Friday, December 30, 2016

This is not easy

When I listen to Deborah Parker speak from her heart, I think of Sabine, and her raw pain and the something else she and Deborah Parker and so many of us have that can be there with the pain that is so real and present and unequivocal.

We are not alone.  We can turn to the power of good memories and the power of beauty and the power of community during times of raw pain. Deborah Parker's words remind me of what I know of  you, Sabine.  It is not easy.  It is not easy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Mona Lisa angel and the Sierra Nevada / Visions on a snowy December morning

The angel on Sabine's family's Christmas tree in 1966 reminded me of the angel that was on my family's Christmas tree in 1966.  My mother sent it to me after she and my father replaced it with something else at the top of the Christmas tree.  That might have been in the 1970s.  The angel didn't have a face.  Instead she had a silver-colored globe ornament for a head, which I found vaguely disturbing.  There was a halo above the faceless angel.  It may have been last December that the head fell off.  I thought of trying to reattach it, but something prompted me to attach an image of the Mona Lisa.  For the first time ever when I opened my box of December things, I was happy to see that green angel from my childhood.

"Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues.  You can tell by the way she smiles."
(Bob Dylan lyrics, from "Visions of Johanna," 1966)

You can see the decorations I put out this year for December as well as what is always there.  Even though I don't call myself a Christian or anything else, during December I think about Mary and Joseph waiting for the Baby Jesus to be born.  The ceramic figures were given to me by my mother.  They were brought out during December in my childhood.  I bring Baby Jesus out on Christmas morning.  Two angels given to me by a friend in the last few years are there during December, too.  There is sprig from a eucalyptus tree in a glass of water.  That's new this year.   See the little tree outside.  It has been there for a year or two.  The Principles of Uncertainty, by Maira Kalman.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it.  It is always there to the right of the elephant batik that came to me after my father died.  My Christian father was drawn to that elephant from India.  He traveled to India in the 1970s.  The batik is always there, too, along with  Gentle Wilderness: The Sierra Nevada.  The lavender and orange and gold tapestry rug on the floor is new this year.  My friend, Linda, gave it to me a few months ago.  The woven blue rug comes from Vida nueva and was made by Zenaida Lazo.  On the windowsill is a jar filled with beach glass and beach ceramic from a beach near Port Townsend, WA.  It was a gift from a friend many years ago.  On top of the jar is prism that channels a spectral light show on my walls when the sun shines.  And everyone knows Oboe!  It looks white outside because it is snowing this morning.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Creator Meditation by Gyasi Ross

As suggested, I thought twice before sharing this.  I trust that it is safe with you.  I know that you, my blog friends, will also think twice before sharing it.

A friend mentioned Lily Gladstone in a recent conversation.  Doing a little internet research about her, I discovered this meditation on the Creator:

YouTube description:
A short film written, produced, directed by Natives and starring an all-Native cast. Based on the short story "Unworthy" by Gyasi Ross

Thursday, December 8, 2016

10 years ago meets Mandala #24 on Bodhi Day 2016 and they listen to John Trudell

Ten years ago this morning I began blogging, taking a new direction in my life, having found myself going in circles that were getting smaller and smaller.  My plan was to post a 40-year retrospective of my art work, one day at a time.  I was wondering if I would ever be able to do any art work again.  I was unemployed and unemployable.  

Now I have been self-employed since August 2015.

On December 4 of this year, I completed "Mandala #24: For Kael," from a series that I started in September 2014, which was when the desire to create returned and has remained to this day.  In the center of my most recent mandala is a photo of a man flying through the air on a snowboard.  He is the son of a friend of mine.

It was a year ago on Bodhi Day, December 8, that John Trudell died. Today I am again grateful for John Trudell's voice with its healing message of survival against all odds.  I am grateful for the blog friends who have shared these years with me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Undefeated Then And Undefeated Now

"52nd Month: Speaking Without Words About Holy Contradictions," painted by am in gouache and watercolor in June of 1989.  The numbers reflect the years of my life up to that point, beginning with my birth year.  As I was painting, I was meditating on the fact that there had been war throughout my 40 years of life.  Coincidentally, 1989 was the year the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill proclaiming 1990 as the "Year of Reconciliation" between the state's American Indian and White citizens.

