Friday, November 27, 2009

turn left at the joshua tree

all the folks with whom i would usually have thanksgiving are out of town this year. so, in a fit of emotional equilibrium, i decided i'd better do something other than sit at home and suck the mop.

thanksgiving morning, i packed up my camping gear and headed to the mojave, hoping that most folks would be at someone's house, either having a good time or
making each other miserable. in either case, i had a shot at getting the campsite i can reach in my low-ground-clearance, definitely not off-roadable car.

and it worked!

i was there
by 9:30am, and all set up by 10:30am. there was one camper near me, no big deal. i had a fire ring, a flat spot for my tent, and a gorgeous juniper tree above. i was thankful. and then i was hiking.

i wish i was
more eloquent with the written word. i am, most assuredly, a talking woman. i learn better, think more creatively, connect ideas more rapidly, in conversation. (and no, talking to myself doesn't count, most of the time.) i would very much like to be able to describe what happens when i'm out in the desert, by myself. the noise in my head stills. my thoughts slow. my vision is sharpened. the only sound is that of my footfalls. occasionally, a bird will chime in an opinion. my entire physiology calms. i can breathe. i feel whole. silence heals.

so i walked and walked. i discovered 2 other campsites that i think i can safely get to in my car, farther from the road. i took some photos. i sucked up as much silence as i could contain.

as i'm sure you've noticed, it gets dark early these days. so at 4:00, i built a fire. good thing, since the temperature dropped quickly out there. i got to do my second favorite thing when camping, play with fire! it had been pretty windy all day, and it didn't slow down
much in the evening. the fire burned hot and fast, and i sat as close as i could get without melting the soles of my shoes. (i've done that in the past.) as the fire burned down, the lantern came on. i love lanterns. another form of fire, with a different sound and a different glow. by 6:30, i was in the tent, in my sleeping bag. the wrong sleeping bag, as it turned out. that's a post unto itself.

i fell asleep reading, and dreamed odd dreams. i woke periodically, thinking i was in a straight jacket-it was the sleeping bag.

this morning it took me an hour to talk myself out into the cold. once i was out of the tent, the path was obvious. go hike. so i did.

there were more people about today, more campers, more hikers. even with that, if it hadn't been for that damn sleeping bag, i would have stayed another night. or 3. so i packed up, slowly, and drove home. slowly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

go ahead, try this at home-if you're crazy

i totally gacked this from a livejournal friend.
if i rode a bike, i would have to try something like this.
fortunately, i just stand on my head!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

i was born in the wrong era

and here's why.
i love this music, and i especially love to dance.
(i love most kinds of music and dance, but for some reason, this grabs me.)

this is just for fun!

watch this:

and this:

(forgot this one):

then, later, came this:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

dem bones, dem bones

as i mentioned in the "nathen" post, we went to the neon boneyard.
i'd wanted to see it for some time, and nathen really wanted to see it, so off we went.
this was a guided tour, no wandering away from the group allowed, or they would throw you out. i'm neither a professional,
nor particularly accomplished at photography, and i'm too damn slow to get the shots i see. so these photos are, well, just ok. so it goes. and here goes.

i'm not doing any description of the photos.
there are stories and histories for each of them, but that's not my gig.

nathen was busy absorbing through the ears. i was busy absorbing through the eyes. this guy was eating the sky.

and this girl is swinging along.

there are more pictures, but i can't get them downloaded right now. so this post is going to be a work in progress.
check back soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

nathen has left. dammit.

for the last almost 2 weeks, i've had a young friend from back east staying with me. it has been a delight and an education.

meet nathen.

(he's not really scowling, just not awake yet.)

nathen is 21 (i said young !), damn smart, talented, courageous, and funny. he's a musician, street performer, and actor. he learns faster than the speed of light-not just technical stuff, but emotional stuff too. which is good, since the man has been through more wretched crap in his short life than many of us go through in 3 times that many years. i've known him since he was 15 or 16 (i think). we both worked for several years as instructors for the same autistic boy (whom we both love dearly). and for some reason, nathen and i clicked. we have similar musical tastes (eclectic and wide-ranging), we learned to dance at the same time and with the same person, we both don't like nuts in things, or fruit in non-fruit dishes. we share curiosity about damn near everything, and wickedly irreverent attitudes about damn near everything.

nathen got here by bike. that's BICYCLE, not motorcycle. from philadelphia. with a couple of train/bus passages, but mostly by bike. i regret not getting a picture of his bike, 'cause it is
formidable. steel frame, kinda beat up now, he paid $50 for it, used. a low-budget trip, spanning over 4 months by the time he's done, and chock-full of adventures!

las vegas wasn't originally on his itinerary. due to some not-so-fun adventures in san francisco, he ended up with a bunch of time and no place to be before his next stop, so i won!

