Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As the season turns toward cooler colors & becomes typical more rainy I realize that the birdsong so abundant in the mornings several months ago has quieted. I've been missing that early morning music, while wistfully appreciating the singers' capability & choice to fly south...

It is now the time of spiders. One cannot walk through doorways or along garden pathways without destroying hours of diligent web spinning. I feel quite badly even if I thus only can see my carnage through newly web blurred eyeglass lenses... all the while reflexively doing yet more damage as I flail to rid myself of the tickling on my pate & in my ears.

Chagrined, I still must suppose that makes me just a common vandal... finding my conscience too late.

But I have been enjoying continuing to learn from watching them, reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's novel The Fountains Of Paradise which I read at least 25 years ago, in which he speculates the possibility of a "space elevator" begun by spinning a single lightweight strand of hyper-strong filament out beyond earth's atmosphere, quite as do these spiders between doorposts & bushes, dancing with air currents to seemingly fly... spanning between otherwise improbable distances & thus gradually building a series of intersecting strands to support their web structures in the spaces I must walk through.

His fantasy of then similarly adding more filaments, increasing the strength held "up" or "out" from earth's gravity, just as one can swing a ball on a string, to then lift material up such an "elevator" toward a building satellite like our space station -- without the complicated launch system we use now -- doesn't seem so preposterous to this observer!

Well, I've destroyed a lot of arachnid art once again this morning, just going down to the studio, even as I know it is being rebuilt, albeit not to the desired specifications of their original beauty & organic symmetry,,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Here's a post about beauty around this fjord called Puget Sound... that word coming from the process of sounding depths. This is a very deep, very complex water-way, a submerged geologic fault zone... sometimes known as the Salish Sea when combined with its Canadian sister, the Strait of Georgia, about which I posted last year.

[Vashon Island is tucked into the bottom of the Sound...
deep in the very lower right hand corner]

For 8,000 years people have plied these
myriad river estuaries & channels,
circumnavigating islands & peninsulas...
the gigantic gouges & middens of the last ice age.
Each geographic feature obviously had other names
before those of interloping European explorers
who put their own names on maps but
who seem now quite disembodied by
what are obviously more organic &
spiritual forms of being.

Still, such mixtures continue to be our culture, as seen
here from a favorite small park with totem poles
near the Pike Place Market overlooking the waterfront.
Cruise ships at our dock juxtapose new
with the more traditional images.

Later evening, sitting in the car on the dock waiting for the ferry back to the Island, a couple of seals in the water next to us attracted my eye & my camera. Their diversion primed my awareness toward the beginnings of a promising sunset.

[Click on the images to enlarge them.]

The Olympic mountains are to the west, unexpectedly between us & the Pacific Ocean. The sun slipping low often finds a slice of open sky between our usual layers of clouds to treat us with fine color. This is always a treat. Living on the eastern side of Vashon Island, we know sunset better in its reflected form... bathing Tahoma in pink alpenglow.

Beginning low in a spectral orange, the light filtering through deepening clouds suggested a quicker & quieter denouement. We all gloried as the lowering disc seemed to pry open new lens covers to project color onto diaphanous scrims which previously had combined to block the source of such subtle brilliance.

By now we were on the ferry & my camera was only one of many clicking around the upper decks, gorging on eye candy as the contrast heightened with rain ...

Pelting us more in earnest, driven by the higher winds once we were out on the water, we photographic stalwarts crowded under the slight shelter of a covered, but open, deck grabbing with our various capabilities with inevitably faltering lenses our own versions of the final finale.

I would like to see what those with longer telescopic equipment managed to capture...

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Our friend Tom recently returned from a long travel to India, where he has lived, & where he was working on several writing projects. He made this photo to bring home more evidence of my growing international fame...


GRB Bells obviously needs some kind of lubricant for these slow labors [See my previous post] so I suppose clarified butter might be a fine candidate. Even though I'm not eating dairy for now, it should be OK as an external application...

