Whirlwind weekend they fly so fast passed. Friday as we drove in the rattletrap pickup to the cafe where I was to perform, a leaf newly dropped from a sweet gum tree fluttered in through the back window and lighted on my shoulder. I took it as a good omen.

We arrived early and sat with friends up front, which S decided was a strategic spot for taking photos. We were bothered and perturbed by a scraggly hippie man wearing a tie-dye shirt and fanny pack who wanted to move our two tables so he could set up his video camera.

He offered to sell the video "at cost, you know, $8 or $10, for the dancers," which torqued me off since he hadn't even asked permission to take a video of me, let alone sell it. S told him we would not be moved. Videodude persisted, and tried to remove two of our chairs, which we were holding for more friends, and S said, "HEY, BUDDY, those are our chairs, what are you doing?" and asked him if he were trying to be annoying, to which Videodude answered jokingly, "YES. Yes I am."

So S told him in a calm and measured voice, "You are doing a good job of it. You know, I'm here to take photos too, which I will GIVE to the dancers, and everybody is here to watch the show. This isn't a big place. You are being unreasonable, sir." Belle's eyes were huge and she joked about what big hackles S has. Videodude made small, and turned his back on the confrontation. S is very civilized but has zero tolerance for bullshit. The situation rectified itself because the audience members to the center of the stage moved their table back five feet when Videodude asked them.

Revenge was sweetest for S, though, because the star dancer chose to wrap her veil around his head, then stole his drink from the table in order to dance with it on her head, and then grabbed his hands, had him stand up, and got him to shimmy his hips. Being both shy and a closet ham, he obliged and said he didn't hear the huge waves of applause.

My own performance was great, and by that I mean I wasn't nervous other than that sense of exhiliration I always feel. But my feet did not stumble, and my hips and legs and shoulders did what I wanted them to do, and my veil didn't get caught on my head or on my costume. I found the rhythm and the motion and caught the drumbeat, followed the flute, and shimmied with the kanoon. I don't remember most of it.

People loved the costume. I had five ladies ask about it later. It fits me well and best of all it is comfortable. The beadwork and the leaded crystal I gleaned from a chandelier, combined with the dark green crushed velvet and the slinky tight black skirt, make a lovely overall effect if I do say so myself.

And that was just Friday night. Saturday S & I prepared ourselves for a frontal assault on the kitchen. We planned the countertop and the flooring, moved everything off the counters, emptied drawers, removed one section of cabinets, and then spent three hours in the monstrous hardware store buying paint and looking at possibilities. S picked out the paint, and he picked YELLOW oh boy did he.

He picked a color called "Casa d'oro" and let me just say usually I think the names given to paint colors are by and large silly (like the dark dark red I once bought, named "Dragon's fire"-- come on, that is so hokey), but "Casa d'oro" really fits this time. YELLOW. Bright fucking yellow. HELLO YELLOW yellow. Walk into my kitchen and feel like you're inside a smiley face. We joked about having kitchen parties during the dark dreary winter when all our friends are fighting bouts of depression. "Sad? Come hang out in our kitchen!" I do like it. It is just BRIGHT YELLOW.

He also picked out a blue that is one step below cobalt and one step above sky blue, kind of like superhero blue, really really really bright. The combination of the BLUE and the YELLOW is just too intense. We decided around midnight that we need to get a pale blue for the cabinets, something to relieve the eye, something light and not so BRIGHT. We'll use cobalt-blue tile for the countertops and the same color for the flooring. I love that deep gem-color blue; it goes well and will tone down the YELLOW. But there has to be something lighter, cooler, paler, to work as a counterbalance, to set up contrast between the yellow and the blue.

I'm exhausted today, and we have the cabinets and trim to paint, the countertops to tile, the floor to strip and level and resurface. My in-laws are coming this weekend and the spare room looks like a hurricane hit it, and the bathroom is a mess, and the lawn needs mowing, and the dogs need a bath. Ah yes, the trials of domesticity. I can't complain.


