October 14th, 2006

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Oh, My!

It is so unimaginably beautiful here I cannot begin to tell you.   The home is perched over the water, and this couch with its two footstools has windows from floor to celing on three sides and above, so it is like I am floating in my own captain's starship of beauty.   The hills with their trees are reflected in the water and all is perfectly still.  There is me, and one gull flew by.  I am so stroked by this place I cannot tell you.   I took the small room and I am so cozy in it, and it has bookshelves on the wall, and is lined with wood, and I feel I am a hobbit living in a spacious tree.   I am delight.

You may wonder if Jane and I are stretching this book out so we can continue our junkets, but actually it keeps changing, evolving.  When we began, I felt there would be two books,  one  book of our poems and reflections, and one where I went into more detail of the journey.   This week we decided it will be one book, so we are going back through everything, including the blog, and, as I have said, this is not always an easy process for either one of us.  My dreams last night were of climbing through glittering landscapes with points and geodes, and figuring out how to navigate.  I think we are looking to open the geodes and see how much of the facets and light to bring forth.

I wish you all could be here.  I hope every one of you gets to experience the Poet's Loft just once in your lifetime.  Elaine recommended it, and she and her husband spent their anniversary here, and will come again this year with their children.  What a treat!!. 

A small bird just flew by below - long wings like a swallow.   Oh, there is another one in the sky.   This is so exciting.  It is more light now, and I can see out the opening to the ocean.  A huge piece of driftwood sits on the dock next door.   We have a dock, also, so if you have a boat, drop by.   We are the house somewhat alone and furthest out in the bay.

The birds are waking   The day begins, and the land, water, and reflections differentiate.   Oh, wow.   Two ducks just flew by low over the water.   "Always in a hurry for a duck,"  Mrs. T. continues to say.   I am not a duck, for today.
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Gull Friend -

My gull friend has now come to check in and see if there is a possibility of food from me, this morning.   I am again suggesting he look for a fish, but he/she seems to enjoy peering in.   The post-sitting gull just flew off and his reflection in the water follows his flight.   Oh, some one is floating my way.   I see the V wake.  The sky is filling.  It seems to be breakfast time for my bird friends.   What a morning.  I am grateful I saw the early morning light.  Naturally, it seems best, to me, and, yet, this, too, is fascinating.  Beaches are lighting up on the other side that we didn't see in the evening light.  I see a sailboat, anchored across the way.   Oh, wow!   Two pelicans are right here.  Oh, my!   They flew right by the window, and then one plunged for food.  Oh, now, a whole bunch of them are coming back the other way.  This is bird heaven.  The whole sky is flapping, and every level has a bird.  I am enthralled!!   Truly so. 

Oh, these pelicans.   Three come in and low and with their reflections,  I think there are six.   Now, seven pelicans follow, two and five, and again, there could be fourteen.  Now, five more.  Remember when pelicans were threatened.  Not this morning, here.   A little guy with white on his wings skims by.  This is unbelievable.  Ah, now, there is a space to stop and breathe.  Could there be a more exciting viewing platform, and I am view, too.   Wow!!    I hope your heart is not beating too fast from all this excitement.    Perhaps, you can go outside, or look outside, and see who is fluttering your dreams.
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Muhammad Yunus -

What a place to read of our Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, who says that our grandchildren will have to go to museums to see poverty and who works to make it so.

Oh, the sailboat is moving. It is the trimaran. It comes across the bay like a friendly Klingong spaceship. It moves effortlessly and soundlessly for me. No sails are up. It is motoring and leaving a wide V. Now, 16 pelicans in a long line, swoop by. I try and count them, and again see, some are reflections. Perhaps, there are twelve. The gull has an oyster, mussel, or clam shell and is dropping it to open it, and now, is eating away. I never thought I would enjoy fish for breakfast, but perhaps here. There is no poverty here, and soon, thanks to Muhammad Yunnus, no poverty in the world.

Celebrate what one person can do. It brings a smile to the face, a huge wake that is now floating my way.
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Time -

I look at the posting of the last entry and it shows afternoon, and yet, this one is now back to the appropriate time. It is almost like being here there is no time, and all is one. The bay is still fluttering from the wake of that one boat. Imagine the wake you leave today. Shimmer in its glow!

Now, the journal tells me I can't post because it would be back-dating. I wonder what happened for a moment. I go in and change the time on the last one, so I can post this one. The trimaran is now floating back by. It is like a mower for the bay.

