October 8th, 2007

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Good Morning!!

The fog is in today, though I hear on the radio this has been our least foggy summer, and Chicago was so hot and muggy yesterday they had to cancel their marathon because so many people were having health problems.

Paul Krugman explains the conservatives to us today in his column, and it is illuminating on what has been ignored and how they continued to build strength.    It certainly says something about the attention span of much of the American population.


I suppose we also should be protesting that Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" which fifty years ago was declared not obscene, will not be read on WBAI radio, because a fine for obscenity would destroy them.  They are rightly cautious, under those conditions, and Allen Ginsberg himself wrote, "Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture."

One might ask,  "What culture?" at this point, but that would be unfair.

Artists are out there, searching within, for ways to ride the tides.

Happy Columbus Day, another controversial subject, but who is willing to give up a holiday, sale, three-day weekend  once it is set in place.  
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Presence -

I read yesterday that when we are "rushing" we are not in our body.  I have been noticing how much I am rushing, already ahead in my mind to the next thing.  When I was in chemo, often just brushing my teeth was an accomplishment.  I was "all there for it," present.   Now, I am thinking ahead, planning my day, trying to see how much I can cram in.  And with that philosophy, it is hard for it ever to be enough.

So, today, once again, I set intention to return to my breath, feel my feet on the floor, and relax my jaw.

Enjoy the breath and the ease found there.  I look out and the fog is clearing.   May my mind do the same.

"If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today."

- E. Joseph Cossman

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Thomas Merton -

Words of Thomas Merton:

I came up here [to his hermitage] from the monastery last night, sloshing through the cornfield, said Vespers, and put some oatmeal on the Coleman stove for supper. It boiled over while I was listening to the rain and toasting a piece of bread at the log fire. The night became very dark. The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
            Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.

Thomas Merton. "Rain and the Rhinocerous" in Raids on the Unspeakable. New York: New Directions Publishing Co., 1964: 9-10.

Philoxenos in his ninth memra (on poverty) to dwellers in solitude, says that there is no explanation and no justification for the solitary life, since it is without a law. To be a contemplative is therefore to be an outlaw. As was Christ. As was [Saint] Paul.

Thomas Merton - Contemplation in A World of Action: 287

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Intention -

The sun is now out and intention is set, though I feel a little wiggly-wobble inside that feels more like rushing than rush, but I set my little ditty of a poem here to better found and ground my need to be rush,  not rushing.  I'm off to the city and will attend some panel discussions with Jane and return this evening, better informed and mobilized on this subject of publishing books.

Rushing is not Presence


When I am caught in rushing,

            not rushes

standing calmly in mud,

lifting green stalks of reverence to sky,

but rush with an I, N, G,

an ending allowing no end.



is movement that never completes. 

            It is not brushing the teeth

with nothing needed, contemplated,  or scheduled.

            It is not that.


I take the I, N, G,  off the word rush,

and settle into earth and sky,

round and serene.


                        “Sedges have edges,

                        and rushes are round,

                        Grasses are hollow

                        and nodes abound,”

                                    or is it,

                        “Grasses have nodes

                        from their tips to the ground.”


                        However it is, today I found myself a court

                                    where I decree

                                                minutes round like nodes

                                                            and rise unwound.



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Lit-Crawl -

If you are looking for something fun and entertaining to do Saturday night in the city, this pub-lit-crawl may be just your thing.  It seems there is something for everyone.


It is lit-quake week in San Francisco, and I enjoyed two panel discussions today.

I went into the city early, planning to have lunch at the Warming Hut at Crissy Field, which was damaged in a fire in the spring.   The repairs will not be finished until almost Thanksgiving, so I headed out for a walk along the beautiful bay and savored the birds, water, boats, sand, plants and three red helicopters playing with the Golden Gate Bridge.  I enjoyed a cafe at the other end of Crissy Field.  What a treasure this place is!   There is now a shuttle bus that will carry you for free all around Crissy Field and the Presidio.

I parked and still had extra time so went to the Crocker Galleria to sit and partake of the two roof-top gardens.  I am not normally a city person, but I was captivated with the different angles of the high-rises and the play with light.  The panel discussions were scintillating and I am digesting all the information and personalities tonight.  Target sponsored the event this afternoon and tonight and provided food and wine for the reception.  It was a lovely gift. 

It was emphasized today that more people are writing books than reading them.  The message is to buy more books.  I know I am doing my share, but will toss it out there.  I noted in walking around the city today how people rather than reading a book are fiddling with their cel phones.  Perhaps that is part of the problem.   Read a book each day!!   They are better stimulants than vitamins and much more fun.