Monday, September 28, 2020

Three Years Later, Hello Again


Forty years ago, I orchestrated a spring equinox gathering in a field in Ashland. The event was quite glorious, as this photograph shows. We did a lot of singing, drumming and dancing in those days. Creating our special hippie brand of tribal ritual.  A couple of weeks ago I was thinking of that land. Wasn’t it in the path of the fires that just swept through? I decided to take a ride to see what was what. Indeed, all the houses in the area had been destroyed. But the house on that land where we gathered so long ago, that house was standing. There was Giuseppi by the driveway building a shed for his tractor, because the shed had burned down. “We decided not to evacuate. We stayed to fight the fire,” he told me. I was very glad to see that their house was still standing, amidst the terrible ravages of that fire, which left thousands of people without homes. It's brave to stay to fight a fire, seems to me.

Thousands of people without homes. Many of them Latinos or elders, whose mobile homes were not insured. I didn’t have to evacuate. My apartment building was not in the path of the fire. But like many others in our community, I have been deeply unsettled by the fires.

The moon is already up. I can see it from where I am sitting. It will be full in a few days.  In the 17th century Japanese poet and samurai Mizuta Masahide wrote a haiku about the moon that remains famous among those who love haiku. 

"Barn's burnt down

now I can see the moon."

I doubt that anyone who lost their home in the recent fires would appreciate his relaxed perspective.

When the full moon arrives each month, I miss seeing it out in the Colestin Valley after gathering with my Buddhist sangha at the Tashi Choling temple for the full moon puja. No gatherings at Tashi Choling. It’s autumn and we are seven months into a global pandemic. Now we do pujas on Zoom. 


My brother Phil died a month ago, and before the cremation, I viewed his body at the funeral home on Zoom. Which of course was strange. I spoke with his four daughters, his partner, and his estranged wife on Zoom. Yes, my younger brother, a loveable and funny personage, has died.


Loss. Loss and isolation. This seems to have brought me back to this blog after three years hiatus. I will leave it at that for now, unvarnished and not nicely arranged. 


Today, high winds and very dry conditions. Praying for rain. Seriously. “This is the time and the record of the time,” as Laurie Anderson wrote in a song long ago. Wishing you well. Wishing you very well.