Night, how I adore thee.

Sometimes a girl needs a friend.

And that friend is a book. That book is “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves. And in that book is the day’s writing prompt: Night.

The great carouser.

Invitations from Night to play to party to succumb to temporal pleasures delights deliciousness. Invitations to plumb forbidden pleasures in basement bars secreted hideaways and strip clubs with prancing buxom figures in hot-pink neon lights.

Night, the barker who beckons drunken men and bold ladies into exciting holes-in-the-wall brimming with booze and cigarette smoke that in a manner of Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde are dreary, depressing, dead in daylight.

Night, who delivers the surreal the sensual and the suspect.

Night, who suggests and illuminates shadows only by skirting their peripherals, invoking mystery, arousing fears. “Come here, go there, if you dare. Your identity shall be concealed, your face unrevealed,” encourages Night.  “Privacy I guarantee. Daytime reveals, night conceals. I tempt you to pull up the bedcovers up over your head or pull them down, as you please.”

Night is not always the Good Guy. Fear follows where Night traipses. Dangers real or imagined crouch behind dumpsters, inside cars parked at Lovers’ Lanes, in cheap motels and plush homes where illicit affairs and actions produce varied consequences.

Hearts are broken, people brought to their knees, property is stolen, homes invaded, homicides happen and prison sentences are promised eventually by Night’s presence.

Night does not distinguish between Right and Wrong. It offers a wide stage of theater ranging from solemn hours in solitude and prayer to upheavals and uprootings and ruination of lives.

Do you wish to weep in privacy? Night will be a friend at your side. Reminisce at the sea or on the park bench about loves lost, high school friends who like you are now elderly, contemplate problems, cultivate solutions, or simply breathe far from the stress of life and Night does listen.

And no words need even be spoken but inside your heart and mind.

Night gifts you with solitude when you most need it as much as it pierces a burning reminding thorn of loneliness into your side.

As delicate as Night is so is it harsh. From sweet kisses and tender caresses upon a lover’s hand in your bed a dying parent’s in a hospital bed to brutal violations of safety, personal space and living spaceS, Night allows.

Night bears not the Scales of Justice. Night’s purpose is not to weigh or judge but only to serve as the indefinable fulcrum between extreme pleasures and extreme sins.

Night , how I adore thee. You are my nature, my domain, my friend. Never have you betrayed me, wounded or abandoned me. Always certain to show up and certain to return after Daylight provides its performance.

What human being in my lifetime could ever claim such loyalty and trustworthiness? 

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гдепочта & jossa onposti?

Find your way in a city
February 2 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

Question is, WHICH city?!

And which country?!

Germany. Italy. France. Or Belgium. Denmark. Sweden. Or Finland.

Or how about Japan. South Korea. Thailand. Or Bali.

Mexico. No.

Or how about closer to home. The United States.

Every state on this side of the country. Texas. Arizona. Nevada. Colorado. Idaho. Montana. Or Wyoming.

Or maybe California. No. Catalina Island. Oregon. Washington. Hawaii. Missouri. Or Kansas.

I’ve been to every of those (and others). Some by car. Some by train. Some by foot. Some by boat. By bus. Some by plane. Some by all. I’ve yet to travel into a place by hang glider but the possibility’s still there! Because as much as I am a natural writer, I am also a natural traveler.

I dare not poke that bear of what true travel is. Most people do not get it. Most people are not it. Most people think that just because they bought a plane ticket and flew into France or Vietnam or {fill in the blank} that they are travelers. Oh how wrong they are.

Most people are tourists, if they are that. But again, not gonna poke that bear. Suffice it to say that most people in general overstate themselves. Attribute to themselves greater skills, qualities or characteristics than in reality they have.

They’re smart. (They’re not.) They’re creative. (Uh, not really.) They’re photographers. (Unoriginal banal snapshots.)

They’re cooks. (Crappy recipe featuring Spam & Velveeta.) They’re singers and the next American idol. (They can carry a tune.) They’re writers. (Puullllease! They couldn’t pen a proper sentence, never mind an original, to save the their lives.) They’re travelers. (They got on a fucking bus in Paris!)

Just several examples of the overstating themselves that people in Western culture tend to do.

Back to find your way in a city.

Truth is, I’ve found my way through so many cities, towns, villages and blips on maps in the United States and abroad that I simply can’t pick one. Truth is, I’ve veritably made a lifetime of travel* and travel has made me.

*Again, true travel, not simply flying somewhere and following a tour. I don’t do tour groups unless a country forces it upon its guests (such as Russia or parts of communist China).

I actually don’t like traveling with others. Not to say every adventure has been solo; about 99.99999% has been. I’ve traveled abroad with intimate others spottily. It has its advantages. “Sharing the experience” and all that. But deep down, I’m a lone wolf. An unconventional trekker who thrives on meeting the world wholly present and naked to the experience. No interference or “safety factor” from anyone. If there is an other at my side, there’s gotta be a lot of separation time for it to work for me.

Find your way in a city.

Since I’ve lived my life finding my way through unfamiliar and foreign places, I truly cannot pick one! I can identify, from experience, useful tools! Beginning with:

* paper and pen. To draw crude pictures and maps when you cannot speak the native language. Or even when you can. It’s amazing how effective those two “primitive” tools are! Well, to me, they’re essential. I’m very rarely without pen and paper. They’re as much a part of me as limbs. But then again, writing is my calling and purpose and if I’m without, then I’m not quite myself.