The horns of the night passed close, those ebony smooth and deadly horns buried and snagged and twisted themselves in the gauze of clouds. Thunder hungered in the mountains and flash floods ripped the bottom of the valley where the three big rivers meet and rush to the sea. The scent of earth and ozone. Doors and windows.

Teeth on edge and a crooked mask, what can you read beyond guesses? I see the thoughts and the wiles behind the smiles. I construct a parody and a mirror with seashells carved in the frame. They think a wicked won't, but it will. It is foggy but the sun is burning it away.

I sing riddles to me, wee disjointed tunes, halfway between breathing and whistling, and they most begin with someday and end with the end. He said he hears it in his thoughts and says it to himself sometimes, excellent, good, fair, poor.

There's no proof of living, it's all in the matter of degree.
Wait a moment and see. Drink lemongrass tea. You wrote all over me, but I'll consider it. Contempt is self-reflexive, like boredom.

Please condescend to pick the flowers.

I'm dancing tonight in a dimly lit cafe. The band will play their original compositions Desert Waltz and Ginger Tea for me. Last night I checked the straps and buckles and seams of my costume, a dark jade velvet number covered with gold and iridescent green beads, it accentuates my hips and bust, va va voom. The skirt is decidedly slinky, mermaid cut, black shiny stretch material that tucks in tight at the knees and the flares out around the ankles.
I've been thinking of step combinations and possible motions, working on timing.

Dancing with live music is a joyful experience, and is the true test of practice. Unlike choreography, which has its own virtues but is strict interaction between audience and performer, live impromptu throws a wild element into play. Musicians, even playing songs they've played a hundred times, are unpredictable. It is my job to catch and embody the drum beats, the flute flourish, the rolling sweetness of the oud and the harmonium. It is a challenge, and I respond with my flesh, a turn here, a shimmy there, a rocking step followed by a hip drop. I hear and obey, and toss the challenge back out to the audience, look at the music.

Wish me luck.


I've receded again, the rain came pounding this morning like it's October, not August. My head is pounding today, some combination of dehydration and eye strain, barometric pressure and tension. Am I holding my breath for a reason or just because.

I read a recipe that calls for turbinado sugar and a blowtorch.

Something inside finds composition tedious right now and I can't be bothered. I can see how the light stretches across the water and the trees brace and bend in the gusting blustery wind, I see how the banks stumble into the river, and I can't see the edges, the sections to box it in, to trap it in some basic rule of thirds. It's not always necessary to reduce a thing, to fit it in a frame, not always possible.

I've used blowtorches, I've fabricated metal. The best by far was the oxy-acetylene cutting torch, a big blast of white and blue fire two feet long that I could use to cut inch-thick steel. The sound of it alone made me want to cut everything in the room, the stool legs, the workbench, the scrap metal piled in the corner. No need for composition. Just heat like you wouldn't believe.


Driven to distraction, sawn wood sawdust in my hair and on my sweaty skin, I wipe it off and polish my surfaces. The wood smells sweet with the scent of summer rain, I see damask roses on sky blue cloth and a Corona bottle with lime geranium, scented.

What a weekend, can I believe it? I danced my heart out, the woodshed is filled, the pantry is filled, we are storing for winter, hugs and love and laughter too.

My mother's beautiful clever hands sewed me a blue skirt with ten full yards around the bottom hem. It roars the wind when I spin. And a fitted top to match, which I'll trim with blue and white and silver beads.

My father and I had one of those conversations while drinking beer, of dealing with the past, making amends, settling scores; it was not between us, but we were commiserating. He told me of his high school sweetheart and unrequited love, thinks of her as his old flame. He was 19 and had been dating her for 2 years and one weekend asked her to a movie. When she said she was heading out of town with her mom, he invited his dad to the movie. He and his dad sat right behind her... and another guy. He said he doesn't recall the movie at all but he is still keenly aware of that sense of betrayal. Which reminded me.

I once met my namesake, a beautiful big blond woman with a wide open face and heart, and because I was so perturbed because I had just that afternoon learned about my asshole of a boyfriend cheating on me, I don't recall the lunch or the meeting as well as I'd like. Yes, yes I do have resentment. I recall only that feeling of distance, like at the bottom of a well, and feeling trapped in that hollow ache, fighting the tears while trying to smile and laugh. It was all I could do. Facade. I became very good at acting. Very, very good. But I have fallen out of habit and haven't felt the need for artifice in years.

