Saturday, September 15, 2012

Home Less: Without Home

A knock on our front door sends dogs into frenzy barking.  All activity stops, though the television seems to gain volume while we wrestle the dogs out the back door.  They grumble muffled last words.

The neighbor is sorry to disturb us.  Wants to share something, no, no need to come inside.  Wayne stays in his chair with dinner in his lap, I go out onto the porch.

Something is that there is a homeless person, a drunk homeless person, a drunk homeless woman loose on our lane.  She was sitting on the grass talking to herself when the neighbor noticed her.  He was watering, sprinkling with the hose by hand where the main sprinkler had missed.  When he went over to turn the water off, she disappeared, though she’d seen him and run off, swerving side to side down the lane, he saw that much.

Look over here, he motions with his hand, and I follow him.  There, in the grass of Sandy’s lawn, under the mulberry tree, is the woman’s kit.  Homeless issue blue sleeping bag, black bag for whatever, and a white plastic bag with her wine in it, a forlorn little abandoned heap.  She was nowhere in sight.  I could smell sprinklings of wine, but it wasn’t hers.

I don’t want to get her in trouble, you know, by calling the cops.  She’s not hurting anything.  I just wanted you to know, so, you know, you’d lock your door.  Course, you have the dogs, so don’t have to worry.

Ok, I say.  I’ll be watchful.  Thank you.

Inside the house, I go back to my writing room, cluttered with paper stacked and toppling over the printer.  Books piled on one another, towers grown and dusty.  The windows are open to catch the harvest breezes, though I may close them tonight because it is getting colder these evenings.

A rock rough voice tumbles through the screen, a voice without language, hoarse, concerned, urging speed and caution, fugitive tense.  I know it is her, come back to reclaim her belongings.

Our house is small, rusty red with white trim. Oriole and hummingbird feeders hang from the eves, feeders for the seed eaters, green edged pink petunias in the blue ceramic planter, decorate the tattered lawn.  It is a remnant of a house for me. I have been cleaning it out, room by room.  Vacuuming the ghosts of motherhood, of romance and longing, of college papers, ancient ledgers, and photographs of a childhood on a dairy.  Making room for my dreams, though now and then despair creeps in and knocks over a pile of magazines.

I have been frightened of homeless people.  They are too raw for me, wearing their sadness, their fear, want, end-of-the-road weariness in stench and rags.  Muttering and grumbling and sometimes swearing aloud as though they are in an argument with a ghost, I have just steered away, look away, stay away, run my fright away.

It was a surprise to note that I recognized the woman’s belongings.  She has been on our lane before, been surprised before, to disappear quickly.  Her things have been in the ditch a little further down, beyond where the water goes over the road in the winter after too much rain has fallen in a short time.  There is a culvert there.  A double culvert.  My Labrador, Emerson, has barked at the dark hole when we are walking, barked at shadows and spiders and fast lizards.  I have shushed him, raced up the embankment like there are weird energies chasing me, hurried home.

This past spring my neighbor and I found a litter of five fat kittens in her pump house.  I called the people who rescue and trap feral cats and they came out and picked them up.  Raised them for adoption, for their forever homes.

One dark winter morning I was loading the car for work, when a cold nose pushed into my leg.  Of course I jumped, to find a stocky wet Labrador and his partner, a Great Dane mix, hanging back behind him.  They looked at me like, “she can do it!  She’ll take us home!” and I said, ok, load up, and they did.  I checked collars and found phone numbers and called their people who left work and hurried right over to pick up their wanderers, cried on my porch because they love them so, and were afraid of losing them.

About a year ago I came home from work to find a young, red-shouldered hawk in the house.  The bird rescue people explained to me how to get it out safely.  After following their multi-stepped process, I simply opened the back door and shooed it outside.  It flew low over the yard, swooped up and over the gate, didn’t even flap its wings to gain speed and elevation.

I want to know, who do you call for a lost, feral woman?  How would one catch her?

Often late at night I hear coyote calls echo over the vineyards.  Once fire truck sirens woke me, and I lay in my bed afraid to inhale, for fear of bringing attention to myself while dreams crumbled into corners.  The siren wailed out of hearing and in the silence suspended over the valley a chuckle burbled, yapped, barked into a high howl.  Other voices joined the choir, carrying the call up and over the hills and stopped abruptly as it began.  I haven’t heard them for a while, feel a missing for them, hope all is well with their tribe.

