Thursday, January 31, 2013

Small Stone: January 31, 2013

No deep, pensive observations today.
As we come to the end of our January
mindful writing community, it seems
appropriate to walk hand in hand toward
the next challenge. Thanks to everyone
for all your great posts and for visiting
with me here. Until we meet again….
the Sunday group? I plan to keep "mindful"
at least once a week. Hope we can all
hang out together in 2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Small Stone: January 30, 2013

The January Small Stones project is coming to an end tomorrow.
Looking back over my daily “stones”, I am struck by how
often my observations become a reflection of my
own inner processes, questions and even turmoil.
I truly question if this is ego or an attempt to really
connect with my environment, the people I encounter
and the joys and sadness of the world I inhabit. 
More to be learned.

This photo was taken today at the Martin Luther King memorial in San Francisco. A place for thoughtful remembrance and reflection. Bright sun, afternoon shadows and reflection.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Small Stone: January 29, 2013

“A fertile bedlam prevails”
a quote from a review of an exhibit
of surrealist drawings in NYC.

Kind of nice to think about
what there is to gain in the uproar.

A goal for this week will be to find
a fertile moment in topsy-turvydom.
(that is a real word) 

The photo isn’t from today, sadly. But, from a fine outing to the San Francisco Zoo recently. Seemed to represent topsy-turvy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Small Stone: January 28, 2013

Today: I saw a lovely child exploring her world out the bus window. It made me think of the excitement of discovery. I saw a gorgeous young couple. It made me aware of youthful vitality. I saw a fast-striding businessman and I connected with the thrill of success. I saw a white-haired woman carefully choosing oranges and thought of how age allows us to be selective.

Sweet child. Sexy youth. Successful exec. Serenity in aging.

Do any of those have anything to do with the individual at that particular moment? What was their actual experience? Even close to my immediate perception?

As I reflect on the day, I am aware that all of those observations were tinged with a judgment on my part, not wholly in the moment and formed somewhere in my past.

The photo is a first leaf daring to break out of winter against a south-facing wall around the corner.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Small Stone: January 27, 2013

Somewhere in life, I learned
how to make a civil smile.

Yesterday, I exchanged
friendly, reserved, very polite smiles
with a pleasant woman
as we passed on my street.

Then, down the block a child hit me
with an unlearned smile.

The photo is of my great-grand nephew, Luke, on 
another wonderful occasion. His bright, fresh smile─
spontaneous in most children.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Small Stone: January 26, 2013

Tonight is Wolf Moon.
A search on the web tells me
to emulate my ancestors and take refuge
in my home…stay close to the fire on this dark
winter night as the winds and the wolves
howl outside.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Small Stone: January 25, 2013

Mid-winter: a time of recollection
or even collection, perhaps.
Evaluate, keep or discard.
Not Spring cleaning…
more a letting go.
Once joyful affections,
memories, beliefs
dusty with lack of care,
just fall away.

Winter, by the calendar,
is one-third over. The days
are warm here, some say
a false-Spring. It seems real.

 The photo is just a mood shot...seemed about right for today.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Small Stone: January 24, 2013

A question for the prickly pear.
What protects?

Little impedimenta,
limiting life, achieving
neither security,
nor freedom
from petty fear.

It is a time 
to remove
the spines,
one by one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Small Stone: January 23, 2013

Looking out, or light coming in.
I am unsure. Even the light seems
at odd angles.

Little things alter my focus,
skewing much larger values,
questioning some long-held beliefs.
Aging and letting go? Perhaps.

With some sadness:
relevance and meaning
may well be the issue.

Window in the chapel at the Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, CA--the very last mission built at the end of El Camino Real.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small Stone: January 22, 2013

The delicate fragrance brought me to a stop as I walked down my busy street this evening....could not imagine where it was wafting from…it came from the same scraggly magnolia that caused me to laugh at its impertinence the other day…blooming on the edge of winter....reflected in the amber street lamp…a waxing gibbous moon in the distance. First seeing, now experiencing the fragrance of this street tree is the message: this is my environment. And, I have a new friend.

(Japanese Kobushi--the mountain magnolia)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Small Stone: January 21, 2013

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall ... Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."  
                                                    President Barack Obama: 2nd Inaugural Address
 It seemed unimaginable that in my lifetime the President of the United States would state that gay rights are a civil right in the inaugural address. Tears and applause were appropriate!
A beautiful ending to a very special day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small Stone: January 20, 2013

Lots of things are making me laugh
these days…maybe the winter doldrums
are over? I do know it is simply good
for the soul to be cheerful.

This fellow in his hoodie, sitting at the trendiest
bakery/sidewalk café with his latté sipping
owner, didn’t seem to be having much of a laugh.
But, I did.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Small Stone: January 19, 2013

A friend was thinking about lichen
and commented on her blog about
its symbiotic connections over vast spaces.
Today, I saw a tree branch
where the lichen's relationship 
was an epiphyte.
I sometimes feel like that…
separate, but hoping to grow upon/with
my environment, but, like this lichen, 
not as a parasite.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Small Stone: January 18, 2013

It was warm today ─ broad smiles
exchanged on the street,
dogs cavorting, an air of festivity
proclaiming: winter’s over.

