Monday, December 21, 2009


Merrick & Okum

From Alaskan In The Hinterlands

It's not a large Radio Flyer.
In fact, it didn't hold my brother and I comfortably at all. I'm smaller by five years so I sit up front under the handle. His legs are balanced dangerously on the thick rims so he can use his heels as breaks. I'm suppose to help steer, though really my dimpled hands are just keeping warm under his and he likes the job of steering. We're in a high speed race car hitting the barely-paved slope, low to the ground, crunching gravel louder than a logging truck. I mean, we're fast!

Now. The wagon I pull in my dream is filled with precious things, stacked high and tight. I'm trucking it along the side of a mountain road this late, purple evening. The occasional headlights of on-coming cars don't know what to do with me, high beams or low. I'm straining to keep it upright and keep a steady pace.
Mocking bird, two lengths ahead is hop-loop bouncing, straight tail up, whortling foreign translations. Ma says they're spies who tell our secrets to the gods.

I wake up knowing the dream is about learning to use the internet and how to write. This is a learning process that's taking place in public. I've always crouched on a marble boulder in the middle of the river and told my tales to Raven. He laughs and tells his friends who gleefully bounce my stuff back and forth between each other, the mountains, forest, and glaciers. Any feedback I get is highly personalized. And private.

Though outdoors.

Dilemma and odd circumstances. I'll sleep on it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Turning Tide Goes Out

My message is written and stoppered in amber glass stout and battered
Now to walk back to the redwoods where I last saw the sea wild
I'll toss it with a might to just the right current and stay
high on the outcrop watching it glint away

Old woman, return now down the well-worn path
Cozy-up in a cabin built by love and wonder till you're frail
what might come of your heart's desire

The wind is mixing with birch smoke
It's sweetness is fluttering across the face of the moon
I can hear the tide low against the shore
Light, careful, foot steps, swishing in the beach grass

My heart jumps and eyes tingle
From Alaskan In The Hinterlands
Illustration, Girl Beside A Stream by Arthur Rackham via Creative Commons

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It Ain't So Bad

We're old. We both felt it today as we climbed up Vallejo St.
You were a damned good sport when the long monotony of I-5 was calling so alluringly, like ancient reruns when one is ill or discouraged.
I was trying to share a view of the bay, coaxing you with walk and talk of mountains and sunny days that we've climbed in the past remembering the moon through the giant Redwoods we'd wound around the night before.

You know what's missing? My famous old endurance, surprise and your smile.
The one that I've seen flash golden, stunned as though you were Henry Carter making the discovery of Egypt's child pharaoh, Tutankhamun.

Can't seem to crack that tomb.

But darling I'm thankful both for the walk and iced coffee at Mel's.

From Thanksgiving '09

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winter Reflection

From A Place Where The Edge Feels Like Skin

Today, the delight of listening to live radio via the internet brings me to near tears after so many years of being too far away to get 'a signal' from our beloved public radio station, KHNS.
Catching Prairie Home Companion, in front of the woodstove on a NASTY November day.

Makes home all the homier.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Autumnal Joy

Nearly three weeks ago, while visiting Ridgefield, Washington, I slept with the Sandhill Cranes. Nestled in my bedroll, out in the field beneath the stars, I felt the chill rising out of the ground just before dawn.
And then--- they began.
A lovely morning song rose from all over the area. As the purple drape of sky faded to lavender hinting gold, group after group waved their way above me. A glimpse of Sky and Earth merged, with me sandwiched in-between.

Field Game ~

A splayed prone cross on the stubbled field

arms are finger tip stretched recalling flight

I imitate the mewing bands of flop-legged

Sandhill Cranes who've just arrived in this

Washington field of dropped corn

swooped down from the far north

my heart beat and heat surge

beyond the reach of this gentle Chinook

wind in western attire

we whisper and laugh up the dawn

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In The Circle Game

I was eight months pregnant with our first, young Micah to be. You called to let me know that your father was in the hospital fifteen miles from Jeff's parents, where I'd been staying to safe guard this high risk pregnancy.

I'll never forget the sense of trepidation I felt walking down the halls of The Brush Prairie General hospital. The stories shared from your girlhood perspective, to meet for the first time the one who I'd held responsible for all your rage, the unresolved anger and hurt that would splash onto us, your children. But you asked that I go.

I rounded the corner and an ancient, tiny, man, afloat within the hospital bed, looked at me and called me by your name.

And there you were, Thursa May, our mother, peering out from the face and body of your father, my only grandpa. He thought I was his daughter, unseen but somehow, unaged, for forty years.
I had vertigo. It was quite a moment.

I haven't asked what your grandson might recall.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A View From Afar

The great path has no gates,
Thousands of roads enter it.
When you pass through this gateless gate
You walk freely between heaven and earth.

- Mumonkan

The young people of Iran, who's loss of life now hangs draped in symbolic metaphor, stand beside the countless eons of planetary loss from absurdly, misguided "human" behavior.

We're still crawling out from the belly of the beast and have a long way to go. Predator and prey, within our own species?

Our ability to behave with "deep humanity" goes back to the beginning, on our Mother's knee. The life giving, planetary existence on Earth absorbs our blood and renews our chances to survive with each new day.

As much of this hemisphere is celebrating Summer Solstice 2009, perhaps we can use the moment as a point of demarcation. To honor the dead by valuing the living, in perpetuity.

Life and death and the immediacy of our time well spent.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June's Delight

Sisters entwined in a closeness only they can describe

Joey gets the hand cranked forge warmed up for bar-b-que!

"Dear Lady, it's 48°F today (which means the mosquitoes aren't so bad, a plus). A good day to bake. Your recipes are wonderful Mona. Our middle daughter Merrick, has become a baker extrordinare. Last night, we joined she and her honey out on the Chilkat Peninsula for Rhubarb Pecan pie. A small outside fire and a delightfully corny joke session followed. We took turns passing The Pretty Good Joke Book about. It was a lovely simplistic reprieve. You were there, in my heart."

The gathering assembles at Merrick and Joey's patch of green-ness for her 24th birthday.

Merrick's new potter's shed (complete with a piano!), on axles for easy relocation.

