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


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. 


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.  


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


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

Saturday, September 23, 2023

 Dear ones-

So grateful it 's raining. We'e actually in a drought. 

Life is, in a word, insane. Two midwives for the whole clinic is not ideal, to say the least. I did say no to my partner yesterday so I could write. I think I might be at the point where I can call my thesis 'good' because we have a form to fill out that states we are 80%, 40% etc done... I think I'm at 85% done. I have no idea if my APA formatting is ok (don't ask). I still have a few appendices to complete. I sent what I have to two friends to read. One of them is way smarter than me and way more eloquent about Buddhist principles as they inform her life. I just write about how it feels to swim in very cold water and gratitude for my little life. And the love I give and receive. If I would say anything about my 27 year practice of meditation, it's that. 

Then there are the baby boys. Omar and Edvin. 

Well, there's another momma in labor today. We'll see about that and when she needs attention. 


XX Luminous Cloud

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Felix is very confused.

 Omar and Edvin (Eddie for short). Obviously for our boys in Young Royals. And before you get all attitude cuz they're brothers and I'm referencing a gay story, these children do not know their gender identity or orientation yet. They're just babies, after all. And those names are perfectly respectable and they are hilarious. 

Saturday, September 09, 2023

 Dear ones-Just done hosting a morning meditation for my dear teacher who is traveling. It' s so lovely to sit first thing in the morning. It's a bright sunny day and for the last few days a neighbor and I have been getting in the lake at 6 AM with the other lunatics. The water is 65 degrees at the moment. Not as cold as it will get. Not wetsuit weather yet. We're gonna go later in the day today. 

Tuesday I caught a baby and called 911. It was, how to say, a true emergency. Everyone is fine, I visited the family on Thursday, as they got home from the hospital. I'm very curious now about the intersection between faith and science because this situation had both. The family, devout Christians, prayed. I used medications and techniques I know how to use. And in my way, I wasn't praying exactly but I do believe in cause and effect (called co-dependent arising) and I have my own dialogs with the BVM and Kuan Yin. So who's right? Neither? Both? The family firmly believes in the power of prayer and that the situation arose as it should. In other words, it was preordained. From my perspective, yes, they're right. What I never know is how it will go, what will happen. Will this mother bleed? Will the baby struggle to breathe? I'm alert for all the irregularities but resting on normalcy. I don't believe there is some higher power directing the activities of humans. Or do I? If we're mere specs, I would think a divine being would not bother with us individually. 

I also think we live on an intelligent biosphere. As an aspiring green chaplain, it seems evident to me. As we inter-are, as Thich Nhat Hanh worded it, there is this vast web that in indivisible. We form and unform and reform into and out of the elements. We never die, if you will. We just become something else. As Ram Das' teacher Neem Karoli Baba said about his own death, "Where would I go? I'm not going anywhere. I'm just leaving my body." As long as we believe that we are these skin suits, we get stuck. So we've got our ancestral DNA. Calling on the ancestors seems right. And this family was doing that too. So are we that different?   

Well, I wasn't planning to go HERE this morning. 

I'm watching a junco eating the shriveled grapes outside my window. She pecks at the bunch, knocks one to the ground, hops down and eats it, then goes back for more. I missed the grape window this year. I was away getting married.  

Ah well.

Enjoy your day.


Shoun (Luminous Cloud)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Dear friends-

Welp, what is there to say? I'm still in bed,  avoiding my writing desk. I just talked with a video-savvy friend who is eager to make a short video to accompany my thesis presentation, should I get that far. (I will, I must).

The birth world is chaos but that's nothing new. We're short a midwife so I'm taking more call :-( and feeling the pressure to be in twelve places at once. I talked to the boss AKA my friend who I sold the practice to back in 2017 yesterday and with the addition of another midwife at the end of this month, I may be off the hook for real. Like, not working anymore. Which would be just fine with me. I would still offer to  birth assist but randomly. I was thinking I could hold out til the end of the year but sooner would be just fine. I talked to my financial guy yesterday and he assures me that he can get me to 2045. But holy moly, I don't want to live that long, nah. Besides, the planet and all. 

