So much churns and rises to the surface during the night. A few days ago, I sat with my coffee and journal as I do most mornings, trying to capture my waking thoughts. As usual, only after my inner compass steadied could I turn my gaze to the headlines and other people's stories. Though I am enamored with the world, I don't know what magnets may swing too near my needle as I sleep so nearly every morning I do this scan of my inner horizon, as if it's an object on my nightstand, to ensure true north is where I left it the night before. If I can engage the first half hour of the morning with my pen steadied over the page, I rein in some otherwise missed understanding of the world. I write, listen to the hum of the refrigerator or the chatter of finches across the street, and sip my coffee. Sometimes, when there's little to sort out, I just write about the refrigerator and the finch. I aim for at least three pages of anything, and no matter what I write, mornings like that start out well.
The break of a new year is much the same. As one year's clepsammia thins, I hold my inner compass to the events of the previous twelve months. How does my living measure with the map I envision for my life? Have I lived aligned with my values? When the hourglass inverts, I face the future and envision how to rebalance lopsidedness from the previous year and further build on past progress.
As I began to write my way across the transition from 2017 into 2018, though, I noticed a distinctly uncommon wobble in my journaling. My compass seemed to be spinning. When I asked What did I do with my time? I felt unmoored, and then understood: The November before, not to over-play a broken record, had named the loser of the popular vote the winner of our last presidential election. Though I believe people can change, I don't think Trump will, and I didn't buy some commentators' hopes that his election season manner would temper after his swearing in. Instead, the weight of all the injustices ever wrought against women -- the silencing, the harassing, the violence, the unfair narratives, the pay gap -- pushed at my back and pummeled me through the gates of that new year. I had crossed threshold with a heady mix of anger, fear of the unknown, and a whopper of an election hangover.
Between the election of '16 and the swearing in last January, with my usual New Year's reckoning, I somberly acknowledged that the creative and professional plans I had thought would be my focus of 2017 had been based on an election outcome much different from what came to pass. Instead, I saw, 2017 would be not a year of embarking on new journeys, but on rehashing tired arguments for why, dammit, women need access to reproductive care; why, dammit, people for whom skin color has been the primary correlating factor for economic disparity should benefit from affirmative action; why gender expression or sexual orientation should make no damn difference when it comes to employment, military service, marriage, bathroom access, safety, or equal rights of any kind; why health care, particularly for the very old and very young and very sick and very poor -- and every child, like ours, with Type 1 Diabetes -- should be, in every civilized and wealthy society, guaranteed, accessible, and affordable; why we must be aggressive and progressive against industries that exacerbate climate change; why we must be diplomatic in our foreign relations; why we must encourage and support advancements in science, the arts, and education; and why, dammit, the individuals we choose as representatives should represent us at our best, not just for political reasons, but because, for god's sake, the children are listening.
This week, as I tried to clarify my retrospective of 2017 in order to create my vision for 2018, I saw too well that the past year, instead of moving forward, had been spent going back over the leaks in the boat we'd already built and had thought was airtight. That was the wobble. It came from the gravitas and boredom of battles re-waged. It came from tamping down celebrations; pulling back recording projects; setting aside money for the ACLU and NARAL and other organizations with other letter combinations; and delaying creation of new books in order to have time to consume more articles analyzing what had caused this great ship to dip, and how to simultaneously bail out the water and repair the leak before we all go down.
You many think I'm being overly dramatic, but that's part of what I love about you and me: we are not identically the same in our passions. And sometimes we are.
Still, the point is that 2017 has ended. To honor it, Darby and I chilled a bottle of prosecco and holed up in his recording studio to reclaim what was left of the new year. We staked out the final hours and marked them as our own, getting back to making music and writing stories.
We finished the year like that, never getting to the Prosecco, and woke up on January 1 to continue our work, which is on the Bliss Drops record that we first started over a year ago. Never mind the past. Through this New Years Eve and Day, we picked up where we left off before the election fiasco of 2016, with what is called "the Guru mantra," a Sanskrit chant that I've put to melody and chords, and which Darby has dressed up in groove. Gu = darkness. Ru = remover. Seems a fitting way to start anew: removing the darkness to bring in clarity, truth, healing, and joy.
"By reciting this mantra with a sincere heart," activist, musician, writer, and yoga teacher Sharon Gannon writes, "you will see that the power that enlightens is all around you at all times. [...] The guru is your own self, the inner guiding light."