It's a Southeast Alaskan Garden Party!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Begin The Beguine

Fearful of death, I walked in the mountains.
By meditating on its uncertain hour,
I conquered the immortal bastion
Of the immutable.
Now I am far beyond fearing death.

- Milarepa

The immutable... that which is unchangeable.
Though the course is not set, I sneak peek around the corner and see just which tones and colors will lure me towards my endgame. I'm hoping you'll be there.

We could steal our way into the midnight performance, sit quietly up above and watch the live connections between the stage and adoring audience. It'll remind you of your best shows, the entertainment you assembled that had them standing in the aisles, roaring for more.

It'll flush me with joy, the kind I feel when reminded just how great people are, in spite of being human.

Maybe we'd belt back a couple of tall cool somethings before folding into one another's arms, tickling each others fancy, and turning out the lights.

New dawn, we'll awaken refreshed and begin different lives.

Or, we won't.

IF we do, hopefully we'll recognize each other from a distance. I'd really like that. I'm starting to get a big kick out of what we share. Shall we finish this round out, with dare and pizaazz?

I think of Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Night bird, open Love's narrow, cloistered, thrill

"Grace changes us and change... is painful." Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor described herself as a "pigeon-toed child with a receding chin..." and a "you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex."

When O'Connor was six she taught a chicken to walk backwards, and this led to her first experience of being a celebrity. The Pathé News people filmed "Little Mary O'Connor" with her trained chicken, and showed the film around the country. She said, "When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathe News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.” (borrowed from Wikipedia)

Night bird, open Love's narrow, cloistered, thrill...

To conjure an introduction to Ms. Flannery O'Connor is a new interest... "everything that destroys also creates", a rather Taoist take from her devout Catholic stance. She 's also noted for having said "Write not about character but with character."

I'm learning how to melt into other forms that character and characters might emerge.

Louise Erdrich, E. Annie Proulx, and maybe Ann Lamott are stepping up to the plate tonight as well as, Uh oh... Shirley Jackson just walked in!

Welcome to the cloister...

Monday, May 25, 2009

T'aint Fair Jim McGee

Stuck in reverse can reach beyond all restraints of time. To decide whether to make use of family history, that near bottomless and ever renewable resource, is dependent upon how the memories have been held and by whom.

A story that's been long kept in the vaults of disregard, can lay quietly gathering strength, like metamorphic layers.

Tess tried to stay composed through the melting process as she lay on the ground between the buildings. She'd crawled out her bedroom window, knowing the narrow strip of green between the houses was glimmering as intensely as her room.

She'd soon be missed in all the chaos. But it was lovely just laying there until then.

The ground was the first damp coolness she'd felt against her skin since January when she'd laid with Fred, hands tucked behind their heads, elbows flared, smoking cigars. The black sparkles of the night dew reflected across the wind shield of his baby-blue Barracuda. They'd just found each other's rough edges and had turned everything to velvet; velvet as in the silky dark skin, her cheek across his belly. Velvet along the backs of his ample thighs. Velvet like the warm newly wet underside of her, laying together happy and naked.

"Darlin' for having been an astonishingly well-kept virgin in these heady times, I firmly declare that you are quickly developing a sweetly defined style of romance. Ahem! And your bass line..."

"Well," he laughed, "my cap's tipped in your direction Madam. You make it easy to be a fine lover; pass that I.W.Harper m'dear, would you?"

The new year was off to an interesting start.

She couldn't resist, "Fred, my God! Do you ever think of the beautiful babies we'd create?"

He had. And he was certain the world wasn't ready for them. Nor was he really ready for the two of them as a couple. Just trying to get past his family would be absolutely impossible.

Tess loved that his brakeman's job with the Southern Pacific Railroad, between Bakersfield and Barstow, were as dear to him as the chamber orchestra and choral group he was helping to initiate at East High.

She knew his plans might include family some day. But she also knew that he'd never be ready for the battles of a mixed marriage. The world was too filled with hatred and Bakersfield, sure as hell was no exception. Fred was a lover, a writer, and a musician, not a warrior. That's what she loved about him.

"Ladyfair, what you were confronted by last week in school is a fraction of what our kids will be fighting every day of their lives."

Tess easily recalled the bitch slap, that one she hadn't seen coming. Nearly brought her to her knees. She'd held her cool, knowing she was seriously out numbered. These girls packed knives. They were however, only delivering a straight up message. "White bitch, back off!."

"Tess, I adamantly want to spare you the ugliness that you're going to be met with on the front porch at my folk's place. Your family is bizarrely different, and God knows I love them all."

"Well then, my darling hunk of gorgeous humanity," she flung the words off rakishly, into the blackening sky,"would you kiss me with the love you feel and please say goodbye?" She'd become a nun.

Her whole life she'd believed if a person held tightly to every shred of focus that was available to them, working endlessly to expand that, that things would start to change. Will power with a sizable helping of intense passion piled on ever so thickly, just for entertainment along the way. Upon reaching the right level, the very fabric of reality would begin to meld and be reshaped. Much as her mind and emotions merged when loosing herself into another's body. Or performing beautifully before a rapt audience.

Like the time she flew as an eight year old under the full moon.

Luke was coming home though he'd only be there long enough for a weekend visit. He was leaving for real this time.

When he joined the Navy, she knew he'd be done in four years. He'd be home on leave often. She'd be just a year short of graduating when finally they could get some time together! It would be like when they were kids.

Those four years had brought so much change. Best was the birth of their youngest brother Barry. Tess called him "her little brown berry", and he loved her completely with the toothless delight of an infant. The joy that this new baby brought her, and to the rest of the house seemed to pull every one together, even their folks.

Tess wanted badly to blame Mom. Sheliah had always provided the rage, filling the house with yelling and dramatic plate throwing while Poppa would sorta laugh and stretch out among the babies on the living room floor, refusing to fight.

You knew better than to crawl in with Pops, even though he was just as crazy about playing with the little kids as you were. Hell, you couldn't leave Momma flailing about with all of that anger; it just wouldn't be fair. Shelia would stand in the doorway with her hands on her hips, furiously hollering, "just get the Hell up off that floor and fight this out with me, God Dammit!"

Pops would flatly refuse, holding a flying baby above his prone chest, "Sheliah honey, as of today, I'm through fighting with you."

