Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finishing "Mandala #22: Koan/Prayer For Our Children" in the context of August 17-28, 2016







































































































































































































On August 17, two young men who are expert window installers came early in the morning to install a new window in my bedroom as part of an energy-saving project for all the units in the condominium complex where I live. In order for them to install the window, I had to move my bedroom furniture so that there would be 4 feet of space away from the window, giving them room for them to do their work.  I also had to take the first of two days off from self-employment because of the noise involved in the installation and the need to remove furniture at the other end of my home, including the home office where I make my living, so that they could install the remaining 6 windows on August 18. It was 90 degrees on my porch that day.  The empty space felt so very peaceful.  After the window installers arrived, I left for several hours. Returning to find the new windows installed, I began the process of moving my furniture back into place.

After my home office was set up again, I looked at the empty space remaining and made a decision to let go of the futon couch I bought when I moved here in 1984.  That's the futon sitting next to my front door, waiting for the Habitat for Humanity people to pick it up on September 7.  What a relief to have more room next to my art and music table in the space where the futon used to be! Then I bought myself a meditative-looking elephant and took a picture of her sitting with the smiling Tyrannosaurus Rex that I bought a year ago when I began the experience of being self-employed.  They are sitting on one of the caned chairs that my mother's parents bought when they were first married in the early 1900s.  Behind them are the new windows.

The Hebrew letters spell Hallelujah.  I especially like the letters that look like two giraffes.  On the morning after I put the futon outside my front door, I opened the door and found a package there.  Inside was a surprise gift from one of my oldest friends from my growing up years on the San Francisco peninsula -- a peaceful-looking Buddha that she had determined that I might like as much as she had for many years and was ready to let go of.  She is the friend who took me to a Buddhist celebration when we were in high school.  I found a place for the Buddha on top of the shelves next to my bed and photographed the inscription for her and her husband to translate for me.  She hadn't noticed the inscription and was curious to know that it said.

Yesterday was cooler than the previous days.  There is that fall feeling in the air.  My favorite time of year has arrived.
 
This morning I finished "Mandala #22:  Koan/Prayer For Our Children."  It has been almost two months since I began working on it.

May our children be like birds with roots nesting in trees with wings.

August 28, 1963 -- The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Brahm's Requiem and Charlie Chaplin and Bob Dylan







A friend, who sings many Bob Dylan songs by heart and who will be singing in a performance of Brahm's Requiem in the coming months and has begun to listen to it in preparation for learning his part, commented to me a few days ago that the beginning of Brahm's Requiem (00:11) and the music written by Charlie Chaplin for the last scene of "Modern Times" (00:22) sound very similar.  Do you hear it, too?

"Selig sind, die da Lied tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden."

"Smile, though your heart is aching.  Smile, even though it's breaking."

My friend's observation inspired me to watch "Modern Times" on YouTube and got me to wondering if Bob Dylan might have given his 2006 album the name, "Modern Times" after having observed the same thing that my friend did about the roots of Charlie Chaplin's composition, given that so many of the songs on the "Modern Times" album have roots in older compositions.

Interesting, too, that Bob Dylan wrote a song called "Ye Shall Be Changed" and that Brahm's Requiem includes the verse from Corinthians with the words:  Wir werden aber alle verwandelt warden (but we shall all be changed).

Echoes of the gears in the factory in "Modern Times":














"Love and theft revisited or coincidence?" said the Joker to the thief.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mid-August 2016: One More Moondance / This is the Sea


















The Whole of the Moon
I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
You were there at the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths
You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferry boats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
Yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
(The Waterboys, from the album "This is the Sea)
This is the Sea
These things you keep
You'd better throw them away
You wanna turn your back
On your soulless days
Once you were tethered
And now you are free
Once you were tethered
Well now you are free
That was the river
This is the sea!
Now if you're feelin' weary
If you've been alone too long
Maybe you've been suffering from
A few too many
Plans that have gone wrong
And you're trying to remember
How fine your life used to be
Running around banging your drum
Like it's 1973
Well that was the river
This is the sea!
Wooo!
Now you say you've got trouble
You say you've got pain
You say've got nothing left to believe in
Nothing to hold on to
Nothing to trust
Nothing but chains
You're scouring your conscience
Raking through your memories
Scouring your conscience
Raking through your memories
But that was the river
This is the sea yeah!
Now I can see you wavering
As you try to decide
You've got a war in your head
And it's tearing you up inside
You're trying to make sense
Of something that you just can't see
Trying to make sense now
And you know you once held the key
But that was the river
And this is the sea!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!
Now I hear there's a train
It's coming on down the line
It's yours if you hurry
You've got still enough time
And you don't need no ticket
And you don't pay no fee
No you don't need no ticket
You don't pay no fee
Because that was the river
And this is the sea!
Behold the sea!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August Moon Shining Like A Rolling Spoon






















I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

Close your eyes, close your door
You don't have to worry any more
I'll be your baby tonight.
Shut the light, shut the shade
You don't have to be afraid
I'll be your baby tonight.
Well, that mockingbird's gonna sail away
We're gonna forget it
That big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon
But we're gonna let it
You won't regret it.
Kick your shoes off, do not fear
Bring that bottle over here
I'll be your baby tonight.
(Bob Dylan)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Working on Mandala #22 / Full Moon / The Ants Go Marching




















Not quite finished with Mandala #22, when I looked up and saw the full moon.

