Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Sometimes a breeze, the temperature of the air or a sound in the distance pulls me backward into one of my earlier lives. I’m not talking about life in a different body although I’m not sure there is a great difference. I have experienced many lives in this one body and yet the body has also transformed through the years and the being I presume to call me still claims ownership. Perhaps it is only the chain of linked memories that allows recognition of a self through the many layers of one life. There is also a mysterious observer peering at the world from inside with a record of experiences that are private and unique. Today, a cool breeze and a particular still light proclaim that summer is slipping away. It evokes a tang of sadness, a delicate needle in the heart called forth from this unique time in personal history.
My Upper Ranchitos house 2005,
My soul mate Joe Tiger,only in memory now.
He knows I'm packing for a trip
to Denver and he doesn't want to go.

Early September scenes flash by complete with sky, earth, sound and scent, the cool smoothness of a season’s change. Next, I am at my last house in Denver beginning my afternoon walk through the neighborhood. Trees line every street, tall old American elms and blue spruce. The sidewalks are very old and the houses carry their age grandly. This neighborhood dates to the 1920’s and earlier. Perhaps I’ll walk a few blocks to the big City Park and howl at the wolves in the zoo. They howl back and I feel connected to a world that we both yearn for. Then further back to my childhood home riding my old pony Shorty through country neighborhoods that no longer exist. My dad bought Shorty for forty-five dollars. He was old but still spirited and he had secrets from the past. I accidentally learned while grooming him that he knew a number of tricks and poses. Next is the memory of autumn in my first Taos home. I drove through that neighborhood this morning to avoid downtown roadwork. It is lush; with mysterious tangles of greenery so deep, you can only penetrate them with your imagination. The next scene is this home where I live now. I had just moved here in August ten years ago but already planted flower seeds and shrubs. I bought my first ever patio table and chairs sitting there after work with a glass of wine watching the gorgeous late summer clouds that seem as solid as the mountains they frame, but I feel sad because summer is dying. In life, I’m late to arrival, and my summer is also fading fast.

The sound of our neighbor’s wind chimes takes me immediately to our life in Cottonwood Arizona. Our friend Carol has wind chimes that transport me to a space without time. There is no beginning or end, just the chimes and the sound of mourning doves as late afternoon moves in. Then I conjure the little house we had in Cottonwood. It is five years now since we left that house but I can still feel the air, the light in afternoon and then scenes pop up of walks into the old part of town. There were afternoon hikes on our favorite trails among the red rocks of Sedona when the air was still and it seemed that we had the red dust trails to ourselves shared only by the lizards, and birds.

Now I’ve unleashed a flood. Layer upon layer of early autumn memories rush by like a fast-forwarding film. The emotional upsurge of speeding memories takes my breath away. Perhaps the emotions are so intense because I am in my own autumn season. While driving my stepson to work this morning I fell in love with Taos again. Everything was stunning but quiet with the grand mountain, sun piercing through openings in the perfect cumulus clouds lighting the fields of yellow wild flowers at its base. Why is anything this beautiful so temporary. I must record every sunflower, cloud, tree and shadow to memory. I think autumn is moving in early this year. There are patches of gold on the old cottonwoods and the air is tinged with sharpness vexing the sun’s dominance.

The earth and sun both dance to a rhythm they share, but it seems that we humans are always pushing against natural rhythms. Perhaps numbed by familiar habits of culturally grooved perception we no longer notice the discomforts and contradictions in agreed upon reality. For some time I’ve felt that, everything is in flux. We are living in a cosmos in progress. There is no timeline between first and last. Time evolves with its subjects. Perhaps there was something like the Big Bang that launched creation but that doesn’t answer the question of what creation is. It is not possible for the created to understand completely its source, but we can participate. The best we can know is that we are a tiny, low-resolution version of a piece of the great hologram. As such, I feel a soft assurance.

An absurd presidential campaign reveals a flawed system on the edge of transformation and, we are so new that judgements about the future are sure to leave out portent signs of change. The powerful destructive force of the elements, wind, water and fire show us that we are not in control of our earth home but tools and participants inwardly as well as outwardly shaped by cosmic forces of destruction and creation. We are new here and the mud from which we are shaped is still damp and malleable.

We earthlings are on a ride and we make our vehicle as we go, its flaws and strengths revealed by the demands of the journey. This week I see nothing and know nothing. All of my carefully constructed beliefs and ideas seem very inadequate, a glass canoe facing the rapids. This is not the first time I’ve run out of knowledge or perceptions of what I should know. It leaves me feeling naked in a hurricane but sometimes the environment needs clearing for another go.


  1. Thank you for this. It's an elixir at a time of perfectly, albeit sad, churnings of heart and mind .. melancholy and a pensive heaviness flushed with an inexplicable elation... one of those conundrums acting, as you say, “tangles of grieving so deep, you can only penetrate them with the imagination.”
    Is not autumn a kind of “late arrival” for us all? I remember every year being late for my own “autumn season.” I've been annually/seasonally sad all my life. “Why is anything so beautiful so temporary?” Indeed.
    One observation with regard to “culturally groomed perceptions”: I would submit that we do notice the “discomforts and contradictions” all too much, but not as nature would have us do so.
    “Holograms?” The Big Bang has always troubled me... until recently when I learned from someone (?) that the event itself required “something” prior to it. Nothing surfaces from nothing; something surfaces from something, even when it appears to be nothing. Now I can rest.
    Yes, we are “tools and participants” of destruction. We're falling headlong into the Kali Yuga. I guess it's no secret any longer. And yet through this moment, as Ram Dass said, we have to “honor our incarnations” - clear the environment and face the rapids for “another go” - even in glass canoes.
    At this moment I'm thinking of the Polish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman - who fought and survived all the travails of the Holocaust just to play Chopin. And it took a symbol of death, a Nazi officer, to remind him (and us) of the intensely deep irony that comes dressed as the lighter twin of death. He saved Szpilman with a warm coat and some bread and jam. Szpilman was stunned and speechless. I stand here stunned and speechless once again entering Autumn. Somehow this earth, this Mother, still offers me warmth and sustenance. Why? But I don't complain.
    Here we are in autumn, again, in our tangles of grief and regret, being given another coat and bread and jam. Again, heaviness flushed with elation. We can only imagine.

    1. Thanks Rick. Always enjoy your thoughtful comments. The mood of autumn comes through powerfully, yet ironically, spring is held behind the curtain, ready to come on stage already. We must always remember that winter lies in between as a necessary time of preparation.

  2. One of you most lyrical pieces, Marti. I loved the feelings it evoked in me. I celebrate who you are in my life--a touchstone to the essence of me.

    1. Thanks Jan. I think I do best when I feel I'm reaching into empty space. Less, ego control I guess. Would so love to see you guys again, but this is better than nothing. Always good to hear from you.

  3. "Trees line every street, tall old American elms and blue spruce." i have only one question: was there a STANDING-DEER next to that BLUE-SPRUCE? *lol*