Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Telling Time

Rosemary Laing

Bill's grandfather's boots, not just a flash in the pan

Watch fobs most of us have seen one way or another. I'm thinking of them because of their role as artifacts in our marking of time, ways we punctuate minutes, days, lives, experiences. A Watch fob is a medallion or ornament attached by leather strap or chain to a pocket watch to assist in locating and removing the watch from a pocket in clothing. Some were originally coded or numbered to assist in return to the owner. Watch fobs became popular when mens watches were predominantly carried in the pocket, and are still used today, especially by nurses.The term is also used to refer to ornaments hung at the end of such a ribbon or chain.

It is the energy that people, we all, respond to – the energy of love. I feel how I can get caught up in the physical nature of change, as the rush and tumble of needing to get things done, the distraction of the “task” rather than the energy of creation. The images of many lives of picking up hoes, picks, shovels, canes, needles, quills, the bending and rising, even how this relates to tying children’s shoes, smoothing their collars, touching their hair, squinting into the warm morning sun between dirt rows. What does it mean to me to be a creator who has taken unto myself multiple images of lessons through lifetimes, making my way as a “mind” seeking to know itself as “it” creates, snaking its way learning to feel the openness and energy of all as love makes itself known, as the infinity of energy and every creation insinuates itself in its own making? It is to know that a mind is not a mind alone. I have all of the knowledge available within the Universe, I read this morning (Sharing, 66). What an awesome Thought. So to be limited, to feel limited by the physical is only a reminder of this, except when we believe we are only the physical matter. My mind took upon itself also the many lives of “being itself,” of the quiet study of book after book, sea-view into eternity, watching water from tall ships and cliffs, because this was also part of balancing the picking up axes, shovels, picks, even jewels strung on a chunky chain, and more. Seeking solace, the mind began to turn into itself, taking next steps to remember that internally is the horizon where all knowledge will make itself known as we experience and open ourselves to all, as the spirit speaks to us. Opening to the communion of all souls, in the physical, as sharing the banquet at the table, the feast of life, the feast of knowledge as all other savory pleasures, is the best next step of the moment, healing.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Once, Making Music

I went with a friend to see the Irish indie film, Once, at the newly restored Carolina Theater in Durham. How refreshing to see a not-so-slick film just like a slice of someone’s life (much as I can enjoy some of the slick ones!). I’d heard an NPR review a while back which kept my attention and had me humming along to the actors’ laughter, even before I heard any of the songs. Here’s my review: we missed the beginning scenes, but what a beautiful theater the Carolina is, in its restored grandeur (complete with new toilet seats, as the signs point out)! The sound of this young woman’s voice, the real commitment and momentum energy as she walks down the busy Dublin streets selling single red roses, the way she overrode her frustration of dead or no batteries when she walked to a nearby market late to continue listening and lyricking, putting the words to music he had asked her help with - she walked, bed-clothed, singing to herself with earphones in, completely absorbed – back to the bedroom where she slept with her young daughter; her wistfulness and also sudden smiles, optimism, encouragement, then the song she wrote with her piano, a song she had written to her husband which he didn’t understand then, which ached, still strong, with her desire for her strength to be seen, waited for, patiently, as she knew she must nurture within her. A romantic view, only my own? Maybe. If you see the film, you’ll know your own view. He walked purposefully, guitar strapped to his back, those sort of bulging eyes sweetly innocent, even when nodding at his bitterness over disappointed love. His voice rises, strong, over the sound of his guitar strings, that strumming not letting up, easy, then like steady cavalry. I thought at first I might struggle to hear, to understand with the recorded sound and accents, but it wasn’t difficult then, after a few scenes. There is low light, dim rooms, some. There are priceless moments, such as when our young hero is playing his newly recorded songs on a small cassette player for his father, a Hoover-sucker-repairer. His father’s face and communication with him are a memorable delight. The long recording time, the studio man who begins to warm to their determination, their sound, then the beach moments, the playfulness in early light. Those tough choices of should-I-stay-or-should-I-go, and that thrill of a gift of love which is passed from one to another in different ways: his father’s gift to him, to cross to London and make a go of music; his buying her a piano, having it delivered to her apartment even as he is on his way, air-bound. Wistfulness is real, and so is moving on, in supportive ways which honor all. Love never dies, only changes form.

We left the theater into a cooler evening than many of late, and those fountains were running, water running as if it had never stopped.


A Savannah Story

Watch the long arms of those live oaks and the dripping green. They are beautiful, unforgettable, and tell every story, some sordid, some hopeful. Their own stories are in another language, sometimes equally charged with change, always adapting, no questions asked. Listen.

