July 3rd, 2006

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Good Morning!

I am feeling a clarity that I have not felt since all this began.  I am sitting up straighter, and arranging chairs in the sunshine in my head, even as I look out on a foggy day.

I had not realized how bad it was, until today, I realized I could look at what Jane and I are doing, and eliminate easily what is unnecessary.  It has been hard for me to discriminate in some way, and Jane has been choosing our bones for the book, though yesterday we hit a nerve, and are now working there.  We did February 17th today, a very painful chemo day for me.  Everything hurt that day, and I felt like Drano was pouring through my veins, and yet, what I came to was such gratitude for life.  I was so grateful for the chance to live that I felt myself climbing jewels inside.  Today, I  feel the interface that each of us is, between what is outside and what is within.  We choose foods and nourish, and we embody the memories of what we eat.

I wrote this poem on February 17.



I pick young Rosemary today
to layer with chicken, carrots,
garlic, potatoes -

The tendrils are soft curls.

They lie there,
the vine.  


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To consider today -

I enjoy Verlyn's comments on the niches of birds.  I certainly have my perennial favorites here, but there is one little guy that pops in periodically, and sings to me at the oddest times.  I wonder if his niche is the eccentric, the bird that reminds of the passing of time.  His song is unique and I see now where he perches to sing to me.  I feel he and I are a habitat sometimes, and he has others besides me.  

The Rural Life

Three Birds

Published: July 3, 2006

So far, I remain an accidental bird-watcher. I have lots of books about birds and a good pair of binoculars, which I use whenever I see a bird that looks unfamiliar to me. We have year-round bird feeders, and I listen to recorded bird songs, hoping I'll be able to recognize the birds I can't see by their singing. But I have yet to set off actually searching for them. I watch the ones that come to me, the ones that make themselves known in the clearing at the edge of the woods that we inhabit.

Lately, I've been thinking about the volume the birds around us occupy. I don't mean the vast migratory territories they mark out over the course of a year. I mean the spatial dimensions of their ordinary lives among us. This is a thought that has been working away in my head for a long time, ever since I saw a red-winged blackbird perched on a cattail and realized that the bird and the wetland in which the cattail was rooted were nearly synonymous.

"Habitat" sounds awfully general. It turns out to mean not some willful choice — the kind a human would make deciding to live in Dallas rather than in Denver — but a profound correlation. The marsh is who the red-winged blackbird is. The fence post is the meadowlark.

When I first began to notice birds, I thought of them as autonomous creatures whose habitations were simply unconnected matters of fact — as though the pictures of the birds in my bird book could somehow fly free of the pages themselves. But recognizing what you see means, first of all, taking account of where you see it. It becomes clear, sooner or later, that we live in a world of infinitely overlapping and abutting habitats — and that we are one of the rare creatures that are unbound, except in the broadest sense, by place and vocation. It takes an act of will on our part to remember how profoundly, and how beautifully, bound to habitat all the other creatures around us really are.

This thought occurs to me again and again on fine summer evenings, which have been so rare this year, when the phoebes are fluttering after bugs, sometimes pausing on the grass, but swiftly coming to rest on the back of a lawn chair or the very end of a twig. Where the phoebes will not fly, the barn swallows take over, also pursuing insects. Sometimes a swallow will cruise past my head. Compared with the swallow's manner, the phoebe flies a parenthetical flight. And as the two of them take bugs from very different regions of this place of ours — before they retire in favor of the bats — I can hear the catbird hidden in the densest shadow, mewing away. It shows itself just at the edge of the thicket, peering into the clearing where a human sits, hoping that the good weather lasts for a while this time.


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Poem by Brendan Galvin -

Here is an interesting poem to contemplate as we sit in summer, though on the downward turn now toward winter.   Happy day of color and greens and play.  It seems a good many people have today off.  Even Steve took today off, so for those who are working, perhaps, at least, it was an easy commute.


