Prints in the Snow

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“Outside shadows are blue, I read, because they are lighted by the blue sky and not the yellow sun. Their blueness bespeaks infinitesimal particles scattered down inestimable distance.”  ~  Annie Dillard

A beautiful morning here.  The air temperature might turn some off but I find it refreshing. A little brisk wind earlier. Coffee and cat, one trying to sleep, the other trying to wake up. I wish them both well. The coffee seems more a balm for the throat, while the caffeine within does it’s best, to no avail. Dang, I was hoping for clarity. My bad. I’m becoming aware that my abundance of alone time is starting to take a toll. Loneliness ain’t healthy, after a while. I know, I know, you are never alone. Let’s move on. Forward. Into the Light. Whatever. I’ve wanted to get back in to my consciousness studies, but for some reason I am having a time of it. Perhaps it’s because my consciousness has been relatively slack of late? Yeah, perhaps. I remind myself that to walk out of a fog  .  .  .  you either have to wait for it to lift or just start walking. I’m waiting. Wish me luck. Meanwhile there is the truly shocking antics of the ‘Just, Right’ Presidential candidates. Trailblazers, to be sure. Not a trail I’d ever want to walk on, without good boots, and even then  .  .  .  well, I don’t know if I have any right-leaning readers. Would it matter? It might. I sometimes have a hard time expressing myself when reliable contradiction is at hand. To paraphrase an old counterculture activist, Paul Krassner, there are an awful lot of realities floating around these days. He’s right, ya know. Friggin hippie, Yippies, whatever.

That 6th grade incident I’ve mentioned the past two days is still at me. It will haunt me for some time to come. I have no doubt of that. Where does cognition go when it is commandeered by base assumptions that are in essence wrong? That is a profound question. I remind myself that when – as now – life gets confusing and nearly seems insoluble, it is best to stick with questions, as answers have clearly failed the test of actual positive results. Questions stir up creativity. Answers,  not so much. What that might mean to me, on this very day, at this flickering point and place it time, within the ragged parameters of my plight, is anybody’s guess, but I’ll do the guessin’ ’round here, bucko, so let’s just leave it at that. Wow. I seem to be a little testy today. I’d add that to my list of faults, but I don’t actually consider it to be a fault. That list is pretty much in tatters anyway, which is a good thing, because a faulty mental lens can wreck havoc with an otherwise healthy mind. We use lenses like that. I like to sometimes take my glasses off when looking at Nature. It’s that way with my 6th grade incident.


Lovely sunrise. My batteries ran dead in my camera and fresh ones don’t fit in the budget until next week. My view of the sunrise looks down through Pueblo Canyon. It’s gray out there, but there are also some beautiful shades of copper. When I first stepped through the gate I saw an odd sight. There are three concrete landscaping slabs there. A light dusting of overnight snow, dry and evenly distributed, allowed me to see the story of who visited this morning. There were cat prints, but the way they set in the snow didn’t make sense. I puzzled over it for a while, leaned over to see if a changed perspective would help, but I remained confused until I saw the prints nearest the wooden gate. A pair of prints, side by side, with slide marks leading toward the gate. Somebody was running and came to a slippery halt. That’s my tracker moment for the day. Larger mysteries remain, life issues and dormant dreams. But they can all wait. Obligations will fill my day. It’s going to be a long week.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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Beyond the WTF Threshold

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“Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder, and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who have to live in it.”  ~  David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order

Wow, if I’m gonna start out with the words of David Bohm I might as well step back and let the guy talk. Problem is the dude’s dead. Peace be with you, sir. Let’s move on. Forward is what I mean. Forward. Our opening photo here at the fabulous EyeYotee blog is from just a few days ago. My little Canon Powershot camera is a gem. It’s got a feature in the software that compensates for shaky hands! Boy howdy I thank them design technicians for thinking of me. The feature really helps when using the zoom lens.

