Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021 / Soto Zen Tradition / Yoshio Takehara / Love and compassion


R was introduced to Buddhism while he was serving as a helicopter mechanic in Vietnam during most of 1970.  Yoshio Takehara was the sergeant who made a lasting impression on R through his practice of Buddhism in time of war.  I remember how devastated R was when he learned of Yoshio Takehara's death on February 15, 1971.


R died on April 20, 2008.  Part of him died in 1970, but Love didn't die.  Neither did Compassion.


Love and Compassion on Memorial Day 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Finished Mandala #61 on a stormy morning / Ann Humphreys (Lummi Elder) / "Come in," he said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Mandala #61:  Honoring Ann Humphrey's Life)



'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
Now there's a wall between us, somethin' there's been lost
I took too much for granted, I got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it's doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose
I offered up my innocence I got repaid with scorn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm
Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm

Bob Dylan

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

" ... A safe place for children ..."


One of the numerous young trees that are growing and thriving toward the middle of the cattail marsh I look out on from my porch.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Too many murders most foul

Honoring the life of George Floyd in the early morning of May 25, 2021.

"... In the time it took to upload a video, Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street one year ago today became the most recognizable, and infamous, street corner on the planet.

Now, closed to traffic for two blocks in all four directions and named George Floyd Square, the spot has become a place of consolation and prayer — if also a backdrop for selfies. For many, both those from the area and others traveling distances to get here, it’s a place for hope.

... For now, George Floyd Square is a place for solace amidst those ruins, if only in the calm between anguish and continued outrages."


For some reason, this poem I wrote in 2006 came to mind.

Good Friday

For earthworms, spring and robins bring death.

For cautious robins, death does not exist.

For young human children, death is astonishing news

Years later, spring and robins arrive.

We are not surprised when the earthworms die,

not surprised when the robins run from us.

But death, now, is the absence of news,

abrupt and extraordinary in its silence.


So much is not yet clear.

Monday, May 24, 2021

May your songs always be sung / Bob Dylan's 80th Birthday

It takes a long time to become young.
(Pablo Picasso)

I was so much older then / I'm younger than that now.
(Bob Dylan, lyrics from "My Back Pages")


"You're never too old to change the world." (if nothing else, listen to the young voice
at 3:14)


Rainy Day Women with ukuleles (posted on YouTube on December 10, 2016):


"My Back Pages" (mostly YouTube posts from this past year):

(If you don't have the time for anything else, listen to this last one and the next two)


"Knocking on Heaven's Door" (posted on YouTube on May 23, 2021:


I contain multitudes (Bob Dylan, 2020)

With immense gratitude to Bob Dylan on his 80th birthday.


Addendum: (more "My Back Pages" -- mostly for the visuals)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

"... people themselves, in the face of utter hopelessness, have kept hope alive ..."

"... Through this adaptation of 'Blowin' in the Wind' I hope to reach out in grief and solidarity and with love and concern, to my fellow Indian citizens in particular, at this horribly tragic time in the history of our land, during which people themselves, in the face of utter hopelessness, have kept hope alive."

Sending love to blog friends far and wide, keeping hope alive.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Right Now and it's always now

Awake Awhile
It does not have to be Forever,
Right Now.
One Step upon the Sky's soft skirt
Would be enough.

-- Hafiz

Monday, May 17, 2021

Mujer de corazon y mente

A few days ago, a friend texted me a photo of Joni Mitchell while I was taking a long walk with another friend.  My startled first thought was that Joni Mitchell had died.  I looked up and took this photo:

Thank goodness my first thought was wrong.  It turns out that my friend had been watching a documentary about Joni Mitchell, thought of me, and took a photograph from a paused DVD image.  Last night I went to sleep at around 6:30 and woke up at around 1:30, instead of my usual 3 a.m. waking time. Although I used to need up to 10 hours of sleep every night, my sleep pattern has shifted to 7 hours at night, more or less, with a 1- to 2-hour nap during the day.  I wake rested both times.  I fall asleep easily both times.  I dream both at night and during naps.  My bedtime varies.  It all works out.

