White Spots of a Fawn

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It already exists … Jack and Francis walk out the door into the white clouds of lakes covering the new earth of a Febuary winter as the third falcon leaves the rooftop behind them . The peregrine , more than eight million years old , his ancestor once in Athens listening to an apostle give his speech on the steps of the Areopagus : ” And he has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their pre appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings , so that they should seek the Lord , in the hope that they might grope for Him and find him , though He is not far from each of us “. With the rapture circling above in the path of a wind’s mandala , Jack introduces Francis to the silent land of his home , his barn , the deer tracks , the squirrel nests , the Maple City sky , introducing her as if she were the rarest thing that lived . He shows her the tree with a skirt on , growing out of a stump . What is happening ? Francis thinks she should at least kneel down for in Michigan , the trees talk and the mighty Hemlock , soaring to great heights , only drops its needles to the floor of blue shade every three years where in rich humerus a doe might give birth to its fawn . And if the tree dies , it keeps healing as a host of reishi mushroom lives on the dead wood , life abounding death . There are hidden passages venturing into new lands , lands that have been together for millennia , even the streams have underground paths deep below flowing into the Great Lakes . In the silence , the voice of an Indian warrior’s horse can sometimes be heard , a legendary voice carried by the wind , ” I am from the void where Answer lives , ride on my back and know the power of entering darkness and finding the light “.

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Francis , remaining still in the sun , stares at the movement of animal tracks while Jack walks on with his saw to cut down a tree for their wood stove . She is caught by a mirage , an atmospheric refraction of green light from last nights sunset , a flash that sparks thoughts of Bulgaria , where one year ago , just after Jack so unexpectedly had given her a wrapped gift for Christmas as they left the restaurant with friends , she found herself in a foreign country . Could she remember her total journey ? Can anyone ? Francis remains in the quiet , not moving . She feels on the divide of knowing , of knowing a destiny with unusual dimensions , layers of mystery yet uncharted about to see the map . Finding herself suddenly in the memory of her friend Hariod’s questioning voice , ” Did the ” fleeing horse ” find her inner light after arriving in Bulgaria ?” , she knew the answer to be , “yes” , the world a mystic realm with landscapes of beforehand . Now she answers Hariod’s , “What Happened “? , with a soliloquy … ” I hear pieces come hesitantly forward , a foreshadowing , every once in a while . Writing it holds many clues that in a strange way , makes truth and melody out of my life , human and spiritual , past and future . The land of Bulgaria , the earth , brought me a gift of some kind I know not how to explain … I wandered alone for five months , walking the farms , the valleys and hills and was transformed as if I were a creature , one with nature and animals , a soul with a body that could see wind and all of life breathing … and love , well , love was everywhere .”

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The dirt road was her Mandela , the one in the Baltic village and the one too , in Glen Arbor when she first saw Jack as she walked , barefoot , in a summer dress and he leaned forward in the passenger seat of her friends stopped car . A circle of eternity and infinity , a circle around a pentagram , a circle touching all five points , spirit , earth , air , water and fire , all connected and a single point upwards where the falcon soars . Behold , a scene of freedom , of nomadic spirit , a driving force that thrives and carries us in life with an emotional ability to go on in life , a sense of life , of knowing a deep truth , a life where exists lands of enchantment , instinctive and tamed , erotic and endearing . A life where your face is my face . Here lies Cemetary Road , where all of life leads her , colored bottles and trinkets in the distance shining from a branch above the grave of a young boy hit by a car . Do Jack and Francis exist with hearts beating like a drum , keeping time with everthing ? And look , once more , down the road as the black horse in the pasture becomes Pegasus or the unicorn in the twinkling of an eye . ” Behold , I make all things new “. Life is listening , listening … always listening .

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Francis still in a trance in a world of snow, hears life answer , forming a list of her days mixed together in orbit , clearly a carton of eggs broken .

1. Childhood fright : afraid to leave her mother , clutching her young mother’s skirt edge . Thunder storms , sweating under the blankets with open windows . Nightmares of underwater creatures .

2. Loneliness : Leaving school early and walking in a red mini-dress across the city , being followed by 2 men who yell obscenities and try to grab her .

3. Smell of sour milk : A husband violates her because of a religions teaching a duty of submission .

4. Threats : Family to commit her if she divorces and take away her children .

5 . Humiliation : She watches her mother in matching hat , shoes and jewelry , visit her brother in prison and pretending to others that everything is ” just fine ” .

6. Destruction : The barn studio on fire that she might have caused , a secret so horrible . ( the flames that warm winter day seen miles away , the only thing found in the ashes , old copies of magazine pages floating in the sky like burnt feathers all over the county ).

7. Death : Her beloved husband of 8 years dying in their bed .

8. Suicide : Her step-son hangs himself on an open pipe in his NYC studio , his dog whimpering for days .

9. Betrayal : Friend who cons and steals the land that was her son’s inheritance.

10: Violence : Man she knows , cuts her with a razor blade in his mouth while forcing himself on her .

11. Obsession : Knife held to her throat after being beaten , threatening to kill her if she leaves him .

12 . Heartbreak : Death of her parents and loss of daughter-in-law who leaves family for another man .

