Bienvenidos! Welcome!

Thanks for visiting Daughter of Corn. I hope you enjoy the essays and thoughts about the journeys of a writer in San Miguel....who ends up in Iowa City!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Fruition

Finally there is another ending….this one comes with celebration.  Breathe into the Knowing, a book of poetry with pictures of my collages interspersed is now in print. With the guidance and skills of Azalea Art Press, this slim volume is a realized dream.

I am simply amazed that I was able to accomplish the completion of this work of art while working 8 to 5 in a very demanding job at the University of Iowa.  There was an energy, and a sense of purpose that arose the September evening before my mother passed on to the other world…which had nothing to do with our last conversation, and yet, had everything to do with it.  The mystery remains, and I am truly thankful that my creative diligence has found a concrete form in this book of poetry.  My dream is that the poems will return the reader to a more profound urgency about the Earth and our need to be vigilant, protectors of Her beauty, and Her gifts.  

That said, the frigid embrace of a never-ending story of snow and ice in this now Iowa winter has made all of us a bit tense.  The need to walk carefully and find ways to secure warmth as we enter in and out of buildings keeps all of us a bit wary and weary at the same time.  Yesterday on MLK Day I curled up and read a whole book---something I have not done in a long while.  The book was about the author's bad brother who was suddenly killed and who supposedly communicated with her over a span of several months.  Lots of cosmic justice and energy plateaus abounded in The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, but the truth is, I wanted to hear more about the earthly Billy, rather than his post-mortem passage to sainthood….our human stories, the measure of our living, this is the great feast!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Return Continues

Hola! Daughter of Corn is back!

It is close to Christmas Eve, and not only is the world inhaling a breath of change, but so am I:  new job, new house, and new book.  In about a month a compilation of my poetry, "Breathe into the Knowing", will be published by Azalea Art Press.  Several pictures of my collages grace the interior in black and white, and the book cover will display two of my most colorful works.  On the eve of my mother's death I determined that I must move to publish ten years of creative work and revision.  That was in early September, and with the collaboration of Karen Mireau, incisive reviews by three female poets, and an energy that burst from out of some hidden recess,  I hover on the horizon of finality.  Many mornings I got up early to revise, sequence, and correct, so I could get to my employment at the University of Iowa by 8 am.  In the process I realized that my stint at Garden Street was very productive--I have a second book!  Well, the beginning of a second book, which I will definitely call Garden Street.  Lovely name for a place that held so much controversy and at the same time comfort after two years in a tiny apartment on Church Street.

Where do I live now?  Well, in a bungalow on a very plain D Street.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Full Circle: Returning to Who We Are

We are edging close to the new Spring Equinox, and what a fantastic way to come full circle in this blog about returning.  Now the Maya and other spiritual souls are gathering near Queretaro, and there will be another Earth blessing. However, I am no longer writing in San Miguel;  instead I am living in the City of Literature, located in the Heartland.

To have been part of the revolving seasons of nature once more was enlightening and challenging.  We are now emerging from the deep sleep of winter's frozen stillness.  The other day I saw a male and female cardinal in a dance near my window, and my heart quickened.  The Earth is soft, receptive to the rain and blustery winds.  Stoic Midwesterners begin to sigh with relief, the curve of a smile threatening their solemn countenance.   In Mexico the sun has warmed its people with glorious light throughout the winter months, but we in the central plains have risen to gray skies for too long.  Our reward is the knowledge that after the darkness comes Light and hope.

This returning is what has made me acknowledge who I am:  daughter of corn, woman of the woodlands, prairie born and raised.  I am sad that my dream of redefining myself as a writer did not find permanence in San Miguel.  Yet when I crossed the border into the United States last May, I thought of the prairie in the throes of Spring and wept.

 I have the Iowa dirt between my toes, and a history of corn in my bloodline.  Throughout my life I have been redefining who I am, but have never changed the core of my being.  The Spring Equinox is about renewal and honoring the cycles of the Earth.  It is about returning to the Light, and being human in this ever-changing planet.  Most of all, it is about offering up our prayers of gratitude, for we have been blessed to witness the bold awakening of our land and hearts.

The Blessed Day

Bring the blessed day
   straight into your anxious heart.

Let no buzz, no hum
   no little plastic device

come between you and the day.

If you are trapped
   inside a cubicle of artificial space

and the outside world
   disappears into a minor beige

reach for the passion of purple
   as it whispers into dusk.

Inhale the smell of freshly cut hay
  scattered tenderly in the wind.

Then weep for the Woman who stands
  on the magnificent Earth

in a temple of white remembrance,
 Copyright Corinne J. Stanley 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Praying to the Earth

She explained to me that the overnight campers had participated in a nocturnal Bear ceremony, courtesy of a North American tribe.  "Very masculine energy," she added.  "Lots of chest-beating, if you know what I mean."