To you, dear reader, I wish a very happy 2018, filled with love, joy, good health, creative inspiration, and the light of truth so that you may see more clearly in the darkness.
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshwara, Guru sakshat, param Brahma, tasmai shri guravay namaha
Brahma is the force, or guru, of creation; Vishnu, that of preservation; devo Maheshwara is behind the trials that transform us. There is a remover of darkness nearby (Guru Sakshat) and one beyond the beyond (param Brahma). I make my offering (tasmai) to the beautiful (shri) remover of my darkness, my own ignorance; I honor that guru with my life (namaha).
“Destruction, creation, catastrophe, renewal, sorrow, and joy are merely human ways of seeing, human projections onto the landscape, the ecologists say. What is real, they say, is change." - from Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore
Here on the north side of Los Angeles, we're all ashes to dust to smoke to flame. In at least four locations across Los Angeles and Ventura counties, brush fires, which first ignited Monday night, are reportedly 0% contained. Funny, now, to think that while I was out running earlier that day, I didn't think, as I usually do when the winds kick up fiercely in the afternoon, It's fire weather. In the newly-chilly winter temperatures, I must have forgotten the danger. After all, this week I began wearing a winter jacket to the office.
As of this writing - Tuesday - communities have been evacuated across our two counties over the past twelve hours due to the 50k-acre Thomas Fire consuming Ventura and Ojai; the 5k-acre Rye Fire burning in Santa Clarita; the closer 2.5k-acre Creek Fire in Sunland and Sylmar; and the fresh 2k Runner Fire in Thousand Oaks. Though many fires have burned this year, these are places where friends, including some of you, live. Where the artisan who designed and hammered our wedding rings has his business. Where my kids jumped horses over fences and then fed them peppermints and carrots. The burned acres will certainly grow as I draft this letter, along with other tallies: structures and irreplaceables burned, costs for what can be repaired, businesses destroyed, large and small animals lost, deaths. The Santa Ana winds blow strongest in December. It's going to be a long week with a lot of math.
[Wednesday morning edit: Thomas Fire is 65k acres, 0% containment; 7k acre Rye Fire, 5% containment; Creek Fire is 12k acres, 0% containment; Runner Fire is contained; a new overnight Skirball Fire by the Getty Center has shut down I-405 in both directions right through Los Angeles and has burned 50k acres.]
Fires need only spark, fuel, and air. In the coming weeks, investigators may determine it was a stray cigarette butt thrown out the window of a speeding car, or a bit of ash that floated up a chimney and caught on a palm frond. Maybe, like a nearby fire in October, an emergency flare too close to the shoulder rolled onto a spit of grass. Possibly, a bit of burning debris from one fire was carried on a gust of wind, and sparked another fire elsewhere. Last winter's glorious rains pulled our region out of severe into moderate drought, and spurred excellent new growth on the thirsty hills, which the dry summer desiccated to tinder. Even in recent weeks' chill, the humidity index hovered in the single digits. Then, Monday, the Santa Ana winds blew 60 mph gusts over a tiny spark, from some yet-known source, and now southern California is on fire. CNN reports that on the first night, the Thomas Fire was burning at nearly an acre per second. In New York terms, that would be Central Park ravaged in fifteen minutes.
In spots, like the one where I sit now in North Hollywood, for the very young, or the very old, or the very weak, these few days of ashy air may prove challenging. Nearby, my friends' 20-day-old baby, who I love, and his newborn lungs, is on my mind, because dust from smoky air creeps inexplicably through doorjambs and windowsills.There's a young man named Miles who's stood half asleep for a year or more on a busy corner near our house, his father in a wheelchair just behind him. Their clothes, skin, and hair are only variations of the same unwashed brown. Darby frequently gives them money, food, and clothes. What do they do in weather like this, cold and horribly gritty with soot? The patients in the mental hospital that burned in Ventura this morning -- what toll does a trauma of relocation take on a fragile mind? It brings to my mind the undergraduate student in a course I have been teaching this fall at Antioch University, who moved in November to Thousand Oaks, where the Runner Fire cropped up. She emailed a few days ago, just a week before the final class of the term, to say she's suffering from the mental illness that she's written about in her papers, and she won't be able to complete the course. She is on my mind.
