Thanksgiving two month anniversary

Michael and Camillo 11/11

Michael and Camillo 11/11

This is the two month anniversary of Michael’s death. I started the day trying to list everything I had to be Thankful for and quickly started having break-through thoughts about all that is not going well in today’s world. I did a short medjutation (where you half sleep and half meditate) and called it good because it wasn’t. All day I was just slightly “off” without being noticeably off kilter.

Us, Thanksgiving 2012

Us, Thanksgiving 2012

Selkie got a bath. I baked and cooked and did other chores. Orien and Nick, who visited last Thanksgiving too, walked a Five K Run for Food.

Nick, Orien and us Thanksgiving 2013

Nick, Orien and us Thanksgiving 2013

Orien after the 5-K

Orien after the 5-K

Dinner was at five and was fantastic. We played a good game afterwards called “You’ve been sentenced” which had everyone laughing. I came home early to my silence. No one said what I’d most want to hear– Gee, I sure miss Michael.

 

Oh well. I sure miss Michael.       IMG_4502

 

 

Advertisements
Standard

Federal Trespass vs. War Crimes

Sunset Main Gate Beale AFB 12/24/2014

Sunset Main Gate Beale AFB 12/24/2014

My Letter to the Base Commander

My Letter to the Base Commander

Last night I got to the Main Gate at Beale AFB right before dusk and there were no other protestors there. One of the young men from the base walked out to tell me I couldn’t take photos toward the base as I was taking photos of horses and the sunset. Soon Shirley, Barry, Sharon and her husband came and we had a lovely little potluck. All were either gone, in their cars or in the case of Selkie and I, in our tents, by 8pm.

IMG_4430IMG_4431IMG_4487

IMG_4461

IMG_4491First thing in the morning we were out with our signs. I had decided to cross onto the base and give a handwritten letter I’d written (on the back of a commemorative photo of Michael demonstrating with Vets for Peace.)

Shirley had already been arrested four times at Beale but she chose to accompany me and that gave me strength.

We spoke to plainclothes military first and then were put in the gatehouse… unhandcuffed, to be “processed.” In the meantime, someone from Public Relations came and I impressed on him how important it was to give my letter to the Base Commander. If I wasn’t so tired I’d quote it here but it will take awhile to transcribe it… I’ll run it in the paper as a Letter to the Editor.

After a space of time we were released and the plainclothesman took our group photo and we watched the Global Hawk drone take off. (This surveillance drone is different than the manned U-2 that you see in the photo with John and Pam. It is used to target humans for annihilation without trial or even credible evidence… One example, 6 people killed in a drone strike on a house in Pakistan this month.. that’s all we know and all we are likely to ever hear about this.)

At the end of our time at Beale I visited the little olive tree planted in Michael’s memory. It is hard to guess what he would have said about me getting Federal Trespass charges today but I have no regrets. This is our only planet. I don’t want to go to jail but neither do I want to stand aside from what is happening to rob us of peace and a healthy planet. I’m grateful there are others who agree with me on the need to be engaged and are trying to bring about the world we want. In the wake of the Ferguson decision (last evening,) we can see how far we have to go.

IMG_4494IMG_4498IMG_4470IMG_4493

Standard

Veggie Voyagers

Michael 9/21/2014

Michael 9/21/2014

It’s two months since Michael died. On September 22nd we celebrated our 12th Anniversary and the steep pitch of dying began in earnest in the late evening. I worked today and had my cell phone set to remind me of the exact time… I had to take a break. I also had to take a break just now posting this photo of how sick he was but how still completely himself and palpable he was in this photo. I miss him very much… he is like an image that dances always just out of reach in my constant consciousness.

This week I posted the last post of the Veggie Voyagers blog (www.veggievoyagers.blogspot.com) which I started in 2007 to document our nine and a half month loop of the US on restaurant grease. I later wrote a book about the trip drawing from what I’d documented in the blog.

