9/11

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Bye Bye

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Andie Sunday 9/10/2017

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Day Care Andie

It feels like grief writ on a huge scale. Thousands of fires are burning in Northern California, hurricanes of historic proportions are wreaking havoc on the south, thousands of homes are gone, people killed, pets lost and politicians blaming it on Hillary’s e-mails. What a world.

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( Oh I know, but couldn’t resist )

Even the village is affected by this climate crises. For nearly two weeks temperatures have soared between 104 to 109 degrees , truly unprecedented. San Francisco always shrouded in fog at this time of year sweltered under three digit temperatures. It’s no longer climate change friends. It’s climate CRISES.

The garden shows the strain as if for the first time weather was a dominatrix with whip and stilettos instead of a sweet whispering lover. It scared the hell out of the roses, who withered and died as if Gaia’s evil twin took a blowtorch to them. The caltapla dropped its bright yellow heart-shaped leaves in a rush of dynamic urgency. Humming birds and bees laid low. As I look out the studio window I see, perhaps counter intuitively, a riot of beautiful ruin.

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( OK, I cheated. This is through the window of the farmhouse—artistic license)

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Real view near the front gate

Andie and I drink water all day and pee all night. Out into the evening’s summer wee hours we hear the wonderful cacophony of crickets and see the beauty of a red moon because of the burning fires. Sunset is particularly beautiful because the white sky hangs a flaming pink sun encased within a  flaming red-orange  aureole. All is sweltering and as still as a grave yard.

Sometimes during the day an inversion-like occurrence unfolds and it smells like diesel or exhaust, especially when dear Truck Mart starts up its five trucks in the morning. Sometimes it smells like paper burning. The shabby little Pentecostal church across from the Methodist one Andie and I visit every morning is suddenly packed with cars in case this time, seriously, this time the Rapture will happen.

The last time this phenomenon occurred  a few years back, nobody was taken because the Lord wasn’t interested in Republicans that day, although I understand a woman speaking in tongues to a rattlesnake was taken to Saint Joseph’s hospital just in the nick of time.

So, old man and dog devise defensive measures. Open all the windows at night, close them at dawn and draw the blinds and turn on the fans. It keeps the cottage at least fifteen degrees  cooler. Folks seem to be stopping by more frequently and that is delightful, because I am having a bit of a social life for the first time in years and not jut because Andie is cuteness personification, although that helps.

The first order of business was to get Andie her country-girl summer haircut at Almost Home Doggie Day Care Center. HDCC is where I take Andie for play days ( see above). She is a good sport and gives it a half heart’d run-around or two and then sits by the gate until I come and pick her up. This time she got groomed, the works: nails, ears, paws, poodle legs and beautiful face.

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As I mentioned, one of the most delightful events to unfold in this scourge of  Gaia’s weather warning was a social event that deeply touched  my heart. A dear longtime friend, Susan Lamont, was to be honored by having her name engraved on a granite monument to peace in the neighboring town of Sebastopol. She and her colleague recipients  share that honor with the likes of MLK and Nelson Mandela. Another dear friend, Carolyn,  picked me up for the ride. I was so grateful for that because there are times these days when just making it to the mailbox and back becomes an Olympian challenge.

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Susan

What a crowd of gray and white heads, Boomer radicals were still at it and as passionate as ever. It was an embracive and electric atmosphere! Susan gave a brilliant, down-to-earth, evocative speak about the big picture and it’s micro implications. Her longtime experience gave an overview that to many of we proto-cynics encouraged the understanding that hope is a muscular and kick-ass praxis and not just amorphous thoughts and prayers. Susan Lamont’s daughter Julia was there and took some excellent pictures.

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Susan  Michael

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Michael  Carolyn Susan Carole

Even though Carolyn and I sat in the shade we had to move here and there for relief. Friend Susan Chunco was there to ensure the comfort of the familiar and was a delight see see again and I got to meet Carole Hyams. At one point the mic went out and Holly Near stood up and began to sing the old songs that riled our once young selves with resistance, passion and the engagement in wars for justice. I sat there remembering the Berkley ‘riots’ and my life in the San Francisco Liberation Commune. It all came back as she sang and my eyes swelled with tears.

While there I met a lovely woman, Carla, whose picture of  German kuchen on Face Book a few weeks back set my yearning appetite for the exquisite. A week later the beautiful Carla arrived at my door with a kuchen. I feel so honored with such a generous gift by a kindred journeyer.

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I just couldn’t admit to Carla that I am a gluten moocher and have embarrassed myself on too many occasions by insinuating myself on a slice or two from Susan Lamont’s exceptional baking. Every day for a week at breakfast I thought of Carla as I poured creme fraiche over that delicious confit of peach and custard cake, absolutely heavenly! Andie got to lick the plate. Thank you Carla! As if that weren’t spectacular, a close neighbor, Sara, brought down a pint of hand pressed Concord grape juice the other day. These treats from the goddesses certainly put light in the darker days.