Some of you have seen this painting before in different contexts.  As I was thinking about the events at Standing Rock, the image appeared in my mind again.

Monday, November 28, 2016


The first version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that I heard was sung by Jeff Buckley.  It was recorded in 1994. My first listening was early in June of 1997, soon after Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River at age 30.  I listened and wept and felt immense gratitude.  I had not heard Leonard Cohen's version.  Although I've heard many many versions since then, none moved me again in that way until I heard the Yiddish version by Daniel Kahn soon after Leonard Cohen's death.

Yesterday my copy of Leonard Cohen's final songs arrived in the mail. I listened to it in my car while doing the things I needed to do yesterday and was deeply moved by words like these:

"...When I turned my back on the devil / Turned my back on the angel too..."

"... I heard the snake was baffled by his sin ..."

Although I was expecting only 8 songs, when what I thought was the final song ended just as I arrived home, I realized that there was a 9th track.  Something told me to wait to listen to it until today when I got into my car at 7 a.m., on my way to get together with a group of eccentric friends for what serves well as our breakfast together.  I want to give anyone who hasn't heard the CD the opportunity to have their own experience of that final track.  My guess is that I'll be listening to Leonard Cohen's final songs in my car for some time to come.

In the meantime, here's the song called "Treaty":

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sources of Joy Totem and Coast Redwood Seeds Dream

My friend, Kathy, in the center
My first cousin twice-removed, Lila, with a blue piano in a forest
Leonard Cohen in Greece in the 1980s
Detail, stamp collage by Laura Sindell, in hallway of University of Washington Medical Center
Oboe in the sunlight next to my art and music table, with elephant and Tyrannosaurus Rex

Early this morning I dreamed that, at the urging of a mysterious someone, I checked on the three Coast Redwood seeds that have been in my refrigerator for nearly 45 days.  My plan had been to wait until December 1, per the seed packet instructions, before bringing the seeds out of the refrigerator so that they would sprout, according to their nature and according to the instructions on the seed packet.  By checking on the seeds prematurely, I was going against my better judgment, something I do frequently, with predictable negative consequences.  I dug down in the bedding soil in the first pot and found a tiny redwood tree and experienced great joy.  Then suddenly, as things can sometimes go in dreams, the tiny redwood tree was nowhere to be found.  I looked and looked for it with increasing grief as I realized it was gone.  There were two more pots to check but nothing to be found growing in either of them.  In my mind, I went to what I call "the dark place," which is a place of remorse, regret, guilt, shame, blame and everything that takes the joy out of my life.  Then a man, close to me in age, appeared with his own three tiny bedding pots.  He was someone I had never seen before.  His demeanor was calm and peaceful.  He wasn't following the instructions on the seed packet.  He had placed small smooth multi-colored ocean stones on top of the bedding soil.  He told me that he planned to place the bedding pots in his car for the 45 days.  I came out of "the dark place" in my mind, seeing the light surrounding the man who was following a different set of instructions, following his intuition.  I felt curious and hopeful for all of us.

Now, awake, a few hours later, I am grateful that the Coast Redwood seeds are still untouched in my refrigerator.  Last week, a friend whose passion is bonsai told me to put the bedding pots outside as soon as I take them out of the refrigerator.  I had planned to keep them inside, despite his suggestion.  Something in me rebels against any authority, no matter how benign.  Sure, I can take suggestions from a seed packet without feeling rebellious, but what is it that makes me bristle when a friend suggests not following the instructions?  

