Thursday, January 31, 2008

I would rather be here now, (bumper sticker)

Early morning coming home from zazen I saw 5 great blue herons in the neighborhood trees. Yea

Went to dinner at Turtle Bay last night and kept trying to stand at the counter to order. Several staff came to me and said, you have to order dinner at the table and I said, why?

Oh you have change your ways. It is surprisingly difficult to change my ways. Dinner was still good.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The tulip trees in the neighborhood are blooming.

Spent the morning in a three hour meeting, listening to discussions about sustainable living. Important subject, but my heart just wanted to be outside in the unexpected sunshine.

The trees are gleaming with moisture and incipient life.

I am restless as I go through my day's activities.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A large red tailed squirrel glides across the knobby pine branch outside my window this morning. He stops and eats something and the branch shakes. Then another squirrel chases him and both are zipping around the tree in and out of my window view.

The two empty houses in my neighborhood have roofs thick with frost. The old women have died and the houses are now unheated. My heater is blowing warm air this morning and the cold night air is receding.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

cold rainy day. Built a fire in the afternoon, took a nap, read some, watched "on demand" Bill Moyers show. Slow day, vaguely sad.

I'm glad that Obama won in North Carolina.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another rainy day.
Went to the huge cinema complex at the shopping center with my friend Madeline. I don't even remember the name of the movie but what I do remember was the sound being way too loud.

I complained to the management and still it was too loud so we left and went into one of the other rooms and watched a different quieter movie.

I will not go back. I am committed to seeing movies at the Osio theater downtown. At least until I remember why I am frustrated with them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

For days cars were coming and going across the street. Finally the 95 year old woman died and the street was empty. This afternoon I went to the mortuary for a viewing of the body and to pay my respects. And I do respect her, she was a neighbor for 35 years and had been suffering for a few of the last years.

She was lying in the gallery, surrounded by huge spays of flowers. Hawaiian music was playing. The family was sitting off in a special room.

I was early and few people were here. She looked great, better then she had looked in a long time. Her daughter kept saying what a good job they did. I have to agree.

I thought she might open her eyes and remind me that I hadn't raked my driveway yet and I had too many weeds and who was living at my house.

It seems strange that she will be buried tomorrow in the cemetery and I won't see her again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sitting zazen at dawn at the Cherry Center, listening to the rain hit the skylight. the dripping rhythm moves through my body as if nothing else exists and nothing else does exists in that moment.

The eight year old boy asked me if I had cut my hair and when I said yes, he was relieved, "I was afraid your hair was all falling out." UMMMM

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I drove to the new shopping center at Fort Ord this dreary wet morning. Huge empty parking lot, large box stores. I walked through the new REI but felt uncomfortable as the only customer in the store. The stores are spaced around the expansive empty lot encouraging one to drive from store to store. It feels old and used before it's first birthday.

Three blue herons in the trees this morning. Getting ready to nest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another cold night, snow on top to Mount Toro. Drove to Juice and Java in Pacific Grove to get warm and read the paper and drink coffee. All bad news in the paper about the US economy tanking.

The coffee house was populated with other people reading the paper and getting warm, people without jobs and have free time on a week day morning. I didn't know anyone and resisted the urge to start community building in the room.

Monday, January 21, 2008

stormy day. Thick black clouds interspersed with sun light. Sitting at the table with friends at the PG club house my eye would be caught by the delicate puff of spray near the ocean shore. Whales. It's whale time as the puffs went off following their own pattern.

We talked about the upcoming election and who to vote for. And then a couple of puffs. What to do about Iraq, the falling stock market, corruption, the fears of living on a fixed income, more puffs in the twinkling sunlight and then cloud shadows.

It's all here, fierce beauty and fear and not knowing what to do next.

Puff, Puff,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

This morning I drive to Carmel Valley for a meeting, Dark cold morning. I marvel at the winter bare limbs of the Valley trees.

At home in the late afternoon I sit zazen in my room, sounds of the heater going. then I hear raindrops on the glass ceiling. Good, I don't have to take a walk today. I can read and watch movies. Tomorrow I will walk again downtown, if it is not raining.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

For months now I have been slowly reading Stephen Pinker's THE STUFF OF THOUGHTS. A thick book exploring how our mind works by exploring how we use language.

I read a few pages and then have to stop and think about what I have read. What does this all mean. I want to copy pages out of the book to send to friends because it is so exciting. I want to talk about it but I can't find the words to express my thoughts.

But I am not giving up even thought I am only on page 192 (out of 470 pages).

Maybe I could understand it better if I read it all at one time, I could see the connections rather then the wonderful little observations about how we use language.

I just don't know.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm at the Hospital by 10 am to do my chaplain rounds. I pick up my name badge and suddenly I am a part of the team. Other people with badges nod at me as I walk down the long corridors.

I see how quickly I change my role in the hospital with a small badge. There are two groups of people in the hospital, the visitors - patients and the staff. It's more fun to be staff.

When I am done, I return my badge to the chaplain drawer and walk out, once more a part of the other community.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tied to the end of the pier is the old rusting commercial fishing boat, one of the biggest in the harbor. It's listing to one side and no one seems to notice except for the collection of pelicans and gulls who are circling the boat. Several trucks and working men are busy doing something else and the boat waits to sink.

It's cool this afternoon but not too cool for a mango orange gelato from Pino's in the plaza. UMMMM. I sit on the bench wrapped in my warm jacket licking the gelato, watching the people rush by.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

At the noon ministerial Association meeting we had a drumming circle lead by a drum teacher. I am quite moved by the rhythms that grew in the circle but I could not keep up.