Which raises an interesting point. Today, everything’s cell phone. They come in handy, no doubt. Plenty are the times I’ve been in the “middle of nowhere” — which to me is not only “nowhere” but THE best place to be, just me ‘n’ my Subbie! — where I’ve needed to look up a campground. (Campgrounds, especially primitive/dispersed ones with zero services, are a mainstay of my travels.)

Phones can be invaluable. But they can also hinder the experience.

I still vividly remember communicating with an Italian with crude drawings on a train in Italy while I was backpacking (alone of course!) through Europe.

The person spoke not a word of English and my Italian from college was long gone! I don’t recall the content of our conversation, only both of us greatly endeavoring to communicate with hilarious stick figures or what-not!

Try doing that with a cell phone! See, to me, there’s something so glorious … so real …. so HUMAN in communicating with the very same tools of our ancestors. Our hands. Sticks in the dirt.

It’s not hard to picture. Two caveman. One from the west, the other from the north. Neither aware that the other tribe exists. Both cavemen on the move in a hunt.

They meet. “Sektylke aetasdkt” says one. “Oeadkggbsh asdkrjg” says the other. Neither understanding a word of the other. Are they going to kill each other? Or make friends?

How is the situation overcome? Each takes a tool. Maybe one the crude spear in his hand. The other fashions a pen out of a tree twig. With a swinging bare foot, one fashions a scratch pad onto the earth. And they begin drawing pictures. Hieroglyphics. Whatever is necessary to convey a thought. Because the fundamental truth is: Pictures speak even more loudly than words. When words — language — are not shared and mutually understood.

I remember that “primitive dialogue” on that Italian train decades ago so vividly as I was trying to negotiate my way through a country or city or town or wherever it was I was heading.

For a traveler until the day I day, I will hold to this truth, for me. Perhaps it’s a universal truth. I don’t really know and frankly don’t really care because I move through my life in deeply unconventional and unique ways.

Finding my way in a city — any city in the world — is fundamentally and fully not about reaching the destination (though that’s very important too).

It’s about the journey. It’s about the experience of finding my way. The tools from my metaphorical and physical backpack (and yes, I’m a backpack girl, not handbags or purses!) … the tools given to me by life — firstly and namely my brain … my intelligence … my creativity and problem-solving skills … my McGyver nature … my ingenuity … my fearlessness … my genuine and profound interest in other cultures and people … my deep self-awareness as a global chick with no country that I REALLY call home but the world as my home.

And perhaps above all, finding my way in a city is about love of travel … love of adventure. Love of growing and learning and gaining wisdom.

I can find my way through just about any place on this planet while executing caution and awareness of course! Don’t be stupid! Or do and learn the hard way. Some places you DO NOT go alone or even with 10 armed body guards.

I can, and do, find my way in any city or any place long as I’ve got pen and paper. Writer and traveler are inseparable. Deep down, I’m also still that caveman from the north, encountering a counterpart from the west. And we will communicate.

BTW, today’s title reads: “Where is the post office?” in Russian and Finnish.

the kiss we remember isn’t always the first.

Write about a kiss.
February 1 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

He lay on the mattress. On top of a piece of plastic and a sheet. He hated that plastic. Only reminded him of his infirm state of body. Most days he was lucid. However, he slipped in and out of consciousness. Felt confused, disoriented, illogical. An effect of the drugs. Only God knew how many chemicals coursed now through his body. Except the man, clear-thinking or otherwise, didn’t believe in God. So no one knew how many drugs to fight off the cancer were in his body. The doctors lost count.

He was a proud man. A smart man. A severely stoical man. His was a life of severe abuse. He had survived it. Or had he? Yes. He lived through it. Came out alive. But at what costs. Many many many. Too many. He wouldn’t talk about it. He probably didn’t even known himself how many.

He shifted slowly from his back to his right side. The plastic cover crinkled. It pained him, the slight movement as much as that sound. Yet another reminder of his infirm condition.

Life was draining from his body. Cancer was taking it all away. Aggressively. Inarguably. The man who had dictated life, its ways and means according to HIM to so many — his children, his wives, sometimes even friends and relatives of his wives’ families — was now being dictated to. Ironic. A turn of the tables. A taste of his own poison, so to speak. Just as he had dictated to and forced his will upon others, he was now being dictated to by forces stronger than he. By a disease that refused to surrender. An illness that marched through the whole of his body and mind.

The illness was brutal. A half-million soldiers under the command of a cruel general. It took no prisoners. The man himself was captive to forces greater than himself. Was at the mercy of all the rage inflicted on others through his lifetime. Especially those he loved.

“That’s more comfortable,” he thought, once he accomplished that shift from his back to his right side. A seemingly simple move of considerable exertion for the sick, the elderly and the immobile. Even the seemingly simplest of turns in bed taken for granted by most people can take 5 to 10 minutes. A turn or two can mark a major achievement in a day for the debilitated and the demented.

Gratitude for having at least some strength left to move one’s self on one’s own with no help from a nurse or doctor or partner or caretaker? Perhaps.

