Wwhoooshh

I’ve been writing a short short story a day for eleven weeks, I am doing this as a participant in a Round Robin at The Writer’s Salon in San Francisco. I now have 77 stories. they are piling up so I have decided to share some here. Each day there is a prompt which starts me off. From there, anything goes. Rule is: one can only write for 12 minutes and can edit afterwards.

Two TREES on the edge of a cliff

~I’m tired of being here

~What do you mean you’re tired of being here? You can’t be tired of being here. You are a tree. We are trees. We’ve been here a long time.

~Right, & we’re supposed to be here for a long time to come, but I’m tired of it. Sorry, but I am even tired of you. You and I, all the time, here on the edge.

~It’s better than being on the edge alone, you know that.

~Right well, you got me there. UHG..this time of year…I hate the gray skin. I hate the nakedness of it all. Truth be told, I’m tired of the whole winter, spring, summer, fall thing. It’s same old same old all the time. So predictable. Nothing happens.

~Yeah, but you gotta admit in the winter we have a lot of fun and in the fall our leaves are the brightest, orange yellow-ish color anywhere on the planet other than some sunsets which never last very long.

~It’s true I like the splat contest. I like that we’re not on a farm and that the people who live near us hardly ever come at the right time to get our persimmons. I like how we play the game who can get the most splats in the day.

~True that’s a fun game but we always know at the beginning of the day how it’s gonna end. Always depending on WonderWind and what mood she’s in that day and the way she cares to gust, blows the surprise out of who wins on any given day she’s around.

~Yeah, But it’s super fun and she’s not always around being the deciding factor.

~True, but I’m tired of being taken for granted. We are saving these humans lives, and they are so busy they can’t even see or appreciate us. 

~Remember that time when people used to hug us?

~Yes, that was nice. I think the worst time was when that idiot Shel Silverstein wrote that book “The Giving Tree”. I mean what the fuck bullshit message was that? What was he doing? Trying to teach people how to have a dysfunctional relationship? 

~Yeah, I don’t think people read that to their kids as much as they used to.

~I hope not. If that guy walked under my tree, I would make for sure to have a big branch fall on his head giving him a headache for a couple decades. Better yet I’d have one of my roots trip him, so he’d fall off the edge a little bit, not so much as to kill him, but just enough to injure his right hand.

~Hey, wait a minute! hold on there! Why would you ever want to injure anyone? Those human beings are in such a mess. They are constantly injuring themselves! Directly or indirectly.

~Yes, I know it’s true. Even I, a species able to maintain complete equanimity feel sad for them. I wish there was some way I could help.

Just then a young woman comes up to the tree. She has a stool with her. She sets that down under the tree. Forlorn, she pulls a rope out of the bag she’s brought with her. Dejected, she stands for a long time at the edge overlooking the chasm. Is she considering jumping? What is she going to do with that rope? It’s for sure she’s not going to play with it. She has an agenda. She comes back to the stool, stands on it while she ties one rope end around the tree branch and the other around her neck.

WindWonder starts to gasp and move quickly around in a flurry. The trees start to wiggle and wobble in the wind. The girl pushes the stool out from under her. There is a moment inbetween, when WindWonder wooshes, and the wanting tree yearns. The branch breaks. It all falls down.

The young lady gasps “THANK GOD!” She lays down beneath the tree and looks through the intricate lace of the old grey naked branches. She watches the clouds in the sky pass one after the other. For the rest of the afternoon, she looks up through the maze of the tree’s pattern at the clouds changing shapes, appearing and dissolving moving across the endless sky.

She comes back many years later, with two small children, gets on a stool and hangs a swing.

Race & Religion Lake Temescal

Lake Temescal

Because of daylight savings time, my walk around the lake is quite a bit darker than usual. It’s Sunday, and a few family outings are ending up. I park a little irregularly, not quite exactly between the two lines because I back up in order to head out easily. I know it doesn’t matter how I am parked because no new cars are going to be coming in at that hour.

Three quarters around the lake, I notice coming towards me and then notice as they walk by me, two people dressed entirely in white. I don’t look closely, but I think they are dark skinned maybe Indian maybe African-American. That’s not the unusual thing. The unusual thing is that they are dressed in white. Part of the Lake Temescal in Oakland appeal, is all kinds of people are happily enjoying the park.

As I get further along the path by the lake, to where the field accommodates larger groups, I see one large group of many many people dressed in white. Not all of them, however. They still look Indian or African-American. There are some stragglers away from the group, people with baby carriages and babies in them and couples without carriages and pairs of friends. The majority of them however are centered in a circle around a sound similar to the hindu chanting I know from Amma’s. A place where people used to dress in white.

The sound I’m hearing is far away so I can’t know exactly what it is. I stop and ask a straggling couple what is going on. The young man doesn’t know exactly what to say so he says, “Church”. “Nice” I say and add “Blessings to you all” before walking on.

The woman with the guy who said ‘church’, disapproves of me. I can see her body grimace, and tighten up when I ask them if I am hearing Hindi. She is dressed in full length white with blue trim around the edge of her head covering. This resembles the clothing Mother Theresa nuns wore in the early 90s going to and from Saint Pauls, where they were housed, near 28th and Sanchez.

Mother Theresa, even occasionally went to that building. I had a boyfriend, who lived a block from there. He broke up with me, and started to become best friends with my housemate. My housemate would, of course go to his house. Once housemate saw Mother Theresa in route. I found that infinitely unfair. I thought I was the one who deserved to see Mother Theresa.