We'll see what happens between now and December 1.  I'll know what to do when the day comes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meditation for Thanksgiving 2016

Megan Singer, MA 

Meg Singer (Navajo; Towering House/Biligaana Clans) grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah but for the past few years has called Montana home. Meg has a BA in Literature with an emphasis in YA Native American Literature from Westminster College in SLC, UT. Her Master’s is in Native American Studies with an emphasis on Indigenous Deaf Studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Meg’s academic career has included reviving and performing the Indianist opera, “The Sun Dance Opera”, Natives in Science Fiction, Native Humor, Indigenous films, and Indigenous decolonization theories. In her down time, Meg loves to sing, watch TV, and cook.

From the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
  - Lao Tzu

Thanks to Beth for this quote today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Veteran's Day Sunrise 2016 (revisited a few days later)

(Unable to make the fonts uniform.  Oh well.)

I've been away at Facebook, not posting much here.  Now I am choosing to return here.  In a few weeks, I will have been posting here for 10 years.  That's a substantial part of my life.  When I began to blog, I was at a turning point in my life, stuck, haunted, needing to move forward.  I'm grateful for the community I have found through blogging.  I'm grateful for this place where I can post my art work, my poetry, the music I love, memories, dreams, photographs, and all that gives life meaning.  I've come a long way since 2006 and learned so much from you, my blog friends.

As you know, I don't call myself a Christian or anything else, but this came from a Christian source (, and I found it to be enlightening regarding the life of Che Guevara:

"What exactly was the heart of Che’s vision, that it still animates young people around the world? His words on the revolutionary power of love hint at one answer. So, perhaps, does a poem found in his backpack after his death:
Christ, I love you,
not because you descended from a star,
but because you revealed to me
man’s tears and anguish;
showed me the keys that open
the closed doors of light.
Yes, you taught me that man is God,
a poor God crucified like you.
The one at your left,
at Golgotha – the worst thief –
he, too, is God.
León Felipe"For some reason, it reminded me of something Leonard Cohen wrote about Jesus:  "He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mandala #23: All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky

All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky
We are your daughters and sons
who wish to be of service
who walk together 
who listen for your words
and meet fear daily
and go forth inch by inch
with broken hearts
with deep weariness
moved with love and hope in this place of earth and sky
in which wholeness and brokenness dwell
together through life without end.

Not sure when I wrote those words, but tonight I finished "Mandala #23: All the Daughters and Sons of Earth and Sky"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Leonard Cohen. Dear to our hearts.

Leonard Cohen will live forever, as he said he intended to do.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Gratitude on a foggy morning after a day when things didn't go as planned

With gratitude to Barbara Earl Thomas and Marita Dingus for their powerful healing work.

Yesterday, my old friend, Linda, and I got up early.  I picked her up at 6:30 a.m. and we set out to drive 1-1/2 hours south of Bellingham to catch a 1/2-hour ferry that would take us to Port Townsend.  From Port Townsend, we would be driving mostly on backroads and through farmland, crossing two bridges and then arriving on Bainbridge Island at around 10:30 in the morning.  We planned to visit our respective friends (my 95-year-old friend and Linda's friend and her friend's husband who was recovering from a serious stroke) and then meet up again to go to the Bainbridge Museum of Art to see the works of Barbara Earl Thomas and Marita Dingus.

What happened, though, was that while engaged in lively conversation with Linda, I missed the turn to the ferry.  About 20 minutes later, I realized what had happened.  We still had time to get to the ferry, but I became inexplicably disoriented and missed the turn again, backtracking about 20 minutes and effectively missing the ferry. At this point, I noticed that my car was nearly out of gas.  We arrived back in the town of Oak Harbor just in time to avoid completely running out of gas and pulled into a gas station.  Things continued to go awry.  I was baffled to find that I couldn't make the gas pump work and went to ask the clerk what was wrong.  She assured me that she would do whatever it took to make the pump work and pushed a few buttons.  When I went back to  my car, the pump still didn't work.  A man appeared, and I asked him for help, thinking I was still doing something wrong and that he would know what to do. He couldn't make it work either and went to talk with the clerk.  Two other kind people came forward to help. Although I had been feeling bewildered and confused, I began to calm down and feel grateful for human kindness.

