Monday, March 31, 2008


Spiraling inwards after many day of too many clients.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cherry Madness, Pt. II

People were out in force yesterday, stirring the spring energy, mitigating its upwards rising effects. A client told me that it took her 35 minutes to get out of the Smithsonian Metro station around 1:00 p.m. Trains kept arriving full of people there to see the cherries at full bloom. The platform couldn't clear fast enough. A mob scene of Cherry Madness at the Smithsonian Metro station! Oh yeah. It happens every year - we put up with it, though, because the cherries reflected in the Tidal Basin are truly irresistible. I'm not kidding. When the cherries bloom, all of DC buzzes with a light pink intoxication. The high lasts only a few days (probably that's for the best.)

While the cherries bloom, people get crazy, and I'm not just talking about tourists at the Tidal Basin. Friday night around 11:30 I caught myself dancing to Madonna with friends in an apartment in the now groovy block of 14th Street between P and Q. Out at a party? Having fun, drinking sangria? Dancing to Madonna? It has to be spring fever!

Don't you think?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cherry Madness

Think pink! Who can help it? Pink is all around! The trees on Capitol Hill as well as at the Tidal Basin are now at maximum poof and foof. The landscape is gorgeous, and, well, kind of silly looking. In a few days the blossoms will begin to flutter down like so much pink snow, but today? Pink. Really, really PINK.

It's a busy weekend in and around Capitol Hill. I'm referring not only to the Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring hordes of Cherry Tourists and their many many many many many many tour buses, but also to the opening game at the new Nats stadium tomorrow, the Smithsonian Kite Festival today, and at least two marathons.

All the activity: cherry madness, kites, people with numbers hanging around their necks running through the streets, baseball bats flying around while crowds cheer, etc. is thematically perfect. This busy weekend is a shamanic dance of alignment with the bursting energy of spring. All the gathering together, running, games, beer drinking, kite flying, buses and movement of people in and around the street level clouds of ethereal pink helps distribute the surge of upwards moving springtime energy. If we didn't run around frantically this weekend, I think the whole city would go up in a puff of pink smoke. There's so much energy available during spring! So, it's all good.

Overwhelming, though, for quiet types such as myself. It's a really good day to get out of the neighborhood, go hang out with friends in Columbia Heights where the vibe will no doubt be more peaceful. Carry on, ye shamanic dancers of Capitol Hill and Tidal Basin. Go forth and fly kites, oh great shamans at the National Mall. Shamans of the national game of baseball? Hit some out of the park, OK? Move that springtime energy around for the greater good, please!

As for myself, I'm outta here. Oh yeah!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Deep and Open Ocean

Beyond the beaches, coral reefs and fertile shallow waters of the narrow continental shelves lies the deep and open ocean, covering more than sixty percent of the planet's surface. It regulates our climate, conditions our atmosphere and contains some of the least known and most extraordinary animals on Earth. --"Planet Earth, As You've Never Seen It Before."

It's one crazy realm down there. Not only are the animals truly alien looking, but the environment itself is unlike anything at the surface. There is no light down there, not ever, not even after Daylight Savings Time goes into effect. Though currents must vary in temperature somewhat, truth is, seasons as we think of them have absolutely no meaning at the bottom of the big water. It's like another planet! And it covers sixty percent of the Earth. Wow.

I like thinking about deep ocean volcanic vents, super hot, spewing lava right and left. The bacteria and viruses who live on and in these vents are happy as clams to be uber boiled. It's HOT.

I love trying to imagine the subduction trenches, where the edges of gigantic tectonic plates sink little by little back down into the mantle, melting and churning, only to come back to the surface every time there's an eruption somewhere. I'll never see any of this with my own eyes, no. We humans have yet to build a "space" ship sturdy enough to go all the way down. We can fly to Mars, but can not tolerate the environment at the bottom of the ocean. Deep ocean is so unsuitable to our species that any attempt to dive that deep without a ship would mean death by implosion long before we found the subduction zones. Crushed by water. Imagine how much water. Crazy.