A decade or two before that, I spent a lot of time going to meditation classes and meditation retreats. My best friend was interested in no such thing. She was interested in marijuana and occasionally a lot of alcohol. One night after a bottle of rum or something she teleported to my apartment.

The next day she told me what I was wearing and everything that I was doing the night before. There’s no way she could’ve known that. Again, I thought it was unfair. I was going to the meditation retreats. I was the one trying to reach god. Somehow she was already there.

Funny how the mind works and how I went from the gathering to the blue trim of Mother Teresa to that night.

Walking back to my car, two young men from the group but not dressed in white, stop me on the dark path.

“You come here much?” One asks.

“Yes” I answer.

“Where is there a bathroom?” he asks.

I tell him.

“Thank you so much” The other says sincerely. Perhaps he’s the one in need.

“Of course!” I say.

I realize now, after having a bit more time with these two, that the group is Ethiopian. Not that it matters.

Still, I wonder why they are dressed in white. I could look that up no doubt but I’d rather leave it unknown.

Fingers Crossed

Fingers crossed….it Goes both ways.

Fingers crossed behind your back is what you do when you’re lying to someone

Somehow the crossing of the fingers behind the back

Is a message to, or a deal with, the absolute…

You’re lying to the person but your fingers are crossed behind the back so somehow it doesn’t count that you’re lying

It doesn’t count to who?

It’s got to be the one who sees everything

Behind your back

the one we used to call God but don’t anymore.

You’re cheating but you’re not cheating

because you’re crossing your fingers.

Is it a deal with the devil or a deal with god or simply with you

The other way you can cross your fingers is openly

Occasionally with a pledge

“I’ll cross my fingers for you“

Said to evoke luck and is this not also a petition to the absolute?

I’ll send this request to infinite unknowable source

so that this good thing can happen.

Fingers crossed.

Which way do you want to do it?

Either way works

Seems like a dream

A week ago I leave my home on the coast, taking two flights to arrive in the middle of the country at Anderson Ranch Art Center where I spend 5 days in a workshop.

It is transforming to exchange my struggling professional artist educator role to be a student of someone truly remarkable.

Yesterday was our last day of classes. At dinner, I find it hard to imagine reentering my regular life. It seems so dull after something so rich. This morning we have breakfast together before we leave. Every Anderson Ranch meal offers cookies. Some days we have oatmeal and raisin. Other days: chocolate chip. Today it seems both are offered. Examining them, I pack two chocolate chip cookies in my purse to eat at some point during my long journey home.

It is so hard to leave, I am drawn towards the possibility of studying with this remarkable artist further. I am even considering moving to the middle of the county where he usually teaches. I need a change. 

On landing finally in my home airport after traveling most of the day, I easily resume the role of who I usually am.

Riding the subway home, four people are playing Rock Paper Scissors. I open up the morning’s white paper napkins carefully wrapped around the cookies. I take a bite. Oatmeal.

Heaven

Watercolor by Dana Zed

I am on the plane looking at the clouds. I needed to get a Lyft at3:30 AM to make this flight. The window view is more beautiful than usual. It is dawn. I always get the aisle seat if I can cuz truth is I can still see out the window

i am looking at these celestial clouds and remembering when I flew after my sister Sally died young leaving three small children. I was in the airport talking to a person dressed in an air attendants outfit that I didn’t recognize.

Suddenly someone alerted everyone to get ready and others stand back. I was told to stand back, out of the way. I didn’t know what was going on. I obeyed.

Then low and behold, Steve Martin appeared. All the people I thought were waiting passengers and airline ticket counter people and attendants, were actors in a movie. Steve began arguing ridiculously with the ticket counter lady.

The experience left me with a strong impression that our real lives are not our real lives. Somehow I felt this had something to do with Sally. Like all our lives were plays and we were actors and it was her time to get off the set

After this experience I was on the plane. Wanting Sally to appear to me in the sky. Much like as a child I wanted God to come down from the ceiling. And do what ? Give a blessing? No. I think I wanted just to connect. I never got farther than God coming down because God never did. Or maybe God did.

Today in the airport cafe, I heard a concerned young lady asking her partner and wondering whether the cafe had hot chocolate because it was not on the menu. I looked hard at the menu and saw mocha this and mocha that. I said to them, “I think they do, just ask” and I went on my way.

Several minutes later I ran into them and asked

“Did they have it?” “Yes, they did!” She said. “Oh good, I’m happy for you”. I said. We all smiled.

And there you have it, God. Simple ordinary love here and there.

“Oh good, I’m happy for you”.

Small miracle

My daughter gave me two balloons for Mother’s Day. That was over 6 weeks ago. This balloon is still airborne. It would be on the top of the ceiling were it not tied to that glass container.

It’s partner is not floating towards the ceiling but it is
still more up than down, after 6 weeks.

Small Miracle

Guns & …..

Protection?

Walking in my neighborhood, I notice tiny red flowers on a gigantic stalk of giant thorns. I guess they need a lot of protection.

I read in the New York Times today that there are more guns than people in the USA. Some people with guns say they have them in case they need protection. Unfortunately these guns are often used aggressively towards people with no protection. Protection is a slippery slope.

Reading the news is bad for my mental health. Neuroscience can now prove the brain (thanks to the amygdala) will remember the bad things more than it remembers the good things.

David Bryne’s Reasons to be Cheerful is a better read. Tells truthful stories which elicit hope.