Soon more waves will come my way. Okay, time to make coffee and mosey up some food. Not fish, though. I leave that for the birds.
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Friday the 13th -

I just realized yesterday was Friday the 13th. That day continues to be a good luck day for me. I read that Bush will go to Vietnam. It is pointed out that it will be a lot safer than when he didn't go the last time. Even here, he can get a rise from me, even here as I watch a dance of birds, and maybe more so, because I know his policies endanger these birds and waters, and only we can protect.
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Heaven -

I must continue to share. I feel like I am Jodie Foster in the movie Contact reporting back on the most incredible happenings. While I was reading Elaine's words - I can receive email here, but not send, at least from my regular account, anyway, while reading her words on seagulls and Jonathon Livingston Seagull, and his proclamation for "no limits," a pelican plops down right in front of me, and circles, and then, lifts again. Two more pelicans come, and then, I look out in the bay, and there is plopping going on. Water is shooting up as birds plunge for food. I tell you I am so excited at all of this. It is just amazing. Now, a sleek tern flies proudly by. I say sleek, and yet, I think that tern's tummy is bursting. It looks proud and full. I am full on all these antics. I realize now the trimaran must have slipped across for morning coffee, because it is back in its spot. How funny. I still haven't gotten the coffee pot going. I am too excited to step away from my couch, footstool, and view. I tell you. I love this place.

I was sad to read though that the Giacomini family sold their cows to Merced. I have often thought I would like to come back as a Point Reyes dairy cow, but not if I am going to be sold to Merced. It is "the end of an era" according to the Point Reyes Light. The local historian, Dewey Livingston, says this, "Like them or not, dairy ranches have provided the major economic activity in West Marin since the 1860's, and continue to provide some of the best food products in the world. Since the decline in the number of dairy ranches began in the 1970's, the loss of even one is just another blow to the traditional local food producers."

Change means I can communicate with you, like this, from Point Reyes. It also means some very sad cows, since it would be hard to leave this area for another. I truly think this place where two continental plates glide is something special indeed!
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Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, the pelicans are popping, and because of the reflections, it is like there are twice as many. Jane is now here and awake, so soon to work we go, and now, the water, that smooth water is ablaze with movement, as two little boats have putt-putt-putted by on each side of the bay.

I had thought we would hear the water as we slept, but the bay was so still, only silence. Ah, another Pelican lifts into the sky!

Now, eight fly by.
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The tide is coming in -

I'm sure you want to know that the tide is coming in to Tomales Bay. All is quiet and still, but the movement of the water is a blessing flowing past. All is at rest, but us, and the soft movement of the tide in little spoons.

Remember Eliot's Prufrock measuring out his life in coffee spoons. My life is tidal spoons, life and dark, flowing past.
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Serenity -

We are calmly moving along with the current.

Four kayaks, each with two people, paddle by.

A father with two daughters goes by in a little boat, towing an even smaller one, that they leave at a nearby dock. They come by again, the two little girls standing up in their life jackets. I comment that it would be fun to have a boat. Jane says it would be fun to have a little girl. Yes, how true! And we do! Our own little girls within, and the little girls of family and friends. Richness abounds!

We are appreciative of this time to see what we are doing as a whole. It is hard to do it in morning fragments, and yet, there is a place for both. We won't finish 2005 here, or we may. It works. Life is a gift!
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Views -

At the Poet's Loft, there is a view of the water as you sit on the downstairs toilet and a view of the water from the shower. It is quite something to stand in the shower with water pouring down, and, also, view it resting nearby.

Jane is soon off to a party, and Steve will soon arrive, so I have a quiet time to just sit and look at and be one with the bay. I can handle that.

The water is a little choppier now, though the day is still and gray. All seems at rest somehow, in the light of noon, when you take away daylight savings time of which I don't approve. Soon, though, perhaps another week we will have more light in the morning, and much less at night. Winter is settling in with the fall.
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the pause in the middle of the day -

The Rural Life
Frost Time

Published: October 14, 2006

For the most part our animals don’t have many secrets from us. The reverse is probably true too, except for the one big secret we keep from the pigs. The horses and poultry are always in sight, and together we all belong to something that is larger than any one of us — the daily routine of this small farm.

Morning and evening I can always feel the animals leaning toward what they know comes next — a walk down to the barn, hay and grain, layer mash, egg gathering and the filling of water tanks. The livestock clock in and out as surely as I do.

