Saturday, November 15, 2014


Slowly emerging to the surface of consciousness after a head cold, I notice that my personal world seems slightly altered. I fought this cold off since the first week in July and finally it caught me up. Colds, at least in my experience are about much more than an annoying virus. Last night I recognized that I was depressed and chalked it up to the cold. This morning I began journalizing about how a physical lapse can change one’s mood. Then, I also noticed that the depression was much like the cold itself. I had been fighting it off all summer with hopeful fantasies and pep talks along with the vitamin C.

Cottonwood Sentinel Above the Horseshoe

A number of dreams merged with dreary cold symptoms of blurred vision and cloudy consciousness. These were dreams about my childhood home, parents, and long dead pets that merged their identity seamlessly with my life now as if homogenized in a psychic blender. I got up yesterday AM and started reciting to my journal my childhood house address in Denver, old phone number, pet’s names, then mom’s and dad’s birthdays lest they disappear forever. Everything becomes transparent dust, as I grow older. The Great Pyramid at Giza, and the Great Wall of China still exist though a bit weathered, but most forms are like autumn leaves in the wind and that includes us. Am I trying to put continuity into my life or create some relationship between experiences by merging them? Time moves faster as we grow older and vision blurs as speed increases. They don’t tell you that when you’re young, or perhaps they do and it blows over the immortal head of youth.

I started a new painting last week, reached an impasse and then got sick. That makes sense, though I’m not sure I can explain the logic. I know there is an obstruction to cross and even though I can’t consciously identify it, the cold brought it nearer. I go about daily chores cooking meals, cleaning house, the post office, grocery shopping, surfing the net, checking Facebook, and for the most part I enjoy it but still my existence is like an iceberg with 90 percent beneath the line of visibility. Ours has become a small world. It reminds me of what life on a tiny island must be like. Then in keeping with the mood, our neighbor cut down the beautiful glob willow that occupied 80 percent of our Northeastern view. I have an intense connection with trees, and although I’ve tried to talk myself out of outrage with facts, it was, after all her tree to do with as she pleased, it still feels like the murder of a dear friend. This shock increased my moldering desire to move out of Taos immediately. I often feel left behind like the one horse tied in the stable while the others went out on a hunt--jerking against my rope, stomping and neighing, “remember me, don’t leave me behind,” but it’s mostly internal and I’ve been resisting the urge to break free. Where would I go, what would I have to give up forever?

At this point in life, I don’t feel connected to any tradition, culture, tribe, occupation or religion. There is PQ, his kids and grand kids, the garden around this house, two cats, and memories that jump about like a dust devil. My entire life seems defined by an attempt to uncover a hidden design by carefully uncovering features and background, noting details, whisking dirt from the treasured objects much as an archeologist works with a fossil. Yet, what happens when that object disintegrates to fine dust faster than you can record its discovery. Am I moving into that stage of life when everything on this dimension is truly ephemeral and transparent? I suspect this is the truth behind seemingly important business. We are born, we struggle to learn the rules of the game, gain some skill and then before we know it, we are going home after the game. Unlike the games we invent, it’s sometimes hard to know if we were on the winning or losing team.

I’m right on the edge of unsolicited enlightenment. All the struggles were unnecessary, the great things (by my standards) I once hoped to accomplish now require too much future and resources, my particular talents are fading as the physical instrument ages but the overview is expanding in all directions. The dividing lines between realities have become optional. It’s time to observe the next game from the sidelines. My habitual MO doesn’t work here anymore.

PQ’s doctor informed us yesterday after studying papers from tests done at National Jewish Hospital, University of Colorado and University of New Mexico hospitals, (over a hundred pages, he informed us) and last week’s tests in Espanola that we need to go to Denver soon and either get on this new drug (he thinks it may be too late for that to be effective) or preferably get on the transplant list immediately. Of course, we would rather be going to Cottonwood Arizona than Denver, but my nostalgic reviews of life in Denver in my dreams, may have more validity than I would wish. Is it time to go full circle? Where would we stay? How long would it take? Do I have to think of finding a job there and if so would I be able to handle it while dealing with the running around that goes with this kind of long term medical procedure. We barely make the monthly stretch in energy and money. Where will even more demands put us?