Gratitude for still being alive? Perhaps. But what if it’s accompanied by crushing pain. Debilitated drugged-up existence. Muscles atrophied by cancer. No recovery in sight now. Ever.

Is the cost of “staying alive” worth the costs? The enormous costs of doctor and hospital visits and drugs and more drugs and medical tests and studies. On and on and on the list of expenses. Just to “stay alive.”

“This is not life,” he said to himself. The initial comfort of lying on his right side slowly gave way to discomfort. Stiffness. Immobility. He was a man of mobility. He HATED this immobilization. More than anyone could understand except his daughter, one of his two, who was just like him. Had inherited the Mobile gene. Take away mobility. Motion. And life for those two was over.

He felt it through his morphined-up body and mind. At least now he was relaxing. Experiencing some streams of peace through the torrents of ravaging pain of the months, the agony of cancer eating away at him. And eating him alive from the inside out.

Yes. The streams of peace expanded within. Like air they felt. Like the soft rides along the airstreams. His mind had last-minute recollections. Flashes from the life he was leaving behind. He would miss his wife. He would miss his dog. He would miss riding the airstreams as he had countless occasions in an airplane he no longer had.

Except that he was gliding on those currents, the winds that he loved, when death came to him with a kiss.

Venus in Pisces: The Sea of Universal Love

Write about “the sky you were born under.”
(after Joy Harjo)
January 28 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

First, who’s Joy Harjo? Oh, a Mvskoke author, musician and poet. OK.

Write about “the sky you were born under.”

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

I was born under Venus shining brightly at the top of my chart. Smack on the Midheaven. At 16 degrees Pisces.

To those knowing little to nothing about astrology, picture it like this:
You’re on the peak of a mountain. You can ascend no higher. Nothing above you except sky. You’re surrounded by the heavens. Etheric atmosphere. That’s the Midheaven.

It’s night. Of the many many stars above you, there is one shining directly above you. Brightly. A beacon. A heartbeat in the heavens. It’s your heartbeat. Your guiding light in your lifetime. Like the North Star to the sailors. That is Venus — in Pisces. On the Midheaven. At 16 degrees. The sky I was born under.

Naturally all the rest of our solar system’s planets were in position too when I was lifted out of my biological mother. The sun … moon … Mercury … Mars … Jupiter … Saturn … Uranus … Neptune … Pluto. Assorted astroids too. All the players that comprise an astrological birth chart when we are delivered upon the stage of life.

It’s true that astrology is deeply complicated and profoundly complex. It’s true that astrology is a lifetime study. And that even if you devoted the whole of your life to it, you’ll never ever come to know all that there is to be known.

It’s true that astrology is a great passion of mine and has been since about 1985. Maybe even earlier. I don’t recall when I actually bought my first astrology book — and an excellent one it is! I believe I still have it too in a box of extremely whittled-down books stored in another state.

Funny thing about astrology. I’ve always been into metaphysics. Starting with a tarot deck that I gave to my dad one year for Christmas or his birthday? I was around 11. Looking back, what a silly gift! My dad would’ve had ZERO interest! I’m sure he never even cracked open that deck of cards and the accompanying book. But I sure did!

My metaphysical bent, nee nature, just took off. I dabbled in if not studied to working knowledge many “white arts.” Even very early on, I knew to stay away from black magic. Pretty sure I had at least one distant lifetime in it and knew better this time around.

Of all the metaphysical areas, the one that I didn’t believe in was astrology! Thought it was hogwash. Until I started doing people’s charts. I was blown away!

It made a believer of me. The studies deepened from that point forward. Astrology became me. And I it. It was, it turned out, a perfect harmonizing of my extraordinary intuition and my superb analytical / reasoning / skills and objectivity. Pisces meets Virgo. Pisces sun / Virgo moon. The spirit of a mystic and the heart of a hardworking meticulous scientist / student.

Circling back to Venus on the Midheaven — the apex of a chart — in Pisces. The sky I was born under is actually a Piscean sky. With Venus, Mercury and Sun all in Pisces and all in the 10th house. My soul and spirit are awash in the Neptunian energies. The sea is my Source, the imagination my home.

People with strong Piscean energies are, it’s said, old souls. Because in the circle of astrology, the first of 12 signs is Aries and the last is Pisces. It’s all very complex; I’m simplifying.

Among my many gifts is detachment and if I were presented a client chart with Venus smack on the Midheaven in Pisces, I’d say wow! I would. Any planet on the Midheaven is telling and of special significance. Venus there … it gets no higher than that when it comes to universal compassion, unconditional love. It’s the highest and finest of human nature coupled with the divine.

I’d say, before even examining all the other planetary players and their relationships (again, very complex, astrology is), this person is an artist. A visionary. A seer. And see-r.

This person needs to be in a creative field! The 10th house is career in astrology. This person should have a CAREER in the arts / creative expression. A person with Venus in Pisces on the apex needs to be creatively expressing all the time! Any creative endeavor and endeavors, plural, will do!

Venus in Pisces is refined.

In love, it gets no higher than that. Venus in Pisces is the highest point of development and achievement in love in a lifetime. You can go no higher in universal love vibration. It is Spiritual Love. All are One love. Not just mouthing the words or pretending that we are all one. It IS. No one knows it better or more fully than a Venus in Pisces.

