Wednesday, July 30, 2014


The leading edge of the storm caught the light of the setting sun and glowed like old ivory. Behind it, the colors of an old bruise spread across the sky, gun metal gray dusty rose and dark mauve fading to indigo. Omnious. It looked like trouble.  

As the darkness rose in the south and east, the western sky was still Maxfield Parrish blue, laced with rose gold clouds.

The sky began flare and flash, thunder rumbled and there I was, still a mile from home.  A flock of birds that had settled on a power line lifted en masse and flew west. Damn, I thought; that can't be a good sign.

Then, there it was, silver lightning splitting the sky, a flash and then gone.  People were coming out of their houses, bringing their children out into the middle of the street to watch and I wanted to scream at them, are you nuts??? Get the hell inside!! Six blocks to go and I began to run. Please lord, don't strike me down. Spare me over to another day. 

I got home just as the fat raindrops began to fall and stood on the front porch as the storm flashed and rumbled brighter and louder. As I watched the rain picked up and the lighting and thunder came continuously, non-stop, until a blazing, blinding, brilliant bolt struck and thundered so loud it sounded like the sky had cracked open. It was right on top of me.  I ran inside in terror as it began to pour.

It was over in 30 minutes.  Everything got a good soaking and I don't have to water tomorrow.  It was 100 degrees today, but it's lovely and cool now.  My only lingering fear is whether the lightning started  a fire out in the Colestin.  Sequoia and I had one of our periodic talks about what to save in a fire: two trunks filled with family heirlooms, the photos stacked in Kiva's old room, the computer hard drive. We both know full well that, if the shit goes down, the only thing he really needs to save is himself; the rest of it is just stuff.

I remember my brother Greg and I sitting with Aunt Bobbie on the back step of grandmother's house, watching a raging thunderstorm. I don't remember where my parents were, but they were not with us.. Greg and I were terrified and Greg started to cry, but Bobbie kept telling him, "Don't be scared of the thunder and lightning. That's just God talking and God would never hurt you."  Ah, the lies we tell our children to keep the terror at bay.

I hear copters flying, looking for fires. It's going to be a long night.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clear Green Rivers and Hot Rocks in Heaven

July on the South Umpqua. Floating on my back in a crystalline pool, gazing up, the periphery of my vision ringed by Douglas fir.  Flipping over, I swim in the currents, float on the eddies, then stretch myself on the flat rocks and bake dry.

In Paloma's secret garden, everything is damp and green, profuse with flowers, perfectly manicured and breathtakingly beautiful. It's a stunning spot, but it can't hold me. Again and again, I am drawn away from my loved ones, away from the fine food and finer music, drawn down the bank to the river's edge.  I find a sweet spot in the current that provides just enough resistance for me to swim in place, the water clear and cool but not cold. I lay my head in the current and listen to the river murmur and sigh.

In that rarest of moments, in that sublime location, I am at perfect peace. I am released.

If there is a heaven, I hope it has a river. I hope heaven looks and feels like July on the South Umpqua. I hope my friends gather with me in the secret garden to make music, eat and laugh. 

And, if there is no heaven?  Then I will hold the memory of Tiller in my heart and die happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Message from the Cosmos #2: 444

In the last two days, the number 444 has popped up twice.  Yesterday, I got change in the amount of 4:44. Today in the office when only us worker bees were left at the end of the day, my colleague joked that I had the authority to send everyone home. "Great. I'm calling it.  Time of death - -4:44."

What's the significance? Nothing. That doesn't stop me from nosing around.

First, our old friend the Bible

John 4:44 - For Jesus himself has testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

Ain't it the truth?

My pal Isaiah, 44:3 - I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out my spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.  44:4 - And they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.

You can always count on Isaiah for beauty.

Genesis 44:4 - They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, "Go after those men at once and when you catch up to them, say to the, "Why have you repaid good with evil."

Good question, Joe.

In history, the year 444 was the year of the Consulship of Theodosius and Aginatius, whatever the hell that was.

According to a several of woo-woo spiritual psychic type sites, 444 means that angels are around me, watching me, trying to get my attention.  OK, I'm listening.

