Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Tiny Mandala #27 of 53 (Chinese character: to eat)

Emotionally exhausted, with little social energy, and yet my physical energy and creative energy are as good as they have ever been.  Daily yoga practice and good long walks in the September light.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Indefinite / Mystery and ambiguity


Tiny Mandala #26 of 53
(4 x 4 inches, drawn with non-dominant left hand)


Daily Tao / 255 – Indefinite


Spring was a time of swaggering declarations.
Reaching autumn, one finds few absolutes.
Life is mystery and ambiguity,
Toward winter, that now seems agreeable and comfortable.

When young, one makes heroic attempts. 
The world will surely bend to our will, we think, 
and we will surely make grand contributions. 
Social injustice will be righted. 
The big questions will be answered.
I once went to see a master writer. 
Long retired, white-haired and fragile, 
she nevertheless evinced a sharp and discerning mind. 
I was a novice writer. 
She had edited hundreds of great authors. 
I peppered her with all my anxieties
and asked her all the questions that my teachers never answered. 
To most of my questions she would only answer, “Yes.” 
She knew all the answers, 
and she knew all the exceptions, 
and she knew the best thing that an older person
could tell a younger person was
“Yes.” Yes, the affirmative. 
Yes, as in keep exploring. 
Yes, as in there are no ultimate answers.

I used to push for an immediate resolution to daily problems. 
Now, I am not so anxious. 
Is science right about things, or is religion? 
Is there good and evil on a metaphysical level? 
Is there one god, or are there many gods, or no gods? 
A hundred answers exist for these questions. 
They are all known, but no one agrees. Today, I think it all very fine. 
Let there be a hundred answers with none of them entirely correct. 
The asking of the question is already enough.


Not that I am comfortable.  
Or agreeable.  
Things are the way they are.  

How can I be useful, of what service can I be?  
There is something inside me, what can it be? 
-- Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)


It follows that I am not writing this book 
out of any sense of objection to what
anyone believes now. 
Beyond all reason is the mystery of love: 
you know we are all equal, 
no one in truth needs any help 
from anyone else, 
no one needs to be told anything
or given anything—and then you 
do the most compassionate act anyway, 
do the best for your brothers and sisters 
that you have in you. 
I'm relaying what was given to me 
when I felt I needed it: 
if I felt that way, 
maybe someone else does, too. 
This is a letter to my brothers and sisters, 
a love note to try to show how, 
when we thought love wasn't working, 
it was working perfectly.

(Thaddeus Golas)


Tiny mandala #27 of 53, work in progress:

Thursday, August 31, 2023

"... I have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down ..."

 Speaking Tree

Some things on this earth are unspeakable: Genealogy of the broken— A shy wind threading leaves after a massacre, Or the smell of coffee and no one there— Some humans say trees are not sentient beings, But they do not understand poetry— Nor can they hear the singing of trees when they are fed by Wind, or water music— Or hear their cries of anguish when they are broken and bereft— Now I am a woman longing to be a tree, planted in a moist, dark earth Between sunrise and sunset— I cannot walk through all realms— I carry a yearning I cannot bear alone in the dark— What shall I do with all this heartache? The deepest-rooted dream of a tree is to walk Even just a little ways, from the place next to the doorway— To the edge of the river of life, and drink— I have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down: Imagine what would it be like to dance close together In this land of water and knowledge. . . To drink deep what is undrinkable. Joy Harjo


Thank you to Beth for bringing this poem to my attention this morning after I took a walk in the woods and found myself thinking about the lives of trees.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Saturday, August 19, 2023

"... Yeah I'm a soldier but I don't use a gun ..."

With gratitude to Mavis Staples for this song and to dreaming in the deep south for bringing this to my attention this morning.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

With gratitude to Robbie Robertson (1943-2023)


Ghost Dance

Crow's brought the message
To the children of the sun
For the return of the buffalo
And for a better day to come
You can kill my body
You can damn my soul
For not believing in your God
And some world down below
You don't stand a chance against my prayers
You don't stand a chance against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
But we shall live again, we shall live again
My sister above
But she has red paint
She died at Wounded Knee
Like a Latter-day Saint
You got the big drum in the distance
The blackbird's in the sky
That's a sound that you hear
When the buffalo cry
You don't stand a chance against my prayers
You don't stand a chance against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
But we shall live again, we shall live again
We shall live again
Crazy Horse was a mystic (yeah)
He knew the secret of the trance
And Sitting Bull, the great apostle
Of the Ghost Dance
Come on Comanche
Come on Blackfoot
Come on Shoshone
Come on Cheyenne
We shall live again (we shall live again)
We shall live again (we shall live again)
Come on Arapaho
Come on Cherokee
Come on Paiute
Come on Sioux
We shall live again (we shall live again)
You used to do the Ghost Dance
Used to do the Ghost Dance
But we don't sing them kinda songs no more

Robbie Robertson & the Red Road Ensemble


In April 1969, R bought tickets for us and we drove up to San Francisco to Winterland to attend one of the first concerts ever given by The Band.  We were 19 years old. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Orizuru and Synchronicity

The wall-to-wall carpet that I bought in 2012 had been vacuumed regularly but had never been cleaned.  It didn't appear horribly dirty, but something prompted me to have it cleaned professionally a few days ago.  When the carpet cleaning technician arrived, he announced that he had cleaned my carpet once before.  He appeared to be in his 50s.  I can't say that I recognized him.  My rough guess is that he cleaned my carpet at least 20 years ago because I can only recall having someone clean my carpet one or two other times since I moved here in 1984.  He did a fine job.

In order to have my carpet cleaned, I had to move some furniture and numerous other belongings into my kitchen, my hall closet and out onto my porch, leaving much more empty floor space than I usually have.  It occurred to me that it would be a good time to let go of some of those belongings and free up floor space.  Then it occurred to me that, while I was at it, I could let go of other belongings and free up table and shelf surfaces.  

Among what I let go of were origami that were scattered around my living room on shelves and tables.  

This morning I was given the tiniest origami I have ever seen.  Orizuru.