I suppose news like the Dr. gave us yesterday brings out a flurry of what if's. It appears that there is a big hill to climb ahead of us, and I'm feeling burnt out right now, so perhaps It won't be as complicated as I expect, but nothing has been very easy for some time. Part of my personal style has been coping with crisis and yet I sure would like to coast for awhile.

Although we are often blessed with the kindness of friends and serendipitous events, yet it seems a precarious requirement for survival. Never being able to see beyond the current month is where you end up when you live on the edge today. I’m slowly learning that it’s impossible to live partly on faith, partly on past expectations, and that practical reality is an illusion. The adventure goes on and the story will continue.

Monday, September 22, 2014


We need more income but the idea of creating a resume and hunting for a job is daunting. I've been retired for almost five years and the thought of reentering a situation I was profoundly relieved to exit would take more than adjustment. Managing the inside and outside of our home, being my husbands promoter, helper, and agent, in addition to bill payer and account manager keeps me occupied with little spare time. What would I put in a resume? I've forgotten many of the dates and the names of old bosses except for the last one. In that last job my title was Retail Sales, but that was only a small part of what the job entailed. Thinking back, I realize that an ordinary resume would leave out most of the meaningful details about jobs I've had. Here is how I would like to write a resume:


This job involved creating a website, doing all the photographs for said website, dealing with any telephone or computer technical issues, or any technical issues for that matter including correspondence, cleaning and decorating the shop, dealing with sometimes difficult customers, taking inventory piece by piece every January and occasionally ushering wildlife out of the shop: this included pigeons, other small birds, bats, squirrels, prairie dogs, pan handlers and intoxicated humans.

In addition it was my job to do most of the packing and shipping. I became very good at packing extremely delicate items such as $1600 dollar kachina dolls and equally expensive storytellers by famous artists. When I first started this job I trembled at the idea of taking a $3,000 pot by some famous native potter off the shelf for a customer to examine and yet before long I gave it no thought. The pots, kachinas and storytellers became fellow employees. I often did repairs on some of these very expensive items. Oh yes, there were also various crises to deal with such as a flooded basement when the pipes froze, or a leaking roof when my employers were out of town. The worst detail was probably coping with a rotten elk skull. Some guy sold it to my boss. It looked great with a huge rack. Right after buying it my boss went on a hunting trip with his brother in law, but the brains hadn't been removed and before long a terrible stench blasted anyone who walked through the door. My bosses wife, and the other woman who worked there refused to get near it so of course it became my job to clean it up, sanitize it and then cover it with a plastic bag until the boss came back.

Later on, I also drove my boss to Albuquerque for medical appointments after he became too ill to drive. His wife and co-owner of the shop refused to drive out of town. Sometimes I drove for her when she went on buying trips to Gallup, as well. Oh yea, I just remembered that I also changed the florescent light bulbs because no one else would climb the ladder. I became very knowledgeable about Pueblo pottery, Hopi kachinas, Navajo rugs, Zuni fetishes, Navajo, Zuni and Hopi jewelry and could identify which mine a piece of turquoise came from and most other stones as well. Sorry to say, I've forgotten a lot of this knowledge in only five years. Only in the last two years did I actually make enough money to cover all my living expenses. Once in awhile I sold a painting and otherwise I had to ask for help from my folks.

I was in this job for 16 years, broken once by a few months of work in a bookstore and one summer working on commission in a gallery in the old county jail, the one used in the movie Easy Rider.

Then there was that time between jobs during my first tumultuous year in Taos when I filled in two hours a day at Red Willow Beads so the other two employees could go to lunch and run errands. I had been doing Native American beadwork in Denver before moving to Taos and this place was heaven. They had everything in every size and color and also all the special needles, threads, wax and leather for genuine Native beadwork. It's sad that this shop no longer exists. I suppose the alternative is to go online or make a trip to Santa Fe.


These activities overlapped with several conventional jobs and were also practiced between conventional jobs. I got pretty good at these skills and I practiced with a philosophy influenced by Chuang Tsu, Carl Jung, Carlos Castaneda, Arnold Mindell, Existential Psychology and various ancient masters of esoteric philosophy. This was very educational as far as learning about human nature. I met many interesting people, a few dangerous people and a few that wanted someone else to take responsibility for their lives. When I moved to Taos I put many interests on hold and pursued survival. However, I'm considering brushing up on some of these skills gone rusty if only for my own satisfaction.


