Saturday, February 15, 2020

Gud Fadur

Gud Fadur

Dear Ian,

You always referred to God as "Spirit,"  Not as a man-image, but a vast, luminous and invisible energy field of LOVE. What a lovely mind you have to imagine God just so....but you were never a parent, sweetie.

Instead, sometimes I think that God is the tired parent 
of a bunch 
of errant children.

Partly baked

Maybe, He watches and listens patiently
 with a tired smile
 but also an eye-twinkle as....
(for instance) 
one rebellious earth-cookie child
  spews on about civil rights and nihilism.

He also listens and watches the legalistic little brat
 who won't play with anyone outside their group
 and the kid in the corner
 who wants in....

To the one who wants to kick Muslims out and require only Christian prayer in school. He listens to little girls who worry about their weight and don't know their worth..... and the ones who won't shave their legs and march around with pink vagina hats and rant about equal rights.

He watches with the same loving eye.....
 The ones that smoke weed and drive too fast,
 And the ones that drive everyone mad,
The ones driven,
And the ones with no drive at all.

 The ones that read and the ones that only watch TV.

Maybe He knows they're all wrong, 
But also they're all right
 And it doesn't really matter anyway....

Because He loves them all so fucking much.

Like most of us Moms and Dads
He just can't help Himself.

Like a Mamma dog that isn't mad when her pup runs off
 but just brings it back
 and licks
 all over.

When I think About God like that, everything makes more sense.
  Yeah, I like that idea.   



Tuesday, January 14, 2020



From a dark slump of a week
From a seven day tooth ache
From a full week of shaking my head and refusing to jump off the diving board while others 
           lined up waiting behind me....
Fourteen half days of fuming at God;
Twenty eight quarter turns of the sun waking up with a dark presence standing with a foot on my                 throat.
All I managed to do was wait, stop pushing against the side of the box. Just wait.

Then this morning I got up to go to Aunt Mary's funeral and I grabbed my book of gratitude given by  my sweet soulful  Kathy. At the bottom of each page a scripture, sometimes 
soothing, sometimes infuriatingly unattainable. My gratitudes are scribbled in and around the scriptures of a Judaeo-Christian God; They are the rambling but intentional recognition of moments when life still surprises and draws me out by her beauty and wonder.

I started reading the words I have written since Ian's birthday in September. It was a hard time to find any gratitude at all in the dry leaves of my heart.  Four and a half months of closing my eyes and walking through the pain, just trying to get to the other side with some sense of humor left. Written all along the painful march are my big and little grateful knowings and seeings....
LOTS of them-
(Isn't that a miracle in itself?) 
So many, in fact,  that some days my hand would furiously scribbled them down before grief could  once again steal the joy away.

The shocking presence of butterflies,  vivid dreams, chimes ringing, light flickering in my living room; friends, my kids, memories, small things seen on my walks, brief moments of relief and flushes of unexpected love; little glimpses of still believing, unexplained bits of the natural world like frogs and flowers, stems and stamens. And always the sunrises and sunsets that demand recognition. The vast mystery; tying things together with colored ribbon of an almost forgotten truth. 

I suddenly found myself thinking of the droplets of water I photographed yesterday suspended from the delicate tips of blue stem grass. Impossibly but undeniably formed and there for me to see, and when I see them, I receive a spark of knowing I am witnessing the miracle again. It stirred something familiar in me....

It was my "Chi".....
The lightening of my blood, stored in my lower spine and enables me to perceive messages from nature and supernatural worlds. The "Chi" I am told we all have.

No specific new awareness or thought, yet I feel the cloud of sadness that has been here all week suddenly lift. the beast that has had me pinned to the ground, shrugs and leaves again. I have made it around another bend in the road....

I feel a turning of things
And I know the truth of it.

There was no one person to tell, 
Because  although there have been many kindred spirits in my life,
Each only shares a mile or so.

Except You,  my Chi, my Creator
Inside me and
Around me;
A Holy wind that blows and blows
And sometime touches me
And every soul 

The Quetzal
Holy Chi
The Silent Witness
Holy Spirit
My Lord

As Thomas said:

Let the one who seeks not stop seeking until he finds. When he finds, he shall be troubled. When becomes troubled, he will be amazed, and shall transcend all things."

Well, this morning I begin to feel amazed, as my doubting friend suggests. Kathy's scriptures  that are the little chorus of confirmation from traditional Christianity no longer seem to conflict with Chopra,  or Thomas, or Quantum theory, or even the Aztec god Quetzal. 

They are, to me this morning.....

All pitched to the same mystic chord.

