Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dance? No, run!

Always something new, and another forgotten memory awakened when it comes to raising children. Same way with life deep down in a dungeon or a mine, come to think of it, but more in your face up here in the sunshine. I taught 12-month old Gumba to smell roses. It took three days, one lesson/day. The first day she mostly watched, maybe moved her head toward the large lavender rose slightly, tried to grab and eat it. The second day she moved her head toward the rose, and then tried to lick it. The third day she swung her body forward, lifted her nose slightly, put her eyes at half mast and inhaled deeply, like on a Hallmark card. How wonderful is that? Roses will ever smell sweeter.

I had the boom box cranked up on the rear deck, and was heading into the house for a quick breather. Gumbo, almost four now, had been watching me dance to the Mixtress' crazy break beats from his upstairs bedroom window, and grabbed me as I came in. "Let's go back outside Daddy, let's go."

I smiled down at him, "You want to dance?"

"No. I want to run!"

So we set into running in tight circles on the deck in our bare feet, to the tune of an 11-minute version of Sugar Magnolia (Dick's Picks Volume 14). The fun and hollering caught the attention of Gumba, who I quickly picked up and tucked under my arm like a football. We ran and ran until we were all out of breath, and then ran more. As the Grateful Dead are want to do, the song had a complete silence in it for a time, three minutes before the actual end. We thought it was over, and so when it started up again at the beginning it made me laugh, and we all had to keep running to the bitter end or accept defeat. Ever since her time that day as a football, Gumba has put her outside arm forward when I carry her, like she's flying or pointing, waving if we pass people. That gives me that feeling that I'm flying when I walk with her, makes me walk faster. "Up, up, and away".

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rattlesnakes and Butterflies

Life decided to play with me. With twinkling star eyes she keeps handing me every last thing I have ever wished for, until I feel like there is nothing more to wish for, unfulfilled desires fade into twilight fireworks. The list of blessings runs long for presentation here, but here are some recent highlights:

Saw five turkey vultures sitting in a dead oak tree, arranged for maximum psychological effect, on a hot weekday.

Ate lunch in a canoe moored to a dead oak tree full of woodpecker holes. Woodpecker came by while we ate, the vibrations travelled through the tie line, into the canoe, and up my spine to the top of my scalp, glowing gold, refracting time.

Swam with the fishes in Lake Sonoma, somewhere I hadn't visited in ~30 years, since before it was a lake, let a few tears of joy salt the water. Used to be nudists and hot springs, but those all bubble on the bottom of the lake now.

Called dragon flies to me, like when I was a kid in our Petaluma orchard. Hoka hey.

Saw a hawk carrying a 3-4 foot long snake from my living room window. The snake writhed and gleamed in the sun, the curves of the end of it's tail clear against the soft blue sky. I used to wish to see that so bad, soooo bad, ever since the time I thought I saw such a thing when I was 12.

Had an amazing afternoon trail ride at Briones park. Direct impact with an oak tree let me watch my blood steadily darken my new yellow gloves, the right glove turned as red as the oak where my bike chipped it's bark, nothing major but it woke me up, a ceremonial blood letting. I wrecked while avoiding the wreckage of the rider ahead of me, again. Funny how the passage of time changes during sideways slides, jumps, and right before wrecks, action packed moments blossoming solid seconds. Sometimes I feel like maybe those're the only times I'm really alive, then and in the throes of love. Maybe those memories just stand out better over the years, inner gyroscope activated adreno-testosto-fun reminders. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

Near the top of the biggest climb I saw a young diamondback rattlesnake, stopped to say hello. He rattled at me and slid off the trail back into the tall grass. What a beauty. The pattern on his back called to my ancestors, potent.

A butterfly bounced along just in front of my wheel the rest of the way up, leading me with levity, showing off for me with impossible patterns of movement and color.

John Muir, his body buried in nearby Martinez, got up from the spot his spirit reclined near the trail, blade wild oats dangling from the corner of his mouth. He ran along beside my bicycle, laughing and shouting and encouraging me with endless possibilities and mountain visions as the grade grew steeper. The thistles were purple, the mustard yellow, the grasses reddish-purple, blended together undulating satisfaction. John's my bud.