A few weeks before, all four of the girls went with Pops to the florist's shop. They'd been given huge arms full of flowers to parade into Mom, all in a line according to height, crooning and crowing "Happy Birthday To You..."

Poppa brought up the tail, with a very large, very soft package tucked under his arm. Tess knew it was a wonderful floor length terry cloth robe; white with satin trim. She helped him pick it out at the shopping center. Macy's no less! It was nearly a hundred bucks!

But Mom surrounded by kids and flowers could only muster a Poloroid photo-happy smile. The fire that was dancing in her violet eyes was not the kind that filled your heart with joy. Serious trouble was brewing for her 40th birthday.

By late that fall they were living in The City. Mom was already back to work and they were now sharing the old Victorian with another family; Dad's mistress and her three kids.

The three adults worked for the State of California doing "Public Relations work". You weren't too impressed with that bunch were ya kid? Lot's of office parties with people who weren't anywhere near as much fun as the old newspaper crowd.

But it was wild having eight kids together under one roof. Now that you were the oldest by six years, you always had lot's of babysitting money and playground time. You practiced switching back and forth between Mary Poppin's magic, and Peter Pan, doing battle with pirates while rampaging Neverland. Always, waiting for Luke's leave home.

His last few letters said he'd finally found a mid-western girl to marry. He'd be driving up from San Diego in his '61 Plymouth, and not just on leave. He'd finished his four years with Uncle Sam's Yacht Club.

It'll go like'll all spend the weekend draped around the kitchen table, telling old stories. Dad will be down from San Francisco and Luke will have everyone laughing so hard that Mom will have to tightly criss-cross her legs and pull off her glasses to wipe the tears again and again.

And you're never going to be able to let him know how you really feel. After all, you're brother and sister! So what if you've been this crazy about him your whole life? He's getting married, and moving to Wisconsin for Christ's sake.

Oh Shit! It sounded real this time.

A couple hundred crickets are singing in unison all around her as the melting begins. It starts very slowly out at the far edges of her extremities; her toes, up and along her legs, across her flat downy belly and beneath hungry breasts; rubber arms with still, tingling fingers, earlobes light and hot, free of all jewelery. As she softens in through her scalp and out along her long black hair the bedroom window is quietly closed. Melting alone.

It's all humming now as it worms its way easily down into her core, penetrating quite deeply.

She's pretty certain it's going to be a full moon... Shhh... stay focused.

Concentrate all of your will...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Out In It

Smack! The middle of May and all of the protective shielding from the land of cool and moist has been burned away. Heat radiates from the softened asphalt, clinging to my drooping pace.

Hot city grime comes creeping up my legs, finding the salt of my earth, each stride met with thermal updraft.

The new straw broad-brimmed holds yards of hair and shades burning blackened shoulders, but nothing shields the ears or cushions the blare of a downtown five star alarm.

The blasting sirens, fire trucks led by ambulance, haul through mid-town traffic.

Babies in strollers instinctively cover their ears. They rock back and forth, wailing their own alarm, tiny stars suspended inches above the swelter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Grand Canyon Suite ( a visit to the dentist)

Diminutive was never an aspect of our mother's personality.

Intellectually robust, dignified, and not afraid of much. I've always viewed our mom as I've imagined the Grand Canyon: perilously beautiful and deep. Resistant... Challenging... Difficult.

A timeless, rugged elegance with pink and mauve undertones.

The wheelchair backs into the dentist's examining room. A soft-bottomed, black spine-crusher with her elbows made chicken wings... Being accommodated?

Any movement makes her lavender eyes very large. She remains in the chair, seated... Pressed and vulnerable?

Her tiny, hammer-toed feet are swathed in a pair of fuzzy-chenille socks. Hot-pink Mary-Janes... Lost pride and dignity?

The upper front tooth went with the lost lower partial... practical humility, overly expended?

Tall and silver... Dr. Sullivan.

A straight-up wit from an era who still appreciates lithe and swarthy. He's easily seventy-six. He's been the family's only dentist for forty years. Both kind and smart he's wielding a zesty, lemon grass charm.

He's effectively flirting with her. Mom's eyes have begun to mist. Her mouth is confused and trembling. Her chin is chattering from stimulus overload.

He remembers 1968 when she first arrived in town and is now asking after each of her six adult kids, those he worked on. He frames any question with the answer conveniently built in.
He recalls her many post-retirement efforts with honest admiration.

She's only required to speak with her eyes. Those mercury quick pools of light are sparkling confidence and intensity.

Our Mama, diminished?

She's become capable of being ineffably fetching. She's charmed, and utterly fathomless and is only continuing to gain in grandness as attrition makes for added depth.

Sure kept a great dentist; the one who's stayed for over half her life.

Silk sleeved and turning from within, she's slowly winding down.

And there seems to be no end in sight. She's making a divine descent, enjoying the interesting view.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Christmas Gift From 1979

We had no notion of the scale. Of what really lay beyond the treacherous currents at the gates of the World Ocean.

Our old fat Captain, we’ll call him Pythagoras, is plastered in the corner of the wheel house. He’s madly calculating the surface of a sphere, the one he still hopes we’re navigating. I can tell though, by the yellow fear blathering in his eyes, that it's more likely two wings and and a prayer that he's digging for.

When doubt clamps on, clinging tightly to scurry up his toga as terror, he retreats to his stateroom bunk to solemnly strap himself in. We least experienced crew are now left to "hold course", meaning: "come to terms with life as you've known it."

The engines chug on as we tow the empty fuel barge, corking a thousand feet behind us. It rises far above the horizon like Noah’s mountain-ed ark, then to plunge out of sight beneath the siege of waves.

My senses are on alerted arousal. It’s as though my core has become snagged by tectonic force; a consummate lover is testing my worth. I know that a show of fear is a futile ploy and would dispel this mood so tenuously constructed. Endurance is foreplay within this consensual arrangement.

I find my position in the dogged, oval hatch. My hands brace upward above my head. My legs are splayed and timbered as I ride fluidly, wave upon wave and the boat pitches violently foreword and aft, starboard to lee.