We met in the park near my office after Nina called me.
I would like to state my case, she said, her head down, voice getting softer and a trickle of tears slowly moving down her cheeks.
Tell me, I said, my voice soft too, even softer than the way it felt inside me.
I didn’t kill anyone, she said.
Who said you did? I said, not believing what I was hearing.
You’re going to be hearing this, she said, but it’s not true.
What are you talking about? I asked.
You’ve heard me talk about Randall, haven’t you?
Yes, I answered.
Randall is dead, she said. I was with him the day before.
I could not figure out where this was coming from.
We’re friends, aren’t we? I said, lifting her chin so she would look at me.
She nodded, her made-up eyes filled with tears.
Tell me about Randall, I said. What happened?
I don’t know, she said. I only know that he was found dead in the parking garage at his office, and I know my name is going to come up. I thought I loved him – I didn’t love him, but he was a force in my life, a wind that swept up everything so I would be persuaded to do things he said. When I did, he seemed happy, and I just got caught up in it, that seemed so simple, for a change. For a change, everything was simple, and happy.
You were having an affair with him? I asked, not just wanting to state the obvious, but feeling compelled to be crystal clear.
She cried more, and nodded. You don’t understand, she said.
You’d be surprised, I said.
I had loved her a long time. This love I felt had gone through every stage of upheaval, it seemed, though much of it was on the inside. She knew I loved her, but had never felt the same for me, so we had softened it over, glossed it over, and tried to be kind to the pet in the room called My Love. This was at least amusing to us. I had never married, but I was happy. My friend Angela and I shared parallel lives – she was divorced and happy to be friends with me. We had grown to appreciate life and the little things. Divorce is no walk in the park, she used to say, quoting her ex-husband and enjoying every taste of chocolate-mint ice cream as we walked through the park.
Who knows about you? I asked Nina.
His wife, now, I think, she said. And one of his friends at the office. I met him one day when we met up for lunch. His friend knew right away, gave me that smile that said he knew, then I saw how that smile between them went. It disgusted me, but I went with him and jollied up, enjoyed myself by the time we finished that fresh, delicious food and champagne.
This story is going to go on a long time, I thought.
There are lifetimes to solve this one, not just the details of what bullet, what finger, what trigger, what gun, but the whys that converged into all of these “only for the moments” which seemed happy and overrode the true love of all true kindness, compassion, the heart-sleeve which wiped the mouths of children after sipping juice, the laughter which came from a moment by the fire, the joy that is impossible to make small, and deadly.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The other morning I had a dream in which, among other things, in two scenarios I was in front of a computer screen and a different man watched me work, then, at a perfect moment, gently pointed out to me a new view. In the first moment, the man was standing near and behind me as I sat at a table, and he leaned over and touched a key on the keyboard after asking me if I knew what this key did, which I didn’t. The key had a half-symbol below it, like a sun icon. He touched the key and on the screen began to appear multiple designs, like Mandelbrot’s fractal images and more, in bright reds, blues on a white background. The screen was dynamic and alive. I smiled at this and laughed because it showed me how one-button access (knowledge) can open up a whole new world.

In the next scenario, later, I sat at another table with a different computer, and lively happy kitchen creations going on nearby in a big communal kitchen. A different man standing nearby behind me leaned over and turned my screen from its landscape orientation to a vertical one, which of course changed the view entirely and the picture suddenly made sense. I smiled at this, too, turning to the man with recognition.

This morning I was thinking about how we control our minds, our patterns of thought, and how this feels to us, what this does to our creations. I was reading Kathy Oddenino’s book Spirit Consciousness, and here are quotes:

“The smaller the amount of energy that we consciously use within our thinking mind, the less loving energy we reflect into our physical body and our physical behaviors that create the world that we live within. “ (5)

“As an Intelligent Design we are eternal beings, unless we mutate or destroy our internal chemical design and function with the toxic foreign chemicals that we are exposed to in our physical lives, which have the power to mutate our human chemical design by denying our emotional self.” (8)

“True love is the collective energy of our loving emotions, which works together with our thinking mind, and together they function as dual soul partners that are growing together into the Trinity of Spirit Consciousness, which is the Intelligent Design and function of our brain.” (11)

I am learning to consciously change my thinking as I communicate, but I see why this has to be an absolutely conscious process and change. Control is one more way of "shaping"(or manipulating or controlling)the pattern of change, or the intellect alone trying to rule with an iron hand/fist, keep things in control. I see that what it comes back to always is the reality of the way I feel about being responsible for my own thinking, choices, my own reality, my own creations, every moment. If I still feel any inkling of a “victim” energy, a need to be saved, then I am denying my loving emotions and the communication of my spirit senses – mightily resisting their influence in my life. I think this is part of the dream image the other night – the turning the computer screen to “get a new view,” the man showing me how with one button I can access many different tessellations, designs. Escher comes to mind, and I can appreciate now the precision of repetitious images and how we come to know beauty as love.

