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Monday, April 14, 2014

Gravity

4/2/2014


One star hangs on to night
 as the sharp blue of
 dawn
emerges over Annadel,
 her light stretches out to
 me
on this sharply cold, March morning
 and I
catch the sight of
 her
in the sky southwest,
my hood up,
coffee cup in hand
 and feel the uplift of my
amazement of her
 tenacity
and the pull of gravity
 tether me to all
I dreamt my life would come
 to hold
still flickering in my heart
 yet
held hostage by
 the thin atmosphere of
living
 here on earth.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smell Of The Ocean

As I turn, soon, towards the Oakland Airport and my flight to Austin, Texas to spend time with family and run the Austin 1/2 marathon in a different, well trained body, I think of what stays here in an old house, at the corner with an old wall heater and new grey water pipes because we are having a drought, school, few job prospects and yet many, so many long runs through Spring Lake and Annadel State park-more than 500 miles since July, 2014 which is amazing in itself, and many thoughts come in and go out like the tide in me.


In July, I thought of dying when such a long journey of travails ended in another.  I had come to feel that the darkness of all that would never be was snuffing me out like some chain smoker's last fag.  I felt that I was crumbling under the weight of all of my lost hopes, pathetic attempts to succeed and miserable lack of insight or direction.  That darkness was all I felt or saw or lived within and I was giving up. 


That was my moment and something was still lit in me, a corner with a candle and a shaky flame about to be snuffed and yet, it was there.  Maybe a "still small voice" as they say.


I started running because running is something I am good at and I was born to run.  Slow and plodding, achy, uncertain and with little impetus other than running.  I have done so since July. 


I would not say everything in me is different yet it is different in some ways I did not see then.  I still have so many things lingering and I am in a kind of limbo.  Yet, I am here, still running.  On Sunday, February 16, at 7:00 AM standing with over 15,000 other runners in line in Austin, Texas, I will commence and I know the rolling hills with try to knock me down.  However, I will still be running.  This run is about THE RUN OUT OF DARKNESS which is my own journey. 


I am not a hero or a celebrity or someone special. I am human like so many of my fellow sufferers who have chosen to live and not give up fighting.  I share this spot with many, many humans who have not.  This is for Jonathan in particular who succumbed to that darkness last February.  I honor him and so many others.


Keep Standing Up


"Well, what that feels like is a big wave that comes along and knocks you down.  You find yourself lying on the bottom of the ocean with your face in the sand, and even though all the sand is going up your nose and into your mouth and your eyes and ears, you stand up and you begin walking again. Then the next wave comes and knocks you down. The waves just keep coming, but each time you get knocked down, you stand up and keep walking. After a while, you'll find that the waves appear to be getting smaller."


...If you keep lying there, you'll drown, but you don't even have the privilege of dying. You just live with the sense of drowning all the time. So don't get discouraged and think, "Well, I was feeling depressed and I was hiding under the covers, but then I got out of bed, I took a shower. How come I'm not living in a Walt Disney movie now? I thought I was going to turn into Snow White.  How come I'm not living happily every after?" The waves just keep coming and knocking you down, but you stand up again and with some sense of rousing yourself.


-Pema Chodron, The Pocket Pema Chodron









Monday, January 20, 2014

National Pirate Day


A friend and former co-worker died, by himself, on Christmas Day. 

I received the phone message, vague enough, and began to wonder who the bad news referred to.  Given my Woody Allen method of trying to figure out who called and why instead of just calling and finding out, I went through the list of people I worked with last summer. My little summer of horrors.

I can say, without a doubt and with deep love as well, I admired, appreciated and loved my co-workers, save one blond menace.  Some of the men I worked with are extraordinary.  Some of them just needed to stay out of trouble and still, they were amazing as well.  Kind, fun and funny and tireless in their underappreciated work at the nursery.

My first tour of duty in the summer of 2012 was the very best and I should have kept it at that yet there was more for me to learn I suppose I could say.  I suppose I could but I won't! That first term of office at the nursery, Mike called me Maggie for about four days because he did not hear my name correctly.  Then and now, his cornflower blue eyes with the dark blue rim around the iris were compelling and I began to call him Mr. Wizard.  Mike knew everything.