Our deck light turns blackness to bottled sea glass. When the boat’s bow burrows beneath the mountainous waves, tree sized logs glimpse at momentary light then pummel on their way, past our wheel house windows. The swirling foam and buffeting wind continue to plunge us hour after hour, past the suggestion of day.

As the onslaught thunders rapturously down upon us, I realize Heaven is now fully unzipped. It’s openly pouring water from the sky on us and around us for a million years without abating. The clock strikes again, and again, 24:00, three times around.

Somewhere within this I’m melded and molded to a place of accepting that both tragedy and joy are life. That an absence of either; the void.

I’m gifted a transfer of power and clarity: Okeanos’ inherent passion of the unpredictable. Chaos lies within creativity and order, and are partnered in this marriage of existence.

The beauty of blueness, this marvelous globe, ...and that I am here to witness this miracle? Astounding.

After which, the sea was spent.

We limped our way into Port Hardy, B.C. My, you should have seen the galley floor!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring's Shadows

The tips of her fingers hold shadows delicately; her touch speaks of a gentleness, a deep compassion that belies her ferocity and sense of right. I can only stand back in surprised wonder as I watch the woman that she's becoming, unfolding from the little girl who rode on my back as a wolf pup.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Remembering the Giddy In Grunt

Spring by our standards in the area of Haines, South East Alaska, were met head on today.

Light, snow flurries mixed with diffused shots of sun and the occasional blast of cornflower blue and direct yellow. It kept it beautiful to be out in and the trail conditions just right for being on top of.

The remaining snow depth is also measured by local standards and this year would be considered moderate. That's to say if you had legs ten feet long, you'd only sink in
up to your crotch when you punch through after stepping off to the side of the trail.

With legs of a regular length, there remains that suspended above a bottomless abyss feeling that I find rather exhilarating.

And when your boot gets stuck, which invariably happens, it's an aerobic workout getting back up with one leg extended back behind to keep your exposed sock from getting wet.

Then, as I bent forward on the well supported leg to try and fish the cemented boot out, my ham strings which have been forgotten for much of this winter sang the hallelujah chorus. Thrilling!

This was on the way to the barn to tend to triplet lambs born early yesterday evening.

The jerry jug of warm water for the new mama and her barn mates was bumping up against my thigh sloshing pleasantly. My biceps have turned to oatmeal this year as well. But it'll come back. I promise myself.

Today went well and for the first day of serious grunt and I'm glad to say that I took it at a reasonable pace. Now that things are thawing, I'll pull the sled full of barn material out onto the garden compost areas five times again tomorrow.

Daughter Hannah's bringing out fresh bedding for the new comers and the others who are pending birth in the next few days.

Somehow my love for this crazy lifestyle has always won out over the occasional season of inertia. Hoping to make an old timer's comeback this year (I hope, I hope, I hope).

The babies are still a bit scruffy looking but darned cute none the less.

(For my own use and any one else interested, here's a link for High time I get the weights going, a sort of "do or die" effort, emphasis on the "DO".)

Friday, March 27, 2009

In The Splendor That Is Spring

I delight in the darkness of the new moon.

Gifted by my Hannah Rose, this lovely necklace creation to adorn my shadow dance. I'm loved.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back Among The Angel Birch

The week is moving by so pleasantly.

Traversing along our snowy trail, the light and feel of sunlit peaks, chilled smell of cottonwood, willow and river, the music of thawing breeze all so familiar, I get vertigo.

I'm moving through my own body.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Dance, Beloved, For The Price of A Poem

A surprising warmth greets Mason and I, our long explore tired

The snow stays quite stickily on my red heeled shoes.

Barn friends are still waiting for clear ground;

their pointy cloven hooves, starving to join us

down in some green leafed out bower.

Just as my voice hits a high note, a tremendous slide

blind crashes ice shattering off the roof.

The red expanse looks at us gratefully; the smoke stack spared.

I'm again impressed with gravity.

(A wonderful Writer's Almanac with Redoubt and Volcanic Spew)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shadow Sister's Time of Lament

She said..."You know, back then at night the city would have this stunning silence which I adored, until the wretched times. Then the slamming, switching cars and squealing train brakes were my own personal Hades, clawed yet comforting.
It was like all the rage I forbade myself to express, found outlet nightly with the train's chaotic symphony, gently greasing down into my body with the radio's smoky FM style.
Darkest heaven on Earth."

They really didn't know how to reply. Back then she was offered another babysitting job and the lure of the open road after graduation. Which she took, grateful to leave them in peace and go to find her own somehow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Image Reader

A wonderful contribution and conversation recently transpired on

The Maiden's Journey is mythically portrayed in the art photography of Patrisha McLean's Flower Girls Blossom, and has been shared in an article by Ann Image Reader. Access is linked in the title.

Sally Mann, also known for the sensitive and insightful photography of her children and sentient landscapes she loves, has assembled a new body of work, What Remains.

Sally's beautiful work takes an artistic look at the dying process, death and...well, what remains. A descriptive coverage of the documentary on this new phase in her unique and controversial career can be seen with the link provided.

Once again, it's the stories of our lives and passages shared and portrayed where cultural evolution can be glimpsed. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Ensuing Coils

Most afternoons, when bugs were young and drifted snow piled deeply all day, we'd hunker down under a common blanket, properly sandwiched. With paper words and pencils we'd draw straight through towards evening, making up stories, the ones that mood dictated..

(...and the mood always dictated)

One would have a take on WHY the dragon scorched the villagers season after season.

Another would feel compelled to drum up the smells of the scorched peasants, with lavishly obscure names while detailing the costumes and complicated quests.

The third, Cougar, youngest and most loquacious of all, would give voice to her vindicating girl hero. Cougar's valiant maids always rose victorious, upsetting One and Another by chancing cliche and repetition and prospective audience.

As the lamp wicks flickered low and effective, the tale would charge on, industrious, and roiling.

From out beyond the veil, held breath listening to a noise familiar. A thin, squealing, insipid tone. The wheedling whine of liquid sucking for air. Jerry jug grip, tightly tilted for the nightly fuel, the engine caught and spluttered to life.

Then followed grand clomping stomping of snow laden boots and bashing against the door.

Muscles bulged around quarters of spruce and hemlock, mere warmth for the evening as Poppa walked through the door.

