Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking east late yesterday

"It is helpful to realize that when we are stuck, blocked, or hurting, there is usually a very good reason. And because there is usually a good reason, we would be wise to uncover it at a pace that is in keeping with our ability to integrate what we uncover. What may appear at first to be a jungle of useless weeds may be weeds that stabilize a slope."

(Donna Farhi), from Bringing Yoga to Life)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oboe listening to sounds at night

Funny how I don't have time to read any more blogs and then I find this one and want to read it, too.

Listen to something I found there.

I read that scene as being early spring after a long hard winter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day Lily in April / Easter 2011


"The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure / To live it you have to explode." (Bob D.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Apparently I look more like myself in the morning (-:

After trying this with several photos last night and finding out that I look 83% or less like Charles Bronson, Jane Goodall, Clint Eastwood, Golda Meir, Elie Wiesel, Jackie Chan, Meryl Streep and Hugh Jackman, I took another picture of myself on Photo Booth and found that in the morning after a good night's sleep, after getting together with friends and taking a walk by myself afterward, that I resemble the above people, 53% or less, in the photo I took today.

Kurt Cobain? When I first saw Kurt Cobain all those years ago, my thought was that if Richard and I had had a son, he would have looked like Kurt Cobain.

Charles Bronson?

I was most pleased to think I might be related to Golda Meir or Jane Goodall.

That was fun. Now I've got to start my work week.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love of Words, Flutes, Oboe, Michelangelo

This is from A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg:

Also spelled as hifalutin or highfalutin' or hifalutin' or highfaluting.

adjective: Pompous; bombastic.

Of uncertain origin, perhaps from high-fluting, from flute. Earliest documented use: 1839.

Highfalutin may or may not be high flute, but the flute's cousin, oboe, is high wood. It's a corruption of French haut (high) + bois (wood). The musical instrument is named owing to its having the highest register among woodwinds. An orchestra typically tunes to an oboe.

"The document talks very highfalutin' and lofty language, which sounds great and is hard to disagree with, but at the end of the day businesses just want to get the basics right."
Hamish Fletcher; Push for More Innovative Auckland; New Zealand Herald (Auckland); Mar 29, 2011.

Explore "highfalutin" in the Visual Thesaurus.

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. -Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, architect, and poet (1475-1564)

(That's Oboe, the flute's cousin, looking at my laptop as the orchestra tunes to her.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reconciliation Dream

I have added some images to my Flickr mosaic at the top of my blog. This is the image from the back cover of my book.

It's been quite a day, trying unsuccessfully to order 25 copies of the most recent version of my book, 42 years: a book of changes, through iPhoto.

The best part of the day was when two Canada Geese flew in and landed at the southeast end of Scudder Pond, and I was able to laugh out loud at how absurdly difficult it was to make a simple order through iPhoto.

I thought that was the best part of the day until I got phone call from an old friend. We talked for a long time, catching up, laughing, sharing experiences, strength and hope.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Walking Every Day / Portal II

As this day approached, I was wondering if I would post on my blog. This morning I wrote an email to Richard's sister and realized that this is what I want to post on the third anniversary of Richard's death:

Dear Dorothy,

Thinking of you today. Grateful that you and Pat and Chaplain Virginia Jackson were with Richard on this day three years ago. I told Richard that Chaplain Jackson would be like Whoopi Goldberg in "Ghost," and that she would BE me and for him to know that I was there with him when the ventilator was turned off, whenever that would be. I didn't understand that it would be only a week later.

Have you heard of St. Teresa of Avila? It is said that when she died, a white dove lifted into flight from her heart. Something like what you described when Richard died.

Richard had the same birthday as Mahatma Gandhi. Richard almost died on Good Friday in 2008, when the moon was full. It was very close to that day in March that your brother, Michael, died. Richard wrote to me in 2005 that he was devastated by Michael's death.

It was Easter morning in 2008 that something told me to call the VA hospital. That was the day the nurse thought I was a family member and told me that as Richard was taken on a gurney to the ICU on Good Friday because he was having trouble breathing, she asked him something and he gave her the thumbs up sign to let her know that he was okay.

On the first day I was with Richard in the MICU, he gave me the thumbs up sign when I asked if he would like me to read the note I had written to him, which had just arrived. That was the only time he did that. It took him a great effort to do that. He did it very slowly, with his left hand. I remember him crying only once in all the time I knew him, and that was when I talked about the nearness of his death and that he had indicated to the doctors that he was ready.

Three days later, about an hour before I told him I loved him and had to say goodbye, I remember that there was a moment where the secretions around the tube in his throat made it hard for him to breathe and it set off a warning that alerted the nurses to come to his aid. After they cleared the secretions, he repeatedly lifted his head and banged it against his pillow and then lay still, looking forsaken.

I remember how hard it was to leave him, and that the nurse, Ginger, said, "He will miss you."

I remember another nurse coming up to me and talking with me after I left his room and letting me know that she understood how much I loved him and how hard it was to say goodbye.

I remember Chaplain Jackson saying, "Have you let go of Richard?"

I also remember noticing that he had scratched his right wrist until it bled, something like one of the wounds on Jesus' wrist. I remember he wrote to me in 2005 that he had taken some walks with Jesus. He also wrote about Zen. He asked about Bob Dylan, too.

Richard died on Passover, when the moon was again full. Passover is the day that the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is a day of freedom from slavery.

Richard's first word as a child was "Light."

Strangely, April 20 is the day Adolf Hitler was born. Adolf Hitler was a newborn baby once.

