Greyhound in the Arbor by Janine M. Donoho

Like many of us, I navigate periodic meltdowns. This usually happens during the BIG transitions: death of a family member, including our hounds; life in new geography which entailed leaving behind best girlfriends; the early death of a friend; learning on Facebook that your very independent and beloved son was in a near fatal accident… You get the idea. We all face these changes.

Most of us survive these times. Sometimes we do so through our natural ebullience, other times we walk upon tender bare feet across what feels like shards of heated glass. My process for surmounting falls most often in the latter category.

When engrossed in the moment, I sometimes encounter resistance toward the next evolution. That can mean putting petal-to-metal to get where I need to be. Although it does bring out interesting responses in the predominately slow-moving folk where we live now, that behavior’s changing.

 Allow me to share with you this scrumptious moment between–a moment of now with my sweet greyhound Kartoucheʹ. After three years of feeding roots and training trunks into cordons and a canopy, we have our first ripening grapes.


Gates by Janine M. Donoho

Ornate with Chinese influence
Often gates are physical barriers.  Gates and attached fences serve as devices to exclude, imprison, warn off, intimidate and stake claims… Well, you get the idea. Sometimes they act as invitations. Either way, gates serve as transitions into other spaces. For me, gates impose the ultimate shift between what we know and the extravagant unknown.

Does ‘Keep Out’ come to mind?
Opening gates, whether physical or figurative, allows you to move between one side and the other. Nowhere did this become as concrete as in Malaysia. There you’d often find a gate attached to a wall, then be faced with electronic entry. Often a sentry reinforced the barrier. If you happened to be in a condominium, separate gates guarded each personal vestibule and multiple locks protected final doors. Within a single family home, internal rooms might be defended by separate bolted doors in case of a break-in. Really.

Huge estate with serious gate
This proved remarkable to someone living on a mostly natural 20 acres. We’re surrounded by Ponderosa forest and sagebrush steppe. Since this is cattle country interspersed with open range, barbed wire makes a strenuous argument for staying on your side of the fence, too. With fondness I recall wooden ladders over harsh obstacles. Not here, though.

Wooden gate over
barbed wire
The most obvious local gate equates with a cattle guard. Yes, some locals bar their driveways for purely exclusionary reasons. Such practice and attitude gives me misgivings. However, I’m not pure. Main gateways into the ranch can also impede seasonal hunters, allowing us to live lightly on this wildlife refuge.

Metaphorical gateways cluster around events like birth, illness and death. Social ones include graduations, weddings, and religious ceremonies. These events elicit wide ranges of emotional responses.

I find myself at just such a  juncture now, poised between do-I-stay or do-I-go. To progress toward that answer with me, I invite you to meet me here again for GATEKEEPERS.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27, 2015
The big day is here.

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