Bonnie Larson Staiger

View from up here (46.9 N Latitude). Poetry, musings, and an occasional blurt

The weather is like a family member here in North Dakota. It figures prominently in everyday plans, travel, and small talk.  I use this term (borrowed from poet Kathleen Norris in her book, Dakota–A Spiritual Geography) to take stock of what I’m thinking, observing, and how I’m processing the world. Here you will find an odd-lot of random questions, and snippets of common wisdom.

Mar 2019 A poet friend and I had an exchange today about writing from the place of raw emotion. I recalled the times when the heat of the pen nearly burned my fingers.

Dec 2018 Once there was weather and people just lived with it. If you
were planning a picnic or an outdoor wedding, say, you’d have
what was called a “contingency plan.”
        ~ Kate Colby, excerpt from ‘Sun Damage’

Nov 2018

[. . . ] I drove home alone
with nothing swinging in the cage of my heart
except the faint hope that I might
catch a glimpse of the thing
in the fan of my headlights,
maybe perched on a road sign or a street lamp,
poor unwritten bird, its wings folded,
staring down at me with tiny illuminated eyes.
       ~Billy Collins (excerpt from his poem, ‘Madmen

Oct 2018
One must truly HOLD A SPACE for oneself. All things conspire to close up this space.
     ~Kay Ryan
(BLS note: This is why I get up to write every morning at 4:30-5am.)

Feb 2018  Found this quote by the poet Mary Ruefle in her book, My Private Property: “I am never lonely, and never bored. Except when I bore myself, which is my definition of loneliness—to bore oneself.”

Jan 2018
“If I wanted to understand a culture, my own for instance… I would turn to poetry first. For it is my confirmed bias that the poets remain the most ‘stunned by existence,’ the most determined to redeem the world in words.”
C.D. Wright

Dec 2017 “Occasionally all of us in positions of traditional privilege—whatever those might be—need reminders that our own worldview is not a universal default, shared by all humanity.”
~Julie Steiner

Nov 2017 “November always seemed to me the Norway of the year”
~ Emily Dickinson

Oct 2017 “Anyone can love the mountains but it takes a soul to love the prairie.”
~ Willa Cather

Sep 2013 Could I be lucky enough in my lifetime to see the return of anything close to polite society? (refer to my post below on Jul 2012)

June 2013 Going forward, one goal will be to find a balance between wisdom, reason, and fearlessness.

May 2013  A friend mentioned she was taking a day of PTO. I realized I’m a true North Dakotan when my first thought was power take-off.

Mar 2013  As the sun moves to and from its apex in the spring and the fall, I find myself looking around the house to explore where the light pauses to play. Perspective.

Feb 2013 “My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”
~G.K. Chesterton (NYT Magazine, 02/11/1923)

Aug 2012:  Harvey Larson to his daughter in 1972. “Bon: Let’s not take a back seat, if we have a road to travel let’s ride right up front.”

July 2012  Self-evaluation: Sometimes I think I’m nostalgic–longing for a different time. Sometimes I pride myself on being au courant. Sometimes I think I’m nothing more than an anachronism: an obsolete cultural artifact.

May 2012:  May baskets are such a simple reminder of the giggling joys of childhood and to not take the world so seriously. Besides, when can you legitimately ring someone’s doorbell and run!?

Apr 2012: ‎”A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” ~ Paul Valery, French critic & poet (1871 – 1945) He speaks not only to my poetry but all my writing.

Nov 2011: The night air is filled with the smell of Cottonwood leaves,  Missouri River sand, and the sound of Canada Geese chortling on the water’s edge.

Oct 2011: We can understand why SOME people won’t come to North Dakota in the winter, but why is it that people could not possibly come to North Dakota in the summer? They don’t flinch at going to Texas, Georgia or Florida in the summer?

Aug 2010: During cool days in June we ask if summer will ever arrive. During cool days in July we are thankful for a respite from the heat. During cool days in August, we feel fall in the air.


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