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.

Prices

$230. worth of food in my frig (no Kidding) NFT by Dana Zed

My normal grocery list which contains lots of veggies, lots of fruit, peanuts, cashews, eggs, tuna fish (2) cans of soup (2) bread (the best) milk (gallon), peppermint tea (the big box), toilet paper, a small bar of soap one small yogurt, good olive oil, hummus, chocolate bars, honey, olives, pasta sauce, tofu, hummus, packaged slice of salmon, cheese, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger,mayonnaise (for tuna fish) watermelon, dried apricots, sushi deli plate (I was hungry) and apple juice came this week to $230! I could hardly believe it. Perhaps I should fast a little.

This is getting crazy. Hey, it’s not getting crazy. It IS crazy. Already I have to limit the days I swim laps at the pool because gas is so expensive and I have to drive a bit to get there. I drive because I am addicted to an olympic size pool where I can always get my own lane. Outside. It’s only 13 miles one way of freeway driving but it adds up. Daily swim is out. I’ll have to bike for exercise on the non-swim days. As for food, I’m committed to buying organic. I browsed the non-organic and it isn’t that much cheaper. wow.

Pete’s large cappuccino is $6 plus tip so that’s out too

Perhaps Americans will lose weight and stop being so grotesquely obese. Perhaps something good can come of this. I’m looking for a silver lining. I don’t mind paying tons more for gas if it’ll help Ukraine, but does it? Are gas prices why airline prices are so high? I can’t figure any of this out. I just know I can’t afford the daily swim or going home to the east coast this summer like I was planning.

Oh well…Maybe next year?

I sent my son this photo from my grocery store in Oakland CA
He sent back this from Brooklyn, NY

Dylan Concert at The Fox Oakland

“Guitar” watercolor 10 x 15″ Dana Zed

Bob Dylan: “Glad to see you’re still alive you’re looking like a saint”. 

The Bob Dylan concert was everything I wanted it to be. I mean I got everything I wanted to get out of that night but what I thought I wanted him to do wasn’t what he did.

There was no guitar and for the few minutes he stood up it looked like he would fall down. He spent almost the entire time sitting at the piano. I was glad I bought the least expensive seats because even if you had the most expensive seats you still would not have been able to see him under his fedora hat looking down at the keyboard.

I realize this doesn’t sound exciting or powerful. What was exciting and powerful about that night was that this man is 81 and still writing poetry and still singing it loud and strong and raspy. I felt like it was an honor just to be in the room with him. I felt like it was an honor that he didn’t give a flying fuck about what any of us wanted him to sing. Instead he was the example he always has been of doing exactly what he wants to do. What he wanted was to sing his last album. Will it be his very last album? How long can this guy go on? This timeless man sings his “Rough and Rowdy” album with a picture that looks like it’s from the early 1960s of people dancing. Tight dresses showing tight asses. 

Before the concert there was a guy outside selling a book he printed of the lyrics. Seemed ridiculous. After the concert I wish I had bought it. I had already bought four of my favorite songs from the new album. I had been listening to them over and over and over again. Some of them it seems are about dying or are singing about thinking about dying.

We went especially wild after some songs and he said, “Why thank you very much” which is the only time he said anything. He said it in an Appalachian gentlemanly way that seemed precious. The evening was in the Fox Theatre which is the most beautiful theater I’ve ever been in. We bought beers in the theater before he went on and took them to our seats. Loved that. We could have beers but we couldn’t have our phones. Loved that. Because I didn’t have a phone I had a hard time finding my concert buddy whose ticket I had. I wondered how we did things in the past.

The audience screamed with wild abandon the few moments he played the harmonica. Who else plays the harmonica? In thinking about the concert before I went I thought he probably will not play the harmonica because I’m guessing that takes more breath than to sing but he did play it and we went wild.

In the middle of the concert he introduced his three guitarists, one keyboarder and the drummer. After he played all the songs on the album, he left the stage with the introduced guys. We clapped & shouted & clapped. The audience of all ages stood up and cheered. However it was clear that this guy was not gonna get back on stage; this guy that only does what he wants to do. This 81 year old guy who plays night after night in different cities close to each other in small venues: Oakland, San Jose, Sunnyvale. And then off to LA. No encore here. Just as well with me. I am satisfied.