Sunday, January 31, 2010

Howly Cow Koan / White House Civil Rights Movement Concert Koan

Question for a misty winter day:

If calves are baby cows,
are halves baby hows?

"It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart."
— Martin Luther King Jr.


... Ah me I busted out
Don't even ask me how
I went to get some help
I walked by a Guernsey cow ...

(from "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," 1965)

How many roads must a man walk down?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Curious / Watching / Listening

Three years ago:

"Don't let people talk you into doing what's easy or comfortable. Listen to what's inside of you and decide what it is that you care about so much that you're willing to risk it all."

Barack Obama
May 19, 2007
Southern New Hampshire University Commencement

In my eyes, he's holding steady with an impossible job. When I read The Audacity of Hope in 2007, I learned that he has ideas about nuclear energy and about war that I don't share. Reading Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, by Joe Biden, gave me pause. For example, on the Vietnam War, “I wasn’t against the war for moral reasons; I just thought it was a stupid policy.” Still I voted for Obama and Biden. We can agree to disagree and still go forward together.

President Obama is a bridge builder. I don't feel that his love for the people of the United States of America is in vain.

Although I am one of the 5,000,000 Americans without a job, my heart is not heavy in the way it was before.

Nocturnal downpour
Wakes the lovers,
Floods the valley.
(Deng-Ming-Dao, 365 Tao, p. 30)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Walking home in January 2010

Listen to this from 1970:

"On our way back home. We're on our way home"

And from 1985, in Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, pages 21-22, and an excerpt from a song from an unnumbered page that is two pages beyond page 523:

"Walking down to Hard Canyon Creek, I felt old, as if I had been away longer than four days, longer than the month in Kastoha-na, longer than the eight years of my life. I washed in the creek, and came back up the meadow in the twilight. Gahheya Rock was there, and I went to it. It said, "Now touch me." So I did, and so came home. I knew something had come to me that I did not understand, and maybe did not want, my walk had been the golden hill; the coyote had sung to me; and so long as my hand and the rock touched each other I knew that I had not gone wrong, even if I had come to nothing."

From the Library at Wakwaha.

I have a different way, I have a different will,
I have a different word to say.
I am coming back by the road around the side,
by the outside way, from the other direction ...

...There is a valley, high hills around it.
There is a river, willows on its shores.
There are people, their feet are beautiful,
___dancing by the river in the valley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

'Cept the one you can't see with your eyes


And there's no exit in any direction
'Cept the one you can't see with your eyes.

(from "Series of Dreams," music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, 1991)

I'm awake because of the third in a series of nightmares that turned thoughtful and brought unexpected healing to some very old wounds. The first nightmare was last September. The second was a few nights ago.

I'd already gone the distance
Just thinking of a series of dreams

(from "Series of Dreams," music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, 1991)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Kate McGarrigle's son, Rufus Wainwright, singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the movie, "Shrek," seems just right today.

Shrek: Fiona? Are you all right?
[Stands up and looks at herself, then at Shrek]
Princess Fiona: Yes. But, I don't understand. I'm supposed to be beautiful.
Shrek: But you are beautiful.
[They kiss and live happily ever after]

I'm preparing to weave again. The colors have been chosen.

And you can see on my table a book about self-publishing I bought from our local independent bookstore, Village Books. The bookstore has a machine now that will print books, including self-published books, with a perfect bound binding. At this time, the machine is not set up to print illustrations but can print a full-color cover. I'm giving some thought to printing up some copies of a less-expensive poetry-only version of my book, with a full-color cover featuring one of my paintings.

The book about self-publishing was written by Lindsey McGuirk and Rod Burton. Lindsey McGuirk is the person in charge of the book-making machine at Village Books. Rod Burton is a graphic designer who has designed a variety of books.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear to our Hearts

Kate McGarrigle (February 6, 1946 - January 18, 2010)

See wood s lot for more about Kate and Anna McGarrigle. This is worth reading, too. It explains a little about a new song Kate wrote:

"Closing my eyes, I hear the sea ..."(Kate McGarrigle)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sun Break, Then Astronomical High Tides

We've had high astronomical tides combined with lower than normal atmospheric pressures here. When I went walking with a friend along Bellingham Bay, the salt water had risen so high that one of the viewing benches in Boulevard Park was surrounded by water which also had covered up a section of the South Bay Trail. By the end of our walk, the water had retreated but was still unusually high.

If you've got some time for a lengthy but lively discussion about China, Google and the Internet, read the January 17 and January 20 posts at RConversation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Janis Joplin was born on January 19, 1943 / She is one of us

Listen to Johnny Cash singing "Me and Bobby McGee" in the year after Janis died.

