Apricot Night

my living room

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APRICOT NIGHT

 

Last night Emma and I rolled.

In the deep 

Sort of dark

Dark

We silently skirted potholes.

A restless bird

Given to insomnia

Cawed a weary warning

As we passed.

Venus gleamed.

Suddenly

A scent

Slipped into 

My sphere.

Ahead of us

Dotting black pavement

Were leavings

Of the first blooming

Apricot tree;

Fluorescent.

Impossibly tender and innocent

Tailings

Of bursting bloom

Slipped toward us

Through the night air.

I released

My wheelchair joystick,

Turning 

To let the barely pink gift

Give its’ self.

I lifted my head 

As Emma rustled nearby

And felt my being

Slightly dusted

With something

More than me.

Onward we went

Cruising the dark;

Our pace slowed 

By olfactory arrest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Haiku

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Deftly, the wide wings

Of hope gave us some shady

Ground to pray after all.

 

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– CA

 

.photo:  Dennis Chamberlain

Yellow

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detail of painting on wool flannel
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YELLOW

Crispy cracklin’
Happenin’
Underfoot.
Sleepy ground
Frosted yellow.
Floating yellow.
Down, down,
Leaves leaving.
Catching air.
Tilting this way
And that.
Slicing through
Air
On their way
To rest.
This yellowing
Of leaves
Takes a whole year
To get the color
Right.
I will wait
For the next round.

When
The yellowing
Leaves leaving
Finally rest;
Suddenly still
Post-flight,
The brown
From the ground
Takes them home.
They surrender
Their yellow
Then brown
And crisp
Their way
Into the folds
Of Mother.

Turning
As they do
Into wallpaper
For worms
The coming Winter
Makes them rest.
In their de-yellowed
Silence
They each dream
in utter
Stripped down
Nakedness
Of yet another season
Of yellow.

The truth is
It is quite impossible
To reproduce
The very
Same yellow
Next year.
It will never happen
Again
And this is why
We must be
The registrars
Of the perfectness
Of the yellowing
They give us
As their gift.
It happens once.
Only once.
And it is we
Who
Must
Remember.

– CA Oct. 2016

The Privilege of Age and Illness

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untitled,earth,corn husks,stone,ceramic,thread,gold wire, bird wing, 22×22″
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“WHAT?” you say…

…Two things we run from like leaping deer from forest fire.

This morning on the plaza under the perforated umbrella of trees giving up their leaves

I sat across from an older Native American man who lowered himself tentatively onto the bench.

He wouldn’t catch my eye as is the case with many Natives.

I spied on him peripherally.

Both of us wore disability yet mine was more visible; his gait weary and effortful I had noticed.

We rested on our separate benches..connected in some lovely containment of our personal selves reduced in importance by steeping in and appreciating the change of season.

I sat in the poignant combination of leaves leaving, the powerful infusion of clarity in sky and light, the clip of chill on my cheeks and the reality of sitting in a wheelchair.

“Everyone’s out there working away to make the world go ’round while I sit here; still, silent, empty. I am so happy..so privileged to be here registering how sublime this day is. I have the company of this man sitting near me and we needn’t connect to appreciate the comfort of our shared human journey as frail specimens of sentient beings and examples also of radiant spirits up to the task at hand because we say so.”

Would I have noticed the sensuality, profundity, utter perfection of the various patinas making themselves available to me today

Even 5 years ago?

No.

No.

No..I wouldn’t..couldn’t see nor feel the offerings before me.

I am so very rich.

This wealth I am accumulating comes from my ability to HOLD THE OPPOSITES as I often speak about.

The privilege arrives in my character having the room and willingness to experience beauty in losing/finding, ending/beginning, madness/lucidity, confusion/sureness, trust/betrayal, summer/winter, sitting/walking, silence/talking, hungry/full, chaos/harmony, disappointment/fulfillment, danger/safety.

The old man eased himself with great care off the bench and very slowly shuffled his way to another nearby resting spot easing his way down once again.

I heard him sigh.

In Search of Late Roses

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A different light visits with the first touch of Autumn.

The highest leaves atop Sugar Maples pink up.

The Aspen trees on the mountain are, each and every one, connected to one another through their root systems.
Essentially they are all one tree.

I had the thought today that we, as humans being are each connected as well but our root system needs some serious fertilizer or maybe piping in the best tequila would soften us all up enough to recognize we can’t live without one another.

