I've been reading an interview in this month's "The Sun" magazine between Alice Luterman and Kim Rosen. "Written On The Bones, On Reclaiming The Ancient Power Of Poetry." It has taken me two days to read it because I've savored every word. I would like to crawl into that conversation, not to say anything, really, but to hear the voices.
It would be so satisfying to type the whole interview for you. But, I won't. Go purchase or borrow the magazine. This interview is worth the whole year's subscription.
To me a good poem is like a sacred mind-altering substance: you take it into your system, and it carries you beyond your ordinary ways of understanding. ---Like a shaman's drum, the beat of a poem can literally entrain the rhythms of your body: your heartbeat, your breath, even your brain waves, altering consciousness.
This explains why I reach for the embrace of my dear friend, Hafiz. Opening The Gift, and more recently, God Is Laughing, which (for the moment) I cannot locate, brings me joy, insight, and brings me quickly to God/Spirit as Hafiz. It is as though Spirit is then speaking directly to me, infusing me with first, a lightheartedness, and second, a direct-line to The Creator.
Learning a poem by heart... is a mutual relationship in which you let yourself be changed and healed. The ancient Tibetans used to call it "writing on the bones." They couldn't read or write, so they passed down the Buddha's teachings by memory. They knew that taking these teachings into themselves was a bodily experience.
Hafiz, Luna, Emerson and all of my selves are now going out into the fog, over the mountain and down to the Lake. We are going to get wet and exhausted. We are going to exalt in this Life. This Day, which, is a seriously large gift.
And thank you for being here, whispering words of love and compassion. You all are my Beloved teachers.
Something irrevocable happened this past week at the dog-daycare. Something tragic, heartbreaking and out of control. A Big Mistake. Something life-changing for all touched by it.
I haven't been writing. Or painting. I have taken few photos. My printer is broken, again, and this one is about 2 1/2 hours old, in printer-life. When I attempt to down-load the photos from the camera the computer says, "Sorry. No more room for said photos. Do something."
And I am feeling that the above project is too damn time consuming so I am not doing anything about it until I want to. Nice. We know when to be stubborn.
I did, however, make a breakthrough this week. I spent a day creating an 'object da art,' dried it to the best of my ability, and submitted it to a "member's show." Yes. As soon as I am done here, I am going back into my studio to make another one because that was deeply satisfying.
My Life: My creative life, my spiritual life, my family life, my life with dogs, my grandparenting life, my life in the community life, my writing life, my emotional life, my physical life, my singing in the vineyards life, my life with friends life, my life with husband life, my life with myself life... are all one and the same Life. I am not one way with one aspect, and another with another. Mostly.
As you know, this is my Luna Dog. The irrevocable thing included and involved her. I cannot go into details because I just can't. I will say that she is okay. She and Emerson both were traumatized, as was I and Wade and another family. Because I know that I am not in control of anything, and because I know that there is much more to Life than of which I am aware, I have faith that we all heal. In time.
I took a little side trip on the way home yesterday when the sun was still shining. It isn't today. I hear that a storm is on its way, and like clockwork, the sky gets heavier and darker. Of course, this is to be expected, beings how it's past mid November. I for one, lament the letting go of summer and early fall glory. It could be said that I whine and grumble about this phase.
The road I took winds up a canyon, crooks along side a tributary to the Rushing River. If I were to follow this road for an hour or so, I would circle around, up, down and over, ending up at my front door. No where am I far from home. I met about 15 individual gravel trucks coming out of the canyon, which was interesting since it is a one-way road in many places. Fortunately I am confident of using dirt turn-outs, and the truck drivers where very friendly with smiles and waves. I know, I was thinking that too: "Lady! Get home!"
I rhapsodise about the Buck Eye. I love this tree in every season. It is just special in my eye. I am awed by how aesthetic it is, regardless of season, weather, terrain.
This one landed in the crevice of a rock, and there she is.
Which reminds me: I have discovered that Daniel Landinsky has a new book of Hafiz out, and I cannot wait to get my hands upon it asap. I Heard God Laughing is the title.
I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.
The truth has shared so much of itself with me that I can no longer
think of myself as a man, a woman, an angel, or even pure soul.
Existence has become so saturated with laughter it has freed me of every
Have you left home? Driving home today I listened to "Talk of the Nation," where they were speaking with Azar Nafisi who has a new book out. I have forgotten the title. Rats. Well, anyway, she wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. A Memoir in Books, and Things I've Been Silent About. Yes, she has the best titles, ever. Her newly released book is about living as an exile in a different country than the one in which you were born. I love listening to her. Her voice is beautiful, her syllables make me want to write and read to you. She included in the discussion, leaving your country by choice, going back and finding that change has swept through all of your reference points. Callers enriched the discussion with their experiences, one young writer from Haiti who spoke of her parents' fleeing Haiti for political reasons, and how she feels that she is an immigrant here, in the USA. Azar Nafisi spoke of how each of us leaves somewhere.