It’s Sunday, but my usual Sunday mood, which calls for some serene reading of not so serene stuff, is not so active, yet, but my hope is that I can pull that mood back out of the closet, where it is understandably hiding, because, you know, Evangelical Christians might be lurking nearby, ready to pounce for God, or on Him, whatever. I’m pissed. From AK 47s, outside a Texas mosque, meant to portray a “just so y’all know” message to the Muslims within, to the disconnected Presidential candidates who are so busy doing God’s work that they have no friggin time to step back and have a gander at what God has actually created. If they expect us all to live according to their version of theological “truth” they are just plain stupid. So says the pagan. Nature is my church. My paternal Grandpa Edmund taught me that, showed me that. We were sitting on the wooden deck at his old house, gazing out over the cove on the Little Niangua Branch of the Lake of the Ozarks, him with his pipe and me with a sipper of coffee. He told me that his outlook on life is that he was in church every day, gesturing widely with his wizened ham-hands, so I had a look around and darned if the old fella wasn’t right. Smart dude. I’d ridden my bicycle about 1500 miles, and stopped to see him, on a whim. I’m glad I did. I’m always open to learning, especially if it gives me some hope when  .  .  .  ummm, I guess I shouldn’t beat on the Evangelicals anymore in this post. If their self-inflicted bruises don’t phase ’em none my little blog ain’t even going to touch ’em. Besides, I just want to talk. God sent me.

I wrote yesterday about that incident in the 6th grade, an incident that colored my life so thoroughly that it took me fifty years to reach the WTF threshold. I suppose we all have our emotional traumas from youth, right? It’s good to discover a pivotal moment that set attitudes in motion that, in my case, dragged down life energy in a big and lasting way. What I am saying is that I easily recognize what my despair from that incident brought forth. I can remedy that, now that I know what happened. I can only grieve, at this point, for what was lost through all that subsequently happened, before the fix was in. I’ve got some work to do. Wish me luck.

Dawn is happening as I write. It feels nice out there. I think I’ll take my meds and read for a while before I go see to the day’s obligation.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Gaslighting and Betrayal

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“Life has been some combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.”  ~  Sylvia Plath

There was a brief rain shower a short while ago. I had the headphones on, left on my head after watching a video, because I forget things, all the time. When I heard it I doubted. Doubt is no stranger to me. But after removing the audio equipment from my head I stepped out to find it was true. Racing clouds, pale silver from moonlight, wind almost there, I sat looking for light from this tableaux of shadows. There was some. One in particular came through the trees that had been abandoned by their leaves only days ago. The light was reflected from the window in the little hobbit cottage the landlady had built out by the chicken coop. It was a reflection from her huge-screen High-def TV, yonder in the house. I think it was left on last night. Strange, no screen-saver? Whatever. I’m waiting for peace and happiness this morning. Yup, it may come today, and I for certain want the kinds that endure. But flashes here and there will do. I’m up against the wall financially. The next two weeks are going to be way tight. It’ll test my resolve, right? That’s the common wisdom. Who am I to reword it just for giggles? Twas a friend who wished me happiness and peace in my life, and the message of good wishes came through Facebook. She’s one of my circle of friends who shared the trauma of being let go from the animal shelter, but she, however, left a year before us others. It’s all about the animals. Remind me lest I forget. The love for shelter animals, which digs deeper than even compassion can dig, is pretty much eternal, once it sets in. It digs deep, down where the cosmic big picture plays in an endless matinee, and when I  .  .  .  no, wait  .  .  .  didn’t Will Shakespeare say that we are all but actors on a stage. Dude rocks BTW. I am skating dangerously close to the “It’s all an illusion” bromide. So, before this turns into an ice skating metaphor I will wink and giggle and move on  .  .  .  no, wait, right?  .  .  . sigh, I just want to advocate for the two-legged animals as well. That’s all. Peace.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.  ~  Puck

Mysterious, huh? Turns out I was wrong about the rain. It was snow. Not normal snow, it almost looks like nano-sleet, with a little crunch to it when tread upon. It was still falling slightly when I went out to sit on the passenger seat of my car with the door open. The clouds were still racing, pretty thick up over the Sangre de Cristo Range, where some of them have snagged on the summits. There was some low fog hanging back in Pueblo Canyon. I worked with a guy, yonder at the natural foods supermarket, who’s brother was married to a Pueblo woman. He told me a tale of the giants that live back up in Pueblo Canyon. I have a tendency to give experimental consideration to that which seems to be myth. I know I personally have not seen a giant since I moved here 21 years ago. But then, when I think about it, if I was a giant with a nice home back in the wilderness on the Pueblo I wouldn’t likely wander into town anyway. Ya know, this is a strange place to live.