and we did have some fun. we didn't get to do as much as i would have l
iked. my work day is chopped up into weird chunks. nathen, being the amazingly self-sufficient being that he is, did a bunch on his own. on his bike. (i tried to warn him about drivers here, but he didn't truly believe me until he motored around some.)

however... we did get to the neon boneyard, which was on nathen's list of 2, maybe 3, things he wanted to do in vegas. i took a ton of pictures, he learned a ton about vegas (thanks to a very well-informed tour guide), and a good time was had by both.

i'll do another post about the boneyard sometime, mostly pictures.

at one point this week, it was beginning to look like nathen wasn't ever going to get out of vegas. rides fell through, the bus and train wouldn't take his bike. he needs to be in arkansas by monday or tuesday. arrrggghhhh! finally, another ride appeared, details were arranged, rearranged, and then rearranged again.

he left this morning. i miss him already. i don't know if he knows how timely his visit was. he was a face from home, at a time when i was feeling bereft of connection. he told me stories of outrageous events, people, conversations. i told him i better see a book out of this-he's got enough material! he also spewed crumbs wherever he walked. don't know if i'll miss that!

see ya, hon. come back sometime, and we'll do all the stuff we didn't get to this time. safe journey.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a mere shadow

living in the shadows,
hidden from the sun,
tears slide down my face,
i watch the minutes run.

Monday, November 16, 2009

6 months? already? damn.

last night i was shuffling things around, books, papers, and emotions, when i came across a date of significance. i did the math-well, actually, arithmetic. i discovered, to my amazement and delight, that it's been 6 months that one fine gentleman and i have been, as they used to say, keeping company.

and what company it has been! surprising, intense, sensual, curious, laugh-filled, passionate, sometimes downright mind-boggling, sometimes just goofy. all turning into a deep caring for, and respect for each other. full-spectrum, i'd say. lots of light.

we share enough common interests and experiences to be comfortable, have enough dissimilar pursuits to keep the conversation lively, and enough utterly divergent opinions to keep us exploring, analyzing, and, of course, laughing. we are intelligently inquisitive. we have fun!

out of this, in such a short time, we've both had some experiences that have profoundly altered our perceptions of the world, ourselves, our work. i've had abilities awakened, creative aspects of my life, that had been so thoroughly shut down i thought they didn't exist. for that i am eternally grateful.

it hasn't all been cake and tea, of course. we've done some obstacle placing
, some run-and-hide. the wounded aspects of ourselves have tripped us up more than once, with the concomitant face-plants. we've caused each other pain, and, i hope, eased the pain. this is the way of things relational. so far, we keep going. the music plays, and the dance continues.

unlike my orange friend, i have no crystal ball. i don't know what's next. i do know there's more to be explored. my intent is to remain present, and NOT do anything really stupid!

so to you, pumpkin man, i say-
thank you for the last 6 months. with open heart, i curiously await the next song, and the next dance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

this is the bad poetry i promised

(with apologies to every poet who ever lived, anywhere, at anytime.)

i wrote this quite a while ago, and had, blessedly, forgotten about it. now it's back. sorry,

thoughts arise, and die again
with distressing ease.
they come and go like taxis,
erections, or a sneeze.
and yet we give them value,
permanence and place,
a vain attempt to make a world
that never changes pace.
when things tilt, we tighten up,
we fume and spit and seethe.
we rarely do the easy thing-
relax, let go, and BREATHE.

SO glad to have gotten that out of my system.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

how low can you go?

i hadn't intended this to be my first yoga post, but, hey, so it goes.
i've been practicing yoga for quite a while. 20+years, the last 10 seriously.
for the last 3-5 years, i've been studying iyengar yoga. this form, created by b.k.s. iyengar, focuses on precise alignment, and holding the poses longer than other forms. it is NOT flow and glow yoga. it is rigorous and demanding, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. all yoga is that way, really, if done right.

this weekend, i had the pleasure of attending a workshop given by neeta datta, a senior iyengar teacher. i've been to several of her workshops before, and the effect has been, every time, profound. she embodies yoga, and i'm not talking about asana (postures). i'm talking about the philosophy of yoga, and how you live your life.
this is how my weekend went.
go to yoga teacher training (didn't i mention this? later), leave in the middle to go teach a class, return for the last part. go home for a few hours, back to the iyengar center for the evening part of the workshop.
learn more in 2.5 hours than i've learned in the last 6 months.
back to the workshop, for 4.5 hours. learn another 6 months worth, stagger home to an epsom salts bath, and red wine. (so i'm not a fully evolved yogini-sue me.) ponder what i've seen, heard, and done, what i've learned, what i've not yet integrated. wonder just how sore i'm going to be on sunday.
yep, sore, not as bad i had expected. tired, tho, very tired. not so much physically, but mentally.

i get a great amount out of these workshops because i am intensely focused on what's being taught. there is just so much information being offered, on so many levels. when neeta corrects another's pose, and i can see what's happening, there's a whole other layer to learn.

