for St. Patrick’s Day….
The winter-bare branches wore green;
not full summer sleeves,
but more than a blush.
Smaragdine: yesterday’s word of the day…
a foreign word if ever there was one,
sounding like some cheek-curtling dessert
of the Vikings,
rather than one that might–anon–
rename these purple, high-desert hills.
Hmmm…I imagine a coffee table book,
Smog to Smaragdine:
The Fashion Evolution of Global Warming.
This is not a poem…
just a bleary morning’s musing,
a means to pour the pollen-silt onto a page,
and clear my senses for the unrestrained Spring Revue
of birdsong and brightening sun:
Warming’s happy chorus of
M.L. 3/ 18/17
I woke into the Bliss of still body and silence. I brought a dream to the surface to remember; but I lay in long, dozing while my various faculties coalesced in the here and now, and I let go of its thread… let it sink back behind a curtain of open prayer silently intoned, earnestly dispatched in the Morse code of my heart… and repopulated my waking story.
I knew that as I stirred the uncertainties and malaise seeded in the body would swirl into awareness, but for now the pond was clear and still, and I felt the prayers were automatic in the intimate cathedral of that silence. Now that I’m up and stirring outside my womb of a room, I hear the wind swirling and whipping, and I hear the warble of a robin augering through it into the still space of this house, silent but for me, the refrigerator, and the high electric hum of these walls.
This silence, the teeming silence of New Mexico, its sometimes-deafening implosiveness, seems important for me. Somehow, over the years, I have been gifted with—or brokered for myself from beyond personal and conscious conjuring—homes of remove and silence. It must be important. But if my mind makes it important, something to be valued or needed, it feels vulnerable to attack, confiscation, subject to the deprivations that follow on unworthiness and greed (all fear).
I am in perfection here, yet with fear always a shade away. What a set-up! I can only live with an open hand…on a precarious perch over a precipice of unknown future. This perch would seem to be the maidenhead of a good ship of the Greater Self, steered by Karma and exigencies to which I am only occasionally privy.
I ask into the silence, again and again, what is mine to do? … Sensing (right or wrong) that I am still responsible for adjusting the sails of my conscious attention and intention, and plagued by the sailors’ lore of shipwreck, by the belief that I can do it wrong and that catastrophe, while in a boat on these capricious seas, is a matter of when, not if.
But here I am, doing and praying into a sea of love, humility and merit, offering up the ego’s anchors, forgiving their weight and their tendency to catch on things and startle awake the lightly sleeping belief in “Dragons.”
My last post touched on magic, and a moment when events cohered into a beautiful sort of Celtic knot of synchronicity.
Only a couple of days later, I look back upon another day’s events, which flaunt mystery but so far flout the same crystalline clarity of message. Still, they present a poignant aura of magic amid the mystery.
On Friday, a friend reported to me that she had been lunching Thursday at a beloved Santa Fe eatery, Jambo, only minutes before a confused little old lady had driven into the storefront of the restaurant, demolishing the table where they had been seated and injuring a number of people. They were just driving off when a friend of her husband, who had been seated at the next table, texted to tell them what had happened.
We read similar news accounts often enough, normally with an accustomed (or protective) remove. Knowing that my friend had been right there made for a more chilling read, and yet, also uplifting, given the manager’s words:
No one was sitting at the tables by the window when the crash occurred, Swaleh Obo said. “It’s crazy. God is great. … “It could have been a couple dead.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)
I later remembered that I, myself, had driven through that parking lot that day– not once, but twice. Historically, I go for weeks or months without doing so at all. It was just before 4pm when I recall passing the restaurant and noting that a well-coiffed fellow in a silk blue suit was standing facing an unmanned camera on a tripod in the parking lot outside the place. I wondered in passing what special event was getting attention there. My eyes were not attracted by any conspicuous wreckage, which may have been obscured by cars. No emergency vehicles lingered to raise alarm.
And then my attention was drawn to a rather eccentrically dressed woman (in a mink coat and warm-ups) walking along the sidewalk toward other shops, and my previous wonderings were abandoned. My interest in her is curious in itself, as I rarely linger on such human oddities as I drive. I now remember her holding my attention inordinately long.
I learned this morning that another, unrelated friend had actually been inside Jambo during the incident. He escaped with only a scrape or two. Others, I gather, had broken bones. He is still processing the experience. And, in a far subtler way, I am too.
It was eerie the I had been drawn to that location twice that day, ostensibly on other business, and that two of my friends had been on site. No other “logical connection” can be drawn, however.