I uploaded these photos six weeks ago when I still could not sit at the computer for long enough to write much. I'll try to bring currency with recapitulation to continue to fill-in the lengthy gap of time I've not posted.

[Remember you can click on the images to enlarge them.]

Tahoma is my ever present, if not always visible, best teacher in the grounding I've needed during this period... here I sit darshan with her one Mayish morning.

The garden is my sandbox where I ground myself more than visually, although dirty hands don't prevent enjoying the vantage of its beds.

This bed of lettuce, arugula, & mizuna was planted in anticipation of Stephen's mother Helen's birthday in mid May, but the greens sat as sproutlings for weeks in our cold gray... not ready to harvest until after the event. We ate lots of salad from it well into July.

There were bounteous beds of cool-loving kale & red mustard for greens to steam & braise. Here is one harvest including a nice variety of the edible flowers I love to garnish our plates with: forget-me-not, wood ruff, chives, nasturtium & arugula blosoms.

It is displayed on the bed of Roman chamomile first planted to mark Gertie's grave... which circle I've been enlarging over several years. It is satisfyingly tedious work to divide this easily rooting plant giving it space to spread. I designed a plan to cut patterns into the carpet to collect new planting material. I've always loved parterres as a foil to my obviously wilder preferences...

One day a spiral began to develop...

Stephen celebrated it on the way taking drinks to the Prow Deck when our neighbor friend Taylor dropped by with his dog Oochee.

It developed over the next while to open the archetypal symbol of the question... of the quest. Appropriate for this time of actively searching for my path to health.

Only weeks later it had begun to grow into the space I'd cut out to transplant at the edges of the enlarged circle cut out of the lawn.

Another spiral grew in quite a different form in the bed close by... Romanesco is a veritable Fibinacci universe of brocolli.

Savoy cabbage is so ruffled its difficult to see that it is growing on the sme plan...

Red Orach is all about rare intense color[s]. I enjoyed tea with the sun behind it tomake me wonder how red could look also blue... like some of the silk saris we saw in India.

By now the chamomile has grow over, obliterating that spiral. However questions, quests & growth are continuity, always ready for another & deeper search... a next adventure. I've no doubt the spiral will return...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Omar Khayam's moving finger writes in some early, 50's movie memory of a God-like, pen nib-shaped fingernail inking velum pages, oversized heavily bound volume... with perhaps a chorus from "Kismet" as soundtrack...

My early notions of fate were inevitably rather biblical.

A serious young man, I left the farm an unwitting pioneer joining the yet-to-boom generation about to embark on some joyfully inevitable explorations of a more colorfully sensual & sexual reaction to our starched & chromed childhoods.

But by the time the Beatles were asking "will you'll still need me when..." I was graduating from college into a revolutionary worldview making any thought of actually reaching such an age untenable & laughable by the admonition never to trust anyone over thirty.


I came out inside a trust for my parents capability to honestly love. Putting a name to what could not otherwise be talked about. Still, no one was really very surprised, in the sense that I had always been somehow more comfortably fae than typically masculine. I'd constructed a self protective banner early on... embracing, if not actually flaunting, my capacity for difference & independence.

Fertilizing fate.

I was already losing my hair when those boys from Liverpool began changing the idea of long locks for men. I had to learn to celebrate an even more difficult difference as my own...

Bald fate.

Inevitably crossing that threshold of age, I turned thirty with more resolve than distrust. I was reinventing myself inside a short & curious mentorship with a Jungian play therapist... leaving my first long term relationship to move from Denver's city life toward the experience of becoming a more playful independent student of life & a hiker of the Red Rocks while working with other gems in Sedona as a jewelry artist. I eventually came to love solitude & celibacy during the decade of my forties. I managed to grow healthier through that difficult era, moving into my fifties richly prepared for new growth inside my relationship with Stephen, continuing the charmed life to which I've always felt born...