AA VV BookThe book was never particularly successful due to the high price– printed in the US sustainably with vegetable inks… hardly anyone wanted to buy it at booksellers’ prices but I’m going to try one more time this Christmas season…’will be at Lyon Books on Dec. 7th 2-4pm with other local authors. The book is really a homage to Michael and maybe now people will be more curious or feel sorry for me…

IMG_1394What Michael did with our truck and his consistency, problem solving and commitment to staying off fossil fuels was really outside of anything I’d really ever known to be done before. (Others do it but traveling so long and in so many different environments… never.) He was a most remarkable man… even this acme juicer suspension idea was his own:

Michael Processing Veggie Oil

Michael Processing Veggie Oil

And when I think back on all the difficult conditions and odd places we found ourselves in… it’s just a wonder. One of the things I always jokingly wanted to do was write a book on the Nine Lives of Michael Pike. Unfortunately, despite all his adventures, he’s gone and others live on and on so his lives got spent even before those of us who lived less fantastically…

Michael on roof of Sierra Club Hut, Mt. Shasta

Michael on roof of Sierra Club Hut, Mt. Shasta

One more thing I want to share is a wonderful interview we did with Nancy Wiegman on Nancy’s Bookshelf which you can access here: http://kchofm.podbean.com/?s=chris+nelson and if you want to know more about exactly how he processed the veggie oil here is the link to a wonderful short documentary by our friend Mathilde Rand from Santa Cruz Public Television: http://youtu.be/0R7yth6CIwg

With Thanksgiving coming on this week I embrace all Michael was and all that I have lost in losing him but I’m also grateful that he was in my life and we had the relationship we did. Love to each of you in the nurture of all that sustains you.

Pine Creek 020

Standard

It’s done

IMG_4148From a young man to a just past medi-care old man this man was my life. It seemed that there were things we didn’t or couldn’t talk about as I think back on our on-again / off-again relationship but there was enough synergy and common bond to keep us tracking with each other til the death-do-us-part thing. I remember after harsh words how we wouldn’t speak for a long time and then just sort of meld back into whatever we had been doing before the argument erupted. Like two streams who could not be parted, whose purpose was to flow and who wanted under any obstacle to flow together.

Today Kathy, Mark, Christy, Vita, Donna and I meditated together for the end of the bardo period expressed in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, poorly understood intellectually by anyone. The Tibetans believe by this time the newly dead person has moved through everything they need to do and have gone on to a new reincarnation… I rather hope not judging from the climate change data, but I am no expert on either after-life or coming-life.

In the case of the being who was Michael I asked that any remaining attachments be lovingly addressed from our spiritual heart centers so any remaining help he might need could be given. If he had created suffering in his life, at any time and anyone was living at the effect of it, I asked that it be cleansed. And lastly, that the good he had done, with his interesting and creative life ripple out in continuous waves of helpfulness. (At the end of the mediation I also requested that others who had died since he did be lifted and loved on the wave of energetic goodness we were experiencing.) We could sense great power in the universe and what was him energetically “alive” to all that was available in that place of light, power and goodness.

We also discussed in shorthand about his body… how does the perfectly beautiful person die? He let go with utter mammalian grace his sexuality, his bowel and bladder integrity, his gorgeous face, and his glorious hair and finally his very life, without a whimper or complaint. At each stage he was about coping/releasing in a way that did not interfere with the part of the glass that was still full.. he never seemed to mourn any loss and now he is flying free… no surfboard or ski or parachute needed… no veggie oil to process or truck to fix to get down the road to the next adventure. That “other side” was nothing to fear and it reassured and empowered us to share that.

1990 Loreto BayIMG_3524This is it. I don’t have to observe any particular meditation schedule, light any candles, keep any radio/t.v. off but here I sit in silence. The frig, the light above me.. the bare echo of nothing so that I might write and feel my sadness so I might write and feel the day and all the goodness in it… One thing, I tasted his boney ash… it was salty! I weeded around the little pine where the ashes will go tomorrow and laid next to the tree in the low winter sun. I was helped by dear Orien in putting out a little Michael boutique for his friends to take from tomorrow when we do the waffles.

In all of this I give Thanks for my dear husband. I don’t know what a soul mate is. I have always felt women are like transistor radios. We tune to a certain frequency and stay with it or move to another until we find the right one. It’s never perfect to our own basic tone… so much of me was pitched under what he was and could be and part of me was what he needed to provide his own balance and emotional harmony in the world.. The words Awkward Nobleman came into my mind during meditation and that was about right. I was a bridge to the world for him as he was a bridge to being in nature for me. He was realistic and at home in the physical world–I think he was a logistical genius and on one level I was always, from day one, in awe of him but the relationship never went anywhere until I stood up to him and asserted my own self interests. I guess over time that created some gaps but it also was part of the mesh that loosely allowed us to function together so beautifully.

I love you Mikey and will always.

DSC00521sweet us 2

Standard

Day 48

DSC00737The other morning I woke up with anger again about the tumor marker test (CEA)… after being meaningless the oncologist kept running it and it did go up… why order it if she wasn’t going to use it diagnostically… all that was packed into a stew hour then I decided, you’re wasting time.. consider his features before they dim and become two dimensional so I wrote about every detail. (I was going to put it here but my hard drive is trying to fail.)