How are you faring with everything? My children and grandchild are ok. My circle of friends and wider communities are also ok. But the planet is not. Well, she'll be fine, she'll right herself. We've just made a hash of it. 

In other news, it rained yesterday and last night, finally. I went outside and turned my face to the sky, just to feel the rain. Today the air smells so good and fresh. All the poor plants are in their shutting down cycle  but their roots are well watered. My pea patch buddy brought me a summer squash, tomatoes, green beans, a cuke and some sweet peas. I'm debating whether to go in the pool or the lake...When the weather gets colder, I do this bargaining with myself about where to go. Tomorrow and neighbor and I are getting in the lake at 6 AM for a swim. Then we go off to work. 

What will I do if I don't work in the clinic anymore? It will be so WEIRD. Putting down an identity. 

Love and kisses,

Luminous Cloud   

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


My girl married her John from South Africa. He now has a whole new family. And he asked me to be his mum. I said yes, of course. 

Waiting on a mom in early labor. I don't wanna go to a birth but I will get over my bad self. I have to. Friday another three days of training with chaplaincy. It rained a bit last night, lovely to hear the rain on the deck. 

I have a bunch of short papers to write about the last trainings and the one coming up. Remember, if I EVER suggest another training program I'm interested in, please disabuse me of that notion. Please. 

Although film theory would be fascinating. (Don't ask)

I must go for a walk or something. I'm tangled up in knots with stress.  A swim would be great but I can't take my phone in the water with me. 

I hope everyone is ok after the latest climate/political fuckery. We find our friends. We hang with those we love. Last weekend was nuts but I saw some of my favorite people in the world. My wife loves me and I love her.  Clark gave me a Bob Ross bobble head that talks. So life is good. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

 Tomorrow begins another chaplaincy training period with lectures on-line and a 5 day retreat thrown into the middle. My mentor cleverly suggested that on our 'rest' day that Rachel and I go to the lady spa. I immediately made an appointment for a scrub and a soak and a lie down. Yeah. 

The weather this summer in the PNW has been reminiscent of the past. Cool in the morning, burned off by 2 PM so a dip in the lake is called for and cool nights. While the rest of the planet burns up and people die of the heat, we are enjoying the lovely Northwest summers of yore. 

Can we talk. I don't know how we (I) live with this cognitive dissonance. I know the suffering is immense. When we were near Death Valley last month, the temperatures reached 120. Mapquest did not allow us  to cross the desert. A broken car would be death for us. Heat deserts are a thing, especially for poor and Black and Brown people in big cities. As usual. Who dies first, sooner, more often. 

How do we live with this? 

My thesis is now 24 pages and growing. I told my advisor it's probably all wrong. I'm keeping the magic out of it. The beauty of the women I have interviewed is hidden behind the words. Maybe those long gorgeous stories are just for me. Facts and surveys and data are not my experience. If I have a description for myself at this point in the chaplaincy process is that I'm a mystic. I endeavor to see with the eyes of my heart. As I said to someone I'm mentoring right now, it's all love. All the years of practice and meditation and study and retreats have brought me here. It's all love. From within and without. 

Continuing on with my teen boy series obsession, I have discovered a Substack person who is dissecting Young Royals with the eye of a film school instructor. Each week he/they/whoever takes one topic; metaphor of pizza, music, negative space, blocking scenes etc. and gives an in-depth analysis of said topic. I'm totally hooked. It's so interesting. My wife has joked that film school will be my next field of study. She might be right. And very possibly, I'm avoiding the pain and heartache of our beleaguered world by entertaining myself thusly. 

Well, dear friends, I have to get up at 5:30 for the morning meditation so I better get to bed where, perhaps I will fall asleep. 

