Thursday, February 28, 2013

HERE BE DRAGONS!



Damn! Here it is St. David's Day Eve and I am just now getting to my decorating and cooking!   Well, it's been a tough month.  My dog died; I got sick with my second round of cold/flu of the season; Hub left for 9 days  while I tended the homefront alone; I worked for a week at my old agency helping write a grant; I had a bit of an existential journey into "what's it all about anyway?" pondering...

Plus, I can't be blamed too much for procrastinating the St. David's Day preparations; I had never even heard of St. David's Day until 5 months ago when Hub and I were trying to come up with a less obvious than St. Patrick's Day excuse to drink beer with friends.

Our church has an annual auction in November, which is how we bring in a chunk of change to keep the place running throughout the year.  One of the auction items has become the tradition of members thinking up cool and original party ideas, then having people pay (a donation to the church) to come.  There are lots of great things to sign up for every year.  Hub and I have hosted a 4th of July Party, a dance with a live band, and an Indian Dinner with Kirtan in the past. Great fun.  This year we decided to offer something again, so we Googled "beer-drinking occasions" and out popped St. David's Day, March 1st.

St. David is the patron saint of Wales, and the Red Dragon flag is flown in  his honor.  It is unclear whether he would actually approve of the modern-day festivities to honor him, but it all seemed like great fun to us.  Hub is off at Costco right now buying party food and ingredients for our go at some traditional Welsh dishes -- Welsh Rarebit, Welsh Cakes, and a Salmon, Leek, and Potato Soup.  Quite right!


Daffodils are the "symbol" of St. David, so I went out and bought a flat of blooming daffodils and now have to get them distributed into pots to use as decorations inside and out.  I've encouraged guests to wear yellow.  I've already heard some grumbling about that, but I say,  "Just do it!"

Leeks seem to play a big part in any St. David's Day celebration -- not only do they show up in a variety of dishes, party guests are encouraged to come with a leek around their necks; then commences a contest to determine who has the longest leek!  Oh, the possibilities!

Other traditional activities include parades and competitive poetry recitations and singing.  I'm printing out poems by Welsh poets (what did we do before the Internet?) for guests to read aloud, hopefully with great drama.  We have 20 guests coming, among them a fair number of musicians, so hope they will show up with the usual cacophony of guitars, drums, violins, tamborines, and penny whistles.

And whatever happens otherwise, there will be beer.  So, I'm predicting a good St. David's Day will be had by all.

At least, that's the view from here....©



Thursday, February 21, 2013

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH

"Write what you know," they say.  Well, the dearth of posts this month would indicate I don't know much.  This affliction is commonly known as writer's block, I guess.  And some teachers say there is no such thing.  Just write.

I've tried.  I've been journaling, free-writing, taking a writer's workshop weekly, reading a lot, meditating, chanting...  Nadda.  Nothing.

Here's what I do know:  "Somethin's happenin' here; what it is ain't exactly clear..."

I have felt at loose ends in my life before, but never like this.  Never so loose it feels like I am untethered and slowly lifting off from the solid ground I've always stood on.  I feel like I am standing beside myself, watching me go through the motions of my life, but I have no attachment to it; it just is.

I want to believe I am entering a state of Buddha-nature enlightenment because I am a good student and what takes many lifetimes for most Boddhisatvas, I am accomplishing within about 2 years of intermittent meditation and sporadic study.  Boom! Done!

Or maybe I'm depressed and this lack of attachment is the familiar draining of joy and meaning I know so well with my history of falling into the black pit of despair periodically.  But it doesn't feel like that.

I don't feel hopeless or unworthy.  In fact, the opposite -- I feel like I am everything, all the time, and nothing, none of the time.  (No!  I am not "high"; no matter that weed is now legal in my state, I gave it up several growth and development lifetimes ago and have no interest in becoming reacquainted.  Obviously my own inner reality is trippy enough!)

My overwhelming desire, impulse, longing is to pull in and get super quiet and super intentional in my life.   I am unnaturally delighted on days when there is nothing at all on my calendar.  I do want to go out and see things and experience things and hang out with people -- in limited quantities.  Sometimes I wish I could wear Harry Potter's invisibility cloak at social events; I'm there, but you can't see me or pull me out of my own experience of observation and internalization.

I have been staying home a lot more than I used to; dreading "doing" things.  That's not healthy, and I do long for novelty and interaction with the world.  One day "out" and three days "in" seems about the right ratio now.

So, has anyone diagnosed me yet?  Please?

Here's what feels right to me:  I am in transition to another age and stage -- moving into what will likely be a time of deep spiritual growth and connection to the next plane of existence. (Hopefully many years off, but it takes awhile to prepare!)   I feel a sense of wonder and delight.  I feel deeply, soulfully appreciative of the grace of living this human experience.  I have lessons yet to learn, and lessons yet to teach.  I don't want to waste a single moment on obligations to people, places, or things that do not feed my soul's desire to grow into lightness and peace.

Oh, this sounds very woo-woo, yes?  And yet....

That's the view from here...©

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

GOODBYE

Here is grief again.  I could sit and count how many times I've cried over death, human and animal, but this is one thing that doesn't seem to get easier with experience.

Our dog, Toby, is gone.  I wrote about him last September, when we got his diagnosis of larynx cancer.  Since then we have showered him with affection as we kept close watch.  We faced each set-back in his ability to swallow with ease with more and more creative ways to prepare his homemade food so he could get it down.  Still, we noticed the gradual loss of weight.

And yet, there he would be -- greeting us with wagging tail, eager for outdoor adventures in our big yard, making the rounds to his favorite spots, lying for long periods on the front porch, keeping tabs on the neighborhood, fetching the newspaper each morning as was his habit, then running to the kitchen cabinet for his treat.

Yesterday was no exception.  But late last night, he started to gasp for breath.  It seemed to come out of nowhere, this interruption of breathing.  Perhaps the tumor had migrated a fraction of an inch, encroaching on the trachea.  What we had dreaded was happening.

For two hours we tried to comfort him, tried to get him to drink thinking there might just be a bit of food lodged in his throat.  But we saw he was agitated, confused, tired and uncomfortable.  We knew. We called the Emergency Vet and made the short drive at 11:00 p.m.  Hub and Son-Two stayed with Toby for the overdose of anesthesia.  This time I just couldn't do it.  I've stood by for all our other pets' end times, but this time I gave myself permission to wait outside the door.  When he was at peace I went in to say one final goodbye as a family, bound in grief, in this most difficult of life transitions.

This morning, in the early dawn, I walked down the long flight of our front stairs to bend and pick up the morning paper, barely able to see through my tears.  The first of the "life goes on" activities that will remind me of him with a stab of pain, until that passes and fondness and joy can return with such a simple act of remembrance.

The house is so quiet today; feels empty.  Empty not just of a physical presence, but a presence of spirit.  I hope he is floating free, his essence moving on, reincarnating to a higher self.  How could it be any other way?  He was a special being.  We loved him.

At least, that's the view from here....©

Our Toby
7/10/02 -- 2/4/13