Evening's electric light vanquished the dragon's spell, suspended now as words from the dance drifted off, past opening credits of that night's movie.

Things would pick up again. Later with lights out. We'd build up the fire and all tuck in.

Dream new material for the following day.

(linked in the title is a connection to Bent Lorentensen from Denmark and his report from the recent conference in Copenhagen on global climate change. Well worth reading.
Also, Gather science writer, David K. shared this article on the conference with really fine additional links. Take a look at his Dake Page as well with the RSS feed provided to the left.)

We're getting a sharper picture as the coils tighten.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Helping to Steer / or hand me an oar!

Spreading the word...

I've added a few new features in The Blue Room (go through the window by clicking a link up and to the right).

The Blue Room now has The Writer's Almanac updated daily as a feed. Podcasts are available there and by going back through the vast archives a person can glean a good cursory exposure to literature and history. I've recently started going back through the great links Garrison Keillor's always keen to provide.

Ted Kooser, was the US Poet Laureate for 2004-06 and hosts American Life In Poetry which I've linked to. You'll find also The Poetry Foundation's RSS feed. These are both wonderful sites for all genres of poetry and prose.

Careful though, you might get lost.

New here to the Hinterlands' page is a feed to Bob Edward's daily show. There you should be able to get podcasts of the weekend show (though my piddy Pewter no can do).

I've featured an award winning documentary that The Bob Edwards Show produced called the Exploding Heritage on the practice of mountaintop removal for coal mining purposes in Eastern Kentucky. The show aired back in 2006. I hope to post a PDF transcript, excellent for those of us 'back-eddies' who are tech limited by choice or denial. It's a good read, just how to feature it here....?

Which leads me to my fellow Luddite, Kentuckian and poet/writer activist Wendell Berry (he's committed and I've fallen from grace, thus this blog), I've an RSS feed for a fine web page devoted to Mr. Berry's on going efforts.

These stories of controversial land use issues, will remind many of our on going challenges in the Chilkat/Klehini Valley and provide impetus for some of the potential environmental nightmares looming our way.

Hope you enjoy and give me a little feedback if inclined!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Daddy Man's Valentine

The following is taken from a site called Said the Gramaphone that I've just discovered:
"The little Latvian man played My Funny Valentine. The song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, made famous by Chet Baker. Chet Baker died as he was climbing from one balcony to another at an Amsterdam hotel, looking for money to buy heroin. Six months ago I stood outside that hotel, and I thought about this. The view is of boats.

A basement in Latvia, a little man in a sweater playing the piano, playing so well that I think I stopped breathing. The man played with practice. He bent towards the keys as he played them and then withdrew, listening, sometimes wincing (but not looking at us). I couldn't tell if he was wounded by the sound or soothed by it. He was very careful, like someone could get hurt. He played the melody but he also played more, playing around the tune, playing it with gaps, filling the gaps with long silences and wrong (right) notes. I wrote in my journal, - I do not usually keep a journal (I have a blog, see,) but I kept one then, - I wrote that he was "trying to find the vocabulary for heartache". It was very sad. Very, very sad. The man didn't look at us as he played. He looked at the keys, as if he was trying to read them."

My Daddy Man's Valentine
Adrian Eve Revenaugh (with nods towards me Hunny Man: "I'm stirring the pot here")

I'm starving here in my little bottle, spidy webbed over, watching the planet melting down, beyond the window panes. Makes me hungry for 'de world in de' flesh!

I never really expected to find myself here! That age old surprise, right? Busy doing what you do, getting along pretty well, then, Bam!

Well no, in all honesty, it didn't really go that way. Worked hard for a lot of years. Played just as hard, with lots'a play mates. You were a pretty damned good sport about all of that.

The time came, after enough fights around the bedroom, that we kinda reached an agreement; a parting of the ways. The creativity just sort of shriveled up and died. Like one of the meals I've so carefully wrapped up here; little dead parts hanging out. None too appealing now, when you're not hungry. But later on, when the appetite flares up again? Man! Heaven!

I guess, that's kinda what I kept hoping would happen for us, doll. You were not only the brightest, bar none, but the best in the sack; a real mink , a vixen.

You made love like all the wrongs in the world could be set straight by our screwing. Every noble cause. Every sin committed. Every personal wound, done to you, including the sins I'd committed. Your piss-ed-ness at your Father and your anger with the Holy Ghost, and humanity, or the lack there of. All could be made right again in that single act of passion. And, I was only too obliged to help you act out all those transgressions.

Funny, the last time we were in each other's company. Remember? It was one of the kid's weddings, Melody's I do believe, to that asshole, the pretentious Jew kid, from that wealthy, Bay Area family. I remember, Me and the Lady Winnefred had driven down from Washington in her Delta 88. Man what a rig! And she drove it like she was still flying for the Civil Air Patrol. Quite a Dame!

Anyway, we'd been drinking; arrived in good order and settled in for the night in that cheap motel. You must have been there with little Matthew, who wasn't so little any more, what? maybe 14 or so? Great kid by the way. Our final edition. You've done well. You didn't know it, but, I knew you would.

Any way, I don't quite remember how we got to that point in the conversation, but it was heated. I told you that making love to you was like being in bed with Abraham Lincoln.

Hey! I was drunk and pissed, and you were righteous and angry. Rightfully so.

But now, having been dead all these years, and being able to see old Abe in ways that a guy only gets to from down here, in the doon, I just wanted to tell you. What was intended as a jab back then, was actually true. Didn't have nothing to do with your perceived, lack of femininity. Lincoln was probably a pretty sexy guy, with out the beard. Ha! I mean, Illinois farm boy that he was. I'm kidding here. Thursa! Wait. Hear me out. Don't get pissed all over again.

What I'd been trying to say was that having you in bed was like trying to sort out everything that's good, and evil. Wild, and angry enough to cause the Earth to split open. And the sky to fall. Angry enough to cause civil wars.

Your furious, hungry, passion, driven from God only knows where, was like being embodied by all that is good. And it was Me that you chose to do it with! Many times over! In spite of all my failings and infidelities. You swallowed me whole.

And that's why we created such amazing children, six of them. You did that!

I just had fun planting the seeds.

