Ma…the space between things

I’m inspired by the spartan aesthetic of Zen Buddhism.

Is less really more?

Ma (pronounced “maah”) is a celebration of not things, but the space between them. It’s negative space, voids, emptiness. The place you get to (if you’re lucky) in meditation. Like the space where that tree used to be.

I’m not exactly sure why this tiny little ceramic vase IS. Like why it even exists.

I mean, who designed it, procured a company to manufacture it, and filled a cargo ship full of them bound for the USofA?

I have no idea, but I fell in love and brought it home for $1.50. How could anyone NOT love shopping at Daiso?

Only four inches tall, it holds about a tablespoon of water and I continued to replace flower after flower until I got the brilliant idea of searching around the garden for beautifully shaped little twigs.

These are the last remnants of the ficus tree that is no longer there, and I decided it would be a simple way to honor that once living entity by saving a little part of it.

At first I was going to embellish them with faux gems, pearls, and seashells–like I usually do–but the more I looked at it, the more I loved the bare simplicity. I didn’t want to detract from the design of the vase.

I should write a haiku about the tree and these twigs. Being a minimalist with words is just as difficult for me as NOT gluing shiny things to those tiny little branches.

Goodbye, Tree

A while back I wrote about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and I’m guessing I could also call this post “A Tree Dies in SoCal”

Usually the loss of a tree I’ve lived with and loved for years feels like how I imagine a phantom limb might feel- a certain emptiness, a vacant unfillable void–like mourning the loss of a loved one, but this was different.

It actually feels lighter; freer–all in all a good decision that I had procrastinated about for years because I hate to destroy any living creature or growing thing.

The first cut is the deepest–I know those are song lyrics, but there’s a point you can’t go back, when the decision to cut down a tree is beyond the point of changing your mind. Too late to say WAIT, let me rethink things! You can always plant a new tree, right? Replace the old tree with a new one, right?

This was a ficus. I know ficus trees have invasive roots, I know they are much better as potted plants, but I seriously had thought this one was situated far enough away from the house so that it wouldn’t become a problem.

Then I looked under the deck and saw roots, which meant that it would only be a matter of time before there could be real damage to either the foundation or the plumbing.

It’s gone now, and I really don’t miss it at all. I’m thinking about what to plant as the empty space looks a little barren.

Maybe a fruit tree or two? Something that’s a bit more giving than the ficus which was definitely NOT an example of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree–more like the TAKING tree, sucking all the life out of the plants around it and leaving a mess to clean up.

I feel as if I most deserving of some reciprocal quid pro quo in return for all my love and nurturing and caretaking.

…to an infinite degree

Did you think I was referring to love? I could have been, but nope, not this time.

While this isn’t my photo, it’s worth sharing. In a cool social media twistyturny kind of way, I was chatting with a fractal artist on Twitter and shared my previous fractal post with him, Fractals Freak Me Out.

Here’s a link to Dan’s site and a post about fractals:
https://www.redideostudio.com/what-in-the-heck-is-a-fractal-why-should-i-care/

His book of fractal art is soon to be published and he kindly shared a photo with me, so here it is for a very wordy #WordlessWednesday. I am sooo jelly of creative people.

I wish you every success in your awesome endeavors!

Daniel Travers
Multimedia Producer & Artist
www.redideostudio.com

Fractals freak me out.

 

 

Balloons: holding on, then and now

Is there anyone that doesn’t love balloons? We know they need to be disposed of properly to be good ocean stewards, but balloons are fun and festive, except when they POP. I still scream when I hear the loud explosion of a popped balloon.

Do you think this curly haired little girl in her flannel nightgown might have imagined C.S. Lewis’ quote would come to fruition?

For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.

Then…

Me, age 3. I have those Chinese mudmen that are on the mantel.

…and now

My favorite boy, age 2 (2018)

To a special first birthday and lots of balloons.

Char’s first birthday August 2020

#WordlessWednesday

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart! – Wordsworth

This female Papilio glaucus, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, hung around for about half an hour, leisurely fluttering from one flower to another. I almost felt like paparazzi as I snapped photo after photo of this Lepidopteran celebrity. A little research revealed that the first known drawing of a North America butterfly was in 1587 of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by John White.

It happened in the front yard this time along the dry river bed.

I was enchanted while she took a rest break on the ground, basically right at my feet, long enough for me to take about fifty more pics.

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring’st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father’s family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:–with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.


By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Fog + real ducks in a fake pond.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to walk before the devil heat returns.

Lucky for me there’s a deep marine layer and so much fog that it’s impossible to see across the street from my house. The fence around the school is barely visible; that’s how moisture-laden the skies are right now. Normally, it’s possible to see all the way to the lagoon from here, but not today.

It’s an hour-long walk around the lagoon and up the hill, and I hurried to beat the emergence of the fiery ball. All-time heat records were broken yesterday; it’s easier to comprehend nuclear fusion creating a core temperature of 270 million degrees on days like that.

