July 19th, 2009

free ride

Good Morning!

The fog is pink this morning, pink and glowing and sitting on the ridge of the hill.  I imagine the hill feels taken for a ride, lifted up.  It is like a halo.  Ah, now I am reminded of something from Breakfast with Buddha.

The man is speaking about a feeling of peace he had, and the Rinpoche reminds him of an 800 year old painting they viewed together and says, "Remember around the heads of the goddess and the gods was a circle, and in that circle a blue space with nothing inside?" 

"That is the blue space, what you felt."  They compare it to the halos around Jesus and Mary and the saints in many of the Christian paintings.  "In that space there is no anger, no killing, no war, no wanting food or sex all the time. And no fear of dying."

I'm with the "blue space," as I honor the pink glow.  

We have been trying to choose a cover for the book.  In writing and editing this book, I have a greater appreciation for what I read and now I am opened to a whole other world, the cover of the book. 

The publisher liked the idea of Mt. Tam as the Sleeping Maiden.  That sounded okay to me as I felt the mountain as a guide, as comfort,  as I went through treatment.  That idea was conveyed to the cover designer who is not local and so saw a fairy tale maiden asleep under the mountain.   When it was pointed out that it is most likely a native American asleep under the mountain she added a feather, which I found not only offensive, but felt didn't fit my knowledge of the Coast Miwok.  In addition, one person thought the maiden looked dead.  Another suggested she was meditating, and after much discussion and back and forth, the Sleeping Maiden is now out as cover of the book. 

The publisher wants me/us, Jane and me, to like the cover of the book, so this weekend we are trying to devise what we like, so we can send it to the cover artist and work more efficiently on this.  I do not see myself as a visual person, but I do know what I like when I see it, so I have now viewed fonts and nuance of color until I don't know what appeals and yet I do, which means that I went through yesterday the books I love and sent images of book covers to Jane, along with a photo a friend took.  We decided Jane was experienced in this and should take a stab and she did, and she has now created something I really like, and it is awfully close to a book cover I love and so now I am with the ethics of what is exactly new and what isn't.   Oh, my, so today is spent sitting with looking at book covers again, even as I know I need to clean out the closet so there will be a place for my niece's things when she comes to visit two weeks from today.  I am joyfully counting the days.  

Jane and I would like to have agreed on a cover design we like and the publisher likes and be done with our editing by July 28, when she leaves for New Mexico, so I sit today with a pink glowing fog, an open blue space, and the knowing that today the book cover design will fall into place.

In addition, a month or so ago, we chose an image we thought worked really well, but the publisher thought it was dull and wouldn't show up well on Amazon and the places it needs to invite.  We felt it represented the book and so it, too, sits, another opening in the mist.  I wonder in the end if it will be eeny-meeny-miny mo and then I consider how not correct that rhyme, and in googling, I see the modern version has a tiger caught by the toe, so that seems okay.  I'm visualizing tigers dancing in the air waiting to be caught.

cirque du soleil trapeze

Dancing through life -

Every Day We Are Dancers

by Mitch Roberson

It begins with the lewd macarena
each of us performs in the shower,
then the modified twist we are hip to
with that ever-absorbent partner, the towel,

and on to the funky chicken of stepping into underwear,
the shimmy of stretching into hose.
There is no music, none that anyone
can hear, yet no one can escape the boogie.

Outside beneath the disco ball of the Sun
no one is a wallflower, not even the two lugs
in the crosswalk lugging a huge mirror,
one at either end pressing his cheek

into the cheek of his own reflection, arm
extended, hand clasping his own hand in a tango
more about control than passion, one couple
leading himself forward, the other slide-stepping

backwards across the intersection made double
by the infinite burden they shoulder together.
At the entrances of buildings even those afflicted
with two left feet find grace with a stranger

in a revolving door, where, regardless of gender,
we share a pause and glance to communicate
who will lead, who will follow,
close to each other but never quite touching.

blue jellyfish

Driving and distraction -

I am baffled that people think they can drive while texting and talking on the phone.

Here is a great article on the dangers of this. Imagine running a red light because you didn't even see the light because you were focused on a conversation.


Sometimes when I have Zach in the car and he asks me one of his complex questions, I tell him I have to wait until the driving is less distracting to answer it, and that is with both hands on the wheel. I am aware of paying attention, of focusing on what I'm doing
. I am not a multi-tasker, so that is part of it, I suppose, but I am baffled that driving is not better honored as a skill and art in this country. I think the complexity and responsibility of driving a huge vehicle is under-estimated in this country and it costs us vast amounts of money in car repairs, injuries, and deaths. We have learned to use seat belts, something not required when I was growing up and now we can learn that there is something involved in maneuvering around in a huge vehicle. We all make enough mistakes when driving when we are paying attention. That people now see it as something to do along with doing other things boggles my mind.

I don't see a long commute as an excuse. Perhaps better legislation around driving a car would lead to more support of public transportation. Then it's okay to ride, text, and comb your hair.

fawn - white-tailed deer

And then there is this on sleep -

Yesterday was lovely here, a cool breeze blowing through, and I settled into a chair with three books in hand, and Bella asleep on "her" blanket, which used to be mine, and soon I was softly asleep.

This article celebrates the natural rhythms of sleep.  I have read that native peoples didn't sleep eight hours a night like we are told to do. They were in and out of sleep, up and awake at different times, communing with the night light, dark, and stars.

Editorial | The Rural Life

Daytime Lullaby

Published: July 18, 2009

Life on a farm is an exercise in comparative living. This is how the humans go about their lives, and that is how the other creatures manage. And the big difference, I can say after 12 years of watching, is sleep. What a lot of shut-eye all the other species get, and how sleep-deprived humans seem in comparison! I have to wake up the dogs to have a nap with me. Out in the pasture, two of the horses stand in the curious posture that says they’re sleeping: one heel raised, one hip dropped, lower lip slowly giving in to gravity. The entire farm is comatose in the day’s heat.

I can only wonder what it’s like to be so well rested, to know that the deep pool of sleep within you — the somnifer, I suppose it’s called — is filled to the brim. I’m a good sleeper. But not compared to the creatures around me. For me, sleep is a kind of orderly embarking. For them, it’s a sudden plunge into the somnifer — a nod, a shudder, and the instantaneous snoring of those that do snore, the dogs, and the silent dozing of the rest. They live in a mirror universe of sleep and waking, and all day long they pass effortlessly back and forth.

What I find especially admirable is the animals’ attitude toward daytime sleeping. It is without prejudice because, unlike humans, they know that there is no propriety in sleep. It steals upon you when it steals upon you. You are not a worse chicken for snoozing in the early morning, not an inferior pig for napping the afternoon away in the shade beneath your house. To grasp the force of human culture, all you have to do is consider how hard we try to organize our sleeping.

And that is the nub of it. I belong to an artificial pattern of sleep, trying to get a mythic eight hours in the course of the night. But all around me are natural sleepers, sleeping in rhythms established only by their bodies and the flight of the sun and moon overhead.

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Freedom -

I've been with the idea of freedom and what it means to me.

Here is one definition by Rollo May.

Freedom is the capacity to pause between stimulus and response.

- Rollo May