Saturday, July 28, 2012

Judgement Day

Mirror Images

Judgement Day

The illustration posted by Wu Shaman today from Paradise Lost reminds me of the paradise we lose every day when we judge ourselves and others harshly. The deep shame we feel at our own lack of perfection. We even feel shame at at our judgements and at shame itself.
That's me, looking in the mirror. Wu's post shows me, shaming myself.

(Illo by me. (Wish I could have done the other!))
Wu Shaman's Story and illo from Paradise Lost
post a comment

"I Remember"

Mary on Honda 1967

"I Remember"

I remember the Honda I had in San Francisco in 1967--that's me on it--my husband Pietro borrowed it--totaled it--and his leg was crushed in the accident. He was told he would never walk again. I'd been intending to leave him, but felt obligated to stay and take care of him. When he started getting better, I told him I was going to leave and took a razor blade and cut his throat from ear to ear (careful not to cut too deep)--and I stayed again.
I remember my grandmother in her garden picking pole beans. Her soil was very black and had mica in it and sparkled. Her house was tiny, neat as a pin, pink and white on the outside. We sat on her porch warm summer evenings. the neighbors would come by and chat. I would take the soda bottles any beer bottles to the corner store and come back with an ice cream cone or a hot fudge sundae, if there were enough bottles. I slept in the same narrow bed with my grandmother, who was very fat.
I remember my father singing cowboy songs to us. He played cowboy movies on the old 8 mm movie projector. He made funny faces when he blew out his birthday candles.
I remember my father annoying us by telling us our beautiful baby girl had a square head. HE had a square head. Years later, his great grandson was born--with a square head. Now I get to be annoying in his place and say that.
I remember taking Scott Carter camping at Bear Swamp, bushwhacking in, finding a cool place by a creek for the tents, and bushwhacking back to the car and being surprised that he was surprised that I could find my way there and back.
I remember camping alone in the Mountains in Colorado, driving my little Ford Escort wagon up dirt jeep roads and waking on the day I had to leave to go home to find it had snowed and the roads were dangerously treacherous.
I remember sailing with Rebecca in her husband David's lovely sailboat from Victoria BC into US waters and back, stopping to hike on an island, and being both horrified and disappointed to hear she was having an affair--and shortly after I returned home from the visit, receiving word she had died of cancer--very suddenly. I didn't even know she was sick. And embarrassing myself by not remembering her youngest son, who wrote to tell me. :-(

Oh, my ten minutes are up, and my mind was full of images. This comes from a Natalie Goldberg exercise posted by Alex. I enjoyed her "I Remember" memoir story and several of the others I read. I LOVE Natalie Goldberg, but have not yet read that book. (For more info, go to Alex, link below).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Racing the Storm

Racing the Storm

Today, out on my motorcycle, I stopped for a walk at Pier Park. The sky was blue and I left my tank bag open for the sun to dry the Metroparks map that had gotten soaked in a torrential downpour when I rode for an hour in the rain yesterday. I looked twice at the sky--still blue--but somehow ominous--was it safe for a walk? It looked it but didn't feel it.
Out on the end of the pier, I heard thunder, and looked behind me to see a very black sky rolling in. I ran for the bike, rode home fast--fast for me, anyway. I just didn't want to get soaked two days in a row.
As I drove home, the air thickened with moister, lightning licked the sky, the clouds lowered until I thought they'd swallow me. Clouds brushed my cheeks and bare arms.
I pulled in the driveway, ripped up the garage door, and pulled in--and it started to rain--I ran into the house, laughing happily to have avoided another soaking. It's still raining.
It reminded me of another day, when I was in Baldwinsville. I parked and walked. At the far end of the walk, thunder started--it was a long run and ride back. I stopped, in spite of the oncoming storm, to take this picture, which I fiddled with on photoshop--but it was a real photo, taken that real day as the storm came in and I ran and ran.

this is a story I wrote for Cowbird.
leave a comment

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catwalks and Understructure

Catwalks, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Catwalks and Understructure.

It is red now, but in 1965, it was green. It has a railing now, but in 1965, there were no railings.
After my apartment was robbed, on the lower Lower East side (Manhattan), and the thieves took my money and I couldn't pay my rent,
after the landlord put me out on the street because I couldn't pay and he needed his money,
after I was assaulted sleeping on a bench in the park,
I slept briefly in the under-structure of the Brooklyn Bridge. Yep. It was pretty scary.
I was afraid I'd roll out and fall to my death, so I didn't sleep well.
It wasn't exactly comfy, either.
I was afraid the cops would find me.
I was afraid bad men would find me.
"Bad" men approached, and I beat a hasty retreat. I stood near a police officer, hoping to be left alone. The "bad" men left me alone. The officer did not.