Planet Earth is alive in so many ways. I salute you Mama Gaia! L'Chaim!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strange Sentiments

Is it OK to ask God to bless your truck? I guess so ... even though it would never occur to me that a truck needs a blessing. Maybe that truck doesn't run so well, or needs an oil change. Maybe the tires are bald. Or maybe whoever drives the truck is worried about traffic, road rage or something.

Sights like this always make me wonder.

Growing up I was taught that it's improper (or maybe impolite?) to ask God for anything. We were told to praise God and give thanks for all our good fortunes. Fast forward several decades to when I studied Judaism - who knew that actually it's perfectly OK to ask God for all kinds of things! It was a revelation not only about Judaism but about my family, too. Oh yeah!

Of course, there are ethical rules around prayers of request. For instance, if, as you drive into your neighborhood, you see firetrucks and smoke in the distance, you're not supposed to pray that it's not your house that's on fire. The Rabbi said what's done is done. It's not right to ask that it be undone. Also, this kind of prayer is a way of asking God to make sure it's someone else's house that's going up in smoke. That's not very nice, is it?

It's fine, though, to pray for the people whose house is burning, to ask that they find a way to access the resources, strength and courage they need to deal with whatever is happening. Elegant, I think. It also seems so much more practical, not to mention compassionate, than any "please, not ME" kind of prayer.

Every day these days, I'm using the structure of the daily Amidah prayer, except I'm free-forming the content. It goes like this: stand up (Amidah means "standing"), quietly but audibly ask God to open your eyes so you can see. Then say six prayers of praise, six prayers of request and six prayers of thanksgiving. The Amidah, too, is an elegant structure for prayer.

What I experience, every time I stand and pray, is that there is a receptivity to anything I might want to say or ask of the Almighty Eternal Wisdom and Love that is far more than a sum of its infinite parts. I always sense that this Unimaginably Great Wisdom and Love (I call it God) is ready to listen and respond, lend comfort, guidance and compassion. When God speaks to me, He says, "Go ahead. Say whatever's on your mind. I'll listen, and maybe I can even help. Anytime, my dear." God is such a good guy, really He is.

Given my experience, it probably is perfectly fine to ask God to bless your truck. Why not? But ... to announce it with a decal on the back window? What's that all about?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Springtime makes everything frisky, even an old dog like Jake. Sweet, sweet spring!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Did you have a good Easter? I did. In fact, I had a doubly wonderful day.

I was at work, of course, putting my hands first on a woman who recently gave birth to beautiful twin boys. They're so gorgeous! It was wonderful to set eyes on them, since I worked with the mom throughout her pregnancy. Little Mac and Oliver are both adorable!

Next on the table was a woman who is currently pregnant - with twin boys! I'll be present when these little guys are born since I'm not only her massage therapist but her doula, too. This is the first time I've worked with women who are pregnant with twins. As seems proper and fitting, instead of coming across one woman pregnant with twins, I'm working with two of them. What fun!

There's something so mythical and magical about the idea of sharing the womb with someone. What would it be like to have a real doppelganger, someone you could switch places with? I love reading stories about the deep connections between twins. Too, I've always loved Geminis. In fact, I married a Gemini. True to type, he had several different personalities, all living within one body. Fascinating, though sometimes confusing.

I even like silly twin movies like "The Parent Trap" (both versions) and of course the ancient TV show The Patty Duke Show. In spite of the lack of substance, it was fun to watch the identical cousins and their wacky adventures.

Who doesn't love the Weasley twins from Harry Potter? What about the Doublemint twins? Even the Greeks and Romans loved twins. Let's face it. Twins are great.

Two salutes to Castor and Pollux! Yeah! Yeah!

So like they were, no mortal
Might one from other know;
White as snow their armor was,
Their steeds were white as snow.
Never on earthly anvil
Did such rare armor gleam,
And never did such gallant steeds
Drink of an earthly stream.
. . . . . . . . .

Back comes the chief in triumph
Who in the hour of fight
Hath seen the great Twin Brethren
In harness on his right.
Safe comes the ship to haven
Through billows and through gales,
If once the great Twin Brethren
Sit shining on the sails.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Last Book

I wonder what the last book ever published will be. Will it be a self help book, The Seven Strategies That Will Make You, In Seven Minutes a Day, Seven Times Happier in Seven Weeks than You've Been in Seven Years? Maybe it will be a dark first novel by a young writer, a thinly veiled telling of his coming of age. Maybe it'll be something like The End of Publishing for Dummies. Hard to say, but it is coming. It is.