See Ferrell McCollough's photo Shattered Dreams, on Flickr

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cheeks Soft As Down

Cheeks soft as down, strings of hair fall soft across her face. Those eyes were closed but I could imagine them open and looking at me as she had once, achingly open and with every memory of such a childhood intact, every memory of such happiness of being together, a family, intact until shaking apart with the slow shudder of an earthquake. How could I not sense the shuddering deep inside her, every memory that went as deep as the earth, feeling the urgency of creation in that urge that rose like the lava of a volcano, skimming the rim. The village I imagine below waits, families by smoldering fires, sipping tea from metal cups. Legs wrap around me and I carry her down the mountainside, breathing smoke. There is nothing else to think of. The breath of us, the sweat and smoke, the threat of annihilation, the way searing of tissue comes. With each shuddering comes a squeeze of tears, and fingernails dig into my slippery neck as I run, stumbling over the rough ground.

Every time I feel the earth shudder, and lightning blaze, I remember. You know the moments I mean, don’t you? I will wrap you in blankets and breathe life back into you because this isn’t over. Our time isn’t over. There is nothing to fear. Safety is what we come home to, what we birth within us as the fire rages around us. We remember the gardens, the blooms, the way ash turns over and over, oily and impressionable. My sweet baby girl, you will forever be, in this memory, though you are grown. The fear of you gone brings me to tears, and I remember dying myself. Joy comes in the morning, we’ve heard, and the rim of the ocean beyond the volcano reminds us as light spills over silver.

Memories of Our Cellular Design

“Before the advent of worldwide forecasting systems, islanders watched for subtle changes to predict the behavior of weather and wind. They studied the sky and the animals the way a mother might look for the telltale signs that her young child is growing tired and cross.” (7, Wind)

The recent 3-day conference on hidden memories really made me think. I’ve been reading the handout given to participants, and there is no end to the rocks and roots and swirls I am uncovering in this landscape within me. It is strange and yet oh-so-familiar to think about what it means to me to have infinite self-images that pop up, linger, hover, stay, and so much without my really knowing what they meant. Think of it: Just as within me I hold memories of my cellular design, my mind holds memories of mental and emotional energies of lessons that are in their own motion and change. (The roots for our refusal to learn and to change can be found in our belief that we live only one life, which keeps us from recognizing that when we grow and change in each life we can have more fun and balance within our physical lives. – 31)

We don’t have to imagine this, just think about it: We prefer to live in strict accordance to the internal images that we have in relationship to ourselves. There are as many internal images of us as human beings as there are human beings. (32) We can never evolve into our next level of growth until we are willing to change the internal image that we have of ourselves.

Our hidden memories in the mind and cellular memories stored in our physical cellular body. If our thinking mind is functioning through fear, we are not aware of the endless nature of the fractal patterns of energy that we are living as human beings. (4) When we live in fear, we use multiple fractal patterns of our fear to control every aspect of our living human existence. When we learn to live our love with our thinking mind, the fractal patterns of love that we live will change our lives, because it will change our thinking from fear to love. As we learn to love ourselves, we will learn to love others.

Now I know the way this sleight-of-hand “works” – I am juggling, juggling, the way cards fly in the dim light of a small room, then in a larger room, and still larger room, and then the dusty blue and red and yellow lights as in a carnival arena. The man stands straight as a wand, with the energy of him blurry and fading with the flames, bright then blurry. His leg is bent at the knee now, easily balancing, his eyes intensely focused on the movement and rhythm of these cards, the jacks, the balls that float and fly. This is the image of life after life, the many-headed monsters that scare us in the night, the light-hearted fireflies and smiling jesters that turn up, surprise! With fear, the shadows of night leer and loom, and the sounds of night echo like space, cavernous, bottomless and dark; with love, the echoes bounce and fly and ricochet the way light does, bright and bending without breaking bones, splintering only energy.

Where are the children?
They are delighted in the front rows, breaking up rows, crowding because edges could never hold them. Edges are man-made, in the way we have drawn them. The children are transfixed, completely in motion inside, and delightfully themselves, animated by both light and shadow.

