Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm back on retreat for another 5 days. This time we are going to (gasp) talk and write. I read a book by Jason Siff, Unlearning Meditation, and so intrigued I'm back to the woods.

The 15 days I was gone it rained and was so cold I borrowed socks. The damp crept in. And the guy cooking was, uh, awful. When you're sitting for several hours a day in silence, meals are a real highlight. I lived on peanut butter and tea. Complain, complain.

Very fruitful. Encounters with a doe and her fawn, a raccoon family, a beautiful slender stripey snake, a toad (!) and a lime green spider on a purple thistle. Slant light through the trees and rain on the zendo roof. Wide paths with wild flowers. A daily hike along the power lines very far into the forest where I stepped into mud over and over. My tangled mind that gradually became clear.

This time I'm taking food and chocolate.

By the way, Life, by Keith Richards, is fantastic. I'm listening to it on CD read by (((swoon))) Johnny Depp and some chap with an accent. Essential reading and/or listening.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet Lola, cat of mystery and suspense. She loves me. I love her. Without her I am nothing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm back. My family is in town including my beautiful grandson with the golden hair and skin.

What has happened in Norway is so breathtakingly horrible I can't write right now.

Sometimes what lives in the minds of others is dark and broken and vile.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Yesterday I worked in my clinic for 12 hours. I can't think after 5PM. My brain freezes up and words won't float to the surface so I stumble and bumble and my eyes water. Clients don't seem to notice. As I was saying goodbye to the last client and her son, one of the homeless men who lives up the street under the viaduct came in to tell us a pickup truck parked outside had it's lights on. We assured him that neither of us owned a truck. He supposed that the truck could be jump-started if the battery went dead and he seemed reassured by this idea. He said his 'Indian money' hadn't arrived yet but he didn't ask for anything from us. He was just being neighborly.

There is a small community of homeless men who live right beside the parking lot up the street. They have some furniture and a stove. They're very quiet. Sometimes the cops park in the lot and sometimes I see them in the encampment. Mostly, they leave them alone. All around are condos; young people with small dogs on leashes, babies in $300 baby strollers, and researchers at Fred Hutch, the huge research center across the street. So much money. The Gates Foundation is in the building across from us.

Tomorrow I leave for two weeks on retreat. Talk about lucky. I'm going to sit in the woods in silence with a bunch of other retreatants while others cook our meals. All I have to do is follow the schedule, if I want. We pick a chore. Maybe I'll work in the garden or clean the bathrooms.
In the hall, you can hear the train whistle off in the distance. There are deer and raccoons and bunnies and frogs. I've been there many times. During afternoon breaks, I'll go visit the creek and the hand hewn bridge a father dedicated to his children. I won't write (well, not officially) or read or talk, except during interviews. I'll eat sparingly and go to bed at 9:30.

I'll sit with my own damn self. No distractions except for the ones I invent. And I'm very clever so I invent a multitude of distractions. Finally the mind quiets down. And who knows what's there, lurking.

And back home, the babies will keep coming and the men under the bridge will hopefully be safe and protected from harm.

Monday, July 04, 2011

I'm sitting with my feet on the coffee table eating baked beans out of the container. They're from the health food store and they're very good. They're cold. I don't care. I can eat with my feet up on the furniture. I can eat cold food if I want.

The whole city is at the park on blankets eating chips and potato salad and burned animals. Women in burkas eating watermelon with their babies under an umbrella. A clutch of Guatemalan kids at the water's edge with sand toys. Frisbees. Footballs. Loud music from the boats in the water.

July 4th once again. I always forget what holiday it is. Babies don't know about holidays, or day and night or 'special date nights'.

Anyway, there will be the sound of fireworks/gunfire in the 'hood tonight. Children in the alleys with leetle noise makers that scare the bejeezus out of the cats who hide for two day. And no birds sing, well, it is night. Maybe that bit was a kinda melodramatic.

