21 November 2001

How Dust Becomes My Adventure

Ed in a canvass recliner and me in my hat, we both settled down for a long winter’s nap. Er, or not. I bundled up in red Sally Who long johns, a flap in the back with buttons so your butt can peak out if you so desire, blue flannel dog pants, a big wool sweater, lambs wool coat and a scarf around my ears. Ed made hot chocolate and this time I poured the Chambord to avoid the sickly sweet of too much that betrays his heavy hand. And there we were, smelling the redwood damp yet from the recent rains and reclining comfortably back watching the sky. Brilliant green, blue, gold and white sprays of light streaked across the night. They began slow and erratic – one here and one there, every five to ten minutes – and then rose in frequency like an symphony reaching it’s peak at around 1:30 in the morning. Our ooooo’s and aaaaaaah’s and did you see THAT’s were reminiscent of a crowd of two watching fireworks. There was something just that much more spectacular about this, however.

They say that the genesis of these displays were simple specks of dust. Debris from a meteor, no larger than dust particles, traveling so quickly that when they hit the atmosphere they burst into flames across the sky. I can’t even fully fathom how a speck of dust could become such a marvel to wonder at. I think it must be as Rilke wrote in the Elegies, how when the bowstring feels the tension of the bow and in letting go becomes more than itself. It must be something just like that. And how odd it is to feel envious of a speck of dust moving through the night sky with such fury – to think to myself how it would be good and rich to be like it. To find in a moment that my one grand aspiration is to be like dust – knowing all along that this too shall be realized.

When the light show was over, or rather just slowing, and the cold had sunk into my bones, we moved the party into the house. We struck up the heater and nestled into the sofa and read bedtime stories. A bow on a perfect crisp night.

My life. How dust becomes my adventure.

17 November 2001

The Storm

The meteor storm will commence shortly. In less than a half hour we’ll be gazing at the sky, bundled in long underwear, hats, gloves and warm coats, to feast on natural wonders. Many years ago I dragged my butt out of bed in an ungodly hour of the morning to sit on a hill in The City for the Harmonic Convergence. Someone brought donuts and we stopped for coffee, all piled into the bed of truck and wiped the sleep out of our eyes. When we arrived at the hill, there were hundreds of people scattered in groupings across the landscape. Some were dancing in flowing garments. Others were completely still, in contemplative meditation. Still others were engrossed in various forms of ritual. Our motley crew drank coffee, ate donuts and smoked cigarettes – waiting for the convergence to heal our lives or change the direction of everything or even anything. Our leather jackets squeaked against one another and our spiked boots or jackets or armbands occasionally poked our fellow travelers, reminding ourselves we were there. Man, we were all so in love with each other we barely needed the world – and we didn’t even know it. We’d found our Harmonic Convergence and didn’t even know it.

But tonight, tonight just Ed and I will be trundling out into the cold night air and peaceably watch the storm.

16 November 2001


We went to see the Harry Potter movie this afternoon, opening day matinee with children rushing with their parents home from school to be first in line. It’s been sold out for days. We were second in line and had center seats in the middle. The theatre was filled with the nervous excitement of children, all shushing one another as the previews came on the screen.

12 November 2001

Rhythms of Life

Saturday was chore day - cleaning the rain gutters in the nick of time before the downpour commenced, bleaching the kitchen floor, doing every last dish, vacuuming and the whatnot. As I cleaned the dirt out of the runners in the window I found myself uniquely falling in love with the house. Tending her needs brings us all a little closer.

Our day of work culminates in a walk to the store in the rain. The dimly lit back alleys don’t betray the standing puddles of varying depths. Discovery is left to stepping right in it, which is perhaps the most adventurous and fun form of revelation though Ed’s socks might disagree. While the stories of people’s dramatic lives whirl around us, I find myself strangely comforted with these simple events - the radiating warmth of the kitchen contrasting the cold rain tapping the sidewalk, windows and rooftop, the thought of vacation in the springtime to a secluded beach in the tropics, the smell of wet wood on the breeze.

Sunday starts early with coffee on the sofa and the morning stretches lazily into the afternoon. The rain sustains a constant percussion. Water droplets bead in rows across the clothesline, catching light and glinting like little diamonds outside the kitchen window. The world is quiet and inside today. These are the rhythms of life I so longed to feel and hear through the deafening roar of the City. Suddenly in this small town I’ve found room to breathe.

06 November 2001

Your G-Man

Last night was trash night. I pulled the brimming new blue plastic trash can with the locking lid to the curb and hauled the eight gallon recycle buckets along side them. It was a night like every other night in this place, adorned with new ritual that feels stupidly exciting, but colder. Fallen leaves and flowers from the potato tree blankets the path leading to my front door and it smells like fall – dying things, slightly decaying things. It seems oddly ironic that the roses are burgeoning with buds bursting open in tiny swirls of fragrant color.

So what is remarkable about this night? Nothing in particular. It was the morning after that gave me pause. A morning like every other morning in this place, the smell of fresh brewed coffee wafting through the tiny rooms and the sun pushing its way across the redwood deck like a dedicated soldier. The ablutions of morning - pulling a wool sweater over my head, turning on the computer and settling into work for the day.

But last night was trash night so I push my toes into slippers and shuffle through the front yard to the curbside. In a tidy row are the empty receptacles, and on top of each large garbage can, placed carefully inside the lids that rest upturned like a cup, is a letter from Bill, the garbage man (or Your G-man, as he endearingly signs the letter). Bill’s letter is soft and from the hearth – his poodles died, a mother died and his daughter is getting married. He hopes for peace, not just a platitude, but peace. He encourages us to always be thankful and not to wait for a holiday and he thanks us.

Nothing in this world seemed more civilized, joyful and humane. Nothing could have made me happier.

02 November 2001

The Broken Home

After the endless search, the identification, the acquisition and the occupation – I am here. Here amid the towering redwoods, here amidst the rolling hills and rising skyline of trees, cozied up to a creek that runs dry now but which has spilled its banks in times of trouble.

I’ve called my mom at least three times a week since we’ve moved in. “How’s it going?” She asks, sympathetically, wondering if I’ve acclimated to living near children and if I’m getting used to the day-to-day in the new community. “It’s going fine,” I tell her, “but I have questions about the yard.” She asks how the yard looks and unfortunately I can’t tell her green. “It’s looking very sad,” I confess. “What should I do.” She wisely recommends water for starters and begins explaining the fine art of pruning roses, watering schedules and hedge trimming. “The hedges need more than trimming,” again, defeated. She goes back to the stuff about watering, how I should water the hedges as often as I water the lawn. I don’t dare tell her that I haven’t watered the lawn and instead pose my answer in the form of a question. “So how often are you suppose to water the lawn anyways?”