Thinking back to my days at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, I remember that this job also involved much more than selling books. Only occasionally did I handle a final transaction involving money. In each department there was a desk where several of us worked. Our job was basically customer service. Of course we shelved new books, books that customers had browsed, and took books off the shelves if they had been there too long. We took orders over the phone and advised people who were looking for a particular topic. We had to be aware of what was new and what was good in the categories we covered, and sometimes in the categories next to ours. On the second floor where I worked, we had history, architecture, electronics, religion, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, health, new age, nature and animals. It wasn't required but nevertheless expected that we would know something about the other departments as well. Those of us in this pod found ourselves frequently helping people do research for a dissertation, or authors research what they needed for a new book. Here again a lot of knowledge was required for a small paycheck. I didn't resent it because I too learned a lot. But after awhile, it became too routine. The parts of the job I liked the best were only incidents that happened occasionally. I loved the crisis situations, or the multitasking that came with Black Friday or a few days before Christmas. Because my coworkers knew I had an interest in psychology and spirituality, if someone was having a meltdown in one of these departments or was acting hostile and threatening they asked me to do some intervention. Also, I loved helping people find something that would make a difference, or introduce them to something they may not have been aware of. Three typical crisis situations, yes, sometimes there are crisis in a bookstore, were the time a fundamentalist Christian was outraged that the Christian books were near the New Age Books, or a very diluted Cherokee woman assembled a hostile group outside the store to protest that we put the books on native spirituality in the Native American section rather than the religious section, and the angry Muslim that demanded to know why we had a much larger Christian and Jewish section than Muslim section. In each case I had to explain that it was a bookstore rather than a library, and we placed books where people interested in a particular subject were likely to browse. In the case of the outraged Muslim, we merely asked him to give us a list of books he thought Muslim customers would be likely to buy.

Lots of characters visited this bookstore as well. Among them I remember Snake Man with snake tattoos on his arms who ordered everything he could find about snakes and kept us updated about his serpents at home. Then there was the blind lady with the wolf seeing eye dog. She said it was the third one she'd had. It was a beautiful wolf and seemed easy going, but one day she called and wanted to know what she should do because her wolf was trying to get into the hamster’s cage. People seemed to think we should know everything about everything and even replace common sense.

This job lasted five years and ended when I moved to Taos.


Craig was the friend of a friend. He wanted somebody who could do girl Friday things. He was a former covert service marine and ex-Mormon who came from a prominent pioneer Mormon family. He was fascinated with the occult and contemporary witchcraft. He was also brilliant while being both cynical and naive. He was probably the first geek I knew. He always had the latest in computer equipment and made copies of everything. His apartment was filled to the brim with recorded data and he also published several monthly metaphysical news letters. He didn't need to make a living but preferred to have at least one real job. He had a franchise with a computer chip manufacturer, but this was all pre-internet days. We had a mutual friend who was an Italian Stregga, an ancient pagan tradition dating back to pre-Roman times. His name was Joe Scott (originally Giuseppe Michanelli). He had been captured on an Italian submarine by Americans in WWII. He changed sides and became Joe Scott. He was the most truly psychic person I've ever known. Joe was nevertheless unlucky at love and had a bad heart. After his last divorce he decided he'd had enough, sold his entire library of herbal, magic and pagan philosophy to Craig and then died of a heart attack. I made a database cataloging hundreds of his books and had free access to any I wanted to read. I wonder what happened to his collection of Pavarotti tapes?


I honestly don't remember how long I worked for Craig, but I think it was possibly three years. Before that I worked briefly for an independent publisher who worked out of his basement. The job was a little bit of this and that including data entry, printing, assembling brochures, advertizing notepads for realters, and calendars. This was good experience but my boss was a stern, perfectionistic, self sacrificing born again Christian who imposed sacrifice on his entire family who were living on generic everything. After my childhood experience with that mentality my tolerance was very low. I remember driving 20 miles to work in my 66 Plymouth Valiant. The heater didn't work and it was an especially cold winter. After a two week stint of minus 10 degrees, as soon as it broke to 10 above people were walking outside in their shirt sleeves. My mom found this job pinned on a clipboard in the Baptist Seminary. I needed a job and took it against my screaming negative gut feeling. I was desperate.