Because of my earlier inattention, the day wasn't going to go as planned, other people who were waiting for use to arrive on Bainbridge Island would be affected, and I felt dismayed and remorseful.  Linda's cell phone was not working.  I had not brought mine and had neglected to bring my friend's phone number.  My friend, Linda, said kindly, "Maybe there is some reason for this not going as planned.  Maybe you need to forgive yourself."

Of course, she was right.

With the revised plan, Linda made the decision to forego her visit to the art museum and instead spend time with her friends.  We arrived at my 95-year-old friend's place just as she was leaving to go with her daughter to a farewell gathering for a friend, just in time for Linda to call from Rae's phone to let her friends, Louise and Walter, know where to pick her up.  So many things didn't go as planned, and everything worked out just fine.  I walked from Rae's place to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and reveled in the art work of Barbara Earl Thomas, Marita Dingus, and Alfredo Arreguin (I was delighted to find three of his paintings on display).

As I finish writing this, the fog has lifted and it's another beautiful sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.  I was able to take a short walk into Whatcom Falls Park and saw a Virginia Rail in the cattails at Scudder Pond after being alerted to its presence by its distinctive squeaky voice. Time to begin my day's work as a medical transcription editor.

So happy just to be alive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Protection and Care / The Water That Gives Us All Life

Yesterday evening, September 12, along with many others, including children, I went to the Bellingham City Hall for the solidarity rally. Freddy Lane was one of the many speakers, including men and women, young and old, Lummi and non-Lummi.  Freddy Lane was one of those who stood up and made his voice heard about the coal trains a year ago.  That project has been halted.  Many members of the Lummi Nation made the 30-minute drive to Bellingham for this event.  If you are on Facebook, you can listen to what came after the speakers -- drumming, song, dance:

There is hope for the future.  It won't be easy.  A good many of the tribal peoples are not willing to give up now or ever.  Their ancestors survived because they were not willing to give up.  I look to them for inspiration.  They have survived against all odds.  They are saying, "We are not protestors, we are protectors."  They say, "We are one - black, white, yellow, red.  All the races can stand together to protect the water."

Friday, September 9, 2016

Together Through Life Totem Meditation / September 9, 2016

(Click to embiggen)

This morning I woke up at about 3 a.m. sensing something extremely painful throughout my body -- a sensation I couldn't identify.  It wasn't a new feeling.  In fact, it felt very very old -- something I have never wanted to fully feel -- something that would overwhelm a child and, if the child survived, those painful sensations would be triggered again and again throughout life whenever anything happened that even remotely resembled abandonment.

A DVD copy of "My Own Love Song," featuring a soundtrack by Bob Dylan, arrived in the mail yesterday. When it became clear that I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep, I got up and watched it.  A major theme in the film is abandonment and healing from abandonment. Take what you have gathered from coincidence.

Just now I wondered about the etymology of the word "abandon."   

To put someone under someone else's control.

"- ment." Added to verb stems to represent the result or product of the action.

Abandonment.  Who abandoned whom?

Bob Dylan's collection of songs "Together Through Life" was released almost exactly a year after the death of the man I loved for so many years.  Perhaps it was back then that I heard that the songs were written by Bob Dylan for a movie but as far as I can tell, the movie was never released anywhere near where I live.  I do remember hearing "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" and taking it joyfully to my heart because it reminded me of the man I loved who had died.  Then I saw the horrifying video of domestic violence that was paired with it, which broke my denial about the domestic violence I experienced when the man I loved who came back broken from the war in Vietnam abandoned me, or so I thought at the time.  His brother-in-law was trying to show me otherwise when he said, "He would have destroyed you."  I'm wondering if that abandonment was a fierce desperate kindness, impossible to begin to understand or accept until last night. Right now I'm recalling the film, "Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," where the mother says:

"There are some things for which I don't expect to be forgiven, not by my children or even by God."

I can't find the other quote I am looking for, but my recollection is that the mother says that after she attacked her children during a drunken amphetamine-induced rage, she could never trust herself to be close to them again and pushed them away to protect them from her.  

