Monday, February 21, 2005

Ticket Stub Travel

Ticket Stub Travel:
If I pressed these small paper passports here, against my third eyed, Mnemosyne Lady of Memory . . . one at a time . . . would you take me back . . . just for a moment?
Simon & Garfunkle on two folding chairs in a spill of one yellow light, facing each other with two guitars. They sang out to the audience some of the time, but most of the time they sang as if they were singing to each other, old friends sat on their park bench like bookends . . . Creedence Clearwater Revival rocked the rafters and shook the stars down. We sat up on the boys shoulders, sang along and screamed until we were horse. Someone got excited had to call the state militia gotta move, playing in a traveling band, yeah . . . John Denver loved the audience, loved to preform, I saw him many times, he always gave off such vibes of complete love for what he was doing and affection for the people who were listening, I never saw another performer who had such a report with the audience. I haven’t got a ticket stub for the first time I saw him, because there were no tickets, it was in a coffee house in Denver before he was famous. We didn’t know who he was until later, just that he had a sweet voice, sang Peter, Paul and Mary songs (which were actually his) and, as always, just loved the audience, and talked of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believed in, how sweet it is to love someone how right it is to care, how long its been since yesterday, what about tomorrow? What about our dreams and all the memories we share? . . . I saw Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1969. I saw Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1989, it was pretty much the same show. A great show, quite remarkable, old David with his new liver and all. They played “Our House” and said, “Here you go kids, this is the song your mom lost her virginity to.” There I sat with Lezlie on one side and April on the other, thinking, close but no cigar, David my friend. Old Graham Nash could sure write a sweet song though. I'll light the fire, while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today. Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you play your love songs all night long for me, only for me . . . The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band played just at dusk after a long day of blue grass music in a meadow on the side of a green mountain. I was sunburned in my sundress and tired and very happy. We drank Sangria while a sunset split the sky behind us and the band played their brand of cajun-cowboy-country something or other than no one else could ever duplicate. Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do, got a honey jar stuck on his nose. He came to me asking help and advice, And from here no one knows where he goes. Steepenwolf was nearly three hours late, amazingly they held the venue for three hours and amazingly every body sat there and waited. Everyone in the whole place was stoned on second hand smoke by the time he showed up whether they were smoking themselves or not. Steepenwolf, he felt bad about showing up late so he played an extra long time. The concert didn’t get over until about three in the morning. I like smoke and lightning, Heavy metal thunder, Racin' with the wind, And the feelin' that I'm under, Yeah Darlin' go make it happen, Take the world in a love embrace, Fire all of your guns at once, And explode into space . . .I would like to go back for a moment, Lady, and see Cats or a Chorus Line . . . no, I would like to look down at the faces of the little girls beside me watching with big eyes and their mouths slightly open. Memory - all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then. I remember the time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again. Kiss today goodbye, And point me t'ward tomorrow. We did what we had to do Won't forget, can't regret What I did for love What I did for love. The time we saw Mikhail Baryshnikov live. Our tickets at Red Rocks had been so good, but it rained. When we had to move to the inside arena in Denver we were around a corner and were looking sidewards at the stage. I was very disappointed until I realized that because of how far over we were, we could see into the wings. We got to watch Mikhail Baryshnikov warm up and do his between number hold-warmings all the way through the show, it was the most fascinating thing I’ve ever seen . . . I saw Neil Diamond in concert with a backup band of about sixty and a huge choreographed light show with fireworks that went off on cue as he punched his arm in the air. I saw him another time sing the same songs sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar in a single spot. I vastly preferred the stool in the single spot. Mnemosyne Lady of Memory, take me there. You are the sun, I am the moon, You are the words, I am the tune, Play me . . . I have seen Jerry Jeff Walker in so many places I can’t remember them all. I will see him again as soon as he gets close enough, for he is, as far as my husband is concerned, the only reason for going out of the house. I will go gladly. I’ve got a feeling something that I can’t explain, like dancing naked in that high hill country rain . . . I have seen Gordon Lightfoot everywhere I could possibly manage for thirty years. I have driven long distances to reach a venue where he was playing, I would do it again. I probably won’t have the chance, however. He has been very ill, he nearly died a year or so ago and will probably not tour again. But I have a lot of ticket stubs and a lot of memories and CDs where his voice comes to me as familiar as sweet, soft rain . . . The Minstrel of the Dawn is here to make you laugh and bend your ear. Up the steps you’ll hear him climb all full of thoughts, all full of rhymes, listen to the pictures flow, across the room into your mind they go . . . You know, I was camping with my sister’s family in New York during Woodstock. I was sixteen. We were about thirty miles away, but we missed the whole thing. Who camps in New York? It was one of the dumbest things I ever did. My brother-in-law who knew nothing about camping had us out in somebodies field in an unsealed tent that leaked when it rained. It rained. I woke up with my long hair floating in a puddle next to my face. The next day, after covering him with mosquito repellant didn’t work, I zipped the baby into my hooded sweat shirt to keep him from being eaten alive. My sister was pregnant and we had to get up and go to the outhouse through the wet fields in the pouring rain like big bats in huge ponchos six, eight, twelve times during the night. I suspect the people over in Yasgur's field were having the same sort of troubles, but they were there for a reason beyond trying to ‘camp out’ in New York, for heavens sake. Besides they were all stoned and we weren’t. We also didn’t get to hear Janis Joplin live, or Jimi Hendrix or Blood Sweat and Tears or The Who. By the time we had finally talked her pig-headed husband into going to a motel to dry out, the rain had stopped, Woodstock and history had begun only thirty miles away. We didn’t care, we were finally dry. I came upon a child of god, he was walking along the road, and I asked him, where are you going, and this he told me: I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm, I’m going to join in a rock ’n’ roll band, I’m going to camp out on the land, I’m going to try an’ get my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves, back to the garden.

