February 11th, 2008

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I am awake -

Today I opened all windows and doors and worked outside.  Tiger and Bella seemed to be around, and then, Bella wasn't, and she still isn't.  I know Tiger is worried and I am worried, too, so we look in all the corners of the house, and we have checked the yard and called, and no Bella is here right now.  Perhaps she will show up soon and all will be okay, but in the moment, I am not feeling so well, nor is Tiger.

Because I couldn't sleep, I started reading Ruth Ozeki's book, All Over Creation.   It is a beauty and ends with, in my opinion,  a positive message.   I believe in change.  We have changed.   Look how much organic produce is now available.  We need to believe, and we need a leader that unites us all.  I believe in the movement that is Barack Obama.  

I have always felt that Jesus feeding the multitudes was not meant to be taken literally, but was meant to show that in uniting people and speaking of the power of love, people felt fed, and felt full as though they had feasted lavishly on bread and fish.   We feed on words, create with belief.

When I was eleven, we moved to Florida, and there were separate water fountains for "blacks" and "whites."  Now, we have a Black running for president, an individual who is generating excitement and getting people out to enthusiastically vote.  There are people who say he doesn't say anything.  I wonder about that.  It seems that Hillary is good at listing what she is going to do, but she is so disliked, I wonder if once again, her plans will fail.  She can't do it alone.  She needs to be able to lead, inspire, and adapt, every day, every moment.  Rigidity does not fit these times.  We need resilience and compromise.  We cannot foresee what the days will bring, but we can stay open in our response.  We also need candidates who are open in releasing their tax returns.  What is that about?  Do the Clintons not want us to see how wealthy they have now become in these last seven years?

I have a wonderful print by Brian Andreas hanging on my wall.  It is called Center on Wheels, and says, "I spent a long time trying to find my center until I looked closely one night and found it had wheels and moved easily in the slightest breeze, so now I spend less time sitting and more time sailing."

These are times for mobility, for setting sails and also allowing space to drift.  It is to live honoring the pause, compassion, and patience..

I remember now a boss my father had who had the gift of knowing how to choose people who worked hard for him, intelligently and creatively.  He could sit and rest a bit because he carefully chose.  Their work reflected on him. 

We need someone who chooses well.  We need someone who believes there can be a change, who inspires us to believe in change.

We need the passion and optimism, tempered by reality, of youth.  We need direction and leadership, and not dirty tricks. 

I stay awake, praying that little Bella comes skipping up the stairs.   I don't think I can sleep until I know where she is.

I don't think Obama is a god. He himself is honest as to his humanness.  We need someone to inspire us through these tough times.  I think he is the one.

I am a realist.  I know the odds are not good for little Bella.  I worry about her surviving a night outside, though at least it has warmed up, but where can she be, and maybe someone has found her and is taking care of her until it is light.   In four hours now, it will be light enough for me to go outside and look.   It has been such a quiet day.  Where can she be?

Prayers for Bella!

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Modern times -

I remember when we had to wait for the morning paper to be delivered.  Some mornings it didn't come until 7:00, but, now, thanks to the Internet, the Monday morning NY Times arrived in my email box today at 1:24 AM.   I am now fresh from reading more on the battle of Hillary and Barack.  Kindness and respect is called for by Paul Krugman.  He thinks Hillary has the stronger health care plan, and this is true.  She wants  universal health care coverage, and everyone needs to be in the pool for it  to work.  It is like with the public schools.

William Kristol suggests that  Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi could have a huge influence on the choice of the Democratic candidate.  It probably isn't too hard to figure out how they would prefer to lean, but we will see. 

Obviously, the Democratic party needs to unite around the person who can beat McCain.  

I would think Nancy Pelosi would like to see herself as the first woman president in eight years.

Bella is still not home.  I wait to hear the patter of her four little white feet.

ashes and snow - wings

no Bella -

Tiger and I have checked the whole property and up to and along the road and we can find no sign of any mishap, no sign of anything.  It is eerily quiet.   I suppose it would be better to find her body, and yet, this way I can imagine she somehow wandered off and someone is caring for her.  She has never been a wanderer though.  She is a little homebody.    She is very careful and cautious and loves to snuggle in cozy places.  Where can she be?

It is amazing to feel my whole body tighten and clench.  I am miserable.   There is no possibility of joy in this place.  I said yesterday to Chris that there is hardly a moment that I don't give thanks for Tiger and Bella.  I visualize each day seeing them in the cage at the humane society and knowing they were there for us.  Two kitties.   Tiger has never not had his Bella.    I'll see what today brings, for for now, my stomach is tight and my shoulders bent.

This quote comes this morning.    I will be with knowing  my heart.

