July 29th, 2007

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Good Morning!

I'm back, perhaps shakily so.  I had no internet access at Squaw, no email or blog, no sending or receiving, no news, except for USA Today, so no news at all.

I have a great deal I will say over time, but, for this morning, I will say how grateful I am to be home.  I love my home and the fog is in and I am snuggly dressed in my cuddliest shirt and pants. 

I listened to Ron Paul today.  There are many interviews with him on YouTube, and I must say, I am leaning in to support him.  I don't agree with him on every issue, but because he does have an opinion and does address the issues, I can identify with him on enough to think this may be our only hope.  I am starting to feel the situation for this country is dire enough I would consider him, and maybe it is just this moment.  There are more to come.   Here is his website.  http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/

I don't agree with him on gun issues and abolishing the Department of Education, but our schools used to be a local issue.  Maybe we need  that again, and maybe the people who are responsible could influence the spread and use of guns. 

I also feel after standing on the top of Squaw at 8200 feet and being blown pure and clean by the sun and wind, that we must have nature.  We need to be out in it.  I stayed at the Village at Squaw, in other words, Disneyland, where silence and inactivity are suspect.  Spend; Spend; Spend.  Do; Do; Do. Put your children in a wrestling camp, a ropes course, a trapeze act.   Bounce them up and down in harnesses on trampolines.  Ah, there is good old-fashioned miniature golf, and a swimming pool and an ice skating rink, and the gondola ride is magnificent, but I was also reading Rick Bass and stories of how to hunt and skin an elk, on how to cut down a tree for winter firewood.   I think we need to return to some basic awareness of what it means to be alive and feel fear, real fear, a bear at our front or back.

We are protected to the point of losing touch with our senses.  It took me five hours to drive back from Squaw, twice as long as Mapquest says it should take.  Why?  There was no accident.  When we called, we learned this is normal.  We left at 11 in the morning, thinking everyone would be where they were going, but no,  the traffic along 80 crawled for hours.  

I am caught right now between many places, the granite rocks, Jeffery pines, cool mountain pools, and technology that means a noisy little truck can pick up garbage all through the day and night.  Beep, Beep, Beep.  Why do they only back up, and is there so much garbage it needs to be picked up every hour?   Perhaps there is.  The line at Starbucks never stops, and I was often in it, so I can't complain.  I have to wonder, though, if the day of the broom is gone.    Is silence suspect?   Must a mountain village be blasted with canned music throughout the day?   Where is peace, thought, awareness of our own individuality and our connection with others?

I fear greatly for this country.  We think we can live without contact with nature.  When we die, we can be put in a vault so we don't decompose for 500 years, but wouldn't it be better to live free while we are alive and to allow our nutrients to recycle quickly on through.  Plankton recirculates its biomass every two to six days.  Redwood trees take thousands of years.  We are somewhere inbetween.

I guess what I see as to politics after being at Squaw is we need something dramatic, and that may well be someone radically conservative  like Ron Paul.
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Carbon Footprint!

Perhaps what I noticed in this trip away was the immensity of my carbon footprint.  Perhaps my guilt was activated.   Having the septic tank emptied below my village window was a good reminder of the waste we each produce.   At home, I sink into some feelng of complacency, congratulating myself that I don't drive as much as some, and viewing myself as reasonably aware, but, perhaps, there, amidst such clarity of stone and air, I was more clear on the liquidity of my boundaries and the continuing ingestion,  in and out.

I also find myself wondering about "the word."  Considering that I traveled up to Squaw Valley with at least twenty incredible books, and that I was there to listen to fine poets read, it was odd to find myself questioning whether I ever needed to speak again.   I found myself, again I say it, so cleansed and emptied, by the rocks, trees and air, that I wondered about speech, and yet, a gondola lifted me 2000 feet so I could better see and feel the lightness of air, a gondola produced through communication and the travel of words.