My right hand and my left hand would not coordinate with each other.

Finally I found that I could do one hand drumming but not two handed drumming. I wonder what that means.

I would like to take a class on drumming.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thin fog diffusing the early morning sun light.

I smell the waterfront before I actually arrive. Piles of rotting wet seaweed on the beach.

Thousands of birds digging for snacks. A cluster of sandpipers race with the small waves moving on the beach.

A line of pelicans flying near the surface of the ocean disappearing into the fog.

Four workers heatedly telling the truck driver in Italian that they cannot unload the boxes of fish because their back's hurt.

And finally a group of bird watchers in bright clean clothes, with cameras, binoculars and books standing at the railing focused on something I don't see.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I am intoxicated with the smell of fresh bread in my car. I stopped at the bakery in Pacific grove and then went for coffee. My car warmed up in the sun filling my car with yeasty bread.

The several acacia trees on my street are swollen with yellow tips ready to burst into bloom. I love the yellow flowers, but then again I am not allergic to them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Coming home from dinner with the kids I notice how dark it is. Outside the car the waxing moon is bright and the sky is filled with stars. I stop to look and breathe in the beauty.

Now in the house I have turned on lights and started the heater. I walk through the house picking up dirty cups and straightening the Sunday papers.

Soon I will be in bed. All is well.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sitting, sitting on my bottom, on chairs, car seats for two days until I am numb with fatigue, sitting fatigue.

And the speakers were wonderful. Words, laughter, jokes, sentences, ideas swirling around the room.

During breaks I would walk outside breathing in the winter air, listening to the bird, feeling the wind on my face.

Now I am home, fire in the fireplace, silence.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My sister, her husband and I go out for an early dinner. Should we go upscale or to a Mexican restaurant. We end up at a familiar restaurant on Broadway in Seaside, eating spicy wonderful food.

We talk together and remember why we care for each other.

We watch men and women come in the front door separately and disappear around the corner and then leave. We watch mothers pushing baby strollers up the street in the dark.

We end up at East Village for coffee, surrounded by young people studying and talking and working on their computers.

We say good bye. They are going back to the East Coast.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I was going to talk about the post office, about lugging three big boxes in to the lobby. Three boxes of family stuff left behind during the holiday visit.

I couldn't carry them in all at the same time so I left one box on the counter and ran out to bring in the other two. I had covered the used boxes with tape but still they seemed shabby.

The clerk smiled and asked for a lot of money for postage and took the boxes away.

The biting cold is gone. The sea lions barked ferociously in the early mornings.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Outside the window at Paris Bakery a rumpled homeless man is pushing a shopping cart. Two big mangy dogs are tied with ropes to the cart. The man moves slowly down the street, the dogs pulling in different directions.

I have lost the gist of the conversation with my friend. The sight was too sad for me to bring into this warm room. So I smile at my friend and try to catch up.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'm up early to remove most of the stuff in the freezer. Two and a half days of no power. I am unwilling to risk eating contaminated foods. I feel foolish.

I saw that the ice cubes in the container had melted and then refroze in a solid mass.

The garbage men come early, by 6am I had the old food bagged and out. I was trying to avoid the marauding raccoons who want nothing more then spoiled meat.

My house is dry and warm. The rain is back. Tonight I go to the Cherry Center for zazen. All is well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

picture - Edward Hopper

I dreaded the afternoon job of moving the mattresses and recreating the house to it's original condition.

I strip the beds, start the wash and struggled with the double mattress, pushing it on it's side up the stairs inch by inch. Finally it clears the door and I can push it down the hall to the guest room. I lay down and rest before I move the other beds.

The last storm is gone. The windows are open. The outside air is cleaning the house of all the stale odors.

At the rookery the two herons stand on opposite sides of the old nest staring at each other. I love making up a story about their lives.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My neighbors and I are walking through the neighborhood checking on damage from the storm. None of us have electricity and it soon is clear why, Trees have knocked down power lines,

A pack of crows are squawking and dive bombing the old cypress tree. Sure enough it's the red tail hawk sitting quietly on a limb. The crows want him out of their territory and soon he is back in the air with a trail of agitated crows following him.

For two and a half days I was without electricity and heat feeling alone and isolated and cold. I hung out at the coffee houses, hot coffee, heat and light. Now I can live in my own house again. Hurray.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Parking at home with bags of food from the store, I could hear the screams of little children. My body tensed, what is happening. It was awhile before I saw that it was joy and excitement as they jumped on beds, chased each other and threw things. I took a deep breath and walked in.

We are preparing for the much talked about storm that will hit tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's true, the house eats up everything, tomahawks, children's socks, cars, jammies, books, keys, wallets, everything you are looking for has been eaten by the house, so there; that's why we can't find our stuff.

The young boys know this is true, it's just the adults who keep looking.

Three blue herons in the gully rookery this morning.

When the human noise level gets too high in my house I just go into my bedroom and close the door. Yesterday I was in my bedroom by 6pm.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

picture - Paul Ranson

This morning by the wharf the small waves glitter in the warm sun light. No sweaters or jackets today.

Last night in the cold wind the little kids danced to the Taiko drums. The bigger kids stood around resisting the urge to
move their bodies to the beat. Sometimes a foot would betray the rhythm.

Even thought I slept well last night I want to take nap before we all gather again to celebrate New Years Day. The doors and windows are open. When the sun goes down we will have another fire in the fireplace and once again watch sponge bob square pants on the TV, the favorite of young kids. We move at the pace of the smallest walking child in the house.