Though I am ashamed to admit it amid these and other very real fire-related concerns, I'm also thinking of my week's running schedule, now disrupted. With my face hiding behind my hands, I confess that last night I sought out a local gym with a treadmill. Self-care seems indulgent, but also necessary, in the face of local disaster. I've grappled with questions related to this issue for years: How, when there is real suffering, can I justify my own passions and comparatively petty needs? When horses are being evacuated from stables where my kids used to ride, can I justify an hour on a treadmill? While standing outside Berklee College of Music in 2002 just before I enrolled, I wondered how I could devote my life to music and literature, singing about love and lovers' disagreements - for fucks sake, SINGING - while only a few sidewalk squares separated me from a man who stumbled through the streets suffering demons and dire poverty in the winter cold?
I attempted to reroute myself eight or nine years ago. It was a moment of reckoning, during which I was accepted to a Masters in Social Work program and awarded a competitive and generous fellowship. I might have done real good for some people. The program would have put me in the center of Los Angeles family and children's services, working with kids in the foster system and couples caught in domestic abuse.
I turned it down, and even now know that was the right decision. In the end, I released the award to someone more whole-heartedly suited for the work. My domestic and existential drama interests are more introspective: what it means to love and be a flawed human; the forked path of growing older, and what paths are necessarily precluded in the wake of the others we choose; the difficult link between womanhood and motherhood, and motherhood and daughterhood; how to live fully while fully aware of mortality's shadow. My mind untangles narratives with as much success as an old rabbi and a gaggle of Talmudic scholars worrying over the meaning and order of words. In other words, the untangling is probably its own kind of tangling, but working that web fascinates me.
Meanwhile, Miles and his father seek shelter from the ash, my ex-student fights for her sanity, and the fires rage on. Last night the Santa Anas whipped stronger. The Skirball Fire ignited, and the city is under more duress. People are calling for everyone to stay off the roads, to keep them clear for first responders. I, though, have an obligation to my students on this last night of class, and unless the university closes for the evening, I will cross town to hear their final presentations. They've been researching creativity, interviewing artists, and exploring their own creative impulses, desires, blocks, fears.
I can't say what is, in light of disaster, the worth of art. I can say that my students appear grateful for our discussions in class. They report new insights into their own helpful or unhelpful patterns, and curiosity to further excavate their artistic inspiration. After an in-class writing prompt that centered them in an early memory about water, we talked about 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill, who advocated for, among other things, women's rights and labor unions. He'd fallen into a deep existential depression and lost all drive for his passions. What eventually drew Mill back to happiness was the poetry of William Wordsworth, with what philosopher Adam Etinson recently called its "quiet contemplation of delicate thoughts, sights, sounds, and feelings, not just titanic struggles."
Poetry was a soul-medicine that reinvigorated Mill's passions, inspiring his return to the good fight. Wordsworth, and his literary descendants like Mary Oliver, David Whyte, and Kathleen Dean Moore (quoted at the top of this letter), have been my own soul-medicine. The story of the solace Mill found in Wordsworth assuages my concerns about the relevance of art amid disaster, or the connection between art and self-care.
Right now, Darby, the girls, and I are lucky. The air is bad, but the flames are far from our home. In the coming days, if you are local and need support from the fires - a meal, a bed, a shower, reprieve - reach out. We have all the fixin's for a pot of chili, a cabinet of of mugs and tea, and a fridge of beer.
Writers! If you have a polished book project (or #CNF proposal) ready to pitch to agents, head to Twitter tomorrow (Thursday 12/7) for the #pitmad event. Between the hours of 8 a.m and 8 p.m. EDT, tweet up to three different 280-character pitches (new Twitter character limitations) directed to agents and publishers per manuscript project.
This event happens four times a year, so if you can't make it tomorrow, mark your calendars for 2018: March 8, June 7, September 6, and December 6.
Click here for Pitch War's list of hashtags for your genre and the rules. Remember: Don't "favorite" friends' tweets. If you want to show your support, you can RT and Quote-RT.
Here's a Writer's Digest piece by #pitmad founder Brenda Drake about the history of the event. And this link on her site is all about past successes.
Speaking of Twitter, after a big 2017 hiatus, I'm venturing back. Find me!