Obviously the homeless woman does not belong to anyone. 

No one brings her a cup of coffee in the morning, provides shelter or solace.  I wonder how she manages to get up in the morning, does she wait for the sun to warm her limbs and joints into rising?  Would she like a cup of coffee?

Is anyone searching for her?  Missing her?

Well, you know, Laura.  Some people want to be homeless. 

Is she an incurable homeless person? 

I don’t know.  I have written myself down to resignation.  There is a woman outside my window.  She is alone.  Untended, wild.

Perhaps right here, in this moment of empty silence, guidance will emerge.  There are places to call to inquire as to possible actions.  For the time being, I may put out coffee for her.

And a prayer for us all.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Garden of Eden, Sonoma Style

Someone Who Can Kiss God
by my friend, Hafiz

Come to my house late at night---
Do not be shy.
Hafiz will be barefoot and dancing.

I will be
In such a grand and generous mood!

Come to my door at any hour,
Even if your eyes
Are frightened by my light.
My heart and arms are open
And need no rest---
They will always welcome you.

Come in, my dear,
From that harsh world
That has rained elements of stone
Upon your tender face.

Every soul
Should receive a toast from us
For bravery!

Bring all the bottles of wine you own
To this divine table---the earth
We share.

If your cellar is empty,
This whole Universe
Could drink forever
From mine!

There may be no other place on the planet quite as beautiful as this Sonoma County!  The grape harvest has begun.  Days are hot, nights cool, colors exquisite.  Hafiz probably wanders the countryside, maybe drives my car, throws my camera on the floor, dogs in the back, directs me.  And I thank him for his insistence.  I love September.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Bloo Luna

Long ago, when I first started my blog, this girl was a pup.  A wascally chicken-chasing pup.  She still is, for the most part, though now that she is 6 years old(!!!) she has mellowed somewhat.  There are those who might take issue with that statement.  Har har.  

I for one, would not leave her unattended with a chicken.  That is for sure.

She shows me daily that life is for living.  Don't, she says, let the small stuff bother you.  Be real.  Show your feelings as the temporary things they are.  Be happy, there is no reason under the sun not to be.  Love your Mama.  She takes you for rides and walks and accepts kisses.  Well, except for certain times, and we won't go into that here.

Run hard and fast.  Play chase and tug-o-war daily.  Sneak cat food.  Wrassle Emerson into the dust.  Steal avocado pits out of the compost bucket, throw them for Emerson to fetch.  Sit, wait, lay down and walk nice.

And yes, she still remembers who Meat Pie is.  Say the name and she looks at the front door.  I kid you not. 

I love you Luna.
And I love being your person.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Warm Up. Write. Paint. Water.

Over the years I push myself to focus the Blog on the ART.  Perhaps just giving in to the fact that Life is Art would be a wise move.  You see, to get out of or into my house these days, I must step over this smiling, blue-haired, gift-bearing angel.

The garden reflects the seasonal changes which begin the moment the seed is settled into the earth.  Of course I lead the chorus of "Oh no!  Isn't it tooooo early for this?"  Of course not, it is late summer, almost fall.  The pumpkins are orange, the sunflowers mature, tomatoes ripe.

Cottonwoods are waving their shiny leaves in the breeze this morning.  It feels hot already.  I have watered the zucchini and basil, picked a clump of golden table grapes for lunch.  I am saving the trip out to the neighbor-goats with apples in hand for later, my before-I-go-into-town pick-me-up.

My planned foray into the studio will not be put off much longer.  The coffee waits its pressing.  I have started a large painting which at this point reminds one of waves.

There is a wagger on the porch, smiling her way back inside.  Oh!  There is another smile, the Labrador  smile.  His is harder to see as he blends with the shadows and dust.  His is more a swagger.

Surrounded by beauty.  Savoring the sensation and movement of what feels like a pause between seasons.

It is a good day, today.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Perculating Cobwebs, Cleaning & Bees

Moving along with the artichoke theme, I notice that even housekeepers in the wild have dust and cobweb buildup, carcasses in the folds, and general shrouding.  Helps me know that I am not alone.

