A storm grumbles in the distance, plodding slowly across the canyon from behind the mountains. A wood pewee sings over and over and over again a clear plangent descending note. Sitting in the Ravenrock Barn, I grieve both parents. Until now, I haven’t had time, energy, or distance to grieve, my hip surgeries coming so soon after my father’s death. (My mother, still alive at an Assisted Living, seems permanently away at college, living in a dorm, having a happy life with not only no thoughts of me but no thoughts at all.) Here, where nothing but a few inherited rugs and pieces of china are associated with my past, I can look as one gazes at a valley from a summit, no longer seeing it from within in myopic fragments.
Art in the Sky
One reason I love the southwest is that I like good art. The sky here is good art. One has to like the predominance of blues and whites as well as the pinto pony patches sliding over the land’s crags and bumps. The magician plays the light, revealing and hiding, scuttling along the eternal, unmoving rockface. These variations change more swiftly than the languid seasonal flow of light. My surrounding in not a reliable sundial of elastic shades reaching and shrinking readably as a clock. Read more
What if you had no job, no school, what would you do? At Ravenrock where society doesn’t remind me of its mania, I construct a few rituals to keep me on even keel. Morning tea. Late afternoon meal and washing up. These frame what is otherwise an organic flow. I have creative and household projects lined-up as sanity guideposts in case I become overwhelmed with aimlessness and the terror of irrelevance, moody bluesy-ness that can disrupt my peace. But always in the front of my heart is the Fall of Flow. Read more
I’m taking a break from ‘Confessions’ with this vignette from bellydancer life.
I was at some party or other in Austin, TX. This was twenty years ago, and the hostess, one of my occasional students — she was perhaps in her early 50’s, attractive but riddled with concern for her appearance, probably a therapist, I don’t quite remember, and definitely living in a lush if not terribly tasteful fashion — introduced me to a couple, also in their 50’s. I was at the time a very young-looking and hip 40-year-old. She told me their names, then said, “This is my bellydance teacher, Dunya,” as if holding out a surprise prize bird. Read more
I ruminate loosely on illness and art because I burst with creativity after months of stillness, immobility, compression. For me there is no difference between art and mysticism; they are the faces of one another.
Last night, at dinner, my cousin told me I am profound. A great compliment. I didn’t feel bashful, however. No, I relaxed. I think this is true and it helped to hear it. This is who I am. Relax and be profound. Read more
Here is an excerpt from notes during my April trip to Ravenrock — a turning point away from the past two years of overwhelming crisis and toward a new period. One thing that changed in a quiet yet dramatic fashion was my deepening feelings toward Ric.
As the wind on the porch is too cold for sitting out, I tuck into the Croft’s window seat for tea. I remember two years ago. I was alone in the Rim Cabin. My alone-ness overwhelmed me. Now I am weaker, less capable, and intimate with helplessness which should make the rigors of Ravenrock fearful, but I burble with joy. I acknowledge the dangers. I acknowledge my frailty. Then I gaze out at the dancing Bowers and heart happiness subsumes me. Almost — I say this hesitantly — being anywhere but on an adventure is a waste of my remaining life.
I use the word ‘confession’ not for its connotation of sin but rather of disclosure–self-disclosure. I write to know what I think and feel, to hear myself, sometimes to reveal myself to myself. This week I have been remembering a lot. Part of taking stock in this time of enormous reconsideration before stepping forward.
I painted yesterday—a little oil rendition of a selfie I took this past winter in the upstairs hall. The selfie is rather elegant while the painting is curious and ‘not like’. I lengthened the hair, made my skin shadows bruise-purple, one wall a geranium red and the other textured gray like papercrete. Gone are the hallway’s 30’s large-flowered wallpaper and polite off-white wood framing. I made my eyes too blue. Everything can be mutated so easily.
It was freeing, this reinvention of space and self. Read more
Many of us write journals, diaries, confessions. These are each different in tone and in self-relationship, yet each is personal–we speak to ourself. I write daily in my journal, so it could be a diary (the word ‘diary’ being a daily record of events and experiences, coming from the Latin ‘dies’ for ‘day’) but I am including the notion of confession not for its connotation of sin but rather of disclosure. I write to know what I think and feel, to hear myself, sometimes to reveal myself to myself. Here are excerpts. Read more
Returning from April at Ravenrock
A month at Ravenrock focused on Barn construction has meant standing in the swirl of plaster dust, in piles of construction detritus, mousetraps, clutter, looking out the newly installed glass doors. My body expanding, growing into the ground. The Barn is no longer a farm building; it is a temple. A presence enveloping me. A grandeur, and a large timeless purpose. Path. Read more
The Yellow House
I woke with a strong sense of Dad in the Yellow House descending the creaking stair in his white button-down shirt and khaki shorts, holding the sturdy rails. I miss him, gone now for a year and three months. I miss the world that orbited him like moons and rings. Polished mahogany, candlesticks, boats, dressing for dinner, music and conversation, winding a ticking clock. Bits of his being-ness linger in those details. I follow that trail, groping my way into our love—that quiet, secret garden.
Worlds orbit the people we love. It is the magnetism drawing the table, the light of the afternoon, the movement, words, sounds, and smells into a whole. A museum never has this feeling. It is never enlivened, no matter how beautifully arranged. Read more