"Nestled in a sweet, escape in nature, I opened up myself to the deep work of being willing to go to the center of my own being. Through the guidance and love of Arielle Silver, Darby Orr, and Alexa Shore for three days, I was brought closer to exploring and honoring my own identity. And I connected with souls on the same spiritual path, who offered so much depth and their own vulnerabilities. They brought me closer to my own humanness. A magical community was created! This experience solidified how I want to continue to show up emotionally and spiritually for myself, my loved ones, and the world. And how I want to enjoy the simplest things like sunsets. I am deeply grateful for this community. Looking forward to the next one!" - Selma, 2017
We're sending well-wishes to beautiful Ojai during the Ventura fires. In January 2018, come see the magic of that ancient Chumash land and join me and Darby for a joyful and introspective event just for our friends and students, yoga practitioners of all levels, and creative spirits of all types. What is it you'd like to create in your life for the new year?
Alexa at Guru'd is our logistics guru. Click here for inquiries or to reserve your spot.
In an excellent piece from last month's New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan writes, "No tribal conflict has ever been unwound without magnanimity. Yitzhak Rabin had it, but it was not enough. Nelson Mandela had it, and it was. [...] [T]his requires, of course, first recognizing our own tribal thinking. So much of our debates are now an easy either/or rather than a complicated both/and. In our tribal certainties, we often distort what we actually believe in the quiet of our hearts, and fail to see what aspects of truth the other tribe may grasp." Read it here.
Last night was the first meeting of "Sources of Creativity: Theory and Practice," a course that I'm teaching this quarter in the BA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. The students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a broad array of creative experience, from poetry to visual art to acting, photography, coding, skateboarding, and scriptwriting. About midway through the three-hour class, as we reviewed the syllabus, a colorfully designed nine-pages with its outline of the quarter's assignments and midterm and final projects, dotted with drawings from my 13-year-old artist-stepdaughter, I sensed an unspoken concern in the room. How, I almost felt the students' thoughts, would this instructor evaluate our papers and projects - our creative work and our personal reflections on our process.
Ah, yes. This is where we need to start, every time, but especially in a setting like this one: a college classroom strewn with desks and chairs and whiteboards, all bright and muggy under the florescent lights. Especially when the students are all-too cognizant of the evaluations they will receive from me, their evaluator, at the end of the quarter.
I looked up from the schedule of academic rigor, scholarly essays, and details of how I will assess their work, to get back to the essence of what it is I hope will happen in this class over the next ten weeks: I hope they will create. I hope they will dig through whatever resists that desire, and come out the other side. I hope that by doing this together as a class, interviewing artists in their world, reading scholarly theories by Csikszentmihalyi, anecdotes from Anne Lamott, and spiritual inquiry by Nachmanovitch, they will find themselves among creative spirit comrades, and feel inspired.
Art is a process. Creative thinking is a process. Self-inquiry is a process. Exploration of the outside world is a process. Looking at the ordinary from a different angle... process process process.
So is the development of a class syllabus. I'll write more on the process by which this one came to be, but for now I'll leave it at this: When the students saw this syllabus, colorful and chunked and so unlike the common-looking black and white 12-pt Times New Roman font Word doc, they smiled. SMILED at a syllabus. I keep smiling at it, too.
If, like me, you're rather east-coast oriented, you would be surprised at how many north-south hours you can drive in California without crossing the state line. Even outside of Los Angeles rush hour, the southland continues for quite a while through beach towns, industry, and military land till you hit San Diego and, quickly after, the Mexican border. Meanwhile, your twin in Eastern time could tour all the New England states and maybe even hike Mt. Monadnock round-trip while you push 85 from San Francisco to Oregon, ignoring the celebrated and twisty path of Coastal Highway 1 that wends through eucalyptus and redwood forests and ocean views.
Years ago, when my band got to California on the west coast leg of our national tour, we took the fast farmland-country Interstate 5 from LA to SF and beyond. Kerouac not withstanding, when you're traveling with others in a van for months on end, sometimes you just want to get there, and we always had a solid schedule to keep. Pacific Coast Highway 1, though, is the pretty one. You don't take it when you're in a hurry to get somewhere; you take it to gape wide-eyed at the beauty and imagine a different life. Darby and I have driven the PCH from Los Angeles north to Big Sur on the central coast many times, stopping for a complimentary (Darby composed music for their films) tour of the magnificent Hearst Castle, goggling the blubbery elephant seals piled up and jousting on the sand, and, finally, twisting through Big Sur's craggy beauty on our way to our favoriteglamping spot, TreeBones, perched high above the surf.
