The I Ching and Me. 22 October, 2018

Funny thing.

Many years ago, I went to see a clairaudient at the behest of a friend.  I’d been seeing, very casually and infrequently, a guy I’d met in high school (a couple years ahead of me in school).  As much as we got along, he had little clue exactly what to do with me or how to make it work between us, despite us getting along exceedingly well.  His surname name, old-world and sturdy.  To put himself through SUNY New Paltz, he learned tree maintenance.  This consisted of climbing damaged or dangerous trees with spiked-arches on his boot bottoms while carrying a heavy chainsaw, then cutting dangling limbs or taking the entire tree down altogether.  His surname matched his personality:  brave, strong, rugged in every sense;  as a personality, he was all those things plus kind, friendly and quite funny.  He was incredibly outgoing – boisterous, even – had a lot of friends – never had a “real” girlfriend that I know of – but was a favorite in his crowd.  Everybody loved this guy.  (They still do.)

Much to my confusion, I made him very nervous – which was quite clear – yet, he kept coming around and I kept accepting his date invitations.  Our dates were simple, always fun, never fancy nor expensive.  They were memorable, and thoughtful.  He fished for bluefish, so we had that for a meal he prepared.  He grew vegetables, and walked me through the side yard of his home telling about every seed, its growth life and what happened after the harvest.  He knew an Irish guy who happened to be a fairly well-known Irish poet, so we went into the city for a poetry reading (yes, a poetry reading) at a hip and artsy downtown New York bar decorated with all things KGB and Russian…for an Irish poet.  He was nothing but irony and incongruity – which happens to be a good combination for my too-busy brain.  (Thankfully, my current partner is very much like this, too; otherwise, I’d be bored to pieces and, likely, long gone by now.)

Anyway, the clairaudient recorded our session, there in her nearly all-white office with desk and two chairs.  She was plainly dressed and slim and young and naturally pretty, and I recall doubting her legitimacy based on all those things.  What was I expecting?  A gypsy with fringed shawl and bony fortune-telling fingers seated at a small round table, a hazy crystal ball between us?  Yeah, probably exactly that.  After she explained her connection process, she turned on the recorder and began my reading.

In a nutshell, here is what she said (and you will see why I am telling you all this, shortly):

“You are dating/seeing/being courted by a man who likes you very, very much but he is confused about you and has no idea what do to with you or how to integrate you into his life.  You feel good to him.  He is tall and sturdy, and can go deep – like a tree…he works with trees and his last name is a European-based name meaning “of the trees” or “from the trees or forest.”  He may be German…maybe Dutch or Belgian…he wants to help you trim your trees, help you with your trees…”

I sat there, utterly speechless.  His last name is, indeed, Dutch/Belgian.  It means someone who lives in a forest or is an occupational name for someone who worked in one.  Literally, “Of the forest.”

She continued about him for moment, telling me about the long  row of pin pine trees that lined my long driveway at the time, how he wanted to trim them (he did offer to do that), and how one day they would be taken down by a different man who had no intention of saving the land.  [This came true, by the way, shortly after I sold that home and land to a landscaper…who immediately felled every last one of those old pines after reassuring me he was going to take care of the trees.  Super Storm Sandy blew through the weekend this friend was to work on my trees; I put him off for safety sake, plus he had other jobs of greater import following the storm.  My trees never had any issue in storms.]

The clairaudient then told me I had “a massive, protective dragon – it’s orange with touches of purple – over my shoulder everywhere and anywhere” I go.  It is not a spirit animal but Spirit itself, in this form, she said.  She did not know its gender but somehow I never needed to ask.  So, the opening lines of a note from one of my staff, today, regarding the I Ching for my birthday (yesterday) – that included a powerful dragon and dragon energy – speak to me very loudly!

The strength and force of Dragons
Inspiration in its primal presence
Portends Great Success

So, too, does the part about beginning anew creatively.  I have a studio of supplies, a head full of ideas, and yet have not been able to get myself in there for anything more than tidying and touching my art supplies and books and wistfully saying “Hi” to the space, then leaving, no art made.

It feels like I am constantly missing a part of myself, despite carrying it around in me all the time.

