Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The sky is black, the stars are bright, the air is frigid. It's an hour or so before dawn on the morning of the winter solstice.
We can hear the drums as we walk toward the amphitheater. The waning crescent moon hangs over the tall crag that forms the southern wall of the amphitheater. We choose our space, spread our blankets on the icy seats. The drumming continues. Somewhere in the darkness someone plays a didgeridoo.
Najah takes out a tiny cauldron, lights charcoal. We share a cup of coffee while it smolders. When the coals are ready, she scatters a homemade blend of sage, cedar and copal. Smoke spirals up, the scents blending with the cold, the stone, the snow. Frankincense wafts down the rows, the drums keep pounding.
Najah takes up her rattles, I take up my drum. We join in the rhythm. There's no leader, no program, no script. People keep arriving, the drums get louder. The darkness slowly fades. There's no sign of the sun, but now there's enough light to see that the sky is cloudless, except for two banks of clouds rising up from the horizon like the wings of a dragon. The drumming continues, the dragon's wings turn from purple to a fiery magenta. The drumming continues. My shoulder is beginning to ache. I keep drumming. The wings turn to molten gold. There is the faintest line of light at the horizon. The drumming continues. And continues. It builds in intensity. There is still only the faintest line of light on the horizon. We drum and we drum, and the sun does not appear. Time seems to be frozen. The sun is not coming up. We drum louder and faster. The sun is not coming up. And suddenly, I understand the fears of our ancestors. For a moment, I am afraid the sun will not come up, that it has gone away, never to return. A deep, atavistic fear that the world will remain in darkness.
The drumming continues, it gets louder, faster, more insistent. A raven flies across the sky. The crescent moon hangs about the rock. Frankincense, sage, cedar and coffee mingle in the cold air. The line of light grows thicker. The drumming gets louder, faster. The sun peeps above the horizon, only a quarter of it visible. It hovers there, teasing, enjoying the attention. The drumming reaches a frenzy, voices break into ulalations and howls. The sound echoes on the rocks at the sun finally shows itself above the horizon. Hands raise in salute. Hail and welcome the reborn sun!
Now that the sun is in the sky, I can see the faces of the twohundred or so people who braved single digit temperatures to celebrate the Solstice. Everyone is shining.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
1.I understand that you were handicapped by a natural immaturity, and I forgive you.
2.Look, just because some man in a red coat hands you a sword it doesn't make you a hero!
3.There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It's rather sad, really, but there it is.
4.I do not attempt to deny that I think very highly of him - that I greatly esteem him... I like him. Esteem him? Like him? Use those insipid words again and I shall leave the room this instant.
5. I want you to remember you're supposed to be the chaperone on this trip.
Now let's get this straight, Gus. The chaperone's job is to see that nobody else has any fun. Nobody chaperone's the chaperone. That's why I'm so right for this job.
6.Then it must be the sugar. The sugar? Did you get the Belgian vergeoise like I told you? Are you telling me that you can taste what kind of sugar I've used? Of course not, but I can taste which kind you didn't use.
7. A fish saved my life once. How? I ate him.
8. Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... ere the sun rises! Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending!
9.. Make anyone cry today? Sadly, no. But it's only 4:30.
10.Ancestors, I ask you for your guidance. Blessed mother, come to me with the Gods' desire for my future. Blessed father, watch over my wife and son with a ready sword. Whisper to them that I live only to hold them again, for all else is dust and air. Ancestors, I honor you and will try to live with the dignity that you have taught me.
11. If I make a mistake, it hurts me. Do you understand that? I mean, actual physical pain. That's very 'Gordon Ramsay'. [stunned silence] We don't use that name in this kitchen. Didn't your father tell you? It's bad luck to say it out loud. Just call him 'The Scottish Chef'.
12.Why? Do you even know why they sent you? It's not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin. So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world? I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
13.And how would you beat him? With a stick. While he slept. But on a horse, with a lance? That man is unbeatable.
14. Why?... Why do you love me? Because I came alive when I met you.
15. I don't care whose fault this was, just get it sorted! And could someone please bring me something deep fat fried and smothered in chocolate...
16. I set dinner on the dining room sideboard at six. Breakfast is ready at nine. I don't stay after dinner. Not after it begins to get dark. We live in town, nine miles, so there won't be anyone around if you need help... We couldn't even hear you. No one could. No one lives any nearer than town... No one will come any nearer than that. In the night... In the dark.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Indecision, vacillation in an important matter, failure, disappointment, mental anguish, disturbing dreams, loneliness, depression, desolation.
I'm not sure what to do, except keep going. Push myself a bit harder, get myself off my behind a bit more, make a list....
Or just go with it for now, waiting for the Solstice, when the light will begin to increase, however slightly. The sun will come back, the depression will fade, my energy will renew. Eventually.
Four of Swords - Solitude, repose. Temporary retreat to gather inner strength, seek spiritual guidance and reorganize thoughts and plans.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Kate: So, I'm redoing my fairy wings for winter, for this masquerade concert/party thing..
Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom is worth visiting just to see the ladies' room - it's muralized with scenes from the Wizard of Oz, and has sayings and poetry all over the walls and ceiling and stalls. The stalls are chalkboard, chalk is provided, and grafitti is encouraged. I didn't write anything, being somewhat preoccupied with wing management. Whoever designed the average bathroom stall did not take wingspan into consideration.
I danced so hard my pointed ears popped off, my wings bent and the feathers in my mask curled over. By the end, my feet hurt, my calves were screaming, and I kept going until the music stopped.
It's a start.