I may dream of my dear dear lake which holds me and rocks me in her vastness. I am grateful for every day I get to swim there. 

Random thoughts. May we all be well. May we find freedom in this very life. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

 Dear friends-down deep in my writing I'm not sure there is a light at the end of this particular chaplaincy tunnel. I don't know if I'm getting closer or farther away, distracted by so many shiny things. What about the patriarchy? Don't forget indigenous peoples! Therefore mycelium! Grief informing every step. How many trees have burned, exactly how many? Not to mention all the other assorted life incinerated. 

How do we show, demonstrate, practice with an undefended heart when that heart is nothing but rubble? 

In Seattle there is a project called The Last 6000. Folks are cataloguing 'heritage trees', the old ones in parks, in back yards, in green belts. Of course I'm interested. I just learned from the city that trees destroyed in parking strips by the homeowner adjacent can be fined, depending on the size, kind and age of the tree, up to $100,000 per tree. As if money could replace the shade and shelter of that individual. 

Ok, this is an obtuse post, I know. 

Eden is marrying South African John on the 19th of August. I will leave my two week training and immediately go to the airport and fly to LA (Hi Elizabeth!), perform a quickie wedding for them on Saturday and then fly back on Sunday. Whew. 

Nick Cave is a genius composer. 

ANOHNI and the Johnsons - Sliver Of Ice (Official Video)

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Friday, June 30, 2023

Dear darllings-

First off, Clark is back from the wilds of Maine so I have my swim buddy back. I might go to a 'prom' with him tomorrow night. Any excuse to dance, I say. 

I just yelled at the dog again for getting on my bed. He will NEVER learn. Never, Just like when he drops the ball after he's retrieved it and leaves it under a tree way down yonder. And poodles are supposed to be smart. He knows I'm mad at him but he doesn't know why. Sheesh.

In a few weeks, I marry Diane. The mere thought of it makes me weepy. And I have to say words. In front of her and my immediate family. It's just too much. And she will say words back to me. How can I possibly get through it without becoming a complete puddle? After all these years. At least I won't do something stupid like wear makeup that would run down my face. 

Very warm here. The lake is delicious. 

Oh, just reminded that it's the 4th. UG. War zone time in the hood. Poor Felix and the birds and other creatures.  

I have actually written through one interview and am part-way through another. My rule-no writing homework after evening. Then I can do what I want. Lately, I'd like to do a full moon swim. Sounds fun, right? I just have to convince a few other to come with me. Yeah!

Much love always.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

 My latest trick is to move papers from one side of my desk to the other. Then I feel that I have accomplished **something**.

I just started a book called "Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees. The author is obviously brilliant. He uses words like phytocentric and dendrochronologists and apocalypticism. In spite of this, this rather thick brick of a book is exceptional. Perhaps he can write my thesis for me. 

People, I have to get serious. I have distracted myself enough. ENOUGH. I've even lost my keys twice, the second time for real. At least we have a new midwife in the practice so I'm getting a bit of a break there. 

Tonight I will dance with my people. And all will be well. Dance=life. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

 Ok, so I have become very creative with distracting myself from THE THESIS. Herein referred to as TT. Ug. I read some, I write some random trash, rinse, repeat. When I wrote my final paper for midwifery school, it was easy (well, pre-computer!). I would go to the medical school library, copy articles on the wheezing copy machine and come home, sit on my bed with the typewriter on my lap and type. I'd have to start over with any mistake. Sheesh. But I go it done because it was a discrete topic. This time, I'm trying to encapsulate my life experience with Buddhism, Feminism, earth chaplaincy and elder women. Gawd. Really? I'm tired already.

