Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TELL ME NOW, WAS LIFE SO GOOD ON EARTH?

MEXICAN BIRD-OF-PARADISE
to die for, right?
NEW MOON, MONDAY NIGHT,
PALM SPRINGS
I was in Palm Springs for a week and left yesterday.

By the time I left, the baby hummingbirds (see a couple of posts back) had started to poke their minuscule heads, mouths agape, over the top of the nest.

Also it was quiet, quiet, blessedly quiet. Away from L.A., I feel how incredibly stressful my life is there. I don't even commute, and though I live in a relatively quiet street, still the noise is almost incessant. The yard guys come every Tuesday with their leafblowers. Every other Wednesday Marta the cleaning lady arrives at noon and leaves at 7:30. The building next door is divided into fifteen or so studios, filled with mostly young-ish people who God love them just adore standing out on their balconies till about 1 shooting the breeze and smoking. Across the street are two, not one but two, houses with incessantly barking dogs. Plus did I say we've had a rat in our kitchen? That's right. A freakin rat! A mouse isn't four inches long with a long snaky black tail. Contrary to the assertions of my landlord-roommate, a mouse doesn't sit on top of the stove by the tea kettle in the dark and leer when you turn on the light and shriek.

Louder than all that, though, is the noise in my head. How to carve out enough time to write? How to keep up with the steady stream of email? How to stay centered in Christ because without that, I have nothing to give, nothing to say. "I am the vine and you are the branches: without me, you can do nothing." Nothing!

I hope to go out to Palm Springs again in July.

Meanwhile, I'm house-sitting from June 12 through July 1 at the house of my friends Donald and Alan. Who I may have mentioned HAVE CHICKENS that lay one to three fresh miraculous eggs each day!

Here's a poem I read out there, from a book a friend gave me called Death

SONG OF THE DEAD ONE

Joy fills me
When daylight breaks
And the sun
Glides silently forward.

But I lie choked with fear
Greedy maggot throngs
Eat into my collarbone cavity
And tear away my eyes.

Anxiously I lie and meditate.
How choked with fear I was
When they buried me
In a snow hut on a lake.

When they sealed the door
Incomprehensible
How my soul could escape.

Greater grew my fear
When the ice split
And the crack grew thunderously
Over the heavens.

Glorious was life
In winter
But did winter bring me joy?
Worries corroded
Worries for sole-skins and boot-skins.

Glorious was life
In summer
But did summer bring me joy?
Ever was I anxious
For sleeping furs.

Glorious was life
On the sea ice.
But did that bring me joy?
Ever was I anxious
For no salmon wished to bite.

Was it so beautiful
When I stood flushed, embarrassed,
In the swirl of the feasthouse,
And the choir ridiculed me,
Getting stuck with my song?

Tell me, now, was life so good on earth?
Here joy fills me
When daylight breaks
And the sun
Glides silently forward.

- Copper Inuit traditional song -


SUNSET OVER SILVER LAKE TUES. NIGHT
NOTE TINY CRESCENT MOON!
CROSS, FOREST LAWN CEMETERY
DUSK AND SMOG
As the sun glides silently forward, I'm gliding from hummingbirds to poultry.

I pray not to be choked with fear.

7 comments:

  1. Amen Heather. I pray for this too - for you, for me and for all of us. God bless you.
    ps I prayed for you every day when I was at St Beuno's (where G.M. Hopkins lived and wrote). The retreat was wonderful.

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  2. Praying that the evil leering rat will go away!

    I used to house sit before I got married. It was kind of fun to slip into a new location for a while and pretend to be a mysterious woman.

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  3. I am currently housesitting, and what a feast for my fantasy-filled imagination to dine on! I love cooking in the kitchen of another, lounging in someone else's livingroom, all the while pretending to live the lives of the homeowners. Housesitting for me, is like being on a stage in an empty theatre.

    You will have to post on the color of the chicken's eggs! Most people seem to assume chicken eggs are always white or brown, but there are also pink, blue, and green -shelled eggs. I grew up on a mini-farm of chickens, peacocks, ducks, rabbits, and goats [as well as a spoiled 32 pound house cat] so I know all sorts of now-useless information about silly little animals and their ways, including how to tattoo a rabbit's ears (important for showmanship and pedigree status). Haha! I hope you enjoy a fresh-egg omelet. Fresh eggs are less easy to crack and peel than any egg you'll find in a store. Store-bought eggs are spoiling away and just dying to break free of their shells.

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  4. Thanks for the poem. And I would like to say, 'don't be afraid,' but I don't really understand enough. Obliged.

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  5. Thanks for the comments, folks--I so don't want to spend my short time on earth in anxiety. Most of the time I'm FAIRLY okay but have been new car shopping...

    Lizzie, I looked up your retreat house in Wales and found one on the coast of Massachusetts that gives the Ignatian exercises that I'm applying to for next summer--thanks for the inspiration--

    Happy Saturday, all...

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  6. Heather- I have missed your blog. Life gets out of control. Life gets weird. Tonight, I re-read "resign from the debating society." Yes. I must try again and again. So, I came here to get some peace. The photos are beautiful, and when I can I will read what I have missed.

    Peace Heather. I have missed you.

    Barbara

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  7. Barbara, welcome back! I have missed you! Yes, life does get weird...hope you find some peace here and peace and love to you...

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I WELCOME your comments!!!