TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Loss

Little Don Quixotes

I am in the middle of withdrawing from a major tranquilizer– a long drawn out and dismal process so there is no creativity and no posts and no reading your posts.  However, I had to post this article that appeared today in the New York Times.  Please be sure to scroll down to the video!!  It is about the children who have been torn from their families because they want refuge in the United States.  It is about the plight of HIspanic children and how they now feel in the United States as they sing the song they wrote…


The Breath of Love

 

Until I can connect with my Muse again and develop a New York City aesthetic that connects with Spirit I rely on revising old writing and photographs…

I awaken to moonlight– it is at that particular slant that lights up the front yard at 3 AM.  What really has awakened me is my husband’s breathing.  It is labored like he has just run up a flight of stairs.  At times I awaken because I do not hear his breath and some alarm goes off in my head to check him.  And if I can not hear him breathing I put my hand lightly on his chest so as not to wake him to see if I can feel the his heart beating.  Feeling it pulsing in my hand I am reassured once more.  I am not alone in this.  My sister-in-law confides in me that she wakes up at night to listen to my brother to see if he is still breathing.  My first-grade friend says much the same.  She does a breathing check on her husband.  Our husbands are relatively well.  They have diabetes, heavy smoking and drinking, a delicate frame among them, but they are not on death’s door so far as we know.  And yet we are plagued by morbid fears.

In the wee hours of morning fears loom large.  My husband’s heartbeat, a mere flutter, seems so delicate.  I am reassured that it is beating just as I am reassured that he is breathing.  But the breath itself is so fragile.  It scares me awe-fully– the fragility of the breath, the fine line between breathing and cessation of breath.

I prowl the house.  Through the skylight the stars beam brightly along with a shining half moon.  A clear day tomorrow.  But it is already tomorrow.  It is so still my ears hum.  My husband, who knows so many interesting things, tells me the humming I hear is the sound of the nervous system.  Our bodies hold such mystery.

I look out the window, now hearing my neighbor’s dogs barking quietly.  I look for coyote thinking that is what they are barking at, but see nothing.  The moonlit grass on the lawn is whitish silver, looking almost as if it had snowed, and the water in the marsh sparkles in the moonlight.  The deep woods behind are pitch dark, the home of many a creature. Nothing stirs.  It is too early for the birds.  The house across the way is always dark; it is up for sale.  And in the other direction, at this hour, no lights shine in the driveway of the house down the road.

I am reminded of a line from a poem by Tagore “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”  I am at my most faithless at 3 AM.

Along with the supreme beauty of Tagore’s thoughts, a frivolous line from an old song runs through my head: “There ought to be a moonlight savings time…” and the line continues so there would be more time for loving.  But moonlight in the middle of the night also brings with it intense dreads.

Now chilled I finally go back to bed. An owl hoots in the distance– a reassuring sound.  My husband is breathing freely now.  His body is warm in the bed and I am filled with love for him as he lays in a heap, so trustingly in the arms of sleep.  Our marriage a wonder.  Unexpected.  An endless source of ever increasing love brimming not only with joy but also the dread of loss.  Perhaps all wives check their husbands for breathing.  Perhaps there is an army of women out there prowling the wee hours of the night, at times by moonlight, checking on their husbands, their children, their animals to see that they all have that breath of life flowing.

“There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.”  Rumi said that.  And it is breath of love that I must master.

 

 


R.I.P. “Rabbit” with Love, Mouse

My friend
My friend with cancer
My friend
My friend who had chemo
Three runs of chemo
Radiation
Two surgeries
My friend who was cured
Whose cancer had gone
My friend who was cured
Who wanted to write a book
Who wrote to me often
Who listened to me with Heart
My friend
Where did he go?
Why did he die?
Why when he was starting anew
With his wife who stood by him
Helped him when he was sick
Why did he die?
I want to know
Where did he go?
I want to know if the chemo
Killed him
Chemo
It did not help my father,
My mother, my brother
My best friend
I thought I was wrong
I thought this time it helped my friend
Yes, it helped him alright
It killed him!
Why did he have to die?
Why?
My friend, “Rabbit,” Rest in Peace
Love forever, Mouse

 

 


astonishment

My friend, Tiramit at Dhamma Footsteps, says it better than I ever could, so immersed in shock, fear and grief are we, obviously the minority here in the U.S….

dhamma footsteps

pigeons3bPOSTCARD #231: New Delhi: Trumpets blare, the sharp impact of it hits immediately, a cloud of birds fly up in a flutter of uncertainty. Trees splash outwards in branches, twigs, leaves, blossom and seed. Astonishment… how could this have happened? Eyes open wider and wider, like a camera aperture opening so far it exceeds structural integrity, implodes, buildings collapse in controlled demolition made to seem like a natural disaster, the ground beneath us opens up in sinkholes. Words explode into fragments of meaning… thus, the un-expect-ed-ness of this unnerving turn of events.

