Posted in earth friendly

Oh Yeah?


No sense at all

is nonsense.

I return to color scheme

clouds and landscapes.

Humans are crazy makers.


Another week has ended. I’ve turned off all the news, avoided social media, signed off on all business transactions and go outside to the natural world. I feel a huge sigh of relief as I watch the sky.


Journal prompt: write about your inner feelings in as few words as possible. Don’t explain, just write a brief few lines.

Wait a week then go back and do a re-write. See what happens.


copyright ©2016 by Susan E. Rowland

Posted in earth friendly, journal prompts, time, Writing for healing

Soul Scenery

the mountains

Every day the images return

to strengthen a faltering resolve.

Maybe it was the scent of woods or faint hint of ocean droplets

over the ridges,

beyond pines and redwoods…

nothing is the same.

As I grasp for some semblance of hope,

any kind of resolution, for a song, a feeling,

I pick up your memory, falling into your arms

and begin again.

You were the only one who understood.



Discussion: For me, nature is the same as having a steadfast friend. I am never bored with landscapes. Each tree, each sunset, every bend in a country road or building in a neighborhood becomes part of life. I feel landscape is a part of my soul.

Journal prompt: Write a poem to your favorite landscape. Does it make you excited and wanting to dance? Peaceful, stormy, angry, powerful? What emotions would you attach to your favorite  landscapes? Add photos, drawings, or collage to your journal entry.

Posted in earth friendly, inspirational

Faith in the Time of Fracking and GMO




Earthquakes and tumors, cold-fired fast-profit death,

created by illustrious Homo sapiens.

Will the future descendants find clues buried under mounds of radioactive earth

and make a movie about how we destroyed ourselves

with a weapons cache of ignorance?




In a global science class for advanced students

a girl from Eastern Europe, a boy from Asia,

and a set of twins from America,

solved the energy crisis by turning plants into oil,

and curing diseases,

replacing destruction with healthy answers.




Journal prompt: 

1)  write about what frustrates you.

2) after writing a frustration piece, write a few lines with a  resolution. How does this make you feel?

Discussion: most journal experts  agree that writing out problems and frustrations helps us to identify issues. Writing a resolution or an answer, even if it seems like a fairy tale or overly optimistic, is helpful. In essence, you are doing an inexpensive form of self therapy and helping to change a mood.

By writing and journaling, you can change your own view. By connecting on social media you access others who share your views. Too simple? Not really.

What if the power of suggestion really works?

Remember when they thought the world was flat?

Remember when we thought space travel was impossible?

Remember when we had no medicines for diseases?










Posted in earth friendly, inspirational, poetry

Top of the World

top of the world

Dear Readers, I’m still dealing with some interesting challenges with technology and the internet. Who isn’t?

I am probably going to retire this blog soon. I have changed the title for now- just so that it’s not confused with another blog that showed up recently ” Journaling With Sue”-with an exclamation point. Confusing, nevertheless, I’m not going to quit writing.

 I will be putting up a notice with my newsletter address and new blog address in a few months. For now, I will do some weekly posts until the change happens by the first of 2015. And-since change is the only thing we can count on in life, here we go. It is the fate of every woman…and man…but you ladies know what I’m talking about…hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and the whole chalupa! After that big old masterpiece, then it’s all  about weight-bearing exercises and bone density. Lots of fun. I’m remaining polite about men-o-pause (pause from men) and do not want to hear from anyone who “sailed right through it.” My response is, great… **Q*@*&Q#^*** and back to you.

Here is this week’s poem.


There’s a place

at the top of world

where all is peaceful,

where rushes rustle together

and blackbirds command the marsh.

I watched the seasons clearly

with every turning, a young mother, strong and steady.

We were  caretaking  the neighbor’s horse

so we raced together, your little arms

clinging to my back

as we galloped without a saddle up Boogie Woogie Way,

giggling like crazy from the bumping and holding on,

madrone leaves crunching underneath Smokey’s hooves

on Christmas day.

You have all grown up

but said you had returned this autumn

to take care of serious business,

to clean up after him.

Your father did the best he could.

Problems-that’s all it was-problems.

The good people

and nature spirits


at  the top of world;

the celebration is a magnificent show.

The admittance charge is only the gift of gazing

and a thank you

for your bravery and kindness.



card from willow and chey

Journal prompt: Write about a relationship situation without actually talking about it. Use prose or poetry. Does it help to hint at the situation? Or would you rather get the real issue right out in the open?

copyright ©  2014 by Susan E. Rowland

Posted in earth friendly, forgiveness, inspirational, nature

Butterflies and Kingsnakes


The  yellow mercurial butterflies 

are migrating in autumn regalia

flitting from scrappy creosote bush to lantana,

celibate in this stage,


with purposeful beauty,

actors and actresses


south to Mexican mountains.

Adorn the air with color.


Regarding  from a distance

a queenly kingsnake with her cadmium yellow stripes

competes in the beauty contest for color perfection.