Wide awake so early this morning, I decided to work on my daily Spanish lessons on Duolingo.  When I finished them, I went to YouTube to see what had come up for viewing and was rewarded with this cover version of "Come In From The Cold."

Then what caught my attention was that the documentary my friend had watched was in the sidebar, with Spanish subtitles!  Double synchronicity!

" ... Oh y todo que siempre quisimos solo era entrar desde el frio ..."

Just as I love when women perform their interpretations of songs written by Bob Dylan, I love when men interpret Joni Mitchell's songs from their perspective.


Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.  How grateful I am to have had their music enriching my life since I was a teenager, reminding me over and over again that there are no easy answers and to live fully in that context. 


... I am a lonely painter.  I live in a box of paints ...  (Joni Mitchell lyrics from "A Case of You")

Sending love to blog friends near and far.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

"A Generous Reading of Time"

"A school district declares "Treaty Day" and in so doing, recognizes one of the most important events of Pacific Northwest chronology, the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855. The people of Te'ti'sen (Ferndale) have taken an historical step toward acknowledging the rich history of many of its students and alumni. A Children of the Setting Sun documentary."

"A Generous Reading of Time"

Don't have much to say.  Using the time to listen.

"... What's the matter with me?  I don't have much to say.  Daylight sneakin' through the window ..."

(Bob Dylan)

This river flows near where my ancestors on my mother's father's side lived for centuries:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

As Bob Dylan's 80th Birthday Approaches / Deep in love


"... I'm so deep in love that I can hardly see ..."

(lyrics from "Key West (Philosopher Pirate)" -- Bob Dylan, 2020)

Friday, May 7, 2021

"Hold on world, world hold on ..." / Letting go / Solitary Canada Goose in the morning / Rainbow at the end of the day

Mary Oliver
In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.



Sunday, May 2, 2021

Lekhavidasana pose (Drawing Pose or A Question For The Teacher pose)


Occasionally, I look at my Blogger "Stats."  Always, when looking at the "Stats," I wonder who has recently visited my posts that go as far back as 2006.  Sometimes, I click on the post to see what it was that I posted, having little or no recollection when I look at the title of the post and the thumbnail image.  Often, when I do this, I am rewarded with something didn't realize I needed to revisit.  Today it was this post that led me to think again about drawing regularly and led to finding the following images that were drawn using the trackpad on my computer.  There used to be something called Appleworks6 on my first laptop, an ibookG4 that had a "drawing" and "painting" function.  Until I wore out my fingers and hands while drawing on the trackpad, I enjoyed that process.  I had forgotten how many images I had made using Appleworks6.  Here is a sampling:

Because of the pain involved when I drew on the trackpad on a regular basis, I'm not likely to do that much again except everyone once in a while because I really like what I was able to create in that way.

This photo is a beautiful reflection of my mood this May.  No longer blinded by what begins to feel like too much light or terrified of the shadows that haunted me for so many years.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

A gift to be shared

If, like me, you aren't able to watch all of this at once, don't let that stop you from beginning to watch.  Although, knowing that your lives are full, I was going to recommend simply watching the part where Rena Priest speaks, now I recommend watching the entire 90 minutes.  Every moment of the Lummi portion of the ceremony, which took place not far from where I live, moved me deeply in one way or another.

“There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they can't hope. The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.” - Rumi 

(quoted by Rena Priest during the ceremony)

Here is more of her poetry, which includes this poem:


After Wordsworth


The Indigenous poet

writes life-affirming poems

about daffodils.

Her audience says,

“But you’re oppressed.”

The Indigenous poet

writes poems of outrage

about oppression.

Nobody cares.

She gets depressed.

The Indigenous poet

gets requests for poems

about being Indigenous.

“But, all my poems are

about being Indigenous.”

The Indigenous poet

isn’t considered

an Indigenous poet,

because, “Shouldn’t you

write about genocide?”

The Indigenous poet

tries to write poems

about genocide.

Her poet spirit dies.

(Genocide gets the job done.)

The Indigenous poet says,

“Stang tse temxwila!”*

and writes about daffodils,

and the untouchable beauty

of living a poet’s life


* “What the hail.” This is the closest we get to a swear word in 

Xwlemi Chosen (Lummi Language).