Willow had her baby and we're going to see her this Sunday, gift of gifts. Willow's cool as the ocean wind, and I feel so happy for her, excited for all our children & other dependents by any other name. My generation feels oats of late, clear light.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

White Lightning's Still the Biggest Thrill Around

This picture of Hurrican Wilma making risk-laden love to Puerto Rico back in October of 2005 remains one of my very favorites. Fall coconuts, fall, just don't fall on me.

This merry month of May it thrills me, riddles my muscles with pinball electricity, hurricane strength soul winds howling day & night, enough to drive a weaker mind mad. People tell me my facial expressions are often childlike, my friendship with danger juvenile, my fantasies adolescent, compliments that only goad me on. I have searched my whole life through, from infancy to Alzheimer's, and those giant stereo, rope swing into the lake, live on a boat fantasies keep coming back, wanting to dance past dawn. Fuddy dud fantasies, like living pain-free, can't hold a candle to good old storm-chasing, not for now anyway.

"Gone are the days when we stopped to decide
Where we should go, we just ride
Gone are the broken eyes we saw through in dreams
Gone, both dream and lie"

--excerpt from "Crazy Fingers" (Hunter/Garcia)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Once Around The Sun

Soon after her 1st birthday she stood up without the use of hand holds or other assistance, during a picnic lunch on the rear deck. I have yet to witness the phenomenon myself, but the mama says it's spectacular.

She sings little songs now, of her own composition.

She understands what we say more and more, and wants to be included.

She's learned to suppress the urge to cry when her brother hurts her now, as long as it's not too major. I think that her point there is to avoid endiing her play time with her brother, and not get him in trouble. Besides, she prefers to avenge insults herself, with a quick hair pull or ear scratch.

She loves listening to music, dancing to music, and making music, just like her daddy. My girl is a dream come true.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First Swim of 2007

Oakland's Lake Temescal welcomed me in, took me by both hands then held me like a long lost lover greeting her shell-shocked soldier fresh back from a life of carnage. Nature worked her charms with calculated synchronicity, extracting synergistic power surges that shade the memory with mists of plum & gold. The air temperature worked with the manzanitas, the collegiate couples with the tatooed gangster families, the sand with the grass, trees and sky forming a blurred periphery from my floating flat on my back in the middle of the lake vantage. Less than 15 minutes in the water and I staggered out, weaving to and from until I fell on my towel in the sand, did some stretching, counted some lucky stars, beat it on down the line home. Must build stamina, swim all night every night, transform or die, turn my head to breathe as I sleep, transform as many others as will join me. Swim, just swim until you can't.

The heat had the family falling out all over the rear deck when I got home, added a real special happy vibe. Counted more lucky stars. Great night at home, replete with emotional depth and spiritual wonder. Pondered rough estimate of lucky stars, based on luminosity of gratitude.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grizzly Peak Century

I scarce believe my feet pedaled me the length of the course, but as far as the questionable assumption that my experience consists of more than colorful figments of my imagination goes, they did, the left one in cahoots with the right. 71-miles, 5,500' of climbing, temperatures into the low 90s, my first century (metric). Also the first time in my life that I rode bicycles with my father. Epic, HELL of epic. Average Speed: 13-mph Maximum Speed: 47-mph

Words are crap. Crap on a stick. All the same, they are the primary communication tool given us to work with. Until I find a better way to convey my love to the masses, might as well distill goodness from them. Mmmmm, essence of crap, on a carved & sculpted stick.

Views of San Francisco, Mount Tamelpais, and the Golden Gate Bridge from Grizzly Peak did their best to take our breaths away, gasp, wheeze. Photographers lined the road with tripods trying to cram the crispy vistas into little boxes. At the top of the last (Rheem) hill my whole body commenced to trembling, and my sunburnt mind said in a helium voice from somewhere far over my head, "Hmmm, the onset of shock." Forced myself to sip a little fluid, quavered on down to the finish, got a 20-minute massage and felt a world better.

What a blast! My father and I floated to our respective homes on Cloud 9. Once again, words are CRAP! Let's do it again, faster. Ride to live.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Twas Ever Thus

Justine, lying back against a fallen column, one curl lifted by the sea wind, said "In the whole of English only one phrase means something to me, the words time immemorial." from Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell

"Twas ever thus." --Mr. Natural

I recommend developing a taste for loose green and Oolong teas. They help invite magic, beyond coincidence. Old ally tea, more effective than NATO. The abyss remains vast & receptive as ever, patient for our attention.