Ever start writing something you didn't mean to write? It's like it happens without intent, it's like emotions bottled up spurting from a tiny pinprick hole in a water balloon.

It feels like it's been a while, a while whiled away, wild a way...

Last night I had a dance rehearsal with the Middle Eastern band that will be playing Friday. I received some very flattering compliments on my form and execution that made me flush even more than the dancing did. I'm very excited about the performance and hope to finish the costume my amazing mother helped design and make. All that remains is the last bit, probably 10 more hours of sewing. Then the beading and hooks and trim, which will take as much time as I can give it until it looks balanced and artful and, well, done.

My folks are driving their long road home right now. I hope their travels are fast and safe. My husband called to tell me that my dad gave him some money and told him to take me out for dinner.

I want to walk in the rain by the riverside and listen to the sound of water and water. The trees are turning already this year. It is snowing in the mountains. It can't be autumn yet.


My folks are visiting.
Tomorrow we're cutting firewood.
I'm exhausted already.
Have a fun weekend.


Took a tumble, my mind did a bellyflop and I feel lame and crooked. I'll not appreciate heat, too hot to do. My ears burn and tingle but I think it's just from bloodsuckers, bug bite welts, more garlic for me please.

Everyone called at once, hello, hello, hello. Where have I been? I've been under the bed with the stardust. I've been sweating and covered with cotton from Egypt. I've been lost in the new moon's craters.

This world never goes anywhere but changes again and again. This world hello hello hello never changes but goes everywhere.

I stretched and twisted and breathed last evening, warm sun setting on my left side. All will be well. All will be well and we'll all someday be dead but such entropy is inevitable and there is no percentage in worrying about it. Time is not linear. Because. All that matters has nothing to do with matter.


So peaceful and silent, removed from the sounds of industry, miles from any road, just west of the backside of nowhere in Three Sisters Wilderness. Steep ridges on three sides cradle a small jewel of a glacier-fed lake. Cold water trickles down through the lava skree on the east and south slopes, gathering into meandering cascading creeks. One big and fast cold creek churns white into the far bank of the lake and the sound was a constant rush, a lullaby, song of the mountain.

S and JJ and the dogs and I hiked in the late afternoon, navigating the trail up and over a ridge and down into the basin, through the tall dark evergreens, past boulders as big as cars and houses flung by some long-ago volcanic explosion. Tree roots polished from the passage of boots, bear grass tufts and delicate ferns and glossy green rhododendrons and bright green vine maples and wild ginger that spiced the air, then through dry creek bottoms down near the lake, and back up the trail.

The worst part was a monstrous deadfall; some previous wind storm had torn and tumbled seven massive cedar and fir trees across the path, they had cracked and twisted and buckled together. The hillside was too steep and the fallen trees too long to go around, and too big to climb over, so we removed our packs and crawled under while S passed first my pack and then JJ's and then his own over the lowest part of the logs. And a nod goes to S for carrying a pack twice as heavy as mine. He carried the tent and almost all the food, and the cookstove.

We continued around the lake and found a space in a cedar grove that was level enough for two tents, about fifty feet above the water, a steep skree field of gravel and sand below us. The shadows were long and thunderclouds had drifted over the lake, and thunder rumbled to the east, on the flanks of Middle Sister.

S made dinner with small pizza crusts covered with proscuitto, sliced dry mozzarella cheese, and seasoned tomatoes from a jar. Fast, easy, no cooking, no dishes to wash in the dark. And let's not forget the wine; it tastes fine from a tin cup. We could not have a camp fire because the wilderness area has no road access and because the woods are dry, but we enjoyed watching the sun set and the stars appear and disappear beneath the curtain of clouds.

The water reflected the violet and vermillion sky and the ridges went black against the sky. All was silent except for the thunder in the distance, and we sat quietly together, and rubbed shoulders, and spoke softly out of reverence and exhaustion.

