Tuesday, March 16

Little Cloud


"We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains."- Li Po

There is a special place I visit. I discovered it when I was just a child, maybe seven or eight years old and in all of the years that I have visited this place, it never changes.

It is a flat, jutting, red-rock shelf above a pasture where a glossy, black bull roamed. He was the lonely king of the long grass and cottonwoods, always smelling the creek water nearby and sometimes busting down the fence to drink and wallow in it when necessary.  Below the sandstone overlook, junipers and cypress host sparrows and finches competing for insects while watching for the shadows of hawks and eagles. The language of birds, their compulsion to sing is amazing to watch and hear, born of caution most likely.  Up through the trees, past quail and sometimes mule deer, the first slabs of rock appear. Lizards dance in the sun and black stink bugs meander. I've spent time watching this unselfconscious display until my own shadow falls on them and they become wary. 

Up on this mountain top, I feel clean wind, space and the weight of my own thoughts. Often, after a few minutes of silence, life compresses into long moments of mindlessness. That's when my eyes close and I feel the sun melt the last chunk of anxiety from my being and I sit with the mountain.

Saturday, March 6


Abandoned Blue Chair

Abandoned Desert Motel

Abandoned People

“Dreaming is not only an act of communication; it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine - to dream about things that have not happened - is among mankind’s deepest needs. Herein lies the danger. If dreams were beautiful, they would quickly be forgotten.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

For a little less than a year, now, I've had dreams with a recurring theme: abandonment.  I call them pandemic dreams and most of them feature urban landscapes with office workers or groups of purposeful, busy people. I never can recall how the dreams begin and when I wake, these dreams are like a box of abandoned puzzle pieces, mementos of impossible and frustrating landscapes. 

I am driving on a downtown city street and pull into an underground parking garage of a high rise building. For some reason, I must hurry to an office area and either bypass the reception area or there isn't one. I can't find a person who is in charge or who will know why I'm there, so I wander from floor to floor ignored by everyone. I realize that I'm just an office drone, invisible, ubiquitous so I find an empty desk and search for something that I can use to appear busy. I wind up in the copy room which is always occupied and I collect discarded documents to take back to my desk. No one notices that I am an intruder and when a sharp-eyed worker walks by, I shake my papers and act like I'm delivering them somewhere.  I feel tense and apprehensive and unimportant.

Finally, the day ends. It's dark outside and when I leave with all the others, we go out a way that is not how I entered the building. I wind up outside, disoriented, and I realize that I either forgot my purse in my car or in the building so I don't have any identification or cell phone or money and I don't know anyone. 

At this point in my dreams, I either connect with some of the workers and wind up in a public place or house, frantic. Or, I walk in ever widening circles, avoiding danger, exhausted and fearful until I wake up. 

These dreams vary and I seldom remember them in logical sequence. The common theme is disturbing and after a few of these, I realize how much compassion I have unwittingly gained for displaced people or people suffering from dementia/alzheimers. To feel stranded, abandoned, and even worse, insignificant in real life because of a disfunctional family, a life threatening event, a disease, etc., must warp a person and cause terrible pain. We never know the story behind our masks of normality. Our world is inhabited by all kinds of complicated beings who deserve some kindness and care.