Good timing, God. I needed this today.
I love You and I trust You,

My times are in Your hands.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Dharma Dog

 Dog Dharma 

Dear Ian,

 An evolution has happened.

Saturday I left Henry at home and took Phoebe to Luckenbach for your Aunt Nita's jewelry show. I thought I did it because she is a young dog and gets restless at home with old Henry sleeping most of the time. I thought I did it to get her out into the sway of the world and to give her some novelty. Also to feel her presence in the back seat makes me feel safe; makes me feel more whole.

It was a really lovely day; one of the best since you left....much to my surprise. Of course there were scores of happy families clustering heads together...sticky handed toddlers. There was familiar country music playing all day long and people were drinking beer. I heard the occasional chinking of empty bottles hitting trash cans. All types of humanity walking by looking at my sister's art, joyful and fitting.

All the stuff that I now seem to loath to my core. Determined goings-on of happy connected humans, something that is no longer real for me. It is where I used to live too, in that zone of belonging.

Before I lost you, baby; before I became a former Mom; before my life turned a different way with a sudden groan and jerk.
Before the stillness.
Before grief.
Before my bell was silenced leaving me to sit mute as others clang and ring with life.

The thing is, dearest boy, that a small stubborn part of me still wants to be a part of the din.  Driving through Fredericksburg Friday night, I noticed the first tug of it. A detour through town lead me to a parallel side street to avoid the downtown Christmas parade. One street over, I stalked from the dark, seeing glimpses of twinkle lights, people dancing about, colors and forms moving in and out of the canopy of decorations all in a colored tapestry of symbolism and merriment. I felt a moment of yearning to join them; to be there too, but the pull to not be there was stronger, as it so often is.

...and that is the crux of it. I both want and don't want to be a part of humanity in equal measure.

So why hoist myself back up the next morning and go to the festival? Perhaps it was the pull of my sister Nita, who has the remarkable ability to coax me back toward life. Nita accepts me half alive,  filling in my missing pieces with remembrance of my former vibrancy. She grounds me and believes in my coming back, when even I have lost hope myself. There is a confidence and quiet calm in her patience with my wracked and railing grief. 

Often since you left, I have turned to her in desperation. I have turned to her in despair, and occasionally in hope. Nita is one of those rare people with enough love and strength to transfuse others without ego or judgement. Only a day before, Nita had finally released the creped hand of a dying woman to the Universe. She witnessed her light fading, never once looking away from the miracle or the horror. Now she was out in the living world again, going on with her art.

Showing me how to live, without speaking a word.

For shits sake, if she could do that with grace and mirth,  then surely I could dredge up the nerve to go, too. I dreaded all the happiness that might wash around and never touch me, but I went anyway.

Deepak Chopra was also on my mind as I drove, reminding me that there are no binaries in life, only one unified consciousness. Evil and good are one; life and death exist in mutual interdependence. We are all acting both with limitless freedom and complete predetermination.

It is either-and, not either-or.

God or the Universal Creator uses us to recreate reality every moment. I love this idea, because it allows me to imagine that you acted both in freedom and within a chosen, thoughtful plan when you  leaped  away and gone. 

As Phoebe and I walked around Luckenbach, I noticed that tickle of newness when thoughts and experience mix in a different way. I sort of felt myself both becoming one with her and also feeling transfused with her essence. She is such a pretty and friendly dog, and people are drawn to her sweetness everywhere we go. Oddly,  I found I could tolerate people more because she was my buffer. Such a magnetic girl she is.

As I am sure you know Ian, I cannot look at a young boy anymore without sadness and panic. Every little face is your face; every soft pink hand is yours, too. Every innocent expression and matted head of hair takes me back to you. It is anguish. Jealousy and rage populate my heart and I feel  a terrible shame in it. Most days I literally look away from them, as if from a car crash. But not this day.  found that I could squat down really close and let a little boy rub Phoebe's coat with my hand over his, and I felt nothing but the joy of it. I could witness without pain as he explored her exquisite celestial spots. I also found love for the Mom, looking down in adoration at her little boy the way I once looked at you. through the insulation of her, I could then watch husbands, grown kids, couples and all sorts of tribes being together (something I suspect I will never have for myself again). It was ok. Phoebe was my conduit and shield, as she endured patiently the hundreds of hands, hundreds of hugs. She was the totem, completely in the moment and being her lovely self.

Things shifted a bit, just as Chopra promised happens when we expand ourselves to recognize Dharma as it happens in real time. It wasn't perfect, I still needed some beer to take the edge off, but I felt the certainty of an evolution in me.

Then, on my drive home, there was the shocking awareness that I felt good.

