In three years I’ve completely dialed back the human tendency for drama in myself. I think most of my thoughts and communications are linear and goal directed, even the rhetorical ones are simple and direct.
Saturday Patrick came to the vigil with a Sign that read Save the Jesus Center. I’d been following the issue and agreed with Patrick that the poor should not be hidden and marginalized even further yet I tried to make him aware of how much the (adjacent) Barber Neighborhood has gone through, being careful to note this is not necessarily due to unhomed people, just that criminal theft is a big problem. He immediately said it was either inflated or maximized or somehow distorted against the homeless and that seemed disrespectful to all those who have been robbed over the last few years and all those who have learned to be hyper-vigilant instead of comfortable. Somehow then it got into me trying to say it is important to respect people’s feelings and not blast them and then he was blasting me and saying I wasn’t letting him talk and how we need to sit down to talk for “2 hours” to get to the bottom of this. To me that was like hearing I needed to hold my breath for 2 hours or walk over coals. Me talking to anyone (so pressured and filled with words,) because they demanded it to get to the bottom of something will never happen—it’s a curiosity or generosity I just don’t possess. I felt so bullied and browbeat by that man! Sandra, another vigiler, said he’s just passionate and passionate people are often seen as bullies. I think that communication styles are different and appreciate how he can articulate his advocacy so strongly and consistently but I’m just not able to intercept as many words as that man wants to say—I’m refractory to the need for such a heap of verbiage and even feel threatened to be cornered into his style even for that period of the vigil. Another man wanted to talk to me about something awhile back and I could tell he wanted to pick something apart and I avoided that too. Now, the question is, is that new, since Michael died? I tend to think it is more my temperament… I like to converse but not to be pressured or lectured by someone in my face. I don’t want somebody else’s intensity leveled at me. Toby does that to me sometimes and I hate it and have to really warn her to back off… but she is focused like a laser beam on getting me to see things her way so it is somewhat different. It knocked my silent and under-my-control little world a bit off its axis. I’m not tremendously introspective about my style of communication but know I’m not getting any more chatty as life proceeds. With my friend Sharon last week at her houseboat I’d pretty much run out of topics a few hours in and just wanted to take a nap or read my book. It seems that much of what passes for communication is about listening to people express their dramas or mundane stories that are irrelevant to anything. I guess with that opinion I’m not going to be making many new friends and I note I really haven’t made new friends and strain somewhat to keep the old.
Today we have Day of the Dead. I put up a makeshift altar for Michael and cleaned the house. I bought two beautiful bouquets for Devan’s family (he just died in his late 20s of untreated cardiomyopathy.) He is related to Riparia as he is half brother to Zenon and Kelsi who live on the land. I was never close to him but he was a cute little kid and his death was unexpected and really hard.
I interviewed the Priestess from the Temple of Goddess Spirituality near Creech for the Ecotopia program on Samhain. I dearly wanted to express what an amazing place that is but I don’t think we pulled it off… words, the emotional tone of words? Who knows. It seems like a real cult of the dead has developed around this time of the year. Mine is just a deep sense of the opening of some sort of filter, something that I long to just be open to. I don’t have skeletons and death cafes and other such in my thoughts. I avoid treating death lightly or giving it a lot of focus although I should keep working to lighten the load of what’s in my house for my sudden or eventual departure.
Tonight is my night to be with the earth, the night sounds, the moon, my pumpkin leering on the fence post. The darkness and quiet sit just on the edge of me. That is the cusp. Instead of words as accompaniment… the two hours of conversation, is just being within stillness this night once I finish typing. Death and stillness probably have a lot in common but for death there is no being to think the concept of stillness. It is only stillness that I am cultivating and befriending. The conversation will continue in no words and for time without end once that tips into death.
I’m adding some photos from my visit to Lassen from the weekend— austere, beautiful, tucked in and dehydrated, ready for the winter snows which will come this weekend.
One of the mountains where Michael’s ashes took the wind… Lassen.
I am most grateful for my home and for that my heart is very warm for Michael in all his talents and the fullness of who he was as a living being, now with the ancestors, as I give Thanks. Thanks too for the lives that touched mine who are now gone and for my own ancestors, for those I knew and those who went before that I can’t even imagine. Blessed Be.