4:44 is the name of a truly terrible movie starring William Dafoe about the last day on earth. I watched it, or at least most of it, and it was stunningly bad.

444 megahertz would be a sharp A note, and I tend to tune a little sharp.

Interstate 444 is a circle route around Tulsa. I've passed through Tulsa a couple of times, maybe I've driven on it. Louisiana Highway 444 runs from French Settlement through Verdun and ends at Killian. That sounds like a nice drive. There's a highway 444 in Montana, Maryland, New York...

The gene ID'd as 444 is called asparatate beta hydroxilase. It is thought to play an important role in calcium homeostasis. I have no idea what that means, but I take calcium for leg cramps.

There is a 444 caliber rifle that is a mean looking weapon.

In numerology, 444 is 4+4+4 = 12 and 1+2 = 3. So, in a totally illogical way, 444 = 3 which, as we all know, is a magic number; so says School House Rock and if you can't trust School House Rock, what can you trust?

Maybe 444 means that I'm 2/3 Devil because 2/3 or 666 is 444.

And then there is the 444 theory:

I haven't the foggiest what they are talking about, but that's enough silliness for one night. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

Messages from the Cosmos #1: Talitha Arise

The New Moon on July 26 2014 falls on the star in the front paw of the great bear Ursa Major. The star is called Talitha, which means “daughter of the assembly”. It is associated with a bible story where Jesus is called to revive a dying girl. Jesus says “Talitha arise”, 

"They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, 'Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.' And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement."

This star can bring healing and compassion along with Ursa Minor’s other protective, nurturing traits... However, this Moon could make us overly defensive and stubborn. If threatened, the influence of Cancer’s shell can harden into Saturn armor. This is when the famous Leo pride intensifies their resolve never to show their soft, vulnerable core. We could be setting intentions with this moon to toughen up, if we have been hurt by that raptor full moon two weeks ago... So even though this is a brand-new Moon cycle, it still feels a bit like we are tying loose ends from the previous moon. We are also reawakening a few issues from the earlier on in the year. At this time we will feel very much in limbo, about to arise as Talitha, but a little half baked!

What the Leo Moon is in direct conjunction with, is the god of all gods, Jupiter! Combine Zeus with the Lion King and you get someone who relishes power and is very happy to give orders. Of course they will be accused of being bossy, but at the same time they will look after you. Jupiter, lions and a big bear paw all suggest fierce protection. Seek the balance being protective without being stifling. Be willing to let go of the leading rein and even take off the harness. Combined with the “Talitha arise” thing and I get the impression of the Frankenstein monster. But no! Let’s hope the risen being or project looks rather more aesthetically pleasing. With this Moon I think it will be essential to debate into the small hours. The topic needs churning over from every angle before it can arise. This is a New Moon of very heated discussions and it’s important to hang in there and not rush out a new plan or product in haste. Otherwise it really could look like a patched up Frankenstein. It’s important to let those Franken scars heal good and proper, then get the timing right for when you need to let go of your “baby”, literally or figuratively. The house this New Moon falls in, will give you a clue in what area of life you need to carefully incubate something or someone

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

She Walked

Once again, for the fourth and presumably final time, she walked and I cried.  Three times I watched her take the graduate's walk: high school, college and law school.  This time she walked across a lawn on the arm of her devoted daddy. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Although this isn't the first time I've watched her take a ceremonial walk, there was something profoundly final about this one.  She has lived with young Paul for years, been on her own for even longer. I believe strongly that a married woman is her own person, autonomous and whole. Still, there was something different about this walk. She and Paul stood before the people they love and declared themselves a family, whole unto themselves. She is still my daughter, still part of my family, but her first allegiance is to her husband, to the circle they have created,to the family they will build.  It was sweet and a little melancholy.

Ah, but how can you be melancholy when there's a taco truck and a giant seahorse pinata? That's how us hippies do it in Southern Oregon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Musical Celtic Cross

The Situation

What covers it:

What crosses it

So, what's the outcome?

Decision time.