Color is Life

I’ve written about my struggles with depression; the past few weeks have been challenging, with the loss of a dear friend, a pet’s death, plus health and money woes. My faith has been tried.

Years ago, when a fellow depression-sufferer asked me, in the throes of her illness, “What keeps you alive when things get bad?”  I knew well the feeling, seeking for a shred of hope. As I gazed across the yard, and saw the shaded sky, the mirror lake, the deep green pines, the word just rose to my lips. “Color. I live for color.”

This week I arose before dawn to paint the sunrise. It was ostensibly in honor of Solstice, but in truth it was intended to wrench me out of my sucking depression.

Painting was good medicine. But the Supreme Court decision on Friday, unleashing a tidal wave of rainbows, is really buoying my spirit in splendid waves of shared joy. Hallelujah, it’s a rainbow! May your life be colorful!

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My Father the Racist

My father was smart, brave, determined. He was loyal and patriotic, hard-working, and he adored my mother. He devoted all his efforts to creating a great life for his family.

All these things are true about my dad. And so is this: My father was an unremitting racist.

To be fair, so was just about everyone else in my family and the all-white neighborhoods I grew up in. I went to school in a suburb famous for the invention of ‘red-lining.’ I never met a Jewish person until I got to college. In suburban Detroit we were taught that segregation was a problem of the South, but any black people I ever knew caught the bus home at the end of their domestic work day.

Dad and I had a running pattern that he called a ‘joke.’ He’d make an offensive remark about an ethnic group other than his own, and I’d take offense. He’d smirk and pretend to make a reasonable argument until I began to lose my temper or get upset. As I got older, I learned to resist the ‘bait.’ But I still resent it, and although he’s been dead for 14 years, I still want to fight.

It wasn’t funny, Dad, the way you bragged about sharing Hitler’s birthday or flew the Nazi flag. It wasn’t funny to tell American blacks to “go back to the jungle where you came from.”

My father would do anything for you if you were his friend or a family member. He wasn’t a gun nut, didn’t give money to racist groups, but his attitude toward the ‘other’ was hateful and entitled. I could never understand this.

So this year, I had to tell the truth.

Another truth is that I miss him, every day.

You Never Know

It happens every day. Every second, actually. Someone is breathing one moment, then not the next. It’s nature’s way: we’re born, we die.  But my mind refuses this. No, she can’t be gone, not that kind of gone. Not dead.

The word landed with a leaden thud, flat black, that sucked all the air out of the room. But I need that word. My child’s mind refuses to understand. Dead. Gone.

Monday I got a strange email from a friend-of-a-friend:

“Has anyone heard from F-?”

I called F’s cel, and got a wrong number. Idiot, I told myself, and dialed again. This time, a strange and business like voice answered, and asked me who I was.

“Who are YOU?” I demanded, confused.

“This is [name forgotten], County Sheriff’s department. Are you a relative?”

This was the moment when the chill of dread descended, when I knew something was terribly wrong. Why would cops be answering F’s phone in the middle of the day? It’s not like her to have been arrested, unless it’s finally illegal to be a snarky blogger in Florida.

Nice Sheriff Lady realized she had to tell me now, because, pretty much, I already knew.

“I’m sorry to tell you that F has passed away.”

The room went all echoey. She asked me if I knew any next of kin. Sorry. I was busy falling backwards through a tunnel, remembering last week when I called F on a whim.

“Hey you. Not interrupting a hockey game, am I?”

“You know you aren’t, or I wouldn’t have picked up.” I hear her short breath, sucking that damn cigarette, or maybe just gasping for air.

“I’m just calling with the neighborhood gossip report, and to let you know not to worry about the weather. You should really stop watching the news, you know. Bad for your blood pressure.”

“Well, you never know.” There’s that breath again.

“How’s the Bench?” We can always talk cats.

“He’s fine, but no more catnip for him. He bites me when he gets a buzz.”

I laugh, but now I’m the worrier. The last cat bite was serious.

“Please, Ferne, explain it to him again: you don’t bite the hand that feeds you!”

It was a silly conversation; like Seinfeld, about nothing. We were hanging out over the cellular ether. I want to grab those minutes back, and hold them.

I’ve been looking for photos of her, so far no luck. The last time I saw her was two years ago when I was in St. Pete. We wandered on the beach, went to the movies, ate thai food and hung out with her writer friends. I can still see her, in her Yankees cap and capris, an ageless platinum pixie with a cigarette and a smirk.

Bon Voyage, Ferne. Love ya, and don’t forget to write.