Can you walk on water? You have done no better than a straw. Can you fly in the air? You have done no better than a bluebottle. Conquer your heart; then you may become somebody.
- Ansari of Herat

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Sheikh Ansari -

I check out Ansari of Herat.  He was a sheikh who lived from 1006-1088.

Here is one of his poems, translated by Andrew Harvey.

Empty Me of Everything But Your Love
Lord, send me staggering with the wine
Of Your love!
Ring my feet
With the chains of Your slavery!
Empty me of everything but Your love
And in it destroy and resurrect me!
Any hunger You awaken
Can only end in Feast!
cirque du soleil trapeze

Jon Carroll -

Here is Jon Carroll on celebrating the New Year each day.

Jon Carroll

Monday, February 11, 2008

Last Wednesday night, we did a little Chinese New Year's Eve celebration, with chicken soup and seafood and noisemakers and dyed watermelon seeds and red envelopes. Alice is from China, which is why we were having the party, even though none of the rest of us are of the Asian persuasion.

In her immediate family (parents and grandparents), she has relatives of Russian, Irish, German, English and Caribbean ancestry. Three of those six people are Jewish, one is Christian and two are declined-to-state. Alice also has an aunt (Russian-Irish-Jewish) living in Canada, where the government thinks circus performers are worth cherishing. God bless Canada, for that and other reasons.

Also in attendance were a woman of Greco-Gallic ancestry and a man of you-pick-it Northern European ancestry, and their daughter, also from China, also 7 years old.

We're trying to follow what we know of Chinese New Year's traditions, derived from Chinese friends and from the Internet, but we're probably doing it wrong. People who have been doing it all their lives are free to mention that we're doing it wrong. They are even free to take offense that we are doing it at all. I understand that it's not authentic, that it's a very broad interpretation of a holiday celebrated by another culture. It is, however, the authentic way that Alice's exceptionally diverse family celebrates Chinese New Year. We are the reigning world experts on that particular ritual.

Further, I understand that adopting babies from China is controversial. China is slowing down the process a lot right now, probably because of the Olympics. (It's also jailing dissidents and shutting down factories, cleaning the place up so it can become its own Disneyland.) I am happy to think about all those issues; just leave Alice out of it. The village is trying to raise a child here; go away.

It sometimes seems that in America we have only two choices: We can be oversensitive to issues of cultural and racial diversity, or we can be insensitive about those issues. There's no middle ground in political discourse, although of course there's all sorts of middle ground in real life. That's where most of us spend our time, on the middle ground, usually drinking coffee and flirting.

I am reminded of the time when I first met Rachel's partner, Mary, who spent most of her childhood in Trinidad but worked in Toronto. Being a fully credentialed white liberal, I said, "Well, I know that we use the polite term 'African Americans,' but is the equivalent true in Canada? Is 'African Canadians' the right phrase? What do you call yourselves?

She paused for a second. "Black folks," she said. "That'll do fine."

So the white folks and the black folks and the Asian folks (I'm not risking "yellow"; I am not a fool) had a party. We went out on the street with pots and pans, to bang loudly, and with watermelon seeds, to scatter around the perimeter of the house, and Pop Pop ("Snappers, a novel trick item. Bang drop it! Throw it! Step On it! Snap It! Not to be sold separately!") to hurl on the sidewalk.

Later on, the girls asked their elders, in probably impeccable Mandarin, for their red envelopes, inside of which was a small amount of money including a very cool John Adams dollar coin. Who knew John Adams had a coin? I knew he had an HBO series, but a coin! Very nice.

Then we sat down and had the chicken soup that Tracy had been making for the past two days. I don't care what culture you're from; chicken soup, made from scratch and slowly boiled down, constantly skimmed, put away and heated up and strained and skimmed some more, then served steaming hot in thick bowls, makes life worth living and a fresh start seem like a good idea.

As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many New Year's celebrations. All the vernal earth-is-not-dead festivals have a similar message, that everything is renewed and we can start over with untilled soil and unspoiled memories and make new things grow. We have another chance to get it right, and there can be no better news.

We used to say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." We could just as well have said, "Tomorrow is New Year's Day. Clean house! Dress up! Eat special food!" Such a good plan for any day, for every day. Particularly if yesterday wasn't so good, tomorrow is a very good time to start a new year. Hell, they have new fiscal years all the time; why not new personal years?

And then all the folks of varying colors can stand together on the sidewalk, celebrating the fact that we are standing together on the sidewalk, and tomorrow is another day. It's the feast of hope. Let's do it again real soon.

Should old acquaintances be forgotten and never brought to mind? What a silly question. Of course not. Some of them are, sadly, impossible to forget.