As for my forester friend, he remains one of the good guys.  I heard from him last several months ago, and social media tells me he may have, finally, found a woman strong and deep (and fun) enough to match him, nicely.  My dragon is still following me around, everywhere.


24 July, 2014. (Journal)

Some of you are dancing to stay focused on a single candle flame of thought.

Some of you are wrestling with obligation and responsibility, and choosing indecision as the companion who leads.

Some of you are up late pretending you’re not tired or that, soon, sleep will come and the sofa will be ‘just as good’ as the bed, where you would otherwise be sleeping alone.

Some of you are not alone but with family or friends, celebrating something elated and sweet – or simply held captive by banal late evening news.

Some of you are paying bills or mending socks or finishing the dishes or folding laundry, watering the dog, wishing there were fresh sheets on the bed, sweeping the spiders outdoors (or into a square of tissue into the toilet).

Beside an oscillating fan or bathed in dry, cool air conditioned bliss.

All of us are seeking.

Sleep, a partner, a missing piece, a cure, a level of satisfaction, an answer, a reply, a touch, a word, a recipe, a bit of enjoyable nothing, a meal, a grace, an overwhelming need to just give in and stop (or go), a growing list, a shrinking waistline, a good laugh, a bad joke, a moment of pure joy, a titillation, a note, a diminished sense of responsibility, a mentor, a guide, a map, a tool or the ability to leap a barrier – just once.

All these are ingredients, life-affirming, no matter how annoying or pleasant.

All of the scenes in all of our different windows are breathing and living and contributing to this July summer night. You contribute to mine, and I to yours, however miniscule and unbidden. I hope it is good for you; it is perfectly out of sync and lopsided here, for me – and that is really just fine.

Portrait of a Family.

Christmas 2015, New York.

I shot this with my big camera on an average setting. No flash, no filter and no intent, other than to, hopefully, capture a couple of moments decently, in sequence, in my pajamas, with coffee somewhere to my left.  Before I moved to Virginia to be with my partner, the camera was a lovely distraction and companion.  In short, this photo was not supposed to be special or landmark.

2015_25_12 HFR

And yet, this image sums up 60+ Christmases for my parents, 50-or-so for me and my sister, and just a handful for the children seated in front of the tree.  A tree ever placed at the front living room window, almost scraping the ceiling (several years’ worth of treetop marks are in the paint above.)  The ritual of opening our stockings – left for Santa outside our bedroom doors to deter and distract younger versions of ourselves from descending to the main floor; joining our parents on their very big bed to display and review our sock loot as they washed off the night and opened their own stockings.  Once socked, we went down for the annual, prerequisite breakfast – and trying not to rush through that breakfast.  Our father accordion-folding back the large, red silk Oriental screen to reveal the living room – more importantly – the tree, dazzling and lit with presents underneath.  Some years there were a great many gifts, other years our mother started her apologies for “a thin” or “lean” Christmas weeks in advance.  It never mattered.  It was the rites and tradition that made the day.  On many Christmas mornings, someone, an adult, would slip into the den and turn on the stereo/record player for Andy Williams or the King Family Singers or Mitch Miller.  My favorite was, and still is, Herb Albert and the Tiajuana Brass Christmas album.

That album is the only familiar thing about Christmas since moving to Virginia…at least for the last two years.  Most of the ornaments that would go on a tree are meaningful to me, not my partner nor his son, so I don’t put them up because then it would be “my” tree. This year, for color and whim, colorful and varied ribbons draped the tree.  They were, for the most part, emotionally neutral and not particularly significant but at least it was decorated.

When I snapped this photograph, aching bittersweet lump in the back of my throat, “This will be the last time we’re here.”  Holding that thought, unsure whether my intuition or inner hall monitor (who so often calamatizes and splinters my confidence and creativity) was the source.  Probably both.

It was, in fact, the last time we had Christmas in that house.  We did not know it then.  We hoped not.

While we have yet to rejoin for Christmas since this photo was taken, we have visited and held each others company, and celebrated birthdays and anniversaries.  Some of the waters ahead are unknown, uncharted, and I have no idea what they should look like despite having some knowledge of how things like this go.





