Remembering my Uncle Ole'
Two ears, one mouth, and ten fingers to cover it with. So many things I "could have" written of, these past three months, in an effort to make connections. But oftener and often, I feel that all my connections are ships in the night, that personal communication is merely a proxy for or distraction from what's really going on, that "what's really going on" transcends space and time, and death.
I found out last night that my Hanai uncle Ole' left this embodiment two days ago. He was in his 70s--younger than my dad, older than my mom. As far as I understand, for the type of cancer with which he was fairly recently diagnosed, the demise was mercifully rapid. We were ships in the night; we were also deeply connected. In a post-Ole' world, will I still be so sure that deep connections transcend depth?
interrogating the words to understand the experience
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” John Muir.
To return is to go back to a former position, to turn and change direction, go back the way you came. So, a homecoming, Penelope at the end of the Odyssey. But you can speak of returning to a place as soon as the second time you go there, and every time after that. Every time you change direction, go back the way you went that first time, you consolidate that sense of the new place as a place of origin.
Resort is a place you go out to (sortie) again and again. And so I keep resorting to the spring at the top of Mount Lemmon--back there, again there. I keep returning, transforming a resort into a source and base.
the creative process and the container
It's easy for me to be highly creative in a situation that already has its external form. This form could be a clinic with its full paraphernalia, or an article that needs translating, or a person who comes to me for help with nutrition or wanting advice with herbs. All of these require presence, intuition, improvisation, focus.
But when I'm tasked with creating the external form from scratch--be that my website, or a poem, or a book, or my "business model," or any of what I consider the most worthwhile sorts of creation... Well, the only reason I don't get really upset at myself if it gets to be afternoon and I've scribbled a few notes and done a few essential chores but that's all is because I recognize I'm not the only person who experiences this. That's when I start to try to understand what it is that I'm really trying to do here.
sending words out into the world
An essay by Ela Harrison titled "My Heart Lies in the Choice Between "The Fleet" and "All the Ships"" appears in the current (Winter 2015) edition of The Georgia Review. Harrison's previous publications have included poetry, book reviews, nutrition and food writing, blogging, and academic writing and translations. This is her first extended essay to see publication.
And what a prestigious venue for publication! Prestigious, yes, but also exquisitely apt, both for the essay and for the writer, as you'll see. Likewise, an apt subject for the first post of 2016 on this blog, with its recurrent preoccupations about words, time, and transition.
white is black's black
Every term implies its opposite. Which is why the theory of positive affirmations, the assertion that the subconscious never hears "no" and so you must use positive language, is oversimplified. Rich contains the imagining of poor; lose contains the imagining of gain (and vice versa); always contains the imagining of fleeting.
And so it isn't surprising that having just been writing about surrender, when Black Friday rolled around all I could think about was white flags.
awareness is a responsibility
In my new home, my tiny monastic cell, I practice silence. But words join hands and dance the walls like cut-out paper-lady chains. Words cram the pages of books stacked two rows deep on the solitary bookcase left from the three I used to have--books crammed up against each other, words pressing outward.
I bounce on my rebounder, carefully positioned away from the ceiling light/fan which I could easily hit my head on, trying to shake loose all the lint litanies and junk judgments, and words move through the air, Brownian motion, visible crystals.
Used to be that a shaman was only responsible for/responsive to a few hundred souls at most. How do we manage now, when the urgent messages we receive turn out to refer to terrorism on the other side of the Atlantic?
milestones can only be arbitrary
The next herb I will write about here is Monarda-- Mexican oregano--movement embodied and personified in plant medicine. Monarda my sweet-hot, my ally in this time of change and mo(ve)ment I undergo in alongside spirit with many others. But that won't be today.
Today, I'm publishing this blog's ONE HUNDREDTH post! But why so long since post 99?