Tuesday, March 31, 2009

See Knots

What does worry have to do with it?  Why worry?  What me worry?  Oh, I worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Worryworryworryworry.   Shiver me timbers.  Let me outta here.  Now.

I love this photo.  I like to look at it and see the ways that the sweet pea is reaching out to its neighbors, and its own tendrils, so as to climb higher, to place its blooms at optimal height for sunlight, pollinators, and to be right at eye-level with ME!  I like to look at it and see knots, or loop-de-loos.  To see problems or support.  And then, there is seeing that it is completely and simply, a field pea, doing its pea-thing in a most splendid way.

So, an author, or artist, or mother, or father, or... looks at what they are doing and thinks, "Oh God!  What AM I doing???"  Yes.  That is what I woke up thinking today.  Then, it occurred to me to get up, and take my Morning Pages elsewhere in the house to write, maybe a change  of scene would help me zoom through this cursed worry session.  Oh.  It wears me out.  Since it was too cold, and the coffee wasn't in my hand, I stayed put, to miserate I suppose.  May as well be deep in the goo for the morning pages.

Fortunately, coffee did arrive.  I wrote into this predicament to discover once again, that worry, per se, is old habit.  Never accomplishes anything, except for upset.  Worry has yet to change the course of history or herstory.  Worry has no substance.

If You Don't Stop That
I used to live in
A cramped house with confusion
And pain.

But then I met the Friend
And started getting drunk
And singing all

Confusion and pain
Started acting nasty,
Making threats,
With talk like this,

"If you don't stop 'that'---
All that fun---


Yeah.  Take that!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I can 
See angels
Sitting on your ears
Polishing trumpets,
Replacing lute strings
Stretching new skins on the drums
And gathering wood for the evening's fire.
They all danced last night...   Hafiz.
It is Saturday.  Wayne is doing all the huge jobs in the yard I have requested of him.  I am applying gesso to everything in sight, fortunately for Luna, she is largely white from the get-go. I am applying the fabric in the gesso, which I love to do; it is embedding a structure that then speaks/sings through-out the process of painting, catches color and light indifferently.  I am realizing that this process adds movement to my work that I do not have to think about anymore.

Wayne is reading a book about the workings of the brain.  Today, at breakfast, he told me that I am, by some definition, ADD, and because I am on the right track (appropriate supplements, working on/with Self, painting, writing, motivated, excited), it is safe to tell me this! Hmmmmm.  ;-) 

New news. 

Actually, that was a very loving conversation.


Friday, March 27, 2009

This Is the Reason

even the bugs love California... Laura Paine Carr
California Poppies make me fruity, looney, sappy, and homesick.  And I live here!
Poppies don't hold back.  We get the full blown orange, with yellow rims.  Don't tell a Poppy that pink doesn't match with orange.  
Wide Open.  Smile.  All heart; no need to pin it on a sleeve.
And Poppies make me tell secrets... my all-time favorite song is David Frizzell and Shelly West singing "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma."
We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart...

in California
And, I love you, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hafiz will NOT leave me alone!

Can give you as much enlightenment 
In one year...
As "Best Buds" can give in one wet, slurpy Love!  My guest photographer, Ms. Pamieli, did some good work recently!  Luna, woodpile, and Utah!
Yes, we did it!  These smiles have been sent off to "Bark," entered in the Smiling Faces.  Ms. Pamieli said, sit, down, boom!  They did it, and smiled.  Happy.
Luna in the wheelbarrow with beautiful wood behind...Ms. Pamieli is so good with the camera!

And she and Utah, named after a fabulous road trip, have been the best friends to Luna and myself as we learn more and more and more about living with Meat Pie on the Other Side.  Our sadness transforms.  Tears flow with abandon.  Luna has returned to her madcap roughneck ways with her friend Utah.  He is like Wiley Coyote; runs fast, hides, dashes out from behind the woodpile, flings himself under the truck, boings out on the other side.  He tricks her, hides from her and sneaks from behind things and gets a good head-start on her.  He trips her by bopping her with his hind end, a skill I have never seen in a Golden, OR a herding dog.  She, on the other hand, tries to choke him, run him down, tackle him or box him with a straight-arm worthy of a 49er(seriously, they could use her!).

Pamieli and I are the referees, when we are not helpless with laughter.

and here is the rest of Hafiz's poem for today...

