Saturday, October 04, 2014

E piangevo

This post has links to my current reading, to things I have stumbled across on the web by chance and things I encountered while searching for something different.  It involves some of my deepest pains and passions.  It is about yesterday, today, and always.

Rembrandt's Prodigal Son
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
This photo was just taken in my hallway 
where a print I bought at the Hermitage hangs.

I want to begin with the most striking take on the familiar parable of the prodigal son that I have ever encountered.  The story comes from commentary on a current crisis in a seminary, but that is not part of my story today.

[The commenter] was once doing a bible study on the Prodigal Son, asking each member to share with whom they identified -- the older son, the younger son, or the father, and why.  One person had not shared, so [I] invited her to speak. "No," she said, "what I have to say is stupid."  [I] assured her that it was not, and her reflections were as valid as anyone else.  "I identify with the Fatted Calf," she said.  "Think about it:  the Fatted Calf is the only one in the story that didn't do anything.  The younger son ran off, the older son was resentful, the father gets to be the good guy.  The fatted calf was happily eating his slop one day, next thing you know, he's dead.  He suffers because of the decisions others have made."  
 It seems that most humans throughout history are in the situation of the fatted calf, suffering poverty or war or oppression because of the decisions of others.  I just finished reading the opening argument between Agamemnon and Achilles in the Iliad. Each of them gets his fee-fees hurt, as we now say of big bad persons whose delicate feelings are disturbed and then proceed to make a huge stink about it. For that the Trojan War is prolonged and many die horrible deaths.  For that matter, the entire story of the Trojan War traces back to bruised feelings.  Eris is not invited to a feast, a golden apple sets  up rivalry, and then all hell breaks loose.

But Achilleus weeping went and sat in sorrow apart from his companions beside the beach of the gray sea looking out on the infinite water. (Iliad I.348-350, tr. Richmond Lattimore)
He had been publicly humiliated, though he gave as good as he got when it comes to insults.  So more death ensues, including death of comrades.

Whenever we read of mighty deeds by glorious heroes there is usually an ineluctable consequence: death.  Who pauses to think of the "common" person, the innocent victim, the collateral damage?  Do U.S. drones protect us in any lasting sense or merely sow the seeds of future terrorism, a harvest that must one day be reaped?  For any talk of surgical strikes we know there is no such precision.  People die for the decisions of others, by instruments guided from the other side of the world.  And the decisions of others, throughout human history, are not always rational but rather driven by our deep passions and dark anxieties.

"The First Funeral" in the Petit Palais, Paris.  I took this photo in 2012.  Adam and Eve first taste death in the loss of their son Abel, victim of his brother's envy.

Almost a century ago the world witnessed, though some of it still denies, the Armenian genocide.  I grew up among survivors and their descendants.

Genocide in Darfur, South Sudan.

The Holocaust under Hitler.  And I lived among survivors and descendants of this genocide.

The Killing Fields of Cambodia under Pol Pot.  I also worshiped and ministered among survivors of this genocide and their descendants.

Kosovo, 1999.

The muddy fields of Passchendaele, WWI.

Rwanda, the genocide we all ignored.

Perhaps it is easier to step back from the mass horrors, they are so overwhelming.  Yet even one human lost because of the passions of others remains tragic.  I posted a while back about how this sculpture touched me as I was becoming sexually aware but continues to move me deeply as it captures the dying moments of a warrior far from home. And what of the wounded warriors who return but cannot leave the battle behind them?  Ever.

The Dying Gaul, Palazzo Nuovo, Campidoglio, Rome

But if we move to the particular we find ourselves facing the individual, the personal, the familiar: people we know or have known.  These are the loved ones, the relatives and friends, the friends of friends, the neighbors, the men and women we see in our communities or transiting through airports. We know some of their stories.  Or, more likely, we will never know because they are unable to tell them. What has been called shell shock or battle fatigue is now named post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

What deadly sacrifices do we insist on making, generation after generation?