I’ve been thinking about shape-shifting lately. I learned a sweet experimentally considered perspective from reading a book called Shape-Shifting, by John Perkins. His teachings kinda sorta got all mushed up in with a perspective of mine which had been derived from Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles, a ten book series that is some of the best fiction I have read. My point here is that I am looking for some way to break free from my stale life situation. Practical measures aren’t breaking anything right now, so I’ve been trying to find some other way. Shape-shifting looks at everything as being a feature of whatever particular dream we are inhabiting. So for me, it’s like Mark Twain’s line, from The Mysterious Stranger, “dream other dreams and better”. I love that! Of all the people, that line was spoken by Satan’s nephew, who is a central character in the novella. So, ummm let’s see, I’m gonna have a go at the “it’s all an illusion” thing. Nah dude, ain’t no illusion dude, it’s a dream dude, so chill. Fantasy is illusion, it cannot be real, no way no how. Dreams are a different kind of animal. Dreams can indeed be real, iffin you snag one just so. The trick is to look beyond the dream you inhabit, look to find an appealing and nurturing new dream. Then you try really really hard to feel that new dream so completely that you can step over into it and find change where it seemed that no change would come. Occupy Dreams. Has a nice ring to it, right? It’s not creating your own reality. What the heck does that mean anyway? Is it solipsism? I’ll never know. Stephan Levine, in Unattended Sorrow, wrote that we do not create our own reality, we effect our own reality. Whatever works, that’s what I say.

Yeah, I’m talking about magick again. Terence McKenna usta talk about hacking the cosmic mainframe. Just like that, you reach in with a team effort from your mind and soul, reach in and change things from the inside out. Therapy is one good way of doing that very thing, but it is far from the only way to reach thusly within. My therapy session yesterday was a doozy. Both of us were all wound up, it was so intense. What I brought up was an incident from the 6th grade. It was the tipping point where I changed from an energetic shiny popular blond blue-eyed wunderkind into a mopey shadow-dwelling depressive. Nearly in an instant, as measured on a cosmic scale. This incident involved three other kids, all bright in their own right. In looking back on this incident I have always believed that the trouble that arose for me then was a matter of my experiencing my first spell of dissociation. The three other kids saw things one way and I saw them another. They said they were right and I was not. But I knew I was right. My contribution to what was going on between us four was spot on. I was outnumbered, obviously, so I was overruled. They found a quick replacement for me and told me buh bye now. I was devastated. I got dizzy and had to go home. I told the school nurse that I had to go home. There was no request for permission. It was a statement of fact. Up until yesterday, some fifty years later, I had always believed that my mind had failed me then and I had failed those other kids. I was fucked. Yup. But that is not what happened. Not at all. A story born in the thick of high emotional and mental distress was accepted as true, for fifty years. Friggin kids, dammit, I was betrayed! They wanted me out and I turned out to be an easy mark. It had nothing to do with me having it right or not. It was about me going away, and they saw to it. I hadn’t dissociated, I was gaslighted. By friends. Welcome to adolescence, me hearty! Point is that it changed my life, and depression made everything different. I went from dream to nightmare in the blink of an eye. Now, ignorance has been set ablaze by knowledge. Nightmare all gone. Dream other dreams and better.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

That Which Arises From the Heart

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“I often think that men don’t understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it.”  ~  Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Rain, not snow, and not much rain. Neighborhood dogs have had a couple of goes at it, but peace-laced darkness is the tone of the morning. Coffee good. That’s important. The cat is curled up on the bed in a just so manner that seems to be deliberate in cuteness. I’ve long had a disdain for holidays, Thanksgiving included. The Thanksgiving/Christmas thoroughfare is the most daunting, and it seems prone to excess that pleases and then pulls the rug out from under. Not to mention the beauty. Don’t forget that. Now, the day after, I find all manner of things to be grateful for. This is good, and in my mind the whole trick is to carry that gratitude in my daily doings, and the farther away from the designated holiday the more value is likely to shine. But that is cynicism, right? Yeah, partly. There’s that old chestnut (how clever) about how the early winter holidays are supposed to be about inner values, not the commercial edge we traverse throughout the days. I don’t know. I’m feeling pretty much alone this year, but I know that to be an irrational perception. Yeah, and what about the Seasonal Affective Disorder, right? What about that? And where the hell is the snow anyway?! What about that, huh? In the immortal words of Donald Trump: you tell me. And tell me clear, sans irony, and you will have my eternal gratitude. I thank you in advance.

