Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EST November 29th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

For this session we close-read the poem Smoke in Our Hair by Ofelia Zepeda, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: The strongest memory.”

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Wednesday December 1st at 12pm EST,  with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Smoke in Our Hair by Ofelia Zepeda

The scent of burning wood holds
the strongest memory.
Mesquite, cedar, piñon, juniper,
all are distinct.
Mesquite is dry desert air and mild winter.
Cedar and piñon are colder places.
Winter air in our hair is pulled away,
and scent of smoke settles in its place.
We walk around the rest of the day
with the aroma resting on our shoulders.
The sweet smell holds the strongest memory.
We stand around the fire.
The sound of the crackle of wood and spark
is ephemeral.
Smoke, like memories, permeates our hair,
our clothing, our layers of skin.
The smoke travels deep
to the seat of memory.
We walk away from the fire;
no matter how far we walk,
we carry this scent with us.
New York City, France, Germany—
we catch the scent of burning wood;
we are brought home.

Ofelia Zepeda, “Smoke in Our Hair” from Where Clouds Are Formed. 
Copyright © 2008 by Ofelia Zepeda. 

8 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6PM EST November 29th 2021

  1. Elizabeth

    Sometimes the strongest memories,
    Are the oldest memories.
    Why is that?
    Shouldn’t recent memories be the most powerful?

    Maybe it’s because
    Those old memories,
    Those childhood memories,
    Were infused with our senses,
    Not with analysis.
    We felt them;
    We listened to them;
    We tasted them;
    We smelled them;
    And we really looked at them.
    So they infiltrated our sensory prism,
    Merged with our DNA,
    And are with us

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The strongest memory~~~

    When my kids were young, they always looked forward to our camping trips.
    One of our rituals was to build a campfire where we would cook hot dogs on a stick, roast marshmallows til they were toasty and gooey, and when nighttime came, we would simply look into the flames, tell stories, and dream.

    Now my children are grown with lives of their own. But the smell of an oak fire brings me back to those simple and carefree times, when life was not so hectic and one found pleasure in the simple things of life. A time when one could just shut off the mind and float away, like the billows of smoke being carried away on a gentle summer breeze.

    The smell of a wood fire in the air brings me back to a place of contentment…for the mind and heart. This scent is a part of me, for now, and forever.
    And wherever I am, those memories come flooding back to me and bring comfort to my heart. And I am thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. al3793

    The Strong Memory
    The aroma of bread baking in outdoor ovens on the reservation
    was sweet so sweet!
    Driving along the Rio Grande valley to the Isleta Reservation clinic each day
    the ovens stood like giant round ant hills.
    The aroma was unmistakable.
    Mouths would water as the smells would waft up from
    parallel lines of smoke hovering above red adobe roofs
    that glistened when alighted by the slant of the morning sun
    baking away dawn’s mist and dew.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Even my strongest memories
    Like dreams
    Live out a secret life
    In the deepest wells of my psyche
    Forgotten in the rush of days
    Until a scent, a sound, an image
    Finds its way to them, and
    They awaken
    And I remember again that which has lived on
    So deeply hidden from waking consciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patricia D.

    Backpack holding all that I owned at the time.
    Hiking among vivid red poppies along steep, switchback roads.
    Sleeping under stars only to wake with dew and flower scents
    gently kissing my love and me.
    The French Alps with its deep valleys silent spaces
    reminds me that I have already been to Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth

    As usual, I so enjoy the sharing and the reading and the writing. I really appreciate how everyone has gone deep into their senses… As I mentioned last night, I teach meditation through a very sensory oriented lens and I love the plunge here and during the session.


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