Wednesday, January 24, 2024

 Dearest friends-


I've not been here for a while. I've finished my thesis and it's been approved. Now no more whining about the damn paper any more. All my papers are written. All that left to submit is a small video my friend is making of trees and old women and their wise words. I'll post it here when it's done. I'm officially retired for 23 days...went to the office today and hung out with my pals. Was good to see them and get caught up.

I have been lying in bed til 11 or 12, then get up, go swimming, walk the dog and call it a day. Really. I think I'm terminally tired. Tonight is my dance night. Yesterday I finally went back to my beloved garden to volunteer and Monday I attended a tai chi class for the first time in forever.

A big party in February to celebrate chaplaincy, retirement and my birthday. My family will be here. The only problem is I don't want to plan it but I guess it was my idea so I better get on it. I've got about a month. 


The boys have gotten quite big and momma, are they destructive.  They wake me up at 6 Am, like toddlers. They're terrible but just look at them. I bought them a bed but they prefer the box it came in. The dog lies on the bed which is too small for him. I am so glad I got them. They make me laugh, they snuggle me when they're not pouncing on my face and fighting with each other and they're beautiful with golden eyes. 

Playing the piano more now. My studio needs some restoration. I've been writing a trashy novel. It's so much fun. How do you write about sex in a fresh and interesting way? There are LOTS of terrible descriptions, I can tell you. 

Anyway, about to go dance. And I have a silent retreat in June. For two weeks, in blessed silence. 

Intricate


the way the rain follows itself


magnolia buds about to exhale


spinach sprouts


reach for the boundless sky



Much love. 


 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

 Sitting at my desk listening to the Messiah. I love the music so much, used to sing it every year but the pandemic has put a halt to my favorite venue. Ah well. I can pretend I have a stellar alto voice. 

Plunged into the lake this morning. When water is 45 degrees, the body feels like it is on fire. Really. I went with a new friend, a guy named Tareq who I met tree planting. I invited him and he came (!) with his g'friend who decided to watch because she's not crazy. Btw, Tareq is gorgeous and I made the mistake of thinking he (they) were queer. Oops. They set me straight (ha). Good reminder to never assume, ever. They have a meditation practice and they're doing ecological work so it was natural that we talk and all. they're down for another dunk in the brrrrrrr lake. Ok, Very grateful for my wee hot tub. 

The kitties have their periods of calm before they are racing around getting into everything. I swear, it's like having two toddlers at opposite ends of the house, running full tilt towards each other. 

May we all have a love-filled holiday, however we celebrate it. Let our love shine over all, everywhere. 


Friday, December 22, 2023

Dears-

I just sent a revised and edited thesis to my advisor. Let's hope it will pass muster this time. I still have to write up a list of all the times I met with/talked with my mentor through the last two years and line up those talks with the Five Buddha Families. Whatever the heck that is. 

We were gonna plunge into the lake (45 degrees) today but it's pouring rain, so tomorrow it is! Gawd, I'll be screaming for sure. Today is my last day of call forever. By the end of the month I'll be done, really done. I have a case to review for a law firm. So distressing to read about the details of a birth that went awry through no fault of anyone involved. We can always do better but we're not perfect. The last two births I attended were hairy, both involving 911 and all but the outcomes were ok.  

I'm thinking a lot about my next life. Where do I put my energy as a retired person? What calls to me? I'm asking my friends but I have to figure it out myself. Unhoused folk? Healthcare for underserved people? Feeding the hungry? I'll still volunteer in my beloved parks, maybe become a forest steward. 



My baby boys. They have broken a lamp, the glass in two pictures, countless plants have had the Edvin and Omar treatment, they run around like dervishes at unacceptable hours of the night. I would walk into a burning building for them. 

Solstice this year. great grief descends on the land. I read the news lightly. A friend was obsessively live streaming Gaza horror and I insisted that he stop. As if exposure to the death and trauma would make it stop. We are a broken species. 

I love my children and my grandson and so many other people. In my tiny corner of the world, I can plant trees in the greenbelt and feed homeless kids. What else is there? I'll be looking around. I'm sure I won't have to look very far. Suffering surrounds us. Be alert for the beauty, it's there too. 




Saturday, November 25, 2023

 Dears-waiting on a baby at the birth center. My dear Diane is in town and she is home with the dog and the cats. We're going to the coast tomorrow for a few days and I suspect with the way things are going right now, I will be stumbling home in the daylight. Only a few more weeks of this on-call business. 

We are living in unspeakable times. I sit down to write more of my thesis and just stare at the computer screen. The Sunday NYT last week was covered with a weird Calvin Kline ad and when I folded the page down, the front page of the paper had a young boy touching the face of his dead sister while she was wrapped in her shroud. 

