We drove, well, Jeff drove us down to Palm Springs yesterday.  We tried to avoid freeways.  CA is an amazingly beautiful and geographically complex state.  Palm Springs is a dog-friendly place so dinner last night was here.  We were seated and each dog presented with a water bowl and duck treat.  We’re living the good dog’s life now, and every day of course. Gratitude swells.

Two Dogs Life!

Perhaps because I connect with my pagan roots, this day after the winter solstice, begins a new year for me.  

I’m on the ninth floor of an eleven story hotel looking out over Silicon Valley in the rain.

I wake at four and open Mary Oliver’s wonderful book, Owls and Other Fantasies, which I highly recommend.

She begins with this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from “May-Day”, which invites me to simmer in myself that perhaps each day is a day to ask, “May I”, as I feel into what answers my needs.

Emerson:

Beloved of children, bards and Spring,

O birds, your perfect virtues bring.

Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,

Your manners for the heart’s delight.

Oliver’s whole book invites us into presence and the revelation of transformation that is death, but one essay in particular, “Bird” tells of her rescue of a gull, and what she, and therefore we, learn from the life and transition of this bird.  

Pelicans swirling, diving, dipping, and savoring the bay by Sausalito

I love this blog and I’ve begun another which feels more relevant to me now, though certainly this one has also celebrated the enchantment that spins, swirls and lifts each day.  Check this out: https://cathysblog.org

Celebrate in silence, dance, joy, and play!

 

Jane is at Tassajara on a three month retreat.  I’m here in my home looking out on green. We’ve enjoyed and savored enough rain to end the drought.  I wonder what calls me now.

My latest book is close to budding forth. Still shuttered, it wants to rise and flower in spring light.

Titled Airing Out the Fairy Tale: Trekking through Nepal and Midlife, it looks back twenty-five years ago to review, integrate and bring me closer to where I am now.  Though I feel younger than ever, chronologically, I’m an elder, full aware of harvesting the wonder in each breath.   Be with me now.

 

I’m shocked to see how long it’s been since I posted here.  Once cured, I bounced back into life as though nothing had happened.  Is that really true?  I was changed and it took time to get off the assembly line of treatment, write a book, act as if nothing really had happened, even though it had.  

Meanwhile I have a new book coming out on an entirely different subject, or so, on the surface, it might seem.  It’s called Airing Out the Fairy Tale.  I believe now part of the reason I got breast cancer was my demanding search for “perfection” which doesn’t even exist. We’re here to balance as we dance on our toes and on the soles of our feet, and maybe even our bottoms sometimes.

This new book is allowing me to make sense of my life and to share it with others.  The question now is whether I continue on with this blog or begin a new one.  The winter solstice is on approach with its return to young light.  Perhaps a new blog will be part of that for me too.

Meanwhile savor the beauty of the days and nights.  Life is precious and fragile and a gift.  Immerse in the movement of breath in and out, and all around, shared.

Jane and I will be at Book Passage at a “mini-literary festival” on November 10th from 1 to 4.

The theme is journeying and we will be talking about the Inner Journey, the Journey Inward.

It would be wonderful if you could attend.

There is so much going on in the world, that each of us must continue to come back to ourselves, to our breath, to noticing what is important to us. To do that, we must stop and go within. What simmers there, and guides?

I use these words in this moment, to guide this precious day.

For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.”

~ Hafiz

One day I was walking along the bay, when the words came to me, “You have something to share with me?”

I found myself wondering what it would be like if with each person we meet, we suggest they have 30 seconds, or an hour, or whatever, to share something. What would that do to our lives?

Today I was walking along the water in Sausalito when I paused to observe the bay being dredged. A huge metal bucket dipped down to lift a shovelful of mud, then turned to deposit it on a barge. With each lift, water dripped out, as well as a great deal of mud. It wasn’t the most efficient operation, but mud was being cleared so boats wouldn’t get stuck.

Meanwhile I was thinking about the creatures who live in the mud. What is it like to be lifted up, held on a barge, and redeposited? How is it to fall back anew to where you were before? We each have degrees of movement and relocation each day. How is it to witness each lift and drop, each step, touch, breath? How is it to meet each moment new? Can I be open to the journey’s eye, the inner-outer beat?

I am one who believes in the pause. I inhale, pause, exhale, pause, and sometimes that pause can last a season.

Today, my eldest son is 38. I celebrate his birth, his coming into the world, and what that means to me. I go to Muir Woods and walk in past all people, to be alone with a creek and trees. I sit, feel the words holy, whole, and hole pierce through me. I stand and the sun lights me through trees. I wonder about sunlight through trees. Is there an extra noticing and appreciation, more awareness of how air is shared?

I am old enough now to qualify for a pass for elders. I pay $10.00 and can now enter any national park for the rest of my life. I show my driver’s license, which has a photo of me taken when I had long, blonde hair. “Beautiful tresses,” the man who takes my money and gives me my card, says. I say how different I am now, knowing I wouldn’t trade tresses for what I’ve learned and experienced in these last almost seven years for anything. Almost seven years, and still there is that tremble as the body remembers Fall, and celebrates Spring. Perhaps now the pause and seasons are in everything.

About this blog:

Cathy and Jane started writing together during Cathy's illness, and that writing became a blog, which then became a book!

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Jane
Cathy

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