January 27th, 2009

sea ranch chapel

Good Morning!!

I am so excited.  Here we are with another beautiful day to mold into whatever form suits us now.   The icon is a chapel at Sea Ranch, a lovely place along the coast.  It is like being inside a seashell.

I woke thinking of Andy Goldsworthy's Spire.  I first become inspired by him when I saw the wonderful film, Rivers and Tides.

My son Chris who actually probably has the safest job of all right now, as he works in the solar power industry, is concerned that it might be important to buy a piece of land and all live together in a self-sufficient way, so I bought him a book yesterday, The Concise Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour.    In the book, people talk about when work used to be something people wanted to do.   They wanted to work, took pride in it.   When did that sense of accomplishment change?   When did work become maligned?  Freud said we need two things, love and work.

I think this poem by Marge Piercy says it beautifully well.


To be of use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.


"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.
From CIRCLES ON THE WATER © 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Middlemarsh, Inc.
First published in Lunch magazine. Used by permission of Wallace Literary Agency.

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Easy as this!

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart, is the temple; your philosophy is simple kindness.

- The Dalai Lama
goldsworthy - heaven


Let a stalk of wheat
be your witness
to every difficult day.
Since it was a flame
before it was a plant,
since it was courage
before it was grain,
since it was determination
before it was growth,
and, above all, since it was prayer
before it was fruition,
it has nothing to point to
but the sky.
Remember the incredibly gentle wheat stalk
which holds its countless arrows fixed
to shoot from the bowstring --
you, standing in the same position
where the wind holds it.
~ Ishihara Yoshiro ~
(Translated by N. Koriyama and E. Lueders, Like Underground Water)

Alexander Calder's Kitchen!

A book to read -

I recommend Blonde Roots, a novel by Bernardine Evaristo.   In this book, the slave trade is reversed and Africans enslave Europeans.  It is a brutal look at the slave trade, prejudice, and inequality.  No one benefits when one group is enslaved.  All suffer.   The author was born in England to an English mother and a Nigerian father.   It allows her a painful clarity.

It is especially fascinating to read with Barack Obama as our president.   May each person have the freedom to fulfill their potential and desires, and may brutality end in each country, on every continent and on the seas between.