This year, Big Sur is inaccessible from the south due to last winter's giant landslide over Highway 1. Sadly, it may be a few years before we again pitch our tent at TreeBones, browse the shelves at the Henry Miller Library, soak in Esalen's hot tubs, stuff ourselves on too much Big Sur Bakery bread, hike to the Tin House, and hunt through shells for jade. However, last week Darby and I had good reason for our first road trip far north of Big Sur: our friends' wedding in Davis put us already five hours north of LA. We decided to extend our trip and experience a new slice of the Golden State: Mendocino and Marin counties.
With Al Franken's new book, Giant of the Senate, on audio, after the wedding we swung north up I-5 and then northwest on Route 20, motoring alongside Clear Lake (at 68 square miles, the largest freshwater lake wholly in the state) and through Jackson State Forest until we hit the coast. Then we scooted up a little along the northern slip of Coast Highway 1, and spent five days hiking, beachcombing, and eating a lot of cheese, as we made our way back south. We stayed at two Airbnbs along the way -- the first in Elk, just south of Mendocino, and the second in Bolinas, a quirky little town in Marin County with one bar, two restaurants, and no road signs pointing the way for travelers. Though we knew that the residents of the unincorporated community notoriously take down Bolinas road signs until the county finally stopped putting them up, we still fell for it and overshot the town by about 20 minutes.
Our friends' wedding coincided with our own second wedding anniversary, but life has been busy lately, so most of our plans were made last minute, finger-on-the-map style, asking each other only a week earlier, "Where can we stay?" and "Want to go here, doll?" However, there was one place we knew months ago that we would visit: Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.
Nearly eight years ago, when Darby and I were still fairly new to each other, we drove "over the hill" for an afternoon stroll along a quiet beach near the intersection of our local stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway and the coastal tail of Topanga, one of the famous Los Angeles winding canyon roads. We slurped hot lemongrass soup at the Thai restaurant across the street, and then noticed the golden light of the nearly setting sun. After our soup, we froggered across four lanes of the PCH to the beach on the other side. It was probably a Sunday: Sunday was our day. A heart-shaped aluminum balloon floated above one of the restaurant tables, which I remember seeing and realizing that Valentine's Day was nigh.
As we walked and talked along the water's edge, the sinking sun rouged our faces, and I scanned the sand for seaglass. Having spent more of my lifetime on lakes than seas, I have always particularly appreciated the subtle, cloudy beauty of those glass gems. Rarity is perhaps why I love it ("lake glass" doesn't have quite the allure). But though not the rarest, of all seaglass colors, I most love blue. However, I care not for any color - even blue - that is merely factory-tumbled and sold by the bagful. Like dilapidated barns with tree branches stretching from the inside out, I am fascinated by the unintentional collaborative effort between man and nature that renders these jeweled treasures from former trash. Seaglass, found and picked from among seaweed and shells, is worthless and priceless all the same.
That afternoon, as the sun slid further toward the cliffs ahead and my hand remained empty of seaglass, I mentioned to Darby how I loved the stuff, and that blue was my favorite. "But you never find it," I added, because it's true: you never do. Nowadays, glass-bottled beverages tend to come in brown, green, or clear. That old light blue apothecary glass is just not used enough to end up back in the sea, breaking apart and tumbling smooth for new lovers combing the beach on a random Sunday, even on the cusp of Valentine's Day. A moment later, Darby plucked something out of the sand and placed it in my palm. "Sometimes you just need to say aloud what it is you're looking for."
Since then, seaglass, and especially blue seaglass, has come to represent to us both the essential importance of being consciously aware of what we are looking for in this life. It is not enough to complain about a lack or to vaguely desire some unacknowledged change. As individuals and as partners, we have to communicate to ourselves and to each other what it is we are looking for. Frequently, whatever it is is simply there at our feet, waiting for our eyes to notice.