By the following day, Telocote Café, another long-lived Santa Fe eatery, had put the word out that they were donating 15% of this weekend’s proceeds toward the swift reconstruction of Jambo! My sense of Santa Fe as a community of heartful souls was heightened by these reports. As if an invisible player was more palpably strumming living threads that weave through Santa Fe, and among its diverse populace, linking us all below our normal radar.
If there were anything I could eat at Telocote, I’d have driven into town today and patronized the place — for the first time. I later heard that Jambo Café’s food truck was parked outside their wounded store front and serving today. If I’d known, I might have scraped together my pennies for a mid-day Afro-Cuban indulgence: a spot of fish or goat stew.
I presume opportunity is still there. If you are in the neighborhood, do stop by. Everything on the menu is always delectable. But something tells me that right now the extra helping of good will—the fresh seasonings of poignancy and pathos –will add special savor. Bon appetite.
Forget counting calories. Count your blessings!
In our little writing play-shop today, the final prompt to explore was the statement:
When something is lost, we must find it in ourselves.
Although the prompt was inspired by the recent election, it holds true more generally, not to mentioned in a million ways more personally. The responses were varied and poignant. When I read mine, someone said it should be a blog post. I said, “why not?” and I post the unpolished musing here:
I see I have lost my certainty. So many people seem to have it (certainty), and yet their conclusions to me seem ill-considered, making me afraid to be certain and consequentially blind, arrogant and limited. Like a good unaffiliated Buddhist,* I jettisoned all my beliefs, only to find that humans do not function, do not survive, without belief in something. So, knowing I cannot be sure that anything I think I know is true, I make the most conscious choices I can in choosing what I believe, with the willingness to be wrong and to change my belief.
In losing certainty, have I gained wisdom? I have, certainly, gained humility.
In watching a world so uncertain, I have gained responsibility. And my responsibility is to forgive, to love and to know what can’t be proven to the certain.
*Here shorthand for “Klezmer-loving, Tree-hugging Zen Sufi Taoist in Christ”
Comforted, engulfed this morning by the surround sound of drenching winter rain. From under the eave, I bathe in motherly mist, in the positive glow of negative ions, and I celebrate the eskimo spectacular of water missiles–100 gradations of wet and of frozen. Some streaks stay water from Heaven to Earth; others are granted a softer landing, blooming like popcorn into snow.
It is a complete symphony, not just the rat-a-tat percussion section of water javelins; not all drops sized to play the same octave. Some sigh of sibilance; others hold the silence of deep sky. All sing of jubilation, and dozens of robins twirl and trill along.
And then the roar lifts, like an airplane releasing the runway, road noise falling silent. Roof is transformed from resonance chamber to reservoir, as all races of rain settle back into their origin, settle into one tone and evolve, through silent snow… brittle, brilliant ice…and then, again, into liquid laughter, giggling through gutters to ground.
On this boxing day, I have learned that George Michael has left us. Another one gone who might have had more to offer yet, but who made the world a better place by being in it, certainly in his philanthropy, but also through his canny music craft and an intelligence of heart. The man had a way with a pop hook, for sure, but it was his lyrics, as he matured, that intrigued me.
I grew up steeped in pop pablum, but I was dismissive of empty pop by the time he emerged as the implausibly handsome half of Wham! And certainly there was a gloss and glib to their songs. But even those early hits had something irresistible (or at least forgivable) to them: The shameless abandon (and pun) of “Wake me up before you Go-Go,” the articulate contrition of “Careless Whisper,” etc….
And when he outgrew the gravy train, he bit the hand that fed him. Though he lost the battle with his record company, maybe he kept his integrity. I doubt he regrets it now. Ain’t no walls in Heaven to hang gold records on.
I own precious little pop music from the 80’s, but I have ended up with George Michael’s Best of, and solid handful of those songs still stop and hold my attention, even stir my heart, my admiration, and my gratitude that his soul had the craft to communicate them.
Never really got George Michael? That’s okay. But if you haven’t recently, you might try giving songs like “Father Figure,” “Praying for Time,” “Freedom 90” (and others) another listen. It is not empty pop.
So, I’m feelin’ the swell in my heart this evening, the twinge of grief that is a celebration, that bathes us in remembrance and gives a good soul his send off.
Just for fun. There is a video on Youtube of James Corden’s original inspiration for his now mega-popular carpool karaoke. It’s an extended Comic Relief Sketch (a British cameo fest that has pay off toward the end), which early on features Gearge Michael clearly not holding himself sacred. If it doesn’t play here, google it.