not even the king



Some people so poor all that they got is money.

Love love love.

a week of walking quietly

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Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

Growing up, Mum used to tell me I was ‘like a bull at a gate’. As I’ve matured, I’ve definitely slowed down, but I still tend towards the clumsy, noisy end of the spectrum. I stride. I clatter. I stub my toes.

For the past week, I’ve been paying more attention to my physical interactions with the world. I’ve been trying to be very very quiet. Not there’s-a-murderer-in-the-next-room stealthy. More like there’s-a-sick-child-lightly-sleeping-beside-me. I’ve felt just a tiny bit ninja. And it’s been fun.

Being quiet means going slower. It means looking where I’m about to put my hands, my feet. It means focusing on what I’m actually doing, how I’m actually moving. And this act of attention has rippled through to

    ~single tasking (e.g. not reading while eating)
    ~unclenching my teeth
    ~eating more slowly
    ~driving more alertly
    ~talking less
    ~gaining a little core strength, maybe. It takes engaged muscles to walk quietly.

A week is not nearly enough time for this to be engrained as a habit. It’s definitely a practice, one I have to return to many many times a day. I have no desire to be invisible, but I actually like being a little bit ninja. It’s a very gentle thing, to move quietly through the world, instead of clattering and banging. It feels like a kindness, both to myself and those around me.

Maybe you’d like to try it too, and tell me how it goes.

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ~ Mary Oliver

happy new year

Hello 2015

Tidal zen garden #beach #hiking #newyearsday #walkaboutmalibutomexico

#beach #hiking #cormorants #newyearsday

#foundart #beach #hiking #newyearsday

Goodbye 2014

“Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.”

~ Sheenagn Pugh

it all feels right

It’s my first evening alone in my new home.

Just me and the ocean and the mourning doves. Oh, and the dog and two cats, of course.

No need to cook dinner, snacks will do. The upcoming weekend plans have radically simplified, so there’s no need to prep, to pack, to clean. (The Guy did a bunch of cleaning today, I can see that. So we’re good.)

I water the plants, and take photos from new angles. I stand on the cliff’s edge, watching the pelicans fly home, and let my shoulders drop as the waves crash in. No need to hold the world up.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing, why I am here. In this place, in this life. Do you ever wonder that, or do you know the answer, without question?

Tonight I listen to the ocean, and the doves, and it all feels right.

Oh my, I needed this.

i.l.y.

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#signing #asl #signlanguage

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darlenecindy
Darlene and Cindy. Photo by Lola.

Retirement party for my Sign Language professors. What an outpouring of adoration for these two women who, for 35 years, ran the best ASL interpreting program in the world. They were honored with words and signs, in song and dance, with hugs and gifts and tears. I was so happy to be part of the celebration.

But man, my ASL is rusty.

euphonious

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The night before L’s last finals. On the way to help her study, I get dinner at Chipotle. I try to Shazam the background music, but there’s too much interference from the ambient noise. I check the app’s Top 100 list, and note that I’ve never heard of most of the acts. I could blame my ignorance on old-fogeyism, but actually I haven’t followed popular music since my early teens. I watch the brown, long-legged girls in their short shorts and white tank tops giggle as they fill their cups with fizzy sugar water. I was never one of them, though at one point, long ago, I wanted to be.

Then a few hours with my own long-legged girl. My red-headed stepchild. We drill vocab. Aesthetic. Ascetic. Prodigious. Ponderous. Desecrate. Elucidate. Depravity. Autonomy. We roll them in our mouths, euphoniously, and find links between word and definition, ways to remember.

This.
This is the girl I was.
This is the girl I still am.

slow and steady

#reflection

#veggies #365gratitude_hashimaree

My vertigo is back, so I’m moving gently, with no sudden turns. Vacuuming makes me woozy, but I go slow and get through it. I take my time grocery shopping; I’m not yet familiar with the supermarket layout, so there’s a lot of wandering involved. Later, some tree-tending. I feel like I’ve had an easy day, but he exclaims after dinner, “You’re just so damn productive!”

Maybe the tortoise was onto something.

thoughts from the tunnel

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There was a serious accident in the McClure Tunnel today. A child died. Of necessity, I chose an alternate route home, through the older part of Santa Monica.

The other drivers were so courteous as we all inched our way through less familiar streets. No impatience, no road rage. We all knew it would be a slow commute.

I switched the radio from my usual NPR News to a classical station for a quieter backdrop to my thoughts of death. I pondered how one moment, there’s a living breathing person, and the next instant, just a body. The person is gone. As L said to me the other night in a fit of teen existential angst, “Death is just so freaky.”

It will happen to all of us. Today was not my day, or yours. Drive carefully, my friends. Enjoy the view as you go. And be kind to one another.

coming home

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Now, instead of turning into the winding canyon as I drive home from work, I climb a small hill above the ocean. I pause at the top of the driveway to check the mail, and breathe in the briny view and the homestead below. This is where I live.

Man and dog greet me happily. He shows me the wall he’s been building, and the hummingbird nest he found. Then I go inside to start dinner while he waters the trees.

be more dog

New office mural #whereiwork #bemorehuman #bemoredog

New mural/mantra at my (dog-friendly) workplace. What do you think “be more dog” means?

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