That moment of oblivion, ex stasis, two bodies joined in bliss, transformed. The pleasure seems incomparable to anything. Little deaths, they've been called. I've gone spinning out of control, unaware of anything else but that explosion-- by far the most vulnerable point in existence. Sometimes it feels like the soul flies away, circles above the trees like a bird, returns by gradations; breathe, breathe. I wonder if it is a glimpse of the afterlife, the eternity we may all find if we seek truth and love. The energy generated and released during that peak of pleasure must be astounding. Open the floodgates. Hydroelectricity.


We never made it out of town this weekend. Originally our plans were to go camping and hiking with another couple, but she said she just wanted to lie on the cool floor and not think for the weekend, after working two grueling weeks as reporter for a horrific local police rape trial. So instead we met them & our friends JJ & Tebone on Friday for a sushi party. We all got silly on sake & beer & plum wine, made faces, attempted to solve the problems of the world, and tried new things including the lychee fruit I bought, which some of us liked and others declared was like eating dried eyeballs.

Once the party had adjourned to the living and JJ brought out the scotch because she was intent on getting drunk, I found myself in the kitchen with her. Sometimes while talking to friends it is possible to know when they have something bothering them; their timing in speech is just a little off, because they have something else on their mind. But I never could have guessed the cause of JJ's distraction until she crumpled in my arms and we stood there, me holding her up and petting her long black hair while she shook from silent sobs.

The "he said she said" is of little importance at this point; the bottom line is Tebone doesn't believe in monogamy and she loves him madly but won't tolerate an open relationship. It came like a load of bricks when she was feeling happy and comfortable, and she said the "m" word, the big commitment word, just in passing. I do commend him for ending their relationship before pursuing other women, but I have never felt so much like walking into a room and landing a good hard punch on someone's nose in my life. If I had been drunk I probably would have knocked him down.

I do fault him for the unexpected manner in which he ended it, and I will say he won't ever do any better, not only because JJ is gorgeous and brilliant and sweet and kind, but because she loves him. But punching him won't make him love her. Besides, he's my friend, and he's not happy in his life, and I can't fault him for wanting to continue his search for happiness. Even if I think he has chosen the wrong direction. And broken the heart of my sweet girl friend in the process.

I don't know what brings happiness to a heart; that's one unsolvable riddle. I do know we all search for some one, some thing, some where, some how, and some way; if anyone finds all those things at the same time in one lifetime then they must be living in Paradise. But fate or chance aside, I prefer the philosophy that life is what you make it; if you cultivate a plant, it will blossom, and bear fruit.

If you find a person who loves you, then if you work at it and try to be kind and thoughtful and forgiving, you have a chance at that kind of shared happiness. It is comraderie at its sweetest; someone to share the joys and the burdens. The best you can do is have faith in that person, and hope you have a companion who will love you simply and honestly.

This doesn't always work; betrayal is as old as history.

Wounds hurt, no matter the size or depth, and some take years to heal. Healing depends on strength, on constitution, on how healthy a body is before the injury. I know JJ will recover from her pain, although right now she's just trying to remember how to breathe and eat and sleep. She'll have a new scar, a new layer of sentiment that will settle to sediment, another piece of patchwork on her soul, the proof that she is alive and that she is stronger. She deserves to love someone who loves her; it should be an equal situation, a match. And maybe some day Tebone will find what he's looking for. That's all anyone can hope for.

Love and life takes effort; sometimes unforseen circumstances take us for a wild ride. We may not have control of situations, but we do have control of how we deal with life. The devil is that we're conditioned to believe "work" is something we get paid to do, rather than something we do for love. Build it, tend it.

Nevertheless, let us cultivate our garden.


Insomnia sits still, a black cat on the chest, blankets too heavy or maybe too light, pillow tucked wrong. Thoughts of the day and thoughts of to do sifting like dust motes, lacking patterns, free-association swirling and glinting like the light on the walls of a car passing by, the shadows creeping. I never was afraid of the dark; I wasn't even afraid of the basement in the neighbor girls' big old farmhouse. After a while none of my childhood friends would play hide & seek with me. They never wanted to look the places I hid.

