Friday, May 31, 2013

Pain transformed, not transmitted

"Resurrection is not woundedness denied, forgotten, or even totally healed. It is always woundedness transformed.  You still carry your scars forever, as both message and trophy.  They still 'hurt' in a way, which keeps you mindful and humble, but they no longer allow you to hurt other people.  Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted."

-- Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

Thursday, May 30, 2013

With an all-embracing love

"Love all God's creation, the whole 
and every grain of sand in it.  
Love every leaf, every ray of God's light.  
Love the animals, love the plants, 
love everything.  

If you love everything, you will perceive 
the divine mystery in things.  

Once you perceive it, you will begin 
to understand it better every day, 
and you will come at last 
to love the whole world 
with an all-embracing love."

-- Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Something to reflect upon

My husband is an engineer; an exceedingly logical, practical, no nonsense sort of individual, and a man of enormous integrity. Yes, this is all good -- but, as with all good things, there is a catch.  It took me years to realize how deeply he could feel things -- and he still... well, it's not that he has trouble expressing emotion; it's more that he's not convinced that emotion is something that needs to be or even should be expressed.

And I entered this, my second marriage, some 28 years ago, after a difficult childhood and ten years of marriage to a man whose "I love you's" were usually said as he was on the way out the door to a liaison with another woman.  So even if this husband had been capable of saying "the L word" I'm not sure I could have trusted it anyway. Which could explain why I chose a logical, practical, no nonsense individual of irreproachable integrity.  Trust was the most important thing, and I no longer trusted easy words of love.

Which doesn't mean I didn't long to hear them. Or long for romantic gestures.  So last night, when he sort of casually mentioned that if we were to revisit our marriage, he would do a more traditionally romantic proposal, down on one knee, with a ring (instead of asking, in a phone call, "would you consider marrying me?") I was sort of stopped in my tracks.  And found myself wondering how I would have behaved differently, these last 28 years, if I had known that he loved me (because it turned out he did, and still does); that I wasn't (as I'd always assumed and expected) his conscious, logical, practical choice for a mate at a time in his life when he was ready to settle down.

I mean, I felt honored -- and still do.  But I never quite felt loved -- at least, not for the first 20 years or so.  And -- being a person of faith -- I came to view (or possibly channel) that longing for love as a longing for God, for the unconditional love that comes from understanding that we are part of a divine and universal circle of love.  And the longing helped make me who I am today.

So I'm reflecting on all that, and I invite you this morning also to take a moment and reflect: How would you be different, if you knew, right to the core of your being that you were loved?  What would that feel like, to know yourself totally, wholly loved? What choices might you make or have made differently?  Would you be/have been stronger, more assertive?  Would you be/have been kinder, more accepting?

And -- even if we never received that from a partner or spouse -- how would we be different if we fully understood, to the core of our being, how deeply, intensely, wholly, unconditionally loved we are by God?

Because we are.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Precarious perch

Richard Rohr, in his latest book, Immortal Diamond, offers some very powerful messages about how "church," over the years, has gotten Jesus' message wrong. 

It's not so much an attack as a call to return to center: it's clear he believes humanity is poised on the brink of new possibility; that we have constantly renewing opportunities to realize the unity of spirit that God intended for us.

Like this heron, many of us have chosen some curious resting places in this time of transition; I know for me it's been a precarious balancing act, holding true all I learned in my Presbyterian and Anglican traditions with all I've learned from my reading  and meditation.  I wish I felt this serene and steady... and as hopeful as Rohr seems to be...

Monday, May 27, 2013

For the troubled hearts

A friend asked yesterday if I'd been out of town -- because she noticed I'd been posting Rumi poems all week, which I often do when I'm on the road. But no, I haven't been away.  I've been processing.  A dear friend had a heart attack on Monday.  He survived -- in fact, he's doing well: he's young, and fit, lives a healthy active life... He'll be fine.  So why have I been struggling with the blog?

It's not that it's a wake-up call, exactly.  It's more than my coping mechanisms are feeling overwhelmed: this is merely the latest in "a series of unfortunate events," most of which have not directly affected me.  But each has been a reminder of vulnerability,  of the unpredictability of life.  And every time I tried to write about that, it started to sound like whining -- and so I'd retreat into Rumi.  Rumi is my safe place.  It's kind of like nesting: I wrap the words around me and breathe, trying to still the anxious protective urges fluttering within; trying to find them a way to express themselves without getting too irrational.