Do you remember when books were precious? People took care of them, purchased them carefully with the intention of keeping them forever. People used libraries, had their own libraries. Books were honored, even worshipped.

That day is now done. A recent cover of The New Yorker featured the life span of a book, from the writer creating it, to the agent, publisher, printing, book signings, then to a guy reading it, later putting it in a box in front of his house. In the last frame, a homeless person is burning the book in a trash can to stay warm.

Up until about 150 years ago, books were written by hand, then printed after being typeset, letter by letter. Then there was the typewriter, followed by stenographers. Then the electric typewriter, finally the computer. The next thing you know? There are a million really bad books out there taking up shelf space, wasting our time and money.

Eventually this phase of over-publishing will wear itself out. By then there will be precious few people who even pretend to read books. All the trees will be gone. The publishing companies will fold themselves up and that will be that. I don't see it happening immediately, but it is coming. At least I think so.

It's sobering, thinking about the end of on-paper publishing. I love books, no doubt about it. I even read them, something that's less common these days than it once was. I'll miss all the new books I'm accustomed to buying (and later putting out in a box on the sidewalk). On the other hand, it's painful to think about how many trees are cut down just so we can have multiple copies of The DaVinci Code floating around in landfills, etc. It's so wasteful.

Before books, for most of the history of our species, stories were passed orally from generation to generation, from clan to clan. There's a way in which the internet replicates the old ways. In other ways it's completely different of course.

What will end up being the last book published? A biography of Oprah or Paris Hilton? A history of American politics from 2000-2025? A memoir written by some privileged person about their extravagant life in Tuscany for a year? A cookbook? Who knows? Any theories?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Being dead doesn't hurt. It's the dying that's hard.

After the end of anything, at least for me, a part of what I feel is relief. I say this even as I contemplate the truth that I never want anything to end. I become so attached. Unravelling what has worn itself out is terribly nerve wracking. You wouldn't believe the grieving, the despair, the tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth I go through at the end of things. Oh the drama! But - once a thing is done, in addition to all other attending emotions, I always feel liberated. Do you know what I'm talking about?

When one door closes, a window definitely always opens, always. Even if it's the end of something fantastic, or if it was sudden and unexpected, afterwards I feel a nice breeze blowing through the now opened window. I'm talking about the end of relationships with individuals, with communities, the end of a job, the last few weeks before leaving town forever. There's also the end of ends, physical death.

Being dead doesn't hurt, it's the dying that's hard. What I'm wondering today is why. If it's inevitable (nothing lasts forever) then why is it so hard to let go, say goodbye, change gears, jobs, relationships, cities? Is all the keening and grieving really necessary? Why? If I could remember that after the end, there is relief, if I could remember the fresh breeze and spaciousness that follows, would that consciousness ease the rigors of letting go?

No way to answer for myself, since I never remember. During the dying process, I'm outraged, frightened by the portents of change. I hang on tighter than ever. You'd think, knowing about that window waiting to open, I could be more graceful. You'd think.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Buzzy and Breezy

It's a splendid spring equinox. Happy Spring! Happy astrological new year! Happy return of the light!

All the shadows are completely different than they were even a couple of weeks ago because of the high angle of midday sunlight. It's so bright out there! In addition to the uber-bright days, this year the full moon takes the baton at sunset and lights up the sky all night long. Except for the rain yesterday, this year's equinox is about being blasted with light and air. I approve! It was such a gloomy grey winter. Yes!

Today is buzzy with rising life force and the full moon's lunar zap, twittery with birdsong, brisk with gusty winds, moist from yesterday's soft rain, sparkling with this morning's intermittent sunshine. The wind is cold but the sunlight is very warm. There is balance, though it's an exceedingly bright and lively kind of balance this year. Wow.

In spite of the busy day of light, wind, and birdsong, my mood is calm and contemplative, maybe because my work schedule is a lot easier this week than it could be, or maybe because Easter week always gives me pause for thought with its themes of sacrifice, death, and rebirth.