Sensory perception shifts in the dark and I study the lines and shapes of furniture, drapes. I look at his face by the half light and notice the sweetness, the line of his shoulder, his hand relaxed and fingers curled slightly in sleep. I can hear a dog bark once, twice. I can hear the slumber of the world, and of my world, the house creaking and settling, the fish tank burbling, dogs sighing in the next room, the man I love breathing softly beside me, even the cat's delicate whispy purring snore. Outside the air hangs still, the trees are all hushed. But I am not the only one awake at this hour; the train's whistle blows in the freight yard, and that means it's 3:45.

Some nights I slide out of bed and prowl the house without turning on any lights, hyperaware of the tables and chairs and other things I might bump in the night. I pat warm sleepy dogs who blink and sigh at me, drink a glass of water, watch the shadows on the walls. I wait until my bedsheets are cool before climbing back into bed.

Time loses meaning, becomes secondary; years ago I stopped counting my breaths, or heartbeats, or imaginary sheep jumping little white fences. With my eyes closed I slip in and out of light sleep, enough rest to function, but never that submersion into deeper water. I try to never fight it, because fighting insomnia is self-defeating. Sleep is one of my favorite things, and I covet my dreams. But last night, for all the sleeplessness, was not totally unpleasant. It was a good night, just not a good night's sleep.


Tomorrow thank God is Friday. Have I mentioned lately how little patience I have for people who bitch and whine? They are coming out of the woodwork today, and want my immediate attention. Get in line, I say. Politely, of course, although despite the popular misconception, I am not in the business of customer service, oh no. Every other phone call contains within the insistent ring a voice with a demanding edge that fails to understand I have to follow those things called policy and procedure. And whining in my ear does nothing except elicit great eye-rolling; demanding my attention and an immediate response is not acceptable, especially when what they want takes time and computations on my part. Calling me at three thirty and requesting information that ammounts to a complete audit on the case, which can take me fifteen minutes to half an hour... no. That is not going to happen. Getting irritated with me and saying things like, "Nothing can be easy, can it?" makes me want to say, "You try and do my job." Or maybe, "Bite me."

Which is why tonight I have to dance; I have moves to practice and timing to perfect and muscles to stretch. And tomorrow evening I have to eat raw fish. It is a felt need; a requirement, even. Raw fish and rice and sake. And then we will leave town Saturday morning for an overnight trip to the wilderness, to those big rugged national forest coast range mountains where nobody lives for miles and miles. Elbow room, says I. It will be only for one night sleeping beside the sweet cascading waters but I really, really need to get the hell out of town.


It slips away. Small creases in the brow, delicate wrinkles that look like paper folded and then smoothed out again, the only certain line running vertically between the brows above the bridge of the nose. That's the determination line. It takes much more effort to be patient and kind. It takes presence of mind and she has it, it's called counting. As she pauses the calculations begin, she checks the map and the compass.

She ran and won't return, seeking what could have been, some promise that may be fulfilled but probably she'll just keep following a dream that leaps away, away, away, like chasing a winged grasshopper. The best way to catch it is to grab a handful of gravel to throw at the spot where it lands, hoping to catch it with one of the small stones. But then the delicate flying thing is broken and maimed, so what does it matter if you can now hold it in the palm of your hand?

Someday maybe she'll toss her hands up into the air, energy flying from her fingertips, and with a simple smile will decide that's all, the joke's on her. After all, how many of us ever reach complacency? A dream shows up in the eyes, soft and watery, and when it is missed or when it escapes then a tiny glinting facet appears, reflecting the light so nobody else can see there's nothing beneath the surface. She examines the places inside her heart to make sure everything's where she put it, and only after careful consideration will she move the dreams around. She can see farther than she imagines, and knows the word "hope" can not be coerced.

I don't print poetry often because it's not the easiest format to read. Poetry is made to be read aloud, that halfway-mark between prose and song, a play on words and sounds. But Robinson Jeffers is one of my favorite poets, and the following is one of my favorite poems. I find it very befitting in these troubled times.

Shine, Perishing Republic

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.

Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught -they say- God, when he walked on earth.


I can't stand that dorky "About Me" in the top corner... I never was a kid who held up her hand in class. Plus it seems redundant. And lame.

But other than that, this new template tickles my fancy.

