Down through the murkiest, muddiest~
Up into the clearest, highest~
Out beyond the widest, furthest~
In toward the deepest, darkest~
Down through the murkiest, muddiest~
Up into the clearest, highest~
Out beyond the widest, furthest~
In toward the deepest, darkest~
Slow, deep, inhale~
hot, aim high.
Hear, see, smell, taste, feel Mercury weave prana~
a curve begins to spiral.
Feather by feather, skillfully gliding the updraft~
leaning in toward unfamiliar, out, then in, a breath at a time.
The first, close, tattered from a struggle, glides to the ground, it’s voice says “write for the universal, not from the personal”. Thread bare strips which fail to fall, hang deep in the recedes of consciousness, surely to be met again in the future, this thin layer, constant and familiar.
The newest, thickest layer, off gasses synthetic. “Thud” of a first conversation condensed into the threat of lawsuit heavily hitting the dust. Insects, animals, and neighbors creeping the ground, avoiding toxicity. Once “welcome” translated through online reservations and instructions, hangs “Private”.
Next, a wider layer in the form of innocents, gathering gumption to question timidly camouflaged in second thoughts, “oh, by the way……do you think I have a right to my privacy, my parking place, my life?” A full bolt of richly woven fabric unrolling into oblivion and back again, the texture of community~ a hold up old lady, the reined in kid, the recluse never concerned, all once moving freely, now peer out wanting.
Lastly, the logical, in the form of a counter intuitive request asking for structure, for law, to line up, to shore up a world that has fed itself on nature, creativity, open door policy, and friendship. Before, a revolving invitation the garden the studio, now, an obstruction to tourist’s curiosity.
The “Icebreaker Speech” at Toastmaster’s~ Introducing myself to a group of strangers. The issue, grist for the speech.
The 2:00 minute mark is where it begins:
The following “2 minutes” was my intention:
I acknowledge the weight that is now on your staff and I honor the process it takes to get an ordinance passed and enforced. I also address the heavy weight on the Ojai community each day that goes by without that written ordinance to guide us as I read letters to the editor, circular social media feeds, and see the unfortunate consequences that stem from STR’s.
If the Ojai Valley tourism issue, of which I believe includes STRs and homeshares, were a natural disaster, I’d be calling FEMA right now. That is why I am here today. I ask for your help. I am requesting from the board an emergency expedite on the writing or the STR/Homeshare ordinance. We need something to guide us through this transformation of allowing businesses in residential areas. Without the guidelines of the law and steps that it takes to enforce that law, I am watching my community tear itself apart. Sooner rather than later will you please give us structure to back up the board’s decision so that we can protect the integrity of our neighborhood. And for the record, I would like to scratch the last paragraph of one of my letters to you where I state positives of homeshares. After seeing the inability to have a neighborly conversation and the deceit through the extremely mercurial nature of the STR business model in order for the STRs to survive, I now support the City of Ojai in favor of it’s full on ban of both STR and homeshares~
The actual “4:20 minutes” in “Public Comments” at the May 9 meeting.http://ventura.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=67&clip_id=4650
These layers line a path to the depths of this waxing scorpio moon. Pushing up from the murk, focused through cloudy disruption onto the good things coming~ kiss, kiss, kiss~
True to her nature, as Austin put her mind to finding a claw foot for her outside deck, there was no stopping her. Cruising cow pastures for old tubs, knocking on doors, then finally the tip from a friend which led to “a great tub, in great condition, and we need to go get it now”.
As we pulled up to the address my inner alert clicked on high. There were things strewn around the yard. A truck piled high with stuff, nothing to describe, just junk, everywhere. Toothless, hyper, and way too eager, a man greeted us saying the tub is right in here, come and look.
My reluctance out weighed by my friend’s enthusiasm, she pulled me into the house. Yes, I can see, it is in great shape, but who was selling it? Why is it still hooked up in a full functioning bathroom? Why are there little kid bath toys strewn around still wet? “This is a BAD scene. And, No Mister, I won’t help you unhook the plumbing”. “We will be back in an hour and if you don’t have it ready to go, with help to put it on the truck, then no deal” I firmly stated. Austin gesturing a tilt of her head, as in a question “Why are you blowing my deal, Teal?”
In town, over tea, the excitement about the great find was hard for me to accept. I explained to her that this is a drug scene and please don’t hold onto ANY expectation because if the tub is not on the lawn when we drive back, I have no intention of stopping at that place again! O.K. Austin agreed, trying to be strong, but I could see she was fixed on getting that tub.
When we returned, the tub was out on the lawn, the original woman who Austin had previously talked to on phone about the deal was there, as were three big guys to help load it. While they hefted it up to the back of the truck, they asked if we had help on the other side. I quickly said “yes” simultaneously kicking Austin as she was saying “no”. These were the last people in the world I would want knowing where this tub was landing! As we drove off I was relieved, though it didn’t feel like the most honorable deal I’ve ever been involved in.
Now we had the tub, the next step was to find help to unload. Austin was worried about this. I assured her someone will show up. We will find someone.
So thinking quick, we stopped at a festival at Jackson Wellsprings and the guys pictured here showed up to help us unload. Yes, that is Austin in the tub with the strapping permaculturer.
Tonight, true to her nature, there is no stopping her, as Austin’s body and soul conjure the energy to head out off of this physical plane. Those of us who know and love her are fortunate to have all the beautiful gifts she so generously leaves with us~ Love, laughter, and the truest modeling of joie de vivre~ Ciao Austin!
