Sunday, January 1, 2017

An Entry ...

January 1, 2017
It's been so long since I visited my own blog pages. I did not remember writing here during our vacation in June. How strange.
Maybe I'll be back?

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 5, 2016 • Anaconda, MT

I could say that I am doing here what I want to be doing—writing. But there is something wrong with that. If I wanted to be writing, that is, if I loved writing, I’d do more of it. Instead I experience a kind of painful resistance to sitting down to the blank screen. Now, fingers on keyboard watching black characters dance onto the electronic white page, I feel negative. Hateful even. 
I raise my eyes to the surrounding scene, green in the extreme, capped by a powder-blue sky, and acknowledge the urge or inclination to go out and do something. Two blocks away the hot springs pools await us, the tennis court calls us to action. Action, action. Activity. Counter-balance to sitting, contemplating, creating. 
Can I call my writing “creating?” It seems long since I produced a stream of words with meaning beyond the blah, blah, blah of a daily routine. Drivel about the mundane and ordinary, the stuff of contentment. 
When I decided to marry again, I wondered often if I was “settling for” something, in exchange for something else. Okay, what are those “somethings?” Settling for security, in exchange for passion. That’s more honest. Those words—security and passion—put a solid framework around the idea. Indeed it seems this is what I’ve done. My life is lukewarm, a shallow stream meandering through valleys, rather than a fierce, icy river racing down mountainsides. There is no pain in this, only a dull ache and an awareness of age and death. 
If we knew in our youth that the march of life was toward a slow, meaningless death, would we leap from the tops of buildings or cliffs to fly toward immediate and dramatic ends? Likely not. None of us wants to end so long as life looms large before us. 

It is good that the shadows in the mirrors disappear when we fix our gazes square upon the glass.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Today I realize three years of silence...

Mammoth, CA • 2011

The sinking sunlight glazed the red brick of the plaza where I sat in contemplation. I wanted silence. Instead, a repetitive whap, whap, whap fractured the stillness as the wind whipped the strands of slack and empty flag lines on a pole embedded in the concrete. Where are the flags, I wondered? A skateboarder rolled in front of me from one edge of the plaza to the other, wheels clacking like a miniature rail car.
Despite the bright sun, the cold nibbled at the sleeves of the old wool sweater I wore, a scratchy shield against the elements. It was as if the afternoon could not decide its own nature. I felt akin to that afternoon with its diminishing light, inconsistent breezes, rising and falling temperatures. Here am I, I thought. 
At sixty, I found myself more devoid of passion than I’d ever been, lifeless as the shadowed buildings looming around the plaza. Vacant. I was an empty storefront after visiting hours. Two rugged young men coasted past me on mountain bikes; the spokes of the wheels sliced and separated the dying sunlight. I raised the paper cup to my lips to sip the tepid coffee, missed and dribbled brown liquid down the front of my sweater, creating a caramel-colored tear drop in the center of my chest. 
The sun dropped suddenly behind the rooftops. The cold instantly claimed me and I could sit no longer to ponder my age, or dilemma, or lifelessness. I had to move on.

May 27, 2016

And so I did. To here and now. Another five years and still the deadness persists. Is this aging and dying in its most natural form? I don’t cry, I don’t thrill, I don’t crave, I don’t feel anything in the extreme. 
And now it is late…that is, I have all the time and no time simultaneously. John will arrive home soon, and I am still in my nightgown, sitting on the porch sipping tea. Jasmine, the dog, sleeps down the way, shaded by the flower that is her namesake, breathing in the heavy fragrance of the tiny white star blooms. 

I am stuck in absolute contentment.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Musings from Mazatlán

It feels like returning home. Though I’ve never before stayed in this particular location. Never been to this resort. Still, it is Mazatlán and it is like home to me. I know my way around, though there have been changes, and I am not afraid to wander around by myself here. It feels natural. I feel like I belong.
The man who took over my check-in selected a very nice room for me, at a corner of the resort, overlooking the ocean. It’s lovely, isolated and quiet. Exactly what I prefer. Walking back to the little super-mercado on site, I passed by buildings and rooms directly across a walkway from large swimming pools with bars and cafes. Sitting on the balcón there would be like people watching along the Venice boardwalk.
        Or, maybe you can’t ever go home again, just as they say. Things have changed. Buildings I frequented––condominiums and restaurants––have closed and fallen into ruin. Friends of friends have moved away, or died. Family members have died.

I went to the beach, walking barefoot in the sand and sea, and my head began to fill with words that seemed worth writing. I had ideas of constructing a new opening for an old story, but when I return to the hotel, shower and sit down to a blank page, I stare at the screen. Yes, words come. But they are not the inspired words I recall from the beach walk. They don’t seem to connect to anything that could be launched into the world for others to read. This is my great dilemma. I believe I’ll make some salsa and have a snack.

It is a hard thing to learn and a sad age at which to learn it. The truth of the axiom that one can never go home again. But so it is. I return to Mazatlán, hoping for what? To recapture the terrible romanticism of younger years? I won’t say “of my youth” because I was past forty when I immersed myself here, choosing this place to study, practice and learn a language I loved from my high school years.
I know you are asking, “Why Mazatlán?” (I can imagine raised eyebrows and “Really?” spoken with the dubious, questioning inflection of the day.) But yes, I chose Mazatlán because I’d come here year after year to vacation. One particular year, a year that altered the course of my life, I decided to accompany my parents and stay for two weeks. If I was to be in Mexico for two weeks, it seemed reasonable to spend part of my time going to language classes. So I enrolled in half-day sessions at a now defunct language center near the old center of the city. 

