Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Best of January

The pelican sitting on the railing a few feet away from our table on the deck at Abalonetti, looking down his substantial nose at those wanting his picture.

Being at Asilomar at the same time as David Whyte, the poet whose words I needed just then—

"The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance . . . "
 ("Walking the beach between talks at Asilomar, Monterey Bay, California this weekend.  My annual gathering for the world wide 'circle of enquiry' that has been drawn to the poetry work. This year's theme was on being 'Half a Shade Braver'—Seven Elements of a Courageous Life. This quote works with the foundational bravery of simply being here, subject to and facing fully the losses and disappearances of an every day human life.")
—David Whyte 

Whoever listens in this silence, as she listens, 

will also stand opened, thoughtless, frightened

by the joy she feels, the pathway in the field

branching to a hundred more, no one has explored.

What is called in her rises from the ground

and is found in her body,

what she is given is secret even from her.

This silence is the seed in her

of everything she is

and falling through her body

to the ground from which she comes,

it finds a hidden place to grow

and rises, and flowers, in old wild places,

where the dark-edged sickle cannot go.

(Excerpted From: 
"The Song of the Lark"

in River Flow: New and Selected Poems
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press)

Walking the path above the ocean from Asilomar to Spanish Bay.

Hearing one of my twenty-seven favorite Mozart piano concertos, number 21, a couple of days before his birthday.  The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted stunningly by Pinchas Zukerman, and the pianist a blissful Jonathan Biss.

Clementine cake, shared with friends.

Those California January things I love so well—green hills with oak trees against them, warm days, a generosity of yellow mustard weed and now acacia (which always reminds me of the mimosa Bonnard painted, that conflagration of yellow).  And horses nearby here, inspiring me to alter my route home to drive past them.

The lemon scones baked by a friend for tea.

The joy of the birds after rain.

Cuban arroz con pollo, which reminds me of the January days in Key West at the writers' workshops (Peter Matthiessen, Michael Ondaatje, Calvin Trillin, Barry Lopez, many others, and fairy lights in the southernmost January trees, with Cuban rums beckoning).

Finishing several pieces of the postcard-length writing I started in the fall.  Getting close to the end of all three Mallorcan mysteries.  Working on collages for the shared notebooks, and drawing cartoon birds including a blue-smudged bluebird of happiness based on the little glass bird with a lot of attitude from Murano.

This picture of a curandera (for which I can't find the URL).

image:   Pierre Bonnard, Bunch of Mimosa

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