Wednesday, June 25, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #5






















The drawing was made on the front of an envelope sent by RTN from Vietnam in 1970.

When I first saw RTN in the Intensive Care Unit at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto on April 10th, his eyes were closed. When his sister told him I had come to be with him, he slowly opened his eyes. His left eye was the deep blue I remembered. His blind right eye looked very much like the sky in the photo below. I don't know how he became blind in that eye.

He was heavily sedated, and I'm not sure how well he could see me with his left eye. I held his left hand with my right hand. His hand held mine. His blind eye was surprisingly beautiful, like a late afternoon sky with a mixture of white clouds. I was reminded of what Alice Walker wrote in "Beauty: When The Other Dancer Is The Self" about her daughter's response to first noticing her mother's blind eye:

She studies my face intently as we stand, her inside and me outside her crib. She even holds my face maternally between her dimpled little hands. Then, looking every bit as serious and lawyer- like as her father, she says, as if it may just possibly have slipped my attention: "Mommy, there's a world in your eye." (As in, "Don't be alarmed, or do anything crazy") And then gently but with great interest: "Mommy, where did you get that world in your eye?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #4






















Life is short. Art long. Hippocrates. View from my porch at 5 p.m.:






















Oboe with view of cattails:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #3






















Drawing on the front of an envelope mailed from Vietnam by RTN in 1970 and the view today at 5 p.m. I wish you could see all the swallows and that the cattails are moving like the ocean.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #2














It's one of those overcast 7 a.m. Pacific Northwest June mornings that looks better in black and white than in color.






















Chapter 1, page 49, From SEVEN CHOICES, by Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD:

THE TERRAIN OF OUR ACTIVE GRIEVING

Life As It Was
The Event of Loss
Life and Loss Integrated
Freedom from Domination of Grief

IMPACT: Experiencing the unthinkable
CHOICE: To experience and express grief fully

SECOND CRISIS: Stumbling in the dark
CHOICE: To endure with patience

OBSERVATION: Linking past to present
CHOICE: To look honestly

THE TURN: Turning into the wind
CHOICE: To replan and change our lives to include but not be dominated by the loss

RECONSTRUCTION: Picking up the pieces
CHOICE: To take specific actions

WORKING THROUGH: Finding solid ground
CHOICE: To engage in the conflicts

INTEGRATION: Daylight
CHOICE: To make and remake choices

I just realized that I have come to the third choice and entered that process.

Friday, June 20, 2008

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED #1























After receiving the "I Love You" Series, I received seven more images, either drawn on the front side of envelopes which were addressed on the back side, or as part of handwritten letters. I believe that most of these drawings arrived in the early days of RTN's time in Vietnam. We wrote a letter to each other every day that he was gone. Ten months after he returned from Vietnam, we separated for a second and final time, remaining friends. Not long after that, I burned the approximately 335 letters he had sent from Vietnam, saving only his drawings. I knew that if I carried those letters with me, I would never go on with my life. Nevertheless, the grief that followed that separation lasted a long, long time. As hard as I tried, I never completely went on with my life. I'm still working on that, only now beginning to feel the holy ground beneath my feet again.


THE LOVING TIME

It reads like a fairytale
and that's what it was
Young man in his prime
young girl from the cross
The most perfect of strangers
and then the night closed in
and the holy ground took care of everything

Now she was a fine one
and he was a handsome man
One look was enough
and away they ran
They spend many happy hours
and then the night closed in
and the holy ground took care of everything

Oh what's the use in complaining
In for a penny in for a pound
I remember the loving time
and nothing else really counts

And I recall the promise they made
With a faith I can but admire
That she'd be the one he adored
and he'd be her hearts desire

It didn't come true in the end
they went their separate ways
He couldn't change what he was
she wasn't ready to wait
They couldn't live in the daylight
they let the night close in
and the holy ground took care of everything

I remember the loving time
and nothing else really counts

(Lyrics by Noel Brazil, sung by Mary Black -- If you'd like to listen to a clip, scroll down here)

A view of today:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NOTES FROM RTN FROM VIETNAM 1970

















TIME PASSES SLOWLY

Time passes slowly up here in the mountains,
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains,
Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream,
Time passes slowly when you're lost in a dream.

Once I had a sweetheart, she was fine and good-lookin',
We sat in her kitchen while her mama was cookin',
Stared out the window to the stars high above,
Time passes slowly when you're searchin' for love.

Ain't no reason to go in a wagon to town,
Ain't no reason to go to the fair.
Ain't no reason to go up, ain't no reason to go down,
Ain't no reason to go anywhere.

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight,
We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right,
Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day,
Time passes slowly and fades away.


Copyright © 1970 Big Sky Music
Bob Dylan

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

FATHER'S DAY 2008 / 7 A.M.






















FATHER OF NIGHT

Father of night, father of day
Father, who taketh the darkness away
Father, who teacheth the bird to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky
Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain

Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white
Father, who build the mountain so high
Who shapeth the cloud up in the sky
Father of time, Father of dreams
Father, who turneth the rivers and streams

Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise

(lyrics by Bob Dylan, 1970, from the album "New Morning")

Saturday, June 14, 2008

SEVEN CHOICES

Am reading Seven Choices again. My ability to concentrate is slowly returning.


















Chapter 2

SECOND CRISIS:

STUMBLING IN THE DARK

I want to go home, to ride to my village gate.
I want to go back, but there's no road back.

Mei Sheng and Fu I
First Century B.C.

(from Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World: Seven Choices, Elizabeth Harper Neeld, Ph.D.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dalai Lama's thoughts on China -- 1998

LATE AFTERNOON SUN

















“Although the past may not repeat itself, it does rhyme.” -- Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HIRED

















It's a black and white and grey morning as the summer solstice approaches.

This is the first morning since RTN died that I have had some of my usual energy again. Last night I dreamed that I was hired to do pencil drawings of objects that were found buried in sand. I was working alongside a man who is the same age I am. His drawings were very good, and he gave me encouragement. The first object I found in the sand was a small black plastic toy horse from my Roy Roger's Ranch set, which I given as a child and which was one of my favorite toys.

With a little more Google searching this morning, I found this and this, too.

Hello COWBOY in the sand?

Maybe the dream is the result of having carefully looked through BOB DYLAN: THE DRAWN BLANK SERIES yesterday morning. The drawn-and-then-painted images remind me how much I love working with gouache and watercolor. I liked Bob Dylan's drawings when I first saw them in his first book of lyrics in the 1970s and then again in 1994 in DRAWN BLANK. I like the way Bob Dylan has added vivid color to the drawings he made from 1989 to 1991 or 1992, some of which were drawn in New Orleans. His drawings and paintings speak to me. They say, "She's got everything she needs, she's an artist."

Or may it was a result of having found this by way of a link at RConversation, the blogger who first inspired me to create a blog of my own.

Monday, June 9, 2008

THE SKY WAS WHITE






















Thunder and lightning at 6 p.m., followed by high wind and heavy rain.

Monday, June 2, 2008

STATE OF TRANSITION / ETERNAL SELF

























































































































































































Today's Zen Calendar says:

A permanent state of transition is man's most noble condition.
(Juan Ramon Jimenez)

Yesterday was:

You, before me standing,
Oh, my eternal self!
Since my first glimpse
You have been my secret love.
(A Zen Monk's Song Of Samadhi)

I am feeling too fragile to respond to your kind comments or write any more of this story just now. Thanks so much for stopping by. What a long journey from Miramar Beach to the 159th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to this moment where my heart is so heavy.