Sunday, May 19, 2019

Almost 50 years ago

Deven's sister found this photo in one of Deven's old photo albums and emailed it to me.  My R took this photo of me when we were on the island of Oahu during the week of the 4th of July 1970.  I flew to Oahu from San Francisco.  He flew to Oahu from the war in Vietnam.  It was a bittersweet week.  My overflowing happiness at being with him in that moment was innocent of what he had already been through in Vietnam and of what was to unfold for both of us (all of us) in the years to come.

From "The Hours"

And...and I remember  thinking to myself:

"So this is the beginning  of happiness..."

"This is where it starts!"

"And, of course,  there'll always be more."

Never occurred to me

it wasn't the beginning,

It was happiness.

It was the moment...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"This Land Is Your Land" sung by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

With gratitude to our friend at 37 Paddington who recommended the Netflix documentary, "Knock Down The House."  A friend of mine who subscribes to Netflix had already watched it and was more than happy to watch it a second time with me this morning.  Both of us were moved to tears and gratitude for this documentary.  The above version of "This Land Is Your Land" is sung during the credits.

Here's another version of "This Land Is Your Land," by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings:

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mandala #42: For Deven (Affirmative!)

"... Those crazy crows always making a commotion ..." (from "This Place," by Joni Mitchell)

Back in 1967, as we became friends while attending University of California at Irvine, Deven introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell.  "This Place," released in 2007, is a good accompaniment to the mandala for Deven.

Deven and her beloved Kevin (who also created mandalas) making music in the 1980s, and that's their dog, Star:

Friday, May 10, 2019

A rediscovered source of inspiration / Mandalas completed since August 2018

The husband of my friend who died in February died of ALS in 1991.  He was an artist who created large mandalas at the end of his life.  While looking through my photos of my friend, I found newspaper photos of him, along with this mandala:

With her in mind, I started a mandala soon after my friend died but have not found time or energy to work on it since then.  Any day now, I hope to sit down at my work table and see how Mandala #42 unfolds.

I am grateful to my friend's sister who called me shortly after my friend died.  Being able to communicate by email with her during our time of confusion and grief and loss and celebration of my friend's life has meant the world to me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Viola da Gamba / The mystery bird is a male bushtit / "Mountain!" / Night sky

My dear friend who died in late February was musically gifted.  As a small child, she learned to play the accordion. She taught herself to play the gamba in the early part of this century.  Music sustained her.

Here is a note I received yesterday from an Audubon Society member who identifies birds:

That is a BUSHTIT, male.  The female has a pale eye, the male's eye is dark as in your photo.

My sister, in Santa Maria, had a pair of nesting Bushtits in her backyard. They kept pecking at their reflections in her windows: a territorial behavior.

In non-breeding season you will see them, in flocks of 20 or more, moving quickly thru bushes and willows, foraging as they go.  I also live in Cambria and have had flocks coming to my suet feeder, almost covering both sides!

Here is a photo of my friend in 1993 on one of her many walks in search of birds to photograph:

Below is a photo of her as a small child, growing up in Southern California.  Notice the duckling standing next to her in the first photo.  Her story that went with these photos is that as she was busy drawing, one of her parents asked her what she was drawing.

She pointed emphatically in the direction of a mountain and said, "Mountain!"

My friend struggled with depression throughout her life.  In the last few years, she diagnosed herself as having Asperger's and felt some relief experiencing herself in that light.  That explained many of the difficulties that had plagued her throughout her life. 

Beginning in the 1990s, she suffered from arthritis.  She seemed relatively healthy when I visited in 2008, although she was noticeably underweight and admitted to eating very little due to digestive upsets.  She had not been to a doctor in the Western tradition of medicine in years, although she occasionally sought help from alternative sources, including the use of medical marijuana.  In the last month of her life when with extreme reluctance she turned to Western medicine for help, the doctors and nurses were baffled to find that there were absolutely no medical records that could be found for her. 

In the last years of her life, her passions were for astronomy and caring for her beloved disabled pigeons as she had been doing since the early 1990s.  She sent me an article written by a man with Asperger's who found solace in looking deep into the night sky.  My friend studied star charts and searched for obscure stars and delighted in finding them.  As has been the case for many years, whenever I look into the night sky, I think of her. 

This morning I woke up at 3 a.m. so that I could experience the darkness before the dawn and then the gradually building chorus of birds and frogs.  In the days before and after the Summer Solstice, I feel uneasy here in what is the northernmost part of the U.S. except for Alaska.  I am grateful that my father's ancestors left Norway in the 1800s, as I would have had a harder time living with months of daylight than living with months of darkness.  The long hours of daylight at this latitude begin to feel exhausting and oppressive to me.  I need the respite of darkness and starlight and moonlight.  This year especially.

My friend got to know and appreciate those of you who have been visiting my blog since 2007 and enjoyed reading your comments and occasionally visited your blogs.  Although she never commented on my blog, she visited here intermittently.  She did not particularly like using computers.  I'm not sure if she had visited my blog anytime recently.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Calling all birders (this is part of the story I will be telling mostly in pictures)

A dear friend I have known for 52 years died unexpectedly in late February in Cambria, California.  While accomplishing the major task of settling her estate, her sister and brother-in-law have been staying at the lovely dream house she had bought not far from where she had owned a home in Cambria in recent years.  She was all ready to move in when her death came.  Yesterday a bird began flying at two windows, seemingly trying to get in the house.  Her sister sent me these three videos.  Do any of you have any idea what kind of bird this is?  I am wondering if it is a type of flycatcher.

Three days after my mother died in 1994, a Black Phoebe appeared in a similar manner at my parents' house in Gualala, California.

Before and since then I have heard story after story of a bird appearing after the death of a loved one.  When the husband of my friend of 52 years was dying of ALS in 1989, he told her that he would appear to her as a Baltimore oriole after his death.  A pair of Baltimore orioles appeared in her yard after his death and built a nest and soon there were fledglings.

Here I am, finding that I do have something to write.  I am still gathering photos to celebrate the life of my friend whose death shook me to the core and whose friendship I have treasured since we met in college in 1967.

Here is the view of the backyard of her dream house:

She loved the music of Laura Nyro and Nina Simone:

Update:  Here is a screen shot of a just-received video of the mystery bird:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Richie Havens and George Harrison with more "Ahí viene el sol"

That's Oboe and K-9 in the past week.  It's part of a long story that I don't know how to write about yet.  Maybe that story will be told in pictures.  I can say that K-9 arrived in a large box last week thanks to the sister of one of my oldest friends.