flashes

flashes of pixel and chrome

The rivulets widened to small streams from slipstreams, then converged into rivers, and the leaders all washed away from one another on a tide of nationalist foam. votes cast for nuclear disarmament gone up in brilliant flashes of pixel and chrome. maybe subconsciously the world wanted to blow itself away. if it was unconscious, did that make it okay? the thought was alarming, so we encased it in plastic and sent it to sea. it looked good in navy. uncompromised. salt water couldn’t seem to break it down. permanent as a nike swoosh to the face. on a forehead. on a lace. demonstrably positioned yet so poorly placed.

belly

belly full of life

dear magpie. you told me of the seals and why they come up river all the many miles to Sacramento from the San Francisco Bay sometimes, to feed on spawning salmon in the autumn. i ask you: the spawning fish are dying, are they not? coming up river and back home to die where they were born?

yes, you said.
then why? dear magpie, why not let the salmon swim home and die in peace?

the seals, they are not interested in the carcass of a dying fish. what they do as they swim upstream, diving underwater for several meters at a time, dark and slick, wet coats shining in the sunlight; what they do is find the belly full of life, and sink the teeth in there.

midtown patterns by k

journal

Journal # 12.23.16

I met a friend for coffee this morning, I was not on much sleep, my days have been busy with writing,  work, finding gifts, reading, planning, talking, dreaming, walking. We caught up on our lives and he invited me back to his place to look at some original artwork of his, colorful and imaginative paintings, oils on canvas dating back fifteen years or more. He let me pick out seven of them, and the rest he says he is going to destroy. I gathered they served their purpose. I know better than to try and talk another creative soul out of destruction. I thanked him profusely as he rolled up the canvases and placed them in my arms. When I got home, I tacked every one to the white walls of my apartment, many of which needed some meaning. The counters and floors are now cluttered with holiday gifts which need be wrapped. The air smells of Sumatra I have been roasting for my brother and sister. Why would I call her a sister-in-law, when I can simply call her my sister?

sunset at Walmart
A storm is coming and the rain here will turn to snow in the Sierras, and I will be following its tail to Lake Tahoe, with all of these gifts for my nieces and nephew. Star Wars watches and piggy banks, Hard Candy makeup and alphabet stickers and bling, jump ropes and soccer balls, silly Xmas tee shirts. I really had fun shopping for the kids. Tomorrow I will remember how to wrap a gift properly. Today I will get on my bike, in the rain, and ride up north on the river. I am making a couple hours a day for my novel. I take my chances for naps, and find myself waking from strange dreams to my cats and the sound of the heater. The cats they curl up on the bed, and listen to me recount the stories of my dreams. Or else I stretch and I sing to them. I will kiss them and get out of bed. I cherish the lives alongside my own.

running

the weather broke @ a record fifteen miles -iii

The sunlight was cheering me up and the kind exchanges I had with passerbys along the way. I was softening at a point in the run where I figured I woulda been going into ‘warrior’ mode. I passed a woman who looked awfully sad and wished I coulda cheered her up. A young man cruised past me on the uphill, doing sprints. There was a lady getting coached on the Guy West bridge, and I thought about my boyfriend who was gonna follow me on his bike today but had to cancel. I think it’s just as well – I like to run alone.

I always see many homeless encampments and the homeless folks either are keeping to themselves or, in my experience, are just as kind as anyone if you give them a shout and a smile. There are pits and labs off leash sometimes by the river, but I found so long as I don’t scare easy and just keep running toward them, everything will be okay. Only once (last week) did I change course because a dog was running toward me bellowing. He turned out to be more bark than bite.

The last four miles would prove to be the hardest, tracing the river west on the levee, but by this time I was just a slow train to sacramento and I was able to remove myself from the effort so that I honestly felt my body was its own charge and recharging system (paired with a couple more packs of gummies i stashed in my flipbelt), so all I had to do was envision finishing and get out of the way.