Francis sees Jack coming back to her . Her mind letting it all go as she touches her skin under the heavy jacket and sweater , soft , her soft skin as if it were the belly of a fawn . . She hears the blue glass wind-chime of that Christmas gift … ” I was a hidden treasure and loved to be known . Therefore I created the Creation that I might be known “. ( Sufi)  “The former things are passed away ” … Tomorrow is the first day of March 2015 . In ancient times March was the beginning of the new year and the glaciers that formed the Great Lakes were covered in snow a mile deep . And now she hears comments , yes , your comments , voices that welcome her out of the background , out of the room full of blues and the photograph of her grandmother at age 18 sits next to Jack’s pile of cowboy hats and his small bags of wildflower seeds … Freedom , freedom unfolding in the moment of “now ” . She leans back gently , gently against the tree , Jack is finished with his work , the falcon nowhere in sight and the fox sleeping . The epiphany swells and Francis with heavenly forms beating red her heart knows she is finished writing – a strange story that already exists …a screenplay living on planet earth , earth , a place of children who have asked to be born … trees , trees of awe their cradles , our wellsprings , our dawn .

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Personal note : I am so grateful and blessed by all of you who comment and I want you to know that in hearing you , I heal and am encouraged on my journey and know we are connected thru a glorious golden thread . .. Thankyou : Janet , Denise , Dan , Hariod , Michael , Chris , Cyan , Mark , Meredith , Julie , Vanessa , Christine , Chrissy , John ,  Aquileana , Diana , Dina , Tony , Tia , Marga , Sue , Mino , Laurent , Christy , Jo , Zula , Shimon , Sean , Nina , Leyla , Lorrie , Raj , Semra , Sonmi, Ellen , Ax , Norm , Annedaria , Amy ,Don , Ewian , Leanne , Sister Madly , and all that I haven’t mentioned who follow …

note: girl standing by Aela Labbe Photographie

The Narrators Journey

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He is in love with one woman and lives with another . He notices too much , feels everything not knowing just how to filter it fast enough . And his ( Alec ) memories , well , they were strange and wonderful , his mind like that of a Scythian goldfish document box where the origins of a culture gave rise to the Amazon legends and where thoughts of Francis existed . He told me he wondered if he had done the best thing in telling her she could be happy with Paulo . And then , she not only really listened but stayed with the photographer one cold night just before planet Mercury started moving backwards , it’s reverse motion , an illusion . This is a story about how good we as humans are at striving to know beyond what we can see . Love , beauty ,God … a pattern of flower petals thru the winter sky .

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She stunned herself in accepting Paulos plea and upon entering up his stairway , removing her hiking boots , she walked in a tentative way and approaching the main room she paused to consider it … statutes of the Buddha , birdcage from Thailand , heavy dark framed paintings on the pine walls , antique lamps , one of jade embellished with rubies , an ornately decorated mirror , round and as large as the rising full moon , unfinished photos and books on a desk carved with elephants , gleaming glass oil lamps and a very large picture window . She paused with a slight gasp as if it were challenging her to leap across a frozen creek .   ” Love is as warm as tears “, she thought remembering what Alec had told her , thinking about him as she walked barefoot on the cool floors of thread bare carpets .  Was this what she really wanted , this man , this house , this life with someone ? Life always moves towards greater order and the vibration that is creation is always a flickering back and forth . That on and off felt surprising to Francis , like watching a man shoveling the deep snow from his front walkway , wearing only a worn cotton silk suit coat and wing tips . Life doesn’t happen to us , rather , we create it from inside out and because this is a most powerful truth , it has behind it all the creative energy in the universe . So here she found herself in Paulos rooms , unknown to her as yet the bed , a life raft into turbulent waters . She didn’t believe in magic , but lived as if she did . But beware , the phantom planet Vulcan might be found to influence Mercurys orbit … yes , Mercury where the craters are named for artists … Shakespeare , Hemingway , John Lennon , Alvin Ailey and Kahlil Gibran too .

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Well , it seems to me that the best relationships , the ones that last , are rooted in friendship . You know , one day you look at a person and you see something more than you did the night before . Like that switch has been trembling somewhere . And the one who was just a friend is suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with . I hoped this for Francis … but wished she would take off that nomadic green dress she always wore with everything … green is a fugitive and unstable pigment . She could be willfull , irresistible , lovable , stubborn , extreme , quirky , obsessive and ultimately unpredictable . And Paulo , well he had many complexities in his world . He saw Francis more as a pilgrimage to experience rather than a woman , his desire to live with her , a gesture of action in a world in which he found more things artificial , wanting a sacred journey with her so that he could change his mediocrasy . She was like a heavenly horse to him , elegant in a pose of stately strength with a beautifully arched neck . If he could capture her with his camera in crisp detail with a slightly open mouth it might be the prized photo he longed for to set apart his vast portfolio . Blessed is the pure white snow for it moistens her face  … I must tell her to be careful . He saw fright on her brow that day when she entered his rooms after saying “maybe” to staying with him . He told me what he said to her , ” you don’t have to say anything and you don’t have to do anything ” and how this seemed to relax her and how he noticed in her an exquisite detachment from the surroundings as if she were floating in the waters of a lukewarm surf with 10 shades of turquoise ocean instead of the 10 degree of weather outside .

