Thursday, September 22, 2016


This planet has it's own agenda.
It's not personal no matter what our neurons tell us.

The sun is directly above the equator, and the hours of day and night nearly equal. They rub against each other like old friends to talk of many unseen things.
Waves of energy pull at all matter in this moment and I feel it even here encased in brick, surrounded by glass and steel, and wrapped in endless cables. I feel the pull of green going, of rot, re-purposing and rebirth, so mind churns up a memory  of Winter.

Turn the globe 360 degrees,
Spring arrives elsewhere.

It's been an ordinary day, telephone and doorbells unplugged, I puttered around sorting useful things saved,
assessing works in process and making some progress.
Electronic church bells toll six O'clock and the aroma of what's been steamed permeates my skin. I sweat organic chicken, ghee, potato, carrot, onion, garlic and turmeric.

 I exhale wild-caught Alaskan codfish.

I'm pickled in sweet soy and vinegar...
pepper and Salt preserved, and overflowing with gratitude for these and all the gifts sent by generous friends...the four cameras when mine crashed and burned (two from writing pal Barbara Hohenberg, two from blog buddy Deb Lacativa), and this quilted journal cover with two journals (from another blogger Laura osbun)
and when I opened the mail a short while ago 
this book (from my dear friend Nayra).

Night--A familiar silence vibrating,
reminding me that balancing is a practice that lasts,
that nothing is lost, that the past is present even as this moment slides into the future, that there's only now, and now, and now and now again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Beautiful bark peeling off in sheets.
I see a Fish wanting to appear here.
I live in the white building right of the frame, and an old friend lives in the middle building with part of it under construction. They are both connected to a third building out of frame with shared back alleys, boiler, and owned by the same landlord.  This poor little tree was brand new and vibrantly live only a few years ago.
 Now it's dead and has been for about a year.
Spring came but no leaves.
 Construction debris has been washed into the roots
but is not the cause of death. There was a gas leak under the street when the Landlord began digging out below the store in the basement without proper permits and broke a pipe. The building was without gas for a year and the City was monitoring the repairs. New construction and further digging started up again this year.  What used to be a friendly deli, and what used to be our communal garden out back will become a very high class private two floor residence with a floor below the street, their own boiler, and a generator for emergencies as well as a back patio.  The other part of the building will, as far as we know, continue to be tenant apartments attached to the old boiler.  But we're guessing because they don't consider any of us in their plans.
So, I found the New York City street tree site and tried to register for a removal and maybe a replacement when the construction is complete.  But the site was malfunctioning.  I was informed that they are 'working on it' so told to phone the general 311 number.  Since I'm not an owner I may not have any right to ask.  Why care?  It's an old habit, predating this landlord who took over in 1996, harking back to my arrival here in 1969 and into the Seventies when we were a real community; organized tenant committees, had a lovely back yard communal garden, and threw several real block parties to fund ten street trees and then the iron fences that would protect them.  Over the decades they have all been damaged or disappeared but for three.  Mainly because the police station began using the street for parking and moving successively larger trucks.  And, the population has so increased that traffic has too.  Giant moving vans broke branches in order to load up another move and so many local businesses are gone as well that it's hardly recognizable any more.  It is what it is and I have mostly let go...but this little tree suddenly moved me again in the direction of caring and that can't be a bad thing.

Monday, September 19, 2016


"I know
Not these my hands
And yet I think there was
A woman like me once had hands
Like these."

("Amaze" by Adelaide Crapsey)

"The older we get, the more we lose; this is the law of impermanence.  We lose loved ones, cherished dreams, physical strength, work and relationships. Often it seems like loss upon loss.  All these losses bring up enormous grief that we must be prepared to embrace completely if we are to live with open hearts."

(Still Here by Ram Das ISBN 1-57322-o49-3)

"Not only does the Darwinian theory command superabundant power to explain. It's economy in doing so has a sinewy elegance, a poetic beauty that outclasses even the most haunting of the world's origin myths. One of my purposes in writing this book has been to accord due recognition to the inspirational quality of our modern understanding of Darwinian life.  There is more poetry in Mitochondrial Eve than in her mythological namesake"

(River Out of Eden by Richard Dawkins ISBN o-465-01606-5)

I am reminded today of everyone and everything I've ever loved, of the many actions these hands have performed over the past seventy three years, of the gardens Ive tended and the animals who've changed me, of the rituals I've witnessed and been a part of, of what I've given and what's been given to me. This river of life we're swimming in flows on past all obstacles compelled by it's function and destiny.