================

Ferne Horner, artist, writer, blogger at the Hairball Gazette  1945-2015 

The Holy land is everywhere.

Astrology Rob Brezhny is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and sometimes he knocks my socks off with a profound connection, a pithy quote, a soulful connection. But today it’s just one simple sentence.

The Holy land is everywhere.

I spent my Memorial Day Weekend basking in my new home, enjoying the neighborhood and the house. This was somewhat a wise decision to keep things low key, and somewhat forced house arrest due to budget constraints. It worked out beautifully. With no dollars to spare my food was humble and home-made, my engagement was with neighbors, friends and pets, and my entertainment came from the cycle of the day.

One splendid evening I took a walk with dog Lily and cat Charlee, and we watched herons wading in the sunset waters of Piscataway Bay.

The Holy land is everywhere.

Crochet Coral Reef

We’ve heard about multiple hazards threatening the well-being of our ocean, from a profusion of plastic junk to rising temperatures to excess CO2 – but what have you done about it?  No, this is not your typical tree-hugger guilt trip! I want to amaze you with the creativity and cross-cultural genius of this particular project:

The Crochet Coral Reef

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Margaret Wertheim is a physicist and writer who has, among other things, noted that the underlying mathematical description of the growth patterns of coral -their hyperbolic geometry -was best described through the rhythm and pattern of crochet.

“Corals and sponges — all those frilly crenellated structures — are actually biological manifestations of hyperbolic geometry. And although brainless corals can make hyperbolic forms literally of the bodies, it’s very difficult for humans to make models of this. And in fact, the best way to do it is with crochet.”

This realization led to a collaborative project to create coral reefs in crochet by needle artists around the globe, a unique method for using art to bring attention to the corals.

It’s difficult to confront the serious threat of coral bleaching, without the sense of helplessness that can cause us to throw up our hands and cry “I recycle! what do you want ME to do about it, give up my CAR?!”

When Margaret and her twin Christine started the project in 2005, they joked about the reefs disappearing. Today, NOA scientist are warning about record level coral die-off. These tiny brainless creatures build cities that can be seen from space.

When I listened to Margaret in a recent episode of the On Being podcast, I was struck by her gift for crossing connections among science, art and spirituality, something that is clearly dear to my heart here at Art, Spirit, Nature.

You can listen to the interview here:

Neomenia, Eostre & Equinox

Neomenia is a fancy word for New Moon, which we have a splendid example of today. The Super Moon of March 20, 2015 caused a total eclipse of the sun for the North Atlantic and bits of Greenland and Iceland.

Some Pagan folk call Spring Equinox by the name of Ostara, or Eostre, after the ancient Germanic goddess who heralds the spring reawakening. The word is related to East, and Aus, a proto-germanic word for dawn. I’ve often thought is sounds quite a bit like Purim’s Esther and that other rabbit & egg holiday that’s just around the corner!

The Equinox refers to the balance of dark and light, for today, the night is as long as the day, roughly speaking. I see for us the sun rises and sets at around 7:18.

Rumor has it that the heavenly dance of Pluto has big things in store for our little planet. So heed the auspicious signs, plant your seeds, honor your Mother. Let us celebrate the wonder of life.

I wish all the blessings of the change of season to you all, the joy of rabbits leaping, and flowers opening, and delicious boiled eggs of many colors, including chocolate!

 

Fundraising for Vet Bills

I’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover the vet bills that have exploded in the wake of Lily’s skin disease.

If you can help by sharing the link or donating even a few dollars, that’s a big help. Prayers and good wishes are greatly appreciated. You can read all the details at this link:

http://www.gofundme.com/helpLilyheal

coldLily

I didn’t want to get to this point, but I found out the hard way that relying on the budget vet clinic is a very bad idea with skin diseases!

Thank you again for your kindness.

My Horoscope this week

from Rob Brezhny, Author of Pronoia and by far my favorite weekly enewsletter. Every week I am inspired, entertained and uplifted, and challenged to think much much bigger than my daily grumpiness will reduce me to.

This week it went like this:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

I have taken a passage from a letter that Henry Miller wrote to Anais Nin, and I have chopped it up and rearranged it and added to it so as to create an oracle that’s perfect for you right now. Ready?

This is the wild dream:
you with your chameleon’s soul
being anchored always
in no matter what
storm, sensing
you are at home wherever
you are. You asserting yourself
getting the rich varied life
you desire; and
the more you assert yourself,
the more you love going
deeper, thicker, fuller.
Resurrection after resurrection:
that’s your gift, your promise.
The insatiable delight of constant change.

there is a web that connects all things

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