The 45th Parallel

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She puts a touch of perfume behind her ear before leaving and later Sam wants to brush the hair from her face . Now , listen , listen quietly … the wind ! … like a migration Tavisha follows . Here , just outside of her door , lies a musky , rhythmic whisper that often calls the deer . Today she returns to these woods . Look ! What is that ? … a feather on the path , eagle feathers perhaps dropped from a nest , the cocoon of birth . The eagle speaks , the eagle illuminates , the mighty eagle soars aloft like a mystic . The air here is as lush and dazzling as a dream . Further along she now sits and out of her back-pact finds “War and Peace” whose pages flutter like bird wings as if bewitched by Natasha . Suddenly Sam appears , look , look at his eyes , they are small but are about to see enormous things and the blue of them is like liquid sky . Not having seen eachother in a long time , not since the great comet of 1992 when the flowers began to bloom out of the towns thick , high stone walls , they are caught in a scene of remembered love affairs , deaths , changing fortunes and impulsiveness .

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” I’m glad you’re here ” Sam sits and they feel huddled together like on a raft .

” I’m glad too , it sure is a beautiful day “.

” It … um …has lots of colors “.

” Do you have a favorite season Sam “?

” A favorite season “?

” Personally , I like the fall a lot but I also love it when it rains on a hot summer day “.

” What is it you like about rain on a hot summers day “?

” I don’t know … calms me down , makes the plants happy and the thunder , I love the thunder … it makes me think of God but not in a bad way “. Tavisha stares at Sams quietness and asks , ” What is it “?

” I’m just so aware that what goes on inside my head are things I’ve read about . My real life experiences are actually rather narrow … I don’t think about the seasons , not for the longest time anyway . Because I didn’t sense things in a normal way I couldn’t sense them … they weren’t real to me “.

” What was real to you Sam “?

” The time in between the seconds and my books and my friend “.

” Wait for the sunset tonight . It will be glorious Sam , you won’t be disappointed “.

” I look forward to that “.

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Look , the sky is intwined now in the tangle of the forest . The molecules of her being drift into the pines and cedars , sinking below the surface of the waters and getting carried down the river . The drum beats . The Great Spirit , the great mystery and the bald eagle flys . Sam stands in the shadow of the sun . Waiting with hope , like the slow breaching of whales , Tavisha kisses his forehead …

Breath

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Remember the dream of the green dress made of glass that shattered quite awhile ago and begins the metamorphosis of improbability  ?Are you ready to hear more because I want you to pay attention … attention to the beginning of something special where the black and white muffled sound of conversation swirls itself around us as a ring of opals , like a sacred scroll , appears in living color , a color that shines with the precision from astral light beams over a crowd of celebrating guests . Breathe deep in … it is a wedding scene and something more , a ring from a grandmothers grave and a Blue Dream buttery chocolate flower floating towards us from the masterpiece canvas of Leonardos , Leda and the Swan . And look too at the eyes of the pretty bonsai baby with the amber necklace  , her watery black eyes talking to us , ” I told you that we could fly cause we all have wings but some of us don’t know why “.

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This time everyone diverse is connecting to a deep belief of strength from within. They exit and enter the wedding scene like actors in an opera with a confidence in their voices soon to be singing as the velvet curtain slowly opens , everyone on their mark . But look , the sequence has turned around and tears are shed that turn into wine , shed at the rehearsal as if it were already the excitement of opening night . And the wine stains the audience red like the blush covering the actors cheeks . Standing now , we hear light traffic , no talking , wondering if some vessel has broken , some supernatural vessel , a masterpiece of a vessel from Florence or Sofia or perhaps even from this magical city here , this American city of historic significance  , a city standing alone in its anthem of “set me free why don’t you babe” . Yes , look , a new freedom , its past anger relinquished by love . Breathe , breathe in the colliding renaissance man now aligned with the age of technology like the last commissioned work of Da Vinci , a great mechanical lion that walks and opens its chest to reveal a bouquet of lilies … its creators heavenly spirit returned exactly five hundred years later to the scene in front of us .

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And feeling like she just swallowed a bag of butterflies , she slides in a new dress to the dance floor where shyness and introversion express itself in movement and gets lost in the musical atmosphere like little red riding hood in the forest of frightened beauty . A new place of higher vibration where blood rushes your cells into rhythms of blowing stardust and flowing silks . A place where hair is let free from its braids held tight under a woolen hood . And look , others now enter into the dance , all wishing it would last many days and nights while the folds of the dancing dresses make waves like glistening ripples of sun over ocean faces .