As sitting all alone, for three days,
In your closet

That means not leaving.
Better get a friend to help with
A few sandwiches
The chamber

And no reading in there or writing poems,
That would be cheating;
Aim high---for a 360 degree

This sitting alone, though, is
Not recommended

If you are normally

Or have ever been under a doctor's
Surveillance because of your

Dear one,
Don't let Hafiz fool you---

A ruby is buried

Love you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Spring Eyes

"A poet," says Hafiz,"is someone
Your beautiful parched, holy mouth."
Seriously, you must click on these two images.  There is a Canada Goose nesting in the Y of this enormous oak tree.  She is small compared to the huge trunk, but she is right there.  Believe it or not, but I saw her as I was driving by on Old Redwood Hwy(used-to-be- Highway 101).  Of course I had to flip one of my famous Uies(safely, of course) and go back to see if it were sane to believe my eyes.  Yep.  There she is.  Watching me watch her.  Go Away, lady.

The Calendulas escape from the vineyards.  He he he!  They have so much fun being everywhere!  By 4pm or there abouts, they are so tired, they fold up and nod in the afternoon breezes.
Wouldn't you know it?  The perfect purple is roadside, just waiting for Calendula orange to gather in perfect contrast!  Notice this; Nature gathers communities together with regard to how well they convey perfect beauty to our eyes!

Springtime has always made me giddy.  When I was in college, I would drop out every Spring Semester.  Yes.  That did create a problem or two, but no matter.  Northern California springs are murder on an artist... NO!  Let us re-phrase that:  Northern California's springtime is a feast for the artist.

My assignment for this week is to write my own fairy-tale, of sorts.  All that has been going through my head (which is already filled to the brim with flowers, and scents, and birds, and so much greengreengreen that it almost...) is kind of a country-western ballad with Thumbalina overtones.  Well, that sounds almost doable!  The invisable Little People in the woodshed are contributers, with their figs and shredded bark nests.  Yes.  This will be just fine.

If I ever don't complete a sentence
While we are together
Accept my apologies and try to understand
This sweet drunk thought.

Birds initially had no desire to fly,
What really happened was this:

God once sat close to them playing

When He left
They missed Him so much
Their great longing sprouted wings,
Needing to search the

Hafiz knows,

Nothing evolves us like

Whatever the season, BE bliss.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Then Winks

Everything is clapping today,
All movement.
A rabbit I pass pulls a cymbal
From a hidden pocket
Then winks.

This causes a few planets and I
To go nuts
And start grabbing each other.

Someone sees this,
Calls a 

Tries to get me 
Being too

Listen: this world is the lunatic's sphere,
Don't always agree it's real,

Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door

My address is somewhere else.

Evening has stretched out tonight.  Just now the last Mockingbird whistled, just a little bit of its tune.  The Hummingbirds have sated their going-to-bed snacking, and I wonder, where do they roost?  I counted somewhere between 11 & 13 Hummers at the feeder, and even as the light faded, 6 were still at it.  Little do they know, but I am out of sugar!  The last drops of syrup will have to last until I get home.  Spring is one day old.

It's been raining off and on through this afternoon.  I am home 'by myself' which means, really, I am here with Luna, the cats, and all the outside birds as well as the parakeet.  Oh, and my imaginary friends are here, too.  Like Hafiz.  And, here is another little gem...
Our sadness and fear come from being
Out of tune with love.

The Trillium Ovatum, or Wake Robins are blooming.  Deep in the darkest part of the Redwood forests, these flowers pop up in the spring.  They are all about 3!  Look closely at the photo, and you will see, three leaves, three petals, and my favorite, the three branched pistil is surrounded by a triangle of stamen!  Having grown up in the Redwoods, this beautiful harbinger of Spring held special significance.  We were told not to pick it, as to break it off would kill it; I have always been so careful!  To not step upon it, to not disturb it!  In taking this picture, I locked Miss Luna in the car, since she is such a bounding clutz.

There is another Trillum, which I cannot find online.  Its flower is not on a stem.  Its 3 petals emerge from the three leaves.  I will keep my eye out for her.

In great gratitude, I celebrate Springtime!  Rain, flowers, birds, and lots of movement encourage us to dance, like Hafiz encourages us to do!

Let's go!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yellow Waves of Wildflowers

The sun's eyes are painting fields again.

Its lashes with expert strokes
Are sweeping across the land

A great palette of light has embraced
This earth...
...What excitement will renew your body
When we all begin to see
That His heart resides in
God has a root in each act and creature
That He draws His mysterious
Divine life from.

His eyes are painting fields again.

The Beloved with His own hands is tending.
Raising like a precious child,
Himself in

from "A Root in Each Act and Creature" by Hafiz

It is so fun to lose one's self in a good book or two... or three.  Often I am reading at least three books at a time, plus a small one that rides in the car with me.  It is remarkable to me that all three are talking about "precious" at the same time!  Hafiz wrote when?  He was born in Shiraz (now Iran) in 1320, and when he died in 1389, he was thought to have written about 5,ooo poems, and my copy says, "...of which 500 to 700 have survived."  "The Artist's Way," my copy, was published in 1992.  And Azar Nafisi's "Things I've Been Silent About" just came out.