Ticket Stub Travel

Fay from "Below"

Kaija from "Below"

I Shut the Box and It Became A Poem . . .

Come Mnemosyne and weep
Weep for the fast winds of summer brought bright in a silver key
Weep for childhood condensed into a circle of rubber
That fits inside my palm
Weep bright haired Titan for rings that seem made for a child’s fingers
Too slender to have ever been mine
Weep for midnight rituals, long kept vows,
For sisterhood, childhood, weep for the innocence
Of Saturday’s spent kicking the air in joy
Come Mnemosyne and weep for this spark of sulphur
I have saved and hoarded, snap it beneath your fingers
And give me again the silken cream moon over the Bay of Naples
Give me once more the awe in the face of the child
That stood beside me, gazing into a bowl
Of pink misted Vermont dawn,
Lady of Memory, give me back in the flash of this long kept flame
Both boys who loved me long ago, in Jackson

Weep Lady Mnemosyne for the blackstar giving child
Who needs became a hardened man too soon,
Weep for the girl with the lovebeads
who burned her candle hard at both ends
And burned it into nothing. Weep. Weep. Weep.
Weep Beautiful Titan for the body that moved across the floor
So fast that the air eclipsed and blurred
Weep for the joy that bloomed like miracles under my rib cage as I flew Weep for this still, silent chair
Weep for the twisting ache of empty desire that holds my heart now
Weep Mnemosyne, weep for the pain.

Weep Lady, weep for a boy, who was more than just a name and
The date he went down.
Weep Lady, Weep for LtJg Lee Benson.
Weep for March 17, 1968.
Weep for a War that had no meaning.
Weep for those who were lost and never found.
Weep for the thousands who died.
Weep Lady, Weep that they will not listen to you even now,
You who know, you who remember.
Weep, Lady, weep, bitter tears of frustration
As they carelessly do the same thing again.
As if they had no

Weep with me Lady for these small paper memories
The sweet nights of youth, weep for the music,
The crowds and the lights that wove into the everything of it
Weep for the hard-driving sound that defined my generation,
Which beat in the blood and pounded the body whole
The soft ballads, beautiful poetry kissed with music,
Weep with a smile, for the mystery never meant to be solved
Left an enigma of puberty, Cleopatra the Queen of thirteen,
Egypt, the secret password of twelve, mystical sealed tombs
Hold the mystery of life, which was never about growing up

Weep Memory, for the Lady I miss whose soft gnarled hands
Worked this broach. Weep Lady Memory, stay here and weep, for
All who have gone and all who will go, leaving things . . . corporal Things to hold in the hand and yet who leave no spark to speak,
No hand to touch, no answer when I call . . .

Mnemosyne, Lady Memory, Titan of the Gorgeous Hair,
Weep, that you come to me much so sharply
Are we companions too clearly you and I?
You have blessed others with softening grey and with shadows
With sponges that drink the ink of the scene
But it all comes penetrating, clear-cut and incisive to me
I hear, I see, I smell, I remember . . .

Will you weep with me Lady?
Have you blessed me or cursed me?