I'm going home for a gin & tonic. Hurrah.
When I was young and first off to school I developed this crush on a guy who worked at the local hardware store. We would chat on occasion, and met a once for coffee, and he talked about playing bass guitar in a band. He was very serious about band practice, and I thought I was very serious about pursuing him, because he was handsome with a nice smile and looked good in that black apron, maybe.

I had a friend who worked at the campus daily paper as an arts writer, so I convinced him to interview this bass player's band for their debut performance at some dive bar later in the month.

I saw the flyers the same day the short article was printed, and let me just say I was relieved I hadn't ever kissed that bass player hardware guy. Standing there in the sun by the bus stop I immediately lost all interest in him, which may sound shallow but consider this: the flyers, on hot pink paper, were dominated by this sketch of a strange hairy cyclops thing with a grin showing lots of big square teeth, making the peace sign. And funny I had never asked the band's name, which turned out to be "The Funky Fingers." Not just "Funky Fingers" but "THE Funky Fingers."

No, it is not possible to judge a book by its cover, or a band by its flyer, but sometimes it's sensible. Especially when one is not yet 21 and old enough to get drunk enough so that the... funky... music doesn't matter.

Music speaks to the part of the brain language cannot reach, a memory tool that written words inadequately describe. The map is not the territory. Not even the most elaborately notated sheet music can indicate the memories stirred by sound. I sometimes hear a song in my head, and I have been known to dance without music, but those are two very personal things. I can hear the sounds singing to my soul, a rush of blood, the thump of heart valves, the gurgle of internal organs, the rhythm of muscles flexing and relaxing. How does a smile sound? My heels clock the time, fingers tap in synchopation.

I see lyrics printed, written out, typed into columns, some scratch at trapping the essence of a song in our most widely accepted form of preserved memory. I read transcribed music, pages and pages of bars and dots and sweeping slurs and key changes that mean nothing in concentrated silence. I hear recorded music, an amazing acomplishment, thanks to Mister Edison and his wax cylinders, and if I listen closely I can hear the breath of a body long gone. I don't know anyone who hasn't related to a song on the radio, who hasn't at least once found themselves entranced by the layers of sound, by the meanings behind elements within a song. A different part of the brain controls the singing voice, separate and distinct from the speaking voice, which is why even those who stutter can often sing beautifully.

Dancing is the figure, the form, the physical manifestation of the music. I have seen horses dancing in parades, tossing heads and prancing hooves in time with the music tempo, the rider delighted by the animal's expression of joy. To dance is to follow the daydream, to forget the present tense, to focus only on the motion and the sound and the combination of the two, the anticipation of the next musical phrase.

Music is sometimes voluptuous and soft, sometimes hard and muscular, sometimes diaphanous and quicksilver. It travels at different speeds, and with different locomotion; it creeps, rushes, gallops, sails, marches, flows, tears through the night like a train. It brings out tears, joy, rage, love, and it follows the same path as daydreams of memories. Music, like light, like beauty, remains elusive in its definition.


The solstice stretches ahead like a long hand with quick fingers, and I imagine yellowed ivory piano keys, or the stings of a guitar.

What long days, the sun hangs in the bright blue haze until ten o'clock and then sets blazing. The wind dies when the sun drops into the ocean, leaving the earth hushed and still, leaving me feeling like a cat listening for a mouse. The heat dissipates by midnight, rising through the eaves, and the house creaks as it cools and settles to slumber.


The summer came roaring into town like a freight train, hot noise accompanied by a great swirling wind, some infernal furnace blasting the edges of rose petals and perfuming the air. The sky is wide and high up there blue and I can feel the sun's heat baking the grass, the sidewalk, my skin, turning tool handles hard and brittle, quickening the earth. Sun worshippers corn and tomatoes and cucumbers and beans, still small from the cold rains now sing their new foliage song, some whispery hiss of happiness as they grow. In the tall catalpa tree above me I hear the first creaking clicks of a cicada, signifying that ninety-degree Fahrenheit point. The heat begs for iced tea and sprinklers and the intonations of windchimes.

Enjoy the weekend.


Saturday is party time. Come if you can. We will have live music and dancing girls, and enough food to make the big oak table groan under the weight of it all. And let's not forget the wine and beer and gin & tonics.