But even though I haven't been blogging, I'm still painting.  And I'm surprised (though perhaps I shouldn't be) to see what emerges. The previous painting was clearly (if totally unintended) a response to the tornado in Oklahoma.  And this one... well... all I can say is -- when I look at it, I see troubled hearts.  So -- for all the troubled hearts in the world: this one's for you.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A picture's worth

Though I stopped submitting photos to contests when my husband was laid off, I still get mailings about them from time to time. This morning I received notice of a contest entitled, simply, "Water," and I immediately thought of this image, which has always been a favorite of mine.

It was shot during the height of the fascination with bottled water, just as people were starting to realize what that huge infusion of plastic could be doing to the environment.  And I get that it's a bit of a period piece, because my husband and I were recently watching a TV show from the same era, and we were astonished by all the bottled water the cast consumed during the show.  Clearly the world -- at least in the Pacific Northwest -- has changed a bit since then.

Which is not to say things are perfect yet: surely bottled water is still being purchased by the caseload.  But I'd like to think we're scaling back, finding better ways to stay hydrated.  I'd also like to think this photograph, in its way, might make people stop and think; might help carry home that message -- in way less than a thousand words.   I know it certainly made ME stop and think at the time.  Amazing, how the camera teaches us to see...

Saturday, May 25, 2013


"Some torches, 
even when they burn with spirit,
give off more smoke than light.
A wind from the North arrives 
that burnishes grief and opens up the sky.
The soul wants to walk out 
into that cleansing air 
never to come back again.
The soul is a stranger here 
trying to find its home 
in that somewhere that is not a where. 
So why keep grazing here on whys?
O good falcon-soul, 
you have flown low
foraging around long enough. 
Swing back now toward the voice of your King, and remember, 
the entrance to the Kingdom is inside of you."
—Rumi (Translation by Lynn Bauman)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Last chance to buy the Alphabet

For several years now the Contemplative Photographer's Alphabet I developed has been traveling the country as an exhibit.  Though the pieces are very sturdy, one got crushed in shipment about a year ago, and when I went to replace it it turned out the company is using a completely different process now and the pieces are much more expensive to produce.

So rather than continue to store them between travels and pay to replace the pieces as they break down under travel stress, I've decided to sell them off.  They've just returned from their last exhibit, during which time ten of the 26 letters were sold -- which leaves 16 more available for purchase.

You can visit the exhibit on my Picasa site.  If there's one you'd like to purchase, email me at -- I've discovered Paypal works perfectly for selling artwork, so that's my method of choice.  They're going for $75 apiece, or you can buy two and get one free.  They're lightweight, canvas-wrap prints, approximately 13 x 19, mounted on foam core boxes about an inch deep.

And -- just so you know -- you can get the whole set bound in a book for considerably less money!  To buy the book, wander over to and search for Contemplative Photographer's Alphabet if this link doesn't work.

Thanks for putting up with this commercial message!  Perhaps -- while I'm writing in a commercial vein -- now would be a good time to mention that almost all of my paintings will be on exhibit in June: three were juried in to the Edmonds Art Festival, held every year on Fathers Day Weekend; nine are going to the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery for their June show, "Setting Sail: Artists at Sea," which opens with a reception from 6-8pm Friday June 7, and another 15 are hanging at the in Renton.

Lord only knows where I'll put them all when they all come back home to roost! Another reason to sell the Alphabet; I'll be needing the storage space...

Again -- thanks for listening.  Tomorrow I promise to be back to business as usual --- i.e., no business, just being... Quiet.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Having Nothing

"Every need brings in what's needed.
Pain bears its cure like a child.
Having nothing produces provisions.
Ask a difficult question,
and the marvelous answer appears.

Build a ship, 
and there will be water to float it.
The tender-throated infant cries,
and milk drips from the mother's breast.

Be thristy for the ultimate water.
Then be ready for what will come
pouring from the spring."

-- Rumi

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Water Lily

"My whole life is mine, 
but whoever says so will deprive me, 
for it is infinite.

The ripple of water, the shade of the sky
are mine; it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal --
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not desire -- I am moved.

