Four Months

IMG_2674 (2)Back at Beale today. Barry Binks offered me one of these VeteransForPeace banners and I held it with thoughts that harkened back to Michael. For some reason my thoughts were of his death… I think my mind was fact checking. (Is he really dead or just MIA?) We had a nice turn out yesterday evening then went out to dinner, camped by the Main Gate then had a “soft” blockade in the morning at a different gate. It always tires me out and is always worth doing even if we never make a dent in drone drones. I hope folks don’t find out the hard way.

I’m just going to post a few photos of a few of those who stand up against drone killings because my heart reminds me to be grateful first of all for the connections that support me…even if I was a bit reclusive out in the chilly gray dawn today.

If it is possible and for no logical reason the killing of the trees in Oroville is bothering me even more. Maybe because of the beautiful old cemetery and the disrespect implicit in PGE’s actions but the trees themselves are weighing hard on me this afternoon as this day winds around me.

I have lots more good photos but the computer gods don’t care to let me post anymore. All Life. All Mystery. All Love.

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Flora and Selkie

Flora and Selkie

Fred

Fred

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the head of Zeus

IMG_4899Today we had a group meditation by phone and then I also went to a friend’s home to do an attunement (meditation) with her. After that Selkie and I had a walk out to “the back” and I meditated with the little pine where some of M’s bony matter nourishes the young tree. In the meditation I found myself doing some weird conjuring with his name, Michael, Michael, Michael… like Zeus conjuring Aphrodite.

No matter how much I meditate I return to aimless, random thought. Why did they make a movie that made it seem like if only wives tried harder their husbands would live with their ALS (ala Steven Hawking?)  What will happen in the divide between the Moslem world and “the infidels?” Why don’t people get going on climate change (see what blooms in January?) If we understood things at a deep enough level… the way we grasp them in the wholeness of meditation, would we be able to heal all that prickles us and divides us?

I know I had at least one Letter to the Editor written in my head today but will just post this and get down the road toward a potato/ lemonade extravaganza at Safe Space.

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Baby Break Down

IMG_4891Years ago I had goats. First Nubians for the milk when Orien was little and later hair goats. Carnatia was a lovely Cashmere who shared her pen with the less intelligent Angora, Muffin. When I was doing my nights at the Jesus Center with Safe Space I started to finally, after spinning up the yarn years ago, make a hat out of Carnatia’s hair. What came to me during those long hours was her death. Two stray dogs got into her pen and hamstrung her. Michael and I took her to the large animal vet in Orland and he did what he could for her. She died and we planted a plum tree over her and Michael scoured south Chico for those wayward dogs until he tracked them to a ditsy young woman who was lackadaisical about her fenced yard. Nothing came of that but when he focused on a problem he was uncompromising and that is where my mind went.

So, that is why he always fixed things like the computer stuff. Our friend Henri got my computer up and running for me but getting it set up with the printer is where the “baby break down” part of this story comes from. When Orien was a baby she wasn’t much one for voluntary sleep…. she would go and go until the inevitable baby break down and when that was coming on I would methodically pat her back until she finally cashed in those consciousness chips. Since then, little hysterical flurries have been deemed “baby break downs” (as opposed to the “poor Crebas” which I think I mentioned already…)

So, Henri was in Spain. I’d heard that Best Buy had a good program (something less involving than my friend Zopher,) and I gave them money for one year of tech service but they said the printer stuff had to be solved by the internet provider. They proved elusive to the end but after countless aborted efforts on the phone I went to their office. The people in the office downloaded the “driver” that was needed and told me what to do when I got home but then they wanted to charge me (after the fact they said they weren’t my internet provider and were very insulted regarding my Best Buy purchase.) I’d just done a radio show and had had to use my neighbor Sue’s computer and printer to put the show together and I guess I was sad/mad/frustrated  about having this bad turn of events so, I broke down and sobbed. I never NEVER do that but I blubbered my way through “my husband used to do this” and got out without the charge… so was this a true baby break down or was I just short on options?