I had to scroll back quite a bit to see where I posted this on Facebook:
Think / Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices / Are fatherred by our heroism. Virtues / Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
--T. S. Eliot, Gerontion (1920)
In spite of all I am writing here, I do believe in a true heroism.  This is seen in sacrificial action in the face of, not the denial of, fear.  I believe most heroes are those who do the kind and generous and true and noble thing in everyday life, even when it costs them in time, effort, anguish, pain, and doubt.  Especially in moments where there are no easy answers.

But then there are the dark demons that tell us we are doing something noble, important, and worthwhile.  And we sacrifice to those demons.  Not only ourselves but we sacrifice others.

Rembrandt again: The Sacrifice of Isaac

To all the sons not rescued by a ram,
To father’s gods and demons sacrificed,
Whose bonds were never mercifully sliced
And thus became themselves the offered lamb:
This mount was surely never sacred ground;
Just one more evil spot upon the earth
Where death could reign instead of joyous birth
And witnesses were deaf to victim’s sound.
The Lord did not provide.  You bore the flame
Of your own holocaust and hauled the wood.
You both assembled stones and then you stood
And wondered what would happen.  Then it came:
The moment when all filial trust was broken
And you, yourself, became the demon’s token.

Paul E. Strid
20 March 2014
Not all the stories have a happy ending.  I have no problem saying I do not believe in any deity that would make the demand narrated in Genesis 22.  It is too horrible a story, though it is also far too true in human history.  I believe in a God who never needs, and never required, to have honor satisfied or arbitrary justice fulfilled, to demand sacrifice to be placated, or to see the blood of Jesus to make everything all right. That God in Christ bled and died to satisfy our blood lust: that I grasp all too well.  I was raised on the most awful atonement theology and a sadistic streak runs through it, speaking of our own need for something terrible.  It has troubled me all my life and I gradually came to reject it and I totally renounce it.

And so we join Rachel, weeping for her children. She is another Eve from The First Funeral, only now her children are more numerous and senseless slaughter has multiplied.  She is the Sorrowful Mother.

I do not know the ultimate source of the words that follow.  I came across them on tumblr.

e piangevo, perchè sapevo che l’avrei sempre avuta dentro, quella tristezza che mi fa sentire vuota, che non si può speigare

[and I wept, because I knew I would always have within me this sadness that makes me feel empty, that I cannot explain]

This is a crucifix attributed to Michelangelo in the Basilica of the Holy Spirit, Florence.  It is the bookmark I am using as I read the Iliad.  It keeps me mindful of the cost of our passions.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. --Hebrews 13.8
Just as suffering and slaughter as a result of the decisions of others is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

--the BB

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Torpore e rimpianto

The shade of Tiresias, consulted by Ulysses in the underworld

In English 101 we read T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.  It seems an incredibly undisciplined poem, roaming all over the place as though Eliot could not rein in his love of words and how they sound, heaped upon each other, with allusions going in all directions.  It is a veritable tour through mythology and imagery.  Vegetation deities and the Paschal mystery, the two already hardly unacquainted, and the history of European literature all seem to bounce about.  Well, as a lover of words and images and mythology I could only fall in love with it.

As Barbara Kaiser and I walked toward our English class with Dr. Barnes on the day this poem was to be discussed, we had a chat.  I do not recall who initiated it but I do remember we always called each other Miss Kaiser and Mr. Strid, mimicking in reverse the way all professors at the school were addressed with no "Doctor" thrown in. Whichever of us began, it ran something like this:
Well, Miss Kaiser, what did you think of The Waste Land?
I hated it, Mr. Strid.
Really?  Why?
I couldn't understand a word of it.  Could you?
No, but I loved it.
How can you love it if it makes no sense to you?
It doesn't have to.  I just loved the words and the way they sound.

This may be a poor approximation of the words, but I assure you it was the content.  I have read and reread the poem many times, savoring Eliot's notes.  I loved that it incorporated fragments of so many other works (and in several languages).  My polyglot mind must have danced.  A couple classmates and I even recorded our own dramatic reading (reel-to-reel tape, children).  Many years later I ran across Jessie Weston's From Romance to Ritual, which inspired the work, and read that plus rereading Eliot, with a deck of Tarot cards at hand as well.  I have read it dozens of times, I suppose, and also came to love The Four Quartets by Eliot.  But they were the subject of a series of musings on this blog some time back.