Weep for a love lost, not forgotten, still bound by a small golden band. Your hands on my shoulders Mnemosyne
You let nothing slip by or turn softly to sand.
Weep for this wide open nautilus that came from a far distant sea
Weep for the brown eyes I never have seen
The hands that I never have touched

Who do you become beautiful Titan
If your face turns away from the past?
If you looked out into the future
Would you be someone different at last?
Would your focus and face be changed
Would the change run shallow or deep?
If you turned your face into the future
Lady, would you cease to weep?

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Mnemosyne Weeps

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Memory Box


Mnemosyne, mother of muses, would you have me open this carved wooden box, inlaid with wooden flowers, one rusty hinge broken? Indeed? What will lie inside? Treasure, wealth, fortunes, riches . . .

‘Treasure’ She says. It opens with small sound of twisting cork. And I find . . .

A collection of junk. Is this a treasure? Ah, but let us consider who we are speaking to here. Mnemosyne - Memory - the Titan of the beautiful hair, who consorted with Zeus nine nights in a row to produce the nine Muses. Consider: through her daughters she gave the world all of the humanities. But, what of herself? By birthing memory, Mnemosyne discovered the uses of the power of reason, and gave a designation to every object, which is of the utmost importance, since without names very little could be expressed, and mortals would not be able to hold conversations with each other. Thus she holds the ancient magic of naming, as well as the birth of reason.

But above all, she made available to mortals the power to remember, a great faculty upon which rest many others. She owns all tales, as these could not exist without her power, since each narrating word would vanish without leaving a trace as soon as it appears if Memory would not preserve them. If a person were deprived of the gift of Memory, he would neither know who he is nor what he is. And if he were told, he would not be able to retain that knowledge, and each moment would be for him as the first instant of his life, feeling, thinking, and acting much like a newborn. Then if Memory came to him so that he could remember who he is and what he normally does, but did not assist him in other regards, he would not, for example, be able to recognize other people. In that manner, he would have to make the acquaintance of his loved ones every new instant of his life, incapable of remembering either names or faces, or how he is related to them. Consequently, the meaning of such words as 'mother', or 'son', or 'wife' would have to be explained to him over and over again, and there would be no hope that he would retain what he is told. For, deprived of Memory, he would not be able to learn anything permanently. This is why Mnemosyne is a great goddess, knowledge is inseparable from Memory.

What gifts can Mnemosyne give? Beyond the bountiful gifts of her daughters to the world, reason, naming, recognition, understanding . . . Mnemosyne can take a box of junk and make it into treasure. These are MY treasures.

This, my children is a skate-key. I wore it around my neck on a string every summer of my childhood. I used it to tighten, put on and take off my roller skates. These were not the roller skates you know, where the rollers are attached to a boot-like-shoe, these were a separate apparatus that had to be clamped to the bottom of the shoes we were wearing and then tightened up to fit. My world was outlined in sidewalks as a child, they were the pathways to everywhere. I put my skates on as soon as the snow had good and melted and kept them on until school started in the autumn. Not everyone did, of course. Most kids only skated some of the time, as an activity, but for me it was a necessity. My legs were too short to keep up otherwise and without them I would spend the entire summer plaintively calling “wait for me!” Which, by the way, never happened. With the roller skates on, I went faster than anyone else. If they cut across the grass, I went around, I was still faster. I was only sorry I didn’t have wheels all the time. Coming down the hill in front of our house the wind would fan out my short gold hair, drying the sweat of summer with the sweet, sliding air of speed. I loved it; and I liked the feel of the skate key bouncing in rhythm against my chest.

And this, children, is a Hop-scotch-lagger, this hard rubber disk used to throw and kick out of the hop-scotch. You can still see the out line of a hop-scotch drawn on one side of the lagger. THAT is the proper way to draw a hop-scotch. We had them painted on the asphalt at school in a long, long row. It was the proscribed activity for girls during recess and I even actually did it some times. My best friend Adrienne and I were more likely to be off somewhere playing witches, space aliens or inventing new lands complete with intricate governments, but I did have a hop-scotch-lagger. It reminds me of standing in the hall of the Edith Bowen after recess while everyone takes off their coats . . . the hall is full of that smell of wet snow, wet wool and cold air. I am flipping the lagger in the air and laughing, very loud, with my head thrown back. Some teacher, I don’t remember which, comes past and remarks mildly, “Bring the lagger home for a landing in your pocket, Edwina, and I think about half of that laugh could stay outside. Yes. About half.” I remember it distinctly. Not, “Shut up!” or even “Be quiet!” or “Settle down,” but “I think about half of that laugh could stay outside.” Thinking back on it as a teacher myself, teaching in that same school, I always remembered amid the smell of wet snow and wet wool and cold air, that she was going to let me bring half of my laugh into the building. It was the way things always were there.