Harrowing, in fact, is the moment when Brother Sun crosses the abyss between the constellations of Pisces and Aries. It's like crossing a sea that has been divinely parted - except - that's Passover, and that doesn't happen till next month.

I'm grateful to access a moment of calm in the middle of springtime craziness. The scales of the year are shifting towards the light, and in spite of all the motion, I'm holding steady. Oh yeah! Welcome spring!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Planetary Yin-Yang

Besides being a lot of fun, perusing Southern hemisphere blogs is an excellent reminder of how northern hemispherically centric I am. There's more to earth than the northern hemisphere! More than the U.S. More than DC! Hello!!

For instance, until recently, I imagined most of the yearly cycle as absolutely unbalanced, because of the disparity between night and day, and also because of the extremes of the seasons. In spring, it's hard to imagine fall, and vice versa. How small my imagination can sometimes be!

Anytime I'm willing to think whole planet, instead of my little corner of the planet, it's easier to understand that the ebb and flow of daylight and seasons is actually in perfect balance.

Summer is winding down for Pod and Vanilla, while here it's winter that's fading. The energy is gathering and dropping down into the earth in S. Africa and Australia, while here, the rising energy of spring is pushing up and out.

The cycle of seasons is a classic yin-yang rhythm when looked at in a holistic way. Right now the earth is inhaling summer down under and exhaling spring up here. Hmm. That's not quite right, is it? Even circular breathing requires that in and out take turns. Maybe the heart is a better metaphor. By virtue of its four chambers and special relationship with the lungs, the hardest working muscle in the body can simultaneously pump in and out. Wow. A salute to the human heart as well as to this complicated and beautiful planet!

Of course the equninoxes are special moments of even more perfect balance, because day and night are equal partners on those two days no matter where you are on the planet. That kind of balance is sublime. It passes quickly, especially if you think in terms of earth time. Twenty four hours is as nothing to this gorgeous, living, breathing planet.

Even as old as I'm getting, 24 hours is still a nice long time to contemplate the rhythm of the seasons. These meditations open my mind and heart, bringing joy and wonder. The world is spectacular, isn't it? And, too, I'm so grateful to my southern hemisphere blog kin and friends for reminding me there's more to this planet than meets my eyes, oh yeah. Thanks, ya'all!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Catching a Break

Tomorrow I'll catch a break after many days of working hard. It's the kind of schedule that I tend to worry about, as if working so hard might be harmful. What am I, some precious little fainting flower? Gracious. My attitude at the moment is that it's good to be so busy, up at the crack of dawn, working almost every day, making $ hand over fist ... well, such as any massage therapist can, not like the hand over fist $ that lobbyists make for instance.

Nevertheless I'm booking myself solid and my spirit guides are calling me the "Monster of Massage." Hmmm ... is that an encouragement or do they mean something else? Can you hear them giggling?

Pretty soon I'll be out of Healing Arts and then what? In the meantime, I'm pressing flesh as much as possible. Gotta get to it right now.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vernal Silliness

When I use Zipcar, I always reserve the car closest to home, usually a Civic hybrid or a Scion - nothing fancy. After all, I only use Zipcar to run errands or go see the osteopath. Who needs a cute car for that?

But yesterday I reserved a red Mini Cooper that I had to walk a mile to pick up. Wacky, eh? I thought so. I needed a car for my bi-weekly run to Whole Foods, hardly a glamorous journey for such a glamorous car. Why did I do it? I think the first strains of spring fever manipulated my index finger into pushing the "reserve Mini Cooper" button on the website. I do. It had nothing to do with the rational portion of my brain, that's for sure.

Have you ever been inside a Mini Cooper? In truth, I felt like I was driving around in a small red bucket. It was hard to see and the stereo wasn't all I had hoped it would be, though I had the volume cranked up nevertheless. But it was amusing to realize I opted for the cute car, for no reason whatsoever except it seemed like it might be fun. A decision like that, based on nothing but whim, means that Spring is definitely here.

This past week included several nice warm days, but it wasn't the temperature that brought on the fever. We had plenty of warm days this winter during which it never occurred to me to reserve a cute car. In February Brother Sun was still hovering closer to the horizon. This week daylight is falling hard from high up in the ecliptic. It's completely different than a warm February day.