Some segments of The Waste Land delighted me with their wit and invention.  Some amused me highly.  The poet knows how to do the most literate snark.  Some passages invite prolonged reflection.  Occasionally I am overwhelmed by the imagery, just as one can be overwhelmed by the perfumes in section two on "A Game of Chess."  Some phrases stir up some deep shit bred of memory and desire.  And then there are scenes that touch some barely perceptible chord deep within, evoking a stirring, perhaps a touch of disquiet or tender sympathy.  I believe disquiet and sympathy lie behind this post.

Here is the scene that triggers my musings:

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits

Like a taxi throbbing waiting,

I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,

Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see

At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,

The typist home at tea-time, clears her breakfast, lights

Her stove, and lays out food in tins.

Out of the window perilously spread

Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)

Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs

Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—

I too awaited the expected guest.
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,

A small house-agent’s clerk, with one bold stare,

One of the low on whom assurance sits

As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.

The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,

Endeavours to engage her in caresses

Which still are unreproved, if undesired.

Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;

Exploring hands encounter no defence;
His vanity requires no response,

And makes a welcome of indifference.

(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all

Enacted on this same divan or bed;

I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)

Bestows one final patronizing kiss,

And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit…

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,

Hardly aware of her departed lover;
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:

“Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over.”

When lovely woman stoops to folly and

Paces about her room again, alone,

She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone.
 It is a tawdry vignette of two people doing what lost and lonely people do.  When I read it as a freshman I was, no doubt, initially tittered, then troubled, amused, and saddened.  I find it disturbing, far more now than back when I was a frustrated virgin.  Before I add my personal reactions I want to
add what Eliot says in his notes to the poem:

Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a “character,” is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem. 

Tiresias, the blind seer, is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses as having struck two coupling snakes and been turned into a woman for seven years.  When he sees coupling snakes again he strikes them and is turned back into a man.  As one who has "seen both sides" he was called upon to settle a dispute between Jupiter and Juno over which sex gets the most pleasure out of lovemaking.  That is background; you can read his verdict and its consequences on your own.

As a gay man I can experience the delights of both pitching and catching, so there is a certain identification with Tiresias, though I have never wanted to be anything but a male.  Role confusion I may have known in a society of rigid expectations but never gender confusion.  Still, I can identify with both the man and the woman in the scene cited above.  Like any male I am patterned by biological evolution and societal encouragement to take advantage of opportunity where it presents itself.  When I was young and pimply I could barely recognize opportunity when it came knocking and I was too terrified to take advantage of it (I believe there was one chance in high school that haunts me still) or, well, too icked out at the thought of doing anything beyond a hug with a female.

The woman here, however, captures a theme I have already raised in this extended biographical pondering.  I have lived a life with weak, often non-existent, boundaries.  I would give without even being asked.  What I gave was my own selfhood.  In order to survive I have always kept a core locked away and inviolable and if any reader has ever had trouble connecting with me, now you know why.  Like the typist, I have endlessly been in situations where others and their ideas, intentions, and actions have been, by me, unreproved even when undesired.  I have gone along, said "yes," felt used and resentful, violated, and almost never uttered a word of resistance or reproach.  the most profound alienation existed between that with which I went along and what I felt inside.

Gradually, and very late in the game, I am getting better at (1) being myself, (2) standing up for myself, (3) speaking my truth, and (4) clarifying and defending my boundaries.  This latter is quite different from the defenses of the past, the great walls and moats, deep dungeons bound with adamant and steel.  Those preserved the endangered sparks of my threatened self, threatened because I had not learned to be strong in who I am.  True, I have the stubbornness of a Taurus, and can dig in my heels when I feel manipulated but mostly I just practiced passive aggression.  I could not be clear and communicate honestly; I simply refused to give others what they wanted.  The mere fact that these current writings are posted publicly, where friends, family, and strangers may read, is an indication that the deep dungeon door, so long defended, has inched open.

