A Box Full of Dreams

“Paradise is exactly like where you are right now…only much, much better”

My own impossibilities, a swirling dustdevil filled with bits of tumbleweeds, yellowed pages, twigs that nestle in my hair and form the nest where my thoughts wait, incubate, plan the assault on what I’ve discovered to be my impossibles. A void where my muffled words have spent an eternity spitting single letters into the cold November night pleading for rendition.

Madrid Sunrise ©R.Redus 2021

When the gentle tug from meditation was greater than the need for stillness, “Break Free”, escaped my lips like a hard, sensual, kiss on the neck of her I love. Icicle anchored to the smooth, white, metal gutter, a small bead of water, slowly dancing to the fiery tip of the frozen flame. “Break Free”, the slightly opened closet door, thin strips of morning sun igniting the bits of dust on those boxes labeled, “Impossibilities.” Filled with bits of broken glass and tesserae, charred pieces of manzanita, and small boxes of white chalk bones.

La Cienega ©R.Redus 2021

The earth scorched my skin that July day on Utah State Road 95. The air smelled of heat and juniper pitch rolled tight into a leather bag I now wear around my neck. The protector, the guide, the maker of dreams, keeping hope in small thimble bells that lightly ring, hanging there from a gray branch in that black and white landscape I walk.

We do what works, slowly, carefully removing dried tape, rusted staples, deadened streams of glue, when we know it’s time. A hardened, plaster, cast separated from our soul. Critical mass is thrust upon us, molten hot, yet far too pleasurable to drop. Because in there, we are held, cradled and offered probabilities we’ve yet to experience or believe exists.

Steadfast becomes, death by a thousand cuts from our own hand.

Dream Maker, ©R. Redus, 2022

”Do that which consists in taking no action and order will prevail.”

Here’s what Im still reading, (This is one incredible book, I can’t put it down)

Rock Paper Scissors

“Decide what kind of life you actually want. Then say No to everything that isn’t that.”

I’m entering the last days of having to make fires each morning to heat my house. There Is a wonderful ritual in the process of making a fire, and one step of the process can’t happen without the previous step being completed. I make the same fire each morning, something that has become a sacred event. One that begins my day, sets my pace.

I split small pieces of Ponderosa pine with a hatchet, the sticky, acrid, pitch fragrance is intoxicating, I’ll hold the freshly chopped piece of wood to my nose and inhale deeply, feeling the avalanche a pine forest provides while walking on a cool fall afternoon through the trees..

If I awaken early some mornings, I step outside and look up to the stars. This morning at 4 am, the heavens were loud with light, the Milky Way hung like dew on spider web to the south and east, static and faint, absorbing like staring from School House Beach hoping to see the other side of the Pacific.

The impossible meeting the craving. A gnawed, wet end of a bone resting on the cool sand. Compass settings for the next unknown place, the hard scent of freesia and toasted buckwheat tea.

The house smells of Hoyei-Koh, abundance and fortune have seeped through the cracks as smoke, the cup is full, the pine splinter in my finger reminds me winter has a long wait.

This is what I’m reading

This what Im listening to.

This is the End Beautiful Friend…

“I became to myself an imaginary figure of great excellence, daring and glamor.”

Some of us prefer confessions, while others prefer the darkness of the loamy, wet earth to share our secrets. It is in these places we speak a whispered, shallow sounding of ourselves, a prayer for a clean molt; our dried, bleached, remains, nails deep in the gray, coarse bark of a cottonwood along some riverbank, evidence we were really here. “We really were here”, we repeat, like some sacred mantra.

An album of black and white photographs, cracked with torn edges, images we don’t know or recognize. The smell of dried cardboard, a long closed closet with leather and scents of fur, bones and rodents, a place to write your name on the floor in the dust; to last some degree of an eternity.

Today becomes an end, like children creating a new game on a hot, cicada, filled summer night, where the moon hangs heavy and the excitement of the contest creates a biting caution while walking in the shadows. Anticipation, uncertainty, hand in a dark, deep hole, grouping for the unknown.

“Whatever gets you through the night” ©R. Redus 2021

I believe in magic, a magic propelled by no sense of reason or logic. Magic that tells me green will reappear, the road will soon have many rabbits at night, frozen, stone still in my headlamps. A magic of what I think I know stills continues to amaze and surprise me. A morning glory prepped for the sunshine, the magical barks and yips of the singing dogs far off in the hills, a memory of the first warm breeze, sounds I know, yet strain to recognize.

The stones and bits of broken glass, the small rusted pieces of metal, bones, feathers, the last of a smudge that cleansed my home, myself this past year. All assures me that we are but pilgrims and what lies ahead will be far more beautiful than we know.

Pilgrimage Symbol, Santuario de Chimayo

I have a confession to make, every time I play air guitar, I play, “Cowgirl in the Sand.” I can’t tell you why and chances are if I could, I don’t know that I would….

“I demolish my bridges behind me – then there is no choice but forward.”

This what I’m listening to:

Here’s what Im reading:

The Night Time is the Right Time

“Eternal nothingness is O.K. If you’re dressed for it”

Each night before I sleep, I stand in my driveway and stare up to the stars. I know nothing of the heavens, and far less of that space just between where the stars float and where I stand.

