December 31st, 2007

Book Cover

Good Morning!

I changed my "theme" for this blog late last night, and when I came to it in the morning, I was shocked.   Night moods and morning moods are very different from each other.  Today the morning moon was half light and half dark.  I suppose it is like that.  I have now changed it again and I'm still not satisfied.  I can't seem to find the tone that fits my mood of the moment and perhaps as the day goes on, it will come, or maybe ginko leaves are just right for today.

Mitchell's mother posted beautifully on the Caring Bridge website after the 49 days since his death Tibetan Buddhist ceremony to release Mitchell with love and joy.

I post an excerpt of what she wrote:

“We may be bruised by life’s farewells, but it is possible to heal and become whole again if we are willing to move inside the heart and live patiently through the process. As difficult and painful as it is, the wonder of spiritual growth will be marveled from our new depth of faith with God and with others.

 I look forward to 2008, a better understanding of life, a greater wisdom and compassion, and a deeper courage to continue the journey.”

What an inspirational statement by a mother who has lost a child!

Since the ceremony I am reading all I can to understand the Buddhist concept of living and dying and how, if I understand it right, the "mind" always exists, and we move in and out of that.   I, too, am intrigued with this journey of understanding and integrating life and death.

My intention for the new year is there and also with Connection Well.  Jane and I spoke this morning and we are thrilled with how it is beginning and how we see it expanding.

The sun is shining and the leaves are playing with the light.  The ice on the railing of the deck begins to melt, change form, life and death.

A beautiful and fulfilling New Year's Eve for us all!!




Book Cover

Poem by Hayden Carruth -


    by Hayden Carruth

So often it has been displayed to us, the hourglass
with its grains of sand drifting down,
not as an object in our world
but as a sign, a symbol, our lives
drifting down grain by grain,
sifting away — I'm sure everyone must
see this emblem somewhere in the mind.
Yet not only our lives drift down. The stuff
of ego with which we began, the mass
in the upper chamber, filters away
as love accumulates below. Now
I am almost entirely love. I have been
to the banker, the broker, those strange
people, to talk about unit trusts,
annuities, CDs, IRAs, trying
to leave you whatever I can after
I die. I've made my will, written
you a long letter of instructions.
I think about this continually.
What will you do? How
will you live? You can't go back
to cocktail waitressing in the casino.
And your poetry? It will bring you
at best a pittance in our civilization,
a widow's mite, as mine has
for forty-five years. Which is why
I leave you so little. Brokers?
Unit trusts? I'm no financier doing
the world's great business. And the sands
in the upper glass grow few. Can I leave
you the vale of ten thousand trilliums
where we buried our good cat Pokey
across the lane to the quarry?
Maybe the tulips I planted under
the lilac tree? Or our red-bellied
woodpeckers who have given us so
much pleasure, and the rabbits
and the deer? And kisses? And
love-makings? All our embracings?
I know millions of these will be still
unspent when the last grain of sand
falls with its whisper, its inconsequence,
on the mountain of my love below.

Book Cover

Jabberwocky -

Jane wrote this, this morning.   As you may know, Jane and Jim have committed to the art and joy of memorizing poems.   It is a noble New Year's vow!


We have begun the poem a week memorization and the winner is Jabberwocky. Traditional, perhaps even predictable. But inspiring. Once we chose it Jim and I tried remembering the parts we knew and then found ourselves in full pursuit of the definitive version. Waiting for friends before dinner on Friday night we found ourselves across the street from a neighborhood bookstore on Potrero Hill that had 15% off all books. We were pull as if by the tide to its small and bright interior. I found a matched set of Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland whose illustrations had been pressed from Tenniel's original woodcuts. The books were hard bound, the edges of the pages were leafed in gold and silver and with the discount we left the store a few minutes later, poorer by 29.99. Such a deal. We repaired to the bar of Chez Papa to finish our wait and spent the next few minutes with a nice Vacqueryas and frites with aioli, memorizing Jabberwocky. Throughout the weekend, one or the other of us would suddenly start spouting "One, two. One, two. And through and through/The vorpal blade went snicker-snack." While cooking. While folding the laundry. While putting in the winter bulbs. While hiking on Saturday to the West Point Inn on Mt. Tam in the rain. It helps, I think, to have started with a poem that rhymes. The made up words seem to help too as does the action of the fight of the Jabberwock. For me the best part has been the shared endeavor. “O frabjous day! Calloo. Callay.”

Book Cover

If you want to memorize along with Jane and Jim -


Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Book Cover

The last day of 2007!

I use this day to stock my shelves and refrigerator with groceries and celebratory treats.  I spread rocks on the mud at the top of the driveway and move and tend plants.

I ignore my desk but hang its new calendar  The waterfalls of 2007 give way to "A Small Untroubled World," the Art of Gustave Baumann.   My daily calendar this year is Georgia O'keefe.  I need her way of seeing.

I note that people are reflecting back on their year.  This one went so fast that it is a bit of a blur. If I were to sum it up in one word, the word would be "gratitude."

Two years ago at this time I was in chemotherapy.  That has given me new friends, understanding, and appreciation.  My head clears a little more each day and still there is often a fog, a mist, and that is okay.  I am well-aware that each day added is a gift.

I read that we should eat round things on New Year's Day, like lentils and black-eyes peas to bring us wealth.  The round shape comes from the days of coins.  I suppose today's times mean we should eat rectangles shaped like credit cards, but instead I will celebrate the realm of round and eat cherries baked in a cherry pie.

May each of you savor this New Year's Eve in the ways that bring you inner and outer peace.