nature


Last night I re-watched My Dinner with Andre for the first time in a very long time. At least 20 years, maybe longer. I’ve seen it many times. There was a time when my friend and I would go to see it every time it played at the Nuart cinema in West L.A., an “art house” theater which still exists (though it’s part of the Landmark chain now). Every time I saw Andre I felt as if the conversation had somehow magically changed, that new things, new concepts had been added. My sympathy would swing back and forth between the two people talking, I’d laugh at one and then the other, cry with one and then the other. The ending always made me appreciate the mystery and the wonder of life, from the ordinary details of a cold cup of coffee, to the mystical wonders of Findhorn, to living life consciously, and living life in a dream. And it still works. It still works.

In some ways it works better in today’s society than it did in 1981. The themes of living consciously rather than floating along; the themes of how distracted we all are and how difficult that makes it to live meaningfully.

“A baby holds your hand and then suddenly there’s this huge man lifting you off the ground. And then he’s gone. Where’s that son?”

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And speaking of watching, I just finished season 3 of The Detectorists. What a lovely, lovely show. Low key, gentle humor, sweet spirit. One of my very favorites.

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Mom and her starling, Baby:

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Butterflies are such beautiful creatures. Which is why I can’t understand the urge to collect them, kill them, and use them as art objects, preventing them from living out their life cycle and reproducing so that we will continue to have beautiful butterflies.

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My mother grew up right in the middle of Uintah Co., UT, a place well known in paranormal circles and home to the infamous Skinwalker Ranch. It was a little farming community called Willow Creek, not to be confused with the current day town of Willow Creek which is some ways northwest of where Mom grew up. Mom’s community doesn’t exist any more, as it became part of the Ute reservation. I had to locate the Creek it was named after to get an approximate location on Google maps (below).

I’ve often wondered if Mom’s nervousness regarding “weird shit,” as she called it, was because she grew up in a place where it was common.

Having said that, one of the shows she really liked to watch in the last years of her life was Finding Bigfoot. It was one of the few “weird” shows she could tolerate. Every time we’d watch she’d be fascinated and almost every single time she’d say afterwards, “There has to be something to this.” Not sure why she found it so convincing. But maybe Uintah County had something to do with it.

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Speaking of weird (as I do so love to), I was reading a thread on Twitter about the superstitions of health care workers. One of the most frequently mentioned was that health care workers would open a door or a window when someone died so the soul could find its way outside. (This is a very old folkloric belief.) While reading this I remembered that when my mother, who was in hospice here at home, passed away, the very lovely hospice nurse (a lady from Africa—and I’m sorry, sweet nurse, I no longer remember which country you said) took care of business and then went to open the front door.

I don’t think I even asked her why (I was in grief shock) but there must have been something in my expression because she hurried to say, “That’s so the funeral home knows what house it is.” I accepted it at the time but in retrospect, that makes no sense at all. It makes more sense after reading that thread on Twitter.

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It’s so difficult to overcome the “I want I want I want” mentality so many of us have been raised with in this society and replace it with the “We are we are we are” mentality. But necessary deprogramming.

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I’m a rather half-assed pagan. I do witchy things but I respect and honor witches too much to call myself one unless I feel I’ve earned it. I think I’m on a parallel but different path, anyway. I have a kind of spiritual practice that I’m getting back in touch with after many years of distraction and tamping it down to deal with this world. Any spiritual practice that’s worth its salt, I think, has to deal with both the mystical and the mundane or it’s just escapism. (Yes, I know, some would say all spiritual practice is escapism, but that’s their problem. I have no patience with them.)

In recent times, I have meditated and put out calls of—how to phrase it? Belonging? Certain deities respond and when they do I honor them on my mantelpiece. Others are just “the spirit of the rock” or “the spirit of the tree.” I am sure there is a spirit of the house, this house, but it’s unnamed. My mother, as I’ve mentioned, was not comfortable with discussion of anything spiritual. But I think she had some talents. She said the first time she walked into this house it opened its arms to her and said welcome. And I still feel that.

Everyone on the mantelpiece seems okay with everyone else, but I always ask before I place a representation there if everyone welcomes the addition. On rare occasions they say no and I honor that, but most times they’re accepting. And not just spiritual things go on the mantle. It’s a kind of cornucopia of silly and sacred and artwork, but it seems to work for everybody.

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What’s something about myself that I once wanted to change to fit in but am now happy with? My weirdness. I never saw things the way most people did. I now realize that’s not my affliction but my treasure.

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“It’s not a swastika it’s some kind of Tibetan symbol,” said the guy in the Nazi war helmet when asked why he put a concrete swastika in his front yard. “I don’t think he’s a Neo-Nazi,” said his neighbor, adding sheepishly, “But he may be racist.” #TalesFromTheLocalNews

Random quote of the day:

“How solemn and huge and deeply pathetic our life does loom in its once-and-doneness, how inexorably linear, even though our rotating, revolving planet offers us the cycles of the day and of the year to suggest that existence is intrinsically cyclical, a playful spin, and that there will always be, tomorrow morning or the next, another chance.”