The idea of feeling pain crossed my mind but never really caught hold! Again, training in the heat had acclimated me to a higher threshold of pain. It gets so heavy some days when I finish these levee runs close to noon, I find myself dipping off the trail around sutter’s landing (2 miles from home) and splashing the cool clean waters over me to cool off. Today I still had cool breezes coming over me, which made all the difference in the world.

I made it home in 2 hours 45 minutes – exactly 11 minute miles x15 miles = 165 minutes. I made it! My boyfriend is really nice and he took me out for a large Peach Perfection at Jamba Juice to celebrate the victory.

running

the weather broke @ a record fifteen miles -ii

The first mile to the american river had me feeling strong and not as tight as previous days, I sure was psychologically prepared, and as I summited the levee to the railway the 7am amtrak leaving downtown sacramento chugged east, blocking my path. I fell into the rhythm of the train and got a good visualization for myself as I stood there waiting and running in place. Be like a train, be like a train. Several miles later it occured to me that birds are like mantra bodies because they often sing the same song over and over all their lives! This reminded me how useful my own mantras have become, and reassured me it’s not a needless to practice these repetitions: nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I had been singing it in the shower before sunrise.

Once I snuggled up next to the river, I picked up my pace a bit to the cool delta breeze carrying across the levee. The visor of my hat kept the red rising sun out of my eyes, as I ran due east for another mile before following the river bend south at paradise beach. It must have been 60F and I am acclimated to running later in the day, towards 75F, so my weekday training gave me an edge for the early morning long runs.

There is a boat launch with a water fountain at mile six, so I was able to stop and hydrate for a minute and take a pack of energy gums with electrolytes there. Quickly I got back on the trail, and I was feeling fantastic. My breathing has gotten easier and easier the more I run, which is what happens to long distance runners. Your body is amazing and learns to make the most of the oxygen. I always hit my inhaler before any run, because otherwise my asthma makes me wheeze, but two blasts is all I ever need before any run no matter the distance.

I discovered that mile 7 is about where I begin to loosen up and hit my stride. The trail took me under a couple of highways and now the sun had climbed and lotsa people were out walking their dogs and cycling and running, too. Some of the early morning fishermen had packed in their river waders and were heading home, climbing the levee right before my eyes. The american river is full of salmon and snowmelt off the Sierras. I did my U-turn and headed back on a slight incline then stopped again at the same water fountain at mile 9, as it was the only water I would get on my run…

running

the weather broke @ a record fifteen miles -i

Before you let yourself start believing change cannot be kind, remember how summer breaks into fall and the most welcome change of all. I confess I hit the café for the pumpkin latté this morning to celebrate. The sweetness of the drink did of course mask her flavour, so I did what any good lover of coffee might well do and went home to top her off with a fresh pot. Since then I have been shining commensurate with the rising sun. Reading all the headlines may we not be pinioned by tragedy, no, may we only resonate with the triumphs in the world. Wanna try?

Yesterday I ran a new personal best in distance, down the river and back, more than 15 miles. I run a slow pace, slow and steady and I don’t care, eleven minute miles. The idea is to run and enjoy running long distances (my mom is funny, she’s calling me forrest gump). I tallied 41 miles across a five day stretch last week: 6-9-6-5-15. Each day more painful than the next, but I prayed to god saturday night I would wake up feeling ready and able to do the morning long run… and sure enough when I got up @ 3am sunday i felt okay and took it slow, ate a bowl of noodles and drank a thermos of black london tea no.1, did some light stretching to the gems of piano sonatas strung out by the gentleman on public radio, wrote a little, read a Russian fairytale, laced up my gray wolf Nike Pegasus runners, took a B complex vitamin and a caffeine pill, drank some organic juices and water, buttered my skin with Banana Boat, charted my course on g.maps, shook it out and hit the trail at marathon standard time, 7am…