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Pay attention , look , the ring appears once again , a bolt of silver blue lightning escaping golden from a grandmothers grave , a shard of sparkle from that broken green glass dress we began with . The wedding guests look at one another in recognition , the recognition of only one moment , this momentous moment like those high on marijuana do in airports passing each other in happiness . And look , see the dream apparition exiting and entering and speaking once more from those black opal eyes of the love child , ” don’t ask him what she knows is true , you don’t have to tell her that he loves her precious heart , he was standing , she was there , two worlds collided and they could never tear them apart “.

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Seize it now , seize the moment that makes you see life the way its suppose to be … beautiful with breathtaking mystery and clarity beating to the divine collective dance . Breathe …..

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The Paradise Poet

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This is the story of a man who never felt better about himself , a man who radiates happiness from every pore , a man in love about to become married , a man who just bought his first house of magnificence . Does he see the future , his future , her future ? He walks thru the field following the mountains , she walks this field too and follows the sky . Morning , noon and night clinging to his wedding dream he sees her standing soft , hears the music majestic , a symbol , a symbol of mythical love greater than mankind , stronger than life .

He once threw his golf clubs after a bad shot and the following day pitched the winning game for his junior high all stars team . And once he asked his mother with his round innocent eyes after her abandonment as she secretly tucked his six year old self into his twin bed under the moonlight from the window , ” please mom , come back home now ” . He never likes riding in the car and as a little boy , cries feeling dizzy and sick , his straight blond hair sticking like warm melting licorice on his forehead wetting his tender eyebrows .  He teaches himself to play golf at age 12 when he is driven to the community course in the early summer mornings and picked up just before dusk , sometimes being invited to play the back nine with the Wednesday group of kindly old ladies . His mother reads “Golf in the Kingdom ” and smiles as the game teaches him about himself , his beautiful self , his athletic self , his Spirit self . He inhabits the green under his feet , a sanctuary , a wide sanctuary of balance and harmony and he grows green in nurture too as a natural peacemaker . One day he tournament caddies for his aunt with a silent spoken dance waltzing between them as he removes the blowing flag and the ball makes it path to the hole . He braves his cousin to go skinny dipping and embraces like a protective wilderness bear the birth of his new baby brother . He flips out sports statistics like a TV announcer , always a loyal Michigan fan and puts up with his three older sisters ownership of the bathroom . Graduating , he jumps from an airplane wearing a navy suit , travels by sea to Japan , has a broken heart , a tender and courageous  and open heart like the smooth and rolling fairway on hole number 3 where he spins a break dance as he shots a hole in one , overlooking the wide expanse of Lake Michigan blue ,  reflected in the golden aura of his light brown eyes . The sand trap he has learned to escape from looks calm in its smoothness as the ball floats over it and he watches the white ball drop with a Ping like the sound of a jewel on glass .

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Celebrating his younger brothers fatherhood , he rescues his older sister from despair , a despair she nearly drowns in like an injured starfish whose color nearly evaporates . And with each new birth of his sisters children he becomes the most favored uncle of happiness . Compassionate and sad over the deaths of his step dad and grandparents , his love soars for others who are broken , shoulders strong , a place of refuge like a warm nest in the storm of the wild , the buds on the tree the red of the beating heart . He watches cooking shows but doesn’t cook …. a clue to the arrival of his true love who bakes for him a sumptuous peach pie with a decorated crust of pure butter that must come from the table of the gods . Pathways of trampled branches , branches that poke him in the ribs , and planets out of orbit bring him here now to the place of promise , the place of gods perfect sequence , a sequence of astonishing nature like the seeds of the sunflower . And with their eyes like luminous moons circling rings of diamonds and gold they travel together . It sounds smooth , the soul , welcome to Cafe Paradise ……

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In loving honor of first born son Patrick and his love Jessica ….

 

 

 

 

 

The Swan from Orcas Island

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The Swan … By Mary Oliver

Did you too see it , drifting ,

all night , on the black river ?

Did you see it in the

morning , rising into the

silvery air ?