To me it sounded like if I died and then came back to my house. Someone else would be living here, their furniture set up, their food in the refrigerator, their laundry in front of the washing machine, their smells in the walls.
I left my home town many years ago. Because of it's location and history it hasn't changed much. I still recognise and am recognised on Main Street, well, in the Ivanhoe anyway. The Victorian Buildings still line the street, the ocean rumbles in the background, the fog rolls in or never leaves, the cows are brought in to milk.
Other things have changed. In me. I distinctly remember leaving home, a few times.
I have no desire to recreate, or relive the past. Lately I have felt more solidly grounded within my Life, which surprises me somewhat, as I thought that I was already here. This is different. Today by afternoon the temperature was up to and past 80. The sky blue. The Madrone berries create swaths of red across the hills, the vineyards yellow. On my skin the warmth feels strange, yet soothing. I realize that while it is unseasonably warm, I am accepting this gift of a summer day in mid November.
Not worrying about climate disaster, or impending doom, or lack of anything, or loneliness I am free to experience this moment. Not defending my opinion or my right to exist opens a new channel!
I fear the political climate in our country has made us a bunch of exiles. Yet, I personally have control over just my little corner. Many times I have written of the joys discovered under leaves in my garden, or of my grandchildren's brilliance, the marvels of my own kids, husband, dogs; and about allowing my creative intelligence full reign.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be exiled from my world, community, country. Millions of people the world over have this experience.
Azar Nafisi spoke of creating a life in the US. When she returned to Iran everything was changed. The regime redefined her religion, the history of her country, everything she knew and of which she had worked so long and hard.
I am deeply moved. This is a topic which, I am finding as I write this, is very difficult to stick with on a personal level.
If I didn't know better, I'd have called today a Fall Apart Day. Things have been a little weird in the Land of Laura. Mmmm. Maybe I need to have a look-see with the astral line-up, check on any wild hares or black holes which may have appeared as I sipped coffee this morning, daydreaming instead of moving my pen across the pages.
For a couple of days I've had a nervous stomach, something which used to lay me out flat on the kitchen floor. This was nothing like that, but persistent, nagging, borderline painful.
You know what? The fire alarm went off again. This time because the stovepipe is new, and stinks a bit, and makes most likely, poisonous fumes, so the alarm went berserk. Luna came running to find me, and we went looking for Emerson. He was cowering behind our bed, trying to force his 78+lbs. under it. His ears were down, his eyes huge. Poor baby! I am thinking that I need to put a permanent sign on the front porch for the neighbors and firepeople, in case of emergency; look under the bed for the Labrador.
I took my camera and went out the front door, hopped in the car, and headed towards my closest daughter's house. In the car, for me, is a sanctuary of sorts. I am completely in control (yes, I know, it is an illusion of control, but never mind). I sing, pray, talk, swear, cry, laugh. I am entertained, soothed, supported, enjoyed. I am the center of the LPC Universe, don't have to watch what I say. Uncensored.
Today my mind was occupied by thoughts of my elder brother. He's been having some health challenges. Damn. Of course, my mind goes backwards, to our growing up river, out in the hills, "the boonies," he'd always say. It's true. We were backwoods kids.
I just talked briefly with my sister to learn that his hospitalization was caused most likely, by an adverse reaction to the drugs he was given in preparation for the procedure he had yesterday. Jesus H Christ. Sorry. A risk to taking drugs is reaction to the drugs.
The morning light seemed to careen from red to yellow to green to blue back to yellow. The vines are a riot of color. They've been watered, fed, trellised, sprayed, pruned, rained upon, frosted, boiled, roasted, dusted, fertilized and finally, harvested. Now they are a free-for-all of color. Days pass, and all that riot will be on the ground.
Life is just pretty. Sometimes astounding.
At Sarah's gate the Dogwood is all decked out in scarlet. My brother is mending. I am heading for bed.
Having just finished a borrowed book, and since Dev loaned me a new one, I am alternating between being extremely lazy and reading. Haha. I meant, between reading and doing chores like taking ashes out, mopping the floor because Emerson Dumbdumb has taken to sneak-peeing on corners, feeding chickens and bringing in the wood. I love this cool, colorful, short late-afternoon. The robins are here! I love hearing them up in tops of yellow trees. It sounds like they may be happy to be here, too.
