April 8, 2021

The Shell

The white conch shell is smooth and cool to the touch. Pale orange striations emphasize the curves and walls, spiraling out the tip moving all the way through the bottom edge. There's a large hole in the center, so you can see an inner spiral, the same pale orange now merged with a hint of salmon pink.

In November of 1989, I went to my parents beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was cold, snow on the sand drifts, everything closed and shuttered for the winter. Only the movie theater was open, it was showing the first Back to the Future, entertainment for the few locals who rode out the harsh storms and kept the town intact for the summer tourists.

I stopped at a gas station and bought a bunch of junk food - sour cream and onion potato chips, Pepperidge Farm chocolate chip cookies, probably some beer. I'd also brought along a bag of mushrooms which I promptly ate.

I meandered out on the dunes for a long time, sat and looked at the ocean, seeing over and over in my head walking in and not returning. There was a scene in a book I had read as a teenager, I think it was in  The Fog by James Herbert.  where a young lesbian woman starts to commit suicide by walking into the ocean, changes her mind, but then drowns as the hordes of "zombies"  trample her under the waves.

I was 23 years old, recently graduated from Wesleyan, was in a relationship with someone I was deeply in love with, and about to go on a grand adventure - the Global Walk for a Livable World. Yet, I felt depressed and incomplete, lonely, and empty.

Dragging my gaze away from the gray stormy breakers that seem to be whispering my name, I hugged my knees to my chest and glanced down at the frozen sand. There was the conch shell. I picked it up and thought I'd probably find a whole one if I just walked down the beach a little more. As I turned it in my hands, I saw that it was whole. Even in the flaw you could see the inner spiral. Even the word  "whole" has the word "hole" in it.

I walked back to the beach house, turned on MTV and watched a documentary on Aerosmith.  munched chocolate chip cookies and ate my potato chips. I've now had this seashell for 31 years, usually it's in my healing room. I'll hand it to clients and tell them the story. I watch them make the connection in a holistic/wholistic way. They say that is the flaw in the diamond that makes it precious, and  even though sometimes I still I feel broken, I know I have integrity, just like the seashell sitting on my desk.

Blessed be.

March 23, 2021

How to make a Time Capsule

How to make a Time Capsule

Find the blue paisley jewelry pouch, the one that is trimmed in white lace and lined in purple satin, that has all the clever little pockets inside.

Fill it with the ephemera of five decades, starting with your oldest possession: the tiny grey porcelain owl with the bright yellow eyes from when the summer you were five, living in Virginia. Add in the sterling silver heart on it's fine serpentine chain, a gift from Dad when you were nine living in rainy Luxembourg.

Next, the silver cuff bracelets - the thinnest you bought when you were 15 at Tyson's Corner Mall when you moved to Maryland. Then the heavy Celtic knotwork from your first paycheck in Santa Cruz when you were 22. The equally heavy tribal cuff from Herland during your first Saturn return, now in your thirties. Are these accessories to the time? Like the antique locket from your mother's great aunt in Sweden, you have consistently worn these until the wildfires of 2020. Now your wrists look thin and bare, even the spiral tattoos have faded.

Add in the two hearts, one clear crystal, one red jasper with black flecks, from the first time we attended Pantheacon over Presidents Day Weekend in 2008. Since then, these hearts have traveled as far north as the Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, as far south as Maui, and as far east as the West Gambia.

Sprinkle in the "I'm engaged to me" ring, with the triangular lilac sapphire and two diamonds, the opal ritual ring, the thick thumb ring with the dancing goddesses from the Hopland's Women's Music Festival in 2005. 

Slowly blend in the antique gold watch, found cleaning out the shed when you lived at 325 Broadway, time encapsulated on its cracked face. A bone hair pin from your freshman college roommate at Wesleyan. And the tiny silver Tardis for Amber's 21st birthday that somehow never made it to the charm bracelet. 

Wrap with a burgundy cord and knot it three times saying,
In the name of the maiden, the mother and the crone, I'm here by myself but I'm never alone.

You have no idea if it will be lost in a earthquake, or stolen like the time your car got broken into in San Francisco right before going on the Global Walk. Maybe it will be passed on for generations. Maybe it will be sold piecemeal at Pawn Shops, Flea Markets, or online auctions. So just let it go. And experience time release.

Blessed Be.

March 16, 2021

Blow Off Some Steam

the toddler has a tantrum
the tempest tosses the sea
roller coaster emotions
make a hormonal mess of me
where do I expend this energy
focused like the laser beam
drive the locomotive
really blow off some steam

March 9, 2021

Pandemic Fashion

Before going for a walk I finally change out of my pandemic uniform -
Husband's over sized baggy black sweatshirt with the frayed cuffs
Brown cotton leggings that have a tiny hole in the thigh,
One of the many Aliki dresses - so comfy, and pockets!
The purple Tibetan prayer shawl, 
Rescued from the neighbors's free box.

I might dab on some make-up
Before a Zoom session,
But it's much easier to just use 
The enhanced setting.

I rarely wear shoes anymore -
Maybe the fake Ugg boots if it's chilly,
I miss my black leather Danskos.

I've removed half a dozen bracelets,
Unclasped the jade Kuan Yin pendant,
Slipped off each silver rings one by one,
Tend to forget to put in nose rings,
Let alone a dozen earrings.

Right now,
My main accessory,
Seems to be
Cat hair.

March 3, 2021

Soul Gardening

Waking up from dormancy,
Fertilized with green tea.
Bulbs burst into daffodils,
Paperwhites unfold,
Weeding out last night's dreams.
Deadheading the nightmares.
Left with the compost of my mind,
Time to repot, time to transplant,
Spring is almost here.
Time to change the 
Clocks, time
To dig a little 
Bit deeper.

February 18, 2021

Inner Coach

There is a voice inside my head,
My inner coach, here's what she said:
You can do it, you've done it before,
You're getting better, you're upping the score.

Be patient with yourself, learn to believe in you,
Have faith in the process, you know what to do,
You're being active, alive and well,
Taking care of the garden, making sure your husband is swell.

The cats are happy, the house is clean,
You're getting things done in this time of in between
Wildfires, elections, and covid-19,
Protest, people being mean.

So be kinder to yourself, be gentle my dear,
Pay attention to the truth, let go of the fear.
Take a walk every day, drink more water, less wine,
Keep loving yourself and it'll all be just fine.

You are doing exactly what you need to do,
You're having fun using your talents a new,
So expect that you'll live to be 104,
And in that good night you'll gently shut the door.