I rolled out my door this morning in search of late roses.

They are different in that they are the second blooming cycle of the season.

The color and constitution of the flowers seem more robust and eager to show off.

I can hear almost a crackling around their moxie; almost pornographic in their push of life.

They know their days are numbered as the frosty reaper he be a’comin’ round the bend.

I am a late bloomer too.

All the blonde girls in high school with perfect skin and all the right curves and clothes

Had their bloom.

Now is my day; Wrinkles stack themselves up, one against the other and time is a mean one where gravity is concerned;

But in my chair I go fast. My dog rests calmly, warming my lap as passers by ask to pet her and chat about nothingness..just to connect.

Finally for me, just existing is quite enough.

My purpose is only to love what I love.

Today the late roses have my attention.

Their fragrance is quite complicated. Not full of young notes but something ripe.

Sit Down

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my photo
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I received an email from an old friend recently in which he tells me how he feels about our country after doing some pretty heavy duty traveling to and fro:

” It is damn near impossible for me to live in the US now. There is an energy field in the US that feels creepy to me. I don’t want to belabor the point, but I’ve grown very disappointed with what I see here. The political scene. The mindless and blindness consumerism and the general violence. I do my best with what at times appears to be an impossible way to live. It is what it is. “

I understand him and share much of the sentiment. Many conversations or articles include some form of the question “Where in the world feels sane, clean and forward moving and could we move there?”

Having been pretty much the queen of keeping -the -back -door -in -sight- at -all -times -as -an -exit

I know a bit about avoidance and turning toward comfort no matter what the cost

With the assurance we’ll get a way better life that way.

Here I sit in this chair with really the only back door being choosing to end my life.

To be sure I’ve contemplated it and I pray each person gets the privilege of choosing the possibility of re-upping into life.

Because when we make a choice to really BE HERE no matter what

Is when the good stuff really starts happenin’ ya’ all….

I can’t deliver myself out of this chair by changing locations.

My life is SITTING HERE WITH IT whatever “it” is.

We’ve got “Cathy’s IT” and “America’s IT”, Santa Fe’s “IT” and my dog Emma’s “IT”.

Then we’ve got “Trump’s IT”, “Norway’s IT” and my sister’s “IT”.

What the hell are we to do with all these tapetries intricately woven connecting us all?

ATTITUDE IS THE ONLY THING WE CAN ACTUALLY CONTROL.”

I choose peace.

With just a wee bit of vodka.

Can you feel it?

Tenderness

ten questions
“RAIN” ceramic, nails
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My grandmother urged me to pay close attention

To the utter tenderness of the barely green willow tree leaves

In the three or four days of the year they choose to break the bonds of a tight bud

To grace us with their presence once again.

Every year as what feels like ‘almost a color’ arrives

I seem to need to revisit this poem:

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LOVE LETTER TO SPRING

We thought it would never come.
That dripping, pungent, just-waking- up
Season of LIFE!
It hides, teases, burrows down
So far that we forget-
Forget the wild heartbeat that comes
With the lover at the door.
Old thoughts of circumstances long gone
Have no place here.
All is washed clean,
Naked to the promise
Of every thing spanking new.
And so, what shall I choose
To adorn myself for you?
Nothing secondhand, NO!
For me there will be butter yellow
Like the grasses by the roadside.
Perhaps a deep brown
With the scent of new rain
Behind my ear.
Of course, lest I forget
A shirt the shade of
The inside of that orchid
I saw on your desk.
The door will open
And there you’ll stand,
Crackling with the promise
Of a thunderstorm.
Wild, navy blue clouds
Demanding my attention.
“Come in”, I say, slightly unnerved.
Nothing seems familiar, everything new.
I leave the door open,
So all this blossoming, and greening and thundering and light
Has no question it is welcome
To change us, release us
From all we know to be true,
And leave us spent with awe
For all we thought we knew..

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CA

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We Have To Love (at least appreciate) Duality

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photo taken near Abiquiu, NM, 2001
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I usually vote energetically.

I look to people’s eyes;

Clear? Accessible? Intelligent? Unguarded?

Defiant? Veiled? Blustery?

Invitational?, Deep?, Compassionate?

So much can be hidden. But the eyes do not lie.

My mind is expert at railroading me toward logic.