Mike worked hard and kept us all intelligent and laughing with his bad jokes, some very, very blue in nature, kept us from killing the plants, kept us organized and appreciated.  He was the only one and he was a worker, just like us.

Mike and I began to have closeness and sometimes, when we worked alone, he would tell me deep things about his life, and he told me fun jokes that made me stretch to find the answer.  We talked about gardening, cooking, The Beatles, ice cream, his daughter, living at the beach, drugs, life and National Pirate Day.

After my first tour and before the end of yet another horrible job, he called one day and left me a message.  I did not understand the caller at first until I heard the words, "Arrrrrr Molly, it be National Pirate Day."

I think of him and the times I called and checked on him, worried about him, loved him.  I am glad that I told him because maybe it filled his cup, just a little.  As we head towards celebrating Mike this coming Saturday, I think of the man who taught me how to laugh until my sides hurt.  If you are listening Mike, my favorite Beatle really is Ringo.

May the road rise with you Michael.....





 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lessons From Martin, The Three Legged Dog

I walk dogs at the local Humane Society to be part, albeit small one, of the solution for homeless animals.  I have not earned my cracked dog certificate yet so I only get to choose the “green” dogs which are the ones who are adoptable right now.  In other words, they have survived our world without baggage that makes them unmarketable to the many humans seeking love from fur.  So, I go each week and see who is ready to walk and it helps me to feel useful and helps them get out of their habitats. 

On Sunday, the last in 2013, I came to find Martin and realized that he only had three legs.  A big, orange furred guy with upright ears and missing one front leg at the torso.  Dogs put 60% of their weight on those two front legs and it is astounding to see how quickly they adapt to only one.  Amazing really.  Martin however had an unusual attitude when I went into his habitat to harness him.  He jumped up and kind of twirled with enthusiasm.  His coat was so soft and he had abundant energy and joy.

Off we went to cavort in the enclosed yard and he did.  Sniffing and peeing and a big old poop too. He ran to me full of even more exuberance after he emptied his bowels and now ready for a walk.  We set out and he continued his jaunty, hopping motion while looking happily up at me.  I was a bit stunned and could no more feel sorry for him than simply try to keep up!

We sniffed, and hopped around the front and back, with that same spirit that said to me, especially me, don’t feel sad because you are hauling a big bag of troubles, just take that sack, dump it and walk like you are ready for joy.  For me, I felt sad to have left my family in Texas the night before, running a bit on Texas time still and having an interior pity party that was clouding my thinking.
Martin became my teacher and I am determined to use his lessons to pull me into 2014 with love in my heart for others and  a wish to share my dreams and my enthusiasm.  I want change and I must be willing to put down my sack and use Martin’s lesson to guide me.  Thank you Martin-you made your point and did so with only three legs!


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Lone Surfer

I feel like an old, haggard surfer,
 bent over my board,
 legs in the water,
hoping for the wave I fear I have
missed.
The larger waves march across the ocean floor
racing underneath me and
I rise with their chi running to the shore,
hopeful
there will be one more for me to
edge up onto the lip,
step back onto this board,
my magic carpet for a life time,
find my balance,
push up onto the curl and
find that place
 where the energy of life
arrives at my feet,
climbs up my legs and
into my body as
I find the teetering force-
the will carry me aloft towards the shore,
ebullient,
empowered and
content to be
the lone surfer patient enough to
wait for the moment when
fear becomes hope
one more time.


My sister's doorstep

Can I turn my back on
the darkness that has come to
rest in
 the circle of my arms and
cast it wide,
stride away and into
 the rest of my life,
quieting Sydney's relentless complaints and fears
and wake up in
another town,
at my sister's doorstep and offer her a cup of
morning coffee,
my headlamp tucked into the pocket of
my bathrobe,
excited,
afraid,
curious and hungry for more before
we both exit?

The Cartier Tiara

All of that
sky
awaits me,
patient and eternal,
infinite,
hope,
beauty and
silence
as
keenly sculpted as any
Cartier tiara.