(kinda makes me the father of our country doesn't it? now, what do you think of that?)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Afternoon's Walk

“All of us run out of time. But for those who have who have a legacy of doing what we do best, time becomes the muse.” unknown author
I marvel at the metaphor that can crawl up the pant leg of Life.
Here’s one. A Burmese python.
The one I saw last weekend was sixteen feet long. Magnificent, timeless beauty. A global symbol of knowledge and wisdom gained, of creativity and change.
I'd just come from a visit to Barnes and Noble.
At the corner I was attracted by an old for sale sign. Caldwell Banking hung from a large metal pipe. A house I’d passed a couple of times this year, caught my interest. In this economic climate? In one of California’s counties, worst hit by the rampant housing foreclosure nightmare. I know.
However, this little house had whistled at me as I was pushing my grocery cart by. It has obviously been unoccupied for at least ten years. I was curious.
It used to sit out on the edge of the irrigated oasis, now surrounded by the blossoming strip mall tenderloin district. I remember the last time I noticed the place thirty-five years ago, when I lived here as a kid. Then it was surrounded by fields, with farm equipment and family life, around and with in it. I could still see the oak and hawks circling, silhouetted in the dust inspired, fiery sunsets. It used to have a creek nearby. It probably still gets wet, from time to time, in the present ditch lined by security fencing and razor wire.
I stepped up to the green wooden frame screened door being held closed by a box from the Children’s Hunger Fund. Probably dropped there during Christmas for the non occupants of this sad hungry looking little house. A reference to Psalm 145 /13-16 was tacked to the box. I thought I’d check that out later.
The little house was completely in tact. No broken windows or vandalism visible, stunning considering the dodgy flavor of the surrounding neighborhood. I rolled my cart up and peeked in through the rusty screens of the green trimmed windows, and I wrote down the Realtors number. I just wanted to get inside.
I could make out that all of the original 1930's fixtures were in place, electric candle shaped sconces, glass built in hutches. The floral wallpaper was browned and peeling from years of the 116 degree summer weather.
Tongue and groove wooden siding, old school carpentry, fits of 0.32 to an inch, spoke to craftsmen with hand saws and knowledge. The skill and pride taken in their work still shone.
The cement foundation was still sound and square, also remarkable in this vast basin above the San Andres fault.
It appeared well preserved by the dry, arid climate and years of good care.
It also reeked of stories left for someone to discover.
Visions of a coffee house or community soup kitchen for drop-ins tickled my cockles. Maybe a resource information center for poet musicians, art students from the street and elsewhere.
It has a nice porch, front and back and a empty double-wide lot, perfect for a huge neighborhood vegetable garden; old people teaching kids who’ve never grown tomatoes or watered pumpkins. I sat for awhile and just let the imagination roll. It felt good. Number 801 Real Road. Has a nice ring to it.
The long walk back towards the park across the street from my mother’s Bungalow was most pleasant. I parked my cart with books, computer bag, and sweater next to the amphitheater where the young men practice SK8 boarding on Saturdays, across from the pick up basketball courts.
Not too many picnics, too cool yet I guess. There was the remains of a birthday party just breaking up.
The guys gave me the nod of approval to an eyebrow request to sit and act as audience. Everybody was strutting their stuff. Great jumps and noisy flips accompanied by the novice crashes, all so important (though not desired) to show you’re tough enough to take the impact. Young flesh, bones, joints and concrete, challenging gravity. My insides cringed, yet I recall that sort of thrill.
Soon every body split to go see “ A !!!HUGE, F--888--ING snake!!!”.
Everybody but the littler guys who were so focused they couldn’t be bothered. One of the fellas, who’d actually smiled at me, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him if there were any ‘women’ SK8’ers. That’s the same response I get wherever I go to watch. I told him, “I’da been there but for losing a cousin to a head injury on an old shoe skate-tacked-to-a- board misfire.” I could tell he was moderately impressed. Not by me but my casually delivered story. He said his dad skated like that.
The new kid who arrived with Ma and baby sister in tow, was maybe seven. Dressed high, in full Christmas camo, pants, jacket, still new and stiff. This one was sporting a helmet and was highly skilled. Junior jumps and turns ensued. This skater was also disciplined. This is an athletic art form, akin to dance, and though obviously still a beginner the newbie was not looking for an audience, just focused and practicing. When the curve of the amphitheater brought her close enough for me to make eye contact, I noticed the pink rhinestone earrings sparkling out from under her long ringlets, pulled back in a tail.
I watched long enough till the big guys came back and then it was time for me to go. As I moved across the park, my trail intersected with Steve the walking Python-mule/man, who was packing Jake the snake.
I love snakes. Always have. I was the kind of kid who tried to keep the baby garters in a cigar box tucked under my silky day of the week undies.
Jake was magnificent. His mule person, Steve, gave quite the informational spiel, warmed up from an hour as special guest at the birthday party. I learned volumes during those ten minutes. Holding Jake’s four inch diamond head, while allowing him to smell me with his tongue reminded me of being close to an elephants curious trunk.
He slowly descended off of Steve’s body, down onto the ground. As I crouched within arms reach, it was obvious Jake enjoyed my slow steady stroking of his magnificently patterned body. The feeling was mutual.
As Steve spoke on and a couple of other spectators stepped up, I noticed the little camoed SK8 queen had come close. She stood very, very quietly, hands held behind her back, breath caught, tree like. I encouraged her with my eyes to come closer which she slowly forced herself to do.
It took everything she had to reach out towards Jake’s slowly gliding body. The dry smooth warmth of his magnificently beauty so surprised her she began to smile, as I felt grateful tears trickle down my cheeks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shoot an Iraqi

From The Bob Edwards Show (linked in the title) Monday, February 2, 2009:

"When Iraqi-born Wafaa Bilal's brother was killed at a U.S. checkpoint in 2005, the artist channeled the experience into a performance piece. For a month, Bilal lived alone in a room the size of a prison cell -- in the line of fire of a remote-controlled paintball gun. A camera connected him to the internet where people could watch him - and shoot at him - 24 hours a day. The piece was titled "Domestic Tension" and The Chicago Tribune called it "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time." In 1992, Bilal came to the US where he became a professor, artist and now author. His new book is called Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun".