But I have something that's troubling me, although not enough to actually search for the root of the matter because I'd rather just make it up myself. I think that happens a lot more than anyone realizes, the world as it is seen through subjective eyes and related in subjective narratives. We humans are very good at telling stories.

But explain to me, "pot luck" what? I understand about the pot, because pots are cooking instruments, but I don't understand about the "luck" part. Maybe it's a case of, "We brought this bean loaf casserole and it sort of burned on top but with any luck it'll be good." Or maybe it implies the chance everyone takes when they bring food to someone's house... what if ten different people all bring bags of too-salty chips and nobody brings the salsa? Ack. Or if Tim and Sherri just happen to bring a mushroom quiche and, oops, Pierre and Monica also brought mushroom quiche, but Pierre is a chef and his quiche is delectable while Tim's is like cardboard? I could really go places with this. Someone stop me.

I suppose "pot luck party" is much better than either "luck party" or "pot party," which both seem to have an element of scandal about them.

So yes, a pot luck. Barbeque or BBQ or however one prefers, it'll be meat and veggies cooking over fire. Outside, I mean. And maybe the flamenco dancers will get tipsy enough they'll dance for us like they did at the last party, stomp steppastep stomp step step, stomp steppastep stomp, snapping fingers & clapping hands & smiling faces, while conversations and laughter roll like waves.


Some sweet indescribable delicacies such as your breath on my cheek and the light in your eyes all conspire to weaken my knees. The palm of a hand the map of the soul our fingers entwined, each line reflected by each. Simple dreams are easily shared and we have no ambitions for fame and fortune, only for time together and experiences shared.

No I don't have it all figured out but I think I know where to start, close to where your thumbnail traces gently around the knuckle of my index finger, or perhaps where my fingertips brush against that scar on your shin from a cycling accident, or where my hair falls across your chest, these are the intimacies of familiarity.

The sky reflects the color of the ocean, such a brilliant cyan blue, the wing-beats of a blue heron silent and carrying a deeper spiritual message. There are different kinds of energy, different levels of knowledge, alternate perspectives and above all there is truth. Truth holds us all accountable, spins us in cycles that rotate to the same rhythm as the heron's flight. Call it karma or fate or kismet or just dumb luck and I will call it design.

The golden mean, the facets of a tourmaline crystal, the description of hoofprints in sand combed by the ocean waves seem far too eloquent to be constructed by chance alone. The rhythms of the moon and the rhyme of the sea, the songs in the Northern Lights, like whales singing across the ocean to each other, like aspen trees interlaced, like elephants mourning their dead, things beyond our senses, the communication and imperceptible weaving of elaborately combined elements... this is a beautiful world. The pattern of light cast by the setting sun, filtered through cotton drapes and dappled on soft skin, please just give me the strength to breathe it in, to keep it as close to my heart as is physically possible.


My dance instructor has returned for a short visit from her journeys in the Middle East. She has been studying and performing with big names in Cairo and on the Red Sea, and when she leaves again for that land of sun and wind she'll have a 10 week contract performing on a Mediterranean cruise ship that travels from Cairo to Lebanon and Turkey. She has many womderful stories to tell of people and places, and I have missed her very much.

I have also missed her dance instruction; she is the best teacher I've ever encountered, regardless of subject. She brought home with her a pocketful of impressive moves suitable for slow romantic music, which she taught in a workshop last Saturday that still has me sore and aching. In addition to being physically difficult and demanding, some of the moves she taught are extremely intricate and require much presence of mind for proper control and execution. Next Saturday she teaches the counterpoint of those slow moves; next Saturday we work on drum solo and shimmy techniques. Three hours of constant motion with "straight leg!" "do not hold!" "relax, shoulders down!" "step left, step right, demi-point, drop-twist!"

She is petite and so incredibly and deceptively strong, her body does everything she asks of it. After six months in Egypt she is sleek and sound as a desert racehorse, and quick as a cat. She has an incredible intensity about her, a brilliance that shines from within, blended with a smoky sultriness. Her eyes dance with cunning sans guile and her body moves always with poise and grace. I knew she'd kick my ass; I just didn't count on such a solid beating. Three hours this coming Saturday. Three hours. I'm stretching and practicing and I can only hope to be ready.