I believe the steeper angle of sunlight, along with lengthier days, has psychological and hormonal impact. So much impact, apparently, that a trip to buy groceries requires a zippy little car. Silly, isn't it? Oh well, that's a part of springtime, too. I honor the silliness of spring.

Yes! Welcome Spring!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Temporal Spirals Bring Strong Dreams

Is anyone else having very strong dreams this week? Mine are super potent. They're waking me up, washing over me as I take my morning shower, lingering like one of Ched's perfumes through the day.

I'm even writing them down because I'm so astonished by their intensity. Also these aren't my usual dreams of looking for a cab, or trying to get the anonymous dream people out of my house. No. These dreams contain brand new themes.

My guess is that the source of this dream activity is the fact that old friends are resurfacing in positive and healing ways, helping me remember that the past, present and future are segments of a beautiful spiral of continuity, not a choppy linear stretch of disconnections. It really helps me to be reminded!

One of my oldest friends, with whom I've just recently reconnected, continually offers pieces of the ancient past by reminding me of things I haven't thought about since I was a young child. Thank you, D! You cannot imagine how helpful your memories are!

Another old friend was in town this week, a George Clooney doppelganger with brains, intuition, and a tender heart to go along with his looks. And he's not too young for me. Sigh. Fortunately or unfortunately, we know too much about each other to be romantic. What we have is great - a comfortable loving connection. Nevertheless, he is a babe.

I digress.

The George Clooney doppelganger brought me into the present moment by explaining what about me has changed since last we saw each other a couple of years ago. His insights were really helpful!

A third old friend has shown me, just by going through something in her own life, that love is a great dissolver of old messiness between people. Her life's adventures of late remind me that life is short, and point me in the direction of the future.

Past, present and future are all coming together this week via these old friends. Hey! Am I Scrooge, working my way towards some kind of rebirth? No wonder my dream life is cranked up to eleven! Wow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The suspense is killing me. When oh WHEN will spring be sprung?? It's seasonal foreplay that's going on forever. C'mon!! Please pop. Please!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The upwards rising energy of spring has reached a critical mass. Today I saw a few trees in bloom, tomorrow I'll see more and the next day more still. Within a week the landscape will be completely transformed, from stark and wintery to a pale pink, white and yellow poofy goofy Fairyland. Just like every year, but still it amazes me. I'm in awe of the power of spring energy. It takes some serious umphh to push plants above ground, open flowers that have been so tightly wound, push up grass, etc.

There's so much gathered energy just underfoot, I'm surprised you can't feel the ground trembling from it. Spring is explosive here in DC, dynamic, like a big sneeze. In fact, my shamanic dance of alignment includes frequent bouts of explosive sneezing. It is thematically perfect, but so unpleasant.

This year, Chinese medicine is going to be a big part of my annual sinus-centered war with tree and grass pollens. Every year I fight, and every year I lose. But maybe not this year. Today I pledged not only to cook the herbs and drink the vile tea that results from the process, but to wrap the cooked herbs in hot washcloths and lay them across my eyes twice a day. My exact prescription is to let some of the tea from the washcloths drip into my eyes, and to keep sipping the tea throughout the day, even when I'm using the herbal compresses. The Sufi acupuncturist wants me to "continually meet the environment" in alliance with the herbs. It's like herbal armor, herbal guardians who have my back. It's so extreme, so shamanic. I'm intrigued.

Chrysanthemum and honeysuckle are two of the herbs I'll be working with. Both of them are lovely plants I have friendly contact with later in the summer, right around summer solstice, after my allergies subside. I'm wondering if these herbs can in some way move my sinuses forward in time, past the season of my unholy congestion.

Who knows? It could work. At least I'll give it my best shot. Vile tea, poured into the eyes etc. is a small price to pay to enjoy spring in the midatlantic. Well worth it, if it works. Believe me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This post should be named "pink and yellow" because the daffodils, now in bloom all over Capitol Hill, are never ever pink, but the cherry and pear tree blossoms are the most delicate, creamy, barely pink pink that you ever saw. They're just starting to pop. They're so delicious I want to eat them ... weird I know, but true.