She watches warily with a wink

as she makes her way

a supernatural healer,

enemy of rattlesnake,

defender of earth,

her majesty creeps with looping spine

near the red wall.

second view of the king


She’s  going home

to her den underneath the side porch.

I haven’t seen the little lizard lately,

a cutie

who comes by regularly for blueberry treats.

Maybe Ms Kingsnake has swallowed Lizzy

in preparation for winter hibernation.


For a split second

a haphazard thought comes visiting inside my head,

a map of the absurd

called imagination.

Tis only my homo sapien consciousness.

Keep going, dear one.

When I’m ready

we will visit again.


world collage

Copyright © 2014 by Susan E Rowland


Posted in earth friendly, inspirational, journaling, stream of consciousness writing, time

Quiet Times and Grandfather’s Monsoon Song



In times of quiet
the low hum of air conditioning units on tiled roofs and bungalows becomes an invitation  before the morning call of dawn bird.
The spirits are free to come down from the woods out of the Great Mountain. Softly they  might appear on the deep desert floor.
You might just catch a glimpse of a winged one
when time stops.
A bounding shape-shifter leaps into the long evening.
Mesquites guard a shadowy panorama-what was that?
Songs of the ancient ones.


Hush my child, your guardian is ever near

in the glistening mid-day sun and underneath your eyelids at midnight.

Reach out with your fingers, I am here.

My shoulders are strong and you may rest your head between them

as you are still young-no bullies live in our neighborhood

where mixed skin tones and gathering souls honor the four directions, the four colors.

I am telling stories before you dream.

There now, you are safe.

You are a reverie

born to the peaceful ones.



Posted in blog challenge, blogaday, earth friendly, journal prompts, spirituality, Writing for healing

The Scent and Moods of Mother Earth

Seasonal scents-The prompt is about the scent of summer. I’m doing a freer interpretation…this is a rough draft of my memoir in poetry.

Note: I changed tense in the middle of the poem deliberately…bare bones…
zen tree trunk copy

The earth is a woman.
When I was young the changing seasons reveled my senses.
Hard cold endless winter made brighter by the sun as she turned
my bedroom window gave way to
eager smells from the sometimes open screen bringing life in again
blooms open and trees turned
fields swelled up to the glorious greens.
My woman friend wears an endearing eau de fresh earth and bark.

The earth is a woman.
I roamed, I roamed.
Time tended the years, deliberately taking leave of the Southern Ohio balmy woods
I flew to Oakland to explore ivy laden hillside streets and alleyways to grand avenues.
Laced curtains billowed in bus filled streets as sociable angels on bikes dwelled with truth seekers and poets.
A student, lover, attendant, and mother, when the baby is a year old we make the northerly trek
to the mountains of my power days. Mountain woman walks with her friend.
My earthy friend is the duskiest most delicate sweetness and she never leaves me
when tears drop on the ground.

The earth is a woman
my companion is forever a sanctuary, her moods can be soft or rough or raging.
The scent is manzanita, water-kissed pine and redwood, deep and sturdy sphagnum oaks
hold me

in a funnel of comfort as I transformed from young woman to middle age.
Then, as gorges deepened in the meadow and trees fell, so did people and the lines
on my face, your odor is still as sweet as baby’s breath with new spring rain.
I cling to your wisdom, your stories, and searching, searching,
The children leave home all grown.
The summers roll on lovely and lavender, full of jasmine and rose.

The earth is a woman.
My man becomes discontent the quarrels erupt as plump, pregnant summers give birth to
wood-smoked fall. We adventure out, unsure, then make a plan
to move to the sparkled and bright-aura desert where my woman friend throws off
the sent of sage a turning couture of fashionable brevity. She offers newness-the
nascent wafting – sand after the monsoon, blossoms nudge rabbits to hop and lizards to dance.
The desert broom, mesquite and palo verde make a wreathe around my head
as creosote and ragweed change my sinus cavities

and his will to live. Heart surgery. Success.

the drops on creosote bush

The earth is a woman.
I am evolving faster than she, but still my soul opens in quiet gratitude.
Her  sensuous scent is a daily gift of ceremony, sunrise and sunset
accompanied by gaudy displays of color and drama.
How can you smell so darling and then so foul, as when a big saguaro decays?
Later I laugh only after squelching the memory of the nasty rot
Right in the front yard, the odor so bad, I thought there had been a murder in the neighborhood.
Could it be horse in death? No, a giant had fallen.
I become the aging woman, my earthen friend has shown me a thing or two.

the sajuaro silhoutte

She wins, hands down, but bellows out an uncharacteristic command.
I am she on whom you all stand. I feed you, console, bathe, give you lovely teas and coffees, fruits
and vines with bursting melons, medicines for your bruises.
But yet, you trample me, drill me, extract my blood and juice, attacking me.
Stop hurting me and raping me!