Stephen is currently involved with a biographic film project about his mentor, the poet/filmaker James Broughton, whose commonplace quote here at Soundcliff has become a useful mantra for me during my health difficulties this year, implying that what fate does best, perhaps, is to offer itself as teacher.

"Adventure, not predicament."

Opportunity wasn't the first thing I felt inside the fate which seized me in late May which required dealing with a very painful systemic inflammation in my body.

Whether fate or age or simply the beginnings of a new era in my life, my being was disrupted by what was diagnosed as bursitis/tendonitus. There seem to be no drugs to be prescribed & I felt fairly dismissed after it was ascertained I wasn't a candidate for hip or knee surgery. I was referred to see a physical therapist, of which I think I got the Island's best. She has helped me explore inside & through this cramped state, finding ways to dance with the tangle of muscles, tendons & bursa which seemed a more confusing kind of knot work than any celtic design.

It moved from alternating shoulders down to hips & knees... then, & most disconcerting to my artist, it settled out into my hands & fingers as well.

My symptoms matched the list a local herbalist described as those she was working to ameliorate with an anti inflammatory diet. While I did not take her class, I kibitzed from my sideline & stopped eating wheat, corn, dairy & refined sugar [including wine & alcohol], which are considered to be the biggest culprits. Two-thirds of each meal is to be high fiber greens, fruits & vegetables. Such simplicity becomes complicated by more complex chemical theory, but all with the goal to restore balance in intestinal flora, the cause of chronic inflammation... seeming cause itself to a broad range of maladies including diabetes & fibromyalgia.

Its quite the hot topic now, so there is lots of internet information...

I believed we ate rather sensibly already, which we did... & do. Still, one aspect of my age is the experience of watching science, particularly nutritional science, change over the years. While science certainly ought to evolve, especially over the course of years, in our culture we mostly hear or read about the "science" useful to some corporate entity for product promotion... using carefully edited language about carefully crafted research... which changes with the market sufficiently that we all have noted the rather temporary aspects of such "scientific evidence".

Frankly I've learned to take "popular" science well salted. Remember that I grew up on a farm where we put out big blocks of salt for the animals, so while the saying suggests taking something with a "grain of salt" I can jokingly choose the size of the grain... fortunately salt doesn't seem to be particularly problematic on this diet.

My independence appreciated being challenged with the theory's expectation to find one's own cure. The process of first eliminating those problematic foods allows discovery as increasing comfort becomes tangible proof before beginning to experiment with adding back various foods individually with intention to test tolerances, find balance & develop a personal formula to maintain health.

I am beginning to reliably attain the comfortable results I want during this elimination phase. I've taken months while the theory suggests benefits might become evident for some cases in only weeks. [Too much of my salty reservation?] But I began slowly to observe increasingly reliable relief inside what has long been an irregular rhythm of good & less good days.

I've never known pain as such a constant. The ubiquitous "How are you feeling?" piqued a word collector's cleverness & creativity. "Crinkly" [I would spell it "krinkly"...] became a useful everyday description. It suggests anticipation that things might straighten out in spite that they would remain somewhat rippled for the memory. There was always that constant memory of the last vestige never far enough away to believe in comfort as anything quite less than temporary...

For fun I've begun to collect a hierarchy of such descriptors for pain. Above the quiet pervasive memory begins a murmuring, which increases to mumbling. Sighing can signal pain both on & off. Hissing does similar duty as both taking in or releasing out. Simpering rarely works so snipping comes along, teasing some belief in the possibility of giving it away. Creaking edges toward groaning before actually croaking. Singing is for the pure stuff. Squealing is for the hell of it... some yelping came in surprise. Screaming, yelling & keening were happily well beyond where I've needed to go, thank you very much...

This is pain I own. It is not external. No one is assaulting me. I've come to see it simplistically as a deep internal discussion sometimes verging toward louder argument between my selves: the gardening slow-foodie & the indulgent one who secretly in believes nothing if not celebrating excess...