That was then and it seemed that the plague of fire from the sky would never abate, but  it all changed a few days ago, just like that, when rain drizzled down on our parched dryness . Weather seemed stoned and the order of things  unpredictable. A day of rain was absolutely embraced. Andie wanted to go outside and get wet. She did and I spent the rest of the day working on the new book. The garden exalted in its redemptive showers.

We celebrated the turn of weather here with a week’s lunch of toasted sourdough, Hellman’s mayo, Himalayan course salt, Tellicherry  pepper and big, plump slices of garden tomatoes.

The gift of community and the company of fellow sojourners is one of the most unexpected treasures of the late years as I spy the ever nearer event horizon and am lifted on the exercise of love that makes my human experience perfectly realized. Andie thinks so too and she approves this message.

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Never Said Goodby

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Summer Daze

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Summer Daze

Sparkling with fireflies,

Nights hover with lighting magic,

Sung to by crickets and frogs.

Tule fog rises, turning cool

Then cold,

 Then still.

Hiding all the scurrying ground,

Back to burrows and shelters

In the still-warm marsh.

The morning comes gray

Overcast with luscious wet rain

The run-into,

Dance-around-in kind.

Heat rises again

Up from the torpid south,

Clashed in fury with the icy northern lands.

Spring has vanished.

In the mix

Hot, muggy, sticky,

stifling, wet laden air

Weighs down the day,

Breathing becomes aware

And,

So disturbing,

The rhythms of it.

 Bats are dying,

Losing their place in the order of things.

Bees swarming

In thousands-fold energy

Briefly occupy

 The blooming Hawthorn,

That smells like rotting meat.

Stormy,

Branch tearing, tree breaking,

Red lightening drives in blinding flashes

To ground

Burning the sweet pastoral green.

It’s Thunder, magnificent,

Warring and destructive.

Gone are the fragile transparencies of Spring.

Summer weighs the gravity of swift changes

With opaque and baroque color.

Everything grows wildly in the precision

Of aggressive nature,

As if for the last time.

Gaia, furious at her insult,

Medea in her rage,

Clytemnestra’s revenge,

Antigone’s justice,

The tragedy of destruction

Lies haunting the beauties of power.

Why do the ghosts appear?

Just at this peak of glory?

Is this the trope of endings?

The gyre

just before?

Why does the still white of Winter

seem so desirable just now?

Even so, the light is spectacular,

The shadows deep and green.

Humming bird’s ruby’d and emerald’d

buzz the porch for nectar

from the saucer-sized floozie flowers,

Those exotic Chilean blooms in florescent

orange, fuchsia and electric blue,

Those whose erotic hearts hold the promise

of sweet reward.

Wild Phlox spreads among the meadow woods,

With collective perfume,

Clean, intoxicating, seductive,

Pink, lavender, white sirens

calling from the edge

Into the bogs and mire.

At the edges of manicured lawns grow

The wild things:

Bright and tall, the brilliant yellow

Jerusalem Artichokes and plumed Goldenrod.

Here and there, stretching for acres

New England Asters in lavender fields

Interrupted by white Daisies gone drifting

From once tamed gardens.

Morning Glories and Sweet Peas

Entangle fences and posts

Protective mothers around

The meticulous weeded

Rows of Corn, Tomatoes, Zucchini,

Herbs, Garlic, Melons and Squash.

All blessed by flapping Tibetan prayer flags,

For good luck and prosperity.

As if that would fool the Tantric furies.

Feral around the barn’s neglected gardens,

Bright orange and blood red Poppies

Cover pet graves and echo places of war.

Lilacs and Iris, so exquisite and fragrant days ago

Are withered. Gone by

In the battles of seasons.

Upsetting—- those thoughts,

Until spying

The trellis climbing Concord grapes,

Noble Peonies,

Blue Lupines

And pure white Anemones

Reaching up and out

Of the weeds, thickets and tangles.

This year the pastures are carpeted with

Tiny white petal’d strawberries

and fragrant blue blossoms scented like mint.

Sweet breezes teasing the mind

Caution about scything down

The wild grass.

Generations of granite rock walls

Are crumbling in disorder,

Tumbling from their precise placement

Mocking the creations of control.

Pale yellow buttercups and Ladies’ Lace

Grow among the fallen,

Making the old stones safe from re-order.

On the cusp of tragedy,

This Summer

Tries to remember comedy

If not irony.

Nothing stops

The tempo allegro of the goddesses.

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Cell Block Tango

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The Blues

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