Tell your humans to stop.
If you do not stop I will send more hurricanes, and big earthquakes and I will
deliver a rage more devastating
than your puny, tainted interpretations of a wisdom you call ‘God.’
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the earth.
I’ve had enough now. I might leave you all behind, if you don’t change.
The earth is a woman.




Posted in earth friendly, friends, memoir, spirituality, Writing for healing

Fork It, Explained

the old house near caspar


Did I sound critical and dark about her need for adventure?
No, no, no, no!
It’s just the grief talking.
How could I have lost another friend?
My poems are full of it, you know,
seems like I’m supposed to get it,
this thing called death

and a monster disease,

a thief stealing a woman

who was always

a giver.

They say it is “ just a transition” a shedding of the physical body.
Another piece about death?
That’s what it is-evidence-
raw and real…
Not crossing over, not the transition, not passed away,
such are the phrases of pablum, more bland than unsweetened oatmeal…


The last time I saw her,
I could tell something was up.
She was meeting with her son at the local taco stand;
her sparkling eyes seemed so serious.
She didn’t stop to talk or chat, even her red hair
was different that night,
and you could always tell it was she…
a block away,
her coppery hair lit up like her splendid soul.

I can’t seem to get the timeline right but I do know
I was back in Ohio at my father’s bedside, right there…silently screaming
at the ides of March.
He never liked March.
He passed on during that third day of the dreaded month, and when I came home
to California, the redwoods and giant oaks seemed foreboding.
I found she was going too.
How could it be?

Would there be no more adventures to exotic places?
No more post cards and slide shows,
her altruistic voice, far-seeing tiny eyes filled with tales of people.
I always thought she was a reincarnated Chinese sage,
with those hennaed locks
flowing with the energy of an athlete.

She said “you were the first people I met when I moved to town.”
She told that to everybody because we made her feel at home.
We felt like family, because our hearts united for simple honoring
That was before I’d had enough and had to leave my kid’s dad
for all the fighting and verbal demise.
It was I who had bitten the dust. She understood.

It was easy to make anyone feel at home because she was so friendly and vivacious,
making people feel welcomed was simple for that’s the way we were raised.
Only later I found out there was a name for it….codependency…she could see that there was a jagged edge
in my marriage, that the hurled barbs of word attacks hit me when company departed
and my hurt was starting to show.
She knew.

Everywhere she went, she rallied for others…for the earth, nutrition, and good causes,
attending to the forgotten, women, children, and others.
She was outspoken about formal religion,
It made her feel like an animal in a cage.
“Don’t give me that Jesus stuff” was the underpinning of the message,
and here’s why:
She lived the real word of the gospel
by doing right,
but that girl just would not sit tight.

When she went to Nepal
we lent her Johnny’s leather suitcase, perfect for her voyage.
It had pockets on both sides, with an inside zipper and storage places.
She never forgot to bring us little trinkets, shiny red and glittering
tokens of those places she acquired on her voyage list…
but it was so far away this time, we made sure her itinerary was printed clearly.
We knew she’d be back with tales of adventure, talking of
of fabulous foods served on floors, and statues of Buddha mixed with
mountains of foreign language
and new friends.

Posted in earth friendly, journal prompts, natural resources

Gratitude Post 7, Air

                       closed for smog 2

I am grateful for the element of air… or what’s left of it.

We better pray like hell. Or do rosary beads. Chant Om? Something!   Air pollution stats show that 2012 reigned as  the year with the highest greenhouse gas emission levels ever. Welcome to the world we’re leaving you, kids.

The hole in the ozone layer is increasing.  Deforestation- meaning major areas of clear cutting in places like the Amazon rainforest etc,  along with that lovely  burning fossil fuels (gasoline engines and industries barfing out black smoke into the atmosphere) are the major sources of bad air quality.  Most people already know this and  worried about it 40 years ago, along with nuclear proliferation. We continue to foul our own nest. “We have met the enemy” and we are it.  Continue reading “Gratitude Post 7, Air”

Posted in earth friendly, Uncategorized

November Gratitude Post 6, Water

                      1980 journal

I am grateful for clean running water and decent sanitation. For years, and with young children, I lived without hot running water and electricity. I hauled all our water, every drop of it. I chopped wood and did all the things that men do in country living, but then again, most country women are like that. I would never trade the experience. That lifestyle was not something I did for six months or a year to write a book about or to engage in an experiment, although there are aspects to not having the amenities that now seem too rugged.  We didn’t have phones. Sometimes we didn’t have a car. One winter we got snowed in and ran out of food and had to walk out with a four year old and a baby. I kept an illustrated journal through all of it. Many people in the world still live that way.

                                                cabin inside late '70's

Journal prompt: Have you ever lived without hot running water? Write about your experiences. If you’ve always had modern amenities, try living without them for a day or two. That includes water, electricity, phone, and flushing. It adds a new dimension to the concept of gratitude.

Top photo: cover of my journal 1980

Bottom: journal drawing from that time period

Copyright © 2013 writing, art, photos by Susan E. Rowland