Daffodils are certainly cheerful but they don't draw my eye like the tree blossoms, don't know why. No offense to all you daffodil lovers out there. From now till the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival, my eyes will be turned towards the sky. I'll be watching the trees turn from their currently fuzzy appearance into full-on Disneyesque cartoon poof balls of pink.

Sometimes we have late season snowfalls in March, but I don't see that coming. Seems to me it's too late to turn back the season. The bloom has just started, but those little luv clouds of pink look mighty serious to me. Spring is here to stay. Welcome, spring!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Not Quite a Rant

I don't understand the punitive model when it comes to getting sick. I don't understand a colleague who told me she's certain that the body is meant to be blissfully healthy (her words, my emphasis). Hmmm. Another friend, after receiving a shocking diagnosis, joked about God slapping her across the face. Huh? Why would God do that? Why?

Whenever my clients get sick, the first thing they think about is what they did wrong, where did they mess up. They're trying to understand how was it that they came to be ill, as if illness is some kind of anomaly.

They didn't do anything wrong. They're just human beings, living their lives. People get sick, they always have in every location, every culture, thoughout history. The intricate systems of healthcare and medicine that are a part of every culture were devised ages ago. Medicine is one of the oldest arts. Medical theory and process has been improved upon, updated, and restructured over and over again. Still, there is no medical system that can guarantee recovery from anything. Even the greatest medical geniuses have been unable to cure the common cold. It's humbling. And, it's true.

The universality of bad health should be sufficient evidence that a part of being human is the experience of illness at one time or another. There has never been a human being - ever - who has lived out his or her life in perfect health. Animals get sick. Plants get sick. It's as plain as the nose on my face. You'd think my colleague might have noticed, taken that into account before deciding what our bodies are meant to be.

You'd think.

Illness is frightening, painful, and puts a big stop sign in front of people, interrupting their routines, but is it always a lesson to be learned or a slap from God, or is it just the way of nature, as complicated as the weather? The earth always has belonged to the viruses and bacteria. That these critters get to us at times seems inevitable. As for systemic imbalances that cause another whole host of problems, well, that seems inevitable, too. Who do you know who is perfectly balanced? I mean, really.

Our human shoulders hang heavy with a sense of responsibility for our health. I know, I know, we can all do things to be healthier, but I just don't get the punitive model that blames people for their own illnesses. I don't!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Quick Visit to Urbane Terrain

It's possible to linger too long beneath the radar during a slight illness like the one I'm suffering from. I'm feeling emotionally vulnerable, too, so I've been laying low.

Also, Brother Wind is in a capricious mood and I haven't wanted to subject my sinuses to the crazy weather that comes along with his unpredictable behavior: clear, warm and peaceful, then five minutes later completely overcast with gusty winds, followed by a heavy rainshower, then five minutes later, clear as a bell again.

But my friend insisted I accompany her to the urbane terrain of Dupont Circle for a bowl of udon noodle soup and a quick trip to Kramerbooks. Getting out, even when it would be more prudent to stay in, is sometimes just the ticket in the midst of a healing crisis. It was today anyway. Thanks Barbara!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Stressful Lifestyles of the Permian Era

Yesterday I vegged out, not by watching the fight scenes in The Pink Panther as Hammer suggested (excellent idea, btw) but by watching the BBC series about life before the dinosaurs. It's such a goofy series, with dramatic music backgrounds and computer animated animals ("monsters" the narrator calls them) who roar like Godzilla. Does anyone really know if these animals made sounds? Oh well, it did add to the entertainment value.

From the Cambrian to the Permian, according to the BBC, life was extremely and unrelentingly stressful. Every single creature, for hundreds of millions of years, worried endlessly about mating, eating, nesting, travel, and escaping from predators and natural distasters.

Hmmm. That pattern sounds very familiar.

Is your life unbearably stressful? Just imagine living in the Carboniferous era when the danger of being eaten by a spider the size of a volkswagon was an everyday reality. Things could be worse, eh?

And the extinctions - my goodness, do you think global warming is bad? During the Permian extinction, 97% of all iife on the planet was killed off. There were several mass extinctions that preceded the devastating Permian extinction, too.

