touch everything at once.

There, reaching out, at the end of your fingertips, you will find him, in the miracle.    

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Minds of Men


Written Receipts for Paid Attention 
Minds of Men (Composite Photograph)
Prints available: http://goo.gl/omueQ


They do not sleep, these minds of men; they chatter and shake like tin tops in a hurricane. The sleepless voice of everynight is an unnatural disaster of unseen storms, and old stories told by old men, of day late, dollar short.

Oh, Pensée; there is no poetry in this room; this cot is cold and old pinewood. The whispering muse does not descend; she waits on rooftops, dancing for young poets, and I am hobbled, a burlap bone bag.

The shifting earth, predawn, calls these bones from night’s fitful grave.  The gale calms with my rising; the oakwood smoke from last night’s fires still in my eyes, yesterday’s scars still sore, but fading; I make my way, worn and stiff, toward the door, out into the everyday, into the dawning.

Waking, walking, writing on my breath, talking to myself; beginning to feel the warmth returning; pulling the sun up over the eastern rooftops. The words, like birdsong, from deep inside me; one, then three, five to thirty; small wrens at first, and then crows and jays fly out before me, through the door, into the treetops. Walking out among the rising words, the revolving world pushes crisp air into my face, deep into the empty. This waking voice of everyday is my saving grace; this reach of my morning mind into the distance, throwing words into the sky, stretching into my full expanse. Alive, the word I am; alive, the world I am.

Oh, Pensée; the hurricanes will come again, the muse will dance for younger men; I know this is so, but the everyday will come again as well, and, for that, I will rise, and throw my words into the sky.




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rising the Moon

Rising the Moon (composite photograph)
Prints available: http://goo.gl/6BHVB



    Raising the rising moon begins early, before the heat of sun holds it down. Commerce, with its attendant travelers, moves about the day, not noticing nature’s rising and receding, not noticing the receiving and returning rhythm of breath. It is not until the full moon rises into the night lighthouse that the weary ones, the waking ones, stop and watch for just a moment, to take in the wonder of the rising.






Friday, March 30, 2012

A Future Field

Written Receipts for Paid Attention 


   Each morning is our springtide, and a future field stretches out before us, curving over the horizon, beyond all imagination. Full of possibilities, it is ours to tend. If we think this field fallow, it will be, and we need do nothing further. If we think it fertile, it will become a garden, and blossom beyond all we know.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building the Broken Heart

Scintilla Project. Day10. Broken Hearts
U. Building the Broken Heart

Prints available: http://goo.gl/rbmlV


    Always on the equinox, he arrived with sheets of dreams; single-space, a black and blueprint of promises; of this time I will; this time I can.  And every time, he disappointed the every heart’s desire; the black and blueprint promises a tower, built with black and blue bits of broken heart.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com



Monday, March 26, 2012

Falling

Scintilla Project. Day9. Your Body 
Falling
Prints available: http://goo.gl/l2YM7


The body fails,
and finally falls away,
but how it lived
is everlasting.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Into the Quiet

Scintilla Project. Day8. What are your simplest pleasures?
March 22, 6:43am


6:23 ante meridiem per diem

Outside on the cedar bench; my old friend, the cedar bench; the two of us, grayed with age, ready for the rising. Due east, rounding glow starts, across the upper branch valley, beyond the woodfield ridge. In spring, the blush begins in the gap between the tall trees, and each new bud has a song that soon surrounds; maple song starts its chitterchirping, the pines join in with simple rhythm, before the oak arpeggio; every morning tree song sounds like birdvoice, but birds are not yet visible; the crows will be the first to fly and caw the all clear.

From all the way across the valley, fog filled mist moves toward me. Breathing in the cool calm air; deep enough to fill the empty; just enough to last the day.

Within ten minutes, the graffiti of contrails and car horns overwhelms the atmosphere.

The simplest of pleasures, being filled in the quiet unfolding of this day. Not silence; silence is a different pleasure.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com   


Friday, March 23, 2012

The Seeder

Scintilla Project. Day7. Tribes 
The Seeder



Journal Entry; 3.22.12

Nearly four hundred years ago, we sailed west, and here, met our kin who had moved east long before that. Upon landing, there was great celebration, but the camaraderie was short lived; the long separation had turned many hearts to flint and within fifteen years, the first of the twenty-six wars began.

