May 5th, 2009

alan - joshua tree bloom

Good Morning!

It is Cinco de Mayo, a day that, in these times, seems to be more about margaritas, guacamole and tortilla chips than a battle won.

This morning I was lying in bed when I heard squeak, squeak. I perused my memory banks and remembered no squeak toys in the house, so figured we were dealing with a mouse, and yes, Tiger was on the hunt and Bella was concerned. Since I live in an impressionistic world until contacts anchor detail in my eyes, all I knew was that there was something besides Tiger, Bella and me in the room. Naturally, Steve is in NY. We seem to have this level of excitement when he is gone.

As I put my contacts in, the chase went to the kitchen, where the squeaking stopped and there a little creature lay with dainty limbs outstretched and body already stiffening on the floor. I took my new, small, departed friend out to the yard reflecting on death. A friend of mine is involved in a battle with her niece over coins. I understand the sentimental value of these coins and I understand the battle is what the coins represent as to love of one now departed, but all I could see as she spoke was bones turned to ash and what may be a rising smoke of soul.

It was odd then to place this little mouse in the yard where a crow already stood waiting. Around here, dead things don't last long. We bury our departed pets very deep to ensure them slow rest to transition.

Calenorn posts David Brooks column this morning and comments on the importance of a two-party system. We want the Republicans to ..... and I'll let you insert the phrase of where their heads might now be better placed.

We live more consciously because we see death. I hold that little mouse in my heart. Tiger was just playing with him, batting him/her around. There was no intention to kill. My cats are well-fed, and yet, the little mouse is already transitioning through a crow, and oddly this morning, the bird song sounds like squeaks. I am surrounded with squeaks this morning, as another day creaks open the door. The day is soft gray. Water drips from the needles of the redwood tree and my being is grateful to stroke the petals of life as death nudges what surely must be a high thread count case covered pillow a little closer.

We come together in battle and celebrate what we see as victory and I think it is important to remember and honor each mouse, each squeak.

oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls

Complexity -

There are some who see our new president as a friend or pawn of corporations and there are others concerned at his new pronouncement. Certainly his raising personal taxes on those who are perceived as wealthy to a level nowhere near equal to the 91% of Eisenhower times is valid and will not adversely affect the lifestyles of those making over $250,000 a year. No one will go hungry or lack for shelter or luxury.

Here are two looks at his latest proposal, and the need for care in changing and regulating the tax code as it relates to corporations. We need to reward those who take risks and create jobs, while not allowing them to avoid their fair tax share. It is a tricky balance.

free ride

And so it may be perceived -

What's it like to be a human
the bird asked
I myself don't know
it's being held prisoner by your skin
while reaching infinity
being a captive of your scrap of time
while touching eternity
being hopelessly uncertain
and helplessly hopeful
being a needle of frost
and a handful of heat
breathing in the air
and choking wordlessly
it's being on fire
with a nest made of ashes
eating bread
while filling up on hunger
it's dying without love
it's loving through death
That's funny said the bird
and flew effortlessly up into the air
~ Anna Kamienska ~

(Astonishments: Selected Poems of Anna Kamienska,
 ed. and trans. by D. Curzon and G. Drabik)

alan - winter bird

Living Well -

Over 250 years ago Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense:

"My country is the world. My countrymen are mankind."

If you are looking for a fascinating blog, check out the "global dialogue center" of John Renesch at and learn today about The Power of the Nod.
zen garden

Orion Magazine!

There are many reasons to read Orion Magazine.

Sandra Steingraber writes of how carcinogens in the environment were the likely contributors to her cancer. She says:

"Imagine ecological equivalents to the DOW, NASDAQ, and S@P that appear every day in newspapers, on radio, on oversized tickers in Times Square."

"In umbilical cord blood alone, 287 different chemicals have been identified, including pesticides, stain removers, wood preservatives, mercury, and flame retardants." She goes on about the damage to sperm and eggs in the ovaries from the chemicals in our environment.

She is trying to engage the pro-life community in dialogue, "because whether you see this problem, as I do as a violation of women's reproductive rights, or whether you see this problem, as many members of my own family do, as a violation of fetal sanctity, maybe we can all agree, pro-life and pro-choice, that any chemical with the power to extinguish human pregnancy has no rightful place in our economy

I also especially appreciated the article on Cheeta the chimp. "In December of 2000, President Clinton signed into law the "CHIMP Act" which allocated federal funds for the care of former research primates. The act also prohibited routine euthanasia and mandated chimpanzee retirement homes, thus setting primates apart from other nonhuman animals."
alan's beach photo

Weaving -

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

- Pericles