Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Coming, No Going

I titled this watercolor I made of Jesse & Yuki, No Coming, No Going, after a song by Sister Annabel Laity:


No coming, no going, no after, no before;
I hold you close to me, I release you to be so free.
Because I am in you, and you are in me,
Because I am in you, and you are in me.

Here's the French version by Lily Gozlan:

Sans venir, et sans partir, ni avant, ni après.
Je te tiens près de moi, et te laisse pour être libre
Parce que je suis en toi, et tu es en moi,
Parce que je suis en toi, et tu es en moi.


Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today was the last Saturday Farmer's Market here in Ashland, Oregon. For three months, I have been eating the most nutritious delicious fresh organic produce from the farmers of the Rogue Valley. I appreciate the willingness of the farmers to trade their beautiful fruits & vegetables for my paintings and drawings; such a luscious trade of energies for which I am grateful!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

≈ Celebrating Bodhi ≈

Bodhi, little happiness bringer, thank you for your joyful, confident light!

Bodhi came into this world one year ago today (29th of October, 2008). We met the next day.

For the first eight months of Bodhi's life, I posted photos often to flickr and created a Bodhi Set. Then...

On June 21st, 2009, in New Mexico, while Yuki, Jesse, Bodhi, and I were camping, Bodhi disappeared. He got spooked by the rumbling sound of a diesel engine in the campground. Although Bodhi was wearing a harness which was attached to a leash, tied with five knots to the picnic table, and in my arms at the time, he wriggled out -- to be free and safe from the scary sound. That was the last time we saw him. I had been feeding all of them a special treat of sardines at the time, hand-feeding little Bodhi, in my arms. I spent 2 weeks looking for Bodhi, staying at the campground and in the area, but he did not reappear.

I feel that Bodhi is still alive. I feel this everyday very strongly. We have talked. I also feel that Bodhi is happy and healthy, very playful and confident, just as he was when we were together physically.

At first, when he burst out of his harness like a bucking bronco, I was stunned. My arms were also scratched up and bleeding (but it didn't hurt). It all happened so quickly that I did not see which way he went or where he went. It's as if he exploded or burst into the sky and vanished.

When I did my daily searches for him -- walking and hiking in the area, talking to people, calling to him, registering at the local animal shelter, putting sardines into the have-a-heart-trap I borrowed, putting up posters, driving the nearby highway, etc. -- I sometimes thought I saw him. Is that Bodhi? A certain playful curl of a flattened rope or rag on the road made me stop to take a closer look; a black dumbbell on a bench seen from the window of a friend's camper looked like Bodhi in loaf position playfully waiting for me to see him.


I am not sad anymore. My heart expands with joy and gratitude whenever I imagine Bodhi. I feel Bodhi's utter confidence and lightness of being, and his playfulness and joy as my own joy... his best qualities seem to have strengthened those same attributes in my being and personality. Maybe I have become a great tree-climber, too! I have yet to test that one out... :)

Bodhi enjoyed a wonderful life with us, first in our home in Tucson, then across the country on our drive to Virginia and to Maggie's, and then again, across the country on our drive to New Mexico with Yuki and Jesse. During our 3-1/2 month stay in Virginia, Bodhi was best buds with Jasper, Maggie's 16-year old black cat. Jasper and Bodhi played together everyday. Bodhi enjoyed Maggie's kind care and loving attention, too. In particular, he liked that Maggie allowed him to curl up inside her large clay bowls (see below photo).

Bodhi nursed with Moxie, his tortoise shell mother, for a full 8 weeks, longer than any of his siblings. All the kittens lived, cuddled, and played together in Tucson at Moxie's house (just a hop and a skip from my house) with my neighbors Therese and José Luís.

Bodhi distinguished himself as an excellent climber early on, so much, that Therese and José Luís gave him the nickname of "Spider." I knew Bodhi was Bodhi from the first time I saw him, an awake one (from the Sanskrit root word, Bodh, meaning 'awake'). Bodhi's full name is Bodhi Seed "Spider" Stern.

I don't actually know if Bodhi is alive or dead. I feel he is alive and that he has good cat survival skills to enable him to live well in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. He was unusually smart and quick, a great climber, very curious and playful, and a happy, happy kitten with sharp claws with which to climb and hunt. Coyotes and foxes live in the area where we were camped. However, I believe that Bodhi's sharp claws and excellent tree-climbing ability have served him well. There are plenty of little animals (i.e., rodents) that Bodhi could hunt and also some houses in the area where he might have been taken in and/or where he could find food and shelter if he wants it. I see Bodhi enjoying his free life; I see him as happy.

The morning that Bodhi broke out of his harness, he was kissing and licking my face as we lay inside the tent, kissing me as he always did in the mornings. I kissed his soft furry chest and actually took some pictures of us and him, plus Yuki and Jesse. A little while later he was gone.

Maybe he missed us at first, like I missed him at first... But he is a cat and his survival skills are strong.

Maybe he will reappear. Maybe not. The shelter has a file on him and knows how to contact me if he is found. It could happen. And, when I talk to him, I tell him to let himself be found and brought to the shelter so we can come and bring him home.

Anyway, I am celebrating Bodhi today. I am so grateful we had 8 beautiful months together.

