Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another Sunday

Apples, cheese, peanut butter, coffee.  Mail and catalogs on the kitchen table.  The snow started coming down about an hour ago and has already neatly covered the dark strip along the edge of my walk, the familiar soils of my garden that were revealed by the warm midwinter sun last week.  

A Robin has more than once visited the crabapple in my front yard during these past two weeks, even in the midst of the last cold snap; odd, to see that red-breasted fellow out so far ahead of the Spring. The temperature rose more than fifty degrees in just one week, melting away much of this winter's accumulation and giving all of us a welcome lift.  High winds blew in with the full moon on Thursday night--oh it was wicked-bright! white and azure and magenta, ringed in rainbows--while smoke-blue clouds chased each other eastward, faster than imagination...The winds remained strong while the moon traveled through Friday, carrying along with them a rush of cold, another drop. Yesterday was breezy, with veils of grey that came and went, opening and closing with clear amber light.  Today comes more, more, more snow. 
It's hard to believe that another moon has come and gone already.  The past two weeks have been full of change, separation, reunion... Time spent with dear friends--many old and some new, all bearing gifts of one kind or another--has set my mind both back and forward, rekindling fires of memory, sending up smoke signals to my future self.  What will I do with the rest of my life, and with whom will I share the time I have?
I took a short walk yesterday, leaving my camera behind, and happened across something new to me.  On the sidewalk were scattered a number of seedpods, oval in shape, dark brown in color, and about twice the size of a fava bean.  I cracked one with my boot and stooped to take a closer look, when I saw one of its much larger sisters lying closeby.  It was about half the size of my palm, leathery-brown and mostly flat with a slightly bulbous middle.  I gave it a shake and it rattled gently.  I pressed to crack it open, and was surprised to find the interior coated with bright green hairs of jelly which had a pleasant, fruity scent.  A rounded, dark seed about the size of a hazelnut was tethered inside.  I brought a couple home:

What is it?  I want to know...

I'm tempted to go out for a ski on the freshly falling snow, but I believe I'd rather wait until the wind stops blowing.  The chores of the day ask little of me, only to move about and take care of things, although with my neck in a state even the smallest of doings can be a pain...Ah, so. To work, then: paint today, change tomorrow.  White falls quietly and the silence begs an answer, to which I can only reply: What are you?  Then I'll turn on the radio.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I'd like to share a few thoughts today, as my last post seems to me now as though it is miles away, written by a stranger.

JB was a friend to many; I have known maybe no other person who has had such a positive influence in the lives of so many people.  We had been friends for many years, since our college days, and he was a very big part of my life with CM, from the time we all met.  I am without words to express my gratitude for the loving support that JB and his partner gave me during the past year and a half, during what has been the most lonely and difficult period of my life, while they were in the midst of what would be the last year of their lives together and dealing, daily, with cancer, both as survivor and as caretaker, and as partners.  I would not have gotten along without them.  JB in particular was one of a few people who really acknowledged my existence, emotionally and spiritually, and helped to keep me present in this world, when I began to drift out.  His love, his open arms and open mind, his bright eyes and sweet kisses were a joy to me.  I can only imagine the loss his partner is feeling right now, and it is heartbreaking.

Yes, we carry his bright spirit with us, forward into our lives, but his close presence will be very much missed.

I'm going out now, to take the ski run that I missed last Sunday, and to breathe in the prairie for a while, on this warm and grey day.  Perhaps I will find some words written in the snow.  Peace to you all.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Clearing The Path

Yesterday marked the appearance of the New Moon and the beginning of this Lunar New Year, as well as the passage of another Groundhog's Day, which has in Other Times been known as Imbolc, or Saint Brighid's Day, and some time later as Candelmas.  

I'd never thought much of this old holiday until quite recently; it was only this past Sunday afternoon, in fact, when fate intervened to bring it to the forefront of my attention.  I'd intended to ski but found I was without my boots, so I opted for brisk walk, fully expecting to be disappointed by the crowded filth of the city.  Instead I found myself pleasantly greeted by friendly neighbors (in shorts, even!) and the native flora of the prairie I'd hoped to see, which set me to thinking about the warm months ahead (though I'm still dearly in love with the snow, and not done just yet) and quite suddenly I became rather excited about all the many flowers, vines, grasses, shrubs and trees I shall plant soon.  It seemed somehow that Winter had reached a turning point, and in fact, it had.  It is at this time, in early February, that we reach the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  This I had known, but I knew little of its significance, nor had I ever experienced it quite so tangibly before.  The past year, for me, has brought a new acquaintance with each Season, each turning of the moon, and so it is only natural that I should come to know this one as well, I suppose, but I learned a few things I might not have expected in my brief reading about this holiday, just this afternoon.  You might find them interesting, as well.

Also, yesterday, and the day prior, there occurred a very large convergence of crows over the city, just after sunset.  Today I left my place of work sometime earlier, while the sun was still in the sky; the crows had gone, but in the clear blue above there soared a hawk, its white wings illuminated in golden light...

This morning marked the passing of a rare soul, and a dear friend, lover, guru, guide and inspiration to many, many young and old and aspiring human beings.  Our friend JB, who had for the past three years borne the heavy burden of cancer--which he and his loving partner carried for so long with a grace and strength that were truly amazing--left this world today, in peace.  

I was blessed to have shared his presence, last night, and in the days prior, surrounded by family and loved ones.  Although he suffered, his bright spirit was still very much present, and to those of you who were unable to be at his side these past few days, take heart in knowing that he was at home, where he wanted to be.  Some souls pass into their own shadow, but JB would not be scared back into his hole by any such thing; he was a gymnast! a dancer! a laughing, wise and willful imp, ready to be part of whatever was happening next (and make you be part of it, too.)...So into the new life of a coming Spring, he has gone.  And he will be missed.  But it is difficult to mourn the death of a life lived so beautifully, so openly, so courageously, so lovingly... I have shed tears today, but more of joy than pain, to have had the honor of being the friend of such a man, and to know that he will no longer suffer.

This evening I made a few calls, then put on my snowpants and went out to shovel.  There have been two snowfalls since I last cleared the walk, and I knew I must do so tonight so that I might be able to focus my energy on the days ahead.  The snow, though packed down tightly in the places where many feet have tread, broke easily and flew lightly as I thought upon these days, and upon the life of a man I've loved.  I've learned so many things from him, even today, and have so many yet to learn...  

It takes time to be in this world, to come into it and to leave it.  I so wish to build a fire tonight, and circle round.  Where you are, throw another log upon the flames, or set a candle on your windowsill...say a few words out loud, or pray.  Hold each other close, and give your love.  I send you mine.  

JB, we will remember, smiling.