"What about Janis, man?"
(from the film "Masked and Anonymous")

"It's gonna be a long hard drag, but we'll make it."
(Janis Joplin)

"I'm one of those regular weird people."
(Janis Joplin)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day 2010

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unexpected gifts

Xerox copies of two drawings came in the mail today from Richard's sister, Dorothy. She found a letter that Richard wrote to his parents from Vietnam in 1970, along with two drawings, one on each side of a piece of paper. In the final image of the flower bud, if you look closely, you can see the image of the flowers and foliage in the vase through the paper.

Friday, January 15, 2010

They have their own thoughts (Kahlil Gibran)

"We are Americans. We do the improbable. We beat great odds. We rally together to meet whatever challenge stands in our way. That's what we've always done -- and it's what we must do now. For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we must end the age of oil in our time."

Barack Obama
August 4, 2008
Lansing, Michigan

(Note: I placed the italics. I hadn't realized that Barack Obama had made this statement. -- am)

When my parents married in 1948, one of their wedding gifts was a copy of The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. When I was a child, I used to look at the mysterious ethereal illustrations and wonder about the book. When I was in high school, I finally read the book from cover to cover and was surprised to find how clearly it spoke to me and my questions about life. After a disagreement with my mother, I asked my mother if I could read to her something that was important to me. We went out on the back porch and I read "ON CHILDREN" to her. I believe she understood that I didn't belong to her in the way I had before.

The lines that spoke clearest to me then were:

"Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."


"You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you."

I must admit now that I was angry at my mother and thought that if she wouldn't listen to me, she would at least listen to the words of Kahlil Gibran.

Today the lines that touch me most are:

"For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

Although I'm old enough to be a great-grandmother, I have no children. Still, I can appreciate that there are two generations beyond mine whose souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, where those of my generation cannot visit, not even in our dreams. Will our generation's children, grand-children and great-grandchildren see the end of the age of oil in their time?

May it be so.

Thanks to Zhoen for posting "On Children" at her blog and inspiring my post.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How can we be of service?

Something we can do today.

"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)

Having completed another basic belt on my inkle loom, I'm going to try to learn pick-up pattern weaving techniques. This video answered all the questions I still had after reading instructions in a book:

Listen (by scrolling down from Rachel's poem to [sixweeks.mp3])

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.
-- Ovid (43 B.C. to 17 or 18 A.D.)

Oboe's paisley pillow was given to me by a young woman who completed a 14-day residential Yoga teacher training course with me and others in sublimely beautiful Plain, Washington, in late summer of 2007. The young woman was flying home to New Jersey after the course was completed and didn't want to try to bring the pillow with her on the airplane. She had bought it as a meditation pillow to be used during the Yoga teacher training. Oboe has claimed it as her own meditation pillow. I didn't become a Yoga teacher after all but still practice a series of Yoga postures daily in the early morning.

This morning at exactly 9 a.m. the sun appeared from behind the clouds to the east and lit up the trees, cattails and grass I can see from my porch:

Can you hear the Red-Shafted Flicker's klee-yer (after the wick wick wick wick wick wick)?

Just now, while reading about Ovid in a Wikipedia article, I began to wonder idly if Bob Dylan had read Ovid because the article mentioned a woman named Corinna. As I read further, I began to wonder if Bob Dylan had been reading Ovid as he wrote the songs for his CD released on September 11, 2001, "Love and Theft."

Here's what I found, though:

American musician Bob Dylan's album Modern Times contains songs with borrowed lines from Ovid's Poems of Exile, from Peter Green's translation. The songs are "Workingman's Blues #2", "Ain't Talkin'", "The Levee's Gonna Break", and "Spirit on the Water."

(from the Wikipedia article on Modern Times)

Come to think of it, my grandmother on my mother's side was named Cora Irene and was known as "Rena." I have a copy of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" that belonged to my grandfather, Rudolf. As Bob wrote, "Take what you have gathered from coincidence."

"Corrina, Corrina, where you been so long?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This post is dedicated with love to my nephew, Lee.

Today is my nephew's 17th birthday!

Because of an unresolved family estrangement, I have only seen him once since the day after my father died on St. Patrick's Day in 2003.

"Most of us primarily find the sacred within the circle of those we love and find holy ground in our own backyard. Remember the Buddhist monks who go on a three-month retreat during the rainy season? It must be dramatic for them when the retreat ends. For a long time they have been confined to a temple, with strict instructions to destroy no new life. They carefully watch where they put their feet lest they trample a sprout of grass pushing through the cold earth. Then comes the day the retreat ends and they leave. They are given new robes. At the gate they take their final step out of the temple and their first step into a sunny meadow. It is the same step.

In our own backyards, the leaves may be gone and the tree limbs bare. But tiny new buds are beginning to swell. A time will come soon to step between two seasons. Just as with the monks, it is one step. From holy ground to holy ground."

From A Winter Walk
Copyright 2006 by Tolbert McCarroll

Today is also the 12th day of Christmas -- the day of the 12 drummers drumming and, in Christian tradition, the visit of the Three Wise Men from Persia.

Happy Birthday, Lee!

Love always,
Aunt Amanda