Today I feel no need to rage about this.  Well, not at the moment anyway. I have lots of grieving to do and anger still to process.  But mostly it is sadness.  I reread this passage from Eliot last night and tonight I want to weep because for me it captures so much waste, so much unhealthy relatedness, so many lost opportunities, so many moments of regret and the ensuing numbness to avoid facing what has happened. Hence the title of this post: numbness and regret.

Memory and desire.  Numbness and regret.  Living our lives as lies.  Torpore e rimpianto.

If only to get this far, I think this literary revisitation is proving profitable.

My shrink is on retreat.  When he returns we are going to have a lot to talk about.

--the BB

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Il paese dei sogni

The old neighborhood

The last post commented as follows:
When I left California at age 60 it was to begin again and find myself, having lost myself in so many directions. 
This may have been one of the greatest understatements, and greatest truths, of my life.

Very early on I began to give myself away to please others.  My overactive mind and sensitive intuition were always at work trying to find ways to please, to entertain, to make others happy.  I was great at nurturing others when the chance arose.  I have the Safford gift of gab from Mom's side of the family (and the Safford tendency to embroider a story because plain facts are less entertaining).  I hasten to add this latter trait is not any conscious attempt to lie, it is just how you tell stories.  What I did not develop was a healthy way to defend my inner self: to honor my sacred flame and keep pure my deep well.  What I thought, what I needed, and what I felt were repeatedly shoved aside. In my early forties I was stunned to realize, though rarely live out, that it is all right to say "No."  All my life was lived at least trying to say "yes" and the toll has been immense.

If you have known me for a long time it may be hard to read that I tried ideas like trying out clothes in a clothing store, uttering them out loud to see how they fit. But there was no guarantee what you heard is what I really thought or felt.  That was deep within.  It is only in my sixties that I came out as a genuine introvert.  My exterior has been mostly performance. Even I have trouble to this day knowing what I really FEEL about things, knowing what I truly WANT or NEED.

Part of the reason this seems so incongruous is that many emotions that most folks feel reluctant to share I will express and share easily.  I have no problem going on a rant or crying in public. But the deeper stuff has been locked down so deep inside that when I slow down and talk about what truly matters to me it is extremely difficult to say what I am feeling.  Moments when it breaks through come as times of immense grace and I know when they hit.  I am so grateful for those friends with whom I feel safe enough to experience this and am blessed that this includes coworkers who have been there for me in the recent years of my journey.

I recently posted the satellite photo shown above on Facebook and talked about how over the decades I have had dreams set in the neighborhood where I lived as a boy, or in settings highly evocative of that landscape.  It does not happen often, just once in a while, but the geography is quite specific, even as it is also fluid and unreal in the way that dreamscapes can be.  That post led to comments from family members sharing their memories, especially of the house.  My maternal grandparents bought the house (they were the second owners).  It was built around 1910 and had the characteristic front porch with pillars of homes from that era.  There were pillars partially separating the living room and dining room too, though Dad removed those to open up the space.  And the old floor heater we would stand over (briefly) to warm up and over which Mom would put a drying rack for clothes in the winter.  Blue jeans with stretchers in them so they dried as though ironed. Sweet.

Although the house has figured in dreams, I am intrigued more by the neighborhood.  As a boy my world was, as cousin  Sharon pointed out, the territory I could walk within 1-2 miles from home.  I also rode my bike like a fiend but in dreams it is almost always on foot, rarely driving.  The streets are as they were when I was in elementary school and the walk from home to there figures in dreams.  I have acute memories of sensory details.  The darts we made from weeds.  Dirt areas where concrete sidewalks were lacking.  Mature trees, modest middle-class homes.  Quiet.  Lots of quiet.  It was not a noisy neighborhood.  Noise came from the traffic on Fresno Street and Belmont Avenue (and the Rambelaine Kennels where bulldogs were raised until those closed).  But how noisy was traffic in Fresno, California, in the 1950s?

The details that stand out are my perceptions when I was by myself.  See: introvert.  When I was (and am today) walking alone, I take in the world around me and I am not giving myself away to others.  I feel safe and happy.  And that is why I remember the physical campus of my undergraduate college far more than I remember my classmates.  And why I bond with trees.

