Saturday, March 19


"I tried to run away but I was just swallowed by the tsunami" - tweet from Japanese interviewer

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, is a disaster so huge, I cannot comprehend it. It is an event like this one that makes me say, "There but for the grace of God, go I." It could be anyone anywhere facing these monsters - I can only give to the Red Cross and pray. Both actions feel weak and ineffectual to me, but if others are like me, some help will find its way to the Japanese.

May all beings know love and peace.

Friday, March 18

A Dream

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." Hamlin Garland

I hear the coyotes. They are not close this morning. Sometimes I hear them in the wash right next to our house, yipping and howling with joy over their latest kill. I must study the coyote and by knowing more about them, dispel the uneasy, fearful feelings I have when I hear them howl.

There are many things I feel fearful and anxious about these days, but the feelings are mild for a change. The feelings are not gutwrenching and corrosive as they were just six weeks ago when I lived in Los Angeles. It was thrilling to live so close to the edge or maybe I should say the edges: the San Andreas faultline, the Pacific shore, the second biggest city in the USA. It was thrilling and exhausting to walk the tightropes of jobs, family, friends, health, culture and self, trying to find balance and move forward at the same time. Many, many amazing people do this dance every day and find joy in "the kill", the accomplishments, the success. Many people struggle to survive and not get lost in the thrill. Los Angeles is a dreamworld of tricksters, prophets and drones. I'm beginning to see that everyplace has its Los Angeles dreamworld, but not everyplace is consumed by the fantasy.

Sunday, March 6

Untethered and Alive

“It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.” - poet Adrienne Rich

It's been over a month since the move. Before, during and immediately after packing up and leaving our home of twenty-five years, I thought, or felt perhaps, that my early adult years as a road musician had prepared me for a big move. The belief that everything would make it from "point A" to "point B" with a minimum of mess was based on my memories of living out of suitcases and making funky living quarters livable. Recent memories of over a quarter of a century in one place didn't seem relevant last month, but these memories have become shiny lifelines to sanity, order and survival today.

Our old life in Los Angeles is like a solitary lighthouse on the brink of a dark sea. It is tangible proof of a familiar place and time, comforting as we sail into the dark and unfamiliar. The brightness is with us for a long time and helps us get our bearings and keep on course, but even after a short thirty or forty days, the light fades.

We've worked hard to create a good living space in the desert, away from the familiar sea. We were raised in this desert and I'm amazed at how quickly I feel good here. My family and friends make it a home. The stark beauty and little dangers make it interesting.

There may not be the fear of drive by shootings, earthquakes, wildfires, and other big city disasters, but there is an uphill battle to accept the coyotes, scorpions, spiders, and other comparatively benign wildlife here. Earlier last month, my heightened awareness of little dangers like stepping on creatures that sting, or power outages, or getting lost on a trail was strong. Now, it's fading and I am much more comfortable with the true quiet at night and the true blackness of night and a true connection with unfettered nature.

I feel untethered from the burden of big city cares and woes. I feel life and find that I don't think of death as much as I used to. Being alive is a full time job.