An armful of white blossoms ,

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Bill Ecklund photography

A perfect commotion of silk

and linen as it leaned into

the bondage of its wings ; a

snowbank , a bank of lilies ,

Biting the air with its black beak ?

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Did you hear it , fluting and

whistling – a shrill dark

music – like the rain pelting

the trees – like a waterfall

Knifing down the black ledges ?

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And did you see it , finally ,

just under the clouds – A

white cross streaming across

the sky , its feet – like black

leaves , it’s wings – like the

stretching light of the river ?

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Photos of Florence Welch from her Facebook Timeline photos

And did you feel it , in your

heart , how it pertained to

everything ? And have you

too finally figured out what

beauty is for ?

And have you changed your

life ?

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Lara Zankoul photography

In honor of two spiritual teachers … for their inspirations when I lived in Eastsound …their examples of divine love like the soaring wings of the swan singing to me even now in the “stretching light” crossing the Black Sea of Bulgaria . I am grateful .

Dick Staub : founder and director at The Kindlings ( C.S.Lewis ) , pastor at the community church and author .

Aaravindha Himadra : teacher of spiritual awakening and truth-knowledge ( Sambodha ) and author of “Immortal Self ”

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Katerina Plotnikova Photography

” The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands , but in seeing with new eyes “.    Marcel Proust

Letters Home continued … excerpts from Bulgaria … February 2014

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I haven’t been out of the village for over a month until once again going to Plovdiv for the third time the other day . I had run out of drawing paper and all of my pens were dry . But once I had arrived the shops didn’t interest me this time and I didn’t desire anything the way I did before , not even the beautiful European clothes in the windows . So I sat in the park and watched the people of this foreign land . Is it true that no two humans look exactly alike ? Does that mean thru out all of history too ?

 

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Photograph by Ellen Rogers

 

An old man gazed at me and I thought he was Ulysses . And some young girls looked like Trojan women . I was sitting near an olive tree wondering if I might decide to travel to Istanbul before leaving here the first of April . It’s a bit risky as my visa has expired now and yet it’s so close with buses leaving and returning three times a day and I could stay over nite in a hostel since my responsibilities with the home owner in Gita end a week before my flight home . The cultural crossroad between Eastern Europe and Asia and the market stalls of Turkey are a huge lure .

 

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I had an hour before the bus left so up the hill I wandered into the old part of the city to the church I had been in before . From my travel book I remembered that it was St. Haralambos Day . I was not prepared ( I never seem to be here in Bulgaria ) for the inner beauty I found on this rather melancholy day . Hundreds of jars of honey in the form of a cross appeared looking like fire from all the candles lit and the glowing chandeliers  . I learned that when consecrated , honey is believed to possess curitive and magical power . All the faces were illuminated and the high priest chanted .

 

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This morning when I went to let the dogs out from the back studio room , I found Polly dead … not in her bed but laying in a cardboard box she had never laid in before . I started to cry a lot . I will have to bury her now . I’ve never done this before . I carried her out and laid her in the grass where I washed her stiff body with warm water and some dried lavender … then watched the sun dry her and made her paw nails as white as I could … wrapped her then like a baby in her favorite blanket … she was curled up on her side … and I placed her in a two foot hole I had dug … she liked to eat the fallen walnuts so I put some in the grave next to her for her departure back into the earth … and on top of the black soil I placed three large stones … she is in the apple orchard now .  I wish I could have embalmed her little animal body with oils and salts and spices and wrapped her instead in linen bandages preserving her for a passage to immortality in paradise . I would have decorated a wooden casing for her to lie in with gold leaf and written , ” Farewell Polly “.

 

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The moon finally receded after a nite of sleepless loneliness . How is it that a new day can appear so unlike the previous one and so suddenly like running deer on the road ahead the way they do back home in Michigan . In the last week the temperature has gone from close to zero to now 55 degrees and my hands are finally warm . I walked alone without my little pal today far out to the fields following the cows . There is an old cement bridge I like to sit on and today I stayed here ( photo below ) most of the day .

