here and now

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I suppose the wind still blows
at ease across the sleeping face
of the village I fled all those years
ago, and some young man comes
down to the sea and murmurs a word,
his name, or God's, or a child's,
or maybe just the sea's. Let him
be wiser than I, let him fight back
the tears and taste only the sea's salt,
let him take what he can -
the trembling of his hands,
the silence before him, the slow
awakening of his eyes, the windows
of the town opening on first light,
the children starting suddenly
from their twisted sheets with a cry
of neither victory or defeat,
only the surprise of having come back,
to what no one promised, here and now.


-Philip Levine, excerpt from Here and Now


It's only fitting that I celebrate the start of April, and poetry month, with a poem by Philip Levine. The news of his death, over a month ago, really filled me with unexpected sorrow. His poetry have always touched me so deeply, and I plan to share some of them here, in his honor.

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Photos were taken in Point Reyes National Seashore, October 2013. I found them again today and was reminded why I love the solitary headlands so much.

Happy April, my friends!

the coming of light

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On Christmas Eve we traveled all the way to the northern coast of Mendocino County, it rained so hard and we were driving along windy roads through a redwood forest, the only way through. We were an odd and mismatched group, away from home, displaced in one way or another. Someone turned on the radio and Bing Crosby's White Christmas started to play, and I felt like I always do every time I'm about to visit somewhere far and new, excited and alive, ready to take on anything that will come my way.

In so many ways, 2014 has been one of the most exquisite and the most difficult moments of my life. I've had this ongoing inner ear problems that really flared up in late October, making me unable to go to work, or do much of anything really, my world literally off-balance and all I could do was take care of myself and go to through different tests and medical appointments.

When I'd wake up and start to feel dizzy again, or when I'm walking down the street and I'd lose my balance, I kept telling myself, one step at a time, just one step, and you will get there. And now, I know I've weathered through the roughest part of that storm, I keep going back these words by Rilke: “This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.”

And so it was, on Christmas Day, the winter sun was shining so bright, we walked amongst the ancient redwood trees and marveled at all that wildness and beauty. I would never have thought that was possible just a few weeks before, me standing on the edge of a coastal cliff, my feet sure and steady on the ground, my world starting to feel right again.

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Here is a poem that I picked for the New Year. I wish you love and light, and small moments that make you feel alive and true. May you dream well, and be patient with yourself.

The Coming of Light
by Mark Strand

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.



All my love,
Odessa