Let's talk of exes, you and I, beneath the pale and treacherous sky.

Not all fish swim in water.

So an ex, or rather the long-distance-correspondence-ex who did his best but failed to sweep me off my email ten (? yowza) years ago when I lived with another fellow (who in hindsight hated me), long before I ever met the good man I married, that ex wrote to me in form of an invitation to join this exclusive type of regional friendster thing. I responded and said no thanks but feel free to write, and what have you been doing with your bad self these long years between? This penpal-ex of mine was considerate and gave me hope and courage when I felt particularly lost; his words helped me through a troubled time and as I told him, I was glad he contacted me.

He wrote back to me and I recalled his propensity for long-windedness, comparable to Henry James or James Fenimore Cooper. Blah blah blahhhhh. "Prolific" is an appropriate definition. Brevity never was his style. He told me his tale and asked how am I, how is life, etc etc.

I responded that things are going well. I then mapped out my concerns for starting up a correspondence with him. I know exactly how I would feel if my husband got in contact with and began writing regularly to his ex-girlfriend; I trust him enough so I wouldn't demand he stop, but, well, it would not please me. I would wonder at the content of their discussions, and the curiosity would ache in all the wrong places. My husband's trust in me is of utmost importance, and I expect any friend, former love interest or not, to respect my marriage. I was tactful and considerate but made it clear that flirtation was unacceptable.

Ex wrote back to this response, pissed off about my "pre-emptive smack-down," that I would presume the only reason he had contacted me was to pursue me again, derisive that I dare assume after all was said and done and hindsight being what it is that he was capable of falling in love with me again, yadda yadda yadda. He then proceeded to tell me off, that what I had done ten years ago, living with one man and carrying on a romantic correspondence with another, even though both were aware of the situation, was a rotten, terrible thing to do.

Since the only regret I have from that time of madness and unhappiness was my unfairness to them both, I wrote back and apologized, reminding him about the passage of years, and how young we all were, but essentially telling him I am sorry, because I am, that I lived two separate, incomplete lives, and that yes, he got the short end of the stick. I would not relive those two long fucked-up years for anything. I'm older and better now. I also apologized (although I have my doubts, especially given his vehement denial, for "presuming" he had contacted me because he still views me as a love interest, if only just as "the one that got away") for the "pre-emptive smack-down" and tried to explain it in a way he might not misconstrue, but just the brief reunion with him via email also reminded me how much he likes to read into words. I closed my missive by saying I hope for his sake he can forgive me for something I did so long ago.

But what I didn't say to him, and maybe I should have, is that he was not totally faultless in the situation, nor was he ignorant of the situation, nor is he above being asked his current intention or purpose for contacting me. I have a policy of forgetting the name of every man as I shake his hand and make his acquaintance; not because I don't trust myself, but because it completely eliminates any chance of distraction. My marriage is happy and healthy and focused, and as I am inclined to tell my sweet spouse, "'Us' is my favorite thing." I have no room for the emotional blathering of someone who still, after nearly ten years, carries around memories of a failed relationship with me in a big black bag.

There are so many more important things to do, and see, and feel, and consider.


Venus goes waltzing across the sun and the stove craps out, the computer slogs, the phone won't stop ringing, an ex contacts me after years of silence, the washing machine overflows, the weather is unseasonably cool, and I can't seem to finish anything that I begin.

I'm not bellyaching I'm just laying those cards on the table so better to read them, a strange hand, like pulling a tarot fool card from the deck during a game of five card stud. Makes me shake my head & want to discard all of the above.

When in doubt, dance.
The key to anydancing or bellydancing is a big vocabulary of moves to better accompany the music. Last night I put on some unfamiliar music and started an impromptu practice. It is not easy to anticipate what the music will do, and it is not easy to be thinking two or three steps ahead. The best I can liken it to is a thirty minute speech in which key phrases from some much-loved but only half-memorized poetry play an integral part. Of course the recitation is in the hips and shoulders, in the lift and drop and twist and shimmy.

I dance until I sweat and then I practice the parts I didn't get. Repetition trains the muscles, start it slow and then speed it up. Then speed it up some more. Then add another motion, layer it, find the control, follow the drum's downbeat with one part of the body, follow the high wild violin with another part of the body. Practice practice. Shake it like to make it rain.