Curtains open on the First Act. Enter, stage right, the President of the Disunited States, Hollywood version of narcissistic Third World dictator, well-dressed gangster with his carefully balanced coiffure and infrastructure of war, catastrophe, greed, hatred and delusion – a victorious returning to power, with paid-for breathless wave of applause. Financial Advisors grab all the wealth stolen by…

View original post 412 more words


Fall Teardrops


The Veil of Love

P1140699_edited-14AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus
and me wide awake
with eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday
lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you
“Until death do us part”
the import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now 30 years later
the treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes
for I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence
I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place in my heart
lest you be torn from me
Not following the wisdom
of the sages
to live forever in the present
the specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together
And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine
I crying because
there will never be
a happily ever after
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder
Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee
My faith is feint
and my heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod
Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.
          *
“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa
 HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Tyranny of Mind

 2126624741-1_edited-1

4AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus

Me wide awake
eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday

lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you

Not yet awake

to the wisdom
of the sages and the ages
to live forever in the present

“Until death do us part”

The import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now decades later

The treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes

I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence

I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place
lest you be torn from me

The specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together

And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine

I crying because
there will never be
a “happily ever after”
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder

Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee

My faith is faint

My heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod

Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.

“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa


Moonset

 RSCN2903_edited-2

The hush

of  predawn

in which

the moon

silently

surreptitiously

descends

into the black hole

of the tail end

of night

*

A similar moment

years ago

 in my arms

as she struggled to breathe

already half the battle

over

 one prick of the needle

 instantly limp

a hushed end

to a soulmate

our baby

*

Why can’t we

too

go this way

as softly as

a moon setting

in the whisper

of predawn

of a new day?


Life Eternal

On this sad day

13 years ago

unspeakable things happened

to uncountable thousands

we have gone on

aching for those lost

Let us affirm life today

and always

By going to the One within


The Reign of Pain

RSCN3363_edited-1

 

Tears,years, fears, pain, pane, rain, car, far, are you there, somewhere?

I can’t hear you.  I can’t see you.  I can’t feel you.  Any more.

Why did you have to die?  Why did you have to go?

Your kids bleed for you, you know.

Your wife aches for you, you know.

I pine for you, you know.

Your absence is our has been.

Attachment our sin.

And in this reign

of pain we fail

we ail

each in our own ways.

It may be a thin veil

 that divides our souls but

why then does it feel like an iron curtain

 creating the great divide

between our being and your nothingness?

(Written for the three year anniversary of my brother’s death.)


Cowboys and the “Dallas Buyer’s Club”