It tickles in a most unpleasant way. Anxiety for no reason. My science fiction mind wants to run off into realms like Chaos Theory, or Systems Theory. Maybe parallel universes. I feel stuckness, rather intimately. If anyone came at me right now with that “it’s all an illusion” bromide I might well flip them off, although I would, might, whatever, agree with them to a large degree. And I might get all philosophical and stuff as well. Pirsig’s inquiries into quality, and then into values. Now, you might say that all of this cerebral stuff is getting in my way, that if I had a job I would’t have time for all this. That’s pretty much of a no-brainer. I couldn’t agree with you more. But the only job within memory that blanched the cerebral stuff from my busy mind was at the animal shelter. Ya gotta love them kitties. Sure, some are needy, some are scared, some are depressed, and some are really very cool and spot on when you walk up to their cage and look at them in silence, and they are like all “and your point is?”. I’ve said it before, the sweet thing about working with animals, in the face of their incarceration, is that it is an immersive endeavor, and that quality comes mostly from the resonance created by  animal to animal communications. Case in point: my cat, dear Rosie, has had some behavioral issues lately. No details, I’ve got it covered. Cats are not so easy. Not like dogs. I know of no other way than to search for the common ground, because that is where communications unfold. I remember when the new dog trainer came to the shelter. I watched. Finding common ground with the dogs, for communication, was also crucial, but the end seemed to be different. Once established, the communications with the dogs was applied in telling them what was expected of them, then the expectations were gradually nourished into fruition by little chunks of hot dogs. Come to think of it, that might work with me as well. But I think we all know that cats are on to that game, regardless of the fact that some of them will play along. Cats are negotiators.

Therapy this afternoon. I’m looking forward to it. I could get into a good Socratic, or better yet, Bohmian dialog with a raven as well. Truth is I’d feel quite in to a good squawk right now. Or a croak. Yup, Raven is both Trickster and Creator. I’d be well-advised to learn from that. Cryptic, right? Bohmian Dialog begins by sitting quietly with no pre-conceived agenda, and then only speaking that which arises from the heart. It’s a start. For that I am grateful, as is my cat.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

What He Said

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“I’ve got something inside of me, peasantlike and stubborn, and I’m in it till the end of the race.”  ~  Truman Capote

Second pot of coffee is on. This budget friendly coffee seems to be low in caffeine. The full moon looks to be swaddled in clouds. Yes, I know it is clear up above the clouds, but I am going to pretend on this one. Poetic license is a passable explanation. There’s been some back and forth between coyotes and dogs, and a couple of skirmishes between me and that darned cat. My comment about the moon, clouds, and clear sky, was inspired by something I did this morning. I guess we’ve all seen some wacky and/or scary stuff on Facebook. There’s one ongoing series by someone I know, who is into conspiracy theories. I’ve been just letting it go, sometimes having a glance just to be informed about what stuff is out there. Those last two words are a double entendre and meant to be taken that way. But one post this morning pushed me to turn off all of the post without unfriending this person. The post linked to an article about how some Obama Administration official spilled the beans, revealing that the Sandy Hook massacre in fact never happened. It was a ‘false flag’ operation, meant to provide an excuse to take everybody and their dogs’ guns away from them. Never happened. No children died. This appalled me. Insult is far too tame a word when it comes to the families that lost their children. I can tolerate a lot, but this was way over my top. Had to get this off of my chest. Wow. I could tolerate Nazis and flying saucers on the moon and in Argentina, Elvis hangin with Michael Jackson in Shangri-La, but this was too much.

Thanksgiving Day, right? You betcha. I feel gratitude for much in my life, and for the gift of simply being able to know what engenders gratitude. Conscious awareness. Sentience. Love. All big, all indispensable.

My poor brain. The tinnitus is shrieking this morning. Achin’ back, headache, cotton eyes, and countless other “poor me” phenomena. At least the cat is asleep. I’ve no desire to tangle with her again. I’ve no desire to tangle with anybody. My auto-correct just put “antibody” rather than “anybody”. But what if antibodies did come at me? From who? From what? OMG, do you think that Gaia has antibodies? If so we might be in deep doo doo.