After I quit ARCO I enrolled in the Boulder Institute of Trans-personal Psychology. From the computer room, after the morning smog lifted I would look out the 36th floor west toward the Boulder Flatirons and wonder why it seemed so impossible to get those forty miles from corporate Denver to a place where my kind of people lived and opposite values prevailed. The ecological, metaphysical and holistic health capital of the west was only thirty miles away and I could only touch it on weekends. After ARCO began closing its Denver office I decided to go for it. For awhile I was in heaven. I was surrounded by people who shared my dreams and were actually making a living out of those dreams. But alas I soon ran out of money and the school was overloaded with leaders who began to clash with each other. Before long we all fell from heaven.


This was my most out of character job and the only one that actually paid enough to live on, even offered health insurance and paid vacation. I no longer remember my job title. I started as a temp at the reception desk. I did my best to seem efficient and reliable and it paid off when they offered me a full time job in the office without requiring previous background history. I always felt a bit guilty because I didn't give a damn about the oil business, but this was right at the beginning of an oil boom in Denver and it was a good way to become independent. My job included many different tasks. Sorting and distributing well production reports from the various locations to people in charge of those locations was one task. Another was entering the production data for each well into the computer system. Since I had to be at work by 7:30 in the morning and I've always been a night owl, I did this task as soon as I got to work before I was fully awake. That way I could just type rapidly and semi-consciously and didn't make mistakes the way I did after I was fully conscious. This is when I learned to drink strong coffee as well. I also, did payrolls for the Denver office and tended the fax machine which was much more complicated back then. A couple times they sent me to Dallas/Plano for computer classes. This was lots of fun. I got to stay in a fancy hotel and eat at fine restaurants. Although I made some friends, I always felt like a misfit in this world. However, I walked the 16 blocks to work every day in all weather and that was my meditation time. Sometimes arriving at work with absolutely no memory of what happened between home and work. ARCO's offices were on the 36th floor of one of the first sky scrapers in Denver. During that period of time Denver was trying to become the New York of the west and they were building high rises faster than they could fill them.


Before ARCO there were various temporary and fill in jobs, many not worthy of remembering but two or three stand out.

While working at ARCO I volunteered to do a newsletter for the local chapter of the AHP (Association for Humanistic Psychology). In the process, I learned to do real cut and paste long before Microsoft Publisher. It was challenging because everything had to be scaled to exactly the same proportion so that it could be reduced to an 8-1/2 X 11 format to be folded in thirds. Math was never my thing, and practical application is the only way I've ever learned. This sideline quickly got out of hand because I ended up writing it, doing the photos and graphic design, laying it out, publishing and finally delivering the presorted bundles to the main post office downtown. A year of this was all I managed to survive.

The library at Red Rocks Community College in Golden Colorado. For a time this community college was my social world. It was the first school I attended ten years after dropping out of high school and the place I met some very memorable people. I loved the diversity: fifty year old cops, hippies, ex-miners, young people that wanted to skip the last year of high school and get college credits, divorcees looking for career training to make a living and lots of Viet Nam vets. The instructors were not ordinary either. Most of them were worth a novel. I dated one for awhile. And that's where I met my friend Gino a charismatic ex-Italian restaurant owner who looked like a mafia Don, loved to spar with me intellectually, council me when my heart was broken and generally hang out. Hei loved to shock the other students with his intellectual brilliance and radical humanistic politics, something they weren't expecting from the graying Don.
Next was Baur's Cafeteria on 17th street in Denver. Seventeenth Street is the financial district. Our customers came here for breakfast, coffee break and lunch. This is where I learned to multi-task. The most interesting part of this job was the people I met and worked with. My boss was German in the worst way. Only the Polish line server and Italian checkout clerk could deal with her effectively. The rest of us were intimidated. I quit after a year because I wasn't making enough money to rent my own apartment. I did get some furniture that I still have when Baur's closed one of their restaurants and gave employees a good deal on tables and chairs. By the way, the food was far superior to most cafeterias.

I worked with my Grandma Kate cooking for a women's sorority at the University of Denver. It was a bit strange because the girls were my age. Nevertheless it was fun because I loved to cook and the girls enjoyed it when I took my imagination beyond the school menu. By then I was an accomplished cook and experimented with confidence, alas, I lacked this confidence in other parts of my life. In the summers my Grandma and I made a little extra cash cleaning the dorms. I liked cooking better.


