Thursday, June 26, 2014

a second butterfly moment

Several years ago, on a warm summer day a magnificent painted lady butterfly landed on my arm. It was one of the most amazing moments of interaction with nature that I have ever experienced. We, the butterfly and me, stood silently interacting for long moments and then the painted lady moved on. This morning, sitting in my garden enjoying the soft fog-littered breeze, a Monarch landed on my arm and seemed to be observing me. It then moved to a flower, its more normal site. The photo is terribly out of focus, but so glad to have it. The poem is from the previous encounter.

When a painted lady touched my arm

Vanessa Cardui.  Hina,
messenger of truth.

Wings in symmetrical mandala:
symbol and man in a gyred dance.

You migrate from a somewhere:
on a code,
a portent, a command?

Unsure passing:
as real as death, certain as life—
signaling the intricate contingencies of love.

Oh, butterfly. Be not the trickster. 
Be the painted lady who touched my arm.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

like the belt

Yesterday, I started to put my belt into my newly-washed Levi’s. As I have for my entire life, I threaded the belt into the first loop on the left side of the jeans. Suddenly, I realized that the belt, and probably dozens of belts before this one, could just as easily have been threaded through the right side. It simply had never occurred to me that there was a choice. It started a cascade of thinking about choices that are never made in life. Something seems to work and I go with it without even realizing there are options. I know the belt issue is silly, but how I view other important aspects of life, faith, history, politics and relationships are often like the belt.---un-examined and not questioned.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

imported beauty

The beauty of nature in its myriad forms fascinates me. Yet, I wonder at what point do we look to the exotic, the imported and the unusual, but miss what nature provides at our doorstep. This glorious peony was at the sidewalk display of my local flower vendor. And, it had a tag “imported from Oregon”. Peonies were magical expressions of the fullness of spring when I was growing up in Colorado. My grandmothers and my maternal grandfather were exceptional gardeners and were tremendously proud of their spring gardens: peonies, iris and lilacs. But, it does not get cold enough here in the Bay Area for some of these to thrive. So, we import them. I love them and love the memories. Yet, I wonder if we sometimes miss what our generous climate gives us when we “import” beauty. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

summer in the city

It was just a normal, crazy summer Sunday in San Francisco. Today was the Haight Street Fair and the aura, and the aromas, were straight out of the 60’s. Most of the folks had not been born in that era, but the medical tent was staffed by folks who had been around a long time! It was a bit down memory lane, except for a young folk group attempting “The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down”. I am sure they had no idea that it was sung by Joan Baez a couple of blocks down in Golden Gate Park…a classic rendition. The line for Destiny Reading was huge. There were probably 10 tables with “readers” and dozens of people waiting to find out the future. Wish I could have done that….well, maybe not today, but it would have been helpful in 1968. I could not resist taking a picture of the "no pictures" Stylish Hat booth. Probably the only rule I broke today.

On the light rail coming home within hearing distance of where I sat you could determine 5 languages….Spanish, Vietnamese, French, German and another lilting Slavic that I did not recognize. Not one word of English. I simply loved every minute! What a day.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

life's mysteries

So many things seem to be mysterious in my life. Why things happen, how events unfold and how the lives around me progress….all have elements that are simply unknown to me. It doesn’t mean they are unknowable, I feel. Yet, there is an element of incomprehension. Does it mean paying more attention? Or, is it best to redirect attention to what is knowable. I can balance out the priorities and, yet, there is that challenge that I think sometimes drives me forward. Or, do I really know anything as absolutely certain?

How about seeing the ordinary in a way that makes it kind of unknowable at first sight? It was fun to take the most mundane objects and try to photograph them as unknown or unknowable. 

The photo is of my spoon after eating cereal for breakfast....the sun is shining from across the room.