The man I love hit me in an amphetamine-induced rage.  The "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" violence is in the context of amphetamines.  My mother took a prescription amphetamine from 1954 until the day she died.  As I was being beaten up by the man I loved, it felt just like being beaten up by my mother when I was a child.  The difference was that I found the voice that I didn't have as a child, and I yelled as loud as I could, "YOU CAN'T HIT ME." I was not only yelling at him.  I was yelling at my mother.

He immediately stopped.  I don't know for sure, but I think that was one of the many things he did that he felt was unforgivable.  His own parents had beat him.  His sister told me that his father beat him and his brothers until they vomited.  He promised never to hit me again. Many years later he said, "You stood up to me."

We separated soon after that.  

I wonder why this is all coming up again now.  Now I'm remembering the time I was in my bedroom, home on a break from my first quarter of college, when I heard my mother chasing my youngest sister (who was 12 years old at the time) into the bathroom and begin to beat her as she had beaten both us throughout our childhood.  I clearly remember crouching in the hallway next to my bedroom the last time my mother hit me.  I am fairly sure that I was under 11 years old but not much younger.  I remember thinking, "That doesn't hurt.  She can't make me cry." I wonder if she sensed that she had lost her power over me when I didn't cry.  This time, I knew what I needed to do for my sister. I ran to the bathroom and looked at my mother and said in a quiet angry voice, "DON'T YOU EVER HIT MY SISTER AGAIN."  She stopped.  Nothing more was said.  I went back to my bedroom.

There had been no one to protect me.  I am the oldest of three daughters.  My middle sister says that our mother only hit her once and that, in my sister's words, "I deserved it." 

Where am I going with this?  I'm not sure.  I've come a long way since I woke up at 3 a.m.  Have I written anything new?  Each time I tell these stories, I learn a little more about myself and those involved.

I'll be 67 years old in a few weeks.  It is never to late to heal.  It is never to late to truly feel how painful it is feel abandoned and find that I can survive the pain that I couldn't feel until now.  To have reached the point where I don't abandon myself.  That I don't put myself under someone else's control.  That I am now freed to see that what I perceived as abandonment by someone else could be accepted years later as a paradoxical gift.  

Just before the sun rose, I heard a Virginia rail.

It's a beautiful September day.

A friend was giving out dahlia bulbs last spring.  Today my dahlia plant is blooming for the first time.  It looks to me as if it has wings.  A dahlia angel.

Dahlias are "the symbol of a commitment and bond that lasts forever.  The dahlia flower is still used today in gardens and flower arrangements to celebrate love and marriage."

Today I received a message from a distant cousin who lives in Zagreb, Croatia.  We are among the many people who have had our DNA tested and are discovering each other and are trying to figure out who our common ancestors are.  I also heard from a man in Italy who had an Irish mother and from a man from Germany who knows of ancestors from Dresden and from what is Poland today.

My eyes are just like my grandfather whose mother came from Achern, Germany, and whose father came from Stadtlengsfeld, Germany, in the 1800s.  A friend who was born in Dublin said that I looked more Irish than she did.  Although my father's side is almost entirely Norwegian, there is a great great grandfather on that side who didn't marry my great great grandmother and was said to have been German.  Perhaps his ancestors came north to Germany from Croatia or Italy.

My 23andMe results show:

Scandinavian   25.9%
British & Irish 25.1%
French & German 8.9%
Broadly Northwestern European 33.9%
Eastern European 2.8%
Broadly European 3.2%
East Asian   0.2%
Yakut           0.1%

My results show:

North Africa 1%
Scandinavia  44%
Great Britain 28%
Ireland 13%
Iberian Peninsula 5%
Europe West 4%
Europe East 2%
Italy/Greece 1%
West Asia -- Caucasus 2%

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hupomone (Endurance) / An Open Space

If you go searching for the Great Creator, you will
come back empty-handed.
The source of the universe is ultimately unknowable,
a great invisible river flowing forever
through a vast and fertile valley.
Silent and uncreated, it creates all things. (Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching, 39)