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There is a reality beyond the one we see and there seems to be a blurriness between all the qualities of Divine intention … compassion , love , innocence , humility and it is when you want nothing that everything can be yours . I hoped bliss currents would soon be moving thru my friends hearts . Already their friendships were a tremendous thing . You can’t make that up . Meanwhile , in the parallel universe where perfume sometimes turns into jewels , the scent of Francis’ vanilla hair is like smoke around Alec who sits in silence with thunder hidden inside , writing his book , sometimes glancing up and looking west around the river bend in that winter of winds where Gods eye is on every sparrow . Thinking of Alec , well , he is a gentleman , an outdoorsman , a writer , a lover of food and fine wine , of women , nature and people . He loves fresh crepes and cafe cremes in the hands of gorgeous women at sidewalk cafes , a lover of the simple richness of life . He was able to see how incredibly intricate the simplest things could be and knows that a person becomes more by experiencing something extraordinary .

Moving backwards it remains to be seen if poor Paulo is still in love with his young ex-wife or if all the light we cannot see will be able to illuminate itself in winter , this cold heaven of snow where Mercury floats above , an icon of creativity . It’s a wonderful life for sure . . .

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” And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world “.     Albert Camus

Music score “Garden” by Sean Hayes … shared by Cyan Ryan at 21 Shades of Blue

Once again the Narrator

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He became the man who lived in the sky , looking out thru 9 foot windows from his room on top of Look-Out Point Hill . What he came to see was often elusive yet these discovered landscapes became the backdrops to his story . We don’t need to know his exact age , only that when his fingers and feet became cold ( which was an almost constant occurrence  ) he wished for a woman’s heated body to warm them and her presence to chase away past events shrouded in the fog , the fog of these great northern hills that veiled all traumatic events . Sometimes as he shuffled thru the house he had built and passed the oval mirror in which he didn’t always recognize himself , he would remember the pilgrimage to India taken so long ago and with it his confrontation of doubts . He would still be deciding for himself decades later , just what it was that he really believed .

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Smoking a cigar , I watched as he sat in the silence that night , a light snow of silver whitening the air and evergreens . Age is no obstacle to love or adventure and he told me about a woman and how he had followed her writing and came to know her without having spoken to her and when he did finally see her it was like hearing two songs at once . He told me this , ” She’s outgoing but not noisy , I could rule the world with her .” But wait … I’ve gotten ahead of myself … First , the tale of his divorced younger wife .

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So many things in his life had been artificial until four years ago when he found himself in Alaska . Rivers , lakes , the ocean like dreams that were buried coming up . . . a man thinking he had seen it all until he watched as a herd of moose tried to cross the channel and became baffled by the fog and so continued to change direction until they all drowned . He said this afterwards , ” . . . never confuse movement with action – it is the stationary man who becomes truly himself behind the lens of his camera .” I was becoming at home in his world !  It was as though the entire population dreamed together and that dream burst thru in poetry , art and music . The poetry of things , the art of his portraits , the music he listened too . He was a hero to me as I observed him undertake an inner journey to find the hidden treasure of us all .

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But he didn’t live in the sky yet on a day in August when he returned home to find a box unopened sitting in the corner with his name written on it. It was all too quiet . The silence struck him as if from a different dimension … the Outer Limits , the Twilight Zone , bringing him back to his boyhood when he would huddle on the couch waiting for the T.V. to warm up from the static of yesteryear … ghost images , terrestrial  sounds , the picture endlessly rolling and flip flopping  … ” where’s the picture “? Until his dad would wrap tinfoil on the antenna .

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He put the cardboard box on the table and this present scene became an unflattering soap opera of staticky cross-hatch , a very sorry screen condition to be sure ! Inside was an abrupt note from his wife of two years and as he read , ” I’ve moved out with our son ” his vision blurred and he heard a small clean sound like the snapping of a flower stem  . He looks at the kitchen clock , 5:00 p.m. , cold and dark . Inside the box , her ring , the first photo he had taken of her torn in pieces , his old record albums , smashed and the colorful hammock he had sent her when they first met , cut with a scissors – a box of exiled love . His one rule , ” if you don’t wish to be here , don’t come ” , suddenly obeyed and bringing complexities with it like indistinct conversations of background noises with phones ringing , beep , beep and birds cawing . And with it a memory of his 8th grade assignment to write a paragraph of what a parent or friend might say at your funeral . Only five percent of the universe is what we think of as ordinary matter … the rest is un fathomably dark . He understood his life with her now for what it was , a madcap romance . She of the palomino hair , cosmetics and perfectly architectural eyebrows who couldn’t possibly know at her younger age that it’s the flaw that makes a thing all the sweeter . Smoke and mirrors , he suddenly was done being captivated and opening the window he saw the air was thick with apathy . But where was his boy , his ” little prince ” , his son who was frightened of the telephone , who loved taking baths and was rarely without his harmonica ? Behold , the nightingale always sings sweetest at the darkest hour . And it would happen soon that he would meet the love who wrote and would become his late in life friend and who would make the days of sun burn away the fog , the alchemist to enter . . .

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” O my brave soul !

O farther , farther sail !

O daring joy , but safe ! are they not all the

seas of God

O farther , farther , farther sail ! ”

Walt Whitman , ” Passage to India ”

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The Narrator

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She loves two men – neither one knows . The secret is hers and when she sees them she is both sad and happy as though she has just made love , remembering when loving a man had once been effortless . I found scribblings in the side margins of one of her books , a book of poetry , poetry of a golden earth where a muse from South America has been dead for more than 40 years and where a century old birdcage elevator lies stuck on the first floor like a sacrament of grace in its idleness .