This elderberry is in my yard and as you can see, covered with flowers. That's all I want to say about Buddhism, green chaplaincy and elder women. Just that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

 Since yesterday I have been in the birth center with a mom and her husband. She finally got into active labor with the help of a castor oil cocktail and breaking her water bag. She is not happy now, after laughing for many hours and having mild contractions. My partner and I worry that after all this time, she won't be able to give the big effort as labor gets more intense and finally she pushes the baby out. She had a tub, nitrous, support from her husband and doula and us. Jen and I are pretty tired. Poor Felix has been in the house all day, with a few pee breaks. I can only imagine his anxiety. My neighbors have been lovely to let him out at walk him but he misses me. Nothing to be done. 

Tomorrow is a clinic day and I'm hoping to get home for some hours of sleep. Sheesh. This is exactly why I'm done with this crazy life. I'm tired, we're going on 24 hours and she's pretty far from delivery, the specter of a transfer always there. 

So what am I grateful for? Lets see. The sun was out all day. The baby inside this mother has great heart tones. This baby has some nice and sweet parents. My fellow midwife is someone I haven't known very well and now I do. We've told birth stories (she's the mother of 9 kids) and laughed and supported one another through the care and choices we are offering this family. 

I don't want to push too hard because I'm tired. It's such a fine line between offering sage advice and recommending something that may not land or work. Midwifery is a creative process and I've learned how to be a human being because of it. Patience. Intuition. Forbearance. Wisdom. Humor. Deep listening. All of it. My first training in letting go. In trusting the process. And knowing what to do when situations are scary. 

So I'm grateful for the opportunity to, as they say in my chaplaincy training, come alongside an intense experience of another traveller. To give birth. To pass through the doorway. To be born.

Monday, May 22, 2023

 Dear friends-As you may know, my car is being repaired to the tune of $3600. I know, yikes. Well, I asked when I dropped it off if they could take out a scratch in the read fender while it was there in the shop. They just sent an estimate of $2100 for that. WTF??????!!!!!! It included the roof, the back door, replacing  a bunch of 'panels', etc. I responded with surprise and dismay, of course. The guy said they have to be able to 'certify' the repair so that's what it costs. 

Again I say, WTAF-A stands for actual. 

So I will live with a scratch in my bumper, thank you very much.

I will have to give up the Audi of fever dreams, the Audi that drives itself with the Bang and Olafsen sound system and the automatic sun roof and the keyless ignition and so on. I mean. I shouldn't be driving a car this nice. Not with a dog and gardening tools rolling around in the back. Honestly. 

It's cooled off here but Clark and I have been swimming in the lake anyway. Heaven.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

 Dear ones-

Warm and sunny, like California. That's what we have here. Clark and I will venture into the lake on Sunday, with a wet suit, by golly.

Reading some Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest who believed in evolution and the natural world as sacred. His writings and beliefs are blowing me away. As John Muir before him, they were practicing union or merging or ecstasy in oneness. Before I float away here, I am living this experience sometimes. As did/do artists and writers and those in the spiritual life. Leonard Cohen's 'secret cord'. William Blake's drawings and poetry. Van Gogh's sunflowers. (altho that could have been cadmium poisoning).

I am trying, without success, to explain or encapsulate these embodied musings into some kind of form (form in the formless) for my thesis. Seems impossible. My advisor gave direction and used two words, 'interesting' and 'courageous' to describe my formative ideas. Oh dear. What do I do with that? A friend suggested that I just write and I might write into the answer. 

For the time being, I am reading three books at once and pretending I don't have a deadline.

And I am writing my half baked ideas here. 

Does that count?

What IS the sound of one hand clapping?

Or as my teacher once asked- Who hears?

Love forever,

Shoun (Luminous Cloud)

Monday, May 08, 2023

 Does anyone here care about the coronation? I thought not.

There have been 202 mass shootings in the good ole USA so far this year. Does anyone care about THIS?


Sunday, May 07, 2023

My knee has osteoarthritis and I dropped my cell phone on my little toe and I think I broke it. I really think this behavior should stop. I mean really. This is ridiculous. 