(Well, at least for the moment)

This is just a silly photo of a new bench
in front of a local artist's cooperative.
It made me laugh. Seems that it was
once a carnival object…and it seems
my City is a carnival.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Stone: January 17, 2013

The cold snap abated. 
With just a few hours of warmth
the scraggly street-magnolia
burst into bloom, literally overnight!
Last year’s leaves have not fallen.
Yet, it is full of Spring.
I felt such a burst of joy─
I laughed out loud. Thanks, Tree.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Small Stone: January 16, 2013

Twice this week I have seen young men
and women joyfully greeting older folks on the bus.
Moments of recognition. Truly respectful, happy and
inter-generational moments. All of the young people
and their elders were Latino.

I often sense community, as I walk or ride
in the Mission district. The lilt of Spanish, the warmth
of a smile. The loving interaction of parents and small
children. A real lesson in what our culture gains
by immigration.

The photo is of a California poppy--a native flower. 
Just seemed to fit for this post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Small Stone: January 15, 2013

It is too easy to go through the days,
even weeks not realizing the presence
of the mother…mother earth, earth mothers,
the presence of mother strength in families
and community. Here is a celebration of
women and the mother image, just a block
or so from my home.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Small Stone: January 14, 2013

Frosty sunrise, but the line of thin clouds to the west
indicates that the cold front is moving through.
My street, still in shadow and so quiet on a cold morning.
Peaceful urban moment.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Small Stone: January 13, 2013

My poetry group spent the weekend discussing,
debating and luxuriating in poetry. The wonderful Koda,
never left the center of the circle, observing,
occasionally nudging for attention
and certain at all times that he is part of the group.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Small Stone: January 12, 2013

Sunset, highlighting the icy clouds
streaming down from the Gulf of Alaska.
It is so seldom cold here that we treat it
like a gift. May have frost nearby tonight.

But, it is not a gift for the animals and people
who do not have warm shelter in this City
of Saint Francis.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Small Stone: January 11, 2013

A chilled afternoon walk to my local market.
Pondering how much I want to carry back up
the small hill to my house. Kind of lethargic and unsure:
create a good meal, or zap something in the microwave. 
Absolutely sure, though, that my “stone”
for today is going to be gray.

And, then I  am confronted
by the flower vendor changing 
Winter to Spring.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Small Stone: January 10, 2013

This morning in front of the discount fish market
on diverse Mission Street:

Fitfully sleeping on the bus-stop bench,
as usual ─ the grizzled old man existing
in the last, probably hopeless,
stages of an alcoholic reality.

Nearby, two beautifully groomed ladies,
perhaps near the same age
hand out Spanish-language Watchtower
magazines: offering their great hope
for eternity.

A photo of today would have been invasive
and inappropriate. Thought I would cast my
eyes upward with this older photo.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Small Stone: January 9, 2013

Dragon slayer. The artist turned
the idea up side down…
the marching dragon
has the saber!

This is a wonderful fence around
our local playground designed by
my friend, Michael Bartalos.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Small Stone: January 8, 2013

Out with the old,
though so recently new.
I made no resolution
to make such change.
Today: seems inevitable.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Small Stone: January 7, 2013

Astonishingly gray day,
not a hint of sun, light diffused.
Against the sky, the many shades
of a winter’s green, enhanced. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Small Stone: January 6, 2013

One of the tallest trees
in the City is in a back garden,
down the block.
I see it growing every morning,
but many days don't notice.

What did the person who planted a seedling,
perhaps a hundred years ago,
know of duration or time?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Small Stone: January 5, 2013

A quiet, rain-spattered afternoon,
hoping that a moment of reflection
might unfurl as I read or doze.
Sound of rain, a whiff of smoke
from a neighbor’s warming fire
and just outside my kitchen window
a fern unfolds.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Small Stone: January 4, 2013

The beginning of a cold:
hot tea, bundle up, turn on the t.v.
for something mindless. Gloomy.
Older interviewer, two brilliant young men:
astounding conversation about the future
of how we communicate.
Filled with hope.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Small Stone: January 3, 2003

Neighbor’s trash barrels overflowing.
In my own life, so much excess, not just trash ─ possessions
and food and clothes and entertainment and technology.

As I went around the corner,
I realized that the sad young man I see, sometimes speak with,
occasionally give a few dollars, has been away from his doorways
for some days. How many? In the excess of my life I have not noticed.

He had gone from thin to emaciated in recent weeks,
pulling even tighter into his mostly silent world on the street.

A crumpled bill or a few coins, even a few moments of concern
won’t solve his problems. But, in the incredible excess of my life
and the lives of folks all around me, can’t we find a way to make
it more equitable? Or, at least be aware?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Small Stone: January 2, 2013

The second morning of the year
is crisp and bright.

Traffic seems subdued and slow.
Pedestrians, bundled for winter, distracted.

A crushed, once festive paper hat
in the gutter, a still fragrant pine
waits to be recycled. 

A quiet sense: something is unfinished.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Small Stone: January 1, 2013

For the next 31 days, I will be participating in 
the Mindful Writing Challenge and will be making
an intentional observation of some aspect of my life each day.
If you would like to participate, just click on the "small stones" badge
on the right column and it will take you to the wonderful 
folks at Writing Our Way Home.

Intense young men,
lilting Español, raucous English
compañeros, friends
on a sunny winter afternoon.
Pick-up soccer….”free for all to participate”.
So aware that for today,
my participation is observing.