The penciled scribblings , a list of men ( no names , only numbers ) , some husbands , some not :

# 1 : married , submissive unhappy love

# 2 : illicite passionate love affair love

# 3 : older artist fulfilled love

# 4 : mafia terror abusive love

# 5 : healing past life love

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She is working on a novel that will never be resumed . The setting , a small hamlet along Lake Michigan where she once went swimming in the cold water with her dress still on , emerging and feeling quite sure she would never die . She possessed a peace of mind during that period … a time after 4 years of independence and freedom without debt , no house , no car , no taxes , no husband , no lover … So she went off to see the world , it’s variety … and to be brave and challenge her courage , a courage others came to misunderstand . And on her return home , words came flying at her like the wings of a dragonfly hovering before changing direction in mid air . But she caught them as if she had a super power and the equilibrium between freedom and responcibility merged into a simple , strong urge to just write , an urge that was a blow of fate while some thought of it as a betrayal when she just wanted to write the truest sentence she knew . She told me this : ” It was one of those days , the day I realized there was entire life behind things , all things and a feeling that I just can’t take it , this beauty there is just so much of , begging to be acknowledged “. So in just one day , a moment in a day , a day when the sun rose again as orderly as a book of prayers , her heart bowed to love and on her knees she vowed to stop her selfishness … and to stop her courageous , independent and nomadic ” all on her own ” life . ( it wasn’t a believable look on her anyway ).

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But she loves two men … one who stands in her future , the other a guru who brings her from under the red dome of her stubbornness to be alone and opens the elevator that flies to the top of that building , breaking thru the pinnacle into open sky , quick as a move in a tango dance , soaring into a world that enters her closed eyes . What happened , you wonder ? It was simple , a story told with deliberate casualness by one of those men who gazed at her over a cup of coffee after telling it . A simple story of his visit to the Grand Canyon and how much more amazing and beautiful it is when you see it with someone holding your hand . And the future was soon to come forth in her love for the other man , the one behind the camera who would , in a ” one moment in time “kind of day , tell her he did not ever want to disappoint her . Her secret would be out soon . . .

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Lone tree photo by Mikko Lagerstedt Photography

music score : Anathama … ” A Moment in Time ” ( 2006 ) Full concert from Poland

Beatitude Point – part 2 ( 2014 ) – Alec … impossible to shake

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Scientist are now able to freeze light for one entire minute . I watched her walk in the door , her clothing wet with rain dropping from her like champagne sparkle . I’ve never seen her here before … she is an element of surprise , a soft metal – aahh , mercury … atomic liquid puddles in her eyes . She stands in a blush of vulnerability in the cubicle where the table lamp on the menu podium shines it’s beams reflecting in those  eyes . Eyes like passwords with secret lives – pathos , mischief , poetry , mantras , a hidden shrine to a lost love and perhaps even an inside joke to herself . She wears a man’s hat , a black felt hat that makes her so over – the – top feminine . If you happen to wonder just where she came from you would have to walk along a narrow cobblestone street and into a private courtyard and then around a corner … and still it would remain a mystery as to which exact door she had emerged from to now be walking along M-22 near Glen Arbor and entering this modern bar and grill where the music of 2001 : A Space Odyssey drifts away outside the bars entrance  as she steps into the reality of Saturday nights noise on this stormy night , 2014 , in this mid-western town …. two worlds , two men .

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Paulo and I didn’t really expect her to accept our previous invitation , a lame one at that , spoken so off handedly to her yesterday in the cafe . We didn’t really think she would just show up … so I was naturally excited that she did . Paulo hadn’t noticed her arrival yet as I stared rather un politely while she remained standing still and alone . And then it happened , she looked at Paulo and he at her and I witnessed the two of them meet at that very moment even if neither of them quite realized it . Feeling myself on a thrashing coastline between nowhere and nowhere and wanting to break the spell ( for you see I’ve fallen for her ) I raise my hand and yell out , ” Francis , over here “! Gretchen , my love , turns towards me and I’m nervous , very nervous for them to meet . Francis walks over shaking off her damp fur coat and as I take it from her , clumsy me , she smiles . ” Francis , this is Gretchen . Gretchen , Francie .( slip of the tongue ) I could sense Gretchens mind as it flew out of its nest about to get caught in the net of strangeness that was Francis ‘ aura .

” Excuse me  please ” said as she leaves to greet her brother .

” She’s rather haunted isn’t she “, Gretchen whispers in my ear . We grab our drinks , hers Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic and mine Brokers London straight up and move to the round table to join Paulo , Dave and Francis as tonight’s band is setting up under the luminosity of ordinary things – the water tower outside , the mahogany bar top , black leather stools , bottles of peach , citron , blue , mandarine and ruby red Absolute in rows on the mirrored shelf .

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Photo of water tower by Leannecolephotography.com

” What is it you like “? Gretchen asks Francis , offering to order her a drink .

” bare feet ”  – a slight pause as we all look at eachother and suddenly a one word conversation ensues between them while the rest of us withdraw not knowing quite where this mystic force of words will lead . Poor Dave just shakes his head .