My dance instructor has returned from Cairo for two weeks and has scheduled two three-hour workshops for the next two Saturdays. She will be hard as silver and quick and I hope I can keep up with her. As I told her, I could use a good ass-kicking and she has been speaking Arabic so much she laughed and said, "To do it, yes." This Saturday also marks the end of teaching my beginning bellydance class for three months; I am taking the summer off. I will dance a total of five hours on Saturday, from nine to eleven teaching the basics and breaking down the moves, which takes thought and control, and then one to four trying to imitate and replicate the mind boggling new things Astryd will teach in her workshop. I look forward to the challenge and the rubbery legs and the tired muscles.

I will be barefoot. Even if it is raining.

Have a delight-full weekend.


I saw the rainbow's end in my front yard. It always rains on my birthday. It fell in great white sheets and the light in the dark clouds was yellow. A double rainbow separated the day light from the half light from the dark light of gradated clouds churning above. The cascade of waterfalling deafened us. We stood hushed and wide-eyed at the unprecedented torrent and wind whipping the trees, sun shining from the west and glinting off the rain drops, glaring off the wet streets as the rain splashed, soaking and saturating the the face of everything, permeating the essence of all things. In ten minutes our entire back porch was an inch deep in water, the gutters in the streets were filled to the curb, the narrow front walkway drowned beneath rainwater.

I love the rain. I love living in the land of rainbows.

Sunday I danced with a green-gold veil that moves like water. The cabaret theater was softly lit with quaint little lamps on the tables, and the stage lighting was perfect. Intimate but also removed, enough room for everyone. After the performance we went with wonderful friends to the Greek restaurant next door and ate delectable food and drank wine from Nemea and listened to S tell the story of Nemea in Greece, Nemea the tiny little town where Heracles was born, where he killed the lion whose skin he wore as a cloak. S tells the best stories and I fall in love with him every day.

I picked the Belmont winner Birdstone because of the way he walked and he looked leggy, coltish but with good heart and bottom because I know such things about horses, but given the chance I would have bet on Smarty Jones out of hope that he would win and make that scary looking corporate man have to give up the five million promised the next Triple Crown winner. The race was fun to watch and almost made me regret that we don't have a television, but not really. Our friends made mint juleps using peppermint we brought from our yard, and served them with cheese & crackers.

I have had two three-day weekends in a row and now Ronald Reagan died so it looks like I get another three-day weekend because all the federal buildings and banks are closed Friday. How nice. So long as they don't go and put his mug on the dime.

Until whenever, my dear ones. I'm off and running, and you won't catch me in the backstretch.


You won't find me anywhere near the thickening center. The desire for extremes is the longing for death, and I find no use for it. It is a regardless inevitable. I picked a dark red poppy and all the petals blew off in the breeze, filtering down like bloody feathers to the hard ground. Poppies for dead soldiers. They grow in barren poor stripped sandy ground, prickly aggressive spiky silvery foliage that produces long fuzzy stalks that end in a bulbous flower pod that pops open a brilliant pink or orange or red or white in the sun.

Someone asked what do we pray for except what we want, and I can't help but think that is not prayer. Prayer as I know it has nothing to do with desire; prayer has to do with guidance for oneself and with hope for others.

A seven-legged spider spent the night in my bead box. When I opened it yesterday he came crawling out, waving myopically in surrender. I lifted his small green glass body on a strand of silver beads & took it outside, where I draped it over a pink rose and off he climbed. Life is beautiful. Even seven-legged spiders are beautiful.

The swallows have returned; they hunt early in the morning. I can't see their iridescent green and silver flitting bodies but I can hear their soft sharp cheepacheep burbles in the dark as they skim just above the ground, banking and swerving around trees and hedges. They nest in the big fir trees across the road.

I do not fear aggression but I avoid feeling it. These days I find balance and strength inside myself, and do not worry about opinions so much. I know who I am and none of us can say where we're going. One day we'll all be gone. The darkest corner of the yard is overgrown with grape vines that threaten to completely cover the woodshed this year, and the laden apple tree groans against the cedar fence.
Decay always accompanies growth.