In a few short days, all of these leaves will be in my back yard. Some will be next door, and a few in the hedge out front. Regardless of where they fall, I will be looking up into the wild blue. The pansies on the back porch will receive their full measure of sunlight and may bloom all winter. The ones out front have been decimated by snails and slugs and earwigs, which may meet up with my nasty poison stuff tonight, just because I want to see all the cute pansy faces by the bird feeder. Is that reason enough to put some of the kill-snail under a leaf? Does anyone have a recipe (no flour or sugar, please) that includes earwigs and slugs? Perhaps I will make a stew.
Every afternoon there is a moment where the light seems to play with individual branches.
"In the beginning were the howlers. ...it would start with just one: his forced, rhythmic groaning, like a saw blade. That aroused others near him, nudging them to bawl along with his monstrous tune. ...As it was in the beginning, so it is every morning of the world." Don't you love Barbara Kingsolver? Doesn't it make you mad when she steals your lines?
I have been feeling a little sad, but in the face of such glorious Life around me, am reluctant to own up to it. Is it the change of season? Winter is only a few days away. All of this wild color will soon be gone, the brilliant leaves will be sliming into large circles under the trees. No, it is Change. You know, more of that-which-I-have-absolutely-no-control. This being the place to lay down doubt, pick up some faith, and write out a longer gratitude list.
I am grateful for yellow afternoons.
I am grateful to talk to my sister today.
I am grateful for Panama coffee.
I am grateful for robins.
I am grateful for bouncy dogs.
Dishes to wash.
Laundry to fold.
4 eggs today, because I didn't bring them in yesterday.
Knock knock jokes.
I am also grateful. Just plain, ordinary, grateful. Filled up.
The finish line is just a few steps farther (further?): You know, just up the road. Today is Election Day. Time to race down to the polling place and cast my vote (actually, I already did). Put aside whatever, and haul my little self in there to participate in governing this huge conglomeration we have for a nation. I did read the Voter's Manual, and do, as usual, wonder who writes these things. Is it wise to have vitriolic essays "for" and "against?" Has anyone thought of publishing essays "clear" and "unclear?" "crazed" and "sane?" "ridiculous" and "hilarious?" "thoughtful" and "rude?" "opinion" and "fact?"
I know. We'd then have to vote on who could/would write, right?
Kisses! No doubt of where those dimples came from, is there.
I want to say something. I want to say to us all: jump for joy! Grab some one and hold them high on your shoulders. Laugh. Cheer for some one, a team (like our Giants), a family member, the neighbors' kids, just let yourself have the joy of supporting, encouraging, cheering, jumping up and down, yelling. In 12 Step Programs all are encouraged by the reality that goodness is something renewable, obtainable, possible; by practicing and by giving of ones' self.
What I love the most about teams is the players. Of course, being a tad competitive, extremely prejudiced on occasion, and sometimes too noisy, I may seem obnoxious. Sorry.
Often I wonder how my little friend, Thumbelina, is doing. Did she ever come to yearn for her winter in Mr. Mole's hole? Did she ever wonder why she didn't appreciate all that quiet time?
Yesterday on the way out to the Lake, on the way up the mountain where the clouds had come down to touch the earth, magical things were going on in the misty morning.
Houses were aglitter. Traps became sparkle. Scotch Broom, mostly thought of as a horrible, invasive and explosive species, wears the silver droplets like the finest jewelry.
Life slows to a drop still. The water cycle has begun. Harvest may be over. Some crops are in, some are not completely harvested. This is life. Here, in the earth bound cloud, all is quiet. When the drop lets loose of the Broom there is a sound like an exhale.
Yesterday my eldest daughter turned 38. Not one day has gone by that I've not been grateful for her presence. Oh, she can holler, pout, swear, lie, and stomp around. But, here's a secret: her cheeks invented dimples. Her black eyes invented dancing.
Is there anything to say about perfection? No. My impulse right now is to just jump in. Of course, we might advise, take note of who built the temptation. Check and see if you want to be dinner.
The rainy season may be upon us. The clouds moved in as predicted. They may move out. For now the drops are warbling down the drain pipes, dripping from the tall maple, drumming on the palms. I am loving this quiet, steady rain.
Before I mowed the lawn, I raked leaves. They have not begun to fall in earnest, but the beginning is here. Soon, all will be covered with yellow, brown and orange. Don't fall off your chairs: I really did mow the lawn. Once when I was in high school I mowed our burly lawn and decided then, "I don't do lawns." This is the second time for me, and it was kind of fun. Wayne was trimming the hedge, so I had company, and that always helps me complete a task. I've taken the wild approach, you know, weeds, flowers, shrubs all atangle with one another. Actually, I even like that. Now and then I fly at it with abandon and clean it all up, so it can start the process again. Here, the gophers gobble my bulbs, the dogs rip up everything else. So my yard must be flexible and resilient. I am flower gardening in large planters, and I love how this is turning out. Maybe I will just turn everything else into pathways. Lawns are silly water-wasters.