i love yoga. if you ask me about yoga, i'll do my best to be brief. i will probably fail. i could do yoga 8 hours a day, as long i had time left for some other fun things, like food, photography, reading, and sex (not necessarily in that order.) the philosophy of yoga makes perfect sense to me. it's a very well thought out, time-tested way to live a good life, and if you're so inclined, reach samadhi.

so if you've ever been even mildly interested in trying yoga, do it. your life will thank you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the big questions

i have of late been mourning, not so much loss, but change: the passing of summer, the dimunition of light, the coming and going of friends, the shifting of relationships, the ever increasing wrinkles. this has led me to muse on our human tendency to cling to what is, to deny the transitory nature of all things, even, and perhaps especially, in the face of massive upheaval.
(warning: this rambles a bit.)

we desperately cling to things, things that comfort us, shield us, that delude us into feeling secure. we do this on a daily basis, believing that beca
use we have this house, this job, this spouse, this religion, that we are safe. we wrap ourselves in the cotton batting of belief systems, patterns of thought and behavior, thinking to buffer the world's blows, and stave off change. we weave illusions around ourselves, and believe them to be real.

well, bullshit, it doesn't work.
the illusions shatter, the possessions go away, the body decays,and then what do we do? have we had sufficient practice in the truth to be able to continue on? do we have intimate
knowledge of that which is indestructible in ourselves, enough to persevere? or do we shatter?

and just what are we supposed to be safe from? what scares us so?

now, wiser folks than myself have been asking these same questions
for thousands of years. many of them have created some nifty techniques for the investigation of same. i've used a bunch of them. they do work. i am NOT claiming any great cosmic knowledge here, just that i've played a bit in this field, and continue to do so.

now my guess is that pretty much everyone perusing this blog has been through some, as we used to say in the 60's, heavy shit. heaven knows i have. there's a lot of heavy weather blowing about th
ese days too.

so here's the question: how do you deal with upheaval? tragedy? loss? betrayal? abandonment? what have you found that sustains, not just survival, but growth, in these times? what moves you forward? what keeps yo
u flexible, open, receptive, when the urge is to withdraw, get rigid, shut down? and perhaps most importantly, can you learn through it all?

obviously, there's more to this. more questions than answers, as usual. let's see where this leads us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

prickly love

well, this trip confirmed it. i'm in love.

in the spring of '08, i drove to ventura, california for a brain gym training, which took me through the mojave national preserve for the first time. the desert grabbed my heart, with no plans to surrender it.

time passed, with no further contact, and the thrill of new love abated. i put it in the box marked "oh well", and moved on.

about a month or so ago, having had it's praises sung to me again, i drove back to the preserve, to take another look.
and wham! in love all over again.
we made plans to meet again, the desert and i, and soon.

i spent one night there, camped out under more stars than i've seen in a very long time. i remembered camping skills and knowledge long unused, under the kind and gracious tutelage of one more experienced. i also remembered, too damn late, that i need more padding under me than most do, when sleeping on the ground. damn but my ass hurt.

on hallowee
n weekend, i got to spend 2 nights there. this was truly a treat better than candy, and i like candy! treats included:
-hikes, where we found 3-4 deflated mylar balloons, in disparate locations, for different occasions. huh?
-reading, or more accurately, being read to, when the reader could quell the laughter spasms that threatened to asphyxiate him! it was a very funny book, one that now i don't have to read!
-writing, a draft of this that bears no resemblance to the final posting. as i was staring at the mountains in the distance, i found myself musing about time and space, and that since they're the same thing, perhaps i was seeing into the future? you betcha.
-a smoldering campfire that stunk up the tent all night, and yes, it was a treat to me. not everyone shared my opinion. this was the same campfire that regularly shifted to blow smoke at us during dinner-that i could have lived without.
-and some of the best, and longest nights' sleep i've had in a very long time.

the moon was 99% full, and hugely bright, the only light needed during the middle-of-the-night pee walk, bright enough to keep me awake, shining through the tent skin.

oh yes, the wildlife. 2 ravens, apparently hoping we were dead and available, sorely disappointed. we tried to explain to them that we were old and stringy, mostly bones, and not very tasty. they were not convinced.
a jackrabbit, bounding off to parts unknown. a real treat, that, since they're scarce on the ground these days.
and a horned toad-tiny,tiny, in a place and at a time of year when they're not usually seen.
and since it was halloween, of course there was a bat.

i have to throw this in. i really like being naked outdoors. skinnydipping has always been a favorite activity. now i like skinnydipping in the sun, and the moonlight. and no, there are no pictures. be grateful.

all this leads up to this: in the month of october, i've had 2 of the best times i've had in the last 3 years, excluding yoga and dancing stuff. these times involved a lot of dust and sweat, sleeping on the ground, eating things that came out of cans, getting my ass scrubbed by bushes while peeing, watching for snakes, and other things too numerous to mention.

now THIS is my idea of a good time.