I slept very little; between the thunder riding in the heavens and the dogs fidgeting and the sounds of the world creaking on its axis, not to mention the hardest sleeping mat in the world, I spent most of the night wishing for sleep. And then it rained, which at least gave me something to think about, all the droplets tumbling on the rain fly covering the tent. Finally towards dawn I fell into a dreamless sleep.

The next day S went fishing and JJ and I went on a long hike up the fast rushing creek around the far side of the lake. It was some burly hard hiking, scrambling and clambering over haphazard logs and boulders, over snags, through muck and mud, up and down the steep cut banks of the torrential water. We compared scratches and bruises and bug bites later, but the thing that remains is the beauty of the falling water and memory of the cool spray on our sweaty faces.

We had intended to go swimming in the lake but the clouds rolled over us again in the afternoon, and due to work, JJ had to leave rather than stay another night. We said goodbyes and then she with her pack disappeared down the steep bank, on her way back home.

S and I sat and snacked on the food he had brought, nuts and dried fruit, and we sat beneath the cedar boughs when it started to thunder and roll the next ridge over, in between us and Middle Sister. He said mountains make their own weather, and these thunderclouds are orographic. It sounded like the sky was buckling and tearing, big long continuous rolls, the devil racing his chariot. It was so continuous I noticed it best when it would cease for a while.

We only saw lightning once, it cracked at the top of the ridge and reflected in the lake water, an eerie ozone yellow illuminating the clouds. The thunder would have rattled windows if there had been windows to rattle. The rain then fell quietly, and built, making ringlets on the water. We watched in the stillness, only the sound of the rain rippling the water. It rained harder and looked like the lake was boiling, but we were dry beneath the cedar boughs and it was not cold or windy.

After the storm passed to the west, S went fishing again and I tidied camp, took a nap, and then wandered to the small tumbling creek to filter some water into our bottles.
The colors after the rain shone vibrant, clean, clear. Fish rose and made rings on the water, birds came to the lake shore. I watched ouzels, small aquatic birds that look like miniature black penguins, dip and dive beneath the surface. There were no jays in the woods because there were ravens, and I listened to them make their deep calls. Above us, circling to the east, a survey plane from the forest service droned. We figured it was searching for possible fires caused by the lightning, or possibly surveying one that had started on the west face of the Sisters. The faintest breeze rippled the water and stirred the tree tops.

We had trout for dinner, two apiece, cooked with butter in tin foil until the meat fell off the bones. S caught two brook trout and two brown trout, and told me their scientific names and some natural history of both but I can't remember anything other than how delicious they tasted. We had wine again, and flat bread, and dried fruit, and watched the light change from gold to amber to emerald, and then grey and everything looks flat, no depth, no shadows, the surface of the water broken and ringed by big fish in the center of the lake.

When the sun sank below the opposite cusp of the hill, the bats came. I have never seen anything like it. There must have been hundreds of small bats flying less than a foot above the surface of the lake, often landing for a moment befor rising again in strange-winged flutter. The sky and the lake were shining crimson and purples, ancient colors, and the black forms of the bats went sweeping and dodging across the water. The only sound came from the swift rocky creek across on the other side of the lake, that shushing churn of water on rocks.

I slept well; there was no thunder, and no rain. But the ground is still the ground, and we rose soon after dawn, made our packs, and after breakfast and some leisure, hiked back up and over the ridge. It was easier and more difficult; exhaustion wieghed heavy, and the loveliness held its allure, but when we passed the ten-man fire crew hiking into the remote area we found better speed in our steps. Plus the promise of a hot shower and a soft bed made civilization sound acceptable.


We're gone into the wild, packs ready, dogs ready, boots and hats and sweaters for the cold night, a laden journey rewarded by solitude and company under the sky. We're gone where the wind whistles through the tall trees and across the face of the water.

We'll sleep under stars and hear the two waterfalls just east of camp falling down the lava rock churning phosphorescent, combining in the hollow south and west of the ridge to form a little glacial lake.