La Cienegilla ©R.Redus 2018

There is something so unfamiliar and mysterious in the night time sky, yet so notable, intimate and seductive. Although I must admit I’ve forgotten the language, and all of the whispers and wishes connected to every falling star I’ve ever seen. Despite the distant, I’m still that persistent insect at the light bulb on some porch.

My house smells of Japanese Nokiba and pine, the sounds here are longer and more crisp these days. I anticipate the fire’s crackle and slow wave warmth each morning and each evening. Winter is beginning to slowly disrobe, she entices me back to my bed while ignoring my pleas for her abrupt exit. For as much as I protest, I do revere her presence.

“Ice Forms” © R. Redus 2019
“She’s Winter” © R. Redus 201

The last line of a passage I read this morning said, “ Time is our most irreplaceable asset – we cannot buy more of it. We can only strive to waste as little as possible.”

I’ll embrace the stark naked winter, her clothes in a pile close to my front door anticipating a departure, yet until then, she and I will stare skyward as star chasers always do…

Star Chaser Kachinas by Makweesa Chimerica

This is what I’m listening to:

This is what I’m reading:

“Naked is the best disguise”

The Yellow Flower Months

“The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos”

It begins slow, inconspicuous, like a fuzzy, beige caterpillar crawling, hidden in the garden leaves.

The Yellow Flower months span October and November. Chamisa begins its yellow, buttery life as the herald that Fall is awaiting, upright, crisp, inevitable.

Chamisa , “Chrysothamnus nauseosus”has its own unique fragrance. Best described “The scent of chamisa is at once woody, green and animalic, with several miscellaneous notes thrown in. Chamisa smells like a kitchen full of fresh herbs where a mouse, undiscovered but strongly suspected, has died behind the stove.”

My walks these days take me through roads lined with the bright yellow flowers. Perhaps if the road had a few more sharp turns, or it was powdery, red dirt with gray moonscape, stones about, a few deeper ruts, and maybe some longer views, it would make my journey more calculated, more precise; much like how a day operates, from a start to a finish.

As November unwinds, the yellow makes its way to a dried brittle remnant, awaiting the winter snows and winds. All but fade into the desert landscape, or hide behind a highway guardrail.

These Fall days are for us fools, those of us who linger in the afternoon sunlight like lazy old cats on the window ledge….

Here is what I am listening to

Here is what I’m reading

“Tomorrow is for those who can hear it coming”

Standing Still

“Our destiny is frequently met in the very path we take to avoid it.”

Recently life has taken some interesting turns, somewhere in the midst of the turning process, things have sharpened, hardened and curled like dry clay in the arroyo. Uncertainty has given way to need for stillness, and a search for a quiet, calm place. Perhaps its the anticipation of what lies ahead, or maybe the unpredictability of that position that has driven me to seek stillness, and hold it close, tight to my chest.

I’ve spent a great deal of time these days in the Cerrillos Hills. A tangle of rocky trails intersecting one another like honeysuckle vines on a wooden fence. One trail in particular, the Mirador Trail seems the ideal fit for my current disposition. As I see It, it has everything a trail mirroring a disposition should. there is a specific place I stop, that I’ve named the, “incubator”. It is a place where my thoughts and ideas move like the thick clouds above, a place that coaxes me to stillness, makes each breath I take, a dust devil, a divine wind that rushes through juniper dotted hillsides.

A centipede appeared on my jewelry bench this morning. My first reaction was startle, then I watched it. It undulated back and forth, all it’s leg moving harmoniously, it’s brown lacquer body navigating the wooden top with precision. It finally settled in the corner of the bench, the clouds overhead moved at a snails pace….

This is what I’m reading: Being a Beast by Charles Foster

This is what I’m listening to: Well, Well, Cornelius

“Unbelieving something is hard”

A Walk Before the Weather

 “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”

This is the time of year I truly enjoy traveling in New Mexico. There is a stir of life beginning, a feel that soon, the slow beauty of the world around me will explode in slow motion before my eyes.

My walk the other morning was along an old coal mining road, the overcast sky hung close to my shoulders and I found myself ducking to avoid the clouds. The air was damp, and cool with a hint of Spring leaking out like the spray from a pinhole in a garden hose. I walked like an animal familiar with the terrain, each step purposeful, exact. I don’t normally walk this way, I prefer the sounds of my footsteps rather than feeling them, yet today was different.

There is a, take a book, leave a book at The Old Boarding House Mercantile in Madrid. The shelves are filled with more surprises than you can imagine. I left with a calendar from, Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and book titled, ‘On Writing Well, An informal guide to writing nonfiction‘ one necessary the other an option.

Highway 14 was quiet, anticipating rain or maybe snow, neither happened though at least none expected for a couple of days. Java Junction provided a great Chai Latte and a place to sit outside and peruse the new finds.

The walk up the hill to my house never gets old. I see the smoke from the chimney, stop about thirty yards in front of the place, take a deep breath, close my eyes, and listen through the silence.