Who knows or cares. But, I did keep a sad attitude going all yesterday into the evening events which entailed trotting out more raw feelings in two separate crowd functions which made me sick of myself. It probably would have better to stay home and watch TV with Selkie, who likes dog shows: IMG_4868 Today the mood mooted itself. My friend Dan and I went on a Snow Goose Festival trip to Lllano Seco. It started off really very cold (even though the day now is what I consider too warm… I’m waiting a few more minutes to go out to do my pruning.) The reality is that I caught myself in the narrative I was using to default always to the past and stuff about Michael and I… and at some point…. I think it was while looking close up at the exquisite plumage of a (common) pintail I just snapped out of it and was back in the present… the sounds more full, the light more beautiful, the birds more interesting and entertaining. Wow! I divorced from my husband yet again and it was the Best thing for me. Beauty then, beauty now… I best get back out in it.

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photo/life catch up

IMG_4723Ok… I can post photos now. I had to honor this little pygmy owl since I killed it. All my hot air about running on bio-diesel means naught against this little life. It was in the grill of my car when I was coming home from Arcata.

IMG_442434467 (1)IMG_4841My friends are great at honoring.. Deepika had her birthday in October and Weezie and I finally Celebrated with her in January. A better kind of honoring.

Frack Free Butte County was back at Board of Supervisors chambers last week to hear about what the Supes intended to do about Bakken Crude coming down the treacherous Feather River Canyon. They did press forward for some emergency measures but were pretty inert about standing up for the water supply and health of over 22 million people.

IMG_4842IMG_4850One small thing I could do for my Riparia community (after how supportive they were for us during all we went through in 2014,) was to take folks  out for the treat of John McCutcheon at Sierra Nevada. Emily was sick and Guthrie lives a continent away. We are here– Sheldon, Penni, Bob, Mirza (visiting from Belize,) Caroline, Leslie, me, Orien and Sue in front. It was wonderful except I went all weepy during “Turn, Turn, Turn” (“a time for every purpose under heaven…”)

IMG_4860And this is my CSA family. I won’t say everyone’s names but this meditation, this deepening into the wellspring of consciousness, the space where sensing allows healing to take place and so much more… its been my salvation for years. If I had to depend on my personality, my brain, or my emotions I’d be in a fine kettle now.

I did have one meditation, during our four intensive days together, when my grief was like a scalding poker in the core of me… an unbearable sensation except that it was met at the micro level with Love and compassion in perfect measure and alignment… one of those bitter sweet experiences but at such a depth and with such magnitude I can only say I’m grateful. Grateful for my Life. For Michael’s Life. For our time together and for all those who inhabit my life now and keep it rich and decidedly worth living. IMG_6627

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Popped up from sleep

Memories of Michael flooded me before dawn. It’s like that little boost from Ruby allowed me to take back what I wanted from this blog. I’d been waiting to have photos to post but now won’t even hassle that for right now.

The significance of this past week is that a large check from the Treasury Department showed up in my bank account, I finished paying back his debt to his brother and Lucas made good on his promise to Michael to help me get rid of some of his skiing, windsurfing, kayaking stuff. (At least it has left me, even if I never get a dime for it… I did not want it.)

Michael was an Aries, a sign that connotes “self” to the astrologer. That PTSD claim was something I know he wanted for himself but also something I know he would have wanted me to have. (I’m using it to go on a Code Pink delegation to Cuba! The check wasn’t that enormous but did cover the amount I repaid his brother for money M borrowed for the toys he bought in the last few months of his life.) With the lump sum is the opportunity for a small widow’s pension which I will not apply for. His death is a bitter pill. What the war did to him, probably killing him, is even worse. Besides that, I’m a war tax resister and it would be hypocritical on some level. Let the VA, massive with the glut of damaged people, have those few dollars in its coffers for the next guy they put a judgment on… (30% PTSD, denied Agent Orange in our case.)