We'll watch Leonid meteors dash across the sky, falling stars skipping on the earth's atmosphere and the sky above endlessly dark and deep, stars so bright the constellations are lost. A bare sliver of silver the crescent moon will set by midnight.

A howl perhaps coyote, a screech perhaps night owl, a shuffle perhaps bear, and we won't hear the deer with their careful hooves softer than rain falling, a snore of four companions asleep on the ground.

We'll wake to the sunlight and birdsong and the hushed quiet of the big mountain forest.

Have a good weekend.


To determine right from wrong we must recognize that the extreme limits of both, like all things, come back around to connect in a Mobius strip. Twist it how you like it will not unknot. Infinity. Yin and yang. We live and then we die, and both are the breathing of the world. The grass is beautiful when it is dead and sun-bleached, it looks like gold spread out on the hillsides.

There is nothing so simple as truth. It is only the application of values to truth that causes the great problems of the world.

The term "weed" is a value judgement. Ask a child if those soft cadmium yellow flowers that turn into wishes are simply weeds. Ask anyone who has had dandelion wine, bottled dandy sunshine, if it were made from weeds.

You can't see me flying in my dreams but away I go, unhindered, my trajectory unknown. You can't see what I see as I fly over rooftops and river valleys. It's not like an airplane, it's like riding a horse and I wake with tears on my cheek from the speed of my travel, my hair knotted and wind-blown.

When a horse runs, his hindquarters kick back to thrust him forward, and his big belly slides back, and this pulls his lungs long and his lungs fill with air as he reaches and catches the earth with his forelegs. As he brings his hindquarters swinging forward underneath him his guts shove the air back out of his lungs. Then again comes the thrust and surge and kick and he scoops air into his lungs.

I have been on the back of a racing sorrel horse flying around a track and felt the mechanism and the muscles and the great lungs breathing; when the gait smoothes into gallop there is that moment of rythmic weightlessness and motion combined. The motion gains so much momentum and velocity it feels like it should continue forever.

It feels like flying.

But it slows as he tires, it changes rhythm and he breathes ragged, nostrils distended, swallowing air. Entropy traps all things, and we place our values on it and call it bad only because we don't want the running to end. But there still exists that memory, the dream, and dandelions plucked to be bottled before they change from sun to moon. Yin and yang.


Meridian, high zenith, tree shadows dark and downcast, burnished blue. Not a breath crackles, air like hot lead, only cicadas in their seventeenth year go whirring. There is a point before entering shadows when the light builds and blinds and glows hot, a retina burn, when the sun shines and ricochets off the surface and dashes vainly at the edges of shade. It creates a barrier between the clear and the obscure, a barrier of light. It becomes harder and harder to see and then for only a second, depending on the rate of travel, I feel blind. If I continue with some strange twist of faith I find the ground feels the same beneath my feet, I do not fall from the earth although I cannot see it. With another two steps the world becomes clear again, but shadowed, sheltered.

The riverbanks are draped in cottonwoods and maples and willows, thick with dark firs. Brambles stumble down the rocky cutbanks but in places the earth slopes gently into the muddy shallows. There are animal tracks, birds, beavers, raccoons, dogs, people. Silent testaments, impressions in river clay to prove the passage of time.

The water is cold and chills the earth despite the sun. She is a big fast river from the mountains and she claims the lives every year of unwary swimmers who come only to escape the heat. From where I stand with my toes near the lapping edge, it appears her surface in the middle of the current, probably thirty feet from me, is on level with my waist, she so bucks and races. I would not dare to ride her. I'll stay beside her, here in the shadows.


I can tell you what lurks in the dark and dank places near the bottom of the heart, those things locked away, the narrow heavy door barricaded. I can tell you because I put some of those things there in my own heart many years ago, thinking I could think to forget, discarded memories dumped into the well.

In delving take care, take light, take a rope and a pick. It is deep, and it goes deeper, and may even have the cold faint echoes of water dripping into a vast underground pool. But sometimes, weather and mind permitting, it is safe to go spelunking, if only just to see.

Under weight, given time, coal turns to diamonds; and we are carbon, too. It is impossible to say what long-forgotten regret has morphed into corundum.
I'm killing comments.
Hear that nothingness as I pull the plug.