Summer, old bore, though we love the ways
  you reduce everything to five shades
    of green, one of these days

in a fall of soft tonnage, your stranglehold
  on the obvious must end. We need those
    deciduous farewells that reveal

from cranberry bog to hogsback,
  from seagrass to sky at dusk, not red
    but its modulations: solferino, murrey,

minium, not yellow but vitelline and those
  others nameless as the obscurer insects.
    On one of those clarified mornings,

in a nest like a straw handbag
  hung to the weather, in a fright wig out on a limb,
    in cones of grass and false beards

precariously woven, the instinctive faith
  of birds will reveal itself to a walker's eye.
    As if to prove all things must have their time,

the textures of fox sparrows will be
  no longer subtle, but flashy and necessary,
    until we can trust that if we pay attention

we'll hear the groaning into being
  of things believed in though unseen - a gasp
    as chives gain the air, and even before equinox

the sound of a rubbed balloon
  as wings chafe cold from the winter-brittle blue.

Brendan Galvin
Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005
Louisiana State University Press
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An Inconvenient Truth!!

Steve and I finally saw Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and like everyone else who has seen it, we agree that it is an excellent movie, and a must-see.

At first, I thought it was a little bit too much about him, but then, I realized his point.  He is one man, making a difference.  He is saying this is the face of one man, going out and talking to people one by one, and presenting slide shows until they add up, and he is one man making a difference, and so, his face is the inspiration for us to do the same.

I found him inspiring and caring and clear.  My neighbor dismissed him as just running for president.  That is not his point.  The presidency does not really matter if we are under water, does it?   If you haven't seen it, which you probably have, since we are on the tail end of this, definitely go out and do so.  It is important to digest and then act on what he says and instructs.   He gives hope that it is not too late.  Let's hope that is so.   The numbers are staggering, and, so, now, let's turn them around. 

I finished the book See No Evil, and it, too,  is sobering on how the presidency is controlled by oil interests, and it doesn't matter if it is Clinton or a Bush.  There are more of us than them.  Let us really begin to speak and make clear what matters to us.  It is essential to consider on this 4th of July, a day celebrating independence, even as we become more and more of a debtor nation, and therefore, dependent on others.  It is time to wake up and see.  May it be so!!

It is sad to think of polar bears drowning, but that is what is happening.  I think that is the image that will stay with me the most, the thought that the ice is shrinking so much that they are losing their home, and they are the canary in the mine.  We have to wake before it is too late.  Again, may it be so!

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living from heart -

“When emotions are managed by the heart, they heighten your awareness of the world around you and add sparkle to life. The result is new intelligence and a new view of life.”

-- Doc Childre and Howard Martin


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quote -

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action."

-- James Levin

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We are here - we are home!!

"All major mystical traditions have recognized that there is a paradox at the heart of the journey of return to Origin. ...Put simply, this is that we are already what we seek, and that what we are looking for on the Path with such an intensity of striving and passion and discipline is already within and around us at all moments. The journey and all its different ordeals are all emanations of the One Spirit that is manifesting everything in all dimensions; every rung of the ladder we climb toward final awareness is made of the divine stuff of awareness itself; Divine Consciousness is at once creating and manifesting all things and acting in and as all things in various states of self-disguise throughout all the different levels and dimensions of the universe."

-- Andrew Harvey

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Evening -

Tonight, three military jets flew over, right as the sun hit Mandu's portion of the yard.  I saw it as a tribute to his change.   He is usually in the shade, but he does get some soft late evening warmth.  It is beautiful to see.   The world is a reverent place, and we all are wonderful manifestations of One!!

Sunset Magazine has an article on outdoor showers.  Doesn't that sound fun?
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Goethe -

Johann Goethe:

    The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves as well .... A whole stream of events issues from this initial decision, bringing many unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would appear.  Whatever you dream you can do, begin it!  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.  

    Tonight feels so magical as I keep popping outside.  I think I am better appreciating this evening,  because of the Al Gore movie.  How beautiful is this planet on which we live, and how thin its protective layer of air.  I have read the above words many times before, as, perhaps, have you, and yet, this seems like the night to proudly proclaim them as loudly as the fireworks that will boom tomorrow night.  We can save our planet.  We do!!