Cosmos III
9 x 13
Ink on Rice Paper

Every year, as we near mid-August, I wait for the sound of their passing; this morning, while the sky was still drowsy and damp with dew, I heard the long familiar call and response of Canadian geese flying overhead, leaving their summer homes and beginning the long southward journey. Their distinctive honk signifies the close of summer and the approach of autumn.

In just a few short weeks we will be mid-way through the solar year and nearly three-quarters through the calendar. I noticed Halloween decorations set out at the local dollar store yesterday. The craft store are already displaying Christmas merchandise. In their haste to capture our purchasing dollars, retailers are speeding up holiday celebrations faster than ever. Christmas in July may soon be a reality.

I have hardly become accustomed to acknowledging this is 2017, and, seemingly, in a few days I will be struggling to write 2018 on the rent check – in fact, the only actual check I now write as all other bills paid through online banking. Paying the monthly bills by check was a built-in time-keeper for me; I would notice months passage as the balance in my check book rose and fell like a tide.

Now it is rarely necessary to date anything.  When I start to type the date on a document, the computer completes it for me. When I need a calendar, Google supplies it. The ubiquitous At-A-Glance datebook  and organizers of the 90’s can now only be found on the dusty shelves of thrift stores, right beside pocket calculators, Walk Man’s and display cases of tarnished watches.

I myself no longer wear a watch to mark the passage of the hours. It is only when I have an appointment that time watching is necessary, in which case I refer to the cell phone I now use as a watch. Its call functions are required only for emergencies for there is no one I wish to talk to. I have no person to ask if I should stop for bread or milk, no one’s opinion I defer to, no one to alert if I am running late. Molly the Cat, waiting at the door and already aware of my arrival time due to her finely honed psychic abilities, will never complain that I didn’t call.

In this age of instant communication our ability to pause, to consider, to wait is becoming obsolete as is the virtue of patience. Instant gratification is no longer a serendipitous boon but an expected entitlement. It seems we are exchanging and sharing information in nanoseconds; we reach conclusions while barely formulating our questions. It feels as if the whole world has become electrified, as if the human race has been plugged into a cosmic current that just gets faster and faster. Time as we have known it is disappearing.

Have we lost the need to track time? Are we approaching that state of nirvana in which all time is the Present? In our headlong rush into tomorrow, does yesterday no longer exist? Are we in such a rush to get from point B to point C to point M, that all stops in between are merging into a time warping blur. Will we soon be feeling the wind of the cosmic train even before we embark?

Whereas I once noticed how quickly the months were passing, I now wonder where whole years have gone. Wasn’t it spring just a few weeks ago? Wasn’t it a few years past that I was a girl? And so I wonder – does time really pass, does time fly, does it heal? Do we really make time, take time, save time, spend time, keep time, waste time, kill time or lose time? Is time really a triumvirate comprised of past, present and future? Or has the flight of geese overhead finally shattered time’s illusions?


Spring in Motion

This morning shortly after rising I hear Canadian geese over head on a northward course back home. I go outside and feel a strong breeze from the southwest. It rattles the new baby leaves on the trees, shakes the pink and white blossom until they are dizzy, and buffets the birds up and down so that they first skim over the treetops, then spin earthward on the current.

Near the entrance to the park two men in orange vests carry slow/stop signs to control the flow of impatient cars. The giant arm of a steam shovel breaks the asphalt to reveal the broken sewer pipe beneath. A dark, squat, smoking barrel sits on the side of the road; the thick licorice smell of tar oozes down the sidewalk and across creek and over the pond.

An old blond cocker spaniel, partly blind and hard of hearing, lifts her head to sniff the wind. Her tail is too tired to wag although a spark of light flashes in her shadowed eyes. Does she perhaps remember other springs when the distant bird was clearly seen, the field an invitation to run, the sound of her master voice a call to action. Her limitations do not interfere with her enjoyment of this day and she rambles off behind her master.

Already the little creek lies low within its banks and fishermen are far and few between. The white crane seen last spring standing in the reeds along its banks will not be here again.The short rainy season has expired and another year of water rationing is certain.

Meanwhile, high plumes shoot upward from the pond, the wind blowing the water into a mist that carries across the wide expanse of lawn where a scattering of dandelions seem to be dancing. Except for the pines whose shade is thick and still and black, the trees that line the edges of the field cast a mosaic of dappled shadows that shift in an ever-moving mass of dark and light.

Three Chihuahuas, each on a leash, meet along a path. With sharp high cries they greet each other. Three tails wag furiously as smells are offered and exchanged. Owners walk away, dogs are pulled apart; they look back and give little yips of goodbye.