Glass Beach, we read in an article years ago, is thick with naturally tumbled glass from the confluence of ocean currents, rocky coast, and last century's practices of dumping trash into the sea. In the pre-plastic era, much of that trash was glass that broke and tumbled in the waves. We hear that visitors could once take big pieces home by the bucketful, but everyone tells us, "It's not like that now." I'd love to tell you about the whole trip, but I'll end this letter here:
Remembering Duke Ellington taking the train, Joni Mitchell and her ladies of the canyon, Kerouac and Cassady on the road, people always say the heyday is long past. It's hard to see the heyday when you're in it, I suppose. Yet, as musicians and writers, Darby and I have lived our whole lives hearing the pessimistic stories of naysayers who say the best days for [fill in the blank] are gone. I call it hogwash. The best moments go up in smoke when you let others douse your fire, whether you're burning for travel, career change, taking a chance on your art, or falling in love. Half the time, though, you've just got to get clear and say what it is you want in this life, write it down boldly, and speak it aloud to another. And then you've got to go to Glass Beach, metaphorically speaking or otherwise, because it's bound to be more abundant in seaglass than anything you've ever seen.
We had a hunch it would be a wonder to behold.
Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA (photo credit: Darby Orr)
Mendocino, CA at sunset (photo credit: Arielle Silver)
“If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.”
- Pablo Neruda
When I was young, I loathed chatter about the weather. The familiar go-to small talk that adults leaned on to side-step deeper matters struck me as a grave sin against the limited, mortal moments we each had. Instead of baring their hearts or asking about another's, they hid behind the first, most obvious of superficial topics. Instead of embarking on inquiry and wonder, they stated what we all knew already. It's raining out. Or what we all could readily learn by checking the forecast. It's going to rain later. I felt that to save my very soul, I must not grow to become one of the shut-down adults who merely spoke of rain when it rained, or sun when it shined, or cold when the wind blew bitter gusts in promise of winter. Weather, like daily gastro-intestinal (dis)comfort, assumptions about the gender of a person's love, and questions like What do you do? was a social agreement I hoped to never contract.
I have violated most of my youthful edicts. Everything I once knew of myself, I have come to reknow as its opposite. Nearly every rule I have laid, I have violated, some with regret, many with ears pulled back like my cat as she follows a flight of doves, quite a few with wide-armed embrace like the dissolution of my first marriage, which opened me to (from where I sit) the greatest love story of all time.
But there came a time when my view of the sky shifted. Though some do call in clouds to skirt their own discomfort in conversation, instead of thinking of it as a nonsense conversation that need not be had, I now recognize weather as perhaps the most unifying of all human experiences, the most satisfactory understanding that we are here together on this spot on this planet under these clouds. I ask Darby about it in the morning, because I know that he reads the reports and watches the forecast for statistical chances of Los Angeles rain. I write about it all the time. In my songs, my stories, my journal.
When I peel myself away from my merry-go-round thoughts, the ones that circle the same topics over and over, the ones that measure my speed and set up goals, as if they weren't just spinning around the same pole (some attractive go-go dancer these thoughts are); when I let myself enter the world, the one outside my skin, feel it, listen; when I search the horizon and my memory of paints to find the name of the hue that might capture the slanted sun or folding dark; when I let my imagination find shapes in the clouds; when I pinpoint the word to describe the scent of the air, ah, yes, briny; when I seek out stars and stand to watch if one might, instead, be the space station; I find myself some many minutes later emerging from my reverie with the realization that the weather and the world has transported me beyond movement, into a deeper experience of being human.
The weather takes me to stillness, to presence. Weather, and the senses we employ to observe it, brings me to my senses, in more ways than one, and triggers truth. A pound of truth is worth more than its weight in gold. The heart weighs it: Is it pyrite or the true north truth? Truth's weight compounds as I learn to trust my heart's guidance.
I stay still under the weather till I know something about this living thing. Do our souls continue on after our bodies find their final stillness, as the Rabbi said at my Auntie Dish's funeral nearly three weeks ago in a chilled chapel in New York on a day when the sky made the grave site where my great-grandfather, Papa, and my great-grandmother, Mama, welcomed to their muddy bed their daughter, and my forehead glistened wet as my cheeks? Do we carry this experience of connection with the world into the next phase, beyond? Did my great love story with Darby begin eons ago, before we met on this plane on July 4 afternoon in 2009 in Los Angeles? Will it continue when our organic bodies nourish the soil for others?
When I come back to myself, I am more human, more alive. I might look across the way and see someone with chin tilted to the sky. I don't know if she is under the weather, but I know the weather under which she stands. It is immortal as Zeus, and she and I and you are as blessedly mortal as doves.
Thank for you sharing this planet with me, and for being here.