This is such a crazy planet, on which life will find a way, no matter what, it seems. As I watched the animals doing their mating dances, eating, migrating, and especially as they fought with one another, I thought, no wonder things are so bad in the Gaza strip and elsewhere. We're smart and sophisticated, pretty cute, too, but we're inseparable from the rest of life on Earth. We try so hard, but we are what we are.

Watching the series renewed in me a soft spot for my species. Aren't we noble to hope we can rise above it all? Aren't we romantic to imagine that life used to be less stressful? Well, aren't we?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Dark Moon

I thought it was allergies, but actually what I'm suffering from is a cold. It's not the hideous bubonic flu so many folks had this past winter, just a garden variety cold. It could be worse.

In many ways it seems fitting and proper that the cycle of this moon (formerly known as the eclipsed moon from hell) should end with annoying sinus congestion, a lot of nose blowing, bloodshot eyes and a matted nest of hair. It's my body's way of blowing a big raspberry at this moon, also a bit like cutting off my nose to spite my face. But I didn't do it on purpose - it's just happening this way.

Though I can't work when I'm sick, there are some things about the experience I actually kind of like. A break in my usual routine is always a good thing. Everything that's normal just stops. It's so startling to me, a creature of habit and routine, to understand that the usual can be so easily disrupted. And as long as the cold isn't too serious, there's something kind of nice about looking at the world through the fog of congestion. It's like an old lace curtain that both reveals and conceals.

I've got a Chinese movie and the BBC series about life before the dinosaurs from Netflix - both easy to watch and silly, too. And there's the brand new New Yorker on the coffee table, in case I feel like reading (a little bit harder to do through this lace curtain, but maybe I can just look at the cartoons).

I'll do my part to get over this minor ailment, you know, rest, juice, tea, stupid TV. In so doing, may all the goo that's exiting my nose and eyes take with it the sadness, fear and anxiety I've been carrying around since the eclipse. Please? Thank you! Onwards and upwards.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who Begets Whom?

It rained last night, quite a bit, obviously, since everything was really wet this morning. But the thunderstorm I hoped for never materialized. Such is the weather, or maybe I should say such is the inability of even the most sophisticated meteorologists to guess what's going to happen next.

But the weather front moved through, leaving behind an unbelievably sparkling, brisk day of sunshine, birdsong, and crystal clear raindrops on everything. Brother Wind is blowing through town, too, in his benevolent form as bringer of spring.

I saw daffodils for the first time today, plenty of crocus, too. And so it begins - spring, I mean. Part of my celebration of the season includes an irresistible urge to name the order of blooming plants as long as I can - until spring gets so crazy that no one can keep up with it. It's like being at a reunion in some way, recognizing first this flower, then the next, then the next. I love it.

Why do I love the order of bloom so much? Who knows. It reminds me of some of the most tedious chapters in the Icelandic sagas, in which the lineage of the characters going way back in time is recited. Not a lot of action in those chapters, but they do have their own kind of charm. I mean, how far back can you name your own lineage? Medieval Icelanders knew their family backgrounds, you better believe it. Actually there are chapters in the bible that in effect do the same thing.

My version of this, since I can only trace my own lineage back three or four generations, is: crocus, daffodil, tulip, iris - or - fruit trees, American elm, dogwoods, and last but not least, the mighty oaks. And on and on, you get the picture.

Oh glorious springtime, I love you and your crazy upward pushing energy. I love your orderly bloom that eventually becomes a crazy riot of color. I welcome you whole heartedly but please tell me - please? Why am I so allergic to you?


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jonesin' for Thunder

The dogs hate thunderstorms. No matter how we reassure them that everything is fine, all three of them inevitably react, beginning with a trembling that precedes the actual lightning and thunder. They can feel it coming. They know.

Jake tries to wedge himself behind the toilet. He has done this all his life unless I forgot and left the shower doors open, in which case he always chose to get in the bathtub - just about the worst place to be during a thunderstorm. It makes you wonder ...