In the open space, in the process of looking at a blank page, while waiting for a idea for my next mandala, I came across this, which sounded oddly similar to another song I had heard:

It prompted me to look for this photo of Bob Dylan:

Suddenly I realized that the sound of the Junior Birdmen song reminded of Bob Dylan in more ways than one.  I persevered in searching my musical memory and came up with this:

Can you heard the similarity?

up in the air
upside down (Up in the Air, Junior Birdmen)

and to sing and
dance and run (Tattle O'Day)

I know the joy of fishes
in the river through my
own joy, as I go walking
along the same river.
(Chuang Tzu)

Saturday, September 3, 2016


""... Nothing can describe the darkness behind Bob Dylan. Precarious, thunderous and risky are all good words, but there is also a vulnerability behind his character that many people don’t see today ..."

When my old friend, R, was undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, he was living on the couch in the living room of his parents' house in Modesto, California.  Without that couch, he would have been homeless.  During that time in late 2001 and early 2002, he would talk with me on phone up here in Bellingham, Washington, almost 1000 miles away.  One of the things he did to fill his time was watch hours and hours of movies on DVD. Something that he liked was to listen to recordings of Bob Dylan songs he had never heard before and which I could play for him over the telephone.  Over and over again he would tell me that he had watched yet another movie in which he was surprised to hear a Bob Dylan song as part of the soundtrack, and once it was a song I had just played for him over the phone, "Every Grain of Sand," which can be heard at the end of the harrowing movie, "Another Day in Paradise."  One of the first things we had talked about when we met at the ocean in December of 1966 at age 17 was Bob Dylan.  

In the article linked to in the above quote, the writer mentions several movies in which Bob Dylan songs are part of the soundtrack.  There are at least 245 movies and TV shows in which Bob Dylan's songs have appeared since 1965. 

(Photo:  Looking east on September 2, 2016, late in the day)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Double Rainbow for Sabine

Just before dark, while reading Sabine's blog post written from the hospital, I glanced up and over the east and saw a rainbow.  When I went out on my porch, I realized it was a double rainbow and wished Sabine could see it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finishing "Mandala #22: Koan/Prayer For Our Children" in the context of August 17-28, 2016

On August 17, two young men who are expert window installers came early in the morning to install a new window in my bedroom as part of an energy-saving project for all the units in the condominium complex where I live. In order for them to install the window, I had to move my bedroom furniture so that there would be 4 feet of space away from the window, giving them room for them to do their work.  I also had to take the first of two days off from self-employment because of the noise involved in the installation and the need to remove furniture at the other end of my home, including the home office where I make my living, so that they could install the remaining 6 windows on August 18. It was 90 degrees on my porch that day.  The empty space felt so very peaceful.  After the window installers arrived, I left for several hours. Returning to find the new windows installed, I began the process of moving my furniture back into place.

After my home office was set up again, I looked at the empty space remaining and made a decision to let go of the futon couch I bought when I moved here in 1984.  That's the futon sitting next to my front door, waiting for the Habitat for Humanity people to pick it up on September 7.  What a relief to have more room next to my art and music table in the space where the futon used to be! Then I bought myself a meditative-looking elephant and took a picture of her sitting with the smiling Tyrannosaurus Rex that I bought a year ago when I began the experience of being self-employed.  They are sitting on one of the caned chairs that my mother's parents bought when they were first married in the early 1900s.  Behind them are the new windows.

The Hebrew letters spell Hallelujah.  I especially like the letters that look like two giraffes.  On the morning after I put the futon outside my front door, I opened the door and found a package there.  Inside was a surprise gift from one of my oldest friends from my growing up years on the San Francisco peninsula -- a peaceful-looking Buddha that she had determined that I might like as much as she had for many years and was ready to let go of.  She is the friend who took me to a Buddhist celebration when we were in high school.  I found a place for the Buddha on top of the shelves next to my bed and photographed the inscription for her and her husband to translate for me.  She hadn't noticed the inscription and was curious to know that it said.

