I believe that as humans we are built for all things. All feelings. All experiences. I believe this with the fervor of someone who has swung the pendulum of experience pretty wildly for most of my 40 or so years.
Joy. Passion. Victimhood. Oppressive control. Hilarity. Co-dependency. Murderous rage. Apathy. Profound, spine-tickling inspiration. The range of experience here on earth is enormous, and we are wired for all of it.
These boys were playing on Salmon Creek Beach and so I took their picture. It wasn’t a particularly nice day… cloudy, and the Pacific currents their usual frigid temperatures. I roamed the beach for hours shooting birds and sand patterns and seaweed, and the boys played the whole time.
This image brings me a certain softer insight right now. In this time of struggle to come out from under the white male gaze, it helps me to remember that everyone at some point was a kid who loved nothing more than to play.
I first heard this poem about the cow that eats all day, only to starve at night on her fear, when I was in my mid-twenties and searching.
A man read it aloud on a CD in that lilting, irregular way Rumi is often performed. I hated the poem when I first heard it. The stanzas made me ache with self-recrimination. How often had I been this cow? Safe when I trusted, but oh when I fed on doubt…
I looked at this photo the other day (taken about four years ago) and thought how something about it both encapsulates this time we all share right now and defies it. Bare faced. Close. The people in it are lost in their own realities as much as they are connected. And even the way she is circling the spoon around in that cup looks subversive.
I used to be late for work all the time, or late coming home. I blamed it on the cats (one of them threw up again, can you believe it?) or on a demanding work project. But really I was having an affair with the Sonoma County landscape by way of my new handheld camera. To and from work I sought the light, swell of hills, dance of trees. The surest way to fall into rapture.
The world of woo has changed pretty radically in the past 10-20 years. Slowly, surely the occult has become less other, and today we have influencers and celebrities freely endorsing their preferred mediums and shamans. CEOs now take vision quests and share these experiences with their leadership teams. Certain astrologers and their kin have even become celebrities themselves. Practices that were once strictly supernatural have become… well, kinda super regular.
About six years ago we took a hike down from a trailhead near Bolinas, CA. The destination was a lake for swimming and swinging. I did neither, but I did reach the lake and watch it ripple while the more active among us competed for best plunge.
I recently went upstairs to the little closet sized room with the sweet window that hides at the back of my 1912 house. I stretched out on the shaggy white rug in there and decided I’d try to meditate. I had a tension headache and sometimes moving it through meditation can help.
I’ve been plugging away at the same few orchid plants for a few years now. Do you have this problem? The plants arrive in full bloom, of course, but a couple of months later they’ve morphed into the sad little asymmetrical things I’ve come to call Phalaenopsis nakedis. No flowers. Nada. Maybe a new leaf every blue moon.