Pins. “Go Big Blue” - that is from college. I must have said that out loud six thousands times . . . It was a cheer. It was a good cheer. Simple. Easy. People picked it up. Funny, when you have heard something ten million times it starts sounding not like three words, but one. We went to Nebraska where they were yelling “Go Big Red.” WHAT? That sounded completely bizarre. It didn’t fit. Everyone knows that the words Go and Big only go with Blue.

Pins. “Go Greek.” - No, not a trip to Athens. I’m proud to belong to the Panhelenic Council of National Sororities and Fraternities as a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. It was/is an important part of my life and nothing what so ever as the stereo-type would have you believe. I am continually amazed that people who consider themselves liberal and open minded, who would fight forever against discrimination then turn around and automatically do the same thing to groups such as Fraternities and Sororities. Reverse snobism is fascinating, alive and everywhere.
Mnemosyne gives me beautiful rituals in the dark, by the light of a single candle that were so meaningful, so full of love that bound me to my forever friends, sisters, AOT. I have my sorority rings strung on a chain. They are strange, so small, so extremely tiny. I can’t imagine how I ever got them on my fingers. What has happened to my fingers? Or did these rings shrink here in this box?

On another chain are my High School and College Keys. My kids asked, “what are they.”
“Ummm,” I answered, “Keys, you know.”
“Keys to what? What kind of keys? They don’t look like keys?”
“No, they don’t now that you mention it. We got them at the end of the year for being in activities. They had this key banquet . . .”
“Yeah probably. Look though . . . I’ve got a lot of ‘em!!!”
“Great mom.”

Match Book covers. Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento, Italy. The Snow King Lodge, Jackson Hole Wyoming. The Peruvian Lodge, Alta, Utah. The Sands, Los, Vegas, Nevada, The Spinnaker, Lake Dillon, Colorado. The Antlers, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Hollies, Stratford-on-Avon, The Von Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont, Vail Lodge, Vail Colorado, The Racquet Club, Jackson Hole Wyoming. There was an avalanche. There was a full moon. There was a valley full of mist. There was a baby conceived. There was a tradition born. There was a blizzard. There was an anniversary celebrated Connect the dots.

Love beads. I found them on my bed one night when the world fell apart with a note that said “Love is all that matters in the end.” I laid them on my sisters coffin. I brought them home to this box.

Round black onyx stone set in a star of sterling silver. We saved our money all year so that when we went to Southern Utah we could go to the Indian shops and buy something wonderful for ourselves. I picked out what I wanted the first time we walked down to the shops, unfortunately, I found two things and I could not make up my mind. One was a beautiful turquoise cut in a long triangular shape, the other the black onyx ring. I went back and looked over and over. I fussed about it, I worried out loud. I rung my hands. My brother couldn’t decide either. He wanted a lot of things. Coloring books. A coon-skin hat. Drums. Bow and Arrows. Knives. The last day I went up in the morning and bought the turquoise ring. I spent the day looking at my hand and sort of sighing. Had I done the right thing?

You see this one coming don’t you? We were in the car on the way home before I asked him what he had bought. He dug around in his “car sack”on the floor and pulled out a paper bag. Inside it was the black oynx ring. “Well,” he said, “you wanted them both and I didn’t really want anything.” Unfortunately, we were too young for me to call bullshit. I couldn’t even make him take it back. It wasn’t an isolated instance either. I have a pink furry stuffed kitten which was the entire scenario repeated. I’m sure my brother doesn’t want this kind of stuff to get out, he is a Prosecuting Attorney now and likes people to think he is nothing but one tough bastard. It’s OK Eddie, no one will ever figure out anything from this, I promise. I mean, just because my name is Edwina Peterson and yours is . . . well, a little too close for comfort, doesn’t mean that anyone is ever going to find out your hidden secret. I’ll certainly never tell.

Here is the medallion that says I danced with Dance West for three years. I loved their style . . . Burch Mann said she read Whitman, heard hism say, “I heard America singing . . .” and she answered back in her mind, “I saw America dancing . . .” and she went on to create a dance for America. She always said it had the space of the prairies in it, and the vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Her choreography moved across the floor fast, breakneck, hell-bent-for-something, but graceful and beautiful, with leaps that could have gone over the Grand Canyon. It was hard to do, but fantastically fun and incredible to watch.

