Panorama of Heartaches


This is the last night of Safe Space. I feel guilty about it although I have no added responsibility to have it be any different than it is. 50 homeless people go back out into the uncertainty of street life after winter shelter ends. So what? It hurts is what. I care about many of these people as individuals. I get their quirks and snatches of their stories. They show up inside my heart like friends do even if I’m not sure we are friends. It hurts me to think of them suffering or in danger. It angers me that we have nothing more to offer. It seems we have built something.. maybe it is paternalistic and not always so smooth sailing but it has worked. Now, back to square one.. Nameless, faceless homeless. It just is not right!!!!

There are two more things bothering me. One is another helplessness thing… the situation in Syria. Everyone but the Syrians themselves are bad guys to me. One segment of the Left supports Russia and Assad against the US, the mainstream media supports the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia… I think they all have so much blood on their hands they are slippery and stained with it. One hundred years ago it was the Armenians.. millions. Now I don’t know if this is ethnic cleansing or just plain proxy wars but the suffering is so vast my mind shorts out at the scope of it.  I am restless and trying to pull against the weight of the suffering but it is getting me down even as I realize it is not my own and perhaps I can’t do much about it. What are we supposed to do though? What about our moral responsibility to control our own nation state?

Oh yes, we Beale “trespassers” have warrants to be back in court again on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Oh yes, I’ll be back on the phone on Monday about Syria and back at Beale demonstrating against the drones which are a big part of the inhumanity.

Today I went to a Celebration of Life for Fran Farley. I saw him in winter when he was at Farmer’s Market with a walker. He seemed as personable as ever but definitely fragile. He died in December. I don’t know from what. At 92 you don’t really need a reason. Today I hugged his wife Juanita and she was just bones. She said, “I keep remembering what you said and now I know.” What the hell did I say? The power of words to move from person to person even as they leave the mouth of the speaker forever… That poor woman. 62 years of marriage. All I could write to her in the card I sent was something stupid like don’t forget to breathe… nothing means anything anymore. What is automatic is foreign. What meant something is flat and devoid of meaning. It is such a stark and odd landscape. Fran stands out in his livingness. In his goodness. Poor Juanita to be left behind in his wake. I assume it is good to have three kids and seven grand-kids. I hope so.


I know I’ve written a lot today about things I express that I can’t stand or that pain me emotionally. Yet here I am. If I tune in to myself the tension and sorrow are all in my head and chest. I had a beautiful day. The day was beautiful and I was in it and one with it. It started off early at Safe Space loving on those people, then Selkie and I walked with one of the other volunteers in Upper Park, then I went to our satisfying Farmers market cornucopia then home to do planting of succulent and iris transplants and calla lily bulbs. I took this gorgeous blossom photo at sunset. Soon I’ll leave for a Cuba Benefit. I think I write out of emotional pain but have to remind myself that that is not all I am or all I feel. Somewhere in me there is balance and I just need to find and maintain it as all these things come to their own conclusions, I know that looking back on all the other awful things that I lived through and railed against in the past. My suffering is only the world banging around in my rather vacated mind. I can let go, fight, or both. The words are just something it helps me to say/write, so Thank you, don’t worry about me on top of other burdens you might carry.















I’m at Mill Creek in a little cabin with faucets running (to prevent broken pipes.) There is no TV or wifi or frills but it was nice to know I didn’t have to return to Chico tonight and that the people here knew and cared about Michael. What is ironic is that Northstate Rendering, our competitor for veggie oil now picks up their oil. This little loop, between here, the restaurant in Mineral and Child’s Meadows was our most reliable source of veggie oil. (There is a new resort up here, sucking what life there was from the Child’s Meadow business. It’s right across the street and the parking lot is packed. I’m sure the renderers could smell them from Chico. I will never, ever go there.)

Speaking of my never, evers: I am bored with my clothes. I haven’t bought anything new since the Bangladesh fire, three years ago. Since then it’s been thrift stores for me and at size 18 there is little that fits and looks nice. I was putting wrist bands on people as they came into the KZFR concert the other night (part of my volunteer responsibilities,) and noticed how tiny the wrists were of the women. (I never notice that when I’m doing exams which is strange… some part of my body image thinks I am the same size as other women… I’m not.) My big Nordic wrists are more like the men. Actually, that whole Nina Gerber and Chris Brown concert was part of why I needed a reset. I was bored to the basement of my being despite their lovely personalities and excellent musicianship. During the break I didn’t move. People were visiting, talking and laughing and I felt like Kafka. It was like watching aliens from an alienation bubble with a clock that was not moving on the wall.

On the other hand, Safe Space (our local temporary winter shelter run by volunteers,) never ceases to keep me interested. The guests are so variable. Some have such dignity with the crammed conditions and being thrown in with the more unstable. Others are just such characters, others so flawed and broken, others such obvious users and movers—the high and helpful. Some just weigh on me with worry about them. However they got in the fix they are in they seem so blameless in the midst of being at the effect of the disability they now suffer. I will really miss Safe Space when it ends with February. I think quite a few of us have made it the center of our social existences.

Where was I? (DRIP< DRIP etc) Riparia is beautiful and every day I feel restless. What am I supposed to be doing? I am doing a lot but still not organizing my stuff, getting rid of M’s stuff nor facing all that Power of Attorney paperwork that a responsible adult needs to complete. I putter outside and enjoy whatever pruning, weeding, mulching, transplanting I’m doing but just do that a chunk daily so there will always be a ready supply of dirt work to grace every day. I love the late winter and the quince, pussy willow, grass explosion. I see beauty and am taken by the light on things with the same old awe but nothing keeps me satisfied. I hate the evenings when I try to find things to watch on TV or the Roku because I’m too tired to do other things but it’s too early for bed.

Today we went up to Wilson Lake, Selk and I. It’s about a three mile ski in. About 5 snow mobiles were in play on the road while we did our long way up into the lake and back out (their whining and stink a great unfortunate sacrilege.) Michael and I had skied into that lake and camped along it about half a dozen times. I have indelible memories of a heavy smoke visit, ethereal mists, moonrises, geese calling, traversing the iced over lake behind him when I didn’t think it was safe. The lake that is mostly meadow and wandering rivulets. Today I sat for a long time and just watched the play of pure light and shadow on the snow before skiing back the entire meadow before getting back on the road that parallels it. On the way down the meadow I called out the OOO OOO that we used to call between us when we had gotten separated and wanted to find each other… my strong solo voice came back off the hillside facing. The reset I needed though happened between two creeks… it stopped me and played me back into aliveness again. Simple harmonics of the joyful play of life without meaning or marking time.

Tomorrow I’ll snowshoe down to the Mill Creek trail and see what goes there. I’ll miss a meditation in the morning for lack of phone signal but will continue that connectedness that found me today that has me at such peace now. . (As it turned out I left my cell phone down there and can’t access any of my Wilson Lake photos… so here is one Selfie of Selkie from upper Bidwell park last week.)