By being moved I exert my empire,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors..."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The morning after

"There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light

Oh, can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm?

It's not too late, we should be giving
Only with love can we climb
It's not too late, not while we're living
Let's put our hands out in time

There's got to be a morning after
We're moving closer to the shore
I know, we'll be there by tomorrow
And we'll escape the darkness
We won't be searching anymore

There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)
There's got to be a morning after
(There's got to be a morning after)"

-- from the song by Maureen McGovern

Monday, May 20, 2013

Living in the crack

"The birds they sang at the break of day
'Start again,' I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Just breathe

Okay now. 
Now keep breathing.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Consider the poppies

Wise words from Matthew, for any of us who might be agonizing over what to wear to a black tie summer wedding in New York:

"Why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow.  They toil not, neither do they spin -- yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these..." (Matthew 6:28-29)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Moving into Pentecost

This little beauty was glowing in the parking lot next to my car when I stopped off at the library yesterday. I love the way the light reflects from the flower and at the same time shines through those glorious seed pods.  But I could also imagine that at another time of day, or from another angle, it would be shining through the flower and reflecting from the seed pods.

Spirit -- or whatever you choose to call that glow of love, or creativity, or faith that seems to emanate from folks sometimes -- is like light, I think.  It cooperates with us, reflecting from us or shining through us in a way that makes us seem like it emanates from within.

Somehow that makes me think of something we did to celebrate Pentecost in that little church we helped start up some 20 years ago: we made headbands for all the kids (probably half that congregation was under the age of 10) with flames on them to symbolize the way people glowed with the spirit. Such a sweet memory...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tear down this house

"Tear down this house.
A thousand new homes can be built
from the transparent yellow carnelian
buried beneath it,
but the only way to get to that
is to do the work of demolition,
and then the digging 

beneath the foundation.

With that value in hand
all the new construction
will be done without effort.
And anyway, sooner or later,
the house will fall on its own. 

The jewel treasure will be uncovered,
but it will not be yours then.

The buried wealth is your pay
for doing the demolition,
the pick and shovel work.

If you wait and just let it happen,
you will bite your hand and say,
I did not do as I knew I should have."

-- Rumi

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Life imitating Art imitating Life

There's a poster in the bathroom of the physical therapy center where I do pilates.  It shows an extremely muscular and fit -- and quite elderly -- woman in a snakeskin-patterned swimsuit lifting weights , and the caption reads "Growing old is not for sissies."

Well, I'm here to tell you: painting is not for sissies, either.  Whatever it is you're dealing with, it's going to come out on that canvas.  And if you're going through a rough time, chances are your painting process will prove equally rocky.  Or at least -- that's how this painting has been working.

I painted the first two layers in class on Saturday, and got to deal with my need to please, my performance anxiety, my willingness to go against my heart to get approval, my competitiveness, my fear, my need for order, my shame and insecurity, my trouble staying grounded, my lack of drawing skills -- and that was just over the course of a couple of hours.  Since then I've spent time every day either staring at this thing or painting over it or both and still: however much I long to create something whole and organic, what I'm getting instead is something busy and compartmentalized. 

Sounds like life...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Creative distance

I know; this is goofy.  But this otter pup swam up onto our beach yesterday, and after finishing his lunch began rolling in the sand.  At one level I was present -- I first noticed (as I was standing in my husband's office chatting) the telltale wake that suggested an animal was swimming toward the beach.  And when the pup came ashore and began eating I did have the presence of mind to run for my camera.

But the pictures were disappointing: the contrast between his dark wet fur and the light sand didn't allow for a lot of detail.  And I got so caught up in trying to solve that problem that I didn't think outside the box; it was my husband who pointed out that I could be videotaping the whole thing... a simple solution, really.

... and don't we humans do that all the time?  Get caught up in the immediate details and problems, and forget to step back and look at the larger world of possibility?  I think it's in the stepping back that true creativity has a chance to flourish -- not because we're separating ourselves, but because from a distance we can see the larger whole...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Music Master

"Watch the dust grains
moving in the light...

Their dance is our dance.

We rarely hear the inward music,
but we are all dancing to it
directed by the One who teaches us
the pure joy of the sun,
our music master."