About three minutes into “Dallas Buyers Club” I just knew I was going to love it.  Well, I more than loved it. I absolutely adored it and watched it twice. Why? Apart from being a highly meaningful piece of art with political overtones with which I concur, here was a film about the cowboy in my life. My brother.
*
No, my brother didn’t die of AIDS or HIV. He was not a drug addict and he was as straight as they come. I was the one with the homosexual experiences in my family.  My brother didn’t even die of cirrhosis of the liver, though God knows he drank enough. No, my brother died of lung cancer at age 57.
*
Let me back up and give a synopsis of the film from Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with it: ‘”Dallas Buyers Club” is a 2013 American biographical drama film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, distributing them to fellow sufferers by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” while facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
*
Like Woodroof, Tony was a hard drinking, hard-living, tough-as-nails cowboy who worked on thoroughbred horse farms for awhile as a groom. He got into trouble from time to time but he was blessed with a good, big heart. And, unlike Ron he lived long enough to turn his life around and live an exemplary life I cannot begin to touch.  He married, settled down, became a wheelchair artisan and adopted three kids. He wound up doing volunteer work, too, therapeutic riding with handicapped kids. Things Ron might have done had he had the chance. Ron has a line in the film where he talks about wanting a family. But he died too young.
*
So did Tony. His cowboy life in Michigan was cut short when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 54.  He was given 4 months to live. Dead set on fighting and aiming to win, he had chemo and radiation.  I sent him doo-rags when his hair fell out. I did Reiki on him.  And he did his God-damnedest to stay alive. All for his kids. He dropped down to 90 pounds, walked and looked like a dark-skinned, Latino Ron Woodroof at his most emaciated. It was heartbreaking to see this once rugged, handsome cowboy wearing long sleeves in the middle of a blistering summer so as not to scare people with his stick-insect arms.
*
Damn, the movie had guts! Power, too, in spades. Just like Ron Woodroof and his beautiful transvestite partner in business, Rayon. Just like my brother, and just like so many fighting for their lives.  Ron outlived the 30 day sentence the doctors gave him when he was first diagnosed HIV, and he lived some seven more years.  Tony lived three years after the initial prediction of four months. Chemo was hell for one week out of the month followed by three relatively good weeks. Relative is the word here. Tony told me time and again he was doing all this for the kids.
*
The Rons, the Rayons and the Tonys of the world– they are the unknown, unsung heroes of daily life. Ron Woodroof became famous  thanks to the producers, writers, actors and all who made this movie jump from the page to the screen to brilliant, vibrant life.  I thank them for telling the stories of Ron and Rayon. Stories that needed desperately to be told. Ron Woodroof made good in his own hustling way. So did my brother.
*
It was great seeing Tony again, even if only in metaphor. I cried plenty from the get-go and again the second time around, but even aside from my brother, would have anyhow. The characters, the movie was THAT poignant, counterpointed by humor, too. What a fantastic whirlwind of a life was portrayed in this outstanding, almost phantasmagorical film.

Tom Attwater Is Dying. His Daughter Might Die, Too. The Letter He Left For Her Is Unforgettable.

To see a video of Tom reading this letter, click on:

http://kindnessblog.com/2014/02/20/tom-attwater-dying-of-cancer-reads-the-letter-he-wrote-to-his-daughter-kelli/


Spirits Past and the Mystical Bliss of Horses

079

It is almost Christmas, and my birthday, and today I cried reading an old birthday email from my sister.  She signed it “Lisa the Pizza, Tony Baloney and the rest of the gang ‘up there’,” meaning my brother, and my mother and father.

“Tony  Baloney” died two years and a half ago, leaving behind three adopted children whom he adored and who adored him, and a loving wife.  My father and mother died 25 and 20 years ago, as impossible as that seems.  Dad and Mom died this time of year.  And my best friend, Wendi, died shortly after.  All of cancer of some sort or the other.  But they all loved horses.

We now live in Millbrook — horse country.  Horse farms dot the countryside.  My father and mother and Wendi would have adored it.  My brother was the only one to visit Millbrook, coming with his family whom we put  up at a nearby horse ranch. They all  had the time of their lives.  One of my fondest memories of my brother is from that visit.  We are holding hands as he is relaxing after a day of riding with his kids.  He is drinking and smoking (what eventually killed him) and we are taking in the sunset on the porch of the dude ranch.

I love horses, too.  It is in my blood.  Dad played the horses and my brother worked on several racetracks, including Belmont.  Now I abhor horse-racing,  finding it cruel.  My brother had horror stories to tell of how the horses were drugged and run hurting.  I have seen horses being put down– all for a senseless sport.  Dad and I would quarrel about this if he were still alive.

I remember stroking a horse once at a show nearby and the bliss I felt was mystical in a most spiritual way.  I wanted that moment to last forever.  And the happiest I have ever seen my husband was on a moonlit ride we took in a canyon in Arizona on our honeymoon.  Horses bring happiness. My husband knows it. Dad knew it.  Tony knew it, Wendi knew it and to some extent, Mom knew it.

Too old to ride now I pet horses when I can, and admire them as we drive by horse farms.  I photograph them when the spirit moves me.  I ache inside for my parents who would have adored it here in our little barn.  For my brother, the cowboy, as different from me as night and day, but bonded by a deep love and shared losses.  For my friend, Wendi, with whom I shared a not-to-be replicated link of love.  Merry Christmas, Tony Baloney, Mom, Dad, Wendi!

My blessing comes from the love I share with my husband who married me despite my mental illness. It comes, too,  from our spiritual connection to nature. I admire my husband who works with society’s outcasts as a clinical social worker.  My giving is on a much smaller scale– tiny things here and there– online activism and such.  You play the hand you are dealt.