With Mercury and Sun also in Pisces and also in the 10th house (top of the chart), well, there’s no denying that the sky under which I was born is one of extreme sensitivities, creative expression, spirituality, universal energies. Jesus, Buddha, angels, etheric beings, guides, spirits on the other side, the list goes on, they’re all my friends and neighbors!!! — and far more preferable than people on planet Earth!

The sky under which I was born is one of a visionary. A mystic. An addict. Every sign — starting with Aries on to Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces — has its positive and negative qualities and escapism is one of the Piscean potential negatives.

I didn’t come to planet Earth because I love people. I don’t. People suck. They ruin everything. I came here to embody and express and exemplify higher energies than those that characterize the dense and dark energies of this planet and, more specifically, its peoples. My calling, so visible in the sky mapping that is our blueprint — and we each have one for if you were born, you have an astral blueprint! — is that of an artist whose Creative Source is the universe.

And that IS the sky I was born under and shall die under since our astral mappings, aka birth charts, remain with us through our lifetimes, reminding us of our missions, shedding light on our weaknesses and strengths, our hurts and our gifts, our struggles and our achievements, our lessons and our missions. It’s all in there. It’s all visible, to me and to any skilled and capable astrologer.

And by the way, as fun and stimulating and illuminating as it is to read charts of those I know, it’s actually more fun and intriguing to read charts of complete strangers! It’s peering into their closet and traipsing through their psyche — all in the good and highest intent of help and service. It’s an adventure, doing charts of people is!

Yeah, should add that to the description of the sky under which I was born: universal traveler / adventurer! Onward and upward toward the ultimate achievement of being liberated from Earth lifetimes once and for all, never to return!! Now THAT, to me, Venus in Pisces, my sky, is bliss!

a Buick, brothers and buried truth

Write about a used car.
January 27 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

He drives a Buick Century, a 1958, Renaldo does. Rennie to his friends, Renaldo to his father and mother, from Mexico, and his coworkers.

It’s a cool machine, he thinks, while admitting he’s not really into cars. Not like his younger brother, Fernando. Freddie to most, except his mother of deep Mexican traditions and culture. Freddie lives and breathes cars. Most machines in fact.

He’s the proverbial tinkerer in the garage. When he’s older, he’ll face a tough time keeping a wife, his mother thinks. Most wives won’t want a man more married to the machines than her. Especially Mexican women.

It’ll take a special woman to stay with Freddie, his mother thinks. Best would be if his wife has a bunch of bambinos and bambinas. Keep her occupied while Freddie’s tuning a carburetor or greasing an engine or whatever it is he does.

Renaldo, on the other hand, he’ll have no trouble getting a woman. And 10 more to top it. Then another 10 on top of that.

Renaldo couldn’t care less about what’s under the hood. Unless that hood’s in a bra. And the bigger the better though he’s hardly picky. He’ll take ’em any way, shape or size. Even a triple AAA cup. That’s right. Take a moment to consider whose boobs are that size, excluding Twiggy and models who stake their careers on anorexia and seemingly gender reassignment.

No one in Renaldo’s huge family knows. Even if they did know — by hunch, by smell, by a courageous willingness to let the truth in — they push the knowing away. Everyone except Freddie.

Freddie, whose whole life from age of 6 to 66 revolved around all things mechanical … Freddie who spent untold joyful hours with his head beneath hoods and blackened greasy hands twisting bolts and body parts … Freddie who seemed oblivious to about everything else in life except machinery though he did manage to produce 3 kids thanks to the wife’s sexy negligees … Freddie whom neighbors and friends called “Freddie the Freak” BECAUSE of his singleminded obsession … it was Freddie who smelled it on his brother.

Scents instinctual not actual. The same olfactory powers that guide a mother to HER baby among a bunch of babies. The same olfactory powers had by good reporters and excellent detectives to smell the truth even when someone’s telling a bold-faced lie.

“Freddie the Freak” smelled the pedophile in his brother Renaldo. Spoke of it a few times to his wife, who adamantly refused to believe. Tested those same waters with another brother or two and their father. Same responses. Total refusal to believe. Renaldo was too nice. Too charming. Too fun. He loved people.

Sure, he loved the women too much. No one argued that. He loved his smokes too. But he was wasn’t THAT kind of a man. No way. No freakin’ way. So “Freddie the Freak” was alone. Completely alone in the truth. His superior gut knowingness and willingness to see the truth were just two more things, in addition to a passion for mechanics, that set him apart from a family of dozens.

Freddie was sickened by Rennie’s attraction to young girls. When once he pictured the actions, he ended up vomiting violently over the toilet.

“Do you have the flu, honey pie?” came the sweet concern from his wife in the other room.

“Could be,” responded Freddie. How could he tell her. No one believed a single word he said about his brother’s … persuasion.

Over time, it ate away at him. Freddie was an honest man. A good man. A superior provider. Loving — enough — to his wife. Had never raised a hand, not once. Not like most husbands in his Mexican culture. “Macho cabrón,” he thought privately. Macho assholes. He’d not once felt even a twinge of an impulse to raise a hand to woman, child or another human being.

But what his brother was doing … it sickened him so deeply and it angered him profoundly. Even novena and prayerful beseechings to Our Lady of Guadalupe and regular Sunday worship at church brought no relief.