” dresses on the beach , wearing one when everyone else has on a bikini ”

” vintage clothes ” answers Francis

” big city hotel rooms , tall windows , blankets ”

” white sheets on a clothes line , quiet men on the outskirts ”

” used bars of soap , pencils ”

” new sketchbooks , old ones too , tents and rugs ”

” country mailboxes ”

” suitcases ”

” foreign films ”

” wind , stones ”

” snow ”

” wedding veils , deer , music ”

” yes , music ”

” record album covers ” … and then they pause , look at the rest of us and laugh together !

As the band begins playing a Smokey Robinson song a lower key mood hovers above our table then follows Paulo as he stands and silently leads Francis to the dance floor while he removes her hat , throwing it over to me . There are signs when a person is looking for love even if at first it seems unlikely . You will be her hero when you look into her eyes … you will rescue her from loneliness . Love is impossible to shake … and music , well , music is the closest thing to love . And now my friend is dancing with her , and slow dancing at that … on and on and on .

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Hunting season opened today . Some animals are protected , wolverines , wolves , Lynx , moose , cougars , fox , mother bears and cubs . I wish Francis was ! I would kneel in worship at her remoteness . She is a quiet woman , not so much shy , as a world unto herself , always watching she keeps her own counsel . She is differant and I sense an interior purpose , an outline already sketched in her head . She has to do everything herself as if she were the first woman in a new world . She doesn’t smile a lot but she’s not sad . And like a top shelf , she is hard for me to reach . Paulo told me that when he tried to photograph her he could sense her discomfort so he asked her to keep her eyes closed . I saw one of these portraits and it was artistically stunning .

There are 100 million worlds in our Milky Way Galaxy , 500 billion of them in our universe . This was the week that shook me , where tornados of solar wind connected planets to space and formed windows in the planets magnetic shield … and where a single day on planet Mercury is equall to 176 days on earth . Winter is coming soon . I will tell Paulo that flowers matter – how many , what kind , how they are bestowed , how they are received , a bouquet clutched or one thrown away …

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Music playing during scene : ” Be My Baby ” by the Ronettes

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Personal note : A bouquet of wild flowers for my dear blog friends who continuously show me the love on this awestruck journey we all share together … Thank you xx

Beatitude Point – part 2 ( 2014 ) : Francis … all this happened

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Don’t open the door to heaven … you might get a migraine and your head could fall off and smash into hundreds of pieces like Tullio Lombardos 6’3″ marble Renaissance sculpture of Adam that fell to the ground at the Metropolitan Museum and has skid marks on its torso where it slid across the patio floor . It was only after Adams fall that conservators saw how Tullio had created it with a head of curly locks and a dreamy stare , originally meant for a tomb . And across the sea in Belgium , is another restoration , an alter piece called The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb , a luminous oil with a white chalk under painting and the lamb bleeds with mystery in the details lurking beneath .

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It is too early for me to hear the cars as my feet follow the white line at the edge of M-22 where off to the north I see a glimpse of dark blue thru the woods of the waves crashing ashore , no lack of serenity for my throbbing head . Look , deer tracks like words in a story held in the soft earth , prints crossing from one side of the road to the other , a plot still unfolding as the white line belts around the earth from the 45th parallel and goes on and on … I am on my way .

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Look , look above us – the flight of a lone airplane below the clouds … perhaps on a search for Utopia , the good place , the place that cannot be … I remember Pan Am Airlines , the queen of the skies , at its height in the 60’s , an icon with its blue globe logo and white pilot uniform caps . A representative once coming to our house having an interview with me to become a stewardess as my parents listened with hopeful anticipation . I was 17 and failed . I remember penny loafers , elevators with music , the fluorescent  blue light of the oversized clocks next to the stage of velvet curtains in the movie theatre , the red colored bricks of our house in the suburbs , the cutting of forsythia branches with my mom , the horse barn of my grandparents  where an uncle hung himself . . . my dads big nose and how I’m attracted to men like that and who wear wingtip shoes like he did … remembering , remembering and now it is raining and I’m still on this white line , the rain dripping like some leaky faucet in my mind .

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It was a bright cold day in November , 1965 and the radio was blaring with the Detroit Lions football game when my dad drove my brother and I to his deer hunting cabin in the upper peninsula … my first time where in the silence of the snow a deer appeared and stood looking at us . Was this the white stag , the elusive , radiant , eerie , awe-inspiring messenger from the otherworld ? I could see the shine in his eyes as my dad raised his rifle to aim , hesitated , his hands shaking , dropping his gun as the deer jumped like a dancer away in the snow and my dad only said , I heard the whisper , ” I am a sick man , a coward “.

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All this happened … Something got dim for him until he couldn’t see his true nature , his beautiful nature . Criticism was of no interest , nor was praise – and it was the first time I saw him drunk on alcohol and the first time I knew the deer was within my soul , did I see the vision of Christ between the antlers ?  After my dad died I thought of cutting off his buttons so his spirit could escape and I wished I would have sewn up his pockets so he couldn’t take his bad luck with him to the spirit world … a white thread sewn around the universe . He lived a ravishing style filled with fiery colors and blunt textures , but when he saw the innocence of that majestic deer creature , he bowed in graditude for its life . I choose to hold this sacredness in my memory .