Can the end of summer really be two rows down on the calendar?  Oh dismay!  Perhaps the worst thing is that this also means the National Elections move closer, and in this movement all the horrific negativity present in our culture is ready to inundate every nook and cranny of wired communications, written, spoken, advertised and generally poured into our proverbial coffee cups.  Daily.  Moment to moment.

Do not despair, LPC!  There is art to be discovered.  Painting to splash.  Words to play.  Hugs to embrace.  Images to stop in time.  Abstract to engage.

I enjoy my daily foray into FB (Facebook).  I am steeling myself for the endless political postings.  Perhaps I will relax, and "block" them, which can be done painlessly.  Or perhaps I will leave them for my own personal growth!  At times it is apparent that certain ruts in my brain have fossilized, and a good shaking vibrates newness into the area.

Polarized political punditing (hahaha!) has gone on since the invention of the mouth and movement of air.   Harm and good have  been the result.  Period.  For Ever.

The Workess Bees head out for the morning pollen gathering.  Their morning ritual dances communicate direction, type, color, and best route to the pollen source.  If something changes, like a gardener cutting the sunflowers, this information is added, the Bees share freely and make the necessary adjustments to keep the pollen flowing into the honey factory.

No.  They do not argue.  Or call each other names.  Or worry about who married who, or sexual preference or if pot is medicine.

I do not believe that I have ever noticed a worried Honey Bee.  I have found them exhausted and dying, but even then they do not appear distressed.  Just done.

Funny, but I was going to write about something else, though for the life of me, I cannot remember what that was.

Have a day filled with purpose, affection, good work and clear communication.

I love you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gratitude & Freedom

I can hardly stand how beautiful the artichoke is, regardless of season.  On my morning walk-about I pass them, some fallen over, others completely spent, with shreds of lavender still attached.  Their unabashed wearing of their best purple robes, daily, is inspiring.

My first born used to "twiddle" a strand of hair while she sucked her thumb wrinkled.  Something about this twisted crown made me think of her.  Of that.

I am preparing for a Poetry Reading.  It seems ironic, in that I have not "polished" any poems for over a year.  I have been painting.  Yes.  And helping run an art gallery.  Have been thinking.  Writing daily, sometimes pages, sometimes, just the date:  today is Friday.  My Mom used to look up from her game of solitaire and ask me, "What is today?  Tuesday?"  Perhaps it was a ruse, so that I wouldn't notice her sly moves.

My poetry is mostly about relationship and nature.  Or the nature of relationship.  Or about some guy(a couple of decades ago) that rose like a myth out of a steaming Oregon hot spring, who was nature, but not relationship.

Honey Bees have what seems like a magical relationship to their environment.  They read the landscape, they dance to communicate with one another, they are part of a large community which is, in fact, their home. I heard recently (more NPR education), that the drones are actually females.  Why does this not surprise me?

I love how the Bees love the artichokes.  We share that love.

How Did the Rose?

did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too

This little fuzzy is a mystery.  Who is she?  Looks like a cucumber?  A melon?  Just so cute, at this stage.

Looking up at my sunflower I noticed a whole gaggle of pollinators, including the little native bee.  All busy, all with bright yellow pollen piling up in their leg-bags!

Can you see the light from within?  Looks as though this fig is glowing!  Usually I am not allowed any of the First Figs, as the Orioles, Starlings, Mockingbirds and Woodpeckers all gorge their way through the whole crop in one or two days.  This morning I scored!

Which brings me to the whole point of July 4th:  
The Gratitude List

  1. Thank You God.
  2. Thank You for all that IS today.
  3. Thank You, this Life is full.
  4. Thank You for this garden.
  5. I am grateful for exaltation and exploration.
  6. I am grateful for morning, noon, and yes, the evening.
  7. I am grateful for neighbors, community, and our country.
  8. I am grateful for landscape, tree and blade of grass.
  9. I am grateful for generosity, friendship and love.
  10. I am grateful for figs.

I love you.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Just a little photo-essay from a roadside stop.
Love you.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

For Dev... On the Way to Rebekah's 8th Grade Graduation

Junior and I were ready, and waiting.

Dev finally came out the door.

Twice or three times.

Then, ta daaaa!  The Graduate!

Ok.  Now we have to hurry, because 5 minutes ago
we were supposed to be there.

Noooooo!  No more photos!
(Isn't she so dang cute???)


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