Gazing around me, I strained to imagine such a ceremony, for there was a tranquility emanating from the walkers of the labyrinth.  "Thirteen times.  The Mayan says you have to walk the labyrinth thirteen times,"  my friend noted, as I began to rise.

"I don't have time to walk it that many times. It's getting close to noon,  Personally, I don't see what the difference is."  Locating the entry into the labyrinth, I began my personal journey of silent meditation.  Close to my left I noticed the Mayan frowning slightly.  The clothes, I thought.  I don't suppose he approves.  But did it matter to God?  I knew the Mayan desired numbers and scientific credibility, but I had decided to simply pray for the earth as I walked.  Pray for the feminine Earth, whose being was wracked with exploitation and disregard.

 I walked seven times.  Seven is a good number, a holy number.  But, when we were poised to begin the official ceremony, and people were needed in the meditation center (thirteen people, to be precise) the Mayan wouldn't let me go.  "Caminaste el laberinto trece veces?" he demanded.  I shook my head, and stepped back while a man with a long braid eagerly entered the meditation circle.

The truth is, I wasn't sure why I had come.  Though I found the event fascinating, especially the champaign glasses that were ringing under the nimble movements of index fingers, I also felt a little out of place.  My spiritual life was usually much more solitary and personal than the Happening on the Hill.
However, people from all walks of life had come together to respect and give their energy to protecting the earth.  I wanted the Mayan's ceremony to work--I wanted to believe in the miracle of leaving a better place for the young people I worked with every day.  So I paced myself in the directed manner as I started the labyrinth once more, and blew into my pre-hispanic rabbit-shaped whistle. At twelve o'clock noon, when the Dakota Indian sounded the conch and another lifted his arms in an invocation to the Spirits, I prayed.

It was the Spring Equinox.  We were on a mountaintop and we were united in our efforts to bring goodness into the world.  My solar plexus once more caved in, and I felt my prayers were heard.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring Equinox Begins

We arrived to a plateau half-way up the steep mountain.  There were hippie-like people wandering around a house that looked like one Joni Mitchell used to own in the Sixties--- a round, peaked Berber hut, only set in sunny Mexico.  Since it was getting close to 11:00, we scrambled out of the SUV and quickly followed the owner of the House of Angels up a steep trail.  My friend Yvonne, who was in much better shape than I, deftly followed the man.  I had to pull on any available branches and sometimes crawl.

When we got to the top, an astounding sight greeted us.  The Mayan had chosen this particular place because of its pre-Hispanic history, and to the left, on a higher peak, I observed a stella surrounded by some ruins.  A few people were standing or perhaps meditating at its base.  However, what I wasn't prepared for was the whiteness of it all.  Almost everyone I saw was wearing white--white pants, white skirts, white tunics and huipiles.  The Mayan, in the far distance, was dressed in modest white as well.  I looked down at my green top and bluejeans, somewhat chagrined.

There were little stands selling pre-hispanic ceramic whistles and incense, as well as crystals and bottles of water.  Most of the people were silently pacing a large labyrinth laid out on the flat ceremonial space, but there were a few centers within the labyrinth, also.  One was a type of healing/purification center, where people were receiving treatments.  I noticed one woman smoking a large cigar, and blowing smoke into people's faces as she randomly shouted.  Another  center consisted of a small group of people doing tai-chi and other movements.  On one side of the circle there appeared to be people sitting in a meditation daze, and yet another group was making noises with whistles and drums and champaign glasses half-filled with water.  After taking this all in, I decided to sit next to a woman who looked like a middle-aged, well, Joni Mitchell in fact, with thick blonde braids, remarkably blue eyes and a cigarette stuck between her fingers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Through the Tunnel

It was curious to me that I had never known of the mountain tunnel outside of the city of San Miguel. Then again, I'd often felt this energetic pull that kept me from venturing far from the city--though much of that energy had been devoted to scrambling for a living.

Using my intuition and a faint remembrance of online directions, I managed to locate the tunnel.  Along the way we passed the presa and I noticed a landscape that had simply evaded my attention all those years of living in the heart of the city.  Water bottles jiggled inside the car and I munched on my Tortitlan milenesa sandwhich as I observed a strange site.  Were those oriental structures sitting on the side of the mountain?  Apparently some religious group had built meditation huts that appeared to have wandered from the Tibetan landscape.  To our right a small group of men were pulling boulders and stones out of the mostly dry Rio Laja, and I wondered what that was about, considering the constant construction in San Miguel.

"Look! Here is the landmark!"  I called out to my companion, just as I was thinking we'd gone too far.  Amazingly, the owner of the House of Angels pulled up at the same moment.

"It's pretty rough on the way up,"  he told us, looking critically at my Ford Focus.  "I have four-wheel drive--do you want to just come with us?"

Later, when Sierra and I were climbing down the mountainside, I realized how serendipitous our encounter was.  Had I ventured up on my own, most probably I would have wrecked my suspension.

Some things are just meant to be.