In time, Freddie began to feel that he was somehow responsible for Renaldo’s action with the young girls. Not directly responsible. Rather, passively responsible. By doing nothing, he was contributing to Renaldo’s continuation of molesting little girls.

He didn’t get there quickly, Freddie. It took time. It took his suffering years in silence. It took too many months, years, of not only KNOWING what his brother was doing but increasingly seeing the signs. It took his family shaming HIM — Freddie — for even suspecting Renaldo could do such an evil thing, never mind even suggesting it aloud.

However, when he got there, he got there.

So it was on that one hot afternoon in 1961 that he offered a sweet deal that he knew his brother couldn’t resist. A used two-toned two-door Buick Century. Spanking-new shiny and pristinely restored by his own hands.

Renaldo jumped on it. Relegated his old man’s jalopy, as he called it, to the junk heap.

Grabbed the keys dangled before him by his brother, leapt into the front seat like a gazelle and tore off like Ayrton Senna, the famous Brazilian race car driver. Destination: All around town and down every road and side road around to show off HIS new wheels!

He tore off! Metal to the pedal! The roar of the engine just about giving him a hard-on! Ohhhhh, the ladies would love him now!! They’d flock to him! And the small ones, well, they’d never know what kinda hot-shot car he drove now. They didn’t care. Oh well. A minor cost of “doing business” with pubescent girls, he shrugged.

The tires spun hot! The engine roared like a gorilla’s mating call in the forest! He was king of the jungle, Renaldo was! He was the man of the hour! God’s gift to, well, everything at that moment!

Fueled by adrenalin and machismo, he pushed that pedal all the way to the floor out on that road. Dolly Road, it was called, ironically, after the wife of some important town big-wig long ago. He watched the speedometer climb … climb in the Buick Century. His old-man’s jalopy never reached half this speed! He felt it in his pants. Right hand on the wheel, the left on the giant bulge in his lap. Jacked up on his ride, he pictured, for more thrill, one of the faces of a lady he’d banged recently. Then he pictured the naked body of a girl.

Sexual desire bit him roughly, erotically, at the gruff of a neck like a mother cat grabbing her wandering kitten. Arousal intensified, he loosened his one-handed hold on the wheel. Tires jacked. Left. Right. Left. Right. Renaldo jumped alert. Grabbed the wheel. Slammed on the brakes.

The brakes that “Freddie the Freak” had designed not to work. The brakes that Freddie had designed to slip completely. To save all little girls from his brother.

* * *

Truth is often imbued with irony. Truth is, Freddie wasn’t the freak. It was his brother. But no one would believe. Not a one. So mangled was he that even his mother, who was more fractured and broken than the son she was forced to bury in the ground, insisted on a closed casket.

His service was attended by many many. Everyone tearfully called the accident a true tragedy. They eulogized Renaldo as a good man. A fun man. A friend to everyone. The life of the party. He died too young. He loved life. Everyone cried rivers at the service and burial.

Except his brother Freddie. Who wept privately in his safest place and sanctuary, his garage. He wept not for his brother being dead but for every child he had violated.

The Buick Century was tossed onto the pile for eventual fate with a metal crusher. As for the little girls, their lives would never be the same. Their experiences and memories could not be and would never be crushed out of existence like that machine.

His head bowed beneath the hoods, Freddie prayed for those victims every day for the rest of his years. He asked their forgiveness for what his brother had done — and for what he himself hadn’t done soon enough to that used Buick Century, two doors and two tone, white and baby girl pink.

Tweet tweet tweet from from my studio perch. (No relation to social media.)

Look out your window; write what you see.

January 20 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

This prompt catches the sky on an off day. Gone is the usual crisp azure. A blue so sharp and clear that it could be used by a surgeon to laser through body tissue.

Vanished — albeit not for long!  — is that sky. It’ll return probably tomorrow. Gray skies do not linger here as they do in western Washington state. God-awful Washington state. The only state in all the land in which I’ve vowed never to step foot again. Unless I’m en route to Canada. Even then, I’d take the long way ’round!

From my window is seen sky: primarily. The location of my little studio — and I do mean little! — affords this fantastic view. It is perched atop a hill, one of many in my town. Not steep San Francisco hills. Having lived there oh so long ago!, I know them well. Talk about good exercise!!

The hills here are gentler than the City’s though still a workout, some are. Especially if you’re on foot and hurrying to get home! As I often seem to be for this reason or other.

The hills can be deadly in snow or ice. The slope of my access alley resulted in city traffic barriers erected at this last storm. My driveway, well, that’s a whole other level of slope! San Francisco slope! I wouldn’t attempt driving it in snow and ice!

The view. From the window in my little studio, it is sky: primarily. Today the shade of gray gauze. Textured. Like those cotton packs dentists stuff between gums and lips.

Interrupting heaven’s expanse are hills and mountains. Granite Mountain, specifically. I do not know the names of the three peaks, tapered, in my direct line of vision. They resemble two giant boobs and behind those a boob by its lonesome. No silicone implants, I assure. 🙂

The natural landscape — from the hills to the giant boobs plus one to the sharp carved peaks of Granite Mountain — all within the view out my window! — are garbed in browns and greens in the style of shrubs and trees of mountainous high desert.