-- Rumi

Monday, May 13, 2013

Standing in Mercy

"There is something in you that is not touched by coming and going, by up and down, by for or against, by the raucous teams of totally right or totally wrong. There is a part of you that is patient with both goodness and evil to gradually show themselves, exactly as God does. There is a part of you that does not rush to judgment. Rather, it stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers. 

 It is a riverbed of mercy. It is vast, silent, restful, and resourceful, and it receives and also lets go of all the comings and goings. It is awareness itself, and awareness is not as such "thinking." It refuses to be pulled into the emotional and mental tugs of war that most of life is -- before it is forever over and gone. 

To look out from this untouchable silence is what we mean by contemplation...This is your soul. It is God-in-you. This is your True Self."

--Richard Rohr, from Immortal Diamond

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Originally Mothers Day was founded by Julia Ward Howe -- you know, the girl scout? -- and its purpose was to be "a day in which mothers around the world would join together to call for peace." Julia's object in starting Mother's Day was not to put mothers on a pedestal, but rather to draw mothers out of their kitchens and parlors into the public square, to unite as many women as she could in a common cause: the protection of children from war. Or, as she put it, "to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."

Which makes sense, really, because according to Marcus Borg in his book Meeting Jesus again for the First Time, the word compassion has its root in the noun that in its singular form means 'womb.' So compassion means to feel with another in a visceral way, the way a mother feels for her child; the way God feels for all of creation; to feel and to act as God acts: in a lifegiving and nourishing way.

So perhaps we should think of Mother's Day not just as an opportunity to honor our mothers, but as an invitation to care for and protect all of creation as God -- and, if we're lucky, our mothers -- has/have cared for and protected us.

I'm just sayin...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seeking equanimity

Our last several mornings have been blessed with fog, which always makes the photographer in me leap for joy: most everything becomes extraordinary in the mystical light of fog.

So yesterday found me out in the yard, snapping pictures of all sorts of familiar things; things I rarely notice any more but which take on such beauty when the light is distributed evenly. Which tells me something about equanimity, I think: if I could be like the Dalai Lama, welcoming everything, appreciating everything, not judging one to have more value than another; if I could spread my regard evenly over the world as fog distributes the light -- wouldn't absolutely everything be beautiful? Wouldn't absolutely everything have value?

But then, of course, my argumentative mind skips ahead -- to Cleveland, to Sandy Hook, to Columbine, to Kosovo, to Darfur, to the Holocaust -- and surely the analogy falls down. How DO we keep our hearts open in the face of such unfathomable evil? I have no answer for that. I only know that a taste of beauty can provide at least a little balm for souls wounded by the horror.

Friday, May 10, 2013

An Evolving Course

We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state,
and then to being human.

And always we have forgotten
our former states,
except in early spring,
when we dimly recall
being green again...

-- Rumi

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quiet morning

A foghorn sounds, ferries humming a warning in the distance, and I am transported back to Shaw Island and our time there; the sense of protected isolation, the sweet smell of the cedar trees, the muted cry of the gulls...

The Adventuress glides by, her crisp outlines softened by the fog; I can faintly hear the folks on board talking among themselves.

... it's a moment of great peace, and I wrap the memories around me like a cloak to carry me through the day ahead.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In gratitude for gardeners

This morning I just want to offer a word of gratitude for all the gardeners out there who plant and water their gardens and window boxes to bring a bit of welcome color into all our lives...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Love, or simply attachment?

From this morning's reading in Jack Kornfield's Bringing Home the Dharma:

"The near enemy of love is attachment. Attachment masquerades as love. It says, "I will love this person because I need them." Or, "I'll love you if you'll love me back. I'll love you, but only if you will be the way I want." This isn't love at all -- it is attachment -- and attachment is rigid, it is very different from love. When there is attachment, there is clinging and fear. Love allows, honors, and appreciates; attachment grasps, demands, needs, and aims to possess.

Attachment is conditional, offers love only to certain people in certain ways; it is exclusive. Love, in the sense of metta, used by the Buddha, is a universal, nondiscriminating feeling of caring and connectedness. We may even love those whom we may not approve of or like. We may not condone their behavior, but we cultivate forgiveness. Love is a powerful force that transforms any situation... embraces all beings without exception, and discards ill will."