This is an important site as well for stepping up the effort to help returning veterans.Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Administration.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Trip To The Market

Retail Therapy? Oh, grocery shopping day.

I arranged time yesterday for Elder Ma to have a care provider so I might walk my 'rescued' cart across town to make a badly needed stock up of groceries.

In route, I gleaned a delicious array of experiences including being able to walk for five hours. School yards, dogs, unemployed, or happily retired people sitting on the corners. It's an old downtown neighborhood.

The nonlocal retailer (the only book store in town within reach), allowed for a replacement copy of my favorite volume of Rainier Maria Rilke's, Book of Hours, translation by Anita Borrows and Joanna Macy. My borrowed or care package library has grown since I left home a year ago. Empty suitcase home, heavy return.

The store also provided me with a listing of upcoming events to plan toward. The Big Read, featuring The Empty Space Theater will be presenting a dramatic reading from Their Eyes Were Watching God, a 1939 novel by Zora Neale Hurston. Her work was central to our home school effort as the kiddos were growing up and bled into studies of other women authors.

The evening of the dramatic reading, a workshop for local word-smiths will be held. at the same location, handy on foot. Or perhaps I can lure Mom out. Though terribly cumbersome for her, the city transportation system provides excellent curbside wheelchair service on request.

But the major imperative of the outing yesterday, was to find a temporary replacement for the ice cave where I generally like to sing when I'm home. The acoustics in the deep, blue cave are pretty impressive. The sound of the melting ice dripping into the river sized creek is well...let's just say the sounds reverberate pretty nicely. The river flat and snow trails through the forest ring too. Combined with a lengthy walk, one gets a pretty good glow going.

The most recent replacement while here in Bakersfield, is beneath an interstate overpass with a six lane thorough fare below. Just one lane away, hundreds of vehicles hurtle past, doing at least sixty. I let my body hang very loosely, arms through fingertips extending outwardly, spine fully lengthened and eyes closed as I give myself over to vocalized transportation. As I vary range and intensity of volume, looping it back and forth with the streams and variety of traffic, it's like hurtling through space.

I practiced this most intently once on the back deck of a tug boat in 40' seas. Then, I had to be sitting in full rain gear with the waves crashing down around me. That particular storm, the back deck won out over being stuffed down into my tiny state room, waiting for the storm to subside. It gave me the illusion of having some say in the matter, as though the sea was a symphony in accompaniment to my relinquishing desire for control.

Yesterday, I'm sure I gave the motorists something different to ponder before lunch, though people here are used to crazies. I didn't cause a wreck, as far as I know, and it's free entertainment for all. Singing is very good for the body and soul, and something I try and undertake where ever I am. Cathedral, culvert, open sea, underpass, shower.

Back home however, out of doors, there's no one about but the occasional snow shoe hare or ptarmigan. Snow Chicken. And I think they get a kick out of it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The morning has slipped in on a sticky fog.

Another long night's vigil leave tattered hearts and endless Mind, shakey from boundless connection.

No longer asking Who's razor edge?
Nor How.
And Why vanished with the bang.
"What"--- is well, everything, and everything IT is not.

Leaving ....when... open ended.
Now, is the effort at hand, quietly focused.

Breathing with her, every draw, though lungs went sludge from pollution, I enshrine new potted green, left from the holidays, near her bed, so she can smell a promise of our love returned. She's awake, frightened as am I, that Our deeply held convictions won't be enough. Though magical thinking dumps countless thimbles full of evidence, the rooms are papering with ghosts.

The trash collector moves. Hydra armed noise muffles high banshee wailing, sweetly symphonic though lacking the mercy of a lethal kill. She stays alone, woefully unprepared, more so as the gray matter dwindles. Or is she?

I light a candle and make jokes to see her radiant smile.

Thirteen swans draped with dawn, V their way South.

But wait...

It's spring.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Morning Brew Taj Mahal/Sacred Hour --- mixed bag radio

"In the end, ultimately the music plays you, you don't play the music."
Taj Mahal

The thigh deep waters and the frigid current feels somewhat intimidating.
Though very old this bright day, I'm a strong and keen navigator.
I'm quite familiar with the stream, now freezing from the bottom up.

Because of this, making my way across takes total concentration.
The other shore beckons and I'm happy to go towards it alone.
The brilliant sun is bouncing off the snow.

Both sides of who I am, Male and Female are fused and charged, a shuffleing deck of cards. Blacks and reds flying into each other, clear distinctions meld into me.
I'm headed up river.

I'm across the water. Now to clamber to the top of the slippery snow berm, white and fractious, This requires time and patience. I use my snow shoes to dig footholds. Climbing straight up, toes slamming into the white wall, brings me out, and onto the other side of the main channel.

Back on the other shore, Raven sits. Watching. Chuckling. He's also me, my lover.
He'll be Mountain Activated. I'll be the decomposing process. Making things fertile. The zestiest of actions.

Love to my dear ones! Off to walk pavement today, in a brackish, glowered city gray!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'll Come Following You / flock member on individuality

Good morning,
I'm up early. The "gleaners", those folks who salvage recyclables from the streets and other peoples trash cans, are working hard and fast this morning. It's cold! Cold not in an Alaskan way. Or a New England way. But cold enough that if you live outside, you sleep for a few hours during the day, and keep moving at night.
The sounds of their amazing wheeled contraptions jingle and ring as they are pushed or pedaled along. A few degrees lower and Ma says the 'warming centers' will be opened.
I'm thinking about fear this morning. Comes in so many flavors, and triggers so many responses. The fear of change, of having to give up what defines us. I'll bet there's a lot of fear in the Nation this morning.

I wondered in the dark of the night about the millions of folks world wide who operate on fear so crippling, it triggers a response like not being capable of accepting help when freely offered.

Thousands, during this last severe stretch of extreme weather were in peril. Many Homeless,are once again taking their chances, rather than opting for the possible entanglement of assistance.Being a ferociously independent person, I deeply relate.

What about those of us with developmental disability, or brain injury, the onset of Alzheimer's or other dementias, and disease. And what of the courage required to brave the mainstream world, our health care systems, our educational systems when we're up the creek with just half a paddle? Quality of life is so relative and as different as a person's internal workings.