If you travel this direction with Nature behind you, you’ll meet the rooftops of the town interspersed with city trees. Low-rise housing and businesses of historic downtown / Whiskey Row. {The city’s powers that be are adamant about low-level structures and kudos to them!!} The magnificent historic Courthouse. Nearer still, the sharp sloping roof of a church the shade of sandstone. Nearer still, a telephone pole and goliath brown rooftop with skylights. That would be the library. 🙂

From the telephone pole and nearer this way still, a tree. A huge tree. I can’t tell you the type but an arborist certainly could! Its trunk is thick and steadfast, its outreaching branches muscled and vigorous and the smaller branches, twigs-sized, spindly and chaotic and barren like the whole of the tree.

I’m not a tree identifier but I talk to trees and they talk to me. And this tree, only a portion of which is viewable from my window, tells me:

“I am secure here. I like it here. It is winter and I am here, steady and strong and grounded. Spring will spring in her time and then so shall I, a verdant vigorous green that shall absolutely delight your sights and senses!”

I’ve been in this studio only since November and thus not witnessed the changes of seasons so I’ve that to anticipate!

Expansive is the one word to describe the view from my window. Where sky — usually that striking inspiring crisp cloudless blue typical of Arizona and desert — and terrain meet and harmonize, by a direct line of vision.

The chain-link fence demarcating the boundaries of my little patio is easily overlooked — overshadowed and outshined by this great view of my town that I love and come to call home a little bit more every day.

I’ve said it to others and I’ll say it again here. My studio is little, cramped and confining. Were this studio facing, say, the wall of a building, it would be a coffin. The view is the highlight, the selling point, the lead perk that overrides the “negatives” (of small and no bathtub).

There’s truth in one word x 3: location, location, location. Living atop a hill behind the library, singularly and collectively! It’s the perfect place for me at this time (noisy inconsiderate neighbors above notwithstanding)!

It’s the perfect marriage, for me.

Library. Words. Writing. Writer that I am and writer that I increasingly seek to become through publication.

Plus:

High places. I’ve always loved being up there in high places!

If I wrote that in childhood I spent more time high high high high up in the highest branches that could hold my petite size and weight — therefore enabling me to climb with strong innate agility (that remains lo these many decades later!) quite high and deep into trees indeed! — than I did in the house, well, it wouldn’t be altogether accurate. However, tree tops have always been my place of safety. The sole refuge into which I escaped because home was hell and hell home.

P.S. I’m not a liberal tree-hugger! However, I do know my place with and within trees. Perched high in the branches like a bird is best!

Spacious describes the view.

And blessed describes me.

wind. thy taste is liberty on my lips.

Remember a sound.

January 19 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

Shhhhhhhhhhh.

Listen to the air.

Glorious air. Moving air. Air turned unstill by turning of engine parts. The sound of a hum of wheels and gears and things I can’t don’t know and have never seen inside of an airplane engine.

The hum. Not a high hum like a tension wire. Not rev rev rev like a race car’s. A roaring hum much like the ocean’s. Yes, that’s it. The sound of a small plane’s engine when you’re inside the plane and flying is like that. The hum of an ocean in the sky.

I feel fortunate and blessed to have a father who flew and flew a small plane, not commercial aircraft. The sensations and sounds of flying are so intimate. Nothing like those of commercial planes. Where you can get up and move around. Where you can listen to airplane audio or a movie or an iPad.

Or just as likely 10 shouting spoiled brats completely unsupervised and undisciplined by their “parents.”

In a small plane, you remain seated and belted the entire flight. If you’re tall, the seating is cramped. If you’re short, the seating is cramped. There is no radio to listen to except the spurts of aviation chatter between control towers and pilots, pilots and pilots and pilot and passenger — all through headphones.

There is only the deep loud hum of an engine in motion interspersed with occasional announcements of aircraft position required by law. (That every pilot adheres to law is no, they do not.) If you speak to another without headphones, you shout. If you move, you move not very far.

Nothing separates you from the air except the skin. Our bodies are designed identically, now that I think on it. Thin skin made of metal (aluminum, I presume, though perhaps the industry’s invented even lighter and stronger materials that better withstand forces of flight without added bulk and weight).

The cockpit door is right there. Right there, on your right if you’re the front passenger. Inches away. The door handle, too, right there. Inches away. It can be turned with one or two hands, depending on your strength.

It would be so easy to simply turn the handle during a flight and jump into the sound: the WHOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHH of air currents. Actually it wouldn’t be quite as easy as all with air pressure against the door. Still, the point is made about the intimacy of a small plane. It’s not like a Delta (are they even still in business?) or United.

The roar of a small plane’s engine in motion is as near the ocean’s as I’ve experienced in a lifetime of listening to sounds. Or, to describe it another way, it’s like the roar from a conch shell placed against the ear only the sound envelopes your head and the whole of you, not only the eardrum.

I was given a gift through my father and because of my father who so loved to fly. The gift of the sound of air, intimately. From up high. High above the earth and her peoples (and annoying people). High in the metaphorical heavens where space is freedom and freedom space. The place where birds go, travel and reside.

The sound of freedom is the wind. And, because of my dad, I got to sample that wind from the inside of a 4-seater Mooney, securely in the capable hands of a pilot who took flying seriously. (Not all pilots do; there’s no shortage of dickheads who fly unsafely, after drinking, etc.) What a gift and life experience.

