the demands of certainty lead inevitably to tragedy

Powerlock. Robin L. Chandler, 2022.

Obsidian is so sharp that you can use it to cut your lousy life to pieces, and then when you have the original parts, the real ones, you can put them back together and have a clean assembly of things and see the world as it is and always was, and get to work at last, before it’s too goddam late.

-A Nevada hermit living near Big Smoky Valley

Excerpt from the book The Paradise Notebooks: 90 Miles across the Sierra Nevada by Richard J. Nevle & Steven Nightingale

The Coyolxauhqui imperative is to heal and achieve integration. When fragmentations occur, you fall apart and feel as though you’ve been expelled from paradise. Coyolxauhqui is my symbol for the necessary process of dismemberment and fragmentation, of seeing that self or the situations you’re embroiled in differently. Coyolxauhqui is also my symbol for reconstruction and reframing, one that allows for putting the pieces together in a new way. The Coyolxauhqui imperative is an ongoing process of making and unmaking. There is never any resolution, just the process of healing.

-Gloria E. Anzaldua

Excerpt from the book Light In The Dark/ Luz En Lo Oscar: Rewriting, Identity, Spirituality, Reality by Gloria E. Anzaldua and edited by Analouise Keating

for our Grinnell

fragile and fleeting. Robin L. Chandler, 2022.

To live to mourn an ancient woodland, known

Always, loved with an old love handed down,

That is a grief that will outlast the griever,

Grief as landmark, grief as a wearing river

That in its passing stays, biding in rhyme

Of year with year, time with returning time,

As though beyond the grave the soul will wait

In long unrest the shaping of the light

In branch and bole through the centuries that prepare

This ground to pray again its finest prayer.

An excerpt from Wendall Berry’s A Timbered Choir, 1987: III

Today March 31, 2022 our beloved Grinnell, peregrine falcon and mate for seven years to Annie, passed away. Thank you Grinnell for gracing our lives and for giving us so many treasured moments. Life is so fragile and so precious. You will soar always in our hearts.

for Kyiv

Robin L. Chandler, 2022.

Bees build around the honeycomb of lungs,

Ants build around white bone.

Torn is paper, rubber, linen, leather, flax,

Fiber, fabrics, cellulose, snakeskin, wire.

The roof and the wall collapse in flame and heat seizes the foundations.

Now there is only the earth, sandy, trodden down,

With one leafless tree.

Excerpt from the poem A Poor Christian Looks At The Ghetto by Czeslaw Milosz

nature and nurture

Point Reyes. Robin L. Chandler, 2022.

“Did you know, Dad, that if you write the word ‘red’ in green and ask a small child to tell you the color, the answer will be ‘green?’ But if you show the same word to an adult, the answer will be red. Children see the color, not the word. Adults see the word, and not the color.”

I am an advocate for wild creatures, rare plants, arrays of native vegetation, clean water, fish, stewardship of natural resources, and learning. I believe these things are compatible with ranching, sometimes lost without ranching. Some people call me a cowboy. A lot of good cowboys call me an environmentalist. I suppose there are lots of labels you can attach to me. There was a time when doing so was hurtful, so I threw back labels of my own. We throw a lot of anger at each other with words. It doesn’t do much for the land, really.

The time has come to see colors, not words.

Excerpt from the essay Colors and Words by Bob Budd in Ranching West of the 100th Meridian: Culture, Ecology, and Economics

we do not know

Robin L. Chandler, 2021.

WE DO NOT KNOW THE FUTURE. We do not know when the next war will start. We do not know when the last glacier will melt. We do not know when the last coral reef will bleach. We do not know how much oil we might still burn. We do not know when the last Javan rhinoceros will die. We do not know how nation-states will cope with millions of climate refugees. We do not know what policies economic crisis will be used to justify. We do not know when the Amazonia will collapse. We do not know how many more concentration camps will be built. We do not know when the Colorado River will go dry. We do not know toward what insidious ends the righteous hate of the downtrodden will be turned. We do not know when the Arctic Ocean will be ice free. We do not know what politics looks like in a world of catastrophic ecological collapse. We do not know when the Gulf Stream will slow to a stop. We do not know what we are capable of getting used to.

From Beginning with the End by Roy Scranton in Emergence Magazine

land of little rain

the east side. Robin L. Chandler, 2021.

It is thus that the novel takes its modern form, through “the relocation of the unheard-of toward the background…while the everyday moves into the foreground.” There is, however, an important difference between the weather events that we are now experiencing and those that occur in surrealist and magical realist novels: improbable though they might be, these events are neither surreal nor magical. To the contrary, these highly improbable occurrences are overwhelmingly, urgently, astoundingly real.

Amitav Ghosh The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable

the old masters

Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Robin L. Chandler, 2021.

Many years ago, when we wanted to learn about jazz, our dear friend Peggy, a connoisseur of improvisational music, began our education with the 1961 album Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane.  The album was recorded in 1957, when Monk and his quartet, featuring John Coltrane on tenor sax, were deep in their landmark six month residence at the Five Spot Café in New York’s East Village.  To this day, over sixty years later, their grooves are rubies, my dear, gems I turn to when I need to bebop and blow the blues away.

departure and arrival

After a year confined, while Shiva created and destroyed, the open road beckoned. The horizon open, the land infinite, and my mind seemed lotus-like, unbound.  And Earth shared: sky, mountains, trees, deserts, meadows, and rivers. My soul replenished: hope glimmers.

Clockwise: Thunderstorm over Wheeler Peak, Taos, NM; waterfall at Whitney Portal, Lone Pine, CA; sentinel trees at Whitney Portal, Lone Pine, CA; monsoon over Mt. Langley, Lone Pine, CA; and the San Francisco Peaks from Bonita Meadow, Flagstaff, AZ. Watercolors by Robin L. Chandler, 2021.