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Thoughts -

Jane has a 200 year old peach tree in her yard.  Can you imagine that?   200 years.   It's already gotten its blossoms and is dropping them, petal by petal.   Jane says the tree is then slow to get its leaves.   There is a metaphor there, though I haven't yet teased it out, something about wisdom and age -

    the pause -
    compassion -
    patience -

            All wrapped in the drum-beat, the heart-beat

                                            of Love!!

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Morning Poem -



Muscled, timid and curious,

her little face so pretty, belying the notion of symmetry

as beauty, little white paws that prance in the jauntiest of walks,

barely touching the ground –


what is it to know she may be gone,

like that, with no warning or preparation.

The last time I saw her she was exploring the chaise lounge,

her soft rose of a nose, a quiver.


I wonder now why I ever get upset,

and wish any moment to pass more quickly than the next.

I must settle into this pain, read it on a map, stretched flat, unfolded,

though, still with lines,

imagine my aching grief held in hands of sky,

galaxies as pores,

wells to hold,

and use my grief like paint,


throat an arrow

a piercing point

that centers the eye of the bull,

asks love

to ride without a ticket,

gathers stars, and plants them,

like fairies

in buds.


Jane says,

“Maybe she found her boldness.”


Jane sweeps

petals fallen

from a 200 year old tree,

a peach tree overlooking the bay,

gnarled with knowledge of pain,

that continues to reach, tangle, and fruit.


Bella, if only I had treasured the last time I held you,

and now, I realize, I did.  You made it clear from the very beginning

you were your own energy pattern on loan,

and each hug was first and last. 


egg stone

synchronicity -

This comes now by email.

True sanctity does not consist in trying to live without creatures. It consists in using the goods of life in order to do the will of God. It consists in using God's creation in such a way that everything we touch and see and use and love gives new glory to God. To be a saint means to pass through the world gathering fruits for heaven from every tree and reaping God's glory in every field. The saint is one who is in contact with God in every possible way, in every possible direction. He is united to God by the depths of his own being. He sees and touches God in everything and everyone around him. Everywhere he goes, the world rings and resounds (though silently) with the deep harmonies of God's glory.

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration. (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950
): 137

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the dialogue required -

Joan, this morning on her blog, jblindsight.livejournal.com posts If I Was in Charge.  I agree with what she says and post it here.  You can also check out her blog for yourself.  It is bright pink and covered with hearts.

Joan's words:

Thinking about what is missing from the national conversation in this political season, I started listing a few of my own thoughts. First, while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are huge, and the health of the US economy and its citizens is an enormous issue, there is no other issue that comes close to global warming in importance.

What I would like to see is global warming treated as THE national priority, a combination of the ways we reacted to the threats of Sputnik and Hitler.
- Educational emphasis in the schools and the media. We can market anything is this country, literally turn public opinion around on a dime. Let's do it!
- Integrate the Green Party's platform into the national diologue
- Tax incentives for building sustainable housing
- Updating of water treatment technologies
- Inclusion of new energy technologies in everything we build
- Focus on new waste remediation technologies (like the plasma arc)
- Focus on changing the culture/consumer habits. Simple things like decreased consumption of plastic water bottles. (easy enough given the documentation about the migration of molecules into the water and the negative health implications.)
- If any promising technology is bought up by a large corporation (say Exxon or GM) they should be hauled into court and charged with treason.

THAT'S the kind of change I want to see! Business can adapt and evolve, after all, it's in their best interests. We can vote with our dollars and our choices.

heart's desire

our pets -

I have now walked and searched and checked out the neighborhood and yard and found no sign of Bella,which leads me to believe she is alive and well, just lost.  This is a kind-hearted area.  She will find a home.   I see her as alive.

Despite that knowing, I google poems about death and pets, and come across the following.  I find it comforting, and place it here.  Most of us have lost a pet or two or more at this point in our lives.  When I started out to search for Bella this morning, I though what I thought after we lost Mandu - no more pets, and, yet, look at the pleasure and joy we receive from them, and we barter that pleasure for the pain and  loss.  Tiger is very unhappy and is barely eating.  They always ate together, side by side.    He has helped search and now he rests, a sad little guy for sure.  His nose isn't pink or wet.

Do They Know?