Might take a while but I think we all recognize the “good” in “goodbye”.  Maybe not simultaneously or even assign it the same weight or meaning.

Weightlessness is fine for wandering or aimlessly bobbing around, here and there.  But there came a desire to be grounded, certain, and that never happened.  It is then we choose, again, direction and propulsion.  

We do this, change course, many times in life — whether by choice or organically.
I am so blessed to be loved and valued, and that is all I know, right this minute.  Right, this life.

September 20. 

’tis a gift, this life.

How the heck did I get so lucky to
-be here (one smart mother).
-know what I know (open, curious, insatiable mind).

-shepherd my child (excellent karma).

-be loved by a handful of stellar souls (and I mean honestly Loved — in that 4 AM, unconditional, whatever-you-need, take-you-as-you-are way we Love people).

-and be lucky enough to have people to Love, and like, in return.

Don’t know how it happened, but I am so very lucky…and I would not change a thing or lodge a complaint with the manager or send back scrambled eggs when I asked for over-easy.  Everything is a gift.  Including you.


August 9, 2013. (Journal)

If Saturday is the last day of any week, then Sunday is the start.
That said, this has been (is still) a rather nice week, in all the weeks of this year.
A little travel, a little cooking, a little exploration (some unintentional, some very intended). One plot came to a close while ideas spring forth from those embers into potential for next year and beyond. Other ideas on different subjects begin to form and shape – it is amazing what a little shared time and conversation will produce.
My child, (a junior already?!) gathers steam to begin one of her favorite summer-into-October activities  Monday; returning as a Section Co-Leader; she could not be more proud or enthusiastic. It is uplifting to watch your children invest themselves, then reap the rewards of something so meaningful as music – or writing or science or medical training or law or chess or math or dance – regardless of “the thing”, their joy and expansion far outweigh all the driving and odd-hour dinners and late nights of homework. Happy kid = happy parent.
As for us, tomorrow, ‘good morning’ turns into ‘see you soon’, and we part for an unknown time; rails bending in two directions. One to the land, one to the water (in poetic essences. In reality one will rest while the other drives home.) Not that I’m counting but there are only three months and 18 days until Thanksgiving. (110 days for you pencil-sharpeners.) By then, the fruits will be harvested and the menu plannedI .  be happily ensconced in my new job (pending), and tucked-in with storm windows and blankets versus summer screens and single cotton sheets.
Happy Week End, and Happy Week Beginning.

On Belief, Trust & The Universe. [2014 journal entry]

In 2001, My very good friend taught me to “ask the Universe for what you want. Be specific, and ask that whatever it is, it is the best one for *you.*”  So, I did as I stepped out the door of The Institution* into a new chapter.  The crumbling Mercedes I’d been driving was barely good for parts; the garage offered $450 to put it out of it’s misery but I could not be without wheels.  So, I quietly asked the Universe for a car.  One that would be perfect for us – a single working mother and her even busier child.  12 years later we are on our second PT Cruiser (the first a lemon but no fault of my asking).  It has been the perfect car for us.

In 13 years my asks have been few.  I fear emptying the well with my requests so I have kept the asks to a bare minimum.  Someone’s health, another’s healing, mending of a broken heart, money for oil/gas/food/a school activity, etc.  Most of my asks have all been answered. I see this now this morning, my hair wrapped in an old towel covering muddy henna hair, the cat asleep on the table beside my typing, she’s napping on a ukulele case, the byproduct of another small, quiet ask – albeit a longstanding one.

A couple years ago I silently asked for a new guitar (or ukulele).  The 30+ year old guitar from high school days had finally given up and breathed more mold than music.  We sold it at the estate sale last month, and the household uke we had popped the bridge nearly taking out an eye.  It was irreparable and we tossed it in the dustbin.  Yesterday, a new friend, who makes and repairs guitars and other fine strummery, offered to sell me a barely used ukulele from his stash.  Our conversation was quick, efficient, and most of all unforeseen.  We exchanged tokens and I returned home last night, Martin uke in hand.  I stayed up late teaching myself what I used to know, and feeling grateful for how everything eventually falls into place.

Journal entry, 17 April, 2014.


*of marriage