Having made the long looping circuit of the park, the blond cocker spaniel returns and is carefully lifted into the back seat of the waiting car. As it drives away, she sticks her head out the back window, eyes unseeing, ears unhearing, wind blowing her curling fur. I think, there is not enough time left to have all of the dogs I want.

In how many springs will the wind blow through our hair? How many more bright days filled with the scent of fresh cut grass will intoxicate us? How many more sunsets will we see?  Life is so short; love is so long,








I’ve been sadly remiss in posting of late. I have many excuses. My back went out again and I was flat for a week; I was busy preparing art for a show; I had nothing to say, or more correctly, I was unsure of the value of what I had to say; I was crabby; I got a new computer and had to break it in. Take your pick. All of these are true and not-true.

Once discipline is broken it is hard to get back on the wagon, to mix a metaphor. Writing creates more writing. Not writing creates more not-writing. Yesterday I wrote a small post for the art site (www.marietaylorart.wordpress.com) and that greased a few of my writing joints, hence this pecking away today. Just to bring you up to speed, here’s what’s been happening.

In the last couple of weeks, summer has been trying to pry open the door, sending in a few scorchers to wake us up and a few cloudy days with rain to remind us what is being left behind. A few of the morning birds start about 4 a.m., later followed at sunrise by whole choirs of chirpers and warblers.

The little Mexican man with the umbrella chair and table who sold oranges and strawberries on the corner this spring is now selling cherries and watermelons. For a brief period there was a second, younger, small man on the diagonal corner hawking cherries but without advertising the price. The unremitting squinty-eyed stare of the veteran plus the suspicions of the local customer base finally forced him out.

The neighborhood dog walkers have grown in number but the schedule has been changed to early morning and dusk to accommodate the heat. Sweetie Pie, the cat, is shedding her winter fur and coughing up hairballs like nobody’s business. She carefully deposits these in hard to reach places like behind the couch or under the table.

Two friends of mine I don’t see very often came to visit last week. We used to live at the same apartment complex. One lady is my age, the other just turned 100. Yes, you read that right. Maggie had her 100th birthday in April. She still has her teeth and hair and her mind is as bright as her eyes.

When I first became ill a few years ago, Maggie would come to my apartment twice a day and take my dog for a walk. She is still going strong and, needless to say, still walks a whole lot better than me. When I asked her how she felt, she said fine although her medications sometimes bring on diarrhea. “I never thought I’d live this long,” she added, reminding me that my Aunt Lucy at 97 recently said the same thing.

How long do any of us think we will live? We hope our money won’t run out first. We hope that we will be healthy enough to work if we need to. We hope that the end, when it comes, will be quick but nobody knows how many sands are in their personal hour glasses. Years ago when I was 30-something, I went to a psychic who told me I would live to 72 – which at 30 seems like a fair amount. Now I am just five years short off that doorway and some nights wonder how accurate her prediction will be.

The other day I was talking to my old friend Frank on the phone and he brought up the name, Richard Brautigan, to which I immediately replied, “Trout Fishing in America.” Now I hadn’t thought about that poet in at least 40 years but the title of his book came instantly to mind – and I never even read it. On the other hand, I’m not sure what I did last Saturday.

Time, time, time. Was it Heraclitus who said you can’t step in the same river twice? It is not the river that changes but ourselves. Therefore, I have been turning over new leaves by looking up recipes for fruit salads and thinking about exercising.


Spiral Galaxy

Tuesday, March 20, marked the Spring Equinox, the day of the year when dark and light forces are in perfect balance. That balance was short-lived, however, for on Wednesday the scale started to tip slightly toward the sun and our subsequent days are getting longer and longer … until the Summer Solstice in June. At that point, at the apex of our light-giving days, the dark will start its journey to ascendancy.

The period of the Equinox is a time of personal reflection for me as it marks the anniversaries of the passing of my older son and before that my mother. My heart remembers what things were done and not-done; what words were said and not-said; what knots tied and untied.

Regret stands near my left shoulder, longing near my right. I will take as truth the words of wiser people than I and believe that on the other side of the door, all is revealed, all is forgiven and only love remains.

I also consider the Equinox as the beginning of my personal New Year for it marks my birthday and the time for new beginnings. I used to make plans and set goals but I don’t have the desire or need to anymore. Life is good as it is and doesn’t need me to interject opinions or directions.

I have now taken 66 rides on the merry-go-round the sun. This will be my 67th solar revolution. The fact that this is a prime number makes me at once nervous and excited. The power of this year cannot be divided by anything other than itself.

My Four Noble Truths

Within the dark is light

Within light dark.

This is the first truth.

Around and around

The Great River travels.

This is the second.

Flowing, it carries us

Through the teeming void.

The third.

One star we are

Bright, pure, eternal.