Christmas can be a hard time, and New Year’s, too, and I know there will be the inevitable meltdown into tears over losses of loved ones, over mortality, over our material nature.  And perhaps you will also have your own moment of bleakness.  But I hope that you, too, will be able to touch your bliss at Christmas and find a blossoming hope for the new year.

Blessings of joy to all!!


An Apparition

Apparition

Here one second,

the next, gone,

with traces only in our hearts.

The ephemeral nature

of all life.

Our loved ones,

people and creatures,

here with us

for a pause in eternity

and gone for seeming eons.

            *

It is as the Hindus say

all “Maya,”

a dream of life,

an apparition,

some form of us

awakens one day

somewhere

we know not

when or where or how

right now.


The Spiders’ Secret

P1110518_edited-2

A chill wind blows the yellowing leaves off the trees. They drift down to the ground like giant snowflakes. The air is pregnant with the feel of the coming holidays. Fall has truly come, with the sudden drop in temperatures, a full 10-20 degrees cooler than a few weeks ago. This is the real Fall, no faltering Fall, but a Fall that will guide us appropriately into winter. November appears as a mirror image of March with its vibrant color of decay, while March is the decaying color of about-to-burst-forth Spring.

The birds are at the bird feeder all the time now. They are not stopped by our presence when we come to fill the feeder or blow leaves under it. Nothing stops them. They swoop around the feeder and the surrounding trees like Kamikaze pilots, darting here and there recklessly. The squirrels are in a frenzy as well, stock piling acorns and walnuts which they will retrieve without fail in a month or so in a snow-covered land.

To me, the trees are most beautiful at this time of year, when many of them are bare and a scattering of leaves remain on dark brown branches. The leaves that remain quiver daintily in their precarious positions on the tree limbs. Yet these are the survivors. The other leaves have fallen and gone the way all living things eventually go. Most trees have lost all their leaves and they stand in stark contrast against the blue sky, the stormy sky, the grey sky.  But I find them most beautiful against the night sky, with arms reaching up to the darkness, trying to touch the stars twinkling between the branches, as moonlight dances on their limbs.

349-1-1 copy_wm

November holds the last glimmer of color. A carpet of yellow lines the woods now– and one can see inside the woods that are so dark and impenetrable in summer. Some forests have carpets of oak leaves– dark brown tan in color. Others are paved with variegated colors– vibrant crimsons against yellows and faded greens and tawny tans. The un-mown lawns are now taken over by the spiders covering the fields.  At precious moments, one can see a world of webs that only appears in a certain slant of sunlight and reveal a silent take-over by the spiders in webs that sparkle secretly, mirroring the infinite web of creation.

P1110060_edited-1

The yellow, brown, and crimson leaves are complemented by the ubiquitous yellow, brown and crimson mums that appear on the roadside near mail boxes, on porches or along driveways. These tough little flowers withstand frosty chills and stand tall throughout most of November– hearty, generous souls, so giving in their colorful, velvety splendor.

P1080716_edited-2-1

Halloween pumpkins begin to sag a bit or shine with wetness as if encased in glass. They will soon be tossed– pine combs, wreaths and fir swags to take their places, and the season of lights will begin. Anticipation hangs in the air. Autumn seems the fastest season to come and go. I try treasuring each moment, but the minute/hours/days just sift through my fingers like so many grains of sand. Then Christmas/Hanukkah comes and fades in a flash and we are into the Nor’Easter blizzards of January. Another year is gone and a new one has come. Would that we could be in forever in the season of love, but it is also a season of loneliness and loss and darkness. It is good we are defenseless against time.

Now, at Thanksgiving, it is our time to give thanks. Inspired by the Native Americans, let us thank the earth. Let us give thanks to the trees for their constantly changing beauty, to the stars for their piercing presence in the night sky, to the leaves for their inspiring colors, to the sun for its life-giving power.  Let us thank the Spring for its awakening hope, the Summer for its warm, thriving growth, the Fall for its beauteous bounty, to the Winter for a time of renewal.  Let us thank the soon-to-come snow for its hushed, white silence that transforms our world, to all the animals for their pure souls, to our families and friends for their precious love, and, lastly, but mostly, to the Higher Power of our belief for the macrocosm of creation.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you each be blessed with the all-embracing, pervasive, pulsating Love in Nature.


