Monday, January 20, 2014

The New Year

…got off to a bittersweet start. On January 1, a group of us gathered in Evergreen Cemetery where the Boonville road meets Highway 1 to bury Jim's ashes. It's a beautiful, photogenic spot that has been a part of my travels north and south for the past 40 years, and now is even more special. We cried. We shared remembrances of Jim--well, I listened, others spoke. We passed around the small white box containing Jim's ashes. We put handfuls and shovelfuls of earth over the box.

Alix read a poem that she had written years ago when Peny passed away from leukemia:

Waving Hello To The Dead Just In Case

Sometimes my mind skips, out of the blue
to the thought of my dead,
and I flick my wrist in a little wave
and murmur their names
just in case they're looking down,
leaning out in their angel nightgowns
from the edge of a cloud,
or listening in from some misty cosmic
waiting room where souls assemble
between one life and the next.
It could even be true that something survives,
some unlikely personal spirit that needs me
to remember, holding off the final death
of being forgotten, not counting,
as if they were never alive,
their names and their little ways unknown,
their stories lost to the tongue.

David and Rachel planted bulbs dug from the yard of the Anchor Bay home, bickering a bit which I thought was a real Levine touch, then sang a folksong, "Fare Thee Well My Honey." David poured most of a Racer 5 IPA over the grave and some of us sipped the rest as it was passed around. Peter retrieved a joint from his car and opened it over the dirt and bulbs and beer. We paused for a few moments, then went back to Mom and Don's for potluck, visiting, and a walk to the picnic grounds.

 It was a good remembrance and closure. But I'm still pretty sad about Jim's passing, and Grandma's too. It's hard to let go of beloveds.


In other news:

M and I have started to attend "church"--the Center for Spiritual Living. While we're both 99.99% atheist, I still feel forces, for lack of a better word, in the world and I want to understand that more deeply. I also want to be more mindful, grateful, and intentional generally speaking. When a friend of mine from the gym started going and saying how much she enjoyed it, I figured that it might be something to try. We've attended four services and an evening networking event so far, and have gotten some combination of inspiration, thought provoking conversation, and reinforcement of positive self-esteem at each one. I can't say that my life has been transformed (yet), but I like wrestling with bigger questions regularly. We've also seen people that we know there. Who knows, maybe we'll make new friends, a crazy idea. There's a lot of music, which I enjoy, though much of it reminds me of The Culps from Saturday Night Live. I find myself humming the "Let Go, Let God" song that is played at every service pretty regularly. 

While I resolved not to make any resolutions this year, I did make the intention (splitting hairs, I know--blame the church) to "allow"--to more actively make space for more creativity and joy each day. I don't know that I've really embraced that (yet), but I do think about it a lot and I'm taking that as a good first step.

We celebrated the last of my Christmas/New Year's holiday with an afternoon trip to Doran Beach. There are beachfront campsites there, so we've made plans to go back to camp for a night with Caitlin and Sean in March.

I read a recent news story about how people with plans are happier than most because of the anticipation, and I do have a lot to look forward to in the next few months in addition to camping--seeing the Bulgari exhibit at the de Young museum with Felicia, more rendezvous with the writing partners, and a week in Kauai with M, Mom, and Don in May, among other adventures.

The drought is getting pretty bad, but the weather has been absolutely spectacular. It's hard to imagine anything bad happening when the sky is perpetually blue and the chill mornings warm to 70 degrees. Being mindful of water use is fitting right in with my challenge to use less plastic and throw less away, but it's going to be an awful spring and summer if we don't get at least a little more precipitation.


At 7:15 AM, January 21, 2014, Blogger Brenda said...

I want to be buried in the Manchester cemetery, too. I'm thinking of making urns, so maybe I'll save one for myself.


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