I am non-plussed by logic’s sway over the energetics of true change.

As time moves forward it seems we are being offered a clearer and tauter opportunity to choose sides.

I hate this. It is uncomfortable, embarrassing to belong to any available team.

Such a big, fucking mess.

But really… we are being offered one more chance to handle our own, personal inner violence.

As long as our personal prejudices remain interesting topics of conversation

The ante will be upped to shove our wrong-sightedness in our faces

Like a soured banana cream pie.

The genesis of this post is political

But what of my own violence toward my precious self?

Today, my body was too full of pain. I got irritable and close to hateful..

Who deserves the wake from my unintended sorrow?

No one.

But there it was as I grumbled impatiently

Simply waiting to exit a store.

Every damn one of us has a story.

We are, indeed, the same.

Hidden tears and hardship.

Shall we leave the less fit by the side of the road in the effort to craft a fully “safe” society?

Well.. my sense is I have many gifts waiting to be given.

All I need is the recognition of my worth.

Just a slight nod in my direction, a tip of the hat

To another flawed yet gifted

Participant in this extraordinary human walk we are on.

Tie One On

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I am a pagan celebrator of holidays.

It feels closer to my bones to let the essence of Mother Nature help us all forfeit our jive

So we can return to wisdom we seem to be bent on forgetting.

This season I made a feather tree on my front patio which is really Cathy’s version of a Tibetan Prayer Flag.

I left a nice box outside my place with an invitation to my neighbors and friends to choose a bundle of feathers from the box and, with a special prayer or wish tie the bundle onto the tree.

I have seen people in the cover of darkness tie their offering on the tree.

It is becoming so very alive and potent.

I stare at the wind ruffled bundles placed just so

And bow my head in communion.

The wind does Her thing and whips up the faith we all left there

And makes a recipe all Her own

We know not what

But we believe.

Rise

emm

I am sitting here at my computer with my fur hat on as well as various wraps and warming agents.

The wind chill is..well..friggin’ chilly.

(we are talking outdoors FYI..)

On Sunday morning all I really want to do is revel in the fact I am single and unmoved by wild hair, saggy undereyes and ugly socks.

I love watching SUNDAY MORNING but Emma the dog/spiritual advisor seriously needs the outdoors to perform her ablutions.

She wakes. She looks at me. Keeps looking. Ears move slightly back and down for added prayer effect.

She looks and looks.

Stays just barely out of my arms reach lest I mistake the potency of her need by watering it down with the banality of petting.

Silence from her end.

I cajole..”Em..it’s too early. Can’t you come over here and let me rub your belly?”

Staring.

Unblinking.

Staring with tongue.

Stare.

“ALRIGHT ALREADY!”

(SUNDAY MORNING beginning..)

Adjustable bed goes up. Engage core. Transfer to wheelchair. Moan. Try not to vocalize. Get on with it..

Not going to bore you with the specifics but somewhere in the next 25 minutes the words: “If people only knew what my life looks like..OMFG” were spoken.

Out the door into the arctic!

Emma the street dog from L.A. goes FAST to her poop place.

While I am trying to burrow into my coat she has strayed into a gravel driveway to relieve herself.

Shit.

I must be a good neighbor and clean up after her. My wheelchair footplate acts like a shovel scooping up gravel onto my cold feet as I make my way up the drive.

I yell at God.

Pick up poop and grab Emma retreating in fifth gear towards home.

I missed what I wanted to see on television but Emma is no longer staring. She is now dancing.

FOOD! FOOD FOR ME! NOW!!!

FOOD! FOODY FOOD FOOD!!!

Sedately digesting her prescription diet for allergic dogs on my lap now

There is peace in the hood.

I just love the funky fur hat I have on in the house right now to accelerate my de-frost.

Life is insanely good.

Roses On My Doorstep

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Yesterday I woke to these.

No note. No name.

The gift given without need of acknowledgement.

Just given.

Silently left for me.

Who among my tribe knows how deeply the fragrance of a rose infuses the very center of every cell of my being?

This is intimate knowledge.

Is it plain I needed them yesterday in particular?

My transparency leaves me naked.

Did the angel smile a secret smile in the wee hours of morning

And that knowing was all the return needed for their effort?

I lifted those home grown beauties onto my lap

And rolled them slowly over to my center table;

Placed them there to watch over the house and me and Emma.