To those of you who have kindly and consistently commented, I thank you.
And I thank every one who reads my rambles.




Saturday passed too fast, I did half of a third of the things I didn't want to do and none of the things I needed to do. I have not been sleeping well and the half moon hangs, not apparent whether it is coming or going.

Sunday fair Sunday I danced. The workshop was a good blend of solid motion and anticipated motion, the point of dreaming in between where the hips twist and shift and then the feet draw their triplet step in an infinity pattern on the floor. The song choreographed was binta baladi, or girl of the country, she's the best, she's strong and pretty. In the heat of the dance studio every beautiful woman of every size and shape and color was rising and turning and spreading her arms then spinning around again in unison, all of us panting and sweating and smiling.

Believe it or not, I am notorious for being the class clown. Never in my life have I gained this distinction. I was forever the mouse in the back corner who fucked up the grade curve. But in dance class I am the one who makes the faces and the tension-breaking sighs and the exuberant motion and laughter. I think I do this as an invitation to anyone, come talk to me. For whatever reason, be it my familiarity with the teacher, whom I've known longer than anyone else in the class at this point, or my mannerism, which I have heard is unapproachable, I like to break people's perceptions of me.

I've gotten so far past shyness it's hilarious to me to think how worried about other individuals' opinions I once felt. It's not callousness on my part, just the ability to laugh in the face of cold shoulders. Haughtiness is unbecoming and I'll poke you in the belly, better believe it. Dancing has given me an amazing level of confidence blended with humility-- we all every one of us make mistakes. Callouses on the soles are much better than callouses on the soul.


The rain came so gently this morning, soaking the earth, the sweet smells of timothy hay and clover breathing in the dawn. You threw the window wide and the fresh air slipped into the room like a comfortable old friend who knows you've been expecting her.

Last evening while the sun set vermillion in the western clouds there was a full double rainbow standing in the east. The clouds behind it were lavender and violet and deep watery blue all swirling as the air currents eddy against the mountains.

The last rays of sun illuminated the trees, sketching them hard and bright, each leaf and branch in sharp contrast with the dark swirling sky behind them and the prismatic arc sweeping over. It felt like those moments of thought when understanding comes brilliant, when the swirling dark doubts are proved to be secondary to realization, when truth shines.


I walked down the tree-lined dirt path in spring, new grass rising, the smell of cedar trees on the wind. The weather was warm and swallows flitted through the tree canopy above me. He fell in step behind me from out of the shadows, as if he had been waiting for me. It made me nervous. I thought of being taken against my will. His clothing was simple, nondescript, blacks and browns, from what I had seen as I rounded a bend in the path. He had a great mane of dark blond hair, a long, not-unpleasant face, with an aquiline nose and bow-shaped lips and a clean high brow. He was in some ways beautiful, and others terrible, and he had two large colorless moles at the lower left corner of his mouth. As he gained on me I paused, and turned to the tall thin stranger and said, "Please, go ahead," forcing a smile. I glanced at his face and found myself entranced, trying to decide whether he were beautiful or hideous.

He returned my smile, not unkindly, but with his lips only, and rather than step ahead of me and continue on the path, he took my arm and guided me a few steps into the tall grass and buttercups. The woods seemed to shrink away from him, and the shadows crept from huge maples, oaks, and firs to cover us. There were no ash trees in this part of the woods. I had only the faintest fear; his light warm hand on my arm did not pull so much as suggest, as a snake's body cannot be seen to glide effortlessly through reeds. I followed willingly, certainly like a sheep to its slaughter. My thoughts were blank.

"What are you doing?" I asked, feeling overwhelmed by innocence and confusion, and he smiled again with his lips. With his hand on my arm he placed my back against something which was not there (surely no tree would allow it) so I might not bolt through the woods, and we were still standing but gravity had ceased to exist. I did not feel dizzy, but I thought the ground was beneath my back, even though I could not see the cathedral spires of trees, and I know I stood. My feet and head felt numbed by venom.