The sky is lightening nicely, but the clouds remain. Maybe some rain? It would be nice. I am in a rainy day mood. One hen has started to converse with the morning. I heard the turkey whoosh down from atop the coop. A raven whooshed overhead, hidden by the eaves. I’ll have to go out and tend to the birds soon. Then there is dinner and a movie with the ex. It will be strange without the dog, so we are going to watch the Westminster Dog Show. We could never do that before because the dog would wear himself out lunging at the screen, trying to get through and get at them other doggies. He will be missed. Noisy little dude. He believed that the stuff on the TV was real. He has a lot of company in this nation. Of course I am mostly referring to Fox News. These Republicans are really pissing me off! I maxed out when the black man at one of Trump’s events got thrown to the ground, and kicked, and choked. The candidate endorsed the assault. Enough of that. I don’t want to get all worked up like I did with the cat. Peace and love. That’s the ticket. I love my cat. I don’t love that Fascist bastard at the podium.

 Let’s wrap it up, friends. I’m down and sad, yet I am rousing a healthy sense of humor today. I had no idea I could squeeze this many words out of this exhausted brain. Who was it? I think it was Ray Bradbury who said that to write he would take in as much information as he could then squeeze his brain to see what comes out. Yeah, what he said.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Breath You Must

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“People who don’t expect justice don’t have to suffer disappointment.”   ~  Isaac Asimov

First it’s coming and then it’s not. The storm, that is. I deftly wish that inner storms were so unreliable. Today’s opening photo is from a winter storm in early 2010. Now, don’t tell me it ain’t so, Mr. Trump, I’ve got metadata in my software that tell me so. Rather convenient, dude. Anyway, that friggin guy has a way of sticking in my mind. The storm that ain’t coming is the big one that the weather service forecast, and then they didn’t. I always revel in fresh snow from a healthy storm. It’s the flower child Nature boy in me. Change! It chills the town, and most everybody is so understandably focused on the needs cast forth by such a winter storm that there is little room for, shall we say, tomfoolery. Cynicism floats much too close, right over my left shoulder. I’m a fan of Thoreau’s Walden, probably because of the the cynicism about society thing. My dad told me that a depressive shouldn’t be reading Thoreau. I don’t know what got into me. But it is a classic, and I love it for his writing style and skill. Me thinks we can call it art as well. So no snow; what shall I do? Note: I just used a semi-colon. Vonnegut, Kurt, not Mark, said a writer should toss semi-colons in an appropriate trash container. But they are a good tool for punctuation where commas feel all clunky and stuff. So is proper grammar, yet I like to use vernacular at times, for the very same reason. Proper grammar is sometimes all clunky and stuff. Granted, I have no higher education. What does that mean, anyway? Back to the snow. I’ll suck it in, up, whatever, and soldier on. Tally ho, boy howdy, whatever.

I’ve been notably disturbed by the usage of blatant lies by some, if not many Presidential candidates. My problem with it is that it reminds me of daily life. I’ve worked in retail and service jobs most of my adult life. One series of incidents sticks in my craw at times. Gossipy stuff, granted. What happened is that I was openly confronted numerous times, by two different people, over my disruptive behavior, and my conservative outlook as well. And I was like wha’? Conservative? What kind of bullshit is this? I steeled myself in case the Jesus stuff followed, but it did not. Lucky me. I’m not at all shy about acting and speaking from my pagan perspective, which is more fact-based and rational than the label might suggest. Conservative?!  Why I oughtta  .  .  .  let me at ’em. But it became clear to me that, at whatever level of awareness, and I suspect that it was near the bottom of the scale, they and their friends had painted me in a particular way, and they were all essentially creating reality, and doing my thinking for me. Yeah, free speech and all that, right? I told that to one woman. I told her that if she was going to do my thinking for me she was going to have to do a much better job. The situation eventually degraded into gaslighting, which was verified by a second party, who gasped when the truth was revealed. Now, to my point, to these blatant lies. Think Fox News and conservative (my point exactly!) candidates. Think back to when Donald Rumsfeld said that his cadre, in the higher echelons of power politics, the players, the winners, created reality, and that the rest of us must simply study that reality, because that was our place. If that is the truth then these expressions are not lies, they are tools. So are some of the perpetrators.