Darlings, I've been gardening which includes hauling bags of mulch and pulling acres of weeds. Today my dear Clark and I take a road trip to Scenic Beach on the Hood Canal (a tributary of Puget Sound-salty) to have a picnic and drive in the Audi of excess, the car I have right now. We will sing and play tunes loudly and enjoy each other. 

An old girlfriend of Eden's is now a guy. He is a Hollywood person who was in The L Word. He's here for a Trans film festival and we have been hanging out. It's been SO FUN. Last night I attended a film with three young queer actors that was brilliant. They are children being kids as well as dealing with their queer selves and supporting each other. There is beauty in their world as well as danger. Danger was a current running throughout the story. And yet, there was this innocence.. 

Before that I attended a queer kickball final that was hilarious. Felix barked and I cheered for my team (we lost big time). One of my friends is on the team so I had to go support him. Of course there was a boom box playing disco tunes and pizza. 

So I've been having a gay old weekend here. 

I'll limp along the beach with my broken toe and send all of you my love. 

Robb is on the mend, btw. It seems to be the season of broken bones and broken cars. There is a metaphor in there somewhere.


Monday, May 01, 2023


I dropped off the car at the collision place and went to the rental place and they gave me a 2023 Audi which is undoubtedly the fanciest car I have ever driven. The dash is like the cockpit of a plane. with flashing lights and warning signs and beeping noises. And a heated steering wheel. What??? And an automatic sunroof and headlights that automatically adjust when it gets dark. 

Honestly. Oh and a keyless ignition. 

But here we will stop and contemplate the sound system. It is the most splendid kind of thing ever. I called Clark because we need to do a road trip just to play tunes along the way. Great bass and boomy and loud. 

BTW, I told the nice young man he really shouldn't let me leave the lot in such a nice car. He looked at me kindly, like the young people do, and told me I'd be fine. 

So far, I am. 

I did leave the sun roof open last night. Oops. 

This just might be a meditation on the vagaries of the capitalist system that continues to entice us with bigger better more and more. Heck, I learned to drive in my mother's Valiant with the slant 6 and the 3 on the tree and a radio. I still could drive that thing even today. 

Horses got us there, maybe more slowly, but they left fertilizer behind.

Monday, April 24, 2023

 To continue with the adventures of last weekend, I was on the forest crew down the street, wrassling black berries and ivy and other invasive stuff when my tenant called to say the water in the toilet and sinks was brown. Oh lordy. That doesn't sound good. I hoofed it home to investigate and because it was Saturday, I called the 24 hour people. A nice young man with a nose stud (!) came over and said I needed filters and my galvanized pipes were ancient and prolly my hot water heater would give it up in no time. BTW, when the fire department flushes the hydrants, it knocks out all kind of sediment, which is what we were seeing. Who knew. Anyway, I have some new plumbing in the basement for a mere $4000. And no, I didn't buy a new hot water heater. I mean, come on!

Then after a birth, I was hanging with Kenny and the big dogs when Kody, his big black goofy lab, ran into, slammed into my right knee, the funky one. I went down and lay in the road for a bit with concerned neighbors around me. 

I have to take ibuprofen before bed so I can sleep, which I'm not doing anyway. 

I sure hope the knee recovers cuz surgery is just not that appealing. Or necessary. 

My garden is bananas right now. 

Love forever,


Saturday, April 22, 2023

 Felix got a bath and a haircut today. He sorely needed it. 

And the auto glass guy is finally here replacing ALL my car windows. When you have snow and ice on your car, DO NOT use a scrubby abrasive thingy on all the windows and then hope those couldn't be scratches on all the windows. 

How embarrassing. I should know better. Sheesh. 

Next week the car gets a new front end from the rear ender I had a few weeks ago. There is a shop story but not sure I wand to share. Suffice it to say,  the shop I hired went out of business, like, going over there and the door is unlocked and there are no people. There are a lot to cars in various stages of repair, parts lying on the floor. 