Yesterday, while I was waiting for the Giants to begin the baseball game, I was out in the front yard, re-arranging the big ceramic planters. Fix the screen door, or close the door, because the dogs are going to escape. I considered ignoring the voice, but realized I would be sorry for that dumb move, so I put a five gallon bucket full of rocks in front of the lame screen door, and went back to the planter. Crash! I turned to see two canine heads poking through the crack they had accomplished. NO! STOP! They made a joint decision to commit insubordination, using their combined weight of approx. 165lbs to burst open the door like the bucket of rocks was a pillow. LUNA, LOOK (she can't help herself, she always does), COME. NOW. Yes. You know the rest of this chapter: she looked me in the eye, and said sayonara, bye bye.
Dammit. Needless to say, I was beside myself, and when I came back into the house it was the 3rd inning. I picked up their leashes and talked out loud to myself. Fine, I said. Maybe they will never come home. I have to live without them. I hate dogs. Someone will take them home. No they won't. Luna won't go to anyone she doesn't know, unless they open the car door. Neither will Emerson unless they have food, of course. Or chickens. Oh god, what if they get into the neighbors poultry? Crap. Dammit. I called my dog trainer. Lord, I confess: what would I do without him? Can you believe he always calls me back, patiently. Tells me what/how/etc to do next. The Giants scored a few runs. I couldn't even keep up with them. I called Wayne.
Somewhere in the fretting and cussing, the neighbor shouted, They're over here, Laura! so I called them like nothing was going on, and they raced for the front door. Once inside, Emerson flopped on the floor to cool down. Luna wanted out to the backyard for water. They were exhausted, hot and filthy. My, what goes on in 20+ minutes in a dogs' life can be remarkable. Luna submerged her whole head in the water bucket. Four times.
The Giants won... 3-0. Yay. IF they win today, they're going to the World Series! For the first time in a few million years. Since the huge earthquake when The Giants and the Oakland A's were the World Series.
I love to watch baseball. My youngest son was a catcher through his childhood, through Little League. I love catchers. My Aunt Dorothy told me that my grandfather was a very good catcher. My brother was a catcher. My sister, too. Me? I am no good at throwing, though I have gotten much better as an adult. My daughter was famous for her sneaky and excellent base running. So. I love baseball.
Yesterday I posted a picture from the web, of Cody Ross, one of the outfielders for the Giants. He has emerged as a wild man, hitting home runs right when they really need them. My other favorite is the catcher (surprise), Buster Posey, who really really reminds me of my youngest.
Today they play again. I need to be calm and peaceful, as I am "on Platform" at the Wednesday Eve. service at our Center. I am plotting how I am going to meditate and focus on my reading, and listen to the ballgame. Haha. This is sounding ridiculously impossible. I will close the front door for starters.
The river is full of water released from the dam. It's evening, and the yellow light from the day has slipped behind the mountains with the sun. The water moves in a sort of false hurry.
Last week this was a beach.
It is just so beautiful. In less than a month the summer bridge will be removed, the road closed to traffic. The dogs and I still will be able to walk on the river bar. Few people will be seen. Many ducks, herons, osprey, and crows will enjoy the serenity of late Fall and early Winter.
The missing pumpkin/barking dog saga seems to continue. Bimbimbie commented in part, "Isn't it a pity people who are quick to complain about a barking dog in the night don't find out if everything was ok first..." This has bothered me a little this evening. It seems as though we could improve our relations in our little neighborhood way-out-in-the-boonies. Perhaps a little more checking-in, "How are ya?" style.
I feel a little sad that that didn't happen at all. It is not usual that Emerson barks frantically in the middle of the night. I mean, we share this house, and I am a light sleeper, grumpy when awakened in this manner, I would notice if he did this nightly!
Tonight, in the back yard, speaking with Jolee, it came to light that their chickens have been heisted as well, their colorful flock of 48+ Bantams down by over half, with no sign of an animal attacking. Seems that when they are let out in the morning, there are fewer of them. It appears as though we have a poacher at work.
Strange. More will be revealed. Eventually. Or not.
I've locked the front door. I am grateful for my pup with the booming bark, and my attentive Luna. And this too, shall pass.
Swallowtail Butterflies are fresh and new by the first of April. Larabee is a hidden valley created by the Eel River. Perhaps I have lived here since time began, a butterfly in the willows on the banks of a Northern river.