Monday, September 27, 2010

Good-bye Again

People so seldom say I love you. And then it's either too late or love goes. So when I tell you I love you, it doesn't mean that I know you'll never go, only that I wish that you didn't have to.

Saying good-bye to someone when there is a chance there you may not see them again in this life is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do especially when it's a loved one. My mom has not been with me much of the day today. She has a hard time saying good-bye. I wish we could talk about what is between us now, but when I tell her good-bye tomorrow to fly back to California and that I love her what I'm really saying is that I wish life was such that I didn't have to say it (good-bye that is).

John Denver, "Good-bye Again":

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nature Girl

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir

I'm still in Michigan. On Friday my Mom was admitted to Hospice. It was tough for some of my siblings as they don't understand the philosophy of care. But as I explained to them once someone stops all active treatment then it becomes the best option for care on a number of levels. It will be a process. We don't know how long she has, but when I leave on Tuesday I will feel that the best care for where she is at in this moment is occurring.

As I've been writing, nature has been my solace while I've been here. My last photo walk I ran into this woman photographing. We compared notes briefly and the relaxation we found in doing this. Always good to connect. I'll be going out for a couple of more rambles. What can I say, I'm a nature girl.

Jelly Jam, "Nature's Girl":

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn Equinox

Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We'll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure.
Thomas Wolfe

For me the Autumn Equinox is a spiritual day. I try when possible to spend some time in nature to do my meditation and reflect. In the twilight hours this evening I was able to walk through a turning wood and found a path to venture further into them to spend some time in quiet.

Earlier today I found someone's words and they speak profoundly of the meaning of what this year's equinox brings to me and were the source of my meditations:

At the Autumn Equinox the Earth demonstrates the beauty of Surrender. Surrender is a dirty word, in a domination culture. It reeks of passivity, of victimhood, of failure. We don't like to contemplate surrender. We like to force victory!

Consequently, we in the West have scant concept of the POWER inherent in surrender.

At any rate, we can't control it. We can't stop the seasons from turning. We can't stop the flow and ebb that happens in every aspect of life.The Earth at the Autumn Equinox shows us how to let go of the phase of growth and life. It's natural for humans to try to hold on, but limitation and death are beautiful players in this cosmic orchestra.

This may seem counterintuitive. But imagine a world where no one and nothing dies. Overcrowding is one thing, but what would we eat--living food? What solace awaits those suffering from injury or chronic pain? It would not create such a lovely world.

Both ebb and flow are necessary in this world, and indeed each fuels the other. Rest gives us energy to grow; growth creates a desire for rest. So the balance is growth and death, expansion and contraction, life and death.

In the next few days I will return to California. There is a plan to return to spend 1-2 months again with her beginning around Thanksgiving or so. Will the flow of my mother's life continue to this time? I don't know. During the last few weeks, I have helped educate her about Hospice and arranged for people from the program to meet with her. I've also tried to talk about the time that remains.

My mom is not a person who likes to talk about things. I am. We've struggled through the last year to find a meeting ground around the issues she has faced. I feel in this moment that I've done what I can. I am ready to surrender and for her to reach her rest whenever that may be in 1 month or 1 year.

For now, for me at least, there is peace.

May it be so for my mother and the rest of my family.

George Winston, "Autumn; Colors/Dance":

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeds of Possibility

dry seeds scatter
from my hand into the wind
one clings
as if to say
there is in me
something yet to be
Jeanne Emrich

I've been walking every evening in the woods behind my mother's as a part of keeping balance. Shooting photography to capture the light as it hits certain objects has been part of my practice. It's also good material for thinking. Last night I reflected on seeds.

Seeds have such possibilities contained within in them. They may sprout and grow or remain fallow. For a time they may remain on the vine, dry and seemingly destined to not be. But then the wind of change comes, blows them to new journeys and then they germinate full of newness and life.

Right now I feel somewhat like that dry seed, but I know the wind of change is licking at my life and soon the aforementioned journeys will be mine.

Badly Drawn Boy, "All Possibilities":

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Puppy 'Tude

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures
we might be if we weren't certain we knew better.
George Bird Evans

Meet Buddy. He is a Keeshond who was adopted by my friend Quinn from a rescue organization several years ago. Buddy is special. He blossomed from a shy withdrawn dog to a winsome, adorable, and playful one who delights everyone who meets him. When he walks down the street people will stop to ask what breed he is and to ask to pet him. My favorite quote about him from last weekend was that he looks like a kleenex box with legs.

Buddy is a willing subject when it comes to photography. I loved this photo of him because of what I called his punk hair style. My sister Michelle in looking at the photo said he looked like the puppy version of Jack Nicholson.

If you're interested in learning more about Keeshonds, then this link to the national rescue page is for you:

Florence + The Machine, "Dog Days Are Over":

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Break Time or Dreams

Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.

I took a break on my break this past weekend and went to Stratford Ontario. The plays I saw including "The Tempest" and "Do Not Go Gentle" reminded me about living my dreams. While I am here with my Mom I'm working on listening to those dreams. It seems as even that quiet inner voice that guides us all has been drowned out lately by life's cares, but I'm taking time every day to write, to do yoga and to walk while I'm here. I don't know if I'll find any grand insights, but at least once again I'm hearing the aforementioned voice.

I've missed it.

Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams":

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Glamorous Travel

Travel is only glamorous in retrospect.
Paul Theroux

After a particularly difficult plane trip to Michigan the other day I find myself somewhat nostalgic for the days when travel was a more uncommon process. Air travel in particular has suffered the loss of glamor. There used to be a sense of excitement and possibility when you were to travel by air. Now it's about appealing as a root canal as to the dentist. Even my favorite airline Continental has fallen to the nickel and dime mentality. Every piece of the trip is colored by feeling as if you are being placed in cattle steerage and paying them for the honor. Let's face it September 11, 2001 really was also the death of glamor travel for the airlines. You have to fight to retain any sense of possibility of glamor in your travel. In that spirit, I like to dress up a bit for travel. And though others may doubt it, it is possible to be comfortable yet glamorous in your wardrobe choices when traveling. I've acquired the habit of packing an alfresco meal with a cloth napkin and getting a bottle of mineral water or something a little different when I can at the airport. It helps me feel as even though I may be in coach (I would love to travel first class, but have to live life on a social worker salary), I am treating myself first class. Usually my seat mates are envious also. When possible I try to encourage them to revolt against what I call the "Moo Airlines Mentality". A large cashmire scarf obtained from E-Bay also is part of my arsenal of keeping warm yet glamorous.

More and more I'm thinking about traveling by train and have found this website about train travel:

Train travel may be in many ways one of the last bastions of glamor travel. Maybe it's time to try doing more of it.

Sheila E, "The Glamorous Life":

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer's End

When summer gathers up her robes of glory,
And, like a dream, glides away
Sarah Hillman Whitman

While the calender says summer has a few more weeks to hang around for most of us Labor Day weekend spells the end of summer. Although school started a couple of weeks ago here, many communities start after Labor home state included. I'll be traveling there on Tuesday to spend three weeks with my Mom. Also there will be a trip to Canada for a few of those days to see a couple of friends.

Autumn has always been my favorite season. It's the fullness of growth come to fruition and the beginning of another cycle of change. This autumn visit is especially poignant. It probably will be the last one I'll experience with my Mom. I hope that during this time we have some time to share the fruits of her life and in what she has given to me, I'll begin the next cycle of mine.

Foo Fighters, "Summer's End":

Beginning Yet Again

  "Never feel guilty for starting again." -Rupi Kaur These days being a flaneuse has been more mental than physical. I moved to Ar...