December 21st, 2005

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As Promised .....

Jane's Solstice Poem:


Winter¹s angled day
has turned
the late tomatoes red
along the window sill.

The fan of leaf
whose veins
had caught the sun
has aged to russet.

Here in this stillness,
like the hand of dervish
at the center of his dance,
is knowing

the young light
will come again.

Jane Ann Flint

the young light comes again,
Jane says,
and I believe her -
the young light
pink and tender
as insides
so new
they squeak -
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Ram Dass!

I am reading Ram Dass's book Still Here. I love these words:

"Don't be a wise elder, be an incarnation of wisdom."

What a way to live now, while Still Here.
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Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda:

If all rivers are sweet,
where does the sea get its salt?

I sit with this, this morning, my Zen Koan, visualizing the salt rising up from within the sea, like ink on paper to spread a new scent of knowing the depths as they rise and fall. Experience comes freshly to us, and then, we salt it with memory, so as to retain, like beef jerky, support for when we need to feed.
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I sit with the solstice today, this day the light returns. It is still dark, and the rain comes down, and though I am up, my eyes lean to close. Why are we up, ask my eyes and the light? Because I must know, must feel this shift from darkness to light. It feels important to me to know what causes the salmon to return to the stream, what causes my body to stream toward days of light, like pocket knives ready to slice a piece off a hunk of cheese to share, and, yet, despite all this, I think I may hop back in bed and absorb the returning light from where it is warm and snuggly. I can greet the light there with one candle, and not this incandescent blaze. That feels right. Back to bed I go, to snuggle in my light, warm, and light enough, for now.
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Warning! Beware of reading before work today!

Here is my morning free flow.  I could not pull it out of where it was determined to go, a mandate for more sleep.

Three Days After Chemo

though I set intention
to prance and play all day
two days after chemo,
energy is not ablaze -
I  want to hop back into bed
and snuggle like a bear -
they pump us up - they tell me that
to get us through two days,
and now, I’m on my own,
with nausea and malaise -
I feel a little pout form a grimace on  my face
and I look out on the shortest day

it’s not looking for a race -
I draw the stick.
It’s mine to claim.
I take that stick,
get back in bed.

To make this day even shorter,
is this year’s noble aim.


It’s groundhog’s day for me,
and I am in my hole.
I’ll come out when I’m ready,
kicking like a mole.  



I hoped my written moan,
would help me feel better
yet everything still aches,
is just a little off.
I feel put together by aliens
who’ve never seen a human being -
I know my angels tried,
and I appreciate that
but I think my wings
are hovering
down around my jeans.




Ah, the light
of the shortest day
a change now -
maybe I just need
to sink into this shortest day
and make it even shorter -
wrap it around me
like a pencil stub
and sleep,
knowing lead
is drawing
and fulfilling,
the weight,
of dreams. 

Night night - day day - night day - day night - whatever you choose is yours for today - even the sun is resting in its route today, and it still fully  burns, and returns.  


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Giving myself permission to go to back to bed, I no longer need to, so I popped some crumpets in the toaster and savored them oozing with butter and wild blueberry jam. I found crumpets at the Paradise Market, and had them this morning for the first time since my summer trip to England. My book group enjoyed crumpets with our canal trip breakfasts, along with yogurt and fruit. I feel like I am back in England today, floating along the Grand Canal. The weather is perfect for remembering our trip.

All I need is our hearty crew, fashionable captain, and some narrow locks and wide wrenches and we can navigate right through.

Perhaps that is my image for today. I am navigating the locks of the Grand Canal and only the most beautifully painted boats with their watering cans and gardens atop stay in the system.

The rest are ejected now!

Flush!! They are gone!

Only healthy boats and healthy cells sail the Grand Canal of England, and me, too.
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Poem Alert!

I found my poem about the rocks I saw so reverently piled at Tennessee Valley. I place it here.

        Rocks on the Beach at Tennessee Valley


             The statues rise in the full moon,

                             A chord,

                       Stupas built to fall -


                Rocks piled to stand,

                        like penguins,

                     looking out to sea,

                                an egg,


                             at their feet.


                        Each day the call

                                yearns to sweep the sea.


                                The lighthouse beam,

                                        a beacon,
                                    greeting the birth,


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Joyce's Solstice Poem!

It is a day for poetry.

Here is Joyce's offering to the bonfires flaming this Solstice day and night.