I know how to mix cement, apply roofing, raise a vegetable garden, prune fruit trees, grow a flower garden, make chokecherry jelly, really good chili, pies and cakes of all kinds, in fact any kind of baking. If chef schools were as available then as they are now I'm sure this whole story would be less complicated. I used to make all my own clothes, even learned to make blue jeans but decided it wasn't worth the trouble. They aren't that expensive. I began by making two authentic 1860 style dresses that involved yards and yards of fabric and decorative ribbons for my mom to wear at work during the Denver Centennial. I was only 15 and was determined to learn sewing after failing a sewing class in school. In fact I set out to prove that I could teach myself to do everything better and faster than in school.

Much later while taking ballet classes I took the challenge of creating costumes for my instructor for a professional performance. I volunteered but had no knowledge of how I was going to pull it off. After some research into period styles and requirements for dance costumes (the arms and legs have to be designed to enable a dancer to extend in all directions without making the costume move awkwardly or tear. It turned out very well, much to my relief and my instructor never knew that I was a total amateur.


I have drawn and painted since early childhood. Most of the time I had to hide it. Art was considered self indulgent trivia both at home and at school. I generally had a drawing pad inside whatever book I was supposed to be reading and composed stories in my head to go with the drawings. Mom didn't encourage my interest in art but she did tell me about primary colors and how to mix them to make all the other colors. That turned out to be the open gate to a magic world. During my time as a drop out hermit I became fascinated with tie dye. Not the hippie style but Indonesian and African patterns with multi-layered geometric designs. I love tie dye because it is partly plan and partly accident depending on the type of fabric and dye.


As a child I didn't like humans as a species although I liked certain individuals. However, I loved animals completely. We were on an equal level. I also studied animals and discovered pretty much the same motives as humans but without pretense and thus easier to live with. My earliest ambition was to raise and train horses. I read books on training, feeding and even doctoring common problems. I spent summers with my cousin in the country and we cared for and played with horses every day. But that dream faded bit by bit because I actually lived in the city. Later I educated myself about dogs, the various breeds and training. I practiced obedience training on Willy our sweet long suffering Cocker Spaniel in his elder years and later on Joker, our black Lab. After I gave up on being a dancer, I was most interested in becoming a veterinarian. However, I often dreamed of rescuing cats. They seemed to be in the same situation that I found myself. Dad didn't like them, and no one was particularly interested in what happened to them. Also they lived two lives, the one we saw and a secret one.

I need to augment income but it should be in a way that grows who I am now rather than diminishing it. Something I could do at home or anywhere else would be the right fit. This exercise was very revealing. I recognize my native astrological layout all along the way. Writing one's bio-resume is a good exercise for anyone like me who draws a blank when someone asks, “what have you done, and what can you do”.

P.S. One of my friends just reminded me that I also did websites a few years ago. I learned HTML and, CSS, and although I don't know Java Script or PHP, I knew how to imbed and customize cut and paste pre-designed scripts. Web design has become very specialized and I don't want to dedicate enough of my remaining years to it in order to become a certified geek. I think I might have time this winter to become more familiar with Wordpress and/or Joomla.

There are probably a few other things I forgot. Maybe I'll update this blog as my memory awakens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


There are two sides to a fence, the side you are on and the other side. But, fences can define the quality of space as well. Sometimes we want to be on the other side because the grass looks greener, or we imagine being free of the place we are in, and sometimes we want protection from what might be on the other side.

I fancy the rough cut Latilla fence surrounding our yard. It is made of aspen poles now attractively pealing and graying with age. This fence is more than a definition of territorial boundaries.  It is a magic border between realities. On the other sides north, south and east are the territories of our next-door neighbors. They and we appreciate these delineations. On the open west side is a cul-de-sac and the asphalt trail out of this small neighborhood into the greater world.

George the cat is now lying under the large Chamisa bush guarding the northeast fence corner of our designated sector in this cluster of homes know by the inspired realtor name, Chamisa Mesa. Chamisa means weed in Spanish but that is a derogatory title for various hardy plant species that have the audacity to fight successfully against human takeover.  I’m no exception; I too fight against ragweed and several other common species of filler plants holding the earth in place after humans bulldoze native plants such as Chamisa and sage. Around here, developers clear land for proposed building projects and then they abandon the naked earth for another five years, or so it seems. Quick to the rescue, Ragweed and Tumbleweed are our only defenders against the eastbound dust storms that would otherwise blow much of Taos County over the mountains into Oklahoma and Texas.
Curious George under the Chamisa bush.
Since aspen Latilla fences have cat sized gaps in various places along the bottom and make an excellent highway with a view from the top, they are freedom for cats while functioning as borders for humans and dogs. Our cat friends spend most of their time close to home but just on the other side of the latia fence. 