Wow, I’m in a down cycle. Too much death in such a short time. The cycles are not always self-imposed. Situational depression can sometimes trip the auto-cycles. That’s me, today. I’ve been looking at my blog stats and my readership is at an all time low. There are tools available, through the software, that I could use to maybe bump up the numbers a tad, by using feelers and going for ‘clicks’; and there is advertising as well. I ain’t goin’ there at this point. I’ll live with the scarcity. I’ve mentioned before that my stats go up high when I write about my most recent job at the animal shelter. I can’t honestly say I am past that, but it doesn’t seem to have a point, and those folks are doing a good job, as far as I can see. Over the weekend I got me some high stats when I wrote about Babu the wonder dog. I had braced myself in mentioning the good doctor in that post, but he was an essential, critical part of the story, yet my including him in the post likely riled some folks. My point here is that I seem to have run out of blog fodder. Don’t ya just love that term?! Blog fodder? Say it fast a couple of times. It almost sounds like an expletive. Point is that my inspiration is way low, and I have been tempted over that past few day to hang it up, to cease blogging altogether. I could probably switch over to more spiritual stuff, along with the latest in consciousness studies. But that would require some research that would still take me offline, into blog silence, for quite a while anyway, while I brush up on my material. My mind is way foggy these days, and thought stuff doesn’t last long at all through the passage of time. Wow, here comes my new guru right now! “In the moment you must stay. Breath you must. Beware of the dark side. Afraid you will be”. That’s enough for the day. Chow.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Animal Dance

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“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”  ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

It was a comforting sight, the nearly full moon poised to drop down behind the ridge where Camino Ovejeros heads on up to the mesa. A micro glacier on the deck before me glistened with the moonlight as my head moved unsteady. I’m kind of a mess this morning. Two days ago I wrote about the death of babu, then yesterday came another dog. I’ve written enough about Sky, the rat terrier, here, and I am feeling wrung out after a long, difficult day yesterday, so I’ll be fairly short about it this morning. My ex called me just after 7 AM, and left a message because I was out doing my sunrise watching chicken tending routine. She wanted me to come over because the dog was dying. I misunderstood her, so I thought the dog was already gone. When I arrived at the house I could see that he was almost gone. She was holding him, standing in the kitchen. He barked at me. He always does when she is nearby. She put him down on the floor and he got around pretty good. I’ll spare the details, none of which were at all gruesome. It was simply clear that his physical body had run out of steam. Old age, kidney failure. Natural. Fourteen years old. We sat and watched him run around. Terminal agitation. I got up and followed him around after a while, to help if he got stuck somewhere. Outside. Back in. He did pretty good for an unsteady fella. Heck, even I bump into furniture on occasion. I used humor to keep myself steady and supportive. I even got him to bite Foghorn Leghorn, his favorite squeaky toy. After a while she finally assented that it was best, so we took him into town, to Salazar vets, and the doctor provided her services impeccably. When we got back to the house we sat on the ramada and sipped wine, and talked for quite some time before I returned home.

After my post about Babu the other day I got an email from a friend who reminded me that beyond the good doctor there extends the caring team of shelter staff, and how crucially important the team effort is, and how hard it can be on the team to deal with what we deal with. Hundreds of animals are nurtured to the point where they are ready, then the marketing begins. That was always my strong point: marketing. But the strongest point needs to be underscored enthusiastically. It’s the team, and the love. You can go down and volunteer, but unless you get down and dirty “in the trenches”, day after day, there is no way of knowing. The energy of what goes on in the shelter blooms full spectrum, every day, and the taxation on the emotions and mind is tremendous. I miss it, yes. So, go give those folks a hug. The stock phrase that is used at the shelter is “It’s all about the animals”. With three months’ distance from the shelter work I have to amend that saying a tad. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my shelter experience taught me, in a way I never knew before, that humans are friggin animals as well. Before, the knowledge was abstract intellectual interest. But I learned. A full swarm of conscious beings, dancing every day, all in their allotted roles. I was once a dancer, and I look now at all of those good people, playing their allotted role, doing their noble work, and I can only hope that they don’t let self sacrifice go too far. Y’all are animals too, my friends. Take good care of yourself as well. Otherwise your job is never quite complete. Just do it. I have to chuckle here, noting that the good doctor pushed me to remember the team and the scope of the work. I love y’all for what you do. That goes for you too, boss. Keep up the good work. Take care of yourself, most of all. Somebody’s got to do it. You do it well. Thank you.