—John Updike, Self-Consciousness

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Laurel and Hardy, Ariana Grande, or the Salvation Army Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

The hawk
must also eat
but seeing bloody feathers
drifting down to earth rips up
my heart.

 

 

 

*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

My little cat cries
to go outside. She’s right: the
sunshine’s glorious.

 

 

*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

 

The Barber stuffed chicken breast box.
I’ve been struggling to come back online as an artist. I’ve been doing a found-paper box-folding project since June 1, 2017: one box a day for a year, little things, until May 31, 2018. Then I shall assemble them into something. Not quite sure what yet, although I have ideas.

But the writing…fits and starts, can’t keep going on anything, things bubbling below the surface, but they won’t come out. I need to write. I long for it so hard, so deep. I think I need to force my own hand, so I’m going to try doing little things with that, too. I remember a writing teacher many long yarns ago who made us do five weeks (out of 20) of nothing but haiku, tanka, and cinquains before he’d let us do any other kind of writing. We chafed at that, some dropped the class, but for those of us who stuck with it this discipline turned into an amazingly freeing exercise. So…

Haiku
Poems of 3 lines and 17 syllables:
Line 1, 5 syllables
Line 2, 7 syllables
Line 3, 5 syllables

Tanka
Poems of 5 lines, 31 syllables:
Line 1, 5 syllables
Line 2, 7 syllables
Line 3, 5 syllables
Line 4, 7 syllables
Line 4, 7 syllables

Cinquain
An American form in imitation of the Japanese forms above. (Some cheat and title these poems, allowing themselves an extra line.)
Poems of 5 lines with iambic accents:
Line 1, 1 accent
Line 2, 2 accents
Line 3, 3 accents
Line 4, 4 accents
Line 5, 1 accent

Can I keep up the discipline? What discipline should I set myself? One a day? One a week?

I’ll try one a day, but that may be ambitious. One a week seems too little. So maybe I’ll compromise. I have to do at least 3 a week. If I do more, that’s great, but at least those three. So, here we go.

Edited to add: I started this on a Thursday, so my week runs Thursday to Thursday.

Day One – Tanka (with a thanks to mountoregano and a side thanks to Billy Collins)

The daffodils hold,
their green ranks standing silent.
The peach tree, chafing
with impatience, holds forth in
full spring, laughing pink blossoms.

Random quote of the day:

“Almost every haiku says the same thing: it’s amazing to be alive here.”

—Billy Collins, The Paris Review, No. 159, Fall 2001

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

My morning commute is seven miles from front door to workplace garage. Being Los Angeles, that seven miles is fraught with many traffic headaches. Most mornings it takes about forty minutes—but there have been many notable exceptions.

Today was one of those. My commute took one hour and fifteen minutes. For much of that time I was stuck on the Lincoln Boulevard hill down from the Westchester plateau. There really are only three ways down from the plateau and I was on the wrong one. Construction on the Ballona Creek Bridge near Marina del Rey had reduced four-lane Lincoln to one-lane Lincoln. Even at the top of the hill I couldn’t tell where the problem lay as I was behind a large truck and in the lane next to me was a bus, both effectively blocking my view. I was stuck in the second lane because I knew the first lane was blocked ahead from previous commutes, and I couldn’t get over to the right because everyone in those lanes was just as blocked as I.

So I called work and told them I would be seriously late and tried as hard as I could to go with it and remain calm. Mostly it worked. I thought thoughts, I listened to music, I tried to stay positive, I amused myself by thinking of a guy on the elevator last night who escaped with his life because I didn’t possess an ice pick.

And so I sat for close to an hour. About a half hour in, I noticed a dragonfly, about five inches long. It flew back and forth over the hood of my car six times, not more than a couple of feet from my windshield. Knowing that dragonflies are very symbolic critters, I wondered if it had some message for me?

“This too shall pass.”
“Hello from Mom and Dad.”
“Pay attention, mortal.”
“Concern yourself with what’s important.”
“Which way to the wetlands?”

And in fact when he flew over my car the last time he headed purposefully west, towards the wetlands.

According to http://bit.ly/1RnTHQA

“The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.”

Okay. I wouldn’t necessarily count on that. And don’t even get me started on that whole “spirit animal” thang. I mean, I do acknowledge that I’m in sore need of transformation. But the ways of the world are strong.

It is, however, interesting that this should come up now. I was just having this conversation with myself last night. It was a little less poetic, though. More along the lines of “You better get your s**t together, girl, and stop acting like a baby. Things need to change.”

Maybe the dragonfly was a reminder of that, a reinforcer of my own soul’s message to Self. Maybe a coincidence, but it’s no fun thinking like that, unless you call it a synchronicity.

So, a synchronous message of soul to Self, or Self to self, or…

It was a very beautiful dragonfly, all blue and gold. I loved watching it fly.

Random quote of the day:

“We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into the matter.”

—Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intention to deceive, but expresses something as best it can, just as a plant grows or an animal seeks its food as best it can.”

—Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but Nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.”

—R. Buckminster Fuller, interview, Minneapolis Tribune, April 30, 1978

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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