Yesterday was cooler than the previous days.  There is that fall feeling in the air.  My favorite time of year has arrived.
This morning I finished "Mandala #22:  Koan/Prayer For Our Children."  It has been almost two months since I began working on it.

May our children be like birds with roots nesting in trees with wings.

August 28, 1963 -- The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Brahm's Requiem and Charlie Chaplin and Bob Dylan

A friend, who sings many Bob Dylan songs by heart and who will be singing in a performance of Brahm's Requiem in the coming months and has begun to listen to it in preparation for learning his part, commented to me a few days ago that the beginning of Brahm's Requiem (00:11) and the music written by Charlie Chaplin for the last scene of "Modern Times" (00:22) sound very similar.  Do you hear it, too?

"Selig sind, die da Lied tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden."

"Smile, though your heart is aching.  Smile, even though it's breaking."

My friend's observation inspired me to watch "Modern Times" on YouTube and got me to wondering if Bob Dylan might have given his 2006 album the name, "Modern Times" after having observed the same thing that my friend did about the roots of Charlie Chaplin's composition, given that so many of the songs on the "Modern Times" album have roots in older compositions.

Interesting, too, that Bob Dylan wrote a song called "Ye Shall Be Changed" and that Brahm's Requiem includes the verse from Corinthians with the words:  Wir werden aber alle verwandelt warden (but we shall all be changed).

Echoes of the gears in the factory in "Modern Times":

"Love and theft revisited or coincidence?" said the Joker to the thief.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mid-August 2016: One More Moondance / This is the Sea

The Whole of the Moon
I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
You were there at the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths
You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferry boats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
Yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
(The Waterboys, from the album "This is the Sea)
This is the Sea
These things you keep
You'd better throw them away
You wanna turn your back
On your soulless days
Once you were tethered
And now you are free
Once you were tethered
Well now you are free
That was the river
This is the sea!
Now if you're feelin' weary
If you've been alone too long
Maybe you've been suffering from
A few too many
Plans that have gone wrong
And you're trying to remember
How fine your life used to be
Running around banging your drum
Like it's 1973
Well that was the river
This is the sea!
Now you say you've got trouble
You say you've got pain
You say've got nothing left to believe in
Nothing to hold on to
Nothing to trust
Nothing but chains
You're scouring your conscience
Raking through your memories
Scouring your conscience
Raking through your memories
But that was the river
This is the sea yeah!
Now I can see you wavering
As you try to decide
You've got a war in your head
And it's tearing you up inside
You're trying to make sense
Of something that you just can't see
Trying to make sense now
And you know you once held the key
But that was the river
And this is the sea!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!
Now I hear there's a train
It's coming on down the line
It's yours if you hurry
You've got still enough time
And you don't need no ticket
And you don't pay no fee
No you don't need no ticket
You don't pay no fee
Because that was the river
And this is the sea!
Behold the sea!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August Moon Shining Like A Rolling Spoon

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

Close your eyes, close your door
You don't have to worry any more
I'll be your baby tonight.
Shut the light, shut the shade
You don't have to be afraid
I'll be your baby tonight.
Well, that mockingbird's gonna sail away
We're gonna forget it
That big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon
But we're gonna let it
You won't regret it.
Kick your shoes off, do not fear
Bring that bottle over here
I'll be your baby tonight.
(Bob Dylan)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Working on Mandala #22 / Full Moon / The Ants Go Marching

Not quite finished with Mandala #22, when I looked up and saw the full moon.