Adventure begins through one of three gaps at the bottom of the fence. These openings remind me of the magic wardrobe in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories. To the east, a thick mysterious jungle of tall weeds beckons to feline instincts. Our neighbor to the north has a green shade-covered oasis, and on the south is a yard full of large barking dogs. At night, beyond the perimeters of this story, in the wild world that awakens long after the chirping prairie dogs bed down, coyotes howl, and skunks silently and odiferously wander about.  These natives transcend fences altogether.

Fences make definitions and that is their power and danger. Identity and self-concept are mental fences. When I was a child, I used fences the way the cats do. Somehow, I lost the spirit of adventure, or more accurately, decided to stay inside the more groomed side of the fence in order to make a living the way cats agree to spend the night inside for the sake of a ready made meal.  I never made a very good living and always thought I would someday get back to my instinctive life, but didn’t know how to make that happen. Too often, I’ve slipped through the hole in a fence to find myself in an even smaller uglier place and horrified to discover the hole gone when I turned to find my way out. Magic is neutral. It works on all sides.
A field of purple Asters on the Rez this morning.

Nature triumphs in the end, and it isn’t natural to fence ourselves into very small spaces. I once inherited enough money to quit my last mind-numbing job. Of course, I knew it was freedom with a short rope (I think that is an oxymoron) since it wasn’t a fortune. It was my first taste of a life free of the challenge of stretching a Taos sized income all the way across a month.  Last year, I reluctantly agreed to do some limited photography and web updates for my old employer but couldn’t force myself to finish, although that was the only part of that old job that I once enjoyed. It actually made me sick. I think my retail days have passed.

Right now, I’m very busy just managing our everyday life. It is a different scene now that PQ and I are together plus his lung disease means that I do both the outdoor and indoor work. However, the garage is ready to use as a studio. PQ already finished two paintings and I plan to start painting again soon. Doing something creative unleashes the vortices of change. I sense that instead of winning a lottery, which would keep me comfortable in the same enclosure, I’m supposed to keep my eyes sharp for previously overlooked openings in the fence. The odds are much better.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I was under the weather this week and consciously impaired, which means the unconscious other half of my life took advantage of an absent gatekeeper and rushed in.  Then I realized there was a lot behind the dam that I’d forgotten.
All this golden beauty was just weeds two weeks ago.

Life either floats by or zips by and most of the time we are numbed by busyness. Trivia, which is almost everything we do, keeps us from seeing the ground beneath our dancing feet. The more time I spend on this earth and this dimension the odder it seems.  I’ve been here long enough to forget unimportant details and also enough to know this place gets stranger every day. I don’t pretend to know much about it. I cling to the familiar times and places to avoid dizziness.  Time moving in only one direction never made sense. I’m a rebel still trying to get over it, as my folks hoped I would.  There are still many things I wanted to do before I got old, but I think I they already came in my dreams and Deja vu. One by one, I mark them off my to-do list.  Anyway, they always come after I’ve quit wanting them. 

Homesick Again
I accidentally wandered into a place I’m unfamiliar with and already I’m homesick.
I wanted to walk through the fields of my life today.
There are many I haven’t seen or visited for a long time.
I’m homesick, but not sure which home will heal it.
It is the last day of my life, as I’ve known it.
I Don’t know where the rest will come from.
Now each leaf and stick of grass is precious because we are old friends.
The future might make this our last meeting.
There are tears in my eyes but not enough for all the losses.
Not nearly enough to honor lost lifetimes.
Do I have enough desire left to climb a whole mountain of muddled memories?
I’m told I could make an alter there for all the misplaced hopes so my tears can dry.
Will I get there in time to light a candle before the sun goes down?
I’m not particularly interested in the next sunrise.
I’ll get to it next time around.
Will it matter if I don’t make it in time to see the sunset?
Are you still with me?
The colors and light patterns for this last show are spectacular.
The whole day was preparing for this.
Now don’t blow it.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Time is the ultimate mystery that I can never get my head around although it’s been a fascination as long as I can remember. Time goes by but then sometimes it goes by again. We swim in it unconsciously like fish in water and yet it is beyond understanding. Today is a soft, mellow sunny day but it brings many other times together like a double exposure. Standing outside I’m feeling sure that a particular late nineteenth century August day was just like this one. Hollyhocks, thick grass, a wooden fence and the soothing shade of a particular large Cottonwood. The sky is clear intense blue with no smoke or haze. I actually hear the sound of some very old motor car mixed with bird chirps from the willow next door. But, I was not alive then. It was my grandmother’s youth. The cats are following me around the yard. This is also brings in an old memory even though the cats are young, and one was born only a year ago. 