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Actually I put this here because Pigpen from the Peanuts strip is my alter ego Luminous Cloud. He is surrounded by detritus and happily so. I am inundated with mental detritus so when I see a bit of light shining behind the clouds, I also feel happy. Like tonight when I was meditating. There was a big puffy cloud with the later afternoon sun tinting the edges a creamy gold. 

I had the most lovely day. I sat early with my dear teacher Mary. Then me and the boy dog went to Cougar Mountain in the pouring rain. He got astonishingly muddy so I had to hose him off before he could come in the house. Then I met up with dearest Clark for a concert (?) of modern Swedish music involving two violinists. In an Episcopal church (shudder). My very childhood church. I just can't get a grip, so many memories from childhood. I almost genuflected when we left. Yikes. 

The concert was scalded cat level. Screechy and thumpy. I was very well behaved until after we left. We are inexcusably terrible together. I was laughing so hard I almost crashed the car. Clark is my brother, my companion, my dear queer beloved. We ate Indian food and blasted Swedish pop music in the car with the windows rolled up. Is this any way to behave when you're my kind of age? I believe it is. I mean, when will I laugh so hard tea comes out of my nose? When will I turn up the volume and car dance? When can I swim in the lake with the Clarkster so we can freeze our hands and feet and tell stupid jokes in the water? Now, I say, right now is the perfect time.

Has anyone seen the movie Summerland from 2020? Great for a good blubber fest. 

I had homemade granola and yogurt for dinner with a few strawberries. 

May we all be safe and well and may dear Sophie be home in her own bed NOW.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

So here's my tentative title for my Master's thesis

Elder Women, Elder Trees: Making Interconnection Visible in a Fractured World. 

In case I haven't mentioned this before, Diane and I are going to visit the Bristlecone Pine forest in July where the oldest trees ON THE PLANET LIVE.  Some are more than 5000 years old. That's effing old, y'all. 

Who says writing a thesis is boring?


Friday, March 24, 2023


Meet Raine Ayla, born this morning after a powerful birth. While I'm tired, I'm not as tired as her momma. Folks are still having babies; fresh, shiny, delicious babies. 

What an amazing life this is.


Shoun (Luminous Cloud)

In case you're wondering, that's my Dharma name bestowed on me by Roshi Joan Halifax. A few weeks ago. Whew. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Dear friends-

I just sat through 2 hours of a talk and small groups on-line with One Earth Sangha, an earth justice based community. Goodness, I have opinions. It seemed a pointless few hours, I must say. There were a lot of people with obvious concern for our dear planet mixed with despair and sorrow. 

So here's the thing. Global trauma is really here. We have the list. What to do with our sadness and worry?Refill the hummingbird feeder. Walk around in the garden and notice signs of spring; magnolia buds, crocuses and daffs, daphne scent, the dogwood about to blossom. Wherever we live on our tiny patch of earth, tend it. Have kindness for our neighbors, even for the vicious dog who lives next door (I give him dog treats now instead of avoiding the front door.) He seems confused now. Delight in our bodies that still work, however imperfectly. Pour our love over everything, indiscriminately. 

Allow ourselves to feel joy. 

Yes, terrible things are happening. I'm not suggesting that we close off to the suffering. Instead we can allow our hearts to completely break open. Open to all of it. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Milo left this morning :-( and the daughters will be leaving  tomorrow :-( :-(. They did rearrange my entire living room and Milo insists that I purchase a bigger flat screen. Sheesh.  He's the loveliest 20 yo boy and so tall and sweet. 

Yesterday was so fun. It was my birthday and we/I had a house full of people, the ones I love that live here and of course the fam. We ate and talked and laughed and played charades. I think the best was a word I had -'baby shower' and my team came up with 'baby rain'  'baby snow' 'baby ice' 'baby icicle' before Traci landed on 'baby shower' Today I'm feeling the let down of a mostly empty house. Ah well, it's all impermanent.  

We've had snow and rain and more snow that looks pretty and then melts. 

