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!