This morning when I was walking in the woods before I started editing medical reports, I heard the voices of very young children singing on the trail, out of sight, just ahead of me.  I soon caught up with them, a preschool class of tiny children and two teachers who appeared to be in their early 20s.  They were making their way down the trail in twos, happily singing "The Ants Go Marching" with the same enthusiasm as these children:



Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Sing your little song, sing for all your friends, we like to hear you"

At noon today I sat down in a natural foods grocery store cafe near a relaxed-looking mother and her two young children. Her baby girl was sitting in a shopping cart and looked over at me out of curiosity. I smiled at her baby girl and said, "Hi! How are you today?" She studied my face in that careful way that babies do and then frowned. I continued to smile at her and began to clap my hands lightly. She smiled and reached out her hand to me. I mirrored her by reaching out my hand. We played a game of alternating clapping and reaching and smiling. I asked her mother how old she was and found that she was 1 year old. During this time, I was also aware of her little boy as he ate his sandwich and looked at me shyly. Then the little boy turned to his mother and said something I couldn't hear. His mother said to him, "Go ahead. You can tell her how old you are." He looked up at me and said that he was 3 years old. Then I remembered how it felt to be a shy older child who was ignored while adults gave all their attention to a baby. I turned my full attention to him, and something prompted me to ask him if he liked to sing. I told him that he looked like a boy who could sing. He brightened and, much to my surprise, began to sing to me. This is what he sang beautifully in his sweet quiet voice:
Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, And a little white whale on the go. Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, Is the water warm? Is your mama home with you, so happy? Way down yonder where the dolphins play, Where you dive and splash all day. Waves roll in and the waves roll out, See the water squirting out of your spout! Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, Sing your little song, sing for all your friends, we like to hear you. When it's dark, you're home and fed, Curl up snug in your water bed. Moon is shining and the stars are out. Good night, little whale, good night. Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, With tomorrow's sun, another day's begun. You'll soon be waking. Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, And a little white whale on the go.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Gifts in Early August: Widow's Tears / Abutilon / Streptocarpus





















































Grief surprised me today, leaking from some old failing seam deep underground.  (Click to read what Lori wrote)

On August 17, I will have been self-employed for a year as a medical transcription editor, something I thought I was not capable of doing. The self-employed part, that is. The painting above, "Typists," is by Jacob Lawrence from his series on workers.  I would not have been able to make a living working on a typewriter as women did in the past, including my own mother.  I am not a skilled typist.  As a high school student, I received a D in typing, although I did well in all my other classes.  Computers have allowed me to make mistakes all day long and still manage to earn a living.  Life is full of surprises.  As I work to support myself, these beautiful flowers bloom at my side.  I'm a late bloomer, and I believe in the Love that moves the sun and other stars.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Golden Daylily On Hiroshima Day 2016 / Article 9




















Today I am looking at Jacob Lawrence: Hiroshima Series, scattered through that page of images by Jacob Lawrence.

This morning at breakfast with a diverse group of friends, men and women, a woman friend of mine was wearing a T-shirt, black with white lettering.  On the front:

第九条  日本国民は、正義と秩序を基調とする国際平和を誠実に希求し、国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する。
二  前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。
On the back:
ARTICLE 9. (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.  (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

My friend is Catholic.  She and her husband belong to Pax Christi.  Her husband is active in this organization and brought the Article 9 t-shirt to her from Japan.  The t-shirts were designed by a Japanese woman.  So much to take to heart today.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Someday Soon 1970 / Day Lilies / Someday Soon 2016






























Yesterday I looked out on my porch and saw a brilliant golden daylily. Last fall, I dug up the bulbs because they had grown so crowded that there were very few blooms in June 2015.  I replanted only three of the bulbs, thinking I would have plenty of blooms this summer.  Although there are usually blooms in early June, they waited until August 3 this year.  There is no bloom today for me to photograph, but there will be more blooms this week.  Their appearance this year in the early days of August brings emotional healing to me.

This morning while looking for something else, I came across these photos that I took of myself in 1970, just after I had turned 21.  That was the year I waited for the man I loved to return from the war in Vietnam.  He had turned 21 on the day after I did.  The photos were taken with the Minolta camera that he bought while he was in Vietnam and gave to me during those months of waiting during which I attended peace marches in San Francisco.

This afternoon a friend who is dear to my heart and who went to live in Canada during the Vietnam War said that we would be taking a walk again someday soon.  He paused and then said, "Like the song."  I said, "It's always about music, isn't it?"  He laughed and said, "Yes."

We are 67 years young and old this year.  Today is his birthday.  Mine is in October.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mandala #21: Talking About The Creative And The Receptive





















Self-employment is not keeping me from walking, from my yoga practice or from drawing, but I have not found much time for my blog, although I continue to visit other blogs.

Still trying to identify a mystery bird who appeared on my porch railing as I was sitting on my yoga mat.  I thought it was a small owl until it turned its head:


























































It caught my attention because it appears to be a young bird but is so much larger than any young bird I have ever seen on my porch.

Update:  A friend who knows about birds has identified the mystery bird as a young European starling.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Meditation / Listen to Ferron



Because grief will come in measures,
only grief alone will know
And you'll see it on your family,
on your own face it will grow
And they'll try to keep you hungry,
then they'll tell you to eat snow.
You know pride can be a moving thing
if we learn the strength of "NO!"

We are children in the rafters,
We are babies in the park,
We are lovers at the movies,
We are candles in the dark,
We are changes in the weather,
We are snowflakes in July,
We are women grown together,
We are men who easily cry,
We are words not quickly spoken,
We're the deeper side of try,
We are dreamers in the making, 
We are not afraid of "Why?"