The seduction of our sight that is caught by both light and shadow – seeking what flickers and flutters in shadow, to bring it to light – is a key part of this dance. Having spent the week with my family, with the energy of those beautiful “children,” I am reminded of what an infusion of light energy means to any body, any environment, any room, any brain. Early some mornings I read through the words from the 3-day conference, about hidden memories, and as I read different sentences I saw myself in them. I saw my juggling of images of myself as I sought “to be liked,” as I sought to “rule my world,” as I sought to find the path to follow where my feet wouldn’t be constantly wet. I could see the roles and identities like playing cards and how we shuffle them, awkwardly laughing at the ways we bet money and make others guess what cards we hold, how we bluff them, what importance we put in game of interaction.

The simplicity of love in its fractal patterns is also infinite, and more powerful. Think of the uses of rope, and the way someone, some mind, began to think of twisting fibers together to strengthen and lengthen, to make a line. This week my parents were in the hospital, my mother tending to my father, while we were on vacation. My sister-in-law agreed to be with them a few days as we dispersed, and I felt the rope lengthen and strengthen as we thought of them all week and as this choice was made, the first of many in a string of all travel, all support, all change that this ripple makes in our world.


I looked through the hole made of skylight and metal and I saw the biggest rainbow ever. There was rust on the metal fringe, just a hint of white cloud, and that impression of rainbow somehow all together like a picture framed on the wall of the world. There is hope in every view, it seemed to say. Look again. If you linger at the edges, then study the edges. Find every crevice, every dark crumple, every scrunched up wrapper, and imagine what left it there, think of its journey from being made to this moment. (This doesn’t have to take long.) Just as every leaf has a life, a genealogy, every scrap of metal, every dot of dye, every broken steering wheel, every crank case, every abandoned tire, has a story. It doesn’t so much matter what they are, to everyone, just that they have one.

I used to hide in abandoned tires, when I was small enough, and even when I got big enough to think that I could never fit. Fitting into a tire and imagining rolling down an endless hill seemed perfectly logical to me since sometimes I felt like everything was rolling inside my head like inside a dryer. This sounds very strange, I know, but why so strange if you can so easily imagine a donut hole, a spin cycle, a wheel with shiny silver hubcap spinning so fast it’s a blur. This is the strength and speed of a thought.

I was once spraying paint on a wall, with the screaming wind behind me. That was before I knew what I know now about wind. Wind has carried every vowel, syllable, word through time. Wind has formed, with its partners of water, fire, and earth, the tunnels and plains and mountains, even the shorelines we explorers and travelers follow, the same way we lovers follow the curves of a body, and look into the tunnels of eyes, kiss the strands of eyelashes as though they are the most precious hair in the world. I heard howling in my sleep, when I awoke beside the train tracks, when I stood on the high platform and closed my eyes, bowed my head, feeling the vibration of the steel and wheels, the memory of all motion hurtling through time into now, feet planted like a great oak.

That moment on the platform was a comic book block, bright colors and cape and smoke swirling; high wooden platform rattling like a roller coaster and clattering like a cacophony of wooden spoons and bookcases falling over while outside a storm rages.

This brought every other moment of softness, even potential gentle raindrops, into giant relief. I imagined the fields of golden flowers I had once read about, tulips that shone into a horizon like just opening, overlapping hands. I opened my mouth for the raindrops and tasted the salt of ocean spray and the neck of a beautiful woman as she lay beside me in the twilight. Then the cascading of leaves that touched me as I walked under them with a man who bent to kiss me with a smile full of satisfaction and humor that could not be held back. I felt the caress of human life being stroked into being, bringing me the globe of the world and a belly rising like sunrise.

Violence has no place in such a world. Nature’s way of change, the teeth of creatures horror-like to us in miniature, has its writhing and tearing and searing. We are to be thinkers, lovers of the way flesh is made, the way flesh moves because its insides and contours are beautiful simply by nature of their design and being. What we add and do to them may camouflage and damage, but think what the polish and shine of love inside can do – the way green works because it is alive. Pain and blood come with birth, and some changes, red light/green light.

