Sunday, April 28, 2013

west of the West

California already is heaven, is a form of heaven, and anyone who lives in California knows the mystical quality of Big Sur, the importance of it - it's west of the West, it's where the dream stops.
                                                       Jean-Marc Barr on his role as Kerouac in Big Sur


Sunday, April 21, 2013

tasting the season

Early this morning, at my neighborhood market, the produce man was putting out a wonderful display of fresh strawberries from a nearby farm. In the next bin was the last citrus of our local season, still good, but clearly the winter citrus time is over.

Summer is “stone fruit” season. Each day gives us something superb: with dozens of varieties of peaches, pluots, plums and apricots. We seem to know the week by what will be at its perfect ripeness. It is almost too much! Maybe it is too much. But, we indulge.

However, the weather changes and the coming of brilliant Cara Cara oranges, a vast array of mandarin-type citrus, luscious pears and crisp autumn apples say “it is fall”...simple joys through the cold, gray days of winter.

Then, Spring and a couple of weeks of sunshine produces a new bounty….berries. We don’t really need a calendar to tell us of the changing seasons…we can taste it. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

who stand and wait

Patiently waiting dogs outside a nearby coffee shop…not quite what Milton had in mind with his near perfect sonnet, On His Blindness. I don’t mean to make light of this beautiful poem, but the focused waiting of these dear companions immediately made me think of the final line…a beautiful reminder for me about patience and what our purpose really must be.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."


Saturday, April 13, 2013

just one seed

The miracles of Spring on the smallest scale have been very much in my thoughts the last few days. Perhaps because life on a larger scale has been difficult to hold: friends and family dealing with major health issues, the daily news overwhelmed by negative/violent stories, the utter dysfunction at the political level.

What an astonishing thing it is for one seed….just one seed…. to burst forth in its cycle of birth/rebirth.  That is what I am given to hold today. The other thoughts are really irrelevant when the miracle of being bursts in! Digging around in my little garden area this morning and visited by three butterflies…two monarchs and a wood nymph, I think. Without a camera that would catch them at a distance, so I am attaching a tiny, wild Lupine that I discovered in a nature preserve in the Sacramento delta….just because it seems right today.

Friday, April 5, 2013

to live, not exist

 Despite my best intentions to not let age and aging impact my zest for life, somehow a birthday (yes, it is one of those days) brings a dreary and more serious contemplation of who I am and where I have yet to go. I appreciate reflection, but do not want to get mired in what could have been, or even more destructive, what should have been. I am using this wonderful quote from Jack London to spur me into a truly positive space today.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

Second photo is that brilliant opposition 
to the contemplative, dreary grey man. I used this photo
once before here...on another contemplative day.