These are real ducks in a fake pond on the street where all the paddleboarders park. They built this water feature and have since tried in every way to deter ducks from using it–but here they are. It’s literally feet away from the lagoon which is a natural body of water; how could they expect wildlife NOT to enjoy it??? Duh.

Hello, ducks! Have a wonderful swim. Welcome to Carlsbad!

…and so it begins

Here in SoCal, there are unusual excessive heat warnings for the coast; it could reach 105 degrees today. It was 87 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and now it’s 101 at 11:00 a.m. HOT!

The National Weather Service announced red flag warnings for high fire probability with humidity less than ten percent. The forecast also calls for areas of smoke. High heat records are being broken this weekend. Our desert temperatures could exceed 126 degrees. Crazy!

There’s ash on my car and deck from the fire in Alpine, fifty miles away in the east county. I tried to go for a walk at 7:15 and not only was it already too hot, but my breathing was compromised from the smoke so I had to turn back. As of right now, the (named) Valley fire is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and is 0% contained. Ten structures have been destroyed.

And then I found this, the first one of the season. The first leaf fallen from the mulberry tree. Autumn in SoCal.

I see a few more yellow leaves up there; soon I’ll be raking them up and the branches will be barren.

Sometimes I hear the voice of my poetry professor and search for a poem to illustrate the bittersweet feelings of the changing season. This is a good one by Rossetti.

Autumn Song
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
By DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

Magical September Moon

Image may contain: text that says 'TONIGHT SEPTEMBER 2ND 2020 MAGICALRECIPESONL.ING RECIPESONLINE THIS MAGICAL FULL MOON WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING A MAGICAL WINDOW OPENS TONIGHT AND WILL LAST UNTIL SEPTEMBER 13TH THIS Full Moon will bring pleasant changes, and it will support those changes we are trying to achieve. This blessing will last for the whole fortnight, but from the 13th onwards not as strongly.'

It’s been a crazy year so far with Covid-19, isolating quarantines and Zoom schooling, masks and social distancing, our country in lock down, fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and that’s just the weird stuff. The ugly shadow side to all of this is the senseless killing of black Americans and the unleashing of hatred by disgusting white supremacists, brought to the surface by an orange-faced agitator. In my opinion, he really is the most vile and evil creature, the real disease of 2020.

Anyway…2020 is almost over and we have a bewitching full moon tonight.

I wrote this little haiku five years ago. Innocent, unaware that dark furtive shadows were lurking.

For the first time in three years, the September full moon is in a unique situation: it’s happening so early in the month — a timing that gives it an entirely different name, the Corn Moon– instead of the harvest moon — and sets the stage for October to have two full moons, meaning a rare blue moon will shine this Halloween.

Full moons happen when the sun, Earth, and moon form a line, allowing the side of the moon facing Earth to be fully illuminated by the sun. Another name for this full moon is the Hungry Ghost Moon, which references the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival that happens on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. On this day, ghosts and spirits, including those of ancestors, are believed to visit the living. (From Live Science)

Wherever you are on the planet, I hope you’re able to enjoy the healing energy of this full moon.

Convo #726 with the Brilliant One and a Life Lesson: “Here I am!”

Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, never ever forget that children absolutely absorb our words, positive AND negative.

If your goal is to raise happy, healthy, empowered, imaginative THINKERS, remember that every word you say to them becomes ingrained in their fertile brains and becomes a part of their belief system.

Although I really and truly believe this and it’s been my lifelong philosophy (minus a few weeks of Angel Boy’s angst-filled teenage years), this was reinforced yesterday in the most casual and BEST way.

During one of my FaceTime calls with T, he said, “Grandma, I’m gonna flip the phone and show you this. You’ll think it’s amazing, I know you will.”

He flipped the camera to show me a crystal that his other grandma sent to him.

“Can you believe how sparkly it is, Grandma? I’ll save it to show you after the virus.”

(It seems as if now everything is always “after the virus.”)

Then, wait for it,…wait for it…he says,
Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll flip back. Here I am, Grandma. Here’s your beautiful boy.

He smiled at me with his daddy’s Imperial jade green eyes and those curls that have a life of their own.

Without a trace of humor or artifice, he was very simply repeating exactly what I said a zillion times, “Could you please flip the phone back so I can see my beautiful boy?”

And when he does, I say, “Oh, good. there you are. That’s who I want to see; my beautiful boy!”

He ABSORBED the positive affirmation–and knows deep inside where it counts–that he is my beautiful and smart and very loved little boy. He KNOWS he is valued for being who he is, not for any accomplishments, but simply for existing.

Haha, my work here is done. He is truly and beautifully empowered, inside and out.

Here’s an easy-to-save graphic with a few important positive affirmations for our children and for ourselves.

wp-1476487823521.png (545×699)