But sometimes I take the animals by surprise, and I get to witness how deeply they reside here. It happened the other day. We awoke to the first frost of autumn, a clear bright morning that had not fully lost its chill by noon when I walked down to get the mail. In the big pasture the horses stood broadside to the sun. The ducks and geese lay sound asleep in the threadbare shade of a hickory that had hastened to lose its leaves. Some hens had sprawled in a dust bath, and there was a subcommittee meeting going on in the entrance to the chicken house.

Here I was, cutting my narrow vulpine arc to the mailbox and back, and there, all around me, life seemed to have stopped. We think of time as a cold transparent thing without substance. But here, in this midday pause, time seemed to be giving off as much warmth as the sun itself. The horses were basking in the heat of the sun. But they were also basking in what I can’t help calling their continuity, their presence in the long, floating, unscheduled, middle part of the day. Nothing about their manner suggested that this was a private moment. And yet I felt that I was looking into a private moment.

The reason is simple. Whenever my life intersects with theirs, it is all expectation, a concern for what comes next. But in the middle of the day, the animals drift away into a life all their own. I notice that they are able to follow me into all the haste and bustle of my life. But if I stepped into the pasture, to pause in the sun, the horses would wander over as if to ask, “What now?”

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A Wider View -

Op-Ed Contributor
A Writer Above Politics


Published: October 14, 2006


THE writer Orhan Pamuk of Turkey has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, and the timing would appear to be uniquely auspicious.

The divide between the West and Islam seems to be growing at an alarming pace. A series of troubling events, from the furor over a German opera performance to the violent reaction to the pope’s remarks about Islam, have resulted in recriminations and frustrated attempts at renewed dialogue and understanding. Anti-Islamic sentiments have shifted from the far right to the center of European political life.

And now a writer of Orhan Pamuk’s concerns and ambitions gains global prominence. In the Swedish Academy’s prize citation, he is commended as an artist who “has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.”

No doubt, the latest Nobel laureate’s books will be taken up with immediate interest by thoughtful readers searching for wisdom about the violent crosscurrents of religion, politics, history and culture whipsawing our world. But one can only hope that this rush to conscript Mr. Pamuk as a literary mediator in the clash of civilizations will fail.

If it doesn’t, we risk missing the core insight of his work: that the chaos of cultural upheaval, and equally the harmony of intercultural connection, is always secondary to what Mr. Pamuk’s fellow Nobel laureate, William Faulkner, described as “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself.”

To be sure, Mr. Pamuk’s books touch on the themes for which the Nobel committee cites him. Mr. Pamuk is a resident of Istanbul, a city that has for centuries been a complex amalgamation of East and West, empire and nation, tradition and modernity, faith and patriotism. His evocations of this city, like those of his work’s wider terrain, provide compelling meditations on the encounter between European and Ottoman civilizations, between believers and infidels of various stripes from the 16th century to the early 21st. In “My Name is Red,” a group of Muslim miniaturists are ordered to violate Islamic doctrines on representing human figures. In “Snow,” a poet gets caught up in a military coup and terrorist plot while searching for a lost love. And in “Istanbul: Memories and the City,” Mr. Pamuk describes what he sees as his native city’s “greatest virtue”: “its people’s ability to see the city through both Western and Eastern eyes.”

But Mr. Pamuk’s books are less about politics than they are about the longing to move beyond them — to transcend the limitations of history, culture and religion. Mr. Pamuk’s characters resist these forces out of private motives: artistic ambition, romantic love, the simple desire to contemplate the moody beauty of a storied city without recourse to the geopolitical implications of that beauty.

To reduce Mr. Pamuk’s work to its politics is in a sense to treat him as the Turkish authorities have done: as the purveyor of a message about “Turkishness” or its relation to Europe, about Islam and the West, rather than as a literary artist of the highest order. Perceiving the significance of his work along these lines inadvertently allows the bruising forces of the world at large to overcome the attempts of ordinary people to endure and prevail against such forces. This is a grim parallel to what transpires at the most tragic moments in the books themselves.

In reading Mr. Pamuk’s books for their resonance with our political and cultural preoccupations of the day, we narrow his significance as a writer to the very categories his work marks as secondary — and at the very moment that he gains unrivaled notice for his efforts.

Randy Boyagoda, the author of the novel “Governor of the Northern Province,” is a professor of literature at Ryerson University.
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Lapping at the Poet's Loft -

It must be really something in a storm, because it is a quiet, gray evening, and yet, the water lapping against the shore and supports for the house is quite a presence. I feel like I'm on a boat. I look out and all is calm. The waves are small, and there is no wind. It is a night of reaching within, and bringing forth dreams. We have the fire going and the heater. It is wintery here, and snug within.