After all this time, there is still a divide that separates the blue tribes and the reds. Small skirmishes flare up often and the opposing tribes have gradually separated to camps and cities scattered through the land. After four centuries, it’s difficult to tell your red relatives from your blues and I would not choose between two wrongs. I’ve, also, never been accustomed to the babble and chatter of the cities and camps, so I lived off the land between the camps and became a seeder.  

There are other seeders like me; we ride between the camps, bringing books, sharing seeds and small deeds of compassion, giving credit to a neighboring camp. Our goal, perhaps impossible, is to bring the tribes back together. Mostly, we are seen as dreamers; naïve, harmless, like artists and poets. There are those that view us as gypsies, or perhaps spies of some vast conspiracy, so vigilance is always our watchword. When I meet other riders traveling between the camps, I have a cautious word with them, until I can be sure that they are seeders also. We never gather in groups; we pass short messages, called 140’s, to one another about our progress, and where we have seen sparks of understanding. We are not here to gain merit; most of us fell into this role when we were still quite young. We will ride until these tribes become one again. We don’t expect to be leaders of a new tribe; the seeders are a loose affiliation, though some have called us the Scintilla Tribe.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Faith as I Find It

Scintilla Project. Day6  Talk about an experience with faith.


Angels in the Air
Prints available: http://goo.gl/ue83F


    I have read the volumes about angels in the air, seen my share of Sunday sermons, stood inside the stunning limestone cathedrals, and sat beneath the vault of heaven, but this is my experience of faith, as I find it in every moment of the everyday.

::

You breathe out
and I breathe in;
where you leave off
and I begin,
I cannot say.
Where you leave off
and God begins,
I cannot say.
This is my faith,
simply said.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Wonder Wheel

Scintilla Project. Day5.
 Show a part of your nature that you feel you've lost. Can you get it back?
The Wheel ~ Prints available http://goo.gl/piyKd

Once, we rode the Ferris wheel, from half past dawn to early evening. When we wished to visit wonder, we could see it all from there. We rode the sleeper train to Richmond, the night after our wedding day. When we wished to visit wonder, we could see it all from there. Now, we walk the sundown road to sit atop the fallen oak. When we find we've lost our wonder, we can see it all from here.



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For more information: scintillaproject.com  

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Day Daddy Became Pop

The Scintilla Project. Day3.
What's the story of the most difficult challenge you've faced in a relationship?

Lesson Twelve


Daddy pulls his belt off, folds the strap in two, lets it slack, then snaps it back. POP! Like a cap pistol. CRACK! Like a firecracker, this hot July morning. What sorry soul taught him that cruel trick; the warning shots before the beating begins. I’m twelve now, so I get the strap on the backside because the baby spilled the sugar bowl. I’m twelve this time, so what daddy doesn’t know; I can only fight back by giving no satisfaction. I’ll not cry this time. I’ll never cry again. Go on Pop; snap the strap, let it loose; I will never cry again. Never.

Some moments are riverstones collected years ago, carried in the deep pockets of our memory. On the dark, doubtful nights, we run our fingers over the stone’s surface, feeling the same as when we first held it.

Today, I throw that moment into the middle of the river; forget, regret, forgive, forget.


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For more information: scintillaproject.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This Morning, Predawn

Scintilla Project. day2. When did you realize you were a grownup?
Wishing


This morning, predawn; a hobbled greybeard on the dew path to the fox hollow road; oakwood smoke in the air below the last half moon of winter; the slightest hint of Eos rising, beyond the eastern treetops, above the winding valley branch. Wrens and redbirds staccato in the maples before the crows take flight. All the players are in their proper place for the shooting star, brighter than the moon, from zenith to the valley in a second; a moment only, but in that flash, a greybeard becomes a boy again, a child of wonder, wishing on a star.

 He wishes for a walk upon a dew path to the fox hollow road.



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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who We Are

Who am I?  Scintilla day 1

The Overwhelmed Annalist


Who are we?

We are the waking; taking our first full breath.

Breathing in, we are the blending of all books,
the scribbling pencil points,
the overwhelmed annalists listening for the silence
between crow caws and motorcars.

Breathing out, we are this that is not named.

Breathing in, we are the gathering of grace;
the last scribes in the retinue, tallying the miracles,
illuminating manuscripts of unseen symphonies from
early morning mockingbirds.

Breathing out, we are this that is not named.

Breathing in, we are all that ever was.

Breathing out, we are all that ever will be.

Breathing in, we are.

Breathing out, we.

Breathing in.