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

Kiva ©R.Redus, 2010
Cabezon, ©R.Redus 2011
And it’s 1,2,3 ©R.Redus 2009

Here’s what I’m reading:

Here’s what I’m listening to:

Jimmy LaFave, The Night Tribe

Tortillas, Good For What Ails You

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”

I’ve been making flour tortillas lately, and for as much as I enjoy eating them, I have to say, making them has become a significant form of meditation for me. They are very easy to make, require minimal ingredients and the end result is close to the best result for the effort I have ever experienced.

This really has become a lesson in simplicity, ease and patience. I never planned on doing this, nor did I think I’d be kneading dough on the marble block in my kitchen or rolling out as close to uniform circles as I can get, (much more difficult than it looks.) I’ve rolled tortillas that look like the continent of Africa, hearts, uneven eclipses, rounded squares, mostly organic shapes but let me stress, rarely do I roll rounds. I have a tortilla press that I’ve hardly used; but if my friend who works at the laundromat can roll rounds by hand, I feel confident with a few hundred more tortillas I can too. She has guided and directed me through this entire process, suggesting rolling with a glass, rolling from the inside out with a slight turn of the rolling pin at the edge, patting them first in my hands to an almost round, then rolling them; everything her mother and grandmother do and have done to make the perfectly round burrito sized tortilla

I’ve traded in my traditional rolling pin for a Douglas Fir dowel that I sanded and smoothed all of the edges and named it, ‘Wanda’. I use a large, antique wooden bowl to mix the ingredients named, ‘Primo’, and I have a beautiful linen cloth, ‘El Cuervo’, to cover the dough for the 20 minute, required, “Rest.” I’ve named each of these items and given them some life as this process and they have given me some life as well.

I can’t say I’ll make tortillas for ever, but I can honestly say tortillas have changed how I look at processes, writing, my life, painting, making jewelry, how I take walks, look at sunsets, cook and mostly appreciate the smallest things I encounter day to day that I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to until this.

Who’d a thought….

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

A Day Like No Other

“There was a large sliver of a broken cup on the yellow checkered linoleum floor…his front tooth was lying there next to a few drops of his blood…she’d been singing, “C’mon boots…start walking”…that was Nancy Sinatra he said out loud…she didn’t answer.” From, The Black Eye Project

It’s a snowy day here in New Mexico, brown patches of road look like peeled off pieces of bark where the tire tracks have melted the snow. It is an absolute sort of conversation to have while looking out of my bedroom window. Something that really never gets resolved for the most part.

The coyotes, bark and sing early most every morning long before the sun squints its way through the blinds. They’ve become my alarm clock, the way I wake to the day. It’s fusion on a natural, organic level.

I’ve taken to calling these days the, “Black and White Days,” and mostly because they feel like a gray, dawn sky full of crows.

The dreamer in me thinks of summer and swimming and drinking a Miller High Life while I barbecue boneless, skinless, chicken thighs; watching the smoke rise and never touching the blue sky ceiling above.

I dream, and dream on a grand scale and always have. There are those dreams, those of a visceral quality that I fear and not because they are frightening or dark, but because they are the deep pit places that smell of earth where I can shed all that I have made myself and become who I am. That person with one coffee cup and a favorite spoon I’ve named, a single towel, and a cast iron pan, no place to call home, yet everyplace is called home.

A star gazer, a moonlight watcher, a blue sky thinker, a swimmer of ponds and roadside rivers, a fire maker, road warrior, a pancake flipper, a dreamer….

“The alarm never rang…he was a hundred 50 miles down the road by the time she woke..she had convinced herself…he’d be back by noon…then 3…then surely by six for supper…maybe he’d stopped by to see Dale…sure that was it…she’d find him on the couch tomorrow morning…she combed her hair out…washed her face…smiled at her reflection and knew….it was just another day in Pair O Dice…” From, The Black Eye Project

To an End

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

La Leña ©2020 R. Redus

There is a quiet in the air this time of year, black wings slowly flapping in the sky above breaks the silence. Everything is looking back, checking for small cracks in the earth, bits of daylight seeping in like slivers of broken, bleached bone in the black, cotton, darkness. All is getting ready, preparing, awaiting the long trek towards spring. That long distance, the far away…

I’ve driven the dirt roads in this place for more than half of my life and have never questioned the sacred nature of these mesas and arroyos; It is the familiarity I fear. The day I become maybe too accustom to the dry, sage smells, the sponge earth, crunch, beneath my feet. All of things that I know everything about yet know nothing of…

Making certain the sensations, events, those moments that matter, truly do matter, that’s what hones the edge for me. Its how my hands feel breaking the crusty, hard, dirt away from a coral, red, piece of petrified wood, the cool water of sweet pea pool in summer, or a handful of feathers from a recent Flicker kill in the high grass…

I smell the warm pinion pitch in the brass bowl on top of the wood stove, the jasmine green tea in my cup, I drag my fingernails across the rosewood desk, just to feel it.

Just to feel it….

“Far Away”, ©R.Redus 2020

“Cabezon” ©R.Redus 2020

“Phoenix”, ©R.Redus2020

“You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”

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