And then there is that whole thing with Orril being in a room a few doors away in the MICU from Richard's room and that at the moment of Richard's death, I was watching "Dream with the Fishes," where Orril plays himself in the part of a priest who performs a marriage ceremony in a hospital for a dying man who was much like Richard, and his girlfriend, an artist. And that at the moment Richard died, the choir in Orril's room began to sing.

And that Orril died a week later.

And Richard died on the day that celebrates marijuana, as Richard did!

I don't know what to make of all that, except that Richard was a complex person who knew both great joy and deep suffering in his short life. He brought joy and suffering into my life, but all that remains of him for me is Love and your visions of him healthy and strong with that light in his eyes that will never die.

in the past few weeks I had a dream that I was standing up and hugging Richard, who was also standing up. I don't know where we were, but we were outside somewhere in a city in the sunlight. My focus was on how warm and strong Richard felt and how happy I felt to be with him again and feel his arms around me. He wasn't young, but he wasn't old either. It was more like he was the age he was when he died but very healthy. After our embrace, Richard quietly and lovingly said, "Amanda, I can't do this anymore." It was kind of like the end of "Ghost," where Patrick Swayze is about to head off into the Light. It was clear that Richard loved me and knew I loved him and that he had to go on ahead of me. I let him know that I understood that he had to go. It was a peaceful dream. Very simple and clear.

This past week I went to the doctor because I have been having a hard time doing all the extra hours expected of me at my job. They gave me a note limiting my hours to 32. It also turns out that there is something wrong with my kidneys that is not serious right now but could be if it keeps going in that direction. They want me to get a kidney ultrasound and to see a kidney specialist. My gut feeling is that whatever this is, is something that can be reversed. Given that I have no risk factors for kidney disease, this is pretty weird. Except for feeling tired, I feel better than I ever have. The other problem is that my cholesterol values are not good and haven't been for a long time despite the fact that I eat well and live well. These are early warning signs. After all, I am almost 62 years old. As your mother said when she was 40, "I'm no spring chicken."

You mentioned in your phone message from the Triage Trail that you are committed to walking every day. I'm committed to that, too, beginning a few days ago, after going to the doctor. There is a saying that goes, "I have two doctors. My right foot and my left foot." Walking is the key to health. Let's keep walking every day in memory of Richard. He will walk with us always.

Love from your long-time friend and almost sister-in-law,

P.S. Attached is a painting I did a few weeks ago, along with a little sculpture I bought called "Portal II." The artist is named Mashiko, and she has a gallery in New York City, the gallery that carries the work of Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan's girlfriend on the cover of the "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" album. I sent her a copy of my book of art and poetry inspired by Richard, and she has it sitting on a grand piano in her gallery for visitors to see.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Morning / Wild Nights

These extremes of darkness and light are outside of most human experience. Right now, the sun is setting at the South Pole and rising at the North Pole. Until I discovered the South and North Pole webcams recently, I gave this aspect of reality no thought. Now I keep thinking about it in wonder.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just this

To see the full screen, look here. I can't see the full screen above. Can anyone else?

Just this is enough.

"Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone."
— Thomas Merton

Monday, April 11, 2011

Experiments in truth

After my previous two posts today, I cannot say that I have no complaint about the way things are as I follow this story.

When it is someone else hurting, I cannot say, "Thank you for everything.  I have no complaint whatsoever."

I learned something today.

Every 10 years or so

While working on my previous post, I heard a tiny odd sound coming from the kitchen. Not very loud. Nothing scary. I was concentrating on finishing the post. I've heard several subtle unidentifiable sounds lately. As recently as last night, I was concerned that there might be water coming through the ceiling from the condominium above me. When I checked where water had come through before, I didn't see anything, and the sound stopped.

A year ago, I called a plumber to look at my water heater, thinking I might need a new one. The plumber drained it and said it should last a few more years. It was 10 years old. My last water heater lasted for much longer than that but did get to the point where it started leaking and caused some water damage. I thought I had done the footwork so that that would not happen again.

Yep. It was the water heater that I heard, and water was slowing draining onto my kitchen floor.

Fortunately, I did not have to call a plumber but was able to get help from the maintenance man from the property management company that our condominium association works with. Everything will be back to normal by tomorrow.

It's good I decided to just take it easy and stay home this morning.

Now I know this, too.

"Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."


The view from here

I listened carefully to the set list and made up my own mind. As the Zen master Sono, a woman, taught, "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

"Call me any name you like / I will never deny it." (Bob Dylan, lyrics from "Farewell Angelina")

"That beauty and desolation hold hands and walk together through our lives in a truly amazing dance."
(Beth, from Alive On All Channels)

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Gift of April"

Look here for Kayoko Designs. A old friend told me about talking with Kayoko and Nori at a fair in the coast hills above San Francisco Bay, buying some of Kayoko's lovely jewelry and hearing Nori's acoustic guitar music on a CD at their booth. My friend sent me two of Nori's CDs, "Gift of April"(2010) and "Pathway in my Dream" (2002). I wish you could hear Nori's music. It is what I've been listening to more than anything else since receiving the CDs some time ago. Just found their website this evening. Maybe those of you in California will see them at a fair sometime.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Coming out of the fog

Dao De Jing

Thanks to Something Beautiful for the link to the Feminine Tao.

Not sure where I'm going with this, but I felt like painting this week although I have not been feeling well otherwise. It might be finished. It might not.

Also am astounded to have been able purchase this tiny Sea book, made by Suze Rotolo, from Medialia Gallery in New York City: