As Close as Breath

Taos Winter 054.jpg


“What Youth deemed crystal, Age finds out was dew”  ~ Robert Browning

“Old men tend to forget what thought was like in their youth; they forget the quickness of the mental jump, the daring of the youthful intuition, the agility of the fresh insight. They become accustomed to the more plodding varieties of reason, and because this is more than made up by the accumulation of experience, old men think themselves wiser than the young.” ~ Isaac Asimov

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” ~ Edgar Alan Poe

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” ~ Garrison Keillor

This is the first morning that has felt like winter. It’s not just the deep cold (9º), the angles of the pre-dawn light, and just some kind of deep starkness in the air. It could be anything. My morning obligations are all done, so I can ease out and phase into the feeling of the beginning of two days off. First things first. Yeh, there is plenty to be done but to my knowledge none of it compulsory. I could say I will cultivate freedom in the coming hours, but I can’t really take it that far. Don’t need to name it or smack it with an agenda, itinerary, whatever. As you can likely tell by now I don’t have much to say today. I have a warm feeling in my heart, been there a few days now. I feel it, as close as breath itself.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


Out of the Tepid Darkness


“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. … One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can “be”, that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”  ~ Rollo May

Cold wind is the order of the morning. As might be expected, the very sound of the wind on this frigid morning makes the comfort of this room feel more important. Not better, just more important. Nearly all day yesterday a rumpled sheet of promising clouds glided in from the west. Promising? Yeh, maybe rain, but they looked like they could be snow clouds. There ended up being a bit of rain but no snow. It was too warm for snow. And the snow will come soon enough, I suppose. It’ll fly when it flies. That kind of stuff. Now, what else? My whole face is burning from some allergic reaction. It’s almost always like this in the morning, but today is more severe than usual. I’ve come to relate these early morning allergic spells to gut health, and mood. Some researchers have suggested that depression may be more a intestinal disorder than a . . . ummm, I don’t feel like going to research that a little better. I have neither the time nor the inclination. Perhaps I should shelve the scientific theories and just go with the magick. It’s probably better that way. I’ve yet to analyze, to any notable extent, just how depression can be viewed from a magickal or metaphysical worldview. What I do know is that it sometimes seems as if magick is the only way out of the tepid darkness when a depressive spell emerges. I was talking about mental disorders, illnesses, whatever, with a friend the other day. The question of my daily meds came up. I’ve no problem sharing about this with someone I trust. I’d like to be totally, socially open, but the potency of taboo mongers and gossips is just a bit much for me. Anyway . . . the meds are something I do not care to quit and leave behind me as I go forward in my life. They work. Quite pleasantly so. “Pleasant” may seem like an odd way of saying it, but before I began taking them nothing what – so – ever felt or looked pleasant. For me the thought of stopping the meds and learning, struggling to forge a different path seems more than a tad daft. The one I am on is not effortless, nor is it in any noticeable way harmful. Forget the politics of big pharma, or the conspiracy BS that says that psych meds are being used as a mind-control tool. Listen, mind-control is easy enough without meds. There’s no need to add an extra step to the mix. Take Fox News as an example, k? Just sayin. But back to the conversation with my friend. It is a weepy low level joy that comes when someone listens non-judgementally to confessions about depression. The weepy part comes later, when I am back home, just me and the cat. Intimacy has such a soul-sparking power. I opened up the other day. This is good, right?. Yes. Yes it is. It’s the little things that let the Light in.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously

Inspiration and a Potent Question


“You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.” ~ Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

“Life rises out of death, death rises out of life; in being opposite they yearn to each other, they give birth to each other and are forever reborn. And with them, all is reborn, the flower of the apple tree, the light of the stars. In life is death. In death is rebirth. What then is life without death? Life unchanging, everlasting, eternal?-What is it but death-death without rebirth?”  ~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

“Don’t confuse symmetry with balance.” ~ Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Here’s a clue for y’all: if I start a post by noting the air temperature I either don’t have much to write about or I am reticent to do so. Now, I don’t reckon that explains much, but it’s the best I’ve got at the moment. Besides, there is rain in the forecast for today. As Mark Twain wrote “Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it”. Mr. Twain is one of my prime inspirations as a writer; Thoreau being the other. Yeh, Huck Finn was great, but my admiration came from Twain’s Letters from the Earth  – and –  The Mysterious Stranger. Especially the latter. Those are the only two ‘old-timers’ on the list. How about now? Richard Bach. Neil Gaiman. William Rivers Pitt. Stephen Levine. Umberto Eco. David Foster Wallace. David holds a special place in that he is a category unto himself. He’s hard to read. I find his skills at writing to be breathtaking, and inventive, and inspiring. I’ve only read excerpts of his fiction, but his non-fiction articles are what dazzles. Dude could write! Here’s one for y’all, “Consider the Lobster” – click here. Anyway – moving forward. This post, although short, has run up against the clock, schedule, whatever. In a note before wrapping up for the morning – I was spontaneously visited by a potent question yesterday, probably an after-death communication from my maternal grandmother. Yeh, I believe in that stuff, been to a conference and stuff. Anyway, the question: just because I have begun serious work on a novel, does that make me a novelist?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Meaning Is Elective


“Perhaps a creature of so much ingenuity and deep memory is almost bound to grow alienated from his world, his fellows, and the objects around him. He suffers from a nostalgia for which there is no remedy upon earth except as it is to be found in the enlightenment of the spirit – some ability to have a perceptive rather than an exploitive relationship with his fellow creatures.”  ~ Loren Eiseley  

“Concepts of dying in to a heaven or hell seem a good deal more political than spiritual.”  ~ Stephen Levine

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for everything. It feels good to open today’s post with an old Irish proverb, especially because it is relevant to my coming day. The long sleep will have to be done in installments, granted, but a good laugh shouldn’t be hard to come by. There’s a lot of funny stuff in this world. Yet this is one of those days when the national news looms heavy upon me and, if I do say so myself, it’s not wise to sell any of the horrid doings and sayings by the Trump-o-matons short. Just don’t. I will have to ease off from the news a bit, throughout the day, but I can’t stop totally for the day. Yes, it is deeply interesting, but more importantly it is history. Yes, I watch in horror at times. At the moment I think I will step outside, into the seriously frigid air, to check out the sunrise. Bisy backson.

There is a stark tone to the sunrise, clouds all wispy like smoke over Pueblo Canyon, and just about the same color. This is what hard winter feels like. Drab colors, vivid cold air.  I could easily go back to sleep right now. But massage is scheduled at 10-ish and I would not miss that for anything. This body feels to have too many toxins in it. To have the masseuse loosen them up to be chased out with water will be an all too rare pleasure. Then boy howdy it will be time for some lunch and the well-earned nap. Restorative sleep, I do believe they call it. Maybe an episode of Star Trek Next Gen somewhere along the line. As messy as this room is it is still cozy. Creature comforts. That is what is up for the day. All this chit chat here is just to keep the hands and mind fluent to some degree. Meaning is elective, as it so often is. That said, it is time to feed and medicate the cat. That should also quiet her down considerably. It’s odd how you never get used to the profound effect a whining cat has on you. It is part of their magick, I suppose.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Naps As a Shapeshifting Strategy


“This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.” ~ Frank K. Knight

“Time is a waste of money.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Do you ever get so tired that time seems to stand still, and then you’re like all I don’t have time for this? When it is time to rest one should do so. That’s what I say. I’m going to do just that tomorrow. Sleep late if the cat doth decree it to be acceptable practice. The cat is like that. She sometimes has other ideas and that is that. Hey! Does the phrase “that is that” mean the same thing as “it is what it is”? Just sayin’. Anyway, I have a massage scheduled mid-morning, and then I plan to sleep all day. Thoreau wrote . . .

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity

 Well, this will not be wasted time. Not by a long shot. And dreams too. I need to get some dreaming in without that pesky bruja meddling with my slumber. Sleeping in the afternoon might be just the thing; I mean, I reckon she must have a day job, right? I wouldn’t exactly call poppets and pins gainful employment. Yeh, I know, you may think she is a figment of my imagination, but when I take that train of thought she becomes more of a metaphor. Point is there is something affecting me that is coming from outside, and it smells of charcoal gray magick. People who have lived in this area for years likely know that this stuff does happen here. There is a strong element of magick in a massage as well, in the energetics of the activity. My masseuse is hip to that level of things. Like, say, I’m having a 5th chakra imbalance these days. The 5th has a lot to do with self-expression, and I have a life long issue with not speaking up for myself. That is one reason that I am so tired these days: I have been working on making my voice heard. It boggles my mind when people just talk right over me. It is obviously a dominance thing. But I am finding that continuing with what I am saying is the best route to take, because the human brain can take in more than one signal at a time. What I mean is they likely hear what I am saying in spite of their dominance behavior, especially if my words are strong and emerge from a place of peace, regardless of what purpose the words serve once they get into the other’s ears. But back to the masseuse. Massage is a specific form of communion. I’m looking forward to it. Now, moving forward. The owl was back this morning. For a while I could here an intermittent call that sounded like it could be a chicken in the coop. But finally one of the calls flowed right into a characteristic hoo-hoo. It was a soothing sound. Of course, the other morning when I first saw the owl I considered that it might be a shapeshifting witch, but my adversary is nowhere near that elegant. Friggin nitwit. I’d better wrap this up and wrangle myself into shape for work  –  speaking of shapeshifting. How we shape our lives and our self has a lot of power.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Just a Few Quotes


“When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

There is no problem about changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.” ~ Douglas Adams

“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. ”  ~ David Foster Wallace

Skating All Over Left Field


“An old Celtic proverb boldly places death right at the center of life. ‘Death is the middle of a long life,’ they used to say. Ancient people did things like that; they put death at the center instead of casting it out of sight and leaving such an important subject until the last possible moment. Of course, they lived close to nature and couldn’t help but see how the forest grew from fallen trees and how death seemed to replenish life from fallen members. Only the unwise and the overly fearful think that death is the blind enemy of life.” ~ Michael Meade

“Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Modern man has lost the sense of wonder about the unknown and he treats it as
an enemy.” ~ Laurens van der Post

I went for a drive with a friend yesterday. She had an errand to do and wanted someone to ride along for the day trip. The drive was along through the flatlands (only in a relative manner of speaking) of the San Luis Valley. This is what thrilled me. Because I did not have to drive I had the opportunity to look around, to sightsee, and I was yet again shown the stunning natural beauty of this place. Yes, there is magick in these mountains. You can see it. They secrete magick. From this side, to the west of the Sangre de Cristo . . . well, let’s just say that there is no way to get a representative postcard outta this place. Just sayin. But you can whip out your iPhone and do a nice little video that would give peeps an idea, but there’s too much small screen stuff going on. I mean, like, for me there’s a serious WTF factor deeply rooted in today’s digital technology. Honestly, it makes Dick Tracy look like a Luddite! But there is also an OMG factor. And therein lies a lurking metaphor, or something like one, anyway. Seems to me that there could be a nearly sinister form of symbolic texture in all of these folks who bury their face in a small screen. Big picture/little picture stuff. Like look how much I can get out of this one little screen. Like we don’t need no stinkin’ big picture, k? Am I making too much of a stretch here? And how about the semiotic implications of it? What about that? Oh, friggin, never mind.

Well, my mind is skating all over left field this morning, so I’m gonna wrap it up and get psyched up for the day. My job is . . . well, we gave a good crew, and we have a lot of fun together. Wait a minute. “Skating all over left field”? Wow. Sometimes I just make myself giggle. Oh, I gotta mention that I have resumed work on the novel. I’m aiming high. If I can pull it off, it’s going to be a wonderful book. I’m not going to even consider trying for customary publication. I’m going with self-publishing through Amazon Create Space. It’s about me. I wanna do it my way. Yeh . . . oh, whatever. Never mind. Gotta go.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Owl At the Gates of Dawn


“Though I was careful never to mention it, I began to see a new dimension in everything that happened.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”  ~ Fred “Mister” Rogers

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” ~ Groucho Marx

It’s a good morning for coyotes, apparently. About an hour ago I heard what sounded like a large group of them going at it, hunting and stuff. Howls, shrieks, and wails, drizzled with yips. I find deep comfort in the presence of these animals, in their songs. I know they are out their hunting in the deep, cold air, but I feel them telling me stories, maybe even secrets.

I just took an hour or so break from this post. Probably did me some good. I don’t know. I’ve got kind of an existential groove goin’ this morning. It’s not washed with melancholy as existential stuff often is. It’s peaceful. It’s definitive. It’s incremental, sure to lead me upward throughout the day; a good high, getting better. Hope I don’t sound . . . ummmm . . . what is it now? Hyperbolic? Yeh, pretty much. I almost got into a positive thinking self-improvement riff. I won’t go there iffin I don’t have to, k? So don’t even try it. Just don’t. See, I did something yesterday that needed doing, said something needed saying, to someone who probably didn’t want to hear it. I feel better now. This kind of stuff is not easy for me. It makes me sad that it is ever necessary at all, but c’est la vie, non? I usually swallow hard then wander home where the cat checks my vibe, looks at me, and she’s like all ‘dude, s’up?’. Now, moving forward. I got a rush a bit ago. When I stepped out the front door there was a creature in the yard. I thought it sounded like an owl. It sensed my presence and hightailed it up and over the fence. I went on out through the gate to view Venus and Jupiter dancing close and way slow in the eastern sky. That’s a wow fir ya. Magnificent. I could still hear the creature off down the hill a way. Dogs started barking in the frigid air. I just listened to it all. And watched. Before long I heard the call coming closer, and here comes the owl, swift and graceful across the pale morning sky! This is the first owl I have ever seen in the wild. It’s time to look it up, google it, whatever. See what the owl totem says. Whatever. I’m glad I said what I said yesterday; did what I did. This chronic anxiety stuff sucks, but I am breathing easier now. And I just saw my first owl. Tis a lovely day, here at the top o’ the morning.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Apollo Begins His Day


“There was a skyness to the sky and a nowness to the world that he had never seen or felt or realized before.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“As dawn leaks into the sky it edits out the stars like excess punctuation marks, deleting asterisks and periods, commas, and semi-colons, leaving only unhinged thoughts rotating and pivoting, and unsecured words.”  ~ Ann Zwinger

“You can be shaped, or you can be broken. There is not much in between. Try to learn. Be coachable. Try to learn from everybody, especially those who fail. This is hard. How promising you are as a Student of the Game is a function of what you can pay attention to without running away.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Yesterday’s sunrise was a gift, a treasure, that reminded me that my life long search for magick sometimes bears fruit. Of course I contend that it is all magick, all of life, and however much we have invested in the material trappings and doings of cultural life makes us all the more distant from an innate quality of the Universe. Says me. Yesterday’s sunrise, when I first grokked what was going on, only a few steps out my front door, I gasped, my jaw dropped, and I whispered “oh, my god”. I am pretty much a pagan, so I must have been talking about some other guy, not the Christian God. Probably Apollo, reining up his steeds as he began his dangerous ride across the sky, pulling the Sun along behind him. But, back to the sunrise that made me gasp. What gripped my attention was how a brilliant orange light pervaded all before me. I mean everything, even the air itself. I almost ran out to where I could see the whole majestic light show, but the pulsing light made me want to slow down as I walked along the step-by-step flag stones on the path. Of course, when I got out to where I could behold the whole kitten-kaboodle I gasped again. Wow. The I whipped out my Canon Powershot 150 and started snapping away. Here is one of the few I captured . . .



The photo says it better than I can. Now, moving forward . . . it’s gonna be a day today, your faithful scribe must do the gainful employment thing, and I’ll be on my usual beat; looking for love, watching for truly compelling stories, working on my slouching posture, that kind of stuff. Yesterday I wrote about how precious life is, and prefaced that statement with a brief description of a little trick my therapist pulled on me, one that made me suddenly all open and expansive and stuff. Then the next morning Mother Nature and Apollo showed me why such qualities are important. They were like dude, it is always available dude and you miss a lot of it because you ain’t like lookin’ the right way dude. Dude chill and open yer eyes, k? Here I go.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Wide Open Spaces


“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships.”  ~ Robert Pirsig

“When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.” ~ John O’Donohue

This morning it was Rosie the cat who decided when I could start writing. Usually I can boost her from my lap and get right to it. Not today, she wasn’t having it. But she eventually decided it was time to go, and she is now sound asleep in her bed, nose tucked  under her left hind leg, all the way up to her brow, eyes covered. Her role as a lap cat has gradually increased through the years to the point where she is now a full time ‘what you’d expect from a cat’ sort of cat. This is a mixed blessing for me, to say the least. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: friggin cats. I love my cat. The things we put up with. Dang – but ain’t it cute. On to other things. There are visible stars in the sky this morning. It’s been partly cloudy for days now. But they are faint. Regardless, it is like seeing an old friend, after a long absence, like the one who gave me that wonderful hug a couple of days ago. She’s a star too, in my eyes. As for the actual stars, as opposed to this metaphorical one I just mentioned, I think it’s the haze that made them faint. After my psychotherapy session yesterday, instead of heading straight home, as I usually do, unless I head south a ways to get some beer for the evening, I drove north a couple of miles on the way to San Luis, Colorado. Noooo, I didn’t go up to by some weed, I stopped at the State of New Mexico historical marker just north of here. I went there because it is in a place where the wide-open nature of the San Luis Valley is explicitly stunning and compelling, scope all fully in view and stuff and ready to tell you all about it. What inspired me to take this short, spontaneous trip was something the therapist sneakily pulled on me to make a point about the death threat I received last Friday. That sneaky trick was toward the end of the hour, but up front, at the beginning, I simply related what had happened, with the threat, and how it seriously messed me the fuck up for for a week due to the fact that the PTSD I bear got triggered on the spot, and the situation I was in when it happened pretty much prohibited me from openly panicking; I mean, it is soooo fortunate that I have taken the time over the course of three years to train myself to manage that kind of control. I sense that such a skill, and the results possible, is fairly rare. To those of you who have PTSD: it is possible. Just sayin’. Anyway, what the therapist did was to ask me if I heard any sound during my near death experience. Yes I did. I went on to try and describe the hyper-celestial music and how it seemed to be the Source of all things. Pretty big stuff, that. As I described the music I felt myself getting weepy as I felt my soul expand with the telling. I knew I would have forgiven the one who threatened me had they followed through successfully. Boy howdy it was a fine, indescribable treasure to go to that place again. It reminded me how precious our lives are.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.