A Grieving Nation

I haven’t watched the videos of the attack on Paul Pelosi or the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols but I feel it as we all must.  What now? How do we turn it all around?  I have no answers but my grandchild comes to visit today and I’m grateful to be with innocence, exploration, and discovery.  We’ll go on a bear hunt for sure.

Circling

A Taste of Spring

Yesterday the air was filled with the smell of acacia.  Yum!

The wind has been blowing over my potted Camellia plant so as I cleared branches from the center I remembered how buildings in Hong Kong are designed with holes known as “dragon gates”.  

I open my abode and being to “dragon gates” today. 

Acacia Flowering

Camellia bud beginning to open and spread
Morning fog clearing

By the Water

Again, today I recognized how blessed I am to have the offices of my medical people by the water. I arrived early this morning for my appointment and walking along stopped and first looked out and then looked up to see a Black Crowned Night Heron above my head. Gifts abound.

A quiet morning for the birds
Observing the world
Is it time for lunch?
Just resting and hanging out
Mr. Firefighter makes sure the plants are wet.

Year of the Rabbit

The Chinese Lunar New Year begins on Sunday.  It’s the Year of the Rabbit, the Water Rabbit.

This has been the Year of the Tiger symbolized by action and impulse so we’re moving into a year of self-reflection and tranquility.  The rabbit is a symbol of peace, and is considered the luckiest of the 12 zodiac animals as it represents peace and longevity. May it be so!

The New Moon brings king tides to our area so we watch the numbers and plan when and where to walk and drive.  The bay overflows and then mud is exposed, in and out, two high tides and two low alternating through day and night.

We, too, as Walt Whitman wrote contain multitudes. It’s time to embrace all with opening and closing a heart-clasp of change.

Pema Chodron in Where is Buddha?

When we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe. 

Swirl in the eye of heart
Cormorants dry their wings by the bay

Inspiration

It’s a day to honor a great man who spoke of Light and Love as he urged us to action and change.  

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.

From Richard Rohr today: 

In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, he spoke from the “big frame” to call for a revolution of values based on love: 

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all [humankind].… When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is of God. And everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.… If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and [God’s] love is perfected in us” [1 John 4:7–8, 12]. Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. [2]

Look up and ground

Integration

The rain continues, an accompaniment one has come to expect, and yet, it paused for the 49’er game yesterday which helped the 49’er team to win.  The sun is predicted to appear on Tuesday.  

I listen to the tapping now, a reminder to step within to balance movement and pause, silence and sound. 

I’m with these words of Ajahn Brahm from Stepping Towards Enlightenment

Attend closely with sharp mindfulness when one thought ends and before another begins—there! That is silent awareness! It may be only momentary at first, but as you recognize that fleeting silence, you become accustomed to it; the silence lasts longer. 

And for those at Tahoe, the Joy of Snow!
Taste Fully This Living We Share

Transformation

The rain pours down.  We’ve had hail, thunder, lightning, the works, and I feel a cleansing as roots are nourished and pampered.  Yes, continuing rain is creating problems, and I’m with these words of Robin Wall Kimmerer:

If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.

Transition in Grays

Fragility and Strength

We know perhaps what it is to hug a tree, to sit under a tree, and feel the roots twining and living below us just like what’s above, but this week I’ve become aware of trees in other ways.

I mentioned the crackling of a wood fire, how I heard the sounds differently this week, as voices talking, as the tree speaking of new form, change.  

Then yesterday a friend, Anna,  presented the possibilities in tissue paper, the same crackling as the fire when it’s crumbled, and especially when it’s placed by the ear like a shell.

She pointed out that when one makes a circle with the first finger and thumb, and draws a sheet of tissue paper through it, it becomes a lightsaber, a sword.  One can play with its strength and when it comes to tearing off a strip, there is resistance as the fibers want to stay together like the fibers in the trunk of a tree, like when we contemplate the mysterious hand and heart hold of life into death.  

I’m with all that that morning as I feel my tissues, listen to their language, their voice, and what they might want to say on another morning of rain and wind.  I read of flooding in rivers all around me but here, other than plants in pots blowing over and me righting them over and over again, all is somewhat calm.  

I’m with delicacy and strength, and friend and family bonds.

Three year old grandson creates his family in hearts
A redwood family

Rain

Rain continues to pound down.  It’s like the old days and yet it feels so new after these years of drought.  I was up in the night, listening, opening like the soil and roots to cleansing and renewal.

For me, it slows down thought and talk, opens and clears a wider space.  The temples in the head spread as do the pelvic bones.  The feet land and spread.  

There is clarity in the four dignities: standing, sitting, lying, walking.

I look forward to this new January day.

Kahlil Gibran:

“In much of your talking, thinking is half murdered. For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.”

Nostalgic Presence

With rain falling again today I keep a fire burning all day into the night.  I love the crackling and the smell of wood smoke.  I did the same when my three year old grandson was here this week.  He was entranced with the sounds the wood makes as it burns.  It’s as though the crackles and loud bursts are last words of what life was like as a tree.  That thought leads him and me to a discussion of life and death, something a three year old seems entranced with, and so I read him The Giving Tree, a book I love though I know it is controversial.  Do we just give and give?  Well, certainly that’s what a tree does.

This rain and the burning of a wood fire returns me to the past and words of Ursula LeGuin.

She died in 2018 at the age of 88 so these words are from 2014 when she was interviewed by Heather Davis.

Ursula LeGuin: “I lived when simply waiting was a large part of ordinary life: when we waited, gathered around a crackling radio, to hear the infinitely far-away voice of the king of England… I live now when we fuss if our computer can’t bring us everything we want instantly. We deny time.

We don’t want to do anything with it, we want to erase it, deny that it passes. What is time in cyberspace? And if you deny time you deny space. After all, it’s a continuum—which separates us.

So we talk on a cell phone to people in Indiana while jogging on the beach without seeing the beach, and gather on social media into huge separation-denying disembodied groups while ignoring the people around us.

I find this virtual existence weird, and as a way of life, absurd. This could be because I am eighty-four years old. It could also be because it is weird, an absurd way to live.”

Of course I am typing this and communicating in a modern way and it’s important at times to breathe in the essence of wood smoke as it crackles and speaks.

Remains of the sawmill built in 1830 on Cascade Creek in Mill Valley to provide lumber for building in San Francisco and Marin.