July 31st, 2007

Book Cover

Good Morning!

A friend invited the ancestors in to help with her mother who is aging.  It worked, and there was a noticeable shift in her mother's response.

I have been inviting my ancestors in and my biggest responder right now is my mother.  I feel her here, dropping air, energy, and enthusiam down the opening in my head as though it were a fireplace and I in need of fire.

I am grateful for this.  It may just be my imagination, or it may be something more.  Either way, I benefit.  Many people have an altar to their ancestors in their home.  I think the altar can be a physical creation in one's home, or an altar of the imagination burning in mind and heart.

I think it is a good day to call in the ancestors.  There is a Grandparent's Day in September, but that is a Hallmark holiday, created to sell cards in a month without holidays.   I google it and I am wrong.  It was created to honor those in nursing homes.  The intention was not just to sell cards, but to invite us to better honor our elderly. 

I call today Ancestor Day and invite my ancestors to come back in and play.   I feel them gathering and the spin of a party begins. 
Book Cover

Synchronicity -

I open the book, Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck: Love, Discovery, and Tea and re-discover this poem.

Monkey Business

On a small plot of land overlooking the village there is an enchanted cemetery the grandchildren call "Monkey City."  The name comes from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book as it reminds the children of the ancient hidden city that houses an immense treasure of golden coins, chalices, crowns, diamonds, rubies, pearls, gems beyond imagining, all guarded by thousands of monkeys.

The children run freely, fascinated with everything: a shell necklace glued to a headstone, a rhinestone heart swaying from a rose bush, the carved angels and tiny statues of the Virgin Mary, the huge marble crosses, the silk flowers.  On one grave there are helium Happy Birthday balloons, a bouquet of sunflowers, a tiny stuffed bear and two white ceramic rabbits clustered around a photo of a small child.

Their grandmother sleeps in the shade of a veiled monument as they swoop and soar noiselessly like little glider planes dancing with the spirits. They revel in the silence, the heat of the sun, until tired at last they lay on their backs against a cool marble gravestone and watch the clouds form piglets and elephants in the sky.

There is a cemetery in the little town of Mendocino. It overlooks the ocean.  It seems noble and right to integrate the constant movement, interaction, and change of life and death. 

Book Cover

Worth repeating -

On this last day of July, I am going back through my July Journal.  Again, this poem speaks to me and gives me comfort and peace.

A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The
Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of
and the women laugh in the cages of
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

- Jack Gilbert

From REFUSING HEAVEN (Knopf, 2005)