Well, I guess it wasn’t short after all. I’m a mess today. I lost my dog. Over the Rainbow Bridge, off to Summerland. That’s what we pagans call it. I’ve seen the place. My dog is in good hands.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Dizzy Was a Trickster

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“I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry – poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs – is how the world works. The world isn’t logical; it’s a song.”  ~  David Byrne

Monday morning. Frigid air, twinkling stars. Good coffee. Status quo in this home. I’ve had a few run-ins with the cat; power game stuff. So far I have managed to negotiate to my own satisfaction, which means it ain’t over. Cats are beyond stubborn. I am merely stubborn in the matter. I’m out-gunned. No worries. She’s a sweetie for the most part. Animals are on my mind today, likely because of yesterday’s post. I felt trepidation in posting that, for reasons I won’t share here. But I committed. It felt right. It got me to thinking of how devoted we become to some animals, and it doesn’t always make sense. At the shelter I was always drawn to the hard cases, I think because my father instilled in me a love for the plight of the underdog. It makes sense to me after all these years. It’s not a competition, it is rising up against difficult odds. Or odd difficulties. There were numerous hard cases, but the one who held top honors in the mix was a cat named Dizzy, a Siamese tabby mix. Dizzy was aptly named, but only in advance of our discovery of his issues. He’d been named when still a young kitten. No one could have known. As he grew a little older  .  .  .  well, one day he was suddenly falling over, several times. Some kind of neurological condition had obviously kicked in. Whatever it was it made him always favor moving to the left. Because of his not having yet achieved coordination through normal growth the condition seemed serious. But he grew into it fairly quickly. Dizzy became hyperactive, always moving, until he flopped over to sleep, and then right back at it upon awakening. And he was as sweet and loving as they come. And very very talkative! He was eventually adopted by one of our caregivers. She reports that he is still a fine, loving cat. And a handful! Some say that we are drawn to certain animals to learn what only they can teach us. This is above and beyond the simple unconditional love that comes as standard issue. For me, Dizzy was a Trickster. His behavior in captivity was so overwhelming that, through my own laughter, he taught me to slow down, to listen to my heart, to accept the mystery of being, and to laugh as much as possible on the way, in wonder at what seems to be absurd. I related to him in that I too have neurological issues. I laughed a lot in his presence. I never heard him laugh, but I suspect that he laughed a lot as well, and I simply did not understand what I was hearing. Or was it seeing? Clowns are quite often silent as they perform.

I have no plans for the day, and no obligations. I feel a deep need to get back to work on one of my large, more formal writing projects, and if I don’t get sidetracked by an attack of the niggling twits I likely will jump in and do some work. The niggling twits are an insidious force that, I hope, is idiosyncratic for me. I get barraged by a sudden contempt for details while they swirl around in my mind, mocking. Worst case scenario, I get stupid trying to rectify the situation. And for some strange reason it gets me to wondering how my own behavior might get in the way of someone else’s sincere efforts. I can’t explain that last piece. But it does apply to me. I get in my own way.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Year of the Dog (Babu)

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“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”  ~  Mark Twain

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”   ~  Karen Davison

Once upon a time there was this dog. At that time he was called Babu, a Far Eastern term of respect for a gentleman, then his name was changed by his adoptive mom to BJ Raji. It’s a true wonder that he survived, to become by any means adoptable, to have his name changed, so any name would be a good name because he was there to receive it. Babu went home. That is the miracle.

I first met Babu when I was first hired at the shelter, as an animal caregiver for dogs. All of the boisterous dogs got my attention first, as I learned to handle them and even to nudge them, when possible, toward socialization. But then I got to the end of the rotation, in the back-most kennel in the isolation room, and there lay Babu, mellow as can be, upon a cushion of blankets to protect him from the chilly concrete floor. His eyes were bright and he used them to display interest at a new face. He occupied those blankets regally. I did not know his plight but he impressed a regal air upon my senses and mind. Yet he did not get up to express exuberance at the kennel door. He looked content to lounge.

I was told that he had health issues, as I slipped a lead over his head so that I could take him outside while the kennel was cleaned and sanitized. Later I learned why his gait was so unsteady. Babu had cancer, an external tumor, on his penis. The sight of it was unspeakable, and it made me cringe every time I saw it. And he was partially incontinent as well. He could have been euthanized and nobody would have doubted the action.