There are 3 previous posts that I have written about my friend Austin:
And Victor Lodato’s beautiful story: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/style/modern-love-when-your-greatest-romance-is-friendship.html?_r=0
The last pear
You know how energy washes through us, like a current of warm air on a cool breeze bringing in a memory, an idea, or sensation? I had this exact feeling as I followed a track winding up the path the other day. Someone had meandered with a branch dragging behind which left a long mark. I thought~ Dennis would erase this entire line with just a quick swipe of his staff. I could almost hear you bellow once or twice about “damn humans!” and their need to interfere with nature by drawing on the trail.
So much traffic, do you believe how many are in the hills? I’ve lost touch with the landmarks of the past. Remember “The Lady of the Trail”? I can’t find her. Rocks jiggled loose and let go, many of the old footholds, no longer there. At the same time many new routes abundant. Folks are out in nature. Enjoying. Doing their thing. As I write this, the quiet enfolds the echo of a far distant voice.
Quiet. No more.
We talked this week and I was inspired by your enthusiasm, the positivity. A sturdy, confident bear carving replaced the old deer hoof on the top of your stick. I noticed the “anti establishment rant” was gone as you shared your strong message that we humans co exist with nature & the animals. Like a superhero, swooping in, giving me hope for this changing season, urging me not to worry. “The trees loose their leaves and are no longer sucking up water. The animals have plenty of water.” Reminding me of the cycles.
Far below the identity of “character” is your modeling of loyalty to life, to the creative, to the elements, which insists upon a deep understanding. I think I am not the only one thankful that you allow us to be included by the skimming along the surface with your whimsical bubbles, bare foot walking, and the 1,000,000 miles on the VW van, as it is through these connections where we glean insights that, without you, very few of us would ever come to on our own.
And have a really beautiful birthday!
If you haven’t already, you can get Dennis’ book here:
“I just saw your work in Ventana Monthly” an acquaintance said as we crossed paths on the mountain trail. My focus switched from the surrounding nature, quickly to asking, “what work?”
see article here
Having the ambient sound like that of an idling jet airplane, a glassblowing furnace burns, keeping the raw material molten 24/7, the flame has a constant feed from a two inch gas line, the needle on the gas meter in a steady spin. Working temperature for glass is around 2100 degrees plus or minus. The temperature is raised to 2400 degrees for about 8 hours while filling (“charging”) the furnace with silica sand, potash, soda, and lime (“batch”). Maintaining the correct temperature during this charging process is critical in order to sustain a high quality glass. Tending the furnace is the foundational concern for a glass studio, yet only a small part what is behind the actual creating.
From practical making of tumblers, perfume bottles, vases, etc. to “impractical” work of sculpture, wearable glass, and “the glass canvas”, the work has been a labor of love for me. Loud noise, heat, and hard work fed me for about 14 years, until I sold my equipment/studio in 2009.
My version of having children was the nurturing of a studio and the work it produced. My nest is now empty, though the pieces live on.
Out in the world, the glass pieces have their own lives in private collections, museums, municipal collections, hospital collections, etc. A kitchen window filled from top to bottom with reflection of the colors I’ve chosen, an altar-like setting honoring the work. One piece was broken at the fault of an earthquake within a week of going “home”. Another art show an entire shelf of “crème de la crème” vases were wiped out. In fact as I remember it, at each art show at least one piece would somehow get broken~ “The sacrifice”, I would casually comment.
The Ventana Monthly article is advertising an event this weekend May 21 & 22, 2016 to benefit Focus on the Masters. “Where Art Lives” A self guided tour to homes in the community that house art. Many pieces that I have created are living in these collections.
When you go on the tour please be sure to say “hi” to the kids.
The nebulous date of my brother’s death has been floating around as “sometime in the beginning of September” for a long time.
I can look back for years to the first hints of autumn and see indications of my unrest- ending of jobs, moving households, adrenaline hits of choice, as well as underlying depression- around this time of year. I read in my daily writing “deep, deep, something going on, don’t know what it is”. The scribble echoing concern, a disturbance that runs through many of my journal’s end of summer entries.
It comes and it goes, as do the unconscious gestures I’ve made in order keep this grief at arms length. Or to give it life- senseless expression out into the world, a relief from the tension, letting off steam.
Just this week a mystery was solved. September 1, 1966. The date of Danny’s death fished out of a file. The veil lifted unto the next clue in this process of life. In this process of untangling a death.
Mom’s story about my brother’s death So Young.
Astrology footnote: I celebrate as Saturn finishes strong this last degree of Scorpio- Thank you mom for digging into the death certificates regardless of my being “too eager about death”. The eclipse (11:41pm September 12, 2015) exact degree Danny’s rising – 20 Virgo. My natal rising being 19 Virgo and my mom’s natal moon at 18 Virgo(7th house) PLUS. This TedTalk reeks of what I see in the sky now. As astrology continues to bring to me an awareness of choice.
Thank you for reading.
We are all connected.
Startled by a large dark mass in the distance. I get closer and see, no it isn’t a bear
-it is THE bear-
The one that stopped me short
thought, word, action
-one swift swipe of a well hibernated paw at the cave entrance-
Words, sounds, expression
stuck in the throat.
50 years ago.
“Load up!” The familiar command to hop in the back seat. Business in town.
Bud’s exhale “God damn hippies” combats my silent intrigue as we pass so many sitting on the wall. Three miles, though an entire atmosphere away from home.
The mood is lifted as Bud’s head flips acknowledgment toward on old friend walking beneath the arcade.
Attention now, the tone of a chant streaming through the car’s open window. Peace signs, held by people trickling down the steps of the Bank of America. “Hey Bud! There’s grandma and grandad!” A sudden acceleration throwing our backs to the seat as we head out.