An Insecure Security

Gemutlichkeit* of

a rainy October morning

dry chilly warmth

in our little barn

*

downstairs

you perusing the paper

 upstairs

me pumping poetry

*

rain tip-toeing

on the metal roof

a tymphanic symphony

outside the window

a masterpiece of color

yellow walnut leaves

and red sugar maple

the steady drip-drop of water

*

what bliss is this

precious moments of Now

a heavenly haven

from a frightening, tipsy-turvy world

*

I wish to always be

in your aura of calm

and the beauteous bounty of Nature

but

for sure

death will come

*

 please take us together

and

find us in each other’s arms

*

blessed bliss

pure peace

and

true security

the everlasting Now

only exist

in the presence of God.

*German word meaning “coziness”.


Stages of Being

P1120427 copy

Beauty in Life

September 1

In denial

P1120486_edited-1

Death in Life

October 1

Forboding

RSCN2624_edited-2

Beauty in Death

November 1

Acceptance

DSCN0719_edited-2 copy

Afterlife

December 1

SILENCE


Tempus Fugit

P1120009

Poof!

After awaiting September all summer, the month of the Autumnal Equinox came and is almost gone.  I try desperately to stop time, clinging to each day, to no avail.  These next few months, my favorite time of year, go by in a flash, like sand sifting through my fingers.  Poof!  In a flash the trees turn beauteous, with variegated flames of color.  Poof!  The leaves are gone.

First, there is the change in light.  The sun, still hot in mid-September, does not pack the punch it did in July, when one could be outdoors for an hour and come in with a change in skin color. Temperatures cool.  The grass starts to stop growing.  The “blood” of the trees starts to flow back into the trunk, causing leaves to change color. Walnuts, acorns and apples fall.   Butterflies, so rampant outdoors in August, have gone inside the stomach of many a child as they go back to school. Even adults are not immune.  Many feel the flutter of “back-to-school” anxiety come Fall.  Summer vacations are a memory and it is time to “honker down” at work.  Fall offers a new beginning but there is a tinge of anxiety in facing some thing new.

And most of all, Fall is a time of riotous color, when a walk in the woods finds one reveling like a drunk, besotted by the yellow, orange, crimson, russet world which our eyes imbibe like a hefty cocktail.  It is a time when Italian comes to the lips in a loud “Que bella!!”  The green of summer is bucolic and raises the spirit, but the many colors of fall intoxicate.  People start talking of peak color, and leafing becomes the pastime of many.  It is the time to plant bulbs and endlessly rake blowing leaves.

But Fall is a time of melancholia, too. Flowers die.  Reptiles go into hibernation.  Insects die or overwinter.  Songbirds migrate.  Trees eventually loose their leaves.  And the end of the lazy days of summer brings with it shorter days, longer nights, and concomitant depression for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Moments of sobriety seep into intoxication with the new world of color as we may remember loved ones who can no longer share the beauty–who can no longer enjoy those coveted, cooler, crisp days of September when coolness kisses the cheeks.  For autumn is a celebration of endings, too, perhaps best described by the French poet, Guillaume Appollinaire, in his poem Autumn:

“A bowlegged peasant and his ox receding

through the mist slowly through the mist of autumn…

Oh the autumn the autumn has been the death of summer

In the mist there are two gray shapes receding.”

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.


Supposed Indifference in Asperger’s

P1100160_edited-1-1

I climbed down

from the tangled branches

of my thoughts

to greet you

but it was too late

you were gone.

Don’t give up on me

I love you can’t you see

but there is such difficulty

all because I am Aspie.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)

 


The Web of Fears

P1120162

Caught in a web of fears

full of wet tangled tears

been this way for years

of course there are triggers

that make fears look bigger

but it is hard to figure

a way out of negativity

a way back to levity

and to my old productivity

it is hard enough to fight

the dramas of mind with my might

without succumbing to fright

about losing you

tis true

fighting at once the physical and the mental

is far too much for a mind balanced so gentle.


My Former Life

P1120102

In my former life I was a bee.

Why else would I keep sticking my nose

into the private, pollinated parts of flowers?

In my former life I was a turtle.

Why else would I hunch my shoulders

into a seeming shell, my back a carapace

to shield me from a sometimes dangerous world?

In my former life I loved thee.

How else could I account for my “knowing” you

from before the first time we met,

 for “seeing” the you in your inner depths?

Some would say  I risk damnation

for a belief in reincarnation.

Yet this answer satisfies me on so many levels

and requities my thirst, quieting my myriad of questions

that the old belief system did not.

Unpopular in the west,

woven into the fabric of life in the east

in which I clothe myself,  sewn by a strong affinity,

a strange familiarity,

attraction mystifies.