The memories that flooded back first this morning were of Michael’s amazing reflexes and physicality. I recall one time we were at One Mile and he was on his bike in toe clips balancing when he suddenly fell over and quick as a whip he went from on his side, still in the toe clips, to back upright balancing again. Another time we were headed down the coast and picked up a personable young hitch-hiker and we were at the beach. Michael knew martial arts but I’d never seen him practice or execute a move when suddenly he threw me over his head into the sand, probably for the admiration of that young man. (It was not a very nice experience getting crashed face first into the sand but one that amazed me with the lightning quickness of it…that anytime he could do what I have only seen in movies.)

When he got older I started being concerned about periods of apnea, or not breathing, he was having in his sleep. I’d count the seconds and worry and tell him about them. When he went in to have it evaluated he did indeed have moderately severe sleep apnea and started wearing a CPAP device at night to force regular breathing. With that he started to have more regular sleep cycles and with that also he began to not only dream but have nightmares. And that is when he really took the PTSD seriously. I’d always known it from the fact that you could not do anything at night without him being awake for it…like going to the bathroom, turning over, etc. He was ever hyper-vigilant after the war.

He became rather obsessed with telling war stories in the last few years to any new person who hadn’t heard the story. The story he told each time seemed to have more details but never had a feeling tone to it… to me it was just a grueling recitation of the same story. What woke me this morning was memories of going up to the Olympic Peninsula with him and hiking in the deep drippy forest there…it reminded him of Vietnam. He told of how quiet they’d have to be, how still, cold, wet, with uncooked rations. I think all the times he cheated death both then as a young adult but also later on those winter solo transects in the Sierra gave him a sense of invincibility and that made him impervious to anxiety about pending death. He’d had his nine lives but wasn’t counting.

A few more memories about that trip. I didn’t know him well then. We were driving along and I was really enjoying a George Winston tape when he shut it off. Michael could not tolerate repetition of a motif or a chorus or any of the rhythmic devices that most of us actually enjoy… I look forward to reclaiming music without the overlay of “Michael will hate this.” He thought that repetition was laziness rather than something of a more primitive and natural way we relate to music. In a Baptist family he did not grow up with music and never really took to it. He was always pulled between internal strictness and his native hedonism. Sometimes I had to confront him by annoying him with–“Hey, I’m not in your army. Quit ordering me around.” He had that captain thing down on a deeply rooted level.

Lastly, after the Olympic Peninsula we looped the lower part of Vancouver island on our bikes and then went over to Vancouver to see the Expo. I don’t know if we took LSD, psilocybin or what but we took a hallucinogen to walk through the exhibits. We completely synchronized on the beauty and creativity of the expressions of human-kind. The night ended with a fireworks show over the water and it was one of those perfect moments I will always cherish. Neither of us had said a word for hours but being able to maximize the intense experience of Beauty synchronously with another person you feel completely as one with… gets near the core of what animates us and allows us a form of divinity (which Michael would hate me to say because he hated god-talk but it is what I believe.) I sense the entity elements that were him gets all that now.

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Everyday Doings and Musings

44 homeless souls coughing and snoring their way through a congenial night in a cozy church basement.  There is no special skill set to accompany angels, fallen and otherwise, through their dreams; no magic wand to lift their burdens and give them what they lack in this life. However, I do enjoy passing the hours — it’s like watching the sweet face of some little hellion child finally resting… seeing that innocence bared. No one decides on dysfunction and misery on purpose.