the river. with family

The river came to us and met us at her banks, midday and summer hot, we had only to approach her like disciples with our faith in her and find our place (which seemed designed for us, divined for us) where she came flush with the land, a mossy patch of soil leveling there with the freshwaters. we laid a thin blanket down and had submarines for lunch with cuts of avocado and alfalfa and cream cheese on bread. we used the sub wrappings as plates and we talked. there was my older brother, m&m (my niece), Skipper the dog, and me. they were on their way to Tahoe from the Bay, and thought of me and stopped by for lunch. i decided on the river cause i had not seen my niece in so long, and i wanted us to have a peaceful place to reconnect. besides a few river rats around us (i mean locals who were mostly friendly albeit boisterous), we were all enfolded there into the pastoral scene as if we had been painted in by a master, in oils and acrylics on canvas. nothing here could or would speak to the frenetic city behind us or the insane politics of the world. we had shade from the heat and a chance to show one another the kindnesses of a decade ago. i cannot believe i lost her for so long, the greater part of which I can attribute to life’s path, problems and poor choices i made. while they were trying to raise a family in the twenty-first century, i was literally falling and climbing and slipping and reinventing myself and trying to manage in a world which i didn’t think really wanted me. i seemed to have marginalized myself, but it wasn’t all my fault. it was just my life. and nobody was really blaming anyone, but the river between us could not be forded back then.

now we found ourselves on the same banks, reunited, and i had my lucky break after several years of remedying the mischief of my life and lifestyle, involved in many decent and useful causes these days, full of purpose these days. i got the chance to speak my truth, and m&m got hers, and i had a wonderful listen while my brother her father sat between us and the dog at our feet, panting in the heat. my brother and sister (in-law) have done a fine job parenting as anyone could do. i am grateful to them, not having made that commitment myself. anyway i can be a part of the family, is good enough for me, anyway i can help. today it means not being demanding or complaining or selfish, just staying open to any opportunity may come along, for i love them and that’s all i know. i was not so attentive to my family in my twenties or even in my thirties, so overwhelmed was i by my own life. and unhappy or depressed some of the time. vices and habits and poor choices in company. you know the story. i may be at fault for many things, but not for becoming who i am today.

so here we are, the past behind us, making what we can of our moment together. i didn’t seem to think we had much in common anymore, me and my family. but i learned in truth, by my experience (such is truth) that when you have blood in common, that alone is the mark which oughta draw you together; blood alone oughta bring out the best in us. to be there for family no matter how incongruent your aims, how varied your pursuits, how rocky the terrain of your individual temperaments. you show yourself (when welcome) and give of yourself as only you can. i may not be any great success of any kind, yet i have survived a sometimes cold and callous world, city life, and the effects of an often misguided sense of my place in it all. so i am blessed to reach out and be received. we had a nice lunch. we had a nice talk. we saw a sea creature surfacing every half minute for air, as it plodded upriver. it was unusual and mysterious. My brother and niece were both worried that it needed salt water to survive. Skipper the dog met a friend. the river rats began splashing about just down from us. the sun reached the top of the sky and looked down. it could not quite find us. we packed up to go. i believe this is as good a new beginning as any. my niece she seemed unsure at first, and i was a bit anxious, but walking back to the car beside her i felt the good feeling with them, knowing we are blood, we have good history, and there’s hope – the sun has found us now – and nothing means more to me than this.

not a color exactly. a hue

not a color exactly. a hue

I found myself in a color, in a hue. We were driving away from it all. I gave him the keys to my car. He knew a place far down the river where we could get close to the water and sit in the shade. The river looked blue from above, and green when you came close. But it was neither of those. I had been in a room with friends, earlier, on a sunday morning. I drank decaf coffee and listened and began to smile. Not everyone had a story to share. I find great comfort in a spacious meeting hall, where you can say what you need to say and nobody will talk over you. Where you can say nothing and still be seen. Faraway, sitting on a riverbank, was the same. I lost myself in a color, in a hue. I wouldn’t call it green. I wouldn’t call it blue.