There were five poets who taught the classes Jane took at Squaw, the workshops in which she participated.   All read their poetry very well.  All write very well, but one man seemed to be a bit difficult for the students with whom I spoke.  He was caught up in his own story of abuse and prison and seemed unable to relate to or even understand the poetry of those different than he.  Jane has participated in the Untraining, and considers herself extremely aware around the subject of prejudice, and she is, and it is odd to be discriminated against and not received in what one writes.  I spent a great deal of time considering this vast subject of poetry.  I love poetry and I do not like to see it mis-used.  For me, it is a chance to understand how another mind works.  It is spiritual, the root with which we connect.  It is the base of empathy.  Studies are showing that animals have empathy, and, of course, we are animals, though we like to raise ourselves above them a notch.  Anyway, it was curious to me to consider my perception of poetry mis-used by someone so caught up in his own self-righteous "story," that he could not receive and value the life-blood sharing of another.   

Because this man, has had a life of prison and then a financial rescue by another poet, he has actually never worked or had a job.  He did not see the subject of "work" has a valid poetic subject.  Now, all of this is second-hand as I did not participate in the workshops, but I am astounded at such a dismissal of a huge chunk of most peoples' lives.   Poetry is not meant to be spun in ivory castles.  It walks in the world and gathers stones and flowers to share.  I am still astonished that this man was even there in a teaching position, and I am hoping the evaluations as they come in mean he will not be there again.  It allowed me to look at what poetry means to me.  Why do I attempt to write it?   Why do I read it?

I believe it is a way to tie souls together in new ways.  I believe we each fly our heart like a kite, and in the subject matter and sharing of poetry, our kites, our hearts, touch a little more closely.  Poetry matters deeply to me, and I was allowed to see in these few days that we each have different ideas of what poetry means and how it might influence the world.  My balcony overlooked the village.  I was actually given a choice location, which meant I saw and heard most everything from first light to almost again another first light.  The band at the Auld Dubliner was my evening, until midnight, serenade.   What I noticed was the babble of voices, all blended together, and then, the individuals.  This is how we live, all the time, as individual and blend.  We are coffee and cream, rock and stream, and I think honoring our differences, enriches us all.  

On another note, Otis Elevator has an advertising campaign for its Compass (trademark) Destination Entry system.  Schindler introduced this system fifteen years ago, but Otis has decided to take note, and so I have in my hand a little notebook to tell me how to use this "new" innovation and to reassure my heretofore unknown fears.   Now, you may have already used this system and didn't even know it, but here we go.  You can check this out at:  www.otis.com, but I am going to tell you what some trees have given their lives for: another advertising campaign.   I will give it to you in the color coding that someone was paid to produce.    By the way, this new system is billed as "The next best thing to a personal elevator."   Well, that certainly catches the eye.  I am thrilled. 

So, here we go, and this is for those who might think the world is not being dumbed down enough.

OTIS - on their Compass (trademark) Destination Entry. 

    (After all the word "Compass" should be trademarked by someone.  Why have a word like that floating loosely in the stratosphere?  It might go astray.  Now it knows exactly where to point.  There is no confusion on what is north.  Corporate power holds magnetic rule and points us all to the pole that soon will melt under the weight of telling us what we all might already know if we cared enough to think about it.)

What if ....?

What if I get in the wrong elevator or change my mind once I'm in the elevator?

You should always check the LED display in the doorjamb upon entering the elevator to verify that your destination floor is illuminated.  If you change your mind once you're in the elevator, exit at the first stop and re-enter your desired floor using the nearest call button, keypad or touch screen.

What if I get delayed in the lobby?  Do I lose my elevator assignment?

The Compass system accounts for the time it takes you to walk to the elevator. However, if you are significantly delayed, you may lost your elevator assignment.  Simply re-enter your floor destination at the nearest keypad or touch screen to receive another assignment.    (I am shocked. I assumed my "next best thing to a personal elevator" would know who I am and wait for me. I cannot believe that I, the self-important I, will have to re-enter my information and wait.  Shouldn't the elevator wait for me?)

What if I forget my elevator assignment?

Re-enter your floor destination at the nearest keypad or touch screen to receive another elevator assignment.

(Ah, relief.  I thought there might be a floor slot into which I would be dropped if I forgot my ever-permanent elevator assignment.  I never would have dreamed on my own I could re-enter my floor destination, but then, what if I forget what floor I want to go to?  What then?  I want my "next best thing to a personal elevator" to know exactly where I want to go.  I await now the mind -reading elevator.  That must come next.)

So, I invite you to savor a beautiful day, away from elevators and this new cyncism that seems to have taken over my mind.  May it soon dissipate like the fog that appears to be opening the sky.  I am in a perplexed and confusing mood, and, because all is change, that, too, will soon move on.   A joyous Sunday, both intricate and simple, to you!!