Yes, I go way beyond tree huggers.  I have always felt a closeness to trees as though they are my guardian spirits.  Part of me has always been an animist.  To me the entire cosmos is alive.  The consciousness of a rock may be a very slow consciousness but I do not believe anything God has created is without life.  So if you are shocked to learn I have always been part pagan, well, there you have it.

When the sycamores that defined our street were cut down by the city and replaced with holm oaks and non-bearing plum trees, I was devastated.  Those "new" trees are now mature but in my dreams it is the old sycamores (plane trees) that remain.  I have one in front of my current home in Albuquerque and they are also found by the office where I first worked in ABQ. In autumn of 2005 the sycamore leaves were falling to the ground and the wind made them scuttle across the sidewalk.  It was a distinctive sound that instantly carried me back half a century!  Their unique smell also took me back.

Growing up and spending summers in the Sequoia National Forest, I developed a deep love for the yellow pine belt, its trees and flowers, wildlife, and geologic formations. Walking alone in the woods was my private, VERY introverted time.  I saw parables and symbolism in the natural environment.  And once again, the trees were my friends.  It is interesting that I work for Smokey now, at least part-time now that I am semi-retired, helping Forest Service personnel, including firefighters, travel for work.  For all the time spent even working on staff during the summers, it is the hills and trees, streams, and wildflowers that I remember and think about.  Not the people.

It is not that I hate people, except in rare moments of misanthropy, lol. But for someone who was driven to please others, people are an invitation and demand to give, perform, and not be self-directed, self-contained, and self-aware.  In a word, draining.  And I do not blame others for the fact that I distorted myself to give them what I thought they wanted or needed, just saying that is how I responded.

Back to trees.  When Bill and I separated in 2002 I found a condo unit on a second story that looked out at lovely mature alder trees.  I had met alders on the campus of UCLA when I was doing graduate study in history.  These were beautiful trees that greeted me each morning as I left and each evening as I came home.  It was a bit like living in a tree house!  I would reach out and touch them, sometimes pausing to pray with them.  They were anchors in a difficult transition.  And within a year the HOA had them cut down because nearby pine trees had become diseased and these might also.  The joy of living there was lost. The landscape of my life felt barren and exposed.

I never felt pressure from trees.  Well, we all know people who like their pets better than humans, right?  I hope y'all are not too offended if I often prefer trees.  It is not as drastic as it sounds, especially since it is getting easier for me to be myself and guard that selfhood, so I no longer require the immense defenses of my past.  I have, to tell the truth, been like a fortified city, with thick triple walls and moats, alligators and dragons and all.  I have been opening gates.

If you have followed the past year and a half on Facebook you now have some more context for what opening myself without giving myself away has been like, why 2013 was exhilarating and unsettling, why I know in 2014 how much work I have still to do, and why I look forward to 2015 and beyond.  You also know why I needed an immense and drastic break in the pattern when I left my native state in 2006 and never looked back.

The territory in which I feel safe to be myself is expanding all the time.  It is not easy to dismantle a lifetime of defenses. But I am finally emerging from the trees.  They will always be my friends but there is a larger world in which I can now be authentic and maintain my own integrity.  I may even figure out what I want, but that won't happen overnight.

--the BB

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inizia il viaggio

Eastern gate of Troy VI

Hello, friends!  Remember me?

Perhaps not, it has been so long and so infrequent. But here I am.  Most of my musings and sharings have been on Facebook for quite a while now.  But that environment is not conducive to longer reflection so I think my current phase requires blogging once again.  I will link to FB so new and old friends can visit here if they wish.

The header reads: The trip begins.  I am intentionally beginning an inner voyage, though it has truly been going on for some time.  I suppose one might say "all my life."

Now and again confluences of events, images, encounters, memories, and dreams slap us to attention and we say, "Oh, my.  So that is what is going on."  Those who have encountered me in person or followed me on Facebook know that 2013 was a year of some rather significant transitions, even if you had to read between the lines of my often cryptic posts.  Some new persons and events entered my life and I went through both breakthroughs and breaking open on the one hand and losses and huge shifts on the other.  It was an emotional roller coaster, though I always knew it was for the good and I was going to be fine.  Pity there was no way I could totally reassure my friends of this confidence, but that is all right.  I knew and that was what counted.