So many of us are thinking, working, growing, going nose to nose, toe to toe. Often around our parts, just as entertaining discourse. Many of us are busy nurturing a nonjudgmental, compassionate community. It's who we are in LIFE and the world. Effecting change, we practice how to set aside our own egos enough to BE "other", not just imagine what it would be like.

A Nation has been newly inspired by one particular pumpkin grin, brilliant as his mind and convictions.
I've been inspired by yesterday's conversations with Ma and bolstered by listening on the XM Radio to the Inaugural affairs.

That Jingle Jangle Morning Song has me rolling.
Ooo. Better set my recyclables out before everyone passes.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Freedom Of Motion

It all began with the monkey bars, horseback riding or twirling around in the front yard, faster and faster, dervish style until you fell over in the cool, cool grass and tried to stop your vision from twirling long enough to wish on the first star of the evening.Tall tall trees were a major factor too.
And then we discovered dancing. And that wasn't just girl stuff, boys knew it too. And the Elders remembered.

Any one climb a tree lately? Or gone dancing? Highly recommended!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Year's End And New Beginnings '09

It's been an absolutely wonderful end of 2008 and opening to 2009.

I left for NYC Dec. 25, to spend a week with Micah Rudy. We did it all. Everything rolled beautifully with out cramming. From live performances to elbow time catching up, looking at pictures, talking of literature and philosophy, and following up on a few projects which had lost momentum. A bicycle and a guitar, and a new winter coat.

Micah and I worked his Uncles bicycle on the wrought iron veranda of the brick apartment building. His street, slung low with small mature trees and electrical wires draped closely, criss cross back and forth from building to building and are subject to downages during a big windstorm, like the one they'd just had. Coupled with heavy ice accumulation, there were many red plastic taped fallen power lines clouded with the scent of burnt ozone, strapped to similar wrought iron gate works all along the street.
This Queens neighborhood is equipped with one of the best Asian grocers, department store complexes, subway stop, and families of every immigrant status in the modern world. I was able to meet and visit with the Chinese father of Micah's landlord, a guy in his early 70s. We chatted over stolen cigarettes about his richer days when two or three bottles of good cognac a month and his state of the art European aluminum racing bike, able to be lifted with one finger, was the direct result of high status employment. He's enthusiastic that Micah is a good man; a studious and quiet man, always ahead on his rent and able to fix his own bicycle; clever. I concur.

We caught A Prairie Home Companion at Town Hall on the 27th. It was odd watching our favorite old school satirist, faithfully listened to since my early days in Alaska, and shared with each of the children since infancy. There he was forty feet away. Could have swept over and kissed him. And Micah and I just kept laughing, marveling and sucking in as deeply as possible. Town Hall felt like our Chilkat Center, on only a little larger scale. The theater had red velvet cushioned seating with a wide curved balcony, resplendent with an adoring audience. There were many gray heads, but just as many younger fans enjoyed the show.
The scripts and musical choices felt hand picked for us and left us feeling connected in ways which are only magical. We laughed at our country, at our need to be spiritual and relevant, at ourselves. Garrison read our own personal message which I nearly missed and was caught hoping, someone from home was listening. We sang Auld Lang Syne first for the listening radio audience, with gusto, while recognizing our New Year's had come a few days early. Then we sang again off air, with both conviction and commitment, as if among 1800 new old friends.
We stepped out of the theater to find Russ Ringsak waiting with the big beautiful semi-tractor and trailer, ready to haul back to Minnesota all of the production equipment used during the four NY shows. Russ' story is here. He's quite a delightful author and well worth reading.
Micah then took me out for my first introduction to Thai food. The establishment known as Spice was as eclectic and authentic as it gets. The music caught my interest as did the waiting diners lingering around the door. Micah introduced me to Standing On Line, Manhattan style and vintage Techno from the late 80's. Vintage for a clientele of no one under the age of twenty-eight, other than myself. The food was all "Vegan friendly", and as hearty as a SE, Ak. spread of venison and Ptarmigan. Sumptuous.
We then went out for a couple of dark beers at an old, worn, neighborhood watering hole until it started getting rowdy enough that we couldn't talk with out yelling.

The next day, a quick train trip up to the Berkshires brought me for my first New England visit with sister Melody and her family. Once again, the feeling that family matters a lot was brought down. Wonderful food and closeness were capped by a return to the city with my 13 year old nephew aboard the great public train transportation that makes East Coast existence so rich. The young man was making the trek to purchase his first electrical guitar with his other Auntie, Mickey, the center of our distant family relations. Our hub.
All together the next night, we hit Prospect Park at eighteen degrees and a good strong head wind to freeze our way through a dandy fireworks display and the change of the New Year. We danced a few frozen steps with a funk band at the park gates.
Bidding Mick and Dakotah good by beneath Grand Central station and thousands of Times Square revelers, we frozenly hobbled our way back to Micah's warm apartment, nearly keeping our Town Hall agreement of an early New Year's celebration.

It is so wonderful when new infusions of home blood come on board and rekindle your day to days.

I returned to Merrick and Joey reaching the Southern terminus of their West Coast tour. We've spent the past few days working on projects and venturing out to explore the stunning mountain surroundings of the Southern Sierra's.
For the first time since leaving California in 1971, I discovered an area here in the mountains where I could almost envision myself growing older. Among mountain Oaks hanging off vertical hillsides, we frolicked above the southern string of Sierras while Kern County lay fuzzed in fog and blue haze, gullied below. Atop individual granite pillars, we watched the birth of the new full moon of '09. The chilled air sparked with frost and last weeks big snow, newly melted into the ground where we were sucking up the fading blue sky filled with weakened sunlight.
At Grandma's we spent a rich week together working on art in the backyard. Making silver ornaments cut from garage sale silver platters and helping to prepare for a puppet show which they're taking on their travels down into Mexico. We all crammed into Ma's tiny bedroom, the large wooden chest stage with props, Seven Marionettes, two willowy puppet masters, six large family members piled up to watch the Lampoon debut in Spanish. It was a riot.

Now those two left this morning, in the deepest of chills from this winter. They're driving towards the Mojave and the hot springs in the gorgeous "Lola" a 1977 maroon Mercedes. Styling!

And I'm left welcoming in the New Year still!