At that time we had an on-campus veterinarian, who paid special notice to Babu. Dr. Gene clearly saw the potential for a longer life for the pit bull mix. From the scars on his head, and the way his ears had been gnawed to nubs, it was pretty certain that Babu had been used as a fighter, or as a bait dog for fights. After such an atrocity I to this day believe that the doctor wanted to provide the dog with a gentle and loving life before his passing; that he did not want him to pass within the shelter wall. That was my impression, however accurate.

Dr. Gene first did one surgery, during which he removed some or most of the tumor. I never heard the degree, but I saw within days that Babu was rising out of his suffering. Wayne Dyer was the one who taught me how animals do not suffer the same way that we do, not even to the same degree of pain, because they are not inclined to resist the pain; it is simply a factor in their life. Pain resisted is pain amplified. That’s the lesson here. The lucky dog looked relieved to me. More smiley.

Doctor Gene did another surgery in time. And Babu seemed better still, yet his urination was still significantly hampered. But it was the third surgery that blew me away. In an hours long procedure, without a single break for anything, he rerouted the patient’s urethra away from the damaged area, and back toward his butt, so that Babu would from then on urinate like a female. The operation was a success. The patient lived.

The patient was pampered and showered with love. He was soon fostered most every night by an heroic volunteer, then returned to the shelter most every day. The dog had it good. He grew better, eventually to the point where he could even romp and run a bit. Most shelters, anywhere in the country, would have probably put him down. Doc chose otherwise, and endeavored upon the strength of a vision, a vision that became fulfilled. The doctor saved the dog’s life, and gave him greatly enhanced quality of life.

Babu went on to be adopted, and transported to Daisy Farm Sanctuary, where he led the good life, showered with love and impeccable care, for a little more than one year. Dr. Gene gave him that much more time to live life with as much quality as possible. That turned out to be a lot.

In the animal rescue and caregiving world it is said that when dogs die they pass over the Rainbow Bridge, then on the other side they await fellow travelers, to welcome them to their furever home in the world beyond. Yes, I grieve for the loss, for people who are so devastated at the earthly loss of a dazzling spirit, but I cannot help but smile. With my hand upon my heart, I nod, and bow my head to the dog, and the man who gave him what he had after an appalling beginning in life. It lasted a year. The year of the dog. Namaste, one and all.

Peace out. Goof gloriously.

A Drink With Hemingway

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“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”   ~  Warner Herzog

Wow, I slept late. That was the best night of sleep I have had in a long, long time. The coffee is tasting good; my switch to a much more economic brand turned out to be a good move. This stuff is totally drinkable, in fact the flavor is quite nice. I woke up with a Taylor Sift song running through my head: “Blank Space”. Usually the haunting morning song o’ the day comes to me in melody only. Taylor is singing this one. I don’t regret her voice, however. She’s got a good one. So now, my her eminent presence as I get the day underway has got me wondering why? Why her? Why now? You regular readers might have guessed it already. She is pissed that I canceled the lunch date. Who can blame her, right? I am amusing company, after all. So Taylor? Sweetie. I guess we are back on. Have your publicists shoot me an email. You are still gonna have to buy, my dear. And if J.Law takes me up on my offer too we’re just gonna have to do it all together. I hear y’all run in the same circles anyway.

This is just a quick post. There will be another today. It is a very important post. So important that I risk offending the writing gods by using the word “very”in that previous sentence. I know if I had Hemingway as a muse I’d be in deep shit. I mean, who would want that friggin guy get all stern with you and stuff? Whoah, buddy. But ya know, if he’d agree to take me down to Havana for a boisterous few rum cocktails at a funky old tavern in Key West – Sloppy Joe’s would do –  I’d be willing to bear his criticism. Ernest? We both spent a lot of time in the Keys, dude. We’d have plenty to talk about. I even know a guy who won the contest in Key West dedicated to your beard and it’s copycats. My dad had one of those.

Back to reality, as much as I know about that anyway. I have a lot to learn. The other post today is of a more serious nature. I’ve lost a friend, and even though my heart sings for this friend there is a story to be told about him and what he went through to get where he is today. Many fine people are mourning his passage from this life. I mean to be one of them, and I want to get it right. It will take some time. Check back later, muchachas y muchacos.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.