Jan 232015
 

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I’ve been reading theoasisofmysoul, catching up with the last month of Ara’s postings, and there are some profound topics he opens. This man has been wandering on a BMW motorcycle for a decade since his son passed away. We share a deep wounding, a love for BMW airheads, and a life in the west. I look at his bike and sidecar, and can feel the part of me that would drop everything I do and everything I’m attached to, and journey as he does.

Spirit is his dog, who wears a helmet that says “Bite Me”. Ara wrote recently:

… I realize, still baffled, that I was wrong. I do have fear. I have the fear of losing Spirit which I know will happen some day. It is reality. I also have the worse fear of them all which is to Love. The real Love towards a person, meaning a deep relationship, a Lifetime one. I do Love my Friends, Mother Nature, good food, riding, photography, writing and more, but that true Love scares me, puts fear in me, the fear of, if it ever happened, losing again a true Love. It is not like I meet a possible companion everyday on this path of ours, but the anticipation of the possibility of losing a true Love has instated a fear in me. So much for living in the now.

He sees this great truth also: fear is ‘not present’, it’s all about the past and future. But we’ve responded differently to our loss, as I am so delightfully feeling love and being loved now, three years after loss.

I originally wrote a long thing, about what is the same and what is different between Ara and I. Then a friend happened to share this poem with me today. This says it all, much better than I can.

You left me and went on your way.
I thought I should mourn for you
and set your solitary image in my heart
wrought in a golden song.
But ah, my evil fortune, time is short.

Youth wanes year after year; the spring days are fugitive;
the frail flowers die for nothing,
and the wise man warns me that life is but a dew-drop on the lotus leaf.
Should I neglect all this to gaze
after one who has turned her back on me?
That would be rude and foolish, for time is short.

Then, come, my rainy nights with pattering feet;
smile, my golden autumn; come, careless April,
scattering your kisses abroad.
You come, and you, and you also!
My loves, you know we are mortals.
Is it wise to break one’s heart
for the one who takes her heart away?
For time is short.

It is sweet to sit in a corner to muse
and write in rhymes that you are all my world.
It is heroic to hug one’s sorrow
and determine not to be consoled.
But a fresh face peeps across my door
and raises its eyes to my eyes.
I cannot but wipe away my tears
and change the tune of my song.
For time is short.

-Rabindranath Tagore

Fresh face peeps across my door. I cannot but wipe away my tears and change the tune of my song, Jen. Je t’aime.

 Posted by at 8:44 pm
Dec 072014
 

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This evening is my first completely solo time in my home in ten years. It’s a little startling, because it came about quickly through happenstance, like a random collision of pinball events. Since December 2004, I’ve always had a cat (and most of the time my partner!) sharing my home space. Tonight Jen is out with a friend, I won’t see her for a few days, and my faithful and sometimes whiney companion, Edwin P. Hubble, is spending the night at the vet with a urinary problem. So it’s just me, and the frogs in the nearby creek.

Hubble, shown here after a hard day of texting, was acting strangely this morning. Both of us noticed it, and finally around noon we figured out that he hadn’t peed in the litter box in a couple of days. Fortunately, the San Rafael Pet Emergency Center is a great resource, helping me in the past as I lost Hubble’s brother Chandra, and my mother’s elderly and sweet German Shepherd, Sheba. Today they were great yet again, catheterized and caring for my friend. He’s doing fine, and I should have him home tomorrow night. Hopefully some diet changes will prevent this from happening again.

It’s odd to be completely solo at home, even for just a day. Two years ago, I wrote here about how my life had pared down to just my cat and myself. Now I’m pared even further to just the essential me, and I am rather surprised at how different my house feels, even though Hubble (aka “The Black Avenger”) is mostly a lurking and invisible presence. It’s honestly wonderful to experience a little time with absolutely no relationship responsibility. Don’t get me wrong; I love being in relationship, and my time with Jen is treasure time. And I’ve experienced it while traveling by myself, of course. But it’s oddly freeing to have this sensation in my own home. I remember a little more than ten years ago, after separating from my first wife, how rattled I felt while completely by myself. It was excruciating, to be honest, and I could not sit still with myself for more than a few hours…had to go out, do something. After Nancy passed, Hubble has been a constant in my life, a partner always happy to receive affection, responding by draping himself on me, or shoulder-diving into my arm and hand. I can feel more clearly how he has helped me navigate my grieving, the shifts in my psyche without her.