Happy Continuation Day, Happiness Bringer. Thank You

We love you, little Bodhi-chan.


Bodhi exploring after the rain ~ 3

Bodhi watches his big sister

Bodhi & Jesse napping


Bodhi in the grass

Bodhi Bowl, II

 Yuki & Bodhi in Santa Fe

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A deciduous autumn

Drinking Ti Kuan Yin Oolong out of my everyday porcelain kyuusu with the sound of raindrops all around. Cool air, warm socks, hot tea, furry friends, colored pencils, watercolors, paper, and the swooping call of a bird. Wet, brown and yellow leaves are plastered to the green grass outside. A deciduous autumn.

Friday, October 02, 2009

eNvisioNing, N-less, eN-ee-way

The "N" key on my laptop is not working. In order to type an N, now, I have to copy and paste large and small "N"s or use the π sign for my πame, like so: ∏icole. Maybe if I turn the Z key around, I would get an N...

Missing the N shows me that "N"s appear often in words and it reminded me of a book I'd heard about, in which the author purposely wrote his story without using the letter E at all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I-I-I-I-I-I-I (spoken sing-song like the Angel in Tony Kushner's Angels in America)






oolong tea

from a


and the wind

is blowing

-- or --

Is it the

leaves that are blowing?

A Zen master said

it is our minds that are moving...

Next to the teapot is a beautiful orange-y ripe peach with red markings -- but not for long -- 'cuz I'm going to devour this juicy wonder. I will take a photo of it first, Just in case I want to paint it. I read once that Mme. Matisse (Henri's wife) would become angry with Henri for bringing home beautiful fruits and vegetables when she thought they were poor. Instead of eating them, he'd arrange a still-life. By the time Henri finished the painting, most of the fruits had become soft and old. I like that story, first, because of the Spirit to create and the emanations of Light and Color that surged through him and the fruit, second, because Henri knew he was rich beyond measure to be so inSpired, enThused, and inFused with Light and Color, and thirdly, because I like to imagine Henri in his suit painting (he always painted wearing a suit jacket and trousers) in a stream of light at a wooden table where a bowl of fruit glowed for him.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Wisdom of Wind, the Power of Trees

Today is Sunday.

The air is different today than yesterday. The leaves are swishing more and it feels cooler and more like Autumn. As I begin writing this entry, I am listening to Krishna Das singing these words from his Door of Faith CD, "I have found a way to live in the presence of the Lord..." interspersed with the chant, "Rama Rama Rama Sita Rama Rama Ram...."

I feel relieved when the CD comes to an end, as KD's singing competes with my writing mind. Right on cue, the mower that's been droning nearby stops, too. Ahhhhhh, just the sounds of swishing leaves now, melodic wind chimes, and the scratchy lapping up sound of Yuki's tongue licking a bit of coconut oil from a plastic tarp.

There are other sounds, too -- high bird chirpings, voices of neighbors coming in and out of range, the metal on metal sound of screen doors opening and closing, crunchy leaves on cement patio being swept by a broom, the occasional car driving past, staccato tweet tweet tweet of a bird, and the swirling sweetness of wind chimes. The overriding sound I hear, though, is that of Autumn: the music that trees and bushes make as wind circulates around and through leaf and branch, down to their roots, massaging their trunks.

"Soon it will be time for us to be quiet," they say. "For now, let us dance and sing and enjoy the rush of wind on our stems, bark, and leaves."

Who's Kissing Who? (image from my 52 Weeks Set on flickr)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sound does that.

Walking through Lithia Park yesterday without Yuki... Around one of the ponds, a cellist had set up and was playing Bach so beautifully. People were sitting on benches, listening with eyes closed, while others were picnicking. A man was at his easel painting in oils... Such a gorgeous moment with the light, deep green of tall trees, sparkles on water, and the sound of cello weaving us all together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

perfect glowing greenness

The grapes of my body can only become wine

After the winemaker tramples me.

I surrender my spirit like grapes to his trampling

So my inmost heart can blaze and dance with joy.

Although the grapes go on weeping blood and sobbing

"I cannot bear any more anguish, any more cruelty"
The trampler stuffs cotton in His ears:
"I am not working in ignorance

You can deny me if you want, you have every excuse,

But it is I who am the Master of this Work.

And when, through my Passion, you reach perfection,

You will never be done praising my name."

Rumi (not sure who the translator was; this poem came to me in an email without citation -- maybe Coleman Barks??)

Some kind of gestation...

It's been 9 months since my last post and... Here I am (Hineni).

I am in Oregon where there is no such thing as self-service gas, a gas attendant pumps it for you. I like that -- no fumes to breathe in and no gas smells on my hands. Other things I like: yummy, sweet blackberries growing all over, environmental awareness, trees, the mountains here in Ashland, the ocean and wide beaches of the Northern coast, friendly, friendly people, and all the arts and culture here in Ashland. Now to learn what other edibles grow wild around here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

My new little munchkin, Bodhi

Bodhi was born on October 29th, 2008 and came to live with Jesse, Yuki, and me on New Year's Eve. I first met him when he was barely 2 days old. I've been taking photos of him from day 2 (and through all his gender changes, which you can find out about when/if you read my flickr posts within the Bodhi Set).

Happiest New Year 2009 to All, 明けましておめでとうございます!Every day is a good day!