This morning when I was walking in the woods before I started editing medical reports, I heard the voices of very young children singing on the trail, out of sight, just ahead of me.  I soon caught up with them, a preschool class of tiny children and two teachers who appeared to be in their early 20s.  They were making their way down the trail in twos, happily singing "The Ants Go Marching" with the same enthusiasm as these children:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Sing your little song, sing for all your friends, we like to hear you"

At noon today I sat down in a natural foods grocery store cafe near a relaxed-looking mother and her two young children. Her baby girl was sitting in a shopping cart and looked over at me out of curiosity. I smiled at her baby girl and said, "Hi! How are you today?" She studied my face in that careful way that babies do and then frowned. I continued to smile at her and began to clap my hands lightly. She smiled and reached out her hand to me. I mirrored her by reaching out my hand. We played a game of alternating clapping and reaching and smiling. I asked her mother how old she was and found that she was 1 year old. During this time, I was also aware of her little boy as he ate his sandwich and looked at me shyly. Then the little boy turned to his mother and said something I couldn't hear. His mother said to him, "Go ahead. You can tell her how old you are." He looked up at me and said that he was 3 years old. Then I remembered how it felt to be a shy older child who was ignored while adults gave all their attention to a baby. I turned my full attention to him, and something prompted me to ask him if he liked to sing. I told him that he looked like a boy who could sing. He brightened and, much to my surprise, began to sing to me. This is what he sang beautifully in his sweet quiet voice:
Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, And a little white whale on the go. Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, Is the water warm? Is your mama home with you, so happy? Way down yonder where the dolphins play, Where you dive and splash all day. Waves roll in and the waves roll out, See the water squirting out of your spout! Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, Sing your little song, sing for all your friends, we like to hear you. When it's dark, you're home and fed, Curl up snug in your water bed. Moon is shining and the stars are out. Good night, little whale, good night. Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, With tomorrow's sun, another day's begun. You'll soon be waking. Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, And a little white whale on the go.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Gifts in Early August: Widow's Tears / Abutilon / Streptocarpus

Grief surprised me today, leaking from some old failing seam deep underground.  (Click to read what Lori wrote)

On August 17, I will have been self-employed for a year as a medical transcription editor, something I thought I was not capable of doing. The self-employed part, that is. The painting above, "Typists," is by Jacob Lawrence from his series on workers.  I would not have been able to make a living working on a typewriter as women did in the past, including my own mother.  I am not a skilled typist.  As a high school student, I received a D in typing, although I did well in all my other classes.  Computers have allowed me to make mistakes all day long and still manage to earn a living.  Life is full of surprises.  As I work to support myself, these beautiful flowers bloom at my side.  I'm a late bloomer, and I believe in the Love that moves the sun and other stars.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Golden Daylily On Hiroshima Day 2016 / Article 9

Today I am looking at Jacob Lawrence: Hiroshima Series, scattered through that page of images by Jacob Lawrence.

This morning at breakfast with a diverse group of friends, men and women, a woman friend of mine was wearing a T-shirt, black with white lettering.  On the front:

第九条  日本国民は、正義と秩序を基調とする国際平和を誠実に希求し、国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する。
二  前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。
On the back:
ARTICLE 9. (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.  (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

My friend is Catholic.  She and her husband belong to Pax Christi.  Her husband is active in this organization and brought the Article 9 t-shirt to her from Japan.  The t-shirts were designed by a Japanese woman.  So much to take to heart today.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Someday Soon 1970 / Day Lilies / Someday Soon 2016

Yesterday I looked out on my porch and saw a brilliant golden daylily. Last fall, I dug up the bulbs because they had grown so crowded that there were very few blooms in June 2015.  I replanted only three of the bulbs, thinking I would have plenty of blooms this summer.  Although there are usually blooms in early June, they waited until August 3 this year.  There is no bloom today for me to photograph, but there will be more blooms this week.  Their appearance this year in the early days of August brings emotional healing to me.

This morning while looking for something else, I came across these photos that I took of myself in 1970, just after I had turned 21.  That was the year I waited for the man I loved to return from the war in Vietnam.  He had turned 21 on the day after I did.  The photos were taken with the Minolta camera that he bought while he was in Vietnam and gave to me during those months of waiting during which I attended peace marches in San Francisco.

This afternoon a friend who is dear to my heart and who went to live in Canada during the Vietnam War said that we would be taking a walk again someday soon.  He paused and then said, "Like the song."  I said, "It's always about music, isn't it?"  He laughed and said, "Yes."

We are 67 years young and old this year.  Today is his birthday.  Mine is in October.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016