(South Street Seaport, New York, New York)

"Hang a branch, any other sign or even the word 'smile' on the ceiling or wall so that you see it right away when you open your eyes.  This will serve as your reminder.  use these seconds before you get out of bed to take hold of your breath.  Inhale and exhale three breaths gently while maintaining a half smile."

("The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Tich Nhat Hanh)

Saturday, September 17, 2016


It's physical, chronic, quite actual, and much too personal to share in detail, so I headed West for a moon view at 9PM.  I wandered , watched other humans interacting, listened to cicadas hidden in the foliage still calling out in the chill sixty degree air.  My thoughts drifted from dark to light and back again, but their song made me feel less alone, and deeply comforted.

"you must rise above
the gloomy clouds
covering the mountaintop
otherwise, how will you
ever see the brightness?"


Wednesday, September 14, 2016


 Got soaked in a sudden storm while waiting for the bus, all of us standing in a small river. Many more people waiting than I'd experienced for quite a while and not nearly enough room in the shelter for two thirds of us.  Some fellow on the edge of us was spewing incoherent invective about Trump, Mexicans and Muslims not directed anywhere just yelling.  A Muslim couple were nearby so I moved toward them and became cheerful and chatty, attempting to entertain others with humorous commentary on the state of the world and how some people just get mad and strike out...trying to diffuse the situation though there was no real danger.  A few others joined in the banter and finally the bus arrived.  Miraculously I got a seat though it was packed to way beyond capacity.  More trouble erupted a few stops on when a big woman, accompanied by an even bigger man just flat out refused to move to the back. The two were blocking the front entrance/exit and clearly too aggressive to be influenced.  I felt sorry for the driver who must have felt the stress even more than we all did.  When the woman with a cane who had been sitting next to me had to get out I just stood up like a circus barker and projected "Make a channel please, this woman has to get out."  They did but when It was my turn to get out along with thirty or so others, the big woman lashed out angrily that she was "trying" to exit and "everyone had just better cool it"....fortunately no one engaged her and, once again, there was no real danger.  However it made me realize how crowd violence happens, how panic and one angry person can cause a stampede.
Then I was at the Zendo
All the way home I was turning over the interview with my Zen teacher.  I was talking to him about my newly diagnosed chronic condition and the dietary changes I've been forced to make.  He had asked, "Are you depressed?"  I paused to consider, then replied "No, not really".....then, as I folded into the evening rush crowd, I began to wonder if I was indeed depressed and simply in denial.  I wondered what would have changed had I said yes...would I have shared all the things I was thinking as I walked...about how most of my life is behind me, about the facts of living so marginally sometimes presenting seemingly dangerous problems.  Would my practice have become more dedicated and sincere, or would I have suddenly radically corrected my inclination to drift away into old habits or just rest in my comfort zone?  I was interrupted by a man needing directions to the subway, then a few more steps and another man needed money for food but I had none so just gave him what I did have, interest in listening to his story.  He wanted to tell me how he lost his food card and how long it would take to get it replaced.  I told him I understood since I'd just lost mine too and was waiting for it to return tomorrow.  We blessed each other in parting.  In moments when I'm interacting I'm no longer alone, but I'm still at the center of my perception even when I'm including a single other, or many others. So where's center?  Could it be that there's no center at all in the larger picture, that center is merely an observation point, the dot before it moves?
Grace brought that topic up in her blog post tonight, and I'm still thinking about it:


Here comes another Harvest Moon
In the Northern Hemesphere It will rise at 3:05 P.M.
Friday September 16th
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.

Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,

What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.

Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.


Monday, September 12, 2016


Shot this on the way to writing group earlier out the window of the bus on 2nd Avenue near Houston street,
a sign perhaps of things to come...

That human miracle was just delivered at 10:30 tonight via a phone call from one 'Angel' Caleb O'Connor calling from St. Albans Vermont where he cleans trains...He FOUND the purse with IDs, Cash and Eyeglasses in tact!  Proof once again that there are good people in the world.  He will drop it off at the local Vermont UPS in the morning and I can call them tomorrow to arrange the mailing + another 'Angel' friend on hearing the good news loaned their credit card for me to cover mailing cost - more goodness.  I'd given up when the phone rang.
I'll sleep with the angels tonight.

Thank You Goodness.

For anyone  who wishes to write to the finder:
Caleb O'Connor
2712  Kellogg Road
Swanton, Vermont