Boxed in

For years now we've had a saying in our family: "You can't put Walkers in a box."  What has always been meant by that is that (like most humans, really) we tend to be complicated and unpredictable; it's never a good idea to make assumptions about us, as we're likely to surprise you.  But last night I encountered another aspect of that phrase: if people DO put us in a box, we can get quite frantic -- which explains the dreadful boxed-in clawing feeling I had when I came home from acting class last night. 

I was working on the role of an 83-year-old woman who has spent most of her life caring for others and is beginning to be overwhelmed by the mood shifts of her querulous sister. But when the instructor said, "This character is really close to your real self, Diane; you can just kind of relax into her," some demon inside me became frantic.

... and what emerged in the character study was some serious bitterness: this character, who I'd thought was just sort of a worried nebbish, was angry about her wasted life -- and furious that her sister, who'd always been "the pretty one," was still demanding -- and getting -- all the attention.  The problem is that I don't think that's what the playwright intended; you don't see any of that bitterness in the scene at all.  So if it wasn't coming from the character, I thought, it must have been coming from me. Ouch!

But I don't have a sister, and I haven't "wasted" my life caring for others.  It's been actually very balanced in that respect, and rich with joy and fulfillment; I don't see myself as bitter at all.  So I had to wonder where all this nastiness was coming from; it was as if I'd been taken over by something very ugly, and some truly hideous inner truth had suddenly been revealed.

I still think there might be some truth floating in there somewhere -- it's always good to explore such intense feelings.  But having sat with it for a while, I think the bitterness had nothing to do with the play and everything to do with the sense that I'd been put in a box; with the possibility that the instructor saw me as old and weak and sort of unrealized.  The resentment was about not being seen, and was awakening some long standing issues with how I am perceived, but was also triggered by some new concerns about the invisibility that seems to arise as we age, concerns awakened by my father-in-law's death and my recent failure to be hired for a job I knew I could do well. 

So I could ask here the questions I asked in my post of April 11, when I first started wrestling with these issues  -- who or what are you not seeing, and what preconceptions might be blinding you?  But perhaps it may be more important to ask this: where do you feel boxed in in your life?  How might you give yourself space to honor that feeling?  And what can we do to alleviate some of that stress and resentment before it leaps out and debilitates us?

Monday, May 6, 2013

God's artistry

Having just posted a heron picture a couple of days ago, I feel a bit apologetic about posting another.  But I found the astonishing geometrics and colors of this image, taken last night at sunset, to be just irresistible!  Those golden streaks are reflections of the sun in the windows of the house just above the heron; aren't they fabulous?

... and it's okay to say that, right?  Because I didn't create them; I simply was lucky enough to see and capture them.  As much fun as I'm having painting, it still seems like a huge responsibility to develop a composition, and much more fun to simply respond to what is. 

But perhaps this is just that inevitable human tendency to compare ourselves to others. In which case -- given that I am comparing my artistry to God's -- my work must inevitably pale in comparison!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

The gift of desire

Many of us are working on developing presence, attention; trying to be more in the moment.  What we may not realize is that the things we struggle with, the things we want but shouldn't have, provide a golden opportunity to achieve presence. As Salzmann writes in The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, "We need to remember that the struggle is FOR and not AGAINST something, particularly in relation to what we call "desire" -- the wish for pleasure or some other satisfaction. 

The illusion of desire arises from images recorded in the memory with pleasure or pain.  Although the desire leads to fragmentation, it is not getting satisfaction that is bad, but the fact that I am absent, unable really to satisfy or not to satisfy it.

At one moment, for example, I may experience a wish to indulge a pleasure like smoking or eating.  Either I immediately give in to the idea and have no contact with the desire, or I refuse and create conflict, again without contact because I have dismissed the desire.  And everything that arises in me proceeds like this.  The desire is life itself in me, extraordinarily beautiful, but because I do not know it and do not understand it, I experience frustration, a certain pain, in giving in or in repressing it.  So the struggle to be attentive, to be present, to be in the moment, is to live with the desire, not refusing it or losing myself in it, until the mechanism of the thinking no longer has an action on me and the attention is free."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Heavy Artillery

The wind speaks,
does it not?
And what about the refrain of the geese?