Yes, the sound of freedom is the wind. The motion of the air coursing beneath and over the wings. I have my father to thank for the gifts of (intimate) flying. The stuff of dreams of man.

I alo have the eagle, my totem, my protector and my guide, to acknowledge and honor. I see feel and know your presence. And at this odd, complicated and challenging time of life, I beckon your guidance and your vision, broader than mine here on earth, so that I may take the direction designed by Spirit.

Eagle Bald Flying

My dad is no longer here but his love of flying is. I see our common threads too.

And, eagle, I hear your sound. Your calls and the sound and song of wind over your wings. The wind. The sound of life. The sound of freedom.

The Celica’s blue but not the moon

Write about a day moon.

January 5 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”

“The moon! She be somewhere!”

Evelyn looked at Danny as if he were a madman, a werewolf.

“I saw that,” said Danny. Her eye rolls. Evelyn rolled her eyes a lot when it concerned him.

“Listen,” said Evelyn,  taking command of the situation. “If  we don’t find the way out, we’re gonna die here. Do you GET that? Does it REGISTER in that thick wood noggin of a head?” She tapped the sides of her skull.

“I GET it, Evelyn!” He snapped. “I’m NOT stupid!”

She rolled her eyes again.

“I saw that!” he shouted.

“Whatever,” she exhaled under her breath. “Now, Mr. Astronomer, which way did you say is west?”

Danny tilted his head skyward and scanned. Saw nothing new. Was presented the same scenery they’d been looking at for the past 7 hours.

“Wellllllllllll,” he hawed.

Another eye roll, this one dramatically pronounced. Her entire head rolled too.

“Goddamn it, Danny!”

Her abrupt sharp irritation caused him to lose a breath.

“Let me get this through your thick skull one last time! We. Are. Going. To. Die. Out. Here. Die! You know, D-I-E. Do you get that?! No water. No food. For days and days!” Fear and anger drenched her voice.

“We’ll be found a year from now! Some poor lost soul like us will stumble on us. Two bodies carpeted by ants and flies and whatever other insects are out here! Flesh gone! Dried up and eaten by vultures and god knows what else. Our eyes pecked out …”

“OKAY! That’s enough! I get it!” yelled Danny.

“Soo,” said his sister, hand set over thumping heart to calm and compose herself. “So you see, it’s really really REALLY important that you lead the way.”

The two stood in a desert 15 miles south of Palm Springs. Evelyn rued the moment she’d agreed to park her Toyota Celica and “explore.”

“I’ve got a good sense of direction,” Danny reminded her. Couldn’t argue that.

“We won’t get lost.” Even with his strong internal mapping and study of night skies, Evelyn wasn’t thrilled with the idea.

“Okay, just for 10 or 15 minutes,” she relented. What harm could come of it? They were in the middle of nowhere. Nuthin’ out here. Her blue Celica could be spotted a mile away!

They exited her vehicle, she with underlying trepidation, he with exuberance, and began walking.

“Look! Look!” he pointed. Like a boy discovering gumball after lollipop in a candy store, Danny leaped from cactus to cactus, rock to rock, hole to hole dug by a reptile or rodent. Such things fascinated him. All things of nature captivated the young man of 22 who for his mental retardation had the mind of a 6-year-old.

Evelyn, on the other hand, was bored out of hers.

She watched him scamper off, this way, then that, like a dog chasing a rabbit. He got away from her. Too fast.

“Danny! Danny!” Evelyn shouted. His strong gangly legs carried him along the desert wind. Hers, on the other hand, were like sodden logs after a monsoon.

“DANNY!!! DAAAAAAANNY! STOP! STOPPPP! DANNYYYYYY!”

Evelyn gave chase. It was futile. Her short leaden legs were no match for his gazelle. Her only choice was for him to him to run out of steam — which he would — and catch up to him then.

Danny did and Evelyn did. By then, her blue Celica was nowhere to be seen.

“SHIIIIIT, Danny!!!” exhaled the 25-year-old, folded over, hands on knees, drawing in deep breaths. “Where’d you learn to run like that?!”  She always knew he was fast. Just not THAT fast. And very near tireless.

Glee radiated from his eyes like sun rays. “Look what I found!”

He opened both palms to display four rocks. Each the color of the sand surrounding them. Each bland. Each like the millions of rocks in the vast landscape.

“There’s more in my pockets!” he patted. There certainly were. They bulged.

Evelyn rolled her eyes.

Months passed until the bodies of Evelyn and Danny were found. Not by a lost soul like she’d predicted, rather a pilot in a crop plane headed to California’s farming region.

The blue Celica was retrieved too.

On the day they were found, the moon was as it was that day they got lost. Nowhere to be seen. A new moon, nigh invisible to the human eye, its presence revealed only by the faintest shimmer in the dark of night.

The siblings were buried side by side in a moving service that gutted the parents and left friends and family weeping for days. They were laid to rest under a moon blazing bright and full, guiding them onward so that they might never lose their way again.

A year after my death … in pretend. Or premonition?

“A year after your death, …” (after Czeslaw Milosz)

– Jan. 4 prompt from “A Writer’s Book of Days”

Okay, before I proceed, who’s Czeslaw Milosz?! {quick Google} Esteemed Polish poet and prose writer. Okay.

