Monday, March 26, 2018

The joy of reading books and of sharing books

A friend of mine showed me this photo of her granddaughter, and I loved it so much that I asked for a copy.  My friend gave me permission to post it on my blog.

The exquisite feeling I had as a child when I experienced the joy of reading books is still with me.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

"Come gather round children wherever you roam ..." / Emma Gonzalez

From Wikipedia :

On October 24, 2008, Hudson's 57-year-old mother Darnell Donnerson and 29-year-old brother Jason were found shot to death inside the Chicago home Donnerson shared with Hudson's older sister, Julia. An AMBER alert was issued for her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, when Julia reported him missing. Three days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed a body found on Chicago's West Side was the nephew; an autopsy indicated he had died from "multiple gunshot wounds." Police charged William Balfour, Julia's estranged 27-year-old husband, with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion, and denied bail. In May 2012, a court convicted him on all seven counts against him, including possession of a stolen vehicle. In July 2012, he received sentence to three life sentences without the possibility of parole; served consecutively, followed by an additional 120 years for his other convictions. He is incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois.
Hudson's family announced the creation of The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, in honor of the three victims. Hudson and her sister created the Julian D. King Gift Foundation in honor of her nephew. It provides Christmas presents and school supplies to needy families in the Chicago area.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Impossibility of Nature / "... the Dog of Art turns to the world the quietness of his eyes." / Briefly Losing My Blog / Learning to ask for help appropriately

With gratitude to a friend who is an artist and who introduced me to the work of Shona Wilson this week.

With gratitude to Denise Levertov for:

The Dog of Art

That dog with daisies for eyes
who flashes forth
flame of his very self at every bark
is the Dog of Art.
Worked in wool, his blind eyes
look inward to caverns and jewels
which they see perfectly,
and his voice
measures forth the treasure
in music sharp and loud,
sharp and bright,
bright flaming barks,
and growling smoky soft, the Dog
of Art turns to the world
the quietness of his eyes.

(Late in the day yesterday, my blog disappeared.   My immediate reaction involved a sense of doom (!) followed by disbelief (trying this and that to get it back), followed by becoming philosophical ("Oh well, I'll just start another one.  So it goes.").  It was too late in the day for me to attempt anything strenuous.  I just let it be.
This morning when I woke up at 4 a.m., rested and renewed, I felt curious about my missing blog and as a result, I contacted Blogger for help through its chat format.  A man named James immediately figured out what had gone wrong and walked me through the process of unlocking my blog.  The problem had to do with having obtained a domain under an email address that was "unverified."  Although I bought the domain a week or so ago, there was no problem until yesterday.  By following the instructions given by James and changing the email address on my domain to one that is verified, I was able to unlock my blog.  You can imagine my relief and gratitude to James.
It has taken much of my life to learn to ask for help appropriately when things go wrong and to trust those I ask for help.  As I child I learned not to ask for help because I learned not to trust those whom I had once believed could help me.  I am eternally grateful for what I have learned from my experiences and the experiences of others in the practice of asking for help when help is needed.) 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"... this life is a sacred opportunity ..."

I experienced some synchronicity in connection with Sabine's recent post when I read these words from Sogyal Rinpoche's book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:

"Saints and mystics throughout history have adorned their realizations with different names and given them different faces and interpretations, but what they are all fundamentally experiencing is the essential nature of the mind.  Christians and Jews call it "God"; Hindus call it "the Self," "Shiva," "Essence," "Brahman," and "Vishnu"; Sufi mystics name it "the Hidden Essence"; and Buddhists call it "buddha nature."  At the heart of all religions is the certainly that there is a fundamental truth, and that this life is a sacred opportunity to evolve and realize it."  (am's italics)

I'd like to add that an Oglala Lakota activist, Russell Means, spoke of his culture's experience of "The Great Mystery."

"To each his ("their" would be my translation) own, it's all unknown."

The quote is from Bob Dylan in "If Dogs Run Free."


"Somebody Was Watching":

This post is dedicated to my father.  As we all do, he had realizations about life and death; however, his path led him to look to God as he understood God for concrete answers.  He died alone on St. Patrick's Day in 2003 of congestive heart failure.  We had a difficult relationship. When I mentioned those difficulties yesterday to a small group of friends, one friend who had a difficult relationship with her father who died recently laughed gently and said to me, "In a future life, you might end up being your father's father."  In the years before he died, my father believed that he was the first person that God had spoken to since Jesus.  He kept a handwritten record of the questions he asked God and how God answered.  These were questions that had haunted him all of his life.  While my father was playing his regular games of Solitaire, God as he understood God would answer my father's questions in one of three ways:



"No comment."

He asked his God several times if Jesus was his son.  His God's final answer was, "No."

My father and I shared a love of plants and gardening.  I am grateful for that experience.  Yesterday I went out to the nearby botanical garden where I found a home for the Coast Redwood Seedling that I nurtured this past year in honor of my father.  Due to unexpected circumstances involving a steep hill that the friend who came with me could not walk down, I will have to return on another day to visit the Coast Redwood seedling.

My experience after death of both of my parents was that was all that was left of them after they died was the love they couldn't express while alive.  I have had a hard time accepting that love.  Writing this down is part of my acceptance of that love that I experienced only after they died.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Live and Recorded

Perhaps the young people can turn the tide with their votes in the next presidential election.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Visions of Jacob Lawrence and Barbara Earl Thomas / Gratitude

"The Studio, 1977"

Back in 1980 when I was 30 years old and had returned to college to finish my degree in English Literature and Studio Art, I was introduced to the life and work of Jacob Lawrence.  It has been my good fortune to see much of his work in exhibits here in Bellingham and in Seattle.  He remains a inspiration to me to this day.

"The Library, 1967"

"Bread, Fish, Fruit"


"Hiroshima Series -- Boy with Kite"

In 2016, I became aware of the work of a student of Jacob Lawrence, Barbara Earl Thomas, and traveled to Bainbridge Island (not far from Seattle) to see an exhibit of her work.  She had studied with Jacob Lawrence, finishing graduate school at University of Washington in 1977, just a few years before I was introduced to his work.

"She makes catastrophe and beauty keep company—the way they actually, unthinkably, do. (from this article).

If you would like to see more of her art work and learn more about her life, I recommend this book:

As I wait for the inspiration for my next mandala, I feel immense gratitude to these two artists.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Someone I loved

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

—Mary Oliver

With gratitude to Beth.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The owls and other birds went a-courting

With gratitude to a local friend who was visiting with her son and his family in Santa Cruz, California, in recent weeks.  During a family visit to Natural Bridges Park, they saw this courting pair of Great Horned Owls at Natural Bridges Park, and her son, Andrew McKee, took these extraordinary photos.

Listen to the birds here in Bellingham just after sunrise this morning:

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
(Chinese proverb)