What of the moo, and the baa;
the heron's squawk,
the rooster at dawn,
the chorus from the sea,
and the rain, and the thunder?

Is not all a part of God,
and thus sacred?

I think He has surrounded us:
we had better give up...

  -- Hafiz

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Sunrise Ruby

There is nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, 

or a world made of redness? 
It has no resistance to sunlight.

This is how Hallaj said, "I am God,"
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work. 

Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Painting over, painting out

This is what painted itself over the ugly disappointment painting from two days ago.  Though it's clearly related to the two previous paintings in this (accidental) series, I don't actually like it all that much.  But it seems to have a lot to say to me.

I'm calling it "When Worlds Collide," and it appears to be about those times when you think you're on a path and you understand who you are and where you're meant to go and then you hit an obstacle.  Not the sort of obstacle you have to work around, but the kind that stops you in your tracks and makes you question all your assumptions.

It's not the first time I've encountered one of those.  But it's clear that I'm not done processing this particular shift.  And it's kind of amazing that the canvas can expose so much.  No wonder there is a whole field of study called Art Therapy!

(Note to self: I need to stick to canvases that are more squarish; something in me starts dividing the canvas into two parts when one side is this much longer than the other.)

Coyotes, Part II

Two days ago I opened the back door to let the dog and cat out, and there were, not one, but TWO coyotes standing just a few feet away, staring at me.  By this time I had read about hazing (what to do to get them to leave), so I flapped my arms, ran at them, and shouted, even got out my grandfather's old moose horn and blew it -- and then I sent out a warning email to the neighborhood.

One enterprising neighbor had already called the wildlife rescue crew, so a bunch of us trouped down to her home for wine, grapes, chocolate chip cookies, and a surprisingly educational presentation from the amazingly well-informed (and entertaining) Director of Wildlife Services, Michael Pratt and Rehabilitation Specialist Lynne Weber.

So here are some of the more interesting facts I learned about coyotes. First important thing to know: if you kill them, the numbers will multiply.  So it's best to scare them away instead -- and not offer attractions like open garbage cans, compost piles, feeding your pets outside, etc.  Only about 1% of their diet -- at least in Washington -- is domestic animals; they're more interested in rodents, goose eggs and vegetation, though they will cull a deer herd of its sickly members and fawns.  You're MUCH more likely to lose your cat (or small dog) to an eagle.  And even MORE likely to lose it to a great horned owl.  The eagle can only lift a quarter of its body weight; a horned owl can lift 3 to four TIMES its body weight.

It turns out the reason we're seeing these two this year (we've never had coyotes here before) is because this territory has been owned for years by an older coyote who had already figured out the population on our little street was too dense to be worth the hassle.  But even after hearing the wildlife presentation last year, somebody decided to shoot that coyote.  So these two have taken over his territory, and haven't figured out yet that the sandspit is more trouble than it's worth.  We're planning to help them discover that pretty quickly: when we see them, we'll look them in the eye, walk menacingly toward them, waving arms, shouting, and throwing cans full of pennies or stones in their general direction.  They don't like loud noises, so saxophone or trombone practice and honking horns can also be an option...

Happy Honking!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chasing away the scent of failure

After learning yesterday that I didn't get the job I wanted, I attempted to paint out my disappointment with really ugly colors (it's okay; I'll paint over it later). When that and a long meditation still hadn't taken the edge off,  I went outside to breathe in some healing salt air and ended up burying my nose in the lilac bush by the front door.  Yum.  It's amazing how generous nature is with her healing powers.  This didn't make it all better, really, but it made the disappointment easier to bear.  And it helped that the camera seemed to love the lilacs; this is a totally unretouched photo and I think the scent of the flowers almost leaps off the page.  Something else to feel good about; a pleasing photograph.

The day ended on a better note: I met our new next-door neighbor, who seems delightful.  Sophie-the-cat seems to have completely recovered from her respiratory distress.  And we had a delightful neighborhood meeting with the local wildlife rescue folks, who taught us how to scare away the coyotes that have been bugging us lately; great fun and much laughter.

Bad news can be hard to process; the world can look pretty dark.  So I'm grateful -- for flowers, and salt air; for scent, color and sunny days; for progress, and neighbors, and laughter... It's all good.  Blessings everywhere.