Today many things that were alive and vibrant in nineteen-ninety-two are defunct, long gone, like time-lapse photography, buildings have risen and fallen, businesses opened and closed, popular establishments have come and gone. Meanwhile, the people of this city continue to work and play and raise their families amid the waxing and waning tourism that supports the area, sometimes well, sometimes poorly. 
It is painful for me to see the changes in the city. And then there are the changes in myself and in my friend and ex-lover, Blas. We are both older and maybe wiser, though that remains to be seen. Our fathers are gone now. His sister has died. We both lost our mothers this summer past. He has a child and is divorced from the child’s mother. I was married, and then divorced, and now I am married again.

I held you close to me, once in a distant dream, far from the shores of my fears. I sailed on this ocean where all I imagined could happen and now you are here." Beth Chapman...


We floated on the sea beneath a wave of pale yellow butterflies floating on the wind overhead. The buoyancy of the salt water made our swimming as effortless as the migration of the butterflies above us. It felt magical, and for a few moments I was happy again with Blas, like when we were together here and we’d go to the ocean late in the evening to swim in the incredible warmth of the summer ocean off the beach at Olas Altas. 
But it isn’t that time and my happiness faded when we said goodbye and I stepped off the bus onto the Malecón where I went for my daily run. It was hot; and later, my sweat mixed with the moisture of tears as I stared out at the vast seascape allowing myself to indulge in the feelings of loss that have swept over me time and again, like the incessant recurrence of a tide, since I was a young woman. Always, always, my sadness traces back to that time. All of my stories run like tributaries of the same river, separating and then reconnecting back at the original source.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten Musings

Saturday, February 16, 2013 • 9:21 AM • Winthrop (Bluff Street House)
I’ve gotten out of my habit of daily journaling. So disrupted, I don’t even think to do it some mornings. How odd. After all these years of starting virtually every day with some scrawling and dawdling over pages / screens, I forget to write. Puzzling and disturbing.
When I considered Lent, I thought that maybe rather than give something up, I should include a commitment to write. We are three days down on Lent and during that period, no writing at all. Are those three days like the three between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection? I might think of it so. In that way, I could consider this a new day, a newly risen opportunity to renew an investment in the creativity of my soul. Better this, I think, than to lie under the murk and mildew of beleaguered drudgery, bemoaning reality. 
Reality. My mother restless and calling out when she wakes to find the room devoid of other humans. She seems always to need someone there. The sun breaking out of the cloud cover, lighting the snow into a bright, white coverlet besmirched with rock and evergreen. Incessant, left brain challenges, posed in the wings, waiting for entrance onto the stage of my day. Homework and studying for school. Why am I doing this? A question always riding the coattails of my nagging conscience.
Thoughts of home, distant like home itself. Life here and in this situation very moment to moment. 

Life Goes On...

The road narrows...

It's February. I am feeling an urgency to write. After all, we don’t know how long we will be here; how much time we have. Once you reach sixty, believe me, it begins to feel like people are dropping all around you. Some are peers. Some are younger. Some older. Oddly, it is the loss of those who are older that most calls me to attention. How much older? Ten years? Twenty years? The years fly by in a blink. A simple snap of the fingers and the pages on the calendars flip, month into new month and then another year is down. There you are, writing the same old New Year’s resolutions once again, depressed to see the same unmet goals. Or worse, you find you have no goals. Nothing at all. Life is just a series of repeated days. The days may be good ones. They may be full of contentment and even a kind of joy. But the days are passing, passing, nevertheless, and the road ahead is narrowing as you weave your way toward old age and death. 
If there is a story to be told, then I’d better be about telling it. And no time to waste. Not like in the days of our youth when time seemed limitless and only rare and random tragedy ripped life away. We were all about love in those days and committed to creating a brave new world. And perhaps we would have done that, but in our naivety and yes, "in our youth," we were easily ambushed. Youth––the very essence that spurred us onward and upward––also  derailed us, leaving us sidetracked, scattered and lost in wild places.

“Love is but a song we sing. Fears the way we die…. Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” 
The Youngbloods

Monday, January 21, 2013

Moving along...

Sunday, January 20, 2013 • Jackson Compound • 8:41 AM
I wake in such reluctance, such depression, these icy cold mornings, then languish in bed behind mumbled prayers and rem sleep dreams. When the sun reaches the windows, casting its warm, golden light, I remember the words, “I arise, Oh God, to do thy will.” And on those words I extract myself from cat and soft flannel-encased down, put bare feet on nubby carpet, and sleepily straighten the bedclothes, fluff pillows, arrange quilt and throws. Satisfied with the look of our lovely bedroom, I pull my faded chenille bathrobe around me and slip feet into fuzzy, blue slippers. I once gave these slippers to my mother for her old, knobby feet. (She gave them back when it was no longer safe for her to navigate in them.) I raise the pale honeycomb shades and let full light burst into the room. Now I’m ready to stumble into the kitchen where I  boil water for tea and take care of my morning start-up chores.
I can waste an amazing amount of time on this ritual, which I follow with other forms of dawdling: writing this journal, reading meditations, playing Words with Friends on my iPhone, feeding treats to Punkin the cat. It’s lovely. Sun in my eyes, unfiltered orb in a cerulean blue sky, bright rays reaching through bare oak branches. When I allow myself the laziness, it is a delicious way to spend an hour or more. 
The longer I sit, the more the details and tasks of life encroach on my mind, like unwelcome visitors knocking on the door, ringing the telephone, or pinging electronic reminders. I’ll answer these demands, calls and prompts soon enough. For now, sweet Keith Jarret jazz tunes stream from the Bose radio behind me and I count my blessings. 
Hold on. If I really counted my blessings, I’d be here all day.