Let go of the fantasies. Return to the breath. Begin a new blog.
Given circumstances: free, single, with enough money to get by and no need to earn it if I’m very frugal. At home in a sweet little studio apartment in subsidized housing in NW Portland, Oregon. I hear the rattle of the streetcar, the hum of traffic, boat whistles and train whistles, voices in the street. My windows open onto tree tops. I smell the Moroccan restaurant on the corner, the coffee shop across the street. It’s an urban life, but peaceful. A few friends but no companion. Just me, restless.
This wire sculpture of a flying Buddhist madonna was made for me by my best buddy, Leif Anderson, and I photographed it in motion, the kind of restless motion I feel in myself. I just turned 65 and got my head shaved–a little ritual I perform every time I start again. I’m in good shape for my age–no addictions, no major medical issues, mind pretty sharp, though the short-term memory has started to slip. Still awed by all I don’t know, still curious. I’m grieving the loss of my little cat, Chloe. I had to give her up because I was developing asthma. I’ve always been allergic to cats, but I thought I could live with it. Not. So maybe, after Africa, I’ll consider getting a dog.
After Africa. I’ve spent half the remainder of my savings on a ticket to Lesotho. I leave September 29 and return, if nothing changes, a month later. I figure that will be my last great adventure because I’m running out of money and there’s no more coming in. But I want to see Lesotho again–the people I love there and the land itself. I want to go again and bear witness, go again and craft a tribute. Maybe a book, if I can sustain the effort long enough and find a publisher. I have an idea for a novel. But I’ve had ideas before. At least a blog. This time I’ll have a digital camera in my hands, a voice recorder to catch the music of the language, a laptop to keep notes. I want to take excellent notes. And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have internet connectivity some of the time and can blog from Africa.
Maybe a dog. I’ve been hanging out around dogs, going to the dog park, visiting friends who have dogs. I’ve been watching Cesar Millan videos, reading Ian Dunbar, thinking about dogs and discipline, training my inner puppy. Cesar says if dogs don’t get enough exercise and discipline, they develop obsessions. I consult my inner bitch and find that pretty well explains my obsessive relations with an unavailable woman, and then with email, Flickr, and even to a lesser extent, Facebook.
If I were my owner, I’d give this old dog more exercise. I’d tell her SIT, STAY if she started sniffing around another dog. I’d poke her in the ribs and say, “Shhhhht” when she opens the computer. I’d reward her for doing something purposeful (you wrote a poem? good girl! now you can watch a movie or read a novel). Hence, this blog. It’s a place to put new work–pictures and writings, when I write them–a way to cultivate connection with old friends and maybe a few new ones. It’s a place to prepare for the Last Grand Adventure and for what comes after that. Here goes.