The fragrance lifted me high.

All of a sudden there was church.

Holding Tension of the Opposites

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my garden
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I can tell I am in the process of integrating something meaningful

When the floodgates open (so much writing) and are not ready to close.

In the night I tossed on a sea of thought mashups.

Carl Jung was there:


The last fifteen years of Carl Jung’s life[1] were lived against the backdrop of the Cold War—that time in our global history when most of the nations of the world were aligned either with the “West” or with the “Communist bloc.” Intermittently throughout this time the people of the world held their breath as they watched confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union heat up. During one such tense time[2] members of the Psychological Club in Zurich asked Jung if he thought there would be an atomic war. Barbara Hannah recalled his reply:
“I think it depends on how many people can stand the tension of the opposites in themselves. If enough can do so, I think the situation will just hold, and we shall be able to creep around innumerable threats and thus avoid the worst catastrophe of all: the final clash of opposites in an atomic war. But if there are not enough and such a war should break out, I am afraid it would inevitably mean the end of our civilization as so many civilizations have ended in the past but on a smaller scale.”[3]

It remains easier..more palatable to look outside ourselves and judge, condemn, distance

But the wisdom for me is always closer to home; right inside me in fact.

How do I GENTLY hold the tension of the opposites in my own physical body for cryin’ out loud?

If the thing is that EVERY DARN THING CHANGES

Then why oh why when I am so weak or depressed or frustrated that I can’t just open a friggin’ jar on my own or pour tea without spilling or stop crying

Do I TOTALLY forget that this is not a permanent state of being but just a rung in the laddar-of-life

And the next rung is always, ALWAYS there within easy reach when I am ready?

This is what holding the opposites is in my mind- living with porosity instead of leadenness.

Whether this means political thought or compassion for ones’ self within all life serves up.

“I forgive you, Cathy, for all the things you aren’t

And celebrate you, dear Cathy, for being a woman of strength, curiosity, bravery and perseverance.”

Confusion

boys
hand-painted silk men’s robes, 1988
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“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ”
~ Pema Chodron

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I have been watching myself react to people whose opinions and beliefs do not match mine.

Of course, I am so sure I am right.

It feels so slimily delicious to be right.

Someone posts on Facebook that THIS is courage but THAT is not.

My hackles rise. I want to wring the person’s neck and say: “How do you know what you know? Are you very sure what you know is the truth?”

It is a courageous act to not know.

“I don’t know what to do to help you. Can you please help me know what to do (what you need, what to say, how to support you)?”

Not knowing leaves us raw and exposed; lacking the delicious armor of being absolutely sure of our convictions.

But really…do you know the courage it takes for me or anyone for that matter to re-enter life each day with the challenges we each face?

No…we just can’t know another truly so we must inquire into their reality and bear the confusion of not knowing.

My penchant for watching myself, witnessing Cathy in all her costumes can seem like navel-gazing to others. I know no other way to self-correct my unconscious places. If I don’t know they are there I can not address them and this continuous looking refines my essence.

This is how I make room for you.

Sedimentary Perception

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My existence in a wheelchair puts my perspective about 2 feet below yours in all likelihood.

My current penchant for going down to the Santa Fe Plaza very early in the morning has the effect of an archaeological dig at times.

This morning I saw deep brown skinned, old Mexican men lifting giant glass containers filled with fresh watermelon juice as they readied their street vendor food cart.

Pigtailed girls ran deliriously after taunting pigeons.

Native Americans sat stoically tolerating the tourist gum-chewing and innocent disrespect; their eyes slightly glazed and hungry at the same time.

I loved my soft awareness with its desire to attach itself to the surprisingly graceful choice the city gardeners made of planting corn in the large pots used to direct traffic.

Perception stayed cool and comfortably low..

Humored by high-heeled, polyester suit-clad women teetering blindly while worshiping their phones.

I could see their crowded thoughts buzzing like flustered bees above their hair.

The stately trees generously buffered the sun.

I was in love with it all; the clear air and green smell mixed with surreptitiously smoking folks trying to get small in their shame and pleasure.

The low down suits me.

All these different levels and layers of perception invisible to the others but carrying wiggling and lively realities unique to each.

How very much we miss by remaining in our familiar territories.

The lower I get the quieter I become.