The church folk are shiny good from core to surface. One guy was chatting about going to Reno and not going skiing because it was too cold. My thoughts returned to Michael… how he would never ever miss skiing the day after a good snow dump. How he loved to turn to me when we were out alone in the woods (or wherever we had hit solitude,) and say,  “Not too crowded” in his happiest voice.  When I started to say my husband was an expert back country alpine skier and never missed a storm I think it was the past tense that lost me an audience. I started to think about his legacy as an outdoorsman. I know about the transects he did in winter through the Sierra , the kayak down the Inside Passage of the Queen Charlottes, his adventures in Baja and in the Hood River gorge and on the big waves of Maui, about his complete comfort in a natural environment. (Did I tell you the one where he kicked a bear in the head, from a sitting position, and turned it away from coming to our campfire for food? Or when he chased raccoons that were trying to get in our roof-vent while wearing nothing more than his birthday suit out into the night?) However, if there is only one person tooting your horn after you die and that person is trying not to feel sad, not so much about the memories as by the lack of receptivity to the telling of such tales… then what? I saw the stupid bumper sticker again that says “He who dies with the most toys wins” the other day and I knew from my experience trying to liquidate those toys how ridiculous and mundane that statement is. Our lives, once done, leave whatever physical stuff we had to the closest people and that is challenge aplenty but also the memories are piled in disorderly, often quixotic brain files that open at random under the lightest pressure or at the most inappropriate times and deserve to be celebrated and told when they are worth telling… but how if you were a mostly solitary person with a larger than life portfolio of adventures married to a less than talkative woman with mediocre story telling skills? I resist letting Michael disappear into obscurity but see no alternative….we all go there…but those church folks did help me feel bad, something they could never guess and would never have done on purpose. The embedded widow/er grief bomb.

Speaking of random  and obscure… none of my photos will open for this post. Dang!

I was going to sprinkle you with photos of the adventures from this week. Breakfast this morning celebrating Deepika’s October birthday. Going up the Feather River Canyon with Joni to case out the dangers for crude oil trains ahead of a film crew. Selkie walking with Ema’s gals. Mirza seven months pregnant (she’s helping me as I reengage with trying to learn Spanish.) Not having the photos takes some of the sparkle and quip out of the post for me… I love the visual with the words… Oh well. No New Year’s Resolutions broken yet as none made.

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The shift continues

bird tree 029There is no more us. I carry M in my heart but I can’t have him in the living of my life. I’m learning to just live. The sadness is at bay. The Love hovers near. The year that we tried to survive and were beaten by death is ending. Most of 2014 was a good year… we lived it fully and with only short times of trauma until the very end which seemed to steamroll us, in retrospect. Observing the 49 days helped me to listen and experience what was needed at that time. Now I expect a continuum but also a huge leap of newness to evolve. I feel ready and clear as this year, my last year with my dear Michael draws to a close. (I look at this photo and still can’t believe he is permanently and irretrievably gone… this disconnect may continue for quite awhile I surmise.)

I am so grateful to Life that gave me the Opportunity for a Great Love. This Amazing Man!

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I’m in Arcata. The ride over reminded me of so many times we had come to the coast and the different stops we’d made. All the memories coming up of place and experiences. I guess it will be that way a lot here in the north state, our stomping ground.

There is nothing profound in me to say at the last minutes of 2014. I moved my wedding rings to my right hand… no reason. I just did. I would give anything to have this year back… to try to do things differently so he’d still be with me but it isn’t offered and can’t be taken. It’s over.

I’m staying with Angela and Raymond… my dear old eccentric friends and it is very cold these days… thus the old world get ups… the folks in the old countries knew how to do cold…

Their kids have become wonderful musicians.. the house is full of remarkable music. I’m staying out in their “chocolate shed” hearing the first of the fireworks as the New Year approaches. IMG_4698Today we went to the beach at low tide. All the light, land, waves and sky kissing and caressing one another without turmoil except for the sharpness of the winter day. I really can not know what  the context of our lives will be… what will happen in the world but I commit to kindness. To being alive in the time I have. To staying conscious. What words I might share are not coming to me in these very last minutes…. there is such a strong urge back to pull Michael from his unseen grave and such a strong knowledge that the journey to recover a loved one is only the stuff of myth. I’m here. It’s midnight. Our years have separated. IMG_4681

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