Thinking he meant to seduce me, I sought reward, and brazenly asked, "What will you give me?" I immediately felt embarrassed, and ashamed that I might allow this stranger to know me without a fight. I lowered my eyes, and I felt intoxicated by the sweet dark scent of him, and the heady drone of bees in the buttercups at our feet. I felt myself ready to surrender or to run. My heart beat steadily, and I was very aware of the sounds of wind high above in the trees.

He restrained me by lacing his fingers of his left hand through mine, and with his right hand he pressed a small folded paper into my palm. "Tell him there's more," he finally spoke, his lips an inch from my ear, his voice sibilant and whispery, and his features turned ugly for a split-second. But then his mouth twisted itself into a beautiful wry smile that made his eyes blaze with an unearthly fire. I assumed he meant "him" to mean my husband, and my assumption was incorrect, but I thought whatever I did would be to benefit my spouse. Such was the sin.

He bent to kiss my cheek, a fair breathy brush, no more than a feather's touch, and said, "Do not be afraid." He reached up and traced the air around my face, softly, delicately brushing the hair from my eyes. I was not afraid, and I finally relaxed all vigilance, deciding whatever happened, I should enjoy it with this mysterious, charming, terrible stranger. The second I acquiesced, he dispappeared with a smell of brimstone, and I was left alone, shaking, in the darkening woods with a note from Babylon in my hand. All God's creatures were hushed in the woods, and the wind blew through the trees.

This dream I dreamt a few years ago and recorded in a journal. It was so vivid I remember waking up drenched in sweat, feeling as though I were holding a piece of paper.


The map is not the territory. Come along a narrow back alley with me, it's not what you think. I should mention unpaved, sometime gravel, gone to weeds with overgrown apple trees and blackberry brambles spilling over fences stumbling downhill patched with baling wire and hog panels. No rhyme or reason to the lots or houses, mix and match, neighborhood patchwork of cottages and barns and houses and sheds. Gardens dripping with vegetables and sprinklers ratcheting soaking flowery beds of dahlias and sunflowers and roses.

The sun set red and flushed the sky, those high thin clouds racing dreams to the east. Wheel ruts made the five of us in our jaunt to the market rearrange position numerous times but it was nice and we all talked and walked gamboling.

The thin old toothless man who goes dancing at local music shows in his navy uniform with his long white beard lives two blocks down where the alley widens and is sandy and grassy. He gave us sweet potatoes he had harvested from his garden. He was slicing open some speaker wire he had gleaned from a dumpster and taking the copper out because copper is a dollar a pound you know, and China is taking a toll on all natural resources right now right they're the new superpower but the US just throws it away you know. Treasures in dumpsters you know. JJ asked is this your beautiful cat and he said well I don't claim ownership but we live together you know.

The sky bled violet and indigo, that point of dusk when you can see beyond the atmosphere like it's so much deep water, the first brightest evenstars shine a million miles away. The universe has no map, no time to travel. The trees above went black against the sky and little bats made their erratic frantic flights after insects. We plucked berries from the wild vines and felt them explode against our tongues, and Ali's little dog sniffed every tuft of grass, and Ali and Jay held hands sometimes. They both have such sweet smiles. S and JJ bought a bottle each of red wine and S got chocolate at the corner grocery store, and we walked back to JJ's new home in the dark. All the neighbors' dogs were out on patrol doing their dog business taking care of their yard perimeter and sounding alarms as we passed.

We had a nice evening on the little front deck surrounded by roses, JJ brought out two elegant candles to shed some light on the matter. I found myself examining the facets of their faces as they smiled and spoke and sipped from crystal glasses a friend had given JJ to warm the house; they resonated with a low note better felt than heard. I watched the face of my man and thought about how romantic and beautifully poetic he looked with white shirt and pale roses by candlelight it might be a hokey cliche but I don't care.

Faces are maps but not the territory, just as a picture is worth a thousand words but you might not know location or events without a caption. I travelled the lines of his face last night, hairline, shapes, all the straights and curves and concaves, much travelled and much loved paths. It changes with the days. The territory changes.