Apparently I am writing a chapter of my own, all about new-found precious.  Maybe re-inventing precious.  Maybe growing precious.  The avocado pit on my kitchen window has burst into new and beautiful reddish green leaves, the top of a huge carrot spills dark green foliage over the rim of its bowl.  This is precious to me, reminding me of Life.

Hold for just a slippery moment the words of Hafiz... 
God has a root in each act and creature
That He draws His mysterious
Divine life from.

Spring does this to me, thank Goodness!  Emerging from the darkness of winter, into the exploding waves of color in our spring makes for a perfect time to write like mad!  To walk to the river with Luna, to plant the Mortgage Lifter tomato seeds, to look forward to more rain this weekend, to paint...



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Out of This Mess

to be humble
So that God does not
Have to appear to be so stingy.
O pray to be honest,
And pure,
So that the Beloved is never miscast
As a cruel great miser.
I know you have a hundred complex cases
Against God in court,
But never mind, wayfarer,
Let's just get out of this mess

And pray to be loving and humble
So that the Friend will be forced to reveal



Now, I could be one of the first to say that 'prayer,' per se, has not done the housework, changed one single diaper, washed up after a puppy, or even, brought home the groceries and put them away.  Nor, maybe, has prayer restored the demolished.

Recently I had the good fortune to attend a poetry reading by a poet of renown.  No, drat, it was not Hafiz.  This poet is  a beloved college professor, and I have to admit, I was much more engaged by what he had to say in-between his poems, than the poems themselves.  He is said to be very good with writing about the emotions.  Oh Dear... the dreaded emotions!  Perhaps his gift to the academic world is bringing up the topic of failed relationships.

Which, essentially is what politics is all about as well, and taken to the unfortunate extreme, failed wars, failed economies, and back to failed relationships.  One big circle, circling around a tender, unavoidable subject... staying connected moment-to-moment, day-to-day, week-to-week, with one's god.

Our 'Artist's Way' chapter this week is entitled: Recovering Our Strength.  Of course, the morning pages provided me with a snafoo right away: that being the word, "precious."  I am 'supposed' to write this affirmation:  Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.  Excuse me, but there are two(count them, 2) ghastly words in that "affirmation..." Precious.  Object.  Are you kidding?  

Our afore-mentioned poet really helped with this process:  I was mildly rip-roaring mad at him, for being sexist and academic and, basically, out-of-touch with what I consider 'the real world.'  The more I thought about it, and the more I wrote, I realized that long ago, many many moons ago: there was a young talented woman, fresh off the farm, who innocently went off to the wild world of college.  There she encountered things that she did not understand, and came to believe that the outer world defined her...

Of course, there are several thousand pages to burn through to get to "precious" and to redefine "object." Hafiz just jumps in and declares...
Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance
Don't you love it?  Not even a question mark!  Perhaps the relevant question is, How does one treat a precious object?  Maybe like holding a puppy, breathing the warm scent of her.  Maybe like watching the sun rise, standing under the clouds.  Maybe like listening to the Cackling Geese? Maybe like ceaseless prayer.

Yep.  I love you.


Thursday, March 12, 2009


For a long time some of us
forgetting that we are water    W.S. Merwin, "The Current"
In the marsh the water level moves with the tide.  Before the landowners constructed drainage ditches and levies, and floodgates, the water and the land moved in rhythm with the tides, the seasons, the moon.  Our own cells move with this same rhythm.  Many have compared the phases and cycles of Life to the seasons.  I notice that I am mesmerized by water:  I like to stare at it, sit beside it, breathe the air that moves over it, lose myself in the cloud reflections upon it.  Often I wonder that I am, perhaps, between seasons.

Imagine looking at the ground and seeing the sky.  Or imagine looking up and seeing down.  
Imagine being so complete, so One with All that Is... that you are reeds catching the first rays of sunlight while clouds gather at your waist, held there by the golden fibers left over from summer.

Imagine that!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wild. Wildness. Wilderness. Migration.

What the eye sees is a dream of sight
what it wakes to
is a dream of sight    W.S.Merwin

On the horizon is a "fly off" about a mile long.
   Imagine this!
It just looks like fun!
The sun peeps over the mountains, under the clouds.

Quick!  Count!

We got up really really early.  I made the French Press of coffee, poured mugs full, shook in the foamy cream.  We put on all of our wardrobe, at once, in layers.  We loaded Luna and her quilt, put the last of the coffee in the thermos and headed out into the dawn.  Yes, it was the frozen dawn, in that it took precious minutes to get a hole in the ice on the windshield so I see the road.  We drove to the Wildlife Refuge, and as we got out of the vehicle, wave after wave of the geese were "taking off."  It was a remarkable sight.  And we had not even gotten out of the parking lot!