A winter solstice poem-

The longest night of the year,
without the expected darkness.
Instead a cloudy sky,
backlit by the moon,
the distant roar of thunder,
a few flashes of lightening
then the rain.

Life is a poem,
beautiful, rich,
waiting to be noticed,

Oh to be a part of these
rhythms and cycles
of seasons and life,
connecting to them,
neighborhood, close people,
the basic structures
of nature and life.

Ignored, as I pursued
an education, a career, the hustle
bustle of responsibilities.
Shared for a time
with young children,
noticing with them
the natural elements of place and time

Now I am so able to enjoy
the largeness
and the small details
of this life.

Ah, breathe change, rhythm, detail, life.
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checking in -

So, I waved the flag of surrender on the nausea and fatigue today, and went back to bed with two books, Ginger Ale, and crackers shaped like butterflies. I figured I have enough organic produce in me to allow one day of eating what feels right. I'm tired of stuffing healthy food down my throat. I rise now as it is getting dark, and go out into the soft rain. I am immersed in Gretel Ehrlich's book "This Cold Heaven," and cannot be seen in too much light. I go between Gretel in Greenland and Ram Dass in "Still Here." Both of them give me more than organic produce could ever do today. I am caught in their hands, and lifted to the spiritual sky of this day, which is so firmly and evenly cultivating the long, full strings of this bountiful night.

I love all the Christmas cards I receive, and stay with each one for quite a long time, but, today, when I go to the mailbox in the dark and find one that is a red Christmas ball, framed against a soft Thangka-like background with the words, "simple shape - rich meaning," and another one done by a friend showing the rice paddies in Ubud, Bali from a deck I feel I remember, I look and feel the wind and taste the fruit of Bali, as I understand the meaning of shape, symbolism, and myth, and I feel well all of a sudden, taken out of myself, or perhaps placed back in myself. Look at where I have been today, with the dog-sleds in Greenland, in Marin with Ram, and now, pulled again north to the North Pole, and south to Bali.

How richly my life blends.

The solstice celebration is at Muir Woods tonight. I am sad to miss it. I am sure the salmon must have broken through with all of this rain, but I do not have the strength to visit them. Muir Woods is open at night this evening, with luminaria along the path. To greet the solstice there is a sacred rite of passage, and this year, my rite of passage is here, in the dark, in listening to the rain as it softly falls, fertilizing the seeds, within and without, for me and for you. We are one cloud tonight, or so, it seems to me, and it is a richly, pulsating cloud that breathes new life, love and peace for this new year that comes now, 2006.

Tomorrow, greet well, Jane's "young light." I smile. We are all young in this light, and wise.
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Light and dark -

In "This Cold Heaven, Seven Seasons in Greenland," Gretel Elhrich writes on February 2nd as the sun is beginning to return to the darkness of Greenland.   

    "The sun is an eye. Its coming means that the boulder rolls away from the front of the cave and we are set free. Yet I am still night-foundered, blind so much of the time.

    Later.  I'm done with daylight.  It reeks of carbonized toast crumbs left behind after breakfast, of the kind of bright decor that hides a congenital blindness to what is real.  Today in my house, with no lights, no water, only a view of the darkness outside from the darkness within, from the unlighted room of the mind and the unheated room of the heart, I know that what is real only comes together in darkness, under the proscenium of night's gaunt hood. 

    It also occurs to me that the real and the imagined have long since fused here.  Truths are relative to the imagination that invents them. It's not the content of experience that we end up with, but the structure of how we know something. 

    In the next few days there is more daylight, three or four hours at least.  Not bright, but enough to read by  - that has become my measuring stick.  Tomorrow the sun will peep over the ridge, then disappear.  Now I don't want it to come.  I've grown accustomed to the privacy  and waywardness of night.  In daylight all recognitions turn out to be misconceptions.  During one of my naps I dream that I can hear the sun beating behind the rocky peninsula like an expectant heart."

I consider this.  I am grateful for this day of darkness.  I stretched it on my own loom today, and reveled in it, and tomorrow I will revel in the return of the light. 
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And then there is this - Ah!!

When my daughter was small she got the dubious part of the Bethlehem star in a Christmas play. After her first rehearsal she burst through the door with her costume, a five-pointed star lined in shiny gold tinsel designed to drape over her like a sandwich board. “What exactly will you be doing in the play?” I asked her. “I just stand there and shine,” she told me. I’ve never forgotten that response.

--SUE MONK KIDD in When the Heart Waits