Friday, October 17, 2014

Elephant Tails

Elephant tails
When I was coming down the mountain from El Paso driving to Fort Stockton, the sun had long since set. Unlike coming down the grapevine in California from the bay area into Los Angeles, There were just a few semi's on this road. It was pretty desolate and very dark. The posted mileage was I think 80 mph, lowering to 70 only on the curves. I knew it was a downgrade because the road sloped down. The semis had to go slower because of the downgrade.
Even on the straight-always, for all I knew, the land dropped off into an abyss or gorge thousands of feet deep. I didn't know this road. No lights lit it. No town lights shown in the distance. I was alone and the road was becoming hypnotic in the dark. Only the little signs saying to slow to 70 at the curves, glimmered in the night.
So I slowed to 60 miles an hour. But that was not enough. How to keep my focus? I began to sing. I don't know traditional songs, so I make up my own songs. I told myself a story about the giant elephants with red lit tails. The tails were lit with strands of tiny red lights. These tails sashayed left and right as they walked, slowly, this way, then that, this way, then that.
As the elephants walked, they sang their sacred songs to honor all life. Now the elephants had been singing these songs for thousands of years, generation after generation. They knew them well. And yes the elephants walked they could hear the songs of the creatures around them – The song of the water, the song of the sky, the song of the birds, the song of the faraway mountains, and the song of the monkeys who came chattering along…
The elephants did not speak of these songs to humankind. Why should they? The monkeys dropped down from the trees to play on the elephants' backs as they walked, and once in a while a young man or young woman rode along.
Now at the very end of the elephants' trail, was a sacred lake which, when the humans had gone off, the elephants bathed in, in the moonlight. The monkeys and youth, if there were any, joined them. The lake was at the base of a sacred mountain. High on top of this mountain lived a wise Spirit. The elephants felt safe there. They took their time and they relaxed in the lake's waters.
"Oom ba, oom BA, oom ba, " The elephants would sing as they walked along the road. This was their way of drowning out any noise while the elephants connected with the Divine.
Their tails were lit with red lights so they could see to follow each other. Now of course the elephants did not need the lights to see because they could hear very well and they could certainly smell and use their other senses as well. But it was a time honored tradition for their tails to be lit with the red lights. The light swayed this way and that, right then left, and back again.
The elephants knew the sacred songs and the sacred ways and they were the keepers of the eternal sound.

Bend after bend, mile after mile, along the long dark road, my story went on. Each truck with its red lights behind it was another sacred elephant I passed. Eventually the ground sloped less and an elephant, or truck, passed me. Ecstatic, I sped up to keep him in my sights So that I could see the curves of the road before my car lights came up to them. Now this elephant did not care for my following him even though I was a mile or so behind him. First he sped up and I sped up too. When that didn't work, he slowed down, evidently hoping I would just pass him. I didn't want to do that, he was my guide through the darkness. So I slowed too.
Eventually I reached the turn off for my motel of the night in the town of Fort Stockton. I think the elephant was relieved to have my lights no longer following him.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sometimes Spirit Sees

Sometimes Spirit sees
Where bodies can not go now.
Like a chrysalis, this Now.

In the car, I sit
As a slow drifting begins.
I look up, bemused.

Cars shouldn’t creep about
Like cats, who crouch and listen
To unseen moves, songs.

Feathers can float
In sunlit glory, not me.
I move the gear shift.

Neutral flashes by,
As I step from the car now,
intent on one thing.

Around, is my plan,
But the car rolls quicker now,
So I walk with it.

I lean into it,
And find I am a feather.
Eternity now.

The car is stronger
Physically than my body. 
Only Grace holds me.

Have you ever leaned
Into It?  Leaning is a 
Kind of utmost plea.

I call out, loudly,
As mind races, but Spirit
Slows.  Futures abound.

I look between the now,
listen to the quiet pauses
In between the breath.