 

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I love watching the sparrows and falcons and saw an eagle too , a bird of prey like Peter the Great , with its wide wing span floating over the valley gently like Ghandi . I’m sitting here with my notebook thinking of how I want to live my life when I return home and hoping I take Bulgaria and it’s creative and spiritual realm with me . I feel the eyes of God . Will the vibration follow me … the music …the harmonies … the memories of these days ?  Will you notice that I’ve changed , changed so much and that I am old now … the haunting of Bulgaria embedded on my face …

 

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Janet and Temple Food … Artist , writer and poet

 

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” My life is my message “.    Ghandi

Janet Doane is Seattle born , a lover of nature , family  and friends , raw food and living from the heart in ways that can help the planet . She studied at Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and in Italy . She generously shares a love for art , photography , poetry , spirituality , animals , the earth and all things beautiful . I am honored to share her poetry this month as my “guest blogger “.

 

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Portrait of a Heart …. painting by Christian Schloe

 

excerpt from poem by Janet Doane from , My Father Passes

 

Golden Thy love .

Golden Thy light .

Golden is the heart that breathes

with the fire of Gods love.

 

Golden be pure .

Golden be touched .

Golden be the soul that shines

throughout the worlds of creation .

 

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Sea Circle

 

Voices break

like waves that arrive unexpectedly

upon some distant shore

forming a multitude of sounds

telling of the stories

of a hundred thousand lifetimes

 

While the greater ocean heaves a spiral sigh

and continues on

into an infinite blue

reflecting a magnitude of ever-reaching seasons

with rhythms of change

that pass across its surface

like expressions or shadows

rippling across the faces of the soulful .

 

And the clear colors of the stars that the eye cannot see

shine upon the creatures that glide in the fathomless deep .

 

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Symbols and meanings :

Blue – The color of the sky , ocean , sleep and twilight . The ancient Egyptians used lapis blue to represent heaven . It is the color of inspiration , sincerity and spirituality and represents the collective conscious of our subconscious .

 

Gold – It is associated with abundance , richness and enlightenment of the soul illuminating and enhancing other things around it .

 

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The Sea – Denotes a collection of memory knowledges and is a universal dream symbol that carries the meaning of mother . The sea reminds us that all things are connected through the universal flow of energy . The ocean is where life begins and it represents our inner most desire to connect with our source and our own creative power .

 

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Circles and Spirals – the oldest geometric shapes in ancient art work . Circles are often used as a symbol for Spirit and spirals are primal , raw and represent intuition .

 

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Janets’ newest book , Temple Food … nourishing the Body as a Sanctuary for Spirit , is about the art of intuitive eating and living a love – based life . It is a beautiful story about food and love with painted poems to touch your heart and nourish the inner you along with 121 raw food recipes for everyday . Please see her website for more information at http://www.thehealingfeast.com .

 

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Crown of Eternal Friendship

personal note :

Denise and I walked off the ferry from Orcas Island to Friday Harbor . She had been telling me of the special kindness of her friends , Janet and Rex , who had invited us for dinner that night . When Janet answered our knock on the door , a pilgrimage began . I was seriously struck by the physical and ethereal beauty of her youthful looking face ( she was in her 50’s ) which had dewdrops of light spiraling from her whole presence and her long hair with streaks of blond like summer wheat that grows in Michigan near the sand dunes when the sun is shining . And even her light colored eyes shown with this pulsating wave of love that included us in their intensity . If you know Janet you understand  and it is divinely human and touches people to their core .

It was the first time I had eaten a raw food dinner of which she and Rex were preparing in their kitchen as another interesting guest arrived who worked on the islands’ large lavender farm . Every dish had been lovingly created . It was a table of exquisite grace . After dinner we relaxed in front of a fire and Rex put on a CD that was very rare of the Dali Llama singing with a most deep and breathtaking voice to his cherished friend who was soon to die . Quietly , everyone sat on cushions on the floor in meditation as I remained on the sofa knitting a sweater . Janet had looked at me before closing her eyes as the deep melodic strange voice got louder . Suddenly I felt the ball of yarn fall helplessly from my hands …..

I came to the awareness later that evening that there is a point where you connect to the global knowledge stream of the universe , to the world soul , where you see and hear everything and are everywhere at once . I know because I found that point in the eyes of Janet . Rex and Janet are mystical and Rex told me after covering my cold body with blankets that I would never be the same again …he spoke the truth.

I am sad that I have only been with them on two occasions , once overnight when life was filled with despair . Yet so much more than sadness , I feel a golden blessing from the connection that flows between us with love …. and even in differing countries now across the big sea , her eyes inspire me .

 

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Sculptures are by Christina Bothswell …. A favorite of Janet’s and mine