Next, I step into the living room through the door we leave open all summer and now I am at a house in Denver. It was a house I loved in an old neighborhood I loved and has special memories although some of them are traumatic and life altering. The neighborhood was both old and young. Old houses, streets lined with old trees but with lots of appeal to young people who liked the ambiance along with nearness of coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants and markets. Now that I’m flipping through layers, I land next in my childhood home around my eighteenth year. I’m reading Kierkegaard under our Transparent apple tree (the name of the variety not it’s condition, it was wonderfully tart and sweet for pie) while managing the irrigation water as it flows down rows of strawberry plants. I’m barefooted, with long dark hair and this is the only place in the world that feels in balance.  Joker, our black Lab, my only company is snoozing in the shade nearby.

I’ve always been able to time travel. Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel like I’m going anywhere. It’s much like a dream that can fade in and out.  Another way of describing it is layers of various densities. Sometimes I wonder if time isn’t an accumulation of layered worlds that can be selectively uncovered like sheets of paper. My current body or at least the one that is writing this has more or less attached to one of these layers, supposedly the top layer but now and then, other layers bleed through. The mystery is why a particular time chooses to bleed through what can only be an endless stack of possibilities. Who is it that   seeks a particular time/place. The database is beyond imagining and how is a particular file retrieved from eternity?

Painting is another field of strange time. When I finish a painting, it seems to have a life of its own and not only that it seems as if it has always existed. I mention this because supposedly a painting is the creation of the mind and hands. However, a living being such as a child or even a pet also has this quality of always having existed and this has nothing to do with being able to remember a time before their emergence into the present world. This is part of the fascination of living in anticipation of one day after another even if the order of days sometimes becomes scrambled.

The time issue and its limitations predictably bring up the topic of reincarnation. Could it be that our other selves actually exist on multiple dimensions that we conveniently explain by the time concept? I notice that the older I become the more translucent layers of time seem. Old people notoriously merge the past with the present and for that reason are often accused of losing their grip on reality. Very young children also don’t process time the way adults do. Could it be that the view of the greater encompassing reality is actually more realistic on the outer edges of a lifetime? Imagine a huge river. You can see both shore and water on each side but in the middle there is only water. Could time existence be something like this? Perhaps, those in the middle of the journey have lost their memory of where water joins land.

In recent months, I’ve noticed that I have to be very careful about visualizing a thing or situation. It often actualizes very quickly. Some of the big things probably hit obstructions and ricochet but small things happen quickly and laughably. I was reminded of this again yesterday. On the way home from the post office I said to PQ, “would you like a McDonald’s ice cream?”  He said, “sure,” and then added that today maybe a strawberry smoothie would be even better. This inspired my own fleeting vision of a chocolate dipped cone but I quickly nixed it.  When we arrived, I told the order taker to give us a small strawberry smoothie and a small vanilla cone.  When we picked our order up it was the strawberry smoothie and a large chocolate dipped cone.

George at rest.
  A more extreme example is George, the young cat that recently adopted us to mixed reviews from Shadow, last year’s feline addition. I remember browsing through cat websites after losing Joe and Missy. Then I got adventurous and visited hybrid cat websites. I wondered what it would be like to have an Ocicat, Savannah, Bengal (not the tiger), or Chausie but they are very expensive and after doing some research learned that ownership can be challenging. After living with George (previously called squeaky because of his odd chirp), I’ve come to the conclusion that he is a hybrid that someone found to be too much cat. I’ve since learned that this happens all too often with hybrids and they are abandoned to add their genes to the feral cat population.  He is extremely smart, highly charged, demanding, likes to play with water and is quite affectionate although pushy and boisterous. After taking note of his lanky body, big feet, slightly striped ears and longer hind legs it suddenly dawned on me that I had just manifested another fantasy. Perhaps the borders between time/space dimensions really are thinning.  Hopefully, there won’t be too many more surprising results.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Hunt for Mysteries and Medicine

Identity is necessary, I suppose but sometimes causes us to trip over our own feet. It’s about self-definition and definitions create limitations. I was just browsing through one of my old journals. The journals are my therapy and I noticed how definitions put flesh on the bones of anything vague. These stories, because that’s what they are, are my therapy. I dig deeper and deeper into the dark. I try on many sub-selves: victim, healer, lover, dreamer, teacher, and above all else, storyteller.