Even as I call,
Again and again, I walk
With the drifting car.

I walk with the flow.
I learn my strength or lack of.
The moment is Now.

The flow has its own
Pace, its own way.  I just am,
Eternal moment. 

Spirit has stepped out
To that moment in between,
The one of Grace.   

At last, I am heard.
He races over fast now.
Jumps in.  The car stops. 
Time stops, and we breathe.
Some damage, but we are whole. 
The ethers settle.

“I need help with this
one,” he remembers calling 
to beloved Z.  

In that quiet place
where Spirit lives, we give thanks.
Gratitude and grace.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


After contemplation…

Walk up the green grassy hill
A child’s love
Protects one

Kindness to another
Is a blessing passed
From Soul to Soul

Have you ever seen
How smiles spread
From face to face?

One person’s joy
Opens the door
In another’s heart

August 2012

Free Flow Poem

Written during a Spiritual Retreat,
Based on stories told by others….

Presence of love
From a fly

Oak leaf, bay, maple

Swallow fear

We’re all involved in this

Community Song in a
Nursing home

Residents, wheelchair
Bound, all “Huuuuu….”

Ask the residents,
“How do you feel?”

The Light and Sound
Can help.

Get the tea.

Ask the difficult question. 

Work as a team
The way is smoothed

She overcame her fear
To the Purple Master Song.

August 2012



I notice the plum tree by the shed, laden with fruit.
Last summer it had a few small green plums… but suddenly
They vanished.
This year, as the plums grow, I snap photos,
To prove the fruit is there,
That I am not imagining things,
That the gardeners are not tucking the fruit into
Unseen places,
These small green orbs clinging to the curving limbs.

I water the tree twice a week in the summer heat, watch
As the green tiny balls grow
And grow and grow,
Until they redden, and the branches bend
To touch the ground under the weight.

I ask my husband to prop them up.
He and Peter get pieces of wood and stick them
Under the branches, one, two, three,
Until the branches are upright again.

Each week, the fruit reddens more. 
One week I test one.  Still hard.
A few drop to the ground.
The next week, Peter tries one.  He says it is bitter.
The week after, all at once, as if on the same day,
They are ripe.
I take a bite of the first plum
And discover I am eating a nectarine.

By the next week, I am picking them all,
Gathering up the fallen ones from the ground, cutting off
The bad parts and freezing these for future pies;  
Giving away to friends the fruit picked fresh from the limbs
Before it ripens into over-ripe.

My 100 year old father eats seven nectarines,
Stretching them over a week.  He doesn’t remember
The nectarine tree, but he likes the fruit.
I bring seven more to him, and he eats these in two days --
Then stays in bed, complaining of ‘the runs’. 
Yet I give him seven more, and put seven more into his tiny frig.
That is the last of the harvest.

We take the wood props down.  I look at the branches,
Upright again.  I wonder aloud why so much fruit this year,
So little last year.  A neighbor says,
“The rains came at the right time, enough rain.
The bees came.  The sun came. At the right time.”
The fruit grew, the fruit ripened…
And now in the blink of my eye,
It is gone.  All at once.
Not like tomatoes.  Not like peppers,
That linger on until Christmas.

How strange life is, the growing,
The harvesting, waiting so long for
The reaping…and then blinking to find
I am on the other side of the moment.
I sit in the garden and I listen to the wind.
Life is like that.
I am young, I am old.
I am surrounded by friends, then
Wander on.
I am weak, I am strong.
I know, I forget, I know.
The cycles turn
And I remember to take each joy
As a gift.

Soul is like a redwood arch in the garden.
The light or the dark shines through.
The wind whistles,
The birds perch and caw.  Tiny snakes slither by, unseen.
Frogs hop from the reeds,
Bees bumble from the sunlit roses. 
Ah, to live in the gift of the moment
To unfurl like a redwood tree,
Reaching for the stars,
Or a flower opening its petals for the sun…..
To know that seasons change
And change again.

