I enjoyed this evening’s sponge bath more than usual. I lit a candle and put the blue enamel pitcher and basin on the old wood table. Next to these, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, a blue wash cloth and, for after, a white towel. I washed slowly, listening to a podcast of Radiolab about the emerging neuroscience of embodiment— of proprioception and body-mind sequencing and Air Force pilots’ out-of-body experiences— all rather old news to me. Autumn’s cool evening has come. I had to heat water to keep this from being a chilly bathing. The radio drone, the wind outside, and the water splash were pleasant, soothing, normalizing for me while I methodically washed one part after another.
Posts tagged ‘solitude’
I sit in the Pine Grove a bit shocked by all the small purple flowers, tufts of long, tender grass, and feathery, ferny stems springing up from what was a dense, brittle carpet of pine needles when I departed. I am wading in shin-deep greenery! The ground is vaguely springy. The rainy-season has also brought along other not-so-pleasant shifts—mosquitos. Surprise! There were never any mosquitos in all my prior years in New Mexico. I’m trying to wrack my brain for what good there might be in a mosquito…Now I have to put in screens or forfeit entirely the cool night breeze. Read more
The Dharma-Karma Thing is what I call the sense of two divergent, often dissonant, but equally substantial streams of purpose running through my time on earth. Karma—the world, family, business, stuff, stuff—feels a bit heavy. Dharma feels like the forward unfolding of spiritual Path, my reason for being born. Both carry responsibilities and both bring satisfaction or misery, but one is laden with the past and the other is the freedom of becoming True.
I peer into the angel votive glass as I’m about to blow out the candle and see a graveyard. Ten or fifteen moths are embedded in soft wax while others fragment in the pyre. So this is the Angel of Fire. She has appeared so innocent all these weeks, the flame flickering in her belly. Now moths cast into her. They cannot resist. What an absurdity—to be created to adore something so lethal! Their bodies make the candle spit feverishly and when it hardens, their dark carcasses form oblique dark accents in the pale wax. I resonate with sacrificial ground, the litter of moths, but also with the fire which consumes in steady relaxation.
Many birds today. And the ravens!
Talking. It’s wind. Air moves in shapes and temperatures. I am mostly involved in expressing meaning and oblivious to the shaping by my tongue teeth, lips, and throat of little gusts of air into rounded, clipped, or coiled forms. Talking all comes down to breath. Gale, zephyr, breeze, wail. As I talked with a friend, I had a perception of my words as being buffoon-like, the wheeze of antique bicycle horn, or a guttering candle end. Part of me was present in my words while another part witnessed my conversation in abstraction, as sounds devoid of discernible content, and right there, in middle of throat motions and noises, I felt relaxation. Has the pressure to express meaning co-opted my breath?
Thought, perception, and reflection are beautiful. Talking is beautiful. Like everything, it is most beautiful when it is relaxed, not driven, compressed, or glued together in Frankenstein shapes. I love when a true perception forms itself in within me, rolls along my tongue, catches a flow of exhale, and, if it needs to, eddies gently out. I also love when my thoughts aren’t driven to emerge but instead, roam free and breathless through the my neurotransmitter corridors, becoming this and that, popping up, dying away, cobbling into new contraptions.
Could breath come and go, the throat open, sounds come out, and not mean anything? Is meaning so essential? Must every bodily squirt come to something?
Dear Mom and Dad (though I know it’s you, Dad, who wrote me),
I didn’t realize, until I got your letter, which I fetched from my PO box yesterday morning, how wonderful it would be to get a letter, a real physical piece of paper with all the inconvenience of pushing a pencil across its face dragging thoughts and then posting it, in my hand. It was much closer to sitting in the the living room with you chatting over morning tea and coffee, something I love so much. Though I’ve been anticipating its arrival from our phone conversations, a letter in the abstract, that is, news of a letter coming, is nothing to a letter arriving, a letter in the hand being worth more, far more, than two, or ten, in the promise. I can read it again and again…
I carted it around as I did errands in Las Vegas. I brought it up to the mesa, to the cabin and still I saved it until late in the evening when the bustle of the day (why is a day still a bustle when, because of electric light, we could bustle around the clock, but still the the day feels more bustle-y), when the bustle of the day subsided and I could savor it by candlelight. Dad, you have always been and continue to be, such a wonderful writer! I read your letter with such pleasure. I can’t remember the last time we corresponded. Ten years ago? Twenty? Too long.
Yesterday the sky was pure drama—sweeping clouds, shafts of light, long grayish wisps of rain striping to the ground or hanging tantalizingly above like jellyfish tentacles not quite touching down. After dark, lightening on the eastern horizon, in a band of clouds above the land and beneath the star canopy, danced in silence until midnight. As an artist, I feel amused and defeated by such effortless natural opulence. Today we—the animals and I—are enveloped in a muted haze, slightly moist and cool. A tiny bushtit flits and sings. The scratch of my pen sounds loud, a sharp contrast to the past ten days of continuous wind howl.
This afternoon I will work on a temporary water collection set-up—a tarp suspended to funnel water into the 60 gallon barrel with a screened manhole cover top I purchased yesterday. I want to empty the water out of the drum that Don left here since there is no way to peer into that container to see the state of that water. (It smells not quite right…What might be decomposing in there?) There isn’t much left in that storage anyway. I can put its contents into a covered bucket to wash up after dirty projects, then use the drum to transport water in the pick-up from the neighbor’s well and gravity-feed it by hose into the newly-purchased barrel. All this is a kind of puzzle to solve. Water is so heavy! With a 60 gallon water cache life will seem more secure and certainly cleaner.
Thank you again for the wonderful letter.
I lay belly down on the deck of my cabin, rolling my thighs on warming wood, smelling the day. I watched a small brown bird hop from blade to blade in the grass. All of sudden my breath opened deep. I felt my body melt into the wood, and my back absorb the blue sky peeling away the fog cover. All the days spent witness dancing in workshop in recent years, where I learned to watch people without ‘leaving my body’, suddenly clicked in. I’ve worked diligently over time to stay in my body and see, stay connected to my breath and see. This morning it blossomed naturally, unbidden and un-labored. I was seeing, breathing, feeling my body.
In the past, I’ve so often seen through a haze of my preoccupations. I’ve been afraid of letting time pass, of letting it slow, of letting it stop, sit beside me, and open the tight little packet in my chest.
Today the bees still toddled from dandelion to dandelion, but there were the front edges of autumn — choke cherries veined with burnt red, the sun leaning down at angle, and the first migrating ‘v’ of birds. Time so full. My body filling with it all.