Now at home, I am thinking of my sister again; of how she has managed to build bridges in her life through her lust for wonder and courage to connect. I am understanding that we have been together since the beginning and before, just like you and I, Ian. 

We are all from the same star, I guess.

And Ian......I am thinking of all the dogs you and I have loved....Benjie,  Bailey, Ollie, Henry, Paisley, Skyy, Tiger, and lovely Phoebe. The miraculous way we find just the right ones. The free will and predetermination of all this.

And I have a soft knowing that I saved her so that she can save me right back.



Monday, November 25, 2019

Visitation Dream

Dream Visitation

I am climbing a vast, steep cliff. 
Seemingly endless wall above me and a chasm beneath.
Alone ascending, exactly how long I have been here or where I am going is indiscernible.

 Around me is a smear of mist or fog. All I can see is the vertical.

My body is so very tired. I cannot tell if it is physical or emotional.
I am utterly spent. There is no more effort that can be drawn from muscle nor will; 

I don't want to climb anymore.
I want to let go and drop.

I hear all around certain voices speaking softly to me, but one is actually physically present. I see no human forms. Whispers of love and encouragement telling me to climb higher.

Perhaps they are the voices of souls, I think? Above the whispers I hear the  a louder, closer, familiar voice of Cokie Roberts from NPR. In my waking mind I remember that she died recently and that I liked her...but beyond that I have never really thought about her before. She urges me to climb, to keep going...not to give up. There is warmth, strength and a bit of sternness in her voice. She coaches me to go on.

The climb is so so hard. There was that  agonizing feeling when there is not one more step that can be taken, one more pull or lift; when the effort is endless and muscles are jello.

I freeze in place and cling. The voices of souls are all around, above and below, encouraging me to keep at it; I look up and see them looking down and me and maybe reaching out hands from the top of a ledge or mesa? I could now see it,  and always Cokie is around me telling me I can do it. There is a tremendous awareness of not being alone...of being helped and loved.

(I say the entities weren't human and were clearly not from this plane of consciousness, but it was just a feeling I had; an image or intuition sparked by an article Carrie sent me yesterday.  It was called "Fifteen ways to develop one's 6th sense",  or "third eye" as Elijah has called it. The ability to remember that we all possess the ability to see other levels of consciousness if we try. Combining, in my mind, in the middle of this strange dream are thoughts on transformation versus change that I have found lately.  Change, that slow, slogging march....which takes so much effort and is exhausting, while transformation is immediate, magical, God-fueled. It offers the possibility of not just surviving, but transcending: 

 Deepak Chopra's promise of true alchemy

  Elijah's glimpses beyond the veil

 Kingsolver's reminder that a hermit crab can still feel 
  high tide after being taken 500 miles from the ocean

   Jesus's misty metaphors that stir my heart....

All swirl together and I wonder if this is how I can again have a living, thriving relationship with Ian again in real time. I know I need to live the rest of the days God has given me, but if I do it by the traditional way, "by the books", it will only be survival. If I figure out a way to transmute the pain; to transform myself the way two poisons can bond to create a miraculous and life-giving new water.....then that would feel worthy. That would be good and right and true.

These thoughts are happening in my waking mind as I remain in my dream state...clinging to that cliff as if I am processing all this as it happens. Drinking it in and making sense of it while still sound asleep.)

So back to my dream..... I am still climbing, nothing left in me but the will now borrowed from the voices in the mist.  At last, I pull myself up and I make it. I climb up onto the platform with a flood of relief and to the rousing  joy cries of the others around me, now touching and congratulating me.

I am surrounded by love.

Suddenly, out of no where, the souls move aside and Ian walks toward me, his usual golden self-light glowing. He comes to me, he is about my height so I guess he is around 13 years. I remember him so well at this age, when he started birding with me. It was the age when he got certified to scuba dive. He grabs me and hugs me so tight. Not uncomfortable or restricting, but firm and deep and complete. He wraps himself all around me and every cell in my body can feel him holding me. 

I am enveloped in his arms and it feels so good;  We blend together like the mystery of carbon and oxygen that combine to form something altogether new. Water..... In my dream I feel the comfort of this knowing and I am reassured that there is another path.The multiverse (along with Cokie Roberts, oddly)  promises to send provisions. 

Lovely boy you are here, there and everywhere with me.

I wake up sad at having to come back to this world, but at least I have the feeling of your arms around me and what may now come.  

I thank you God for my eyes that see.

I love you Ian.    

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Essence

The Essence
of all things is emptiness......


Monday, November 4, 2019

silent witness

Silent Witness

                                    Dear Ian,
I read somewhere:

 "Hearing truth is like breathing air from a forgotten world."