Do they know, as we do, that their time must come?
Yes, they know, at rare moments.
No other way can I interpret those pauses of his latter life, when, propped on his forefeet, he would sit for long minutes quite motionless-his head drooped, utterly withdrawn; then turn those eyes of his and look at me.
That look said more plainly than all words could: "Yes, I know that I must go."
If we have spirits that persist-they have.
If we know, after our departure, who we were-they do.
No one, I think, who really longs for truth, can ever glibly say which it will be for dog and man-persistence or extinction of our consciousness.
There is but one thing certain-the childishness of fretting over that eternal question.
Whichever it be, it must be right, the only possible thing.
He felt that too, I know; but then, like his master, he was what is called a pessimist.
My companion tells me that, since he left us, he has once come back.
It was Old Year's Night, and she was sad, when he came to her in visible shape of his black body, passing round the dining table from the window end, to his proper place beneath the table, at her feet.
She saw him quite clearly; she heard the padding tap-tap of his paws and very toe-nails; she felt his warmth brushing hard against the front of her skirt.
She thought then that he would settle down upon her feet, but something disturbed him, and he stood pausing, pressed against her, then moved out toward where I generally sit, but was not sitting that night.
She saw him stand there, as if considering; then at some sound or laugh, she became self-conscious, and slowly, very slowly, he was no longer there.
Had he some message, some counsel to give, something he would say, that last night of the last year of all those he had watched over us?
Will he come back again?
No stone stands over where he lies. It is on our hearts that his life is engraved.


John Galsworthy

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I am reminded of this poem -

As I say, my sense is that Bella is alive, but she is not here with me right now, in the chair by the computer,  pushing her nose under my hand to let me know it is time to pet her.  I put on some black pants decorated with Bella's silky fur.   I feel wrapped in her comfort.

I also apologize to her for suggesting that a dog has anything to equal a cat.  

I remember this poem by Robinson Jeffers and place it here.

The Housedog's Grave

by Robinson Jeffers

I've changed my ways a little, I can no longer run with you in the evenings
along the shore, except in a kind of dream, and you, if you dream a little,
you see me there. So leave a while the paw marks on the front door, where
I used to scratch to come in or go out, and you'd soon answer, leave on the
kitchen floor the marks of my drinking pan.

I cannot lie by your fire all evening, on the warm stone, nor yet at the foot
of your bed, no, all the night through, I lie alone. But your kind thought
has laid me less than 6 feet outside your window, where firelight so often
plays, and where you sit to read, and, I fear, often grieving for me - every
night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, Man and Woman, live so long, it is hard to think of you ever dying!
A little dog would get tired, living so long. I hope that when you are lying
under the ground like me, your lives will appear as good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that's too much hope... you have not been as well cared for as I
have been, and never knew the passionate, undivided fidelities I knew.

Your minds are perhaps too active, too many sided, but to me you were true.
You were never Masters, but Friends. I was your Friend. Deep love endures
to the end and long past the end... If this is my end, I am not lonely. I am not
afraid. I am still yours.

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more thoughts -

I realize also that this with Bella triggers the death of my father.  He, too, I had kissed and hugged, and then, I got on a plane, and while in Mexico City learned that he died in an accident. 

There is some craving for the flesh of the person, the being, the physical touch, that is agony.   Just one more time, we plead, and the spirit is where we connect.   The spirit we feel, and yet, and how much I would love to hug my mother, father, Bella and others in the pulse of the flesh, and so I will venture out into the sunshine and go for a walk, and be the spiritual pole for us all as I breathe in and out -

Pause - Compassion - Patience - peace -
mt. tam fire lookout

February -

We are in our magic week of February.  The acacias offer their unique scent, and I can practically see the sap rising, branches plumping, and blossoms opening.  I feel like I'm watching slow-motion, the changes are happening so fast. 

That said, I have not been able to find Bella.  I realize though that I have not seen any turkey vultures so I take that as a positive sign that she is alive.  I've explored the creeks and the culverts, peered into places I think she could hide, and tried to think like a cat.    Perhaps she is out on a walkabout, asserting her adulthood.   She is a year and a half, so a teenager.

It is odd though to visualize her life energy, personality and integration into our lives, and and, then, think of a dissolution of bones, muscle, skin, and blood.  What is this thing called life?   Bella's disappearance makes it seem even more magical than before.   Where is her Great Spirit now?

The picture is of the fire lookout on Mt. Tam.  It reminds me to keep all my channels open so I can receive what comes.

On Saturday, in sensing, we lay down on rollers, and it was incredibly uncomfortable, even painful, but gradually, the body adjusts and finds a place to "relax,", and one can be as comfortable as can be.  I suppose that is how people lie on a bed of nails.  I found myself angry this time though, thinking that if we adjust too much, get too comfortable,  then we don't fight back, and that is how we have allowed a president to stay in office when he should have been impeached for the treasonous things he has done.  I struggled Saturday with understanding the balance of acceptance, adaptation, resignation, and speaking and fighting out.

Today, in my search for Bella, I think I better understand the balance.  I am not passive, saying "Oh, she is gone, and if it is meant to be, she will return."  I am actively in the hunt, even as I accept that this may be bigger than I, that there may be lessons here I am meant to understand and that this dissection of pain right now leads to an even greater appreciation of life.

This has certainly been a different day than I planned.  My "to-do" list is untouched.  My awareness is acute.   I am noticing what I've never seen before, noticing what is available that she can use to survive.   I see my neighborhood with whole new eyes.