The photo is actually of the Golden Gate Bridge, from my recent trip to California. I don't KNOW what color the Brooklyn Bridge is now, but I think it was green then. This is a true story.
Wild Turkey on Belle Isle
Detroit, MI

Wild Detroit!

As a country girl of sorts, I was used to seeing large and small flocks of wild turkeys in the woods and field of upstate NY, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. But imagine my surprise to find them on Belle Isle, in the heart of Detroit!
Detroit is a big city, spread out over a large area, and with miles and miles of suburbs around it.
When I majored in wildlife management at the college of Forestry in Syracuse, NY. I learned that wild turkeys were among the shyest of wild animals. They needed LARGE forested areas for their habitat. In 1968, they were primarily found in the huge Connecticut Hill Game Reserve.
But turned out that turkeys surprised the wildlife managers--they were adaptable and soon spread into smaller and smaller woodlots and became much more common.
I am now hypothesizing. Some bleeding-heart, die-hard environmentalists (and I number myself among the strong environmentalists, but these guys were OTT!!)* sold all the deer that lived on Belle Isle to a restaurant in Royal Oak because they were nonnative (I'll do another story on this later) and apparently tried to introduce wild turkeys to the the Island--as a native species.
The turkeys were there for a while. I have a number of other photos of them. But they don't seem to be there any more. The woods on Belle Isle is the size of a postage-stamp, one one-thousandths of the size of Connecticut Hill Game reserve. Maybe it just wasn't enough.
Or maybe the hungry and gun-happy population of Detroit thought they'd make fine dinners.
I was sad to see the deer go and sadder still, in a way, to see the turkeys go. But happy I had a chance to see them while they still inhabited that tiny forest.

OTT = Over the Top, meaning okay not stupid, just ridiculous.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What the Heart Feels

Botanical Gardens
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
photo by me
click image to view larger

Haiku: What the Heart Feels

What the heart feels when
anger and hatred are set
aside: love, peace, joy.

Yes, I know this is not a traditional haiku.
And NO I do NOT know what the flowers are, please enlighten me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Faces: Gwen

Gwen at Big Sur
click to view larger

Faces: Gwen

We met Gwen on our trip to California and fell in love with her. She was living in her car in Big Sur because she wanted to be in a beautiful place. Big Sur is certainly beautiful.
She told us the cops said that she couldn't sleep in the roadside turnouts "forever." Then added wryly, "But I won't be here forever."
She shared water with us from a spring in the side of the mountain where we had stopped. She told us about her life, and we told her about ours. We stayed and talked with her, and she mentioned good spots to stop along the way to see elephant seals and striking vistas.
We were reluctant to leave her and be on our our way. She half wished she would be discovered in Big Sur by the right man. We sure hope he finds her. Soon. A good man, a kind one who loves beauty, true beauty.

"Zen" Beach (and Monastery)

I call these my "Zen" beach pictures, because of their simplicity.

The last one is a door latch at a Catholic Monastery, included for
its Zen-like simplicity.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Asking for it

Our eyes

Asking for it

I could tell by her eyes.
They looked like mine, in the mirror.
She had an abusive partner, like I did.
She was my new new bus driver. I sat behind her and we talked. Every day we talked. We rarely talked about our partners. We talked about our kids, our gardens.
Sometimes, she had a bruise or black eye.
Sometimes, I did. Or, we both did.
One day, I said my husband said I was asking for it, that I liked it. She said her husband said that too. I said it wasn't true. I did everything I could to avoid it. She said, "me too."
A tear glistened in the corner of her eye.
One day, she was gone. I read in the paper she'd been killed by her husband.
I decided to leave mine before that happened to me.

Haiku 120720-1401: Cows

As moist wind lifts the
fog that cascades over the
ridge, cows walk and graze.

There is something in the spare, lonely simplicity of the scene that gives my heart a jolt of painful melancholy joy.
I am back from three weeks in California. I have much to catch up with on many fronts.
Cattle in fog
(Click image to view larger)

This photo was taken (by me) on my way north to Eureka from San Francisco.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture, Northern California
Turkey Vulture in Northern California. Not the thing most people want
to see circling around when they are feeling weak, but we were
delighted to find a roosting area with maybe 20 vultures. photo by me


Photographer at Yosemite
Photo Friday's challenge for the day is "Youngster." I took this
picture of a boy at Yosemite (with his parent's permission.) He's not
only a youngster, but also a photographer.

I am back from my 3-week trip to California, catching up slowly with everything.  Very slowly.