Oklahoma


From personal experience,
we know
that when you photograph
or draw
or write
what you see in the natural world
you see it more intricately,
thoroughly
and tumble into
wonder
more surely.
Our friend Jane Taylor
is a gifted observer
because she writes
and what she writes
is deeply beautiful.
So we are thrilled
that she is coming to Turtle Rock Farm
to lead a writing workshop
May 3.

Here’s how she describes the day:

This is a day-long workshop for new and experienced writers who want to explore or deepen his or her understanding of poetry as a lyrical form. Form will be a guide, but not a strict rule.  Emphasis will be on the mysteries of language, our relationships to the earth, and on listening, discovery, and compassionate sharing. The Owl will serve, as she has over the ages, to remind us of the mythologies we encounter and carry with us in our daily lives. You are invited to spend an extraordinary day at Turtle Rock. Wear your comfortable clothes and shoes for possible hiking. Bring your ordinary stories and be transformed in a natural circle of writers.

You can register on our website.

Consider joining us.
We look forward to a wonderful day,
and all that emerges.

Here’s one of Jane’s published poems:

Watercolors                         
             signed N. Bird, 1967.
A pile of watercolor painting tied with string
and I begin to barter for them
as though they were meant for me,
these unframed 10x16 giant holy cards,

holy cards sans halos, saints, enraptured faces.
I see the holiness of bare and bark-white trees.
They breathe in their nakedness and make
the winter winter.
They are watered by a stream that dreams 
of resting soon in ice, 
if the washy gray-green clouds are true.
I believe they are.
I know the likeness isn’t perfect.
Perhaps the sycamore (we call the button-wood) 
should thicken toward the base, 
be more deeply furrowed.
But I believe this watercolor world. I see
there is no bird, no red of hope, no cardinal
quiet in the branch, not even a blackbird wing 
to take us into spring before the hardest freeze.
If only I knew how to stand the cold, and wait,
and paint that kind of white, 
that true and lonely blue.
 
                                    Jane Vincent Taylor
                                            Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Workshop leader is Jane Vincent Taylor. Jane has a Master’s in Creative Writing from University of Central Oklahoma, a Master of Library Science and a BA in Women’s Studies from O.U.  She lives in Oklahoma City. She is a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellow. Journal publications include Red Cedar Review, Nimrod, Whetstone, Enigmatist, Red Plains Review, Calyx, Flyway, Third Wednesday, Rhino, and many others. Jane also teaches writing at Ghost Ranch, Abique, NM. Recent publications and activities are posted at janevincenttaylor.blogspot.com.

DSCN3620Eagle Nest is in center of photograph

It was a quiet Easter afternoon
down on Red Rock Creek
where a Bald Eagle couple
have made their home.
Their two eaglets are growing;
we can see them clearly now in the high nest.

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Mom and Dad were perched
nearby
side-by-side,
talking to the eaglets.
A little while after I began observing them,
one of the eaglets
spread its wings,
then spread its wings again.
There was more communication—
a loud squeaking sound from parents;
rapid-fire squeaking from youngsters.
Then Mom and Dad flew farther away,
perching near each other
in another tree.

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Our first observation of this family
was in mid-March.
At that time, we could only hear the eaglets.
We don’t know when they hatched.
Typically, eagles learn to fly at two months
and leave the nest at four to six months.
They keep their dark feathers
for five years,
before growing out the white feathers
that have caused humans to call them
“bald.”
Mom and Dad have made this
quiet neighborhood their home
and most likely will raise their next family
here, in this nest.

When the eaglets’ calls grew louder,
one of the parents
flew back
and kept watch
on a branch closer to the nest.

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A human family
came to watch
for a few minutes.
Townspeople make regular visits.
There is a reverential air
there—
we humans
in awe
of the beauty
in the Eagles’ simple domesticity.

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I’ve been to Earth Day celebrations
on the east coast—Washington, D.C.’s mall—
and the west coast—Topanga Canyon, California.
They may be bigger
with more educational opportunities,
more music, more food, more people
(and less wind,)
but I dearly love celebrating Earth
here on the prairie
at Turtle Rock Farm.
Chickens and guineas scratching around for insects,
goats and alpacas munching away in their pastures,
Red-Winged Blackbirds calling from tree tops,
Maizey greeting guests…
Transition OKC team members
helping people make seed bombs,
Lisa Piccolo explaining about natural fibers,
helping people learn to weave them;
Renee Hoover showing the beautiful belt
she made from the alpacas’ fleece
and demonstrating Cherokee finger weaving…
Bruce Johnson and Barbara Hagan
teaching about energy with their hand-cranked generator
and cracking TRF black walnuts and pecans for tasting…
learning about fighting legislation
that would fine Oklahoma residents who install solar and wind systems…
Dave Conrad leading an Earth Drum Circle…
George, Sylvan and Dale
making sweet homemade music in the round-top…
lunching on corn grilled in the husk (and kept warm in a solar oven)
and the delicious Bison hot dogs from Wichita Buffalo Company
labyrinth walking…
porch sittin’…
making the Cosmic Walk…

Together,
with all ages of people
who care about
and celebrate
our planet home…
in a soft place…
a thin place…
It was a day
when our humanity
was showing!

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