Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Such good fortune to be close to this beautiful urban forest. Where Felix and I go almost every day. Someone in labor tonight and I'll be getting a call so better go to bed. Saw babies and pregnant mommas all day. Tired, very tired. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

For being so wee, hummingbirds are pretty fierce. They don't share at the feeder and they 'chirp' very loudly at one another to move aside.

In spite of that, their flashing magenta and green startle my heart.

Time to visit my pea patch. At least there is no roaming chicken to dig and eat my starts.

Love after love 
The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome,
And say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

                                      Derek Walcott

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Posted: 17 Apr 2019 12:00 AM PDT
Michael Lavers
That’s my dad, I say, pointing to the man in the photograph
with thin grey hair reflecting river-light.
And that’s my mom. My arch of nose, my chin.
I’m talking to my children, talking the way I do
about things that are not lost, that are still here,
knowing that it’s no use, that time and decay
do not obey language; that the dumb flesh of a tree,
for instance, doesn’t care about Samantha,
which word my son, ten years from now,
will carve into it;
doesn’t distinguish between the pain of his love for her,
and any old pain: woodpecker, beetle, axe, frost, flame.
* * *
Once, when I said she could not play
with a dead mouse, my daughter wailed so loud
I thought she might break.
This was in Great Falls, next to a riverbank
wafted with small blue moths. We’d strayed
from the playground near an overpass where people
seemed to be sleeping or hovering around fires.
She yelled Mine, astounding even herself, as if at the end
of the scream she thought there might be nothing left,
nothing of her,
nothing to listen to in this world.
* * *
The sad mechanic exercise …
My mother was finishing a master’s degree
in psychiatric nursing, writing a thesis
on gambling addiction, on people who wear diapers
so they can stay at slot machines for hours,
even days,
and when we asked her if we should try
to get the last course waived and the degree granted
before it was too late, she said nothing,
as if keeping new and hidden counsel
with herself, or with someone not present.
And my father,
dead ten years later of a heart attack
in the bathroom of a movie theatre—the ticket-taker
panting out that sad mechanic CPR—he must have felt
a terrible silence growing inside him, or a noise
too loud to hear, the crashing stillness after
a long inertia, the indifference
of that small wet machine suddenly reluctant to bear
for one more second
the weight of his body. As if the soul
at the end of a long journey
finally stepped through a door and put down its luggage.
Thinking, maybe, if he listened hard enough
he could make out
why stars had lost their willingness to dazzle,
or where they were going—through what dark nimbus
or invisible crack—and why without him,
why so fast.
* * *
Once as a child I drove a hammer’s claw into
the trunk of one of the small maples
lining our driveway,
peeling bark away in strips as thick as fingers
to the underflesh, the soft wet honey-gold,
tinted a bit off-pink, off-green.
It was like being, or imagining that I could be,
everywhere at once, light
right there in the palm of my hand,
made still and, well,
in ruins. Light’s unsingable psalm,
a thing outside
our sad economy of come and go.
A brief end to stagnation, briefly glimpsed.
My father was angry, but mostly bewildered.
He stared for a while, then said only
that the hammer wasn’t mine to take, and that the tree
wasn’t mine to do whatever I thought I was doing to it.
And what are you doing to it, he said, and I said
I don’t know.
* * *
Poor flesh, love says, baring her teeth.
Poor agitation of heat, of stars, shaking and far away.
Van Gogh in the final letter to his brother Theo:
Well, my own work,
I am risking my life for it and my reason
has half foundered because of it—that’s all right.
It’s true no metaphor can save us, store us
like gravel in the cheek of Hallelujah Creek,
Creek of Unclottable Light.
But that’s alright.
Why not exist, at least for each other,
in love and thickly streaked and made to end,
believing if not everything at least
one of the minor prophets, maybe,
Zephaniah: he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
* * *
That’s my mom I say to my kids,
that look she has like mine, of somebody enduring
happiness, expecting grief. And that, I say,
is her diploma, framed and hanging on the wall.
This is your breakfast, bananas and toast and jam,
our one life, ours in the only sense
that matters, something that we make … make what?
Come forth, I think,
like stars, all flicker and distance, prodigal and dim,
but not so dim that if they vanished
we would not weep every night,
or stop trying, though we knew we couldn’t,
to describe them,
to remember.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Just streamed a Netflix series called 'Special', written and acted by a gay man with CP. It's wonderful and funny and poignant and all that.

Did I say funny? And gay sex and swearing...

Each episode is only 15 minutes and I can tell you, it'll leave you wanting more.

More please, Ryan O'Connell.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

About to take the dog out for our daily walk. Danced with wild abandon last night and today I feel...fine. Hard to get up from my cushion after meditating but hey, still moving.

I told my friend Ryan last night that I'd totally date him if I were much younger and straight. He laughed, thanked me and we danced together on the floor, rolling around. There was one guy last night who wore very tight black shorts and a shirt. Last night he took off his shirt (um, eww) and wriggled in front of the mirror for an hour. I was chastising myself for being so judgmental but really I was having the age old argument with myself that women don't do that in public but men can. Harumph.

Feeling lonely lately. I so cherish my solitude and quiet. Often I don't listen to music unless I'm playing the piano. Just incidental sounds from airplanes, the washing machine, occasional barks from the dog.


Loneliness creeps in and  I feel a well of sadness that lives in my psyche. I've been investigating it and finding the same dichotomy: needing significant time alone and wanting companionship. Friends are great. My various communities are nurturing. The Dharma reminds me that we're never really alone...but there is it. Loneliness washes over me. I so relate to other elders who populate the hot tub at my local pool, their need to talk, to relate, to be touched by the hot water. Indeed, it's a regular social whirl over there. Folks come just to sit in the tub. They don't even get in the pool.

So I sit with my lonely self. I don't usually descend into self pity. I continue to dive underneath the feelings to see what's there. And from there I can find comfort for those feelings, that abandoned child, girl, and woman who finally has the luxury of time. I say that because I think I spent years trying to get here, with working, raising children, having intimate relationships. I was always reaching for....myself. Now here I am.

As a line in a book I am reading right now has said, "Who am I?'

Who indeed.

Friday, April 05, 2019

I sponsor two young women in Alanon. Alanon is a program for family and friends of alcoholics and addicts. And in my case, mental illness and suicide. You who read here know some of this.
Today one of my sponsees called to tell me that she resisted stealing a pack of printer paper from her son's school which led to a long discussion of honesty.

There is the precept in Buddhism which says that we 'undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not freely offered.'

Ah yes. The small and the large. We concluded that honesty can be tied to happiness. I once went to a big box store for gardening stuff and realized that I hadn't paid for a pair of clippers, about 7 bucks. I went back into the store with the clippers and paid for them. The clerk was surprised and said the store wouldn't have even known.

I would have known. A far cry from my youth when stealing was some kind of subversive act. And perhaps the clerk thought about the woman who came in and paid for a pair of clippers because she was honest..at least that day.

More difficult are interactions with others. Do I steal time and attention from my friends? Do I hijack conversations by calling attention to myself?

I think about the times I've been robbed. While I work to forgive the thieves and to let go of the objects they've stolen, I'm also aware of the vast economic disparities that creates desperation.

I think about the times I've lied, exaggerated, and obfuscated. Honesty encompasses all of life, it seems. To say what we mean, to speak plainly, but with kindness, timeliness, and humility. How often do I watch my mouth so what I say is not going to hurt others?

Honesty feels positively old fashioned.

Listening to Mozart's Requiem right now. May spring bless us all.