Shadow is the worst. She pants and slobbers and paces the house. If there's a particularly loud crack of thunder, she inevitably loses control of her sphincters and .. well .. everyone in this house has cleaned that up at one time or another. Tonka barks, he gets frantic. It's a loud bark. There's no use trying to calm him down, he just looks at you like you've lost your mind, and continutes to bark.

I, on the other hand, LOVE thunderstorms. If I were out in an open field I might not enjoy them so much, but from inside where it's warm and dry, I can let my mind touch the energy field of the storm. My goodness it's dynamic. Primal, too. It feels like the energy of the storm reaches a critical mass, after which it takes shape, becomes more than a sum of its parts. Every storm has a personality, at least this is my impression. Some of them feel like crazy artists creating something out of nothing. Other storms aren't as high minded and just feel like they want to break anything that gets in their way. Even the dangerous storms are interesting to me.

I'm eagerly looking forward to tonight's predicted thunderstorms, even though it means the dogs will be scared out of their wits. Sorry dear ones, there's no doubt I'll enjoy the storm even while feeling compassion for your reactions. And admiration, too. The dogs really "get" the power of thunderstorms.

Me? I'm a romantic. C'mon weather front - bring on springtime with a big bang, yes? Yes. Bravo!

Monday, March 3, 2008

On the Brink of Spring

You know the scene in The Wizard of Oz after Dorothy's house lands in Oz? She tiptoes to the front door, Toto in her arms, trembling. Then she opens the door, backs away. The music starts and suddenly, the film is no longer sepia and white (it's not really black and white, is it?) From that moment on, the story unfolds in serious, flaming technicolor. I think that's when she says, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

You know the scene, yes? Yes. Well, that's exactly what spring is like in DC. Almost overnight we move from the monochromatic light, the stark shadows and the stillness that's always a part of winter into a landscape of color, shape, and birdsong. Oh, and sneezing, too, since the pollen count in DC is truly staggering. It's all worth it, though, especially since Claritin became available over the counter.

In just the last few days, the trees are no longer stark and angular. They look hairy or blurry around the tips of the twigs. There's an aura around them, too, a stirring feeling like someone waking up after a long sleep. The birds have resumed their choir practice, beginning before dawn and continuing until at least 10:00 a.m. Bulb flowers are beginning to push their green leaves out of the earth, forsythias are showing their bright yellow blooms, the doves are cooing on every block of Capitol Hill. Oh yeah, spring is just about to pop any second now.

I've retrieved my sneakers from their hiding place deep in my closet, as well as lighter jackets. It's supposed to get up to 70 degrees today, and though I'll be working, I'm sure I'll be able to connect with the upwards moving energy.

Spring is gorgeous in DC, it's unnerving in its intensity, vivifying nevertheless because there is so much life force in the season.

L'chaim, ya'all and happy spring!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Because Pandora Asked

When Pandora asks me to do something, I'm inclined to try my hardest, not only because I love Pandora, but also because she was one of the greatest teachers I've ever had. I'm not really a meme person, but here goes ... well ... except I won't tag five people. I guess I don't do everything Pandora asks of me, probably that's a good thing, too, don't you think?

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

"In this world people were said to be just like those of our own, except that they tied their belts under their armpits, not at their waists. Such spirits were not of the sky, rather they were in the sky, as we may speak of an airplane in the sky. The point of the shaman's journey to these deities was to lead the soul of the horse offered in propitiation by people to the god."

From Shamans and Elders, Experience, Knowledge and Power among the Daur Mongols, by Caroline Humphrey with Urgunge Onon.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Power of Friendship

All day today, there we were, walking around the city in spite of Brother Wind, (who was in quite a mood), stopping here and there for a bite to eat, a cup of tea, a visit to the Cinema exhibit at the Hirschorn, all the while talking, holding hands. I spent the day with an old friend, someone I haven't seen in a couple of years. It was perfect.

OK. He is far more than a friend. He is family. Not like a brother, not like a parent or a child or cousin or any of the other labels we use for people who share DNA, but nevertheless, this man is so dear to me, calling him a friend is ridiculously inadequate.

Is there anything better than getting together with an old friend who's doing really well? My heart is full of love and appreciation. And hope, too. Thank you, dear one, for your current state of happiness and groundedness. Thank you for being so healthy. Thank you for coming to visit. Thank you so much!