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” Watch the birdie , click , click ” , I hear my mother say gaily , snapping our 1965 Christmas card photo . I know she doesn’t know of ” the romance of the fragment ” , the process when ancient sculptures are left unrestored if they crack with age , like the armless Venus de Milo , it’s presence overpowering the Louve in Paris , a city my mom dreamed of going to . I like to think that if she did really walk along the right bank of the Seine River , she could have remained in love with my dad like they were when I was born and loved him even more … even with his missing arm … Where did it go , that arm , that wing ? Is it above the clouds where the Pan Am airplane ascended or is it lost in the snows like white chalk of northern most Michigan making the whole universe translucent , or is it dripping in the red blood of that lamb? I hear thunder rumbling ahead to the west still walking on this white line following M-22 ? I remember last night now , my bedroom window here , the window here in Glen Arbor as I saw the glass panes evolving as though the window were gradually eating the wall that held it . I am on my way …

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“Blessed are the meek , for they shall inherit the earth ”

” Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good , from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want . Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us if it is compared to its opposite . Now the opposite of beatitude is misery . Misery means being afflicted unwillingly with painful sufferings “.

contemplation from St. Gregory of Nyssa , a mystic …

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Note : flower photo at beginning and pine branch in nature are by Bill Ecklund Photography

music score for this chapter : ” Blackbird ” by the Beatles

Beatitude Point – Part 2 – Francis continuing – … in a streak of silver and blue

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I think as a child he might have taken walks with Albert Einstein . He wears his clothes carelessly , muted shades of browns , heathers and grey , his blue eyes his only primary color . A woolen sweater , worn wool jacket with flaps on the pockets and he smiles as he catches my glance , hitching up his sleeves , his white hair whiter against his black turtleneck , a dark pigment of sun damage below his eyes . And then I notice his hiking shoes and see him as an intergalactic hitchhiker even though his car which I noticed pull into the parking lot , is an old ford falcon with lights that flicker on this still dark early morning where I fill up my thermos with coffee and pour a Guatamalan blend into my mother’s china teacup , one of the few things I have saved since her death , always remembering her at 3 in the afternoon when she always sipped her one cup a day coffee black while watching “As the World Turns ” in the den before we all came home from school .

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My friend Paulo comes by , greets me with , ” I’m glad your finally back ” , sees that I’m busy reading ” The Captains Verses ” and sits down with the unknown ( to me ) writer , and soon calls out over the empty cafe  , ” France’s , come over here , I want you to meet Alec !” And so we are finally introduced as he pulls a chair over for me . They talk of photography , Paulo being a portrait photographer ; Detroit where they are both from , and it’s destruction where the firemen have no boots , the cops , no working cars and the fact that coyotes are howling around in packs in the abandoned buildings of graffiti . An ominous cloud has rolled into the stratosphere above this ruined metropolis where it’s inhabitants have a spooky serpent – like fear on their stricken faces . And , listening , I can understand William Blakes lament , ” Ah , sunflower , weary of time …”

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Photo by Yves Marchand , Room 1505 … Lee Plaza Hotel … ” Detroit Urban Decay ”

I am not frightened of new ideas but of the old ones . I listen as Alec tells of the urban explorers who wander thru the ghost buildings and warehouses , with their cameras and collecting metal for odd pieces of art . And I listen too as Paulo tells of his teenage rail adventures riding on an open car freight train across India with Pakistani and Russian soldiers . I remember , but stay silent , that the Buddhists say there are 84,000 paths to supreme enlightenment . Is poverty one and ruin another ? I get up to get a glass of water , recognizing that I don’t always know just where I stand . Standing ,  I begin to watch where I put my feet and it is at that moment that a path appears and with it the infinite sky , the living blue hand itself . Does it happen on 8 mile road , the one Eminem raps about in his home town of Detroit  , does it happen for the homeless ?

” Francis , you look far away , are you OK dear ” says Alec as he gets ready to leave. Does he know me so well already? ” A few of us are going to the Avenue Bar tomorrow night , your brother too …try and join us , really , please be there … ” His scarf trails in the gust of wind as he pushes back his hair , turns and walks out of the door alone .

” What are you working on ,Francie ? ” Paulo asks .

” Oh , I don’t know , trying to come up with a love story , not wanting to use any of my disappointing ones but trying to make up a new one .”

” I thought you were writing about what happened to Dave ?”

” I am , um … Working in two parts now …1972 and 2014 … But having some difficulties …maybe I’ll see you tomorrow night .”

” I hope so , that would be great ,”

” I really like that new portrait in your window , who is she ? Maybe she could be the love interest in my story !”

” Francie , you crack me up sometimes , by the way , you still have to come by and look at those photos I took of you last month , there’s over a hundred so let’s make some time soon , I want to see what you think of them .”

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Photo by Sally Mann

Walking home , feeling feverish suddenly , I pass under the sassafras trees so fragrant that the hills in front of me seem to spread out and shrink at will . I look and watch above as a thousand birds in formation expand and contract and change shape … an amazing site and I once again repeat only to myself this time , ” you will travel in a land of marvels .”