A hot summer this year, a cold one another.
The world changes around us,
Yet the light always shines before the dark comes,
The wind always whistles before it stops,
One has only to look, to listen, to wait,
To be in the moment….
For that is the gift given us,
To be present
Each in our own life,
To savor the moment --
For each moment moves on
And we must move with it.

August 24, 2012

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sundowning on Seroquel

"Press the red button,"
My Dad says, pressing his thumb.
The TV stays dark.

I pick up his hand.
Nothing is under the hand
Except the bedspread.

I drop his hand down.
"This is just your hand," I say.
"There's no remote here."

Yesterday he reached
Again and again, outstretched,
A long white gaunt arm.

Mumbling, "Give me
A razor, a three inch straight
Razor," to the wall...

"You don't need to shave,"
I blithely assured him, lost
In my own strange place.

"A three inch razor,"
He slurred words, reaching like Marat
At the end, stone white.

"Why?" I asked, lost also.
He said, "To cut the straps off,
Why won't you help me?

"I can't!" I protested,
"You can't get up, you might fall.
"You must stay in bed!"

"Bitch, Just wait 'til you
Want something, see what I do
Then!" he snarled softly.

The ICU nurse
Was busy elsewhere of course.
I stood with Marat.

My Dad, the stranger,
Reaching the taped white arm up,
As if in a play.

The loose end dangled
White flapping tape, the tight end
Held him pinned to bed.

Only a foot could
He reach, the soft restraints held
Tied to the bedframe.

He didn't want safety
He wanted to move, to leave,
To go from that place.

But all he said was,
"A three inch straight razor, now!"
Staring at the wall.

Later we learned Nurse
Had given him Seroquel
"To calm him," they said.

His words slurred, his head
Slid to the side, his eyes drowsed,
But he knew, he knew.

They doped an old man.
His daughter too. I didn't know.
Ah, for the phone app!

Said his Iphone app tells him
Drug side effects quick.

Unlike me, days past
I read, "Seroquel danger,
FDA warning."

What world do we have
When an old man is right and
No one will listen?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lost Cat Dream

In a dream, I walk
Clutching my white cat to me,
Stroking her soft fur

I walk down white steps,
Gazing into her gaze. Eyes
One blue and one green.

The green on the left,
The blue on the right, I seek
To remember this.

Etch that gaze inside,
Remember always, which eye
Is which, this white cat.

I miss her grace so,
Love of my heart, blessed Soul
Sweet one, full of purrs...

"Love you", I whisper
In her ear, nuzzle her head
Soak in her love....

How could I have lost
This sweet Soul, forgotten her,
Not returned for her?

She is so dear! Ah!
The softness of her, the bliss,
The sweet tenderness....

I stroke her warm fur,
I whisper my sweet nothings,
Mean to keep her safe.

The dream moves on. They
Always do. She is not here.
I sketch her two eyes.

I yearn for this cat.
How could I lose her? Again...
I torment myself.

Dreaming, I recite
My tale of loss, how this sweet cat
Was forgotten, lost....

The stranger listens,
Nods her head, sympathizes....
I go on and on.

When I pause, "Meow"
Awakens me. I sit up.
My spotted cat stares.

Samantha awaits,
Hazel eyes gaze, grey white fur.
"Feed me," she emotes.

I try to recall
The white cat with those two eyes
A blue eye, a green....

I remember Star,
All white, but two yellow eyes...
Not forgotten, she....

Who was this dream cat?
With green eye and blue? Who now?
I am at a loss.

But the heart knows, yes.
Only the mind does not know.
I am confounded.

Stare into the dream
Chase the meaning like a wisp
Of cat hair, floating….

In a deep far place,
I think I remember now.
But do I really?

Bemused, I ponder.
Was this cat Puff, Star’s grand sire,
Fur like a lamb’s?

All I know is that
This white cat lives elsewhere now,
A green meadow place.