Breathing.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Equality




Romance author Nora Roberts will host a Valentine's Book Signing on Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 12-2pm EST at Turn The Page Bookstore, 18 North Main Street in Boonsboro, Maryland.

I will be signing my book UNION.  Nora Roberts / J D Robb , Mary BurtonMary Kay McComas , Donna Kauffman & Sarah Wendell and Mary Alice Baumgardner  will be signing their latest books.

Free, limited tickets are available the morning of the event. For information, go to www.ttpbooks.com or call 301-432-4588. 

Today’s post is a journal entry that was not on the UNION blog, but is included in the book. If you would like to order the book online, please visit the TurnThePage online store.

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Journal Entry: Wilderness, Virginia; February 9, 1861

Equality. This winter, around the fireplaces, there is hot debate in the high houses and the lowlands about equality.  Who shall have it; who is unworthy.  After all, the firebrands say, man was given dominion over the lesser animals.

When I was a boy, once a month, my father, brothers, and I took the wagon thirteen miles to Fredericksburg for supplies.  While there we would take the Rappahannock Bridge to visit my aunt across the river near the ferry farm. On one winter crossing, we heard a crashing and splashing from below the bridge; a horse had bolted, turning a wagon, its dry goods, and its driver into the icy river.  I turned to my father, but he was already out of our wagon and running to the river. He jumped in the frigid water to pull out whatever life was struggling there.  He did not weigh the merits of the man or the equality.  Whether the drowning there was a man, woman, light, dark, two-legged, or four, life was leaving and my father was there to pull it back.  I am convinced the firebrands would let a majority drown without a second thought on the matter, but where I was raised, life, all life was precious and was not ours to rule or roll over.

Where I was raised, everyone works hard; the man and boy, the woman and girl, the draft horse, the bee, the bird in the wood; all have equal worth.  At day’s end, we all eat and sleep, appreciated for our contribution. Not one is thought to be the lesser being.

If man was given dominion over all animals, no one told the crows.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Time

French Pail Birdhouse



Even before dawn, in the treetops, unseen, the Carolina wren and the tufted titmouse are awake, singing beautiful Valentine songs. On sky, high above, the crow joins in with his raspy caw; it's not about perfect pitch, it's simply love, and that is all.




::


Every time I say Valentine, my daughter corrects me, insisting it is Valentime.
 "Happy Valentine's Day."
"Time."
 "Valentine."
"Time."
"Valentine time?"
"Valentime Day."
"I love you all the Valentime."
"I love YOU all the Valentime."





Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Isle of Circ



The Isle of Circ (an imaginary land) by Michael Douglas Jones



Journal entry No.03/30  On the Island. I have abandoned my airship and now, on foot, move deeper toward the center of the Isle of Circ, my map showing the concentric rings that mark its depth. I can’t help but feel like it takes a leap of faith to move to each inner ring; each ring a smaller and smaller circle, until I reach a point where I am either spinning or perfectly still.

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For the full story of the expedition to the Isle of Circ:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Leaving, Returning




We live, we learn, we leave, return;
 fly south and north, the back and forth,
 the fifth, the sixth, the palimpsest.

Our journal faded, overwritten,
never lost;
forgot;
forgiven.

We meet, we sleep, we meet again;
again
again
again
again
.


::



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Restricted View



    The modifications to this blog post are in accordance with proposed guidelines for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261. In all manner of art and speech,  the government  reserves the right to remove any inappropriate matter which contains offensive material such as nudity, words, or colors that are not beige.


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As an artist, of course, I'm against Web Piracy, but when lazy lawmakers write vague laws hoping the Supreme Court can sort out the details, we have to call them out. 



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Leaving You at Sundown

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day15

Sunset on Sundown Road, Laytonsville, Maryland. January 15



Leaving; riding beside the split-rail toward the sundown road. In the crisp winter air, the smell of oak wood smoke fades; the warmth of your whisper still wrapped like wool around me.


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Friday, January 13, 2012

On The Dock of This Day

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day13


On the dock of this day, 1928



Eastern horizon quickening, lightening; sea of sun rising, readying, raising the mainsail of morning; dawn’s winter wind roars like stevedores on the dock of this day. Swaying ship masts of high hill pines creak and caution, as icy hatch hinges slam and shudder; flags snap and shiver. The crew of crows comes aboard from the valley, cawing commands; all is ready before the mast, this day may get under way. Day breaks cold against my face charting a northwest course; with the western moon over my left shoulder. I turn and face into this fine adventure.


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