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Shall I stop at Cottenseed and buy something new for tomorrow night … Only a crazy fleeting desire as I walk by . After all , my prized momentos are the things I didn’t buy , they are the things I was given , or the things I found … or just maybe they found me . They’re ordinary , yet acquiring them in far away places , penetrates them with mystery and extracts a raw flavor . Like those three smooth stones now huddled like wise men on my dresser . Who knows how old they are or what current carried them to the shore where I fished them from the waves on a sunny summer afternoon at the tip of Point Oneida . Nature endures and it hooks with a strong almost invisible line and shimmies my heart like the lights that flicker from Alecs’ car .

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Time : 4:48 pm … Place : Michigan , United States … Date : November 7, 2014 … Weather: snow flurries expected later tonight … Music score : ” You’ve Got the Love ” Florence and the Machine with Royal Albert Hall Orchestra

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” We do not grow absolutely , chronologically . We grow sometimes in one dimension and not in another ; unevenly . We grow partially . We are relative . We are mature in one realm , childish in another . The past , present and future mingle and pull us backward , forward or fix us in the present . We are made up of layers , cells , constellations .”     Anais Nin

Beatitude Point – Part 2 continuing – Francis … and life goes on

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The world is in another orbit as gravity spins me back like a restless ghost to Orcas Island where my daughter is caught in the tides of heartbreak after being forsaken by her young husband . He is gone , seeking divorce … she is left behind holding their newborn .

Dropping me off at the Traverse City airport , my brother is kind .

” You will travel in a land of marvels “, I quote as I say goodbye and he looks at me questioningly , ” it’s from Jules Verne “.

” Just call me when you get there , I’ll be here to pick you up in two weeks “.

” OK Dave , I will …. Thanks , love you “.

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Resembling a catacomb , her house crowded with a marriage destroyed and relics of hope and commitment left smashed and deserted like those crooked , paint chipped buildings from my photo series taken on my bicycle of ” places where no one is anymore “. Now her house , her soul , her wavy distressed mind hearing lyrics even when there were none , trying to make sense where there is none . This is the universe of mountains and rivers , of bread and wine , the world of poverty of human nature where man is left in sorrow … ” Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted “.

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This Pacific Northwest Island , an island of narrow bridges overgrown with wet moss and fern from constant rain falling where fog clings to the forest , holds a musky stench from oysters and fish , a rancid breath seeping into everything … the black bay so unlike the pure , clean , fresh waters of Lake Michigan . The difference like that between stagnate unwashed hair and shampooed soft , silky locks that swing when you walk . I miss home … the light that reflects everywhere , it is not here , the coffee not the same . But I have no right to lament as sorrow lays itself down in this house of my family .

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I escape after long days into music listening to Ringos drum playing . He plays the heartbeat ( his secret of greatness ), perhaps this islands secret too held in the sound of the flapping wings of bald eagles who were here first before man . Everything starts with the heartbeat , our mothers heartbeat , life’s heartbeat and it sets the rhythm for the rest of our days . This is the connection between life and emotion , this drumbeat where the most important part of music is found . And the beat is subtle to me in the hamlet of Glen Arbor but here it is too loud , overpowing the quitar and the voices of the robins and the winds moving thru the branches of maple and oak trees I hear back home . And where have the stars gone ? They are lost in the presence of these tall pines on jutting mountain places . Melancholy forebodes in this strangely paradoxical place , stark and murky both where whales don’t linger long after feeding on other abundant species far below the earth . The landscape reminding me of an Escher drawing with its sharp angles , unexpected turns and mysterious depths , the whales juxdiposed in fluidity … another contradiction . Even though the streets have magical names like , Enchanted Forest Road , Fossil Bay Drive , and Owl Lane , I’m frightened of driving these roads , so dark that my eyes sting from squinting for the light . An onerous recollection of past years here haunts me of stumbles in a thicket , a thicket filled with thorns at every turn drawing blood . I think God is unjust now , unjust to my dear daughter . There is a sign over the door in a movie I can’t remember the title of , the sign says , ” How long will they last ?” It’s that Jane Fonda film where the dancers , the marathon dancers are hanging so desperately onto eachother , so exhausted that they can barely hold their heads up while their sore feet shuffle , shuffle in slow motion. This is the dance I find my daughter in . “This life is long isn’t it ?  We’ll do better in another life , with other gods to watch over us “, she once told me .

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I can feel the slow spinning of the earth where across the continent of America , in another place and time , a boy of residual aching youthfulness is honoring his grandmother by presenting her with a slain deer and here , now , on this island my own little grand daughter removes a lollipop from her mouth and kisses the image in a glass frame saying , ” good night daddy ” as I draw the voluminous silk grey curtains lest she be on full view of strangers who loom . The wooden flute sounds just a sigh and I wonder of my life back home , my brother , the familiar faces of the coffee shop employees , that man who sits and writes there nearly as much as I do , his relaxed frame folded in the cafes leather armchair , his blue eyes searching the rooms four corners as if trying to see something beyond its walls … the days of my last chapter before my own heart stops where I’ve found the lighthouse at the end of the world , where the strongest urge is to write the story of my brother and his three mates tragedy while still somehow trying to make it into a love story .