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A Must - Watch!!!


I recommend you watch the above.

By the way, the movie shown for free in the center square at the Village at Squaw Valley was An Inconvenient Truth.  There is hope.  They also change the linens every third day if people are willing.  Steps are being taken.  Now, let's move to a jog!

I also want to say, as to Ron Paul, that I do believe in caring for people, but we are not doing that.  We pay all these taxes and people are still suffering and ill-treated in this country.  His radical approach may be what we need to get this country back on track. 

At least it is lovely to hear clear speech.  

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Familiar plants and soil -

I just went out and worked in the yard, watering, pruning, and weeding, even though it doesn't make much difference, since I have such a huge yard, but it is deeply satisfying to me, and being with my plant friends is such a treat..  Perhaps I project but I feel they are as happy to see me as I am them.  We re-connect.  I am happy to visit other plants, rocks, and soil, and also return to my own.  I am deeply rooted here.
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William Blake -

Eternity is in Love with the production of time.

    - William Blake

Doesn't that give a sense of power and completion, knowing our steps in time are so loved by eternity?

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William Blake -

I read a book on William Blake one night when the children played Frisbee outside.  The girls did cartwheels.

William Blake wrote:

    Joys impregnate.  Sorrows bring forth. 

The Washoe tribe began inhabiting the Tahoe region as long as 10,000 years ago.

Whenever I am there, I consider the sanctity and sacredness of the area, that huge, cold, blue Lake, an open eye.  

I am also amazed at how the pioneers were able to come to and cross the area, and yet, because they did, we are here.  How, now, do we honor the spirits of our ancestors, all sets?

Let us live, impregnated with what Joys bring, allowing sorrows to bring forth.

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Poems by Amy Uyematsu -

When I was at Squaw, I continued to write, "Wind from the Mountain, Enough."   Perhaps that is why I responded so to the simple truths and words of this book, Stone Bow Prayer.  I offer some poems by Amy Uyematsu.

  fall daikon

just pulled from the soil
these pungent roots
hang from bamboo poles
their white tubed bodies
bend as if slightly aroused

each ripe radish will
be drenched
in salt
then eaten raw
all winter

    - Amy Uyematsu

                for Thich Nhat Hanh

How many years of suffering
revealed in hands like his
small and deliberate as a child's

The way he raises them
from his lap, grasps the teacup
with sure, unhurried ease

Yet full of anticipation
for what he will taste in each sip
he drinks as if it's his first time

Lifts the cup to his mouth,
a man who's been practicing all his life,
each time tasting something new.

    - Amy Uyematsu


Old monk sits in a garden
made of nothing but stones
a garden without
the distractions
of gingko or flowering
cherry trees
no bursts of purple
from iris or eggplant
no pond brimming
with pollywogs, lotus
and vermillion koi
just ordinary stones
a man can carry
from the sea
smooth, dark ovals
of charcoal and raven,
ebony, carbon and ink.

Sometimes he
sweeps them
with the soft bristles
of a bamboo broom.

Sometimes rain
washes them
water clinging
to the stones' thirsty skins
now reflected by sun
in this glistening ground

Every night
old monk listens
to an abundant stillness
giving thanks

    - Amy Uyematsu

I realize now that though I am not an old monk, I was very aware of the children and parents at Squaw.  I was with memories of my children and all we shared.  I was like the old monk listening "to an abundant stillness / giving thanks."

I appreciate having age and time to just sit, appreciate and give thanks.  There was no need for me to jump or bounce, only be.

Perhaps it is to accept that, at times, and in eternity, "being" is enough, along with The Wind from the Mountain.

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Rainbows over the rain
And beauty above the moon, and secret rainbows
On the domes of deep sea-shells,
And make the necessary embrace of breeding
Beautiful also as a fire
Not even the weeds to multiply without blossom
Nor the birds without music

Robinson Jeffers, excerpted from The Excesses of God

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The fog and moon -

This evening I await the moon as I watch the fog overtake the hill. 

I read that the White House now has a stricter dress code for those who visit than the Vatican.  It is good to know they are concerned with inconsequential matters as the rest of us open to ever more bloom.


"May our heart's garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Yes!  Flowers!  Bloom!