I needed Diane to hold me while I cried for a long time. Unbearable, it is all unbearable. 

Dinner with friends yesterday. We went around the table and said three things we were grateful for. Friends, family, food and shelter, safety. 

I can feel the top of this baby's head with my fingers. Her little round head. I'm not sure this momma can complete her labor without pain relief. We will wait for her to ask to be transferred. She may tough it out. We never know when we sit with a mother in labor what she will do, what lengths she will go to, what pain she can tolerate. I'm surprised all the time. When I think a mother can't go on, she surprises me  and muscles that baby out. 

I did. A long time ago. I was 22 and stubborn. Tough. On a mission. But labor is a proving ground. A crucible if you will. We bring all our fears and doubts and questions to birth. And we birth the way we have to. There is no right way. We are bent to the will of the force moving through us. 


"My legs were towers between which

a new world was passing..."

----Audre Lorde

Sunday, October 22, 2023

 Dear ones,

Yesterday we had a birth that went swimmingly, until it didn't. An aid car was called, the paramedics were lovely (not always the case), the receiving hospital was gracious, the nurses were (always) stellar and the family is all well and back home today.

You know me, not a believer in a supreme being, or a 'father' or some shadowy figure that looks human, all powerful, moving us around on the chess board of life. 

But.

The closer I am to my own death, the more dispassion I experience with whatever happens. That isn't to say I am unmoved by the tragedy of Gaza or wars anywhere, or planetary shifts that signal the end of an era on Earth which we are all subject to, we are living right now, witnessing the end of days for life as we know it on our beloved terra firma. Od course I will act to bring in a baby who is hesitating or control bleeding for the mother, as best as I can. I will rebury worms I have inadvertently dug up while gardening. I will care for the small lives I share my home with.  

But.

The joy I feel when I am with my beloved Clark or Milo or my dear wife is a kind of universal non-discriminating joy, a joy that is freely offered, freely given, like the rain that falls on everything and everyone. At times it pours out of this small body in a kind of warm and endless river. 

So today I welcome baby Leda to her life with her brother and her parents. In the great stream of love. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Dear friends-

Well, the concert was as splendid as I had hoped, an intimate gathering in a 900 year old church. The incomparable Jamie Irrepressible, in all his glory. Milo recorded a bit of one of his songs but it won't down load. I think that's perfect because it hardly captures the beauty of that night. He sang my faves and a few songs from his new album. He was funny, tender, vulnerable. He told us he was nervous. 

Worth every penny to come here with my darling boy. Who is still sleeping. 

The hotel I chose way back when was, um, no. Way out in the country, no food nearby, public transportation was going to be a hassle. So we bailed for a Marriot in the center of Bristol with all the bells and whistles and so glad we did. Milo and I walked all over the place yesterday. Sat in St. Mary's church to meditate. Bristol cathedral is right next door to the hotel and I attended evensong yesterday. All the priests were women! Every one. The choir was heavenly. All the prayers were the old chestnuts I remember from my childhood, church of England, y'know. The church acknowledges Bristol's past as a slave port, and that over 500,000 Black humans were essential to the wealth of the city. At the end of the service, prayers were offered to the Israeli and Palestinian people, the war in Ukraine, refugees and immigrants everywhere, to the climate disaster. I found tears in my eyes. Sitting here now writing this,  A kind of healing has settled over me and my fierce anger at the church of my childhood. Participants yesterday were praying on their knees for peace in the world. I don't hold with monotheism (duh) or the virgin birth etc etc but what moved me was the ask, that love prevails over all. 

So I watch my beloved grandson sleeping, the window of our room overlooks the church garden and i am drinking good English tea. 

And I am among my people, my ancestors. How lucky am I.

Much love always. 

In This Shirt

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Darlings,

I sent my thesis to the thesis advisor today. He immediately sent back an email thanking me. Ha! I thought. Wait til he bites down on my thesis, on the interviews quaking with humor and love, on the trees, all old and wise in their rugged bark and deep rootedness, more rooted than any of us. Trees know why they are here. They don't go around asking questions all the time. They don't make themselves suffer with unexpressed longing. They hardly even judge. Nah, they don't judge. Like the rain, they fall on the just and the unjust equally. Of course the rich have reinforced roofs and they don't live in flood plains and they burrow into the desert in their bunkers, ready to wait it out.

BTW, gold bars? People are hoarding GOLD BARS. Why on Earth? 

I'm going to sit on the couch and eat cookies and watch the last season of Sex Education. And if you have an opinion about my choices, please keep them to yourself. K? 

Yours as ever, no closer to a state of permanent bliss than I ever was.


Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others -- "While My Gui...


Dear sweet jeezus