 I think this is true, baby.
 So today I am reading through
 some of the embers of truth
 that I find in this fire; 
This hell.....

"Something Unknown
Wants to be known....."

"Sometimes I feel entirely defeated.
And then I come to a place like this (in nature)
And a small courage takes hold of me,
And I feel fitter for things."

"You will notice that you only have a self
When you are in trouble."

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and die with their songs still inside them."

"As you do not know the path of the wind
Or how the body is formed in a mother's womb
So you cannot understand the work of God,
The Maker of all things." 

"The story writes the the same time the life is writing the story."

"I feel like a part of my soul
Has loved you
Since the beginning of everything.
Maybe we are from the same star?"

"I am Leeched by loss."

"Mom, thank you for everything you do for me.
 You are the best thing in my life.
 My life is a half-circle right now, but with you in my life it is a full circle.
 Everything you do for me makes my heart shine. 
 Love, your boy Ian." 5th grade

"Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know...."

"I wanted to talk to someone, but who?
It's in moments like this, 
when you need someone the most, 
that your world seems smallest."

"And Now there is just empty space
Vibrating human used to be."


Thanks to:

Deepak Chopra
 H. D. Thoreau
Emily Dickenson
Pam Houston
Emery Allen
Ian Ray
Pema Chodrin
Rachel Cohen

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Death all around

Death all around

Dear Ian,

Today I saw a dead grasshopper in our river bed, nested within a ring of dirt piled up by fire ants who were busy harvesting the meat.   His colorful gold, black and orange exoskeleton still intact. I was struck by how organized was their process. The ants always seem to me like a construction crew, but this time, I imagined that they were the team that breaks down sets when a play ends. People are filing out quietly to go home or to dinner, or to kiss their kids goodnight,  and the workers tear down the story; tear down the dream.



 Never mind the ants were feeding themselves and their colony, for a second I overlooked that detail, when in reality I guess it is the most important thing.....Hunger rules everything.

 I have been seeing fire ants in my house again, as I usually do this time of year when other food is scarce and the sun bakes the ground dry. They probably have quite a respectably large colony under my house and are sending expeditions in search of toast crumbs, bits of lettuce and dry dog food. Anything at all that my broom and sponge have missed.

I kill them but I don't like it.

Last month when I was rescuing minnows from the rapidly shrinking puddles in our river, there were fire ants waiting along the edges of the water for death to come. Puddles were almost gone, in fact so shallow that the tiny fish had to lay sideways and gulp for enough water to keep cheating the end. I frantically picked them up by tiny tails or whatever I could grab onto, and flung them into the salvation of my red bucket. I got every one I could see. I checked again and again so that none were left to the ants, and all the while they waited for death because it brought them food.

I can't hate them for that.

Death is all around me lately, Biggun. I was driving home from work Friday night and hit a family of raccoons. I missed the Mom and killed two babies, barely enough time to see the green reflection of my headlights in their tiny eyes. 

I screamed with rage at God for the first time since you died. The first time. I screamed at the pointlessness of random fate that put my wheels there just the perfectly wrong time. I screamed that I had had enough. I told God I could not be haunted anymore by the fucked up thoughts and memories of yet another ridiculous waste of life. I shrieked...."Stop...enough Goddamnit." I ordered God to help me not obsess about the babies all night, just to make me let it go. Let it go.

And He did, and it was OK. That is some small relief.

Death everywhere.....a beautiful cedar elm fell in my back yard, green leaves going dull and wilting all week until Chris and Payden came and acted as my ants and cleared the set. From under my house, the smell of a dead (probably) cat filled the air all day while we worked. I am waiting for the poor thing to decompose before I crawl under my house to put out fire ant bait. Death everywhere lately.

Death everywhere. Friends. Friends of friends. Clients' children, Andi's brother-in-law, a black man in Dallas killed accidentally by a policewoman who is going to jail; Mrs. foxes....grasshoppers and crawfish. Poignant notorious deaths and some so small only my finger on my kitchen counter knows that an ant has died looking for crumbs. Deaths big and deaths small. Deaths that are pointless and deaths that allow others to live. Death so neutral it seems robotic.

Deaths that change the color of things.

And then there is this other death whose humming pulses forever in my veins, my precious boy. It is the death of the most lovely story of my life. Death of a chapter, a memory; a rich and fantastic slice of my time. You were here, and we were sharing wishbones, jack-o-lanterns, advent, and piles of spaghetti. I got to hug you so tight, and feel that hug come back to me; 

When I had you with me for real and true.
For real and for true.
Before death came to break down  the set and end the play.