Napa Valley Taize

Rebecca Solnit has been a long time favorite author of mine, ever since she published a quirky atlas of the principal landmarks and treasures of San Francisco; a portrait of many of the secret or lost and forgotten sections of the City.  She states that "places are leaky containers," and from this vantage she explodes the "otherness" we erroneously call familiar until new realities are often created outside of our will.   Her themes of loss and creative chaos seems to thread through most of her books.

I picked up a recently published book Hope in the Dark,  on my way to Bodega  Bay for the weekend, and finished it before we came back home.  I would recommend this book for anyone, actually everyone who is figuring how to make sense of their lives, communities, and world.

She says "change is rarely straightforward".  Much like the leaky container of our spaces and places, our realities are subject to sudden chaos.  She goes on to say "it's as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution":...and here's where I jumped out of my sun chair..."even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past, or from long dormant seeds."  This last premise is the shining beauty of the book...she give examples of the surprising and serendipitous events that suddenly occur, on the face of it, without planning...and yet, and yet.....she shows us where and when the seeds of those particular eruptions were planted.  How they grew, and how they exploded in the lives and communities with enormous change in the better, or not.  Conversely "the earth grows over it" or it is plowed under, and the waiting begins again, through the darkness, until the light dawns one more time.  Flowers grow in the dark, and then the bud appears.

My note below is a response to my friends' email that her husband of 53 is dying of Lewy Body disease, a deeper form of Parkinson's that affects not only his body, but also causes dementia as his brain deteriorates.

Dear Cat,

We're just back on the grid this morning, out of power since Monday night so I've just received your news.

It's been raging here....crazy in the darkness.  Yesterday, my spiritual direction groups were held by candlelight....I wish I had taken a picture, under other circumstances it would have been gorgeous.

Buckets from the pond to flush toilets, drinking water from a friends' hose.  Creek coming over the wall, a beautiful mini-waterfall off the back wall into the deck area which has created a lake under the pergola.  We've hacked culverts to drain, diverted the newly sprung waterways in  the driveway.  Our dogwood was naturally trimmed this morning by a tree size redwood branch.  Shall I go on.  No need to, you get the picture I'm sure.

Beautiful chaos, and a test to one's resolve to be at peace in the mist.  And the water.  This whole mountain is flowing.  I mean carrying us away into a coming Spring that will be glorious.  The metaphors are ample.

I know the metaphor may not be appropriate for you and Mike.  Your chaos is way more extreme, as there will be a final final for you.  I'm so sorrowful for the loss of the way you thought you'd share your lives for a longer time.  You and Mike have shared such an intimacy and magic with each other, perhaps what you know and have already practiced will help you find a way to maintain contact as he slowly leaves his body.  The gift of living through deaths and near deaths, lies in the experience of having done the thing that helps us know we can do it again.  And sometimes the details are not so tedious because there is a sort of mnemonic in our bodes that responds with actions.  You have done this with your father, sister, mother.  You'll know what to have already begun. You've helped him devise a list of beloved activities, and you'll all accompany him with the loving care and support you know how to give.  It's the loving universe caring though you for you and your fam.  Softness. Love.  Beauty and chaos in those moments of interaction.

I pray an otherworldy peace be yours during all of this.  I'll hold on to you both.  Know that you will be surrounded by the love of community, including angels, cosmic beings, and the Creator of it all.

So much love, Ruthanne

Come.  join us for our Lenten Taize where we intentionally pray for our interior seeds as they germinate, and give our thanks for the emerging flowers that have begun to respond to the dawn's light.