Yesterday I went for a bike ride along the Burke-Gillman trail which winds along for many miles by the lake. I stopped at Magnusen Park to pee and hang out before riding back. The lifeguards all had red blankets around their shoulders, the lake was choppy and waaaay too cold for swimming with our arctic spring.

Even so.

I watched a chubby kid in baggy shorts walk down t0 the edge and into the water up to his armpits. Then he swam the length of the roped off water by the diving raft. I remember my brother jumping into frigid water and staying there until his lips turned blue. He was fearless and so interested in the joy of swimming, cold water was no impediment. I was a wimp, whining by the edge of the pool, the concrete lip scratching the backs of my legs. I didn't really learn to love the water until my late 30's. Now I swim way out to the buoys in the lake when the water is warm enough...and I don't fear drowning.

Today there will be more kids, chubby and skinny, in the water adults wouldn't tolerate without a wetsuit. Childhood vigor.

I watched a documentary last night called "Little Man" that was so disturbing I can't write about it yet. It's about a couple who hire a surrogate to have a baby for them using one of their eggs. He's born at 25 weeks and survives, with great effort, technology and money. Oy.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

the natural world

For two days now, I've been living a backyard drama. Home from visiting babies and hanging in the yard when a cat streaks by with a BABY ROBIN in her mouth. I chase her while another cat gets into the act. We're scrabbling under the bushes while the mother bird does the anxious chirp from the fence. I manage to get the baby away from the cat(s) where they have gone to hide in the cellar. Sheesh. The baby is stunned and looks dead but I can feel her heart beating away. I pat her fuzzy head. She begins to perk up and pretty soon is looking ok. I scout the yard for a high place to put her so the effing cats can't reach. I choose a fork in the apple tree where she sits for a bit. Then she tries to fly and lands on the ground where the big cat pounces AGAIN. So off we go. I chase. I grab his tail and retrieve the baby who does the 'I'm really dead this time' routine. Again, she comes to so I walk across the street to my neighbors and ask if they have a bird cage where I can put Lucille safe from effing cats. They don't but Pete remembers that there's one in my garage so he gets it down and in she goes.

In vain, I look for a safe place. By now the crows have arrived too. Gawd. Finally, I take the cage to my neighbor's yard on the other side of my fence and put the baby on top of the cage so her mom can get to her. She tries flying and lands on the ground. But no cats this time. Just crows. So I'm yelling and waving my arms like a crazy person and they leave.

Back to my yard and pretty soon momma comes back to the fence with a worm in her mouth! Hooray for motherhood. She chirps away so I escort the effing cats into the house where I feed them and utter curses at them. She flies into the grapes and comes out again worm-less.

Today, again the back yard. Momma arrives and begins her chirping while looking directly at me. Really. So I assess the situation, shoo away the cats, she comes back with another worm and ducks into the grapes again. We're raising Lucille together. It's very tiring. And if I find bits of baby bird in the basement any time soon, there'll be hell to pay.


Friday, July 01, 2011

When I paint, this is how it looks.

By Beth Coyote

It's July 4th weekend, and all the rocket/fireworks/gun lovin' folks are readying themselves to make nighttime noise to scare the cats and dogs and crickets, except for Jimniney Cricket who wielded at parasol (why, we ask, does a cricket need an umbrella, for fucks sake). And the babies are lining up to make their grand entrance, all of them, regardless of their due dates. Who pays attention to due dates anyway? Bombs bursting in air?

All I want to do is lie on the grass in the sun and have my servants refresh my margarita. And live the life of leisure I deserve. I talked with a midwife who's older than me (and never you mind how old THAT is) and she said she's never retiring. I have a plan. I'm gonna retire. I will retire. When is another matter.

I just got Life, the book by Keith Richards, read by (swoon) Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley. I got the audio book. Oh yeah. Ms Moon suggested it and I obeyed because she is usually right about most things.

I just looked at the galleys for two books/journals I'm being published in. Just leave the bags of money on the porch. By the geraniums.

I could do that today. The babies will just have to wait. It's me and Johnny, er, me and Keith.