A year after your death …

The world is little changed and really no better than when I left it. I hover from time to time from way way way up here in the ethers. Check in like a grandma might check in on her grandchildren playing dominoes in the living room. Does anyone even play dominoes in Western culture any more?  The Asians have their own version. Mahjong. They love it to pieces. Word play not intended. Okay, perhaps a little. 🙂

My love for words has gone nowhere. Only I have. My love of words from here, on the other side, hasn’t intensified. It couldn’t. In life, the love was saturated.

It has, a year after my death, however, expanded. Become liberated from the — and I’m selecting these words with care and precision — Stupid on planet earth.

See, for me, I hated Stupid. Hated it vigorously. It’s complicated. I do not wish to rattle that hornet’s nest. Rather, it must suffice to say that earthlings as a whole were no true friends of mine. Kinship was infrequent, sparse, the meeting of minds a delight but rare.

Some were friends of course. Some glorious souls, rich in intelligence, compassion, thought, caring, insight. Kindness. That went a very long ways with me during my time on the planet. A very very long ways.

I wish not to stray from the topic. I hated Stupid, yes. Vigorously.

Yet what pained me most was not being listened to. It was a cross I bore in that lifetime. An affliction, in the Biblical sense. It was other things too. A burden. A wound inherited and imposed upon by my parents, both of whom have too passed from earthly residency. An imprint of experience that would not be shaken or erased or forgotten, only, eventually, understood, healed and forgiven from all sides.

I hated that hurt. I hated that I hurt. I hated my parents for not listening. Not seeing me. I hated them for imposing and giving me that one word even still is the most traumatic word I know in a grounded and extensive vocabulary: isolation.

Images from that lifetime, released a year ago, come flooding back. They’re not pretty. The emotions are wreckage. I’ve much to sift through and sort still from this side.

To return to point.

A year after my death, and looking in from the other side. Yes, I hated Stupid. Hated it vigorously. And I hated that so many, “the world at large,” couldn’t hear a single word I wrote. Too, many were the incidences where they couldn’t understand what I was speaking either, even though it was in our shared native tongue and with simple language. However, it was in writing where my gift, passions, purpose and undying love lay.

In humanity, it is within our strengths and gifts where the greatest tenderness and vulnerabilities lie and therefore where the deepest and lasting pains occur, are imprinted and stored until they can be loved back into the light by the soul who so chooses that journey.

Speaking but especially writing was like talking to a wall. A wall of Stupidity. A blank wall where often the simplest thought or concept, expressed simply and articulately, drew a blank.

Or where an alleged listener / reader so twisted and misperceived and mucked with and misconstrued my words in spite of their conciseness and exactness (points of great pride for me as a thinker and a writer) that  the whole “talking to a blank wall” was made moot. Instead, it was talking to an idiot. Lord they were EVERYWHERE. God what a fucking waste of a talent. “One cannot sew a silken purse from a sow’s ear.” Whoever penned that ought be commended.

God, I hated Stupid then. I felt so extraordinarily out of my element. Different. Sometimes like a convict in a prison called earth. Sometimes like a traveler yearning to be freed and go home. Always like a writer. Always like a visitor from elsewhere far far far away from a different plane and place.

My regret — though there are no regrets here, all things and all experiences be they perceived as positive or negative are for learning — is that I let Stupid get to me. Erode my innate sense of wonder and exuberant and unbounded curiosity. I was bright. Quick. My mercurial mind processed rapidly. “You only have to explain it once. I get it,” I used to say. Not that anyone listened. An aptitude little valued and appreciated I’d noticed as Western culture took off into Dumbed-Down. At light speed, I might add. Or is that dark speed?

Yes, a year after my death, my view on things is shifting. I see that I did let Stupid get to me. Erode the good, the beautiful, the articulate, the powerful, the expressive, the wonderment, the sheer enjoyment of life, pleasures tapped and untapped.

Were I to go back — there is no desire to return, only continuing to be the storyteller that I am and was — I’d do a few things differently. Perhaps many things.

Pertaining to writing and storytelling and the infinite love of both, I’d … I’d return to my innate and inbred attitude, spirit and mindset of a rebel and nonconformist {wait, aren’t they pretty much identical?} … that spirit that said Fuck You to the world.

And meant it.

Then too often failed to act on it in ways meaningful, purposeful and positively life-changing for me.

Yes, I allowed Stupid to eat away at my greatest gifts. It ought not to have happened. It wasn’t in the cards. Wasn’t my calling in that lifetime, neither my destiny.

I’m seeing now with a clarity, increased wisdom and understanding of the way things work that being on the other side affords that my inner rebel, albeit much much maligned by earthlings and sometimes my self, was not my enemy. Or my saboteur. Or a criminal to be shunted into darkness buried alive.

She who could say Fuck You to the world and do what was written to do, was preordained — do is the key word there — that was my ticket to freedom and fulfillment of purpose and destiny.

A year after my death, the world is little changed and no different than it was when I left it. Or how it’s been for eons. People are still people. They still do “bad” things and “good” things. They still kill one another. They still harm one another. They still violate, oppress, suppress and destroy one another in life. They still love one another, help one another, support one another. In short, they are no different this moment than they were when the prehistoric cultures existed.

What is changed is me.