Most of us cannot remember

the details of the other lives,

and are left with fractured fragments of the past

glistening like sea glass in our hands, on the seashores of our minds,

trying to piece together a picture

of a previous existence.

Love is timeless and mysterious

and though I dread the inevitable,

the loss of our life together

in this life,

I know we will be together again in the next and the next

ad infinitium

for something as sacrosanct as our love

is eternal.


September Mind


September sunlight dances on drying leaves, sparkling like diamonds against a flowing stream, an azure sky.  The plants of summer are dying.  Flowers that have given such joy all summer long are now spurned by us as they shrivel into the paradoxical beauty of old age.  The sun burns lightly on summer-drenched skin as clouds intrude intermittently into the almost- Autumn interlude–  a gentle foretaste of the cold to come.  The last butterflies of summer flit among the blossoming Goldenrod and browning Joe Pie Weed.

The beauty of Fall is the beauty of a dying season.  It is the season of death– an alternative to the dew-like bloom of youth in Spring.

When I was very young, I felt death in nature.  I could feel what it must feel like to be a tree or a flower—to just “be”—the Buddhist dictum which I cannot now master.  In my late twenties, my mind broke into smithereens like shattered glass, and I had a choice to make between going on psych meds or going to hospital.  I chose the former and have lived some 40 years more with that choice.  I will not say it was a happy choice, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, because I have become driven into a fury of manic activity and self-seeking in stark contrast to the just “being” of my early youth.  The psych meds have dispelled my “egolessness” which, in turn, makes me more able to “function”–  at a price.  For I no longer feel the waves of peace lapping at the shores of my mind and my religious feelings have, comparatively speaking, shriveled up like the summer flowers in the Fall.  “It’s always a trade-off” I am told over and over again.  My doc told me once that I am one of the lucky ones because for some people the meds don’t work at all.  That shut me up and those words periodically pump gratitude into my system.  I have remained med-compliant mainly because  the meds have kept me out of hospital, DO allow me to function, and, most importantly, I have discovered that being able to function means allowing me to love.

And although more self-seeking, paradoxically this med-induced functionality allows me to give back to the world.  My gift is to describe the “just- being” in nature that was imprinted indelibly on my mind when I was young.   Death seemed beautiful to me then, a state of simply being at one with the soul of nature.  Now I confess to a fear of dying, rather than a fear of death, but most of all, a fear of loss of the love of my life.  For we are in the September of our lives and all is intensified now that we are more aware of our finiteness.  Truth be told this was always potentially the case, but we lived, like most youth, in the inevitable delusion of immortality.

So I function now at the cost of loss of my revered altered states of consciousness.  Perhaps I am in September mind, channeling words and images of the beauty of nature that flooded me long ago are a mere trickle now, as my time to “just be,” once more for this time round, approaches.


Abandonata

DSCN1478

 

Abandoned by life

choked by overgrowth of unkempt green

once upon a time

breathing, seething with energy

steaming with the hot breath of cattle

teaming with the tenuous tenure of life

*

Your body long gone

your loving heart now ashes

your caring now a memory

which nothing can erase

and time cannot erode.

*

How I long for thee

though a mere thin veil

separates your spirit from me

small comfort

when I miss thee mightily.


“Life Goes On”

P1110888 copy copy

“Life Goes On”

*

That’s what Dad always said,

Remember, Tony?

My dear swarthy brother,

dark of skin,

warm of heart,

we shared the same hazel eyes,

a mix of Mom’s Sicilian brown

and Dad’s brilliant blue.

We lived separate lives,

you in Michigan,

me in New York,

you with three adopted children,

me, childless with Ko-ko and Tom.

You weren’t supposed to DIE!

You and I were to be

fellow way-farers

on the road through life.

We were to live parallel lives

and you were supposed to die

when you were old and feeble,

not middle-aged,

in a tortured death!

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

*

“Life goes on.”

*

Today I light a candle

on my altar to you and Mom and Dad

and send you Reiki

like I did while you fought for your life

for two years

after a prognosis of two months.

My heart aches

on this second anniversary

of your death.

*

“Life goes on.”

*

Your wife, your children, and I

cry out for you

but you have moved on to some higher form.

You paid your karmic dues,

with your diagnosis, cancer.

Long before,

you always told me

not to worry,

that you’d live long because

only the good die young.

But you were too good

and you died far too young

and I live on in my little, reclusive life,

Ko-ko no longer here,

just me and Tom.

I should have been the one to go

but the good die young.

*

“And life goes on.”