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On the ferry boat returning home there is an eerie pause of water and wind , the sky appearing like a single pearl and the ocean solid as if I could walk across it and I can hear the sound with absolute clarity of a lonely whale breaking the surface thousands of miles away . The loneliest whale in the world does exist . Scientist have been tracking her since 1992 and they know the problem . Her voice is unlike any other whale . No other whales can hear her as she sings at a higher frequency . She is alone . And it is here on this boat that I sense Gods infinite and benevolent hands of compassion holding my daughter and all of us away from the dizzingly crowded Picadilly Circus of confusion where every blade of grass has a shadow behind it . I tell myself to get it together … but get what together ? I’m bewildered . Thoughts are racing fast like the train racing south from Seatle in a streak of silver and blue to the east coast at 200 miles an hour …

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” You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars , you have a right to be here . Whether or not it is clear to you , no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should … with all its sham , drudgery and broken dreams , it is still a beautiful world “.     Max Ehrman

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Note : girl with fawn by Katerina Plotnikova

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Photo of my daughter

Beatitude Point – Part 2 – continuing – Alec

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Joni was singing , ” I came upon a child of God who was walking along the road ” … from the classic rock station on my car radio when I once more spotted her along the sidewalk in front of Andersons Market . There’s something both quirky and old world about the way she looks in those clothes of hers and I see a strange charm I’m not use to .  Last Wednesday , while in the local coffee shop , she noticed me for the first time and I had been seeing her for months already . As I passed her table and rather embarrassingly stared , she seemed about to smile looking directly at me … a jewel light , like the living jewel in the middle of Amsterdam , the Hortus Botanicus , a rain forest in a glass house .  She was taking a break from her excessive writing and hours of cold coffee . I could say nothing , suddenly self-conscious . Her effect on me, an old man , felt unhealthy and she’s become a shadow running thru my days , slow days . She must be 10 years younger than me . I live with my long-term partner in Empire who I have loved for a long time now . And I’ve been distracted writing a screenplay again with a November deadline , so I leave the house for the Glen Arbor coffee shop, 8 miles away , just for a new atmosphere and to leave Gretchen to do as she pleases . Gretchen gave me a reverent silence when we met , a feeling of being neither hungry or thirsty . I find her in all my screenplays , a muse for sure . But this now unknown woman seems to be crafted deliberately for me , emerging from one of my unfinished novels . I haven’t told Gretchen about her yet but mentioned her to my friend Paulo , who it turns out , does know her . She’s the sister of one of his friends . I think of sitting across from her and asking her questions , lots of questions . She seems cosmic some how and I want to take her to Berlin to see the street art ,

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And Brussels to buy her chocolate ,

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Budapest for paprika , Florence to buy her silk ,

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Istanbul for perfume , a hat in London , a hand carved guitar from Madrid

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And an an umbrella in Paris

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and in Sarajevo , a coffee set , so that she can have her own cafe in her kitchen .

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Sitting , facing the north entrance door , arranging my papers and pens , drinking that first mornings taste of caffeine , I watch as she enters , setting her ipad on the same always table under the window as she pulls out 2 dollar bills and moves to the counter . She knows the help by name and greets them each , John the owner remains stoic as usual but Noah always perks up … and I’m a senior citizen eavesdropping , feeling very foolish . Oh restless heart … shall I ask her something before she reaches for that pen and becomes unaware of all of us surrounding her ? Too late as my mind stales remembering the smokey , moody ballad earlier from my car radio , ” We are stardust , we are golden and we got to get ourselves back to the garden . ” I know she would agree and now she’s already tranced into her written words .

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I’ll read the local paper instead of taking the risk of bothering her . If you want to get a feel of this community and also have a few laughs , the Dispatch Blotter of the Leelanau Enterprise is where to start . So here it goes …

Last Thursday , 7:13 a.m. – Bingham township – Three lost horses near the Leelanau Trail .

Last Thursday , 12:45 p.m. – Suttons Bay – Subject is harassing caller . He jumped out from the corner of St. Joseph and Broadway and called the caller names . Told him he would track him down .

Last Thursday , 2:56 p.m. – Suttons Bay – Subject entered restaurant and used vulgar language .

Last Thursday , 8:52 p.m. – Empire Township – Caller states five subjects down at the beach drinking and smoking . They came and went quickly . Caller thought it was odd .

Friday , 3:46 p.m. – Leelanau Township – 7 year old says brother , age 9 , is running away into the woods . Says mom is at work .

Saturday , 2:46 p.m. – Elmwood Township – Caller is reporting that cars are driving too fast in front of his house. Callers elderly father has to duck and dodge crossing the road to get his mail .

Saturday , 10:53 p.m. – Suttons Bay Township – Neighbor has been playing loud music into very early morning hours for past week . On going issue .

Saturday 11:26 p.m. – Leland Township – Caller is requesting a welfare check on daughter .

Sunday , 12:03 a.m. Leland Township – Caller reporting his wife has fallen out of bed .

Monday , 12:15 a.m. – Suttons Bay Township – Caller initially called to report loud music outside her home . Phone line stayed open and dispatch could hear loud screaming and possible struggle .

Monday , 8 a.m. – Suttons Bay – Callers neighbors door was open and their dog came running at her . Then the neighbor ran at the caller .

Monday , 9:42 p.m. – Elmwood Township – Daughter and boyfriend have not spoken to caller since Friday .

Tuesday , 7:47 a.m. -Kasson Township – Lockers and exterior walls were spray painted over the weekend .

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This is planet Earth … Galaxy , the Milky Way …. Year , 2014 .