Voyeur

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installation, ceramic,earth,grasses
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Years ago, as I drove around northern New Mexico by myself

Just looking around at stuff

I saw an abandoned house in a field of blonde grasses.

It was so small. One room

And lovely in how it rested there so composed in it’s abandonment.

Way in the distance were mountains but the land this house occupied was gentle and flat.

The driveway was long ago usurped by weeds and I was too weary to cut a path all the way over there

And so I paused to look from a ways away

And then I left.

That was probably 15 years ago and here I am remembering the exact temperature of that sunny day, the bare and scratchy whisper of the grasses

And the feeling I had in my heart and lower belly when I saw that house.

What was it that got me so?

And why remember it now?

There was a dream quality to it; some human lived there, loved, felt gratitude, aloneness inherent in the chosen landscape, needing the solace of Nature to thrive and conjure.

Comfortable in their skin they purposefully left their nest and entered the world to manage necessary life-stuff and take mental notes about all the fascinating things to be seen and felt

And then returned.

It could have been me.

And perhaps it was..

In quite another dream.

But I remember.

Tailwinds

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tulips from a friend
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This past week I have been soaking in Grace.

For some reason this particular time is filled with friends showering me with recognition of the fact I matter to them.

Pockets of recognition seem to appear at exactly the right time as the shadow becomes heavy and begins to mold to my skin.

God doesn’t seem to ever quite let me go. Great effort, weakness and doubt morphs into unexpected nurturance, beauty and communion.

Courage takes the place of collapse.

All this support for my beingness is an antidote to inertia and allows me the strength to lean into Life with my own contribution.

I saw this great youtube video showing two bald eagles fussing over newly hatched chicks high up in a tree.

The nest they built was complicated and very sturdy looking.

This is the feeling I have being supported by the matrix of intimates in my life.

Because of their “SEEING” me I am able to relax into a sturdy energetic nest.

This seems to happen on its own time and unbidden.

These extensions of care humble me and tenderize my heart and I become less armored and more able to pass it forward.

Six Daffodils

spring

On my door this morning I found six daffodils.

Wrapped in clear plastic and tightly budded

They are sure-as-shootin’ the best harbinger of the passing of Winter into Spring.

In Santa Fe we look forward to the HOSPICE fundraiser (where these blooms came from) selling little bundles of yellow blooms to support their vital work.

My secret flower-deliverer made me love the world.

I see them sitting here on my desk in a pretty square glass vase just quietly gathering their wits to give up the bud and BLOOM!

A riotous yellow bellowing with the message: “Yes, indeed…I did it again! Braved the dark and interminable winter; waited patiently for the frigid earth to warm, soften and reclaim the fecund perfume that turns me ON!

I wriggle and push the earth to the side as I reach and reach and reach for light.

Then- I relax awhile as I make my way to the HOSPICE fundraiser folks table and some good soul buys me and takes me to Cathy’s door and she finds me and loves me so much she has to tell someone and so she tells YOU..

Only then..when I know I am where I need to be can I give my final gift and yellow myself up

And give Cathy my gift of what can only be called LOVE.”

Walkin’ Down the Road

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“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

-Helen Keller

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Being Glad For Being

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My friend Nymphe and me
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Beings being glad….click here

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Harbinger

habit

At the grocery store today as I waited in line the woman behind me says:

“I really like your feathers. It takes the edge off…… It is so creative. My husband almost died this week from the flu. I had to lift him up and out of bed so many times. I had to really care for him and I am a lawyer and felt taking my medications while driving him around (which I don’t usually have to do) would be bad- you know- mixing drugs and driving. Anyway- the great thing is I went off those meds and I felt BETTER! My doctor couldn’t believe it.”

I inch toward the cashier.

“You know, you seem to have a great attitude. How do you do that? When my husband got sick I was grumpy and mad. I am so small and he is HEAVY! Even last month when my ankle hurt so bad I was miserable and…”

Creep another inch.

“….NOTHING I did made a difference. You look so stylish in that hat. I noticed you in the produce aisle…’

My neck hurts from trying to be gracious and look back at her as she speaks.

“I am relieved my husband is on the mend so I can get back to work and things seem more normal but……”

Finally get to pay and retreat. Rolling out the door I spot the first pansies being offered for sale. A HARBINGER OF SPRING AT LAST! Every darn thing feels perfect after meeting those pansies.

Everything changes. Life is good.

And not.

And then good again.

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