Hold them without contempt you once loved. Knowing as you do everything about them but remember you never knew them, not really. Arms, those awkward upper appendages, so clever hands and fingers at the ends, those arms can not hide the feelings of the heart even if the lips service a lie. You can't make someone understand when there's no sense, trying to communicate with someone to whom, with whom, you feel the constant need to explain yourself. No regrets no guilt.

We weave an elaborate web of relationships and intrigues, breaks in the yarn only seen through close scrutiny, threadbare fabric patched only if it's necessary. We create a series of knots for decoration, for strength, for thickness, clever fingers at the ends of too truthful arms forming the structure, the bias, the warp and weft. Weave it loosely for give, for resistance, for additions, but not so loose as to lose form.

Saturday I awoke to clouds, marine layer, killdeer crying. We rode bicycles west into the late morning, into the wetlands preserve, checkermallows and wild grasses, the air cold and fresh with mist and bright with the sun illuminating the clouds. The medicinal smell of ironweed, that smell of summer, like sunflowers bloomed out and drooping under the weight of their future. Bright pink pea vetch and bright blue milkweed and cattails rippled in the breeze in the drainage ditch. We rode across the bridge and onto the bike trail.

Shift down crank that big chain ring around, drop down go galloping, give chase and make speed, the rush of wind our own creation and the blue and gold barn swallows sweep in the field beside us, like dolphins riding the waves of a ship. Speed just because, eyes watering, nose and throat and lungs burning, every muscle alive.

S passed me on the turn and I dropped behind him, drafting. He mentioned his mother was worried about him riding out the bike path alone and I laughed but he said no not because she was afraid other people would harm him but because he and bicycles have a long and disastrous history, including broken limbs and concussions involving trees and mailboxes and automobiles. But he promises he's a much safer rider these days. Not that I could stop him. We watched an eagle flying over our heads headed west to the lake and took the long way home.

Traditional style bellydance is not flashy cabaret but more folkloric stepwork, and the workshop I took on Saturday afternoon focused on floor patterns, musical rhythm, and finger cymbals. I learned so much. One of the things I love best about bellydancing is that it gives validity to age. Our Saturday instructor is in her sixties, still smashing in silver dahling and can dance graceful beautiful circles around girls a third her age. She told me once with the sweetest smile, there are grandmas who babysit and there are grandmas who bellydance. We studied beledi rhythm and masmoudi rhythm, how to dance and how to play the zills with the complicated and sometimes syncopated beats. It was as much a workout for my mind as for my hands and feet; a different style of dance than the sensuous rich layers of serpentine and shimmy.

JJ came for dinner and teased me about my inflatable kiddie pool. It's ten feet long and two feet deep and if I hold my breath and float on my back and close my eyes I can imagine I'm in a much bigger body of water bobbing along. It's also deep enough or I'm small enough to be completely submerged. Anyway it's better than the bathtub for splashing and it sure beats the heat.

Sunday after moving JJ into her cute little cabin in a neat old neighborhood and after she bought us lunch because she's a dear one not to mention damn sexy in that little red top she wore, S & I returned home. I have been working on crocheting scarves; I bought all kinds of wool, merino wool, mohair, lincoln, shetland, etc. and am first gathering then winding and then crocheting, which is done with one hook. I look at that little instrument and wonder at the creation and adaptation; it looks like someone lost one of their knitting needles and simply made do with the remaining stick by carving a notch to hook the line.

All I do is make knots; fancy elaborate and intricate slip knots, but just knots. I can unravel the whole thing by pulling on the loose end. It falls into a rhythm itself, my hands nimbly reaching and knotting, keeping the yarn a certain tension between the loop and the hook, and since it is both creative and mechanical I am able to let my mind wander. It follows the knots, I look at the places in memory forgotten, those untied ends. I find the tangles, the irreparable sections torn apart, shredded beyond recognition.

I don't feel regret for the damage of years gone by, it's not worth the trouble. Once in my life I thought I could mend anything, and maybe once in my life I could have mended anything up until that point, but now the best I can do is tie the pieces, tuck or snip the snags, and weave what I can into some semblance of pattern.