Project 16/50.7

Project 16/50 is a creative project to help me consider the threshold of turning 50 years old.  15 friends joined with me, so there were a total of 16  considering the creative prompt: Old Growth Reaching, New Growth Rooting (See Feeling Fiftyfor a more complete explanation)

In this seventh post, I will highlight two participants: Denice and Kristy

1. Poet Denice Bezoplenko

She writes this about her process in writing Foliage of Amure:  In this invitation to encircle Laurel, my hope was to weave some of the images that have been shared between us; birds (always the birds!), a draping Amur Maple in our yard, lost to a storm last year (Laurel was first to hear of my sorrow at the loss), Laurel’s Japanese Maple, Emma’s listening hands on trees, aging, internal fire…

Foliage of Amur
(“Folia d’amore” – “madness of love”)


plant a tree

I scratched at roots,

unbounded them from

inward turning circlets,

murmured, warm, urged,

“Ah, there you go, now

spread your root-wings

deeply, out. Some day

hands will lay their

listening blessings

on your bark.”


enters, thick in

red. Love’s madness

an adorning sacrifice.

Flames fall upward too.

Mother Love, divine, has

stoked Her fire to ascend.

Rising, life-blood leaves

are fluttering full awake

to play at bird-winged

flight, at no-limit


© 2017  – Denice Bezoplenko (all rights reserved)


 2. Poet, Kristy Dyer

Here’s what Kristy had to say about her creative process:  As I reflect on stability and transformation, both deep commitments and hopes for my own life –  I am drawn to the earth, as many of you were, where again and again, without pretense or need, the earth shows us the way to being our true selves, to living, dying and rising again, and quite simply – doing our part.

And there’s this other image that has stayed with me — during a recent sleepless night I saw the image of my poor and beloved neighbor Didi’s old suitcase in the garbage in the alley and a poem started forming for Laurel. I made the terrible mistake of not rolling out of bed to write the lines down and so I’m left wondering what that suitcase is saying. But it had something to do with it being okay that life doesn’t often go as we imagine it would have when we were young.

I have chosen photos of each season in my neighborhood, where I have placed my own vow of stability: a winter’s walk, my daughter’s feet in the grass of summer, a fall night at the river when a heron flew by, and the pure green beauty of spring growth. As Mary Oliver says, “all of the ingredients are here.”


My poem for Laurel

What do you do when you know only a poem can do the work that needs doing
Yet the words visit like ghosts in the night.
What do you do when you were young and words like radical and calling
Made you pack a suitcase full of hope
only to return home.
They say, “Oh the places you will go”.
But what if you don’t. Go. What if you stay.

What if your vow is not to turn away
From my pain or yours, or theirs
What if kindness moves a smile across
The face of recognition
And you’ve eased the loneliness of one. One someone.
What if you stay where you can’t pretend there are answers
or take up the occupation of filling empty space
What if you stay to feel the big child’s breath on your face.

Maybe here is where everything happens
And the suitcase once packed for somewhere else,
is now packed with what is most real.
What if the treasures you collect are coffee sleeves, heron visits
And a friend that bears witness.

What if the Spirit is in the word and the silence,
tended like a garden by your life
Where from under the dark earth
Beauty always rises.

© 2017 – Kristy Dyer (all rights reserved)
Poem and Photos


Image and Word, these are infinitely inspiring to me.  The image represents the encounter, the words the conversation.  The two of them together bind it heartily, through the gateway of the mind’s eye into the soul.
Thank you my friends,

Other Images Credit – Maple leaves on trunk, Laurel Archer; Kingfisher – rainbow, John Archer

One thought on “Project 16/50.7

  1. Ahhh Denice, your poem brings a longing within me to plant an Amur Maple, on our place to call home…both the tree and I spreading our root wings deeply out…a beautiful image to hold for these packing days.
    Kristy, as I consider these days of packing and our upcoming move, these words from your poem ring true for me, “Maybe here is where everything happens and the suitcase once packed for somewhere else, is now packed with what is most real.” All these large houses like suitcases have been packed for other places, and now our suitcase takes us full circle to the here and to what is most real!
    Thank you both for these words that ground and still me in the turmoil of a move.

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