I’ve been going to a chiropractor trying to get out of this back pain which has been incessant. Meanwhile life has gone on with today being the last day of the observance of the bardo. The house has been cleaned (Thank you Flora!) and tomorrow a small group of us will meditate in the living room where he died from noon to one pm. On Sunday I will put some ashes out by a little tree he’d been watering back by the swimming hole.

Today I went up to Paradise to visit my ex-husband. I think I mentioned that his wife Dar had died of breast cancer two years ago. He continues badly slumped back behind her loss. I can see the great creative times the two of them had from seeing their home –her paintings, his pottery, her sculptures and their landscaping and plantings:

PB130208OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Being with Watz was enjoyable but also painful.. I can’t help him or help myself but later today I felt some peace and resolve after meditation. Some way that things are shifting for me.. little discoveries about what helps and what doesn’t. There are loopings to grief that seem necessary and some that just seem self-indulgent. Someone said to my neighbor, How come Chris got rid of Mike’s things so quickly? My answer, How would you like a 400 ton albatross around your neck? (It is not a comment on all the stuff M had but rather my ability to tolerate having it just sitting waiting for me to do something with it.) I now feel almost free of the yoke of too much stuff… there’s more of course but I feel like I am where I am supposed to be… except in my low back which hasn’t quite got the message yet.

Standard

Tonight

Tonight was another night I wanted to relish the beauty of yesteryear. Last year at Mono Lake. This date.

Michael pumping in veggie oil at Mono Lake.

IMG_0920 IMG_0944 IMG_0959 IMG_0972 IMG_0830Michael pumping in veggie oil at Mono Lake.

It’s been a good day. I can’t call it other. I did radio for David Guzzetti, who is facing life threatening liver disease himself… has lasted against all odds and is now waiting for his liver… oh liver where art thou? (Please!)

I love Woody and Friends and was glad the show was well received and each time someone called it was on my timeline to have a little pity party-aside-time.. Kate Wolf and “the Redtail Hawk” (“there’s just some things that need a man’s hand”) and others like that but each time someone would call and distract me from my predilection.. so ok. It was a good morning. Then Jerry and Zenon and I cleaned out Michael’s “barn room” with no big discoveries… that was that, in terms of his clean up… one metal run, one ReStore Run, one dump run and heave ho.. it’s off to manageable history you go. (My aching back speaking, not me.)

Later, shelving something, I pulled out one of my diaries and want to reprint it here. The crisis was the surgery. We thought if the cancer had stayed in the abdomen we’d have a chance…

4/2/13 Waiting Room, Sutter General–

Waiting to hear if M can have surgery next week. This last week, despite efforts to distract and have fun and stay on track has been over-weighted with this laparoscopy. Now my dear Michael is having his abdomen inflated and a scope is poking around and the experienced judgements of Gregory Graves are being decided and when he decides/what he decides will determine the trajectories of two lives. No amount of “I hope,” “I trust,” or “I wish,” mean squat right now– only the truth ala surgeon. What we want/fear carries no weight. All of this is subjective but His subjective based on His eye, hand, brain… more than heavenly hosts of angels… This is the fulcrum. I honor it and feel the tender quaking of its momentum, not knowing the tip of it, not wanting or trusting my mind’s wanderings. Staying in the discomfort and flutter. Finding the silence, where there is no real silence, only by settling stubbornly in the field of waiting. Here in the waiting room.

best us from San juan

Standard

Impermanence

PB070193

This mandala no longer exists. The sands have mixed and the elements have separated them. Michael no longer exists and yet at week six I still sit in my chair and cry for him to come back. No master combiner could bring him back. It is a one way direction.

PB070196Circumstances of health, independence and beauty change.

IMG_4165The moon rises full, the flowers dance and all are so fleeting and so touching in their bid for the NOW.

silverton trail 005My precious husband was like a season, like a day length, like the snow after a storm. I thought we would at least grow old and dry up and blow away more or less together but I’m left here to figure out my aging by myself and so far I’m finding it very intimidating and am not in the least consoled by my process. Too hermetic to ask for help. Too private to talk well. Too physically fragile to do the things I want to do. I am in a state of stasis… as winter’s season often seems the longest I’m restless and have cabin fever already, despite the 75 degree weather and brilliant, sunny days. I’m out of sorts, out of time, out of the will to do anything.

Standard