28 June 2010

the edge is okay

So I'm at the gym yesterday on the recumbent bicycle, iPod blasting (thankfully) an Audioslave album over the piped-in techno-remix muzak, reading a book about quantum physics and Buddhism. One of my friends waved and then called me a "strange duck." I think I'm okay with that.

Mainstream has never been my gig. I always felt out of place growing up. Outside the group. Not at the cool kids' lunch table. Not quite the back-of-the-bus crowd. Flailing to find a place, I acted out in a lot of different directions to fit it, some more harmless than others.

If you can survive the cold and inevitable heartbreak, there are gifts to being on the edge. Perspective. Objectivity. Scope of vision. Variety of thought and experience. Deep friendships. Freedom. Love.

I've stood at the tops of the tallest buildings in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo. Sheared sheep. Danced the Charleston. Sang Ave Maria on stage in a nun's habit, no less. Played the piano in a New York City penthouse. Rafted the Snake River. Stood on Mt. Fuji. Built a barn. Roofed a house. Barrel raced from Butte, Montana to Rigby, Idaho. Rock climbed. Loved a man with long, dark hair and eyes like blue ice. Skied heavenly powder and raucous moguls. Ran away. Milked cows and mucked stables. Looked down into the Grand Canyon. Stole food for my children. Witnessed a solar eclipse. Fished deep rivers. Played my guitar and sang nursery rhymes to children in a single-room schoolhouse in a Mexican village. Hiked over the Great Divide. Shot a rat in the kitchen of a house in Malibu. Laughed with my friends. Walked through rice paddies in Taiwan. Birthed babies. Saw whales. Rode a horse over a rattlesnake. Lived on the streets of big cities. Jumped waves in Lake Michigan where the sand squeaked under my shoes. Played the violin. Married my one true love in a meadow at the foot of a volcano. Camped in the rain. Sang until I thought my heart would burst with happiness. Shook hands with a President. Rode an elephant. Saw green sea turtles on a black sand beach. Flew over the English Channel in a WWII-era Russian bomber trainer. Stood in Hiroshima. Watched a river of lava flow into the sea. Drove many miles to see meteor showers. Bought cannoli at a deli near Times Square in the middle of the night. Lost children. Drove across the United States, coast to coast. Witnessed a thunderstorm rise over the Grand Tetons and sweep across Leigh Lake. Put my bare feet in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from both sides. Wept.

Eyes open, I'm just happy to be here.


"To live in an evolutionary spirit means to engage with full ambition and without any reserve in the structure of the present, and yet to let go and flow into a new structure when the right time has come."
— Dr. Erich Jantsch, astrophysicist

06 June 2010

meditation on rain

A gentle tapping on the leaves outside my bedroom window. Music in the drainpipe.

Grieving for a friend, my night had been restless. The rain soothed me to sleep in the early morning hours so that I awoke purposefully in the gray of dawn before the phone or any alarm clock.

In this life, I have spent many years in drier places. East in the high-mountain deserts of the Rocky Mountains where rain is scarce and water sources instead from snow-melt, there are massive clonal colonies of Quaking Aspens. Populus tremuloides. Quakies. The round, silver-green leaves shake at the slightest breeze, a soft patter. The sound of rain. I came to call them "raindrop trees." A dry rain. Same soothing sound.

My home in the Pacific Northwest is blessed with rain, glittering, wet drops to adorn each leaf and branch with brilliance. Rain is not exclusive; it touches all. White oak and cedar. Lupine, stonecrop, vine maple. Garden path. Weeping cherry. Black basalt with silver slick skin. Walnut shell.

Its whisper is deep water, ocean surf, waterfall, tide. River. Fog. Cloud. Heartbeat. Sweat and skin and blood. Water in and through me. Of me.

I am rain.

I am nothing.



"Human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another."
— Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction)