Apart from Time

Eastern Sierra Nevada

Time moves easily on, but I seem to be slumped in the corner here. I have a desire to move forward and accomplish something; this is the image of me slowly hardening into the amber, caught by the golden sunlight, unaware of my demise. I am sure that a reader might find this image of my personal lithification depressing. Please don’t. I am not so outrageous in most of my life, but a little macabre imagery seems to tickle me right now. Acceptance is a gift of the spirit; it is the movement of life with recognition of its own impermanence. Sometimes it makes me sad, sometimes I look right at it and laugh out loud.

Geology has always been my stabilizing rock, so to speak. It has given me the gift of perspective. In memory, I sit on a summer warmed granite rock, in the California Sierra mountains. This is my favorite type of rock; clean, hard, light colored. It was late in the development of the hot, pressure induced, liquid batholith which it grew from; it had more time to grow those lovely large crystals. Slow cooling of the original melted rock allows larger crystals of grey quartz, and pink or white feldspar, to form in a matrix, these are cut through by dikes (imagine cracks filled with another colored material that forms a discrete and interesting line through the more uniform, larger mass, of rock). Dikes arrive from an even later melt in the batholith with even larger crystals, some with a matrix of small dark, interesting things of a different chemical composition. These huge rocks where I rest, are weathered to the size of cars, buses, and palaces; a world of their own has been smoothed to a polished shine, here and there, by tons of glacier grinding past for thousands of years. I place a hand on its surface and feel my small, and very time limited, nature. Perspective. Lovely.

Listen, (Please?) The sound is lovely; forgive me if I also wax hopeful.

Neil Gaiman reads Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen

It’s coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It’s coming from the feel
That this ain’t exactly real
Or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don’t pretend to understand at all
It’s coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin’
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate

Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

It’s coming from the women and the men
O baby, we’ll be making love again
We’ll be going down so deep
The river’s going to weep,
And the mountain’s going to shout Amen
It’s coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on 

I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay
I’m junk but I’m still holding up
This little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA

accidental capture (a gift)

A Smear of Life

This morning I rose with trepidation and sorrow. I am moving house during a pandemic because the world of limitless causes (action/reaction, karma; call it what you like) is guiding me there. None-the-less, sorrow comes with change, as a part of the body’s system of attachment and letting go, keeping itself safe, and fear comes with that process. All these words are cerebral; my head talking to me, superficial, and nearly artificial. The feeling, though, is visceral, as real as I can understand with my five senses, and I must survive it.

     In the realm of ‘new seeing’, that thing that comes on the precipice of change, was my moment of insight. I stepped out into a cool, clear morning, which promised to beget a hot summer’s day, and saw the tree. Just an ordinary pine which I see on a daily basis. With a sudden clarity, I saw the Earth as a giant rock moving in space and the tiny film of water and biota that coats it. The biota that grows and dies in a continual process, that is almost unnoticeable from space, but it is our whole world, the one that we are constantly in flux with.

The tree was a huge and imposing living being that thrust up into the heavens, reached down equally into the earth and would out-live me by three or four life spans.

     Just like that, I let go. I stopped worrying about the fibs the realtor told, the drama of my friends left behind, the anxiety of my sweetheart and his spread sheets, the concern about possible disaster scenarios, the impending election, the discomfort of change. It may not stay, this feeling of understanding from a new perspective, but I feel re-set. I feel my life-death process as sweet and inevitable, as it is. I feel my recognition of the process being boiled down to simple acts of kindness melded with forgiveness. I feel grateful. 

    From my tiny spot embedded in the film of life on a rock in space, I love you all. Nothing more.

The Blog or the Tree

The Blog that ate reality. (Only consider the indigestion.)

Perhaps this is closer to the electron vs. the tree product? I would not know. I am not sure at all what the blog is in terms of my real world. This is not due to diminished tech ability so much, but rather to a lack of curiosity.

I was given stern instructions to begin a blog, if I ever wanted to produce marketable writing and be able to sell it; to have an electronic presence. I made the effort, thinking that I would open a door to creativity and meet people of ‘like mind’.