I love Humboldt County.  Perhaps it is in my DNA.  The land, air, moisture, seasons, revive me. Being out in the middle of the marsh as the sun climbs the eastern side of the Coastal Mountains is a remarkable experience.  I need this wildness.

Blissed out, is all I can say.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who's God? My God! Oh God!

To get good photos, you have to go out... Ansel Adams or Morris Minor or Reese Bullen 
or Mr. Sams

Here is a great assignment: This week in your morning pages, write about the god you do believe in and the god you would like to believe in.  Hmmmmm.  So, is the god who creates raindrops sliding down a pine needle, gathering in perfect, crystal clear drops before falling to the waiting green earth... big breath... the same god that created me, creates me, creates through me?

Such a risky question, who is in charge here?  At times it is difficult to accept that God, in all Its glory and power and strength and creativity would choose me, little ole me, to do one smattering of anything representing Her.  Often my thinking has been that God would, of course, as a matter of fact, choose every body & thing besides me!  God must have a sense of humor to endure this abuse.

Memory:  In P.E.(many moons ago), especially for body-slamming sports, if I wasn't doing the choosing, I was chosen first, probably since no one wanted to play against me, and not necessarily for scoring goals, as one day I would be hit-every-shot, and the next miss them all. On those off-days, I defended the goal as if my life depended upon it and no one made any goals, we all suffered bruises, "Gawd, Paine..."

Oh.  This sounds awful.  I apologise to all of you that I knocked over physically or trash-talked. A bully-girl just met herself again.  And, important here... I apologise to and forgive this Tough Girl, who really wasn't very tough.  I really forgive her!  I expected you, me... to tough it out through everything, left you out there on the court/field with no defense or offensive team to help you, assist you, support you.

Whew.  Beautiful.  

So, for the rest of today, I will tippie-toe into surrendering to my Good:  my portion of God expressing through and as it's creation:  I surrender to opening to my Good, my God, my Goddess.  I open to this; unrestrained, unhinged, unencumbered, full-on expression!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Madonna, Figs and Forgiving

On a simple, practical level, kindness creates a sense of warmth and openness that allows us to communicate much more easily with other people.   His Holiness the Dalai LamaMary and I were looking for pictures of the Madonna and Child for a reference point for my current painting.  Also, it was really boring at the bake sale (for her!).  I keep a couple of copies of Jansen's "Art History" for cutting into collage material.  We did not find any satisfactory images, and none by women artists.  I was annoyed all over again with eons of misrepresentation in the arts.  Here, in my studio, in this time, I, with yet another generation of strong, brilliant (and adorable) child/woman,  sit pouring over ghastly images of the "masters," and loving Mary's comments, "Eewwuuuu..., that one is REALLY GROSS, Nonnie." We decided to go further into my bookshelf, but were cut short by our "time" being "up!"  We also decided that we will be changing this situation, that in a few short months, there will be many more heralded works of art from which to choose... ours!
And, deeper into the woodpile, more figs!  I told Wayne that we may have stewed figs on the menu.  He he he.  Then maybe this little Who would not be so friendly, if the skittery lady were to start snatching the stash.  I remain in awe of the gathering, drying, caching of the crop.  All this time I was thinking that the Starlings were hogging all of the figs!  Not to fret, I too, dried figs in the dehydrator, and they do NOT look this good!  This coming summer, I may just lay them out to dry to perfection in the sun.

Probably, this is a wood rat, or just a rat, though I see no rats around.  Maybe the hawks, owls, foxes and coyotes keep the population in check.  I like the idea of a family of little Who's, long-tailed or not.

Which in a mildly circuitous manner, brings me to topic:  Forgiving.  I am not an authority on this subject, as I have carried my suitcase full of resentment, kernels of revenge and clods of anger all over the place.  "If I forgive, all will be lost.  All proof of criminal actions wasted in a burst of goodwill..."  Well my dear, this is a worn-out attitude.

At The Center for Spiritual Living, we are reading a book this month titled, "The Power of Kindness," by Piero Ferrucci.  Our theme for the month is "Forgiveness."  Such a good place to start, my own front porch!  

And in the continuing saga of writing Morning Pages, it appears that the plug is being pulled. Julia Cameron reminds us that the resentments that accumulate from daily living collect to drown our creative fires.   The storm outside my window crashes through the row of wind chimes on the back porch.  Rain is coming down and the frogs are beginning again to call.  I seem to have completely lost my train of thought, and right there... I forgive, I Love.  

And that's that.

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