Kiss us goodnight, touch our hair, stroke the forehead which has a fever and glistens. Tuck us in. Love us into being, and we will glow for you, we will show you why the sun shines.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Salt of the Earth

"Air moves from high pressure to low pressure, deflected to the right or the left by the rotation of the earth. It’s a simple matter of physics." (Jan Deblieu, Wind)

"The prayer flowers were ships built to sail nowhere – set aflame they unreeled a bitter scent and carried the tiny pleas scribbled on their petals only as far as the limits of the glass bowl before they died." (Helen Oyeyemi, The Opposite House)

The way one baby can light up the world shows how shadows take form, how light travels through time and stays in its own way its own form, even while constantly changing. One baby has entered our world with a gummy smile and the softest pink cheeks and wide open blue eyes, and this is its own transfer of energy in the tiniest green dress with colorful flowers. I watch the way her father watches her as he lifts her hands as though she is playing the piano on the smooth kitchen counter with the music playing in the background. She is alternately smiling, giggling, gurgling, and turning her head to see all that is, all that may come. The energy of all moves in her, around her, and we wonder aloud what she sees. Her mother laughs in front of her, gently pushes her stroller and lullabies her, marveling at this little girl who has become herself, from her.

There are flowers in the air around them as this happens. The honey flowers that have floated from the past into this air linger like a hardened sugar coating and a lacquered kimono which has folds with stalks and leaves and limbs that fold and unfold, delicate and still somehow as strong as the oldest tree roots. What oldest roots are these, I wonder, as I sift and sort among the white tendrils that are stronger than any cable or cord. My fingers are dirty now, and I have been digging in dirt for longer than days, more than what time I thought we had allotted to this adventure. This air blowing so freely, with lightning flashing and thunder sounding so close, brings up clouds and rainbows that tumble together.

We are together on Tybee Island for this vacation, only our parents are not here, and I feel their absence with the blustering wind and flashing lightning, as well as with the rainbows that fill a path through the sky. We learned that "tybee" is an Indian words that means salt. The salt of the earth was taken from the water to trade, precious. As we drove back from the store, sun showers brought a full rainbow after a heavy pour, and I thought of our parents, salt of the earth, on the fourth floor so far away in a hospital – a room and floor and place opposite from this where we, their children and grandchildren, are. Dad lies in a hospital bed, up and moving some as he can, as he is encouraged to do. Mom is, we know, undaunted, weary, and disappointed. She has fed him, covered his feet when they are cold, helped him to move. He is forgetful, grateful, docile, aiming to be simply comfortable. Here, we are surrounded by palm fronds, magnolias, thick brush, and the loud sounds of crickets and so many more creatures unknown to us. Three of us walked on the path around the park today, looking for signs of the old railroad and smelling ashes of a burned out old house as we walked by. Wax myrtles were planted, egret images lingered, and beside a drainage ditch we saw oyster shells tied together in net bags, shoring each other up. I’ve never heard of "Wax myrtles" before, though I’m sure I’ve seen many. I’ve learned it is the southern version of Bay Berry. The small waxy berries give birds good food to keep their strength up during those long migratory patterns. I think I did see a Painted Bunting once, in Kathy’s yard in Pittsboro – painted or indigo? Electric blue, with orange markings, absolutely striking and beautiful. Here we read about cowbirds, too, which are parasitic and preys of buntings – they take over nests and push out bunting eggs.

Intermittent bright sun, then showers. I don’t know what all of these plants and bugs are called, but their presence is known, and I feel them making themselves known here. They know their place. Yesterday we walked the island perimeter, on the busy street, the beach, and through neighborhoods with houses and trailers old and new, slick and well-used.

We went to the beach today, driving and some riding bicycles. The dark brown sand is packed hard, and shells and stones are pulverized in clusters. Sea gulls walked and stalked on the sand, easy among people. The sand bars at the island tip reach far out into water, and we don’t know where the river and ocean converge exactly. The flat empty expanse is beautiful. The water is warm and cool in streams as we move through, pulling each other in trains in the shallows, walking on our hands, submerged. A jellyfish or something with tentacles crept over my sister’s leg and left its mark. Tiny creatures burrowed with bubbles into the sand in pools. The tide was strong in some areas, and smooth and easy in others. The salt in the water was heavy and strong-tasting. We drip water and drop sand as we walk, laughing.

We know love as we do. There is so much to do within us, and with each other, within our world. These beautiful growing children bring us back to the wonderful way the world is made, the joy that is already here, within each seed, each creature, each life.

We prepare food, with my sister-in-law’s recipes and stirs, we choose local produce from shelves. We grilled fish, and tasted the flesh of water in it, with its oil and herbs and savory rich life. The fresh revival of life comes with it, with "our" new baby here, and our thoughts of our parents who are so distant from us, yet ever-present in every move, every choice, every thought. Emily brings them closer with her kindnesses, and we share our moments every way we can. We know love as we do.

Sweet Lowland Tybee Tours