July 2009


Originally a native of Chicago’s south side, Judi Jaworowski has made her home in Minnesota since 1975. She lives with her dog Doc, a springer/basset mix that resembles left over parts from a Disney movie. He makes her laugh as she tries to juggle grad school and menopause simultaneously. No stranger to shame, she does experience freedom now and then.




There it hung, mesmerizing, big as life in the deep, blue, muggy Mississippi sky.  Truth was this was Minnesota. But I would have sworn I was in the deepest south. The air so moist and heavy, if I looked real hard I could almost see the steam comin’ off the roof tops. And starin’ through the tropical mist I saw that lunar wonder in all its’ radiant splendor, whole and without flaw against an infinite blue-black canvas.

Was it already 365 days since this same heat, this same light had seduced me? Beckoned and enticed me to give myself without hesitation to the cooling waters of a northern Minnesota lake? Another July…365 days ago under this same moon, I had abandoned myself to wonder, water, night frogs.  Campfire had smoke-dried my hair to a perfect woody scent.

In this reminiscent moment, like one old friend reminding me of another, I realized this was the same la bella luna that had left me and three friends speechless, breathless in Roosevelt National Forest in 1982. That night, she softly cast shadows against the rocks in front of us, as we sat tightly knit by conversation and held spellbound by warm, dancing, campfire flames. Behind us, just on the other side of the mountains, she rose. Her majestic rising still cloaked in mystery. She lured us, leaving us powerless to do anything except leave the security of our camp behind and track her rapid ascent. We climbed, faster and higher in the silent July night, until at last, there, she revealed herself effulgent, and we, without words or breath, worshipped her maker.

For a moment I come back to the sweltering present, only to slip away once more to the summer of ’84. Then, in a moment of wild insanity, or divine guidance, to this day I’m not sure which, I threw every dirty garment I owned into a suitcase and with an Iowa map in hand and puppy in tow, set out from the land of 10,000 lakes for “purple mountained majesties.” This same July lantern escorted me from Minneapolis to Des Moines to Lincoln. We parted company at dawn.

Now, July 11, 1995, as I drive home under her watchful care, I realize she’s much more than a full moon. Separate and apart from the others, she is July’s moon. We share a special bond. Was it she that inspired me to life in the gentle waters of my mother’s womb on a sultry July night in 1956? Who can say? I only know she alters me, an April babe turned July woman. She calls me to life. I am her captive. I am a lunatic…

story by judi jaworowski, all rights reserved
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Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leathercrafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address: http://soulscompass.blogspot.com/.

___________________________________________________________________________________________Deeper deeper warrior 5

Deeper Warrior Chapter 5: New York, New York

Tomorrow morning I would get in my Pinto and drive to New York City. Wanted to get an early start,  went to bed early. Never been east of Illinois before, never been to a city bigger than Des Moines. Flopped over to my left side, looking over the edge of the loft to the room down below. New room, boxes still unpacked, stuff strewn on chairs. And a duffel bag full of all that I should need for my week in the big city.

Christine was brave, inviting me to start the new year by moving into the empty room across the hall from her in Ash House. I didn’t have a great track record for roommate situations, really. And she invited me to come out to her parents’ home on Long Island for the last week of Christmas break; she would ride back to Iowa with me. She was working in Manhattan over break. Insane.

I flopped onto the other side, facing the wall. Exciting to think of seeing the sights. Images of the Big Apple, gleaned from years of watching television, ran through my head. Crowds of people, tall buildings blocking out the sky, subway cars covered in graffiti. Gangs, murders—why were so many of the tv shows in New York cop shows?

Sitting up, I looked at my clock. 10:30. No way was I going to get any sleep. Hell! I might as well get up and leave now. I slid down the ladder, got dressed, grabbed my duffel, climbed into my orange Pinto, and drove off into the long winter night.

Interstate all the way. Just go. I drank soda, stopped at rest areas. Got out in the cold dark wind, cursed those newspaper clippings my mother sent in the mail about people being murdered at rest areas, ran to the bathroom and back.

Who knew that northern Illinois was flatter than Nebraska? And Indiana much the same, with lots more city lights as I skimmed south of Chicago and the Lakes. Finally, with dawn greying the sky before me, I hit the Ohio border, and fatigue took its toll. Holiday City had an old fashioned motor hotel—the manager was surprised at someone checking in at sunrise for half a day. I slept alone in a motel for the first time in my life.

Four hours across Ohio plains, then up into the hills of Pennsylvania for a few more hours. Darkness fell, and suddenly the Pinto’s alternator warning light flashed on. Shit! Out in the middle of nowhere! The next truck stop possessed a helpful mechanic type person, thankfully.

“Nothin’ wrong with the alternator. Must be a short in your light.”

I drove on to Stroudsburg, at the eastern edge of Pennsylvania. It was Friday night, and the Oltmanns weren’t expecting me until Saturday afternoon. And I didn’t want to drive through New Jersey in the dark.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, television on, a thousand miles from home, I felt some lifeline stretching, ravelling. With the tv for white noise, I slept fully clothed across the foot of the bed.

Awake at dawn, I geared up for the plunge into the really big city. Topped off the Pinto at Parsippany; didn’t want to get low on gas in the middle of that vast urban wasteland.

First check, George Washington Bridge. I knew it was a toll bridge, but nothing had prepared me for this mile-wide concrete monster, with its big baskets hungry for change—and change only. I sat for a while staring, reading the signs, holding a dollar bill in my hand.

Then a denim-clad apparition emerged from nowhere, shouting, “What’s the problem?”

“No change!” I shouted back, waving my dollar bill. He grabbed the bill, dropped four quarters into my hand, and vanished, ghostlike. I threw coins in the basket and drove on.

Through the concrete canyons of the Bronx, across Throgs Neck Bridge, onto Long Island. OK, here’s the main drag, and here’s Garden City. Where’s that turn? Dammit! It was back there. OK, now I’m in Franklin Square. What’s with these cities crammed up against each other without a break?

I turned around, found the correct turn, and pulled up in front of a comfortingly ordinary suburban house to be welcomed by the Oltmanns. I’d hazarded the foreign land alone and reached a haven of security. For now.

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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