Two days shy of a blue moon in June. I have no regrets and won't buckle but bend. It's those resistance moves that generate strength, it's the balance and waiting. The words twist and swirl in my world mean it all.

Have I mentioned sewing? A million tiny iridescent beads in loops and lines sewn to dark green crushed velvet, chandelier glass, gold bugles define the space.

Have I mentioned creation, the taking of substance and shaping and forming, clever quick fingers, sufferers of stabs and slices?

Have I mentioned the absence of thought, the clarity of focus on the needle's near invisible eye. No camel ever could slide through that. I've used all kinds of needles and best of all are nickel-plated steel but they wear brittle and often break in mid-stitch. Bad habit once found me pulling the needle through stiff fabric with my teeth until with a soft snap the needle notched a tiny groove in my front top tooth. I still shudder.


The trip was ... interesting.

We spent Friday night in our friend's backyard, which was full of... interesting junk-- tires, a plywood skateboard ramp on which someone (probably Jerri Jean) had spray-painted in horrific childish scrawl "Jerri Jean L(heart)'s TODD", broken bottles, a huge Elizabeth Arden cosmetics display case (all the E's were missing), two very nice cedar chairs that we utlilized, a smelly rotting futon matress, a pile of firewood... we set up our tent on the one small patch of grass (the rest was concrete). R had cleared a small area for boxing practice, had a sparring bag & an inflated punching bag which were too much fun. I can kick above my head with surprising force.

The house was cool, built in the 1880s, three stories tall with a tower, originally a carriage house. Nooks & crannies & spongy floor & big pigeons roosted in the balcony garden, no foundation, lots of stolen junk in the greenhouse from the previous tenants. R had cleaned up a lot of stuff but said the landlord was not willing to haul the junk away. Car alarms went off all night long. I didn't sleep well.

The tweaker girlie who came waltzing into the backyard about one in the morning searching for Todd ended up talking to R through his window high above. She was loaded like a gun, speaking so fast her words all ran together "ohmygawdisthata spiralSTAIRCASE? Doyouthinkit's like historicaltothehousewhat ahhh GREAT fuckinghousedudeheyis TODD here? Oh,he'sinPRISON?shitdudeIdidn't HEAR aboutthatatallwhendidthatHAPPEN ohwellIcan'tbelieveit guesshefuckedup yeahokay sowillhebeback?" on and on with R just sort of grunting and frowning at her the whole time. She finally left and we all giggled with raised eyebrows about it and locked the gate.

The next night we went to a community park in Manila, and... well, anyone who says the economy is improving should be forced to walk from one end of town to the other. It was like a third world, skinny grubby little sunburned children, destitute people living in junked out burned out cars & tin shacks, more NO PARKING signs than I could spit at, chain-link fences everywhere. Grapes of Wrath revisited. It was down on the mud flat penninsula, a long spit of malarial swampland between Humboldt Bay and the Pacific. We thought it would be decent when R said it was "by the beach" but he failed to mention the sewage treatment plant or what sounded like a shooting range or all the stray dogs.

The "campground" was smaller than my backyard on the scrubby windy flats, and we fit eight tents on it. Good thing we all like each other and I think everyone imbibed enough so nobody noticed anyone else snoring. It felt very cramped to me. I like privacy and I'm decidedly anti-social. To one side was an abandoned mobile home, to the other side was a trailer that housed three too-skinny teenage boys and their parents and a very healthy-looking pit bull. I didn't ask but I'm pretty sure they were selling stuff and we kept our cars all locked. The pickup to pull the trailer had two flat tires and was full of garbage.

The bathroom on the other side of the park consisted of one working toilet and a cold-water sink that drained onto the floor. I was less than appreciative of the situation, although it was fun seeing all the college crowd again, & the food was great; fish tacos, Cuban-fried chicken, potato salad... Yum. Our dogs liked the attention from everyone. It was "camping" insofar as we slept in a tent and cooked outside, but it was extremely uncivilized in the worst ways. At least we had a keg of microbrew beer, & didn't run out of wine. I think next year we'll petition for R to have his birthday party half an hour farther north along the coast, away away away, elbow room.

On the plus side S & I were very happy to return to the land of green shadows and big trees and deep dark rivers and rocks covered with moss. My heart is here.