2014 has continued the themes of letting go and shifting.  It is a quieter year and I am blessed with an excellent therapist who does not allow me to dazzle him with bullshit or evade but who also is there for me and invites me into deeper and deeper authenticity.  If 2013 set the ball rolling, and finally set in motion some things that had been shifting for years, then 2014 is a year of looking at these changes and consolidating the initial progress while moving forward. It is a year of slowing down (2013 was pretty damned manic, as all will attest).  I suspect this fall and winter and 2015 may be slower still.

I have been listening to lots of CDs from The Teaching Company.  I have listened to three different series on Shakespeare alone in the last several months and watched DVDs of a number of plays.  Five versions of Hamlet alone, viewed within two weeks!  The most recent series, finished yesterday evening, was on Dante's Commedia.  I read the Commedia back in my twenties.  It seemed hard slogging, frankly, but I forged through.  I really cannot recall what I thought of it.  I know I look forward to revisiting it, having lived a few more decades and with so much more personal and intellectual background for appreciating it.  The point of the work is not intellectual, however, though it possesses incredible intellectual depth and artistry, but to experience and be transformed by the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.

The first of Dante's three guides is Publius Vergilius Maro, author of The Aeneid, The Eclogues, and The Georgics.  Thanks to Betty Wiley, my Latin teacher at Fresno High school, I got to read Books I, II, IV, and VI of the Aeneid in the original Latin while still a teenager.  Some years later I plowed through all twelve books of it in English, and though I do not recall exactly when I did this, I was still young.

On the verge of rereading Dante, I felt I might like to reread Vergil first.  Dante uses Vergil as a source, so it seems reasonable. And then I felt the urge to revisit something of a journey through a lot of pre-modern Western literature, a journey I took from high school through graduate school. What might I discover with an elder's eyes? What might it tell me about my life journey and why these texts resonate so strongly for me?

It did not take long on Amazon for me to then think, oh hell!  Why not?  So I am going to start by rereading the Iliad (which I read not that many years ago) and the Odyssey (which I have not touched since my early twenties).  Then the Aeneid, and then the Commedia, holding out for options to hit other works along the way.  There are works I have never read, such as Boccaccio's Decameron, and works of which I have only read a portion, such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Across the decades I have reread some of the Greek tragedies, all of which I read in one summer, either 1979 or 1980.  I have also seen live productions and movies of quite a few. And there is Shakespeare, of course.  I will probably leave exploration of these dramas to continuing exploration rather than part of this self-set course.  I would like to revisit the classic French theatre of Corneille, Racine, and Molière.

That is the literary side.  But the point is really to reweave my life.  To do that musing, that healing and integrative work, is normal and needed in the third third of one's life.  What about those dreams I have had across the decades and in which minute details of the physical environment of my boyhood survive?  Why is that geography so firmly implanted in my subconscious and why does that matter?  What does it mean to me now?  What might it mean?

I had hoped in retirement (or semi-retirement) to return to writing the Chronicles of Mídhris.  I still do, but I suspect that I need to feed myself before I share and to do inner work before I resume the tales.  They are, after all, stories that arise from my personal depth, nurtured on the mythologies on which I fed as a boy and youth and enriched by my experience of life. They are tales of hope and loss, of sorrow and joy, of struggle and wonder and questioning.  And journey tales.  Omigod, are they ever journey tales.  Stories of individuals, groups (migrations even), and a few families whose tales span centuries.

When I left California at age 60 it was to begin again and find myself, having lost myself in so many directions.  I lived like a hermit for no less than two years and gradually emerged.  I needed that.  I will not be so shut out now, but I do plan to go within, slow down, dig deeper.  If I record my musings here you, my friends and visitors, will be invited into my journey.  It is not taken alone.  We all must sail forth and none of us knows our destination, except to be taken up into the uncreated Light, that Love that moves the sun and other stars.

--the BB