I read books as a reminder of the places I’ve been and as inspiration to move beyond where I’ve been. However, I am still hungry for something I haven’t seen before from the hidden underside of my familiar world. There is a mystery that teases with fleeting peeks and then disappears. Therefore, I go on a search and once with the help of the Dewy Decimal System, and now Google, I find many fascinating resources. The experience however is a bit disappointing. Although I often find seductive titles for pieces of wisdom here and there among hundreds of pages, I find they usually loop back to the head of a path I have already walked. Did I miss some fork in the trail that leads to new landscapes?

I used to go to workshops, conferences and even schools back in the days when I could afford it. It was reassuring to mix with other seekers. I met a few inspiring teachers as well. Yet there again, I found elusive promises of life transmuting knowledge vanishing into ether just at the moment I thought I might catch hold of something important

Dreaming the Universe by Marti Fenton White Deer Song
In the early 70’s a friend invited me to a party held at a warehouse located in an old part of downtown Denver and transformed into a loft. I thought it was otherworldly and magical. The space contained an impromptu theater and dance studio and modern paintings adorned the walls. The couple hosting the party who lived there had divided it into rooms with drapes of tie-dye and lace. I’m sure there was a lot of pot in the air, but I didn’t tune into that, nor did I pay much attention to the food. The whole event seemed other dimensional, but the best part was an old man reading Tarot cards for the guests. I knew very little about esoteric traditions then. He read with amazing insight and depth. I spoke to him later although I was shy and a bit reticent about talking to someone I had so quickly placed on a pedestal. Whatever he had, I wanted to know about it. He mentioned a number of esoteric teachers whose names were new to me, although I came upon those names again a few years later. Life guides appear unanticipated with just enough information to lure us further along a path because a real guide doesn’t speak to our known identity.

It may be that I’m not supposed to keep searching in the outside world. Perhaps this continuous hope to find the great connection to wisdom and the secret teachings of the ages is another form of avoidance. My own life history forced me to explore the highs and lows and unmapped regions of life so intensively that the information I now seek elsewhere is actually more a confirmation than a revelation. How much verification do I need? Perhaps what I consider to be humility is actually cowardice or habit.

A number of years ago I had a dream that finally makes sense in the current context, its meaning obscured so long possibly because it is so obvious. The setting though exotic at the time, seemed very familiar. There was a building of many rooms with arched doorways leading from one room to another. I couldn’t say whether the time was now or two thousand years ago, or whether it was located somewhere in the Middle East, central Asia or the American Southwest. The building was adobe of an ageless but modest design. I recall that I somehow knew that it was an ancient mystery school. The floor was rammed earth and the walls were undecorated clay. As I entered the front doorway, I could see a scholar vanishing through an arched doorway to the right. He wore soft slippers with gold embroidery and a long silk robe but I could only see one foot and the hem of his robe disappearing through the door. I hurried in to see who he was but I couldn’t catch up. He was always a few steps ahead of me walking through one doorway and then another and another, and I could never see more than a vanishing foot and the border of his robe.

The teacher of mysteries and wisdom is always just beyond reach and keeps his identity hidden. When I was young, I had secret fantasies about meeting a flesh and blood master of some ancient concealed knowledge who would recognize that I was a sincere seeker and show me where and how to recover important wisdom. That was a long time ago and now I understand that such teachers exist nowadays on another dimension and demand payment in alchemical gold transmuted from our lifeblood. Such a guide gradually moves in and grows more powerful within the inner world as we seek sincerely to learn the way through each impasse (think door). This isn’t an ego search, but soul retrieval that never ends. This all happens in a Mystery School that presents a very plain facade, is made of earth, exists outside of time and never exposes its core mystery. The pursuit of just the right awareness for this interval is like searching for a lost trail through the densest of forests, but survival depends on it.