I might be quitting midwifery sooner than I thought. I think I'll be ok. Maybe I'll get a part-time job. Did I ever say I have money anxiety? Like forever. I'll talk to my financial guy next week and ask for his guidance. As my income continues to do a nose dive. 

My bra is tight. In the last week I have been hanging out with foodies and we're not done eating our way through the farmer's markets and bakeries and such. Eden knows a chef here in Seattle so we have to go to his restaurant for lunch. Then I will not eat for a week, k? 

I'm ready for some sunshine and a bit of warmth. Any time would be splendid. 

Love you  all.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Welp, my coccyx is broken. No wonder it hurts. Now I have drugs so life is better. And yes, takes forever to heal. :-( 

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

The adventure continues. While in Holden Village where there was a mountain of snow, I fell on my tailbone while skiing THREE TIMES. Ouch. So now I'm hobbling around and whining. My chiro said I didn't break anything but I am using a CBD ointment which maybe helps. But no swimming (sob) and walking, driving, sitting up is uncomfortable as heck. 

The workshops went well, I think. They ask for evals and they will send me those pertaining to my workshops and they strongly hinted that if I wan to return, I would be welcome. 

I interviewed an elder who is my taichi teacher and this is her gorgeous dance blanket. She is Chinese and Tlingit and she has been learning Tlingit so sometimes she will conduct our class in Tlingit! Not such an easy language.


Diane is here and it's so wonderful to cook for her and have her bring me tea in bed. Maya has just put in an offer on a townhome in Santa Rosa. Fingers crossed. I hope it goes through. The house she has rented for the last 15 years is  going to go on the market so she needs another place to live, hopefully something she owns.

I'm gonna lie down now with a very spiritual murder mystery (not) and let my poor sacrum/coccyx heal. I will ski again, by the way. 

Love you all.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Friday, January 27, 2023


Dear friends-

In a few days I'll be teaching at a women's retreat in Holden Village where I did trail work last summer. One workshop is called 'Grief and the End of Grief". Ha! As if there is an end to grief. I have gathered notes from everywhere; poets, philosophers, Dharma teachers, elders, you name it. I think it will be ok except that I have only an hour and a half, hardly time to go deep. Maybe we'll just meditate. Then a few days later I'll be leading a 'forest bathing' walk in the snow. That should be interesting. And Diane is coming with me. I just pulled the snowshoes and skis out of the garage, poles and boots and that. I have to unearth my ski clothes and long johns. My dearest Clark is coming to housesit and hang with the Felix. 

Well, while about to offer a homeless guy a dollar from my car, I rear ended someone. Sheesh. The guy I hit has been so polite and kind and nice. WTF. He even thanked me for being gracious. I think it might be a lesson in choosing how to respond. I've gotten upset and scared when I've been hit so maybe I didn't behave so well. But this guy, Joe, has apologized to ME. Wow. 

Anyway, I have been talking to my car and saying sorry. She's ok to drive east of the mountains but she'll be in the shop for a week after I get back.  Possessions are such an irritant, aren't they?

Jason and I walked through my garden and he gave me pointers. I have to prune. It's a thing, apparently. In my small space, everything has become rather large so the little pathway is impassible. I even pruned the apple trees. 

Felix sits on my meditation cushion and barks at random things. It's his version of mindfulness. 

Tomorrow night Clark and I go see some taiko drumming. Should be loud and exciting. I do love the big city because there is dance and music and poetry and art. Before I get too decrepit, I want to take it all in. 

May we all enjoy the springtime as if it were our last. 

Much love. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Well dears, a rat died in my vent system. I know, yuck. And the smell is very special.  Owning a house is, frankly, a pain in the ass. My tenant's BF is moving in and he has a solution to the smell, dead body, whatever. He seems like a great guy and he has PET RATS. Gawd. I'm just happy to have another person in my house. And he seems very capable and kind. 

