Monday, May 29, 2017

Cleansing Fire

It was on New Year's day of 2016 when my husband told me that he loved someone else. It was a shock, the pain was overwhelming. There were months of discussions about his unhappiness in our life, how much he missed France.

I had a very hard time accepting this new situation. I kept hoping he would awake from the madness and things would go back to the way they were. But after he took a trip to France, which he had not done in years, he told me that he did not want to reconcile.

There were more months of pain and tears, fighting. I was grieving as if he had died, but he was still there like an angry ghost. This is a sadly common occurrence in New York, I have a few friends who live with their estranged partners.

The New Year came, and I was ready to turn the page on this part of my life, and find a job that paid enough so that we could truly separate. I love him enough to let him go.

The universe had other ideas and I faced a couple of setbacks that are not related to this story, except for how they added to my sadness.

I felt as if I were living the poem Guesthouse by Rumi, with 'crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture'. I am looking forward to the new delights that will fill the cleared out space.

I was going through boxes in my room, trying to make the space my own when I found these flowers from my wedding day. My sister had pressed them and planned to make a picture from them. She never did and finally handed me the tracing pad with the pressed flowers in its pages, hoping that I could do something with them.

When I found them, I knew what to do with them. A cleansing fire would help free my spirit.

This weekend I have been alone. My son is camping, my husband is on another visit to France. I have spent the weekend nourishing myself, dancing, meditating, photographing the flowers. Today I will dance some more, see Dance Africa, celebrate with the dancing community and revel in the drum spirit.

Yesterday, the day after our wedding anniversary, a year to the day of when he said we would not get back together, I burned the wedding flowers.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Supporting the Standing Rock Sioux

I was so sad when the Dakota Pipeline protesters left their campsite in flames on February 22. I wanted to do something to show my support. I wanted to bring some river water home to connect with them. The Hudson river flows into the ocean where all the rivers mingle eventually. The city has limited the access to its rivers over the years.

A friend who lives further north told me that the river was easy to get to near the Riverdale station. So off I went. We clambered over the mossy rocks and I got some water. 

I have a lakshmi in my living room. I bring her gifts from the garden; an old blue bottle and a pine cone that a nearby tree tossed to me. I set up a little dish with a stone from the garden that has a lot of mica, like the rocks near the river and poured some river water over it.

Every day the water in the dish evaporates and I refill it. There are mineral traces in the dish, remains of the river's presence.

I wanted to march in support of the water protectors yesterday, but I had a class. My spirit is with them.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Revisiting Banksy

A few years ago, Banksy engaged in a 30 day residency in New York. Each day offered a new work or performance. It was all ephemeral as street art tends to be. One piece remains visible from the residency.

The streak of red on the boy's forehead and the flash of light under the hammer are reflections on the protective sheet of plexiglass covering the work. Many of Banksy's pieces from the residency were protected with plexi, or roll down metal gates before being removed. One piece, Geisha is still behind its protective gate, but it might as well be elsewhere.

The boy with the hammer was protected by Saul Zabar, of the Zabar's across the street. He is genuinely fond of the work and wants everyone to enjoy it. Still it seems so strange to have street art protected by plexiglass. It is maybe a little poignant.

For more about Bansky's work, check out this awesome page:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Last Week's Snow

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

I am not usually the person who posts poetry, but I really liked this one. The first snow of the year was a week ago. It was delicate and charming, a welcome arrival for the beginning of the year.

These weedy little daisy flowers were still hanging on. My friend at the community garden said they bloom when everything else is brown, and here is the proof.

The garden looked seasonally appropriate.

The milkweed pods still had their seeds. I guess they disperse in the spring.

I gathered pots of snow which I melted down to water the houseplants with. They always enjoy rain showers in the summer, so I thought the snow would be beneficial. They seemed to like it. This was also the last day of the tree, seen in the corner.

The next day it snowed again, and what was forecast as a dusting quickly got out of hand.

It was Saturday, running the usual weekend errands soon became an ordeal.

The daylight drained away and everything got quiet.

The next day, the weather got warm, the snow started to melt, now it feels like spring.