Honoré de Balzac wrote “Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.” I’ve lived a relationship with that quote for decades, used it to rationalize my feelings, helped me deal with my incapacity for pure solitude. But I notice that the quote is no longer true for me. How wonderful here and now is. Floppy cat, good. Fabulous partner, more than good. Tonight, solitude is good.

And the frogs sound outrageously alive and cheerful.

 Posted by at 6:28 pm
Oct 182014
 

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(December 8, 2013)

Five years ago, this was how my house looked at Christmas. In fact, I have a blog post exactly five years ago tonight, with the same photo. Nancy and I moved into our new home in July 2008, and our first holiday season was an opportunity to put some lights up. This was one of the first and best photos of my house as landscaping was being installed, and we were relaxing into our new home. You can see the tree through the windows in the middle of the second floor.

Fast forward to now, and it has been four full years since any holiday decorations have been up in my home. I’m a little shocked, I just realized this today. Three years ago, Nancy was very weak and we were trying to figure out what was wrong…there was no room for tree or house decoration. Two years ago, she was in the ICU, and Christmas was the last thing on my mind. To be honest, I don’t even remember Christmas two years ago, although I know I got together with her family. Last year, I couldn’t deal with the intensity of my feelings, and did no decorations.

But now it’s different. This is my house, and I will be here through the holidays. I’ve been digging into the boxes of Christmas stuff, and found the lights we put on the decks four years ago. They are up again as of tonight. I am now decorating my home.

(October 18, 2014)

I have kept these lights on every night since last December, and few see them, as the street traffic after dark on my dead-end street is almost nonexistent. But I see them. I’ve kept the lights on all year, without really knowing why. As I go back into my journal, and read this unposted entry from last December, now I know. It’s like lighting a candle in memory of someone, in celebration. Every night the lights go on and remind me this is my home, the one Nancy and I created together, that is mine now. Let the lights illuminate the setbacks, the cedar siding we so carefully finished together in the spring of 2011, the railings we drilled and installed, the beautiful architecture that Art Chartock designed and Rich Dowd and Bob Hartwell implemented.

I often light the candle in the entry way and burn incense when I get home. At 7pm it’s dark, but the marble buddha that dominates the entry space gets honored as often as I am capable. Anyone walking by can see it. I love my home so much. I may not live here the rest of my life – Marin property taxes are so high – but I do so enjoy being here while I can afford it. Let the light shine every night.

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
Oct 162014
 
attachment is a good thing

Fireworks are detonating in San Francisco tonight, as the SF Giants win the National League Championship, and go to the World Series. WOOOO-HOOOOO! Let me make my feelings clear! It’s especially sweet that Travis Ishikawa’s homer ended the game. He has been a workhorse all year, and there is something perfect about him finding such […]

 Posted by at 10:13 pm
Aug 232014
 
returning home

Ah, home. The word means something different when we are days or weeks away. A driving trip to a distant place makes home far away, and I had lots of time to contemplate as I journeyed back with my Canadian flotilla. Here are some numbers: 6138 miles total on this trip, and the return took […]

 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Aug 182014
 
the roxy road

Today is transition day, I’m feeling a ton of things, and letting something shift inside. Punctuated by Roxy Music. Al and Kathy have put us up in a delightful cottage on their property on Duck Lake, and this has become my base of operations as we picked up Miss Powassan and put her in the […]

 Posted by at 11:33 am
Aug 142014
 
serendipity

We’ve arrived, after five-and-a-half days of easy travel, beautiful scenery, and happy coincidence. Our overnight stays have been in three hotels, two campgrounds and with my sister Camille in Idaho. Along the way, we’ve experienced a lot of trains, a fantastic bakery in Reno, a wonderful family dinner, more trains, booming oil economy in North […]

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Aug 022014
 
prelude to transition

In a few days, I’ll be starting a two-week road trip to Ontario, Canada.This will be my first long driving trip in years. It is also a journey that will mark a deep change. I’m going to Canada to scatter Nancy’s ashes. There it is. And…I need to pick up some boats. And fishing gear. […]

 Posted by at 6:14 pm
Jul 272014
 
another comment on the mideast

So much has happened this week in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, or more properly, Judaic and Islamic influence in the area. So many have commented, it seems like everyone around this conflict has gotten spun up into their polarization. It’s painful for me to watch. The pain is in the polarization, the […]

 Posted by at 4:51 pm
May 312014
 
urban turkey trot

My mornings and evenings have been punctuated by some all-American sound and action for the last couple of weeks. My house seems to be home-central for a flock of wild turkeys. The action starts right around 6am, with a parade. This morning the parade started just up the street from me, and proceeded apace right […]

 Posted by at 10:21 am