Diane arrives on the 2nd and we go immediately to Wenatchee to catch a ferry to Holden Village where I did trail work last summer. This time I'll be teaching forest bathing/meditation/trauma relief or some such. I really need to do a bit of prep before we leave. And joy of joys, my kids and grandson are all gonna be here for my birthday at the end of the month! Eden might even be here for 10 days. And Diane will be here too. I can't wait. I love all those people so much. 

Well. Time to swim and go get my new glasses. I have a drawerful of glasses from yesteryear. 

Chaplaincy starts up again in early March. I wrote a 'spiritual formation' paper and sent it in yesterday. It was supposedly a recap of last year. Ha! I think what I wrote was almost incoherent. Really. 


Saturday, January 14, 2023

 The sky this morning is streaked with wispy clouds. We've had rain forever but not the awful kind like California. I've been calling my friends and family there daily to be sure they are ok. As my friend Misha said, "Climate change is well and truly here". It's so disorienting to be here in my snug house on an ordinary Seattle day while other parts of the globe are getting hammered. I guess we always live in the delusion that as long as we're not actively experiencing a weather event (or a war or a pandemic) we aren't affected. But we are. We are all interconnected and we do feel the suffering. I once had a teacher who told me he read the paper every day so he knew what to pray for. We could say that prayer is ineffective. After the latest school shooting or racist attack, there is the trope of 'offering thoughts and prayers'. But if it inspires us to demonstrate kindness in our lives and compels us to act in our communities to alleviate suffering, however that shows up, thee we are leading with our hearts. For the suffering in the world is ever with us. And we are always being called to respond to it. 

This year of chaplaincy is the year we write our thesis. I've decided to study and write about elders; elder trees and elder women. I have two interviews already scheduled and I've asked that each woman find a favorite tree to stand beside so I can take a photo of them together. I'm still working on the details but I want to study the way trees communicate with one another and are 'mother trees'. How are the elder women 'mother trees' too? In a culture that wants eternal youth, I want to celebrate the old wise ones that we ignore to our peril. 

We'll see how it goes. I will be recording conversations which means that I will be transcribing those talks, not my favorite thing to do. Takes forever. 

Well, time to take the pup out. May we all find joy as we are. 

Monday, January 02, 2023

 Dear friends-

It's a new year and the sun is out after a few weeks of rain and snow and ice. Time to walk Felix for a while. I've spent a lot of time by myself these past few weeks, no longer checking anxiously my rapid covid tests. I'm symptom-free and wearing a mask whenever I'm with others in an enclosed space. On New year's eve, I hosted an intention setting meditation for my community and it went well. Folks came who I didn't know and that was fun. We shared our intentions (not resolutions!) to be kinder and more compassionate. Lovely. I asked that I be of service and at 3 AM on New Year's day, the phone rang for me to attend a birth. So there you go, being of service. Later that day a bunch of us went to a Chinese restaurant for dim sum. Boy, was it crowded. The whole parking lot was full. One couple brought their 4 yo grandson with them and I got to cuddle him. Little boys are so delicious. Reminded me of Milo at that age. 

Just watched a Netflix doc called Live to Lead with the likes of RBG and Bryan Stevenson. They are Boddhisattvas all, here to be kind and thoughtful and inspiring people. As we all are in our way. 

I host the first 'forest bathing, walking meditation' experience in Volunteer Park this Saturday. I wonder if anyone with show up...

I will go back to Kubota Garden tomorrow to garden. It seems like forever since I've been there. And Tai Chi I've been missing too. 

John goes back to S Africa and I'm so sorry to have missed meeting him. He and Eden are trying to figure out how to have a relationship when they live so far apart. I've forbade her from moving there but I wouldn't stop her, of course. It certainly would be a lot farther away from me than LA! she said selfishly. 

May this year be one of clarity, peace and love for us all.

Fish For Fallen Light

If each day falls

inside each night,

there exists a well

where clarity is imprisoned.


We need to sit on the rim

of the well of darkness

and fish for fallen light

with patience.

~Pablo Neruda