I have a very different view today. Somedays I think I am shouting down a well, on others, I am walking along whispering to myself (which is cause for some worry).

Today, it seems I am talking to a very small group of ‘friends in the shadows’. It has a magical and unreal quality to it. I feel myself reaching out and taking a hand, or starting a conversation here and there. Sometimes I simply brush someones cheek with my knuckles and look deeply into their eyes with an attempt to understand who they are. I am looking deep into a mystery that eludes me. You.

Ever Onward

It is this sense of presence in an electronic world that has ignited my curiosity again. What is this web we weave? How does it penetrate creativity? Is the glue still kindness, or does the ego rule?

For me to even voice these words, feels strange. Clearly, the precipice of my ignorance is high and airy. I lean out and see only hints along a skyline. I know nothing. Perhaps knowing nothing, much more is possible. Perhaps I can fly after all.

I will let you know.

Ganges River

Wild Wild West

Cattle Drive

This grainy old-time view is how I hope to display a world that is passing: two cowboys, a rare cowgirl, a couple of cattle dogs and a herd of 30 head. The next generation won’t see this happen. There are too many folk, too little land, too large a drive for money and power. Thus, the world changes as it always has.

Do not, please, assume I am denying change or supporting the meat industry. I am simply playing observer and noting the inevitability. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder if we can play the part of guide in this process. Often the very idea of inserting myself into the maelstrom of change terrifies me. How dare I, how could I? Certainly there is very little that I know about the balance of man and nature, the balance of man and mankind. I wonder if it is simply the process of bringing authentic kindness to the process each time we move. This too terrifies me, as I am so inadequate to the task.

Hot Dusty work.

So I left the boys, girls, and dogs behind to travel another road, where my inadequacy will be forgiven, if it is ever noticed at all.

The land is dry here, the road is inches deep in the dust of a dry lake bed. The map is torn.


Road North

Other travelers have stopped here to discuss something, some story, some prayer. I stop and open up to what I see.

Sky, cloud, life.

Your Story

This basalt block holds the key to a mind long past. These images, tapped patiently into the rock surface, are thought to be as old as 12,000 years. I am caught by the truth that I will never know what the meaning of all this felt like for them. It is so simple to take a bit of poetry, a bit of some novel, and place myself within the perceived meaning. I realize though, that whenever I write, or read, or gaze at art, that the meaning slips here and there, never the same for artist or art gazer.

Really, this is the point. I do not wish my creations to have some kind of solid, inflexible meaning that will be prattled on about in a classroom. I want the bubble that exploded from my heart and mind to engender a bubble of yours. It is a form of touch. I reach for you and you return the gesture. There is a deep mystery in this, a beauty.

Stone Yard Biota

Here is a change of perspective. See the stone-yard biota above? This is the other side of the picture rock I just showed you. Moss and lecithin making its own lovely message heard above the roar of the universe. Here, below is hot spring biology with the same gambit.

In just such moments, it is the striving to understand that precipitates change within. There is no correct answer, there is only the quest.

Hot spring biota
Out Beyond
by Rumi
Out beyond ideas of wrong doing
and right doing,
There is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in the grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase
'each other'
does not make any sense.

Trees that never give up.

Juniper fell in 1987 fire; note green branches!

Here are my few ‘wonder trees’ and a site that has brought many more forward. Take a look if you love them, they are uplifting: https://blazepress.com/2017/08/15-trees-that-wont-give-up-despite-all-the-odds/

Moving slowly forward, I seek the beauty in each little thing.

In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke:

"The core of every core, the kernel of every kernel,
an almond! held in itself, deepening in sweetness:
all of this, everything, right up to the stars,
is the meat around your stone. Accept my bow..."

Know Thy Enemy

If you would like to stop listening to politicians without science backgrounds, and read the science, if you want to understand and make decisions on facts, try this, with interesting charts and real numbers:

View at Medium.com

I feel happier when my information is from a credentialed person, rather than my well-intentioned neighbor.

I hope you will see this as a gift, rather than an annoyance. Now I will go back to writing Speculative Fiction, and stay in character.

Good Luck, my friends.

beauty, always here