A horseshoe with my name across the top. My uncle had it made for me in Willisburg. Everyone always had a big fight about how you should put up a horse shoe. Do you tip it so the u points up? That way all the luck stays in side. Or do you tip it down? It is a symptom of my reckless nature, that I kept it above my door always . . . tipped down. I figured, what good was all that luck sitting up there going stale? I’d just as soon have it constantly pouring down, and I figured that was what it was doing, constantly renewing and constantly pouring down. I got so I could almost feel it, walking under that brief golden shower of luck. Who wants to have a big spludge of stale luck suddenly fall on their head? Not to mention a horse shoe?

A thick silver bracelet band. Across it’s front is etched: LTJG LEE BENSON 3-17-68. It was called a POW bracelet. A lot of us bought them, the money went toward the effort to find and bring home the Prisoners of War from Viet Nam. They asked you to wear the bracelet as a reminder. Most people wore them for a week or so. They were not particularly comfortable, not terrifically stylish. I said I wouldn’t take mine off until I knew that the man whose name it carried was found, one way or the other. I wore it from 1970 until February 1, 1973 without ever taking it off. They told me I had to take it off for Cheerleading, for plays I was in, I calmly told them “no” that it was against my religion. I took it off when the war ended. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. LTJG Lee Benson never came home, he is not listed on the Viet Nam memorial wall, I have been there to see. He is still listed as officially Missing in Action. I laid my flowers near the “B’s” where his name should have been. I went back and told the people at the visitor station that they needed another monument. They said, “Yes, we’ve heard that before.”

Medallion from Egypt - two squares linked to two triangles and a large circle of gold, turquoise, white and coral enamel mosaic. It has the Sphinx, Eye of Ra, Isis and Osiris. I didn’t know what any of it meant, but if formed the center of my “Altar” during my Egypt period. I’ve read all kinds of psychological mumbo jumbo about young girls and ‘Horse Periods.’ I’m slightly interested, but only slightly because a lot of it is Freudian and there for must be take with much salt and because I never had a “Horse Period.” I did have a rip roarer of an “Egypt Period,” however. I was going to be an Archeologist for years. What causes the “Egypt Period?” A need for mystery? For knowledge? For something different? Something foreign? When we are ten, eleven, thirteen . . . while our sisters are out swooning over large bipeds with liquid eyes, why are we dreaming of an ancient civilizations and crumbling ruins?

Ticket stubs: Gordon Lightfoot; Jerry Jeff Walker; Disneyland; Gordon Lightfoot; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; Smithsonian, John Denver; Gordon Lightfoot; Monticello, Jerry Jeff Walker; National Gallery, Kennedy Center; Neil Diamond; Simon and Garfunkle; Smithsonian, Cats; Gordon Lightfoot; Disneyland; Kenny Loggins; Dorothy Chandlier Pavilion L.A., A Chorus Line, Olivia Newton John; Ann Murry, Steppenwolf; The Grass Roots; Smithsonian; Gordon Lightfoot; Smithsonian, Neil Diamond; Kennedy Center; National Gallery, Evita, Creedence Clearwater Revival; Smithsonian, National Gallery, Fleetwood Mac; Gordon Lightfoot; Jerry Jeff Walker. Yes sir, I would see Gordon Lightfoot if he came to town again!

A fairly gaudy broach in the shape of a wreath of silver leaves entwined with blue crystals. It just may have been my grandmother’s favorite piece of jewerly. She used to say, “My neck is a wrinkley mess!” as she wrapped a light scarf deftly around it, then she secured it with a broach, usually this one. When she died, they brought out her jewerly and told all of her many, many granddaughters that we might each have a piece. My grandmother had lived in our house, I grew up with her being there all the time. These others did not know her at all. But they picked, beginning with the eldest. I was nearly the youngest. When it was my turn I choose this slightly gaudy blue broach. My aunt hesitated, then decided she should say something. “Honey, you can take anything you want.” I was nineteen, I knew what she meant. There were still plenty of pieces of jewelry there that were worth a lot of money. I shook my head, “No, this is the one I want.” I’ve saved it carefully. It won’t be too much longer before I’ll need it.

Small wine colored velvet box. Inside is a ring made from melting the end of a spoon. A beautiful sterling silver spoon, probably one of a set of demitasse spoons. I have a fairly good idea who has been short a demitasse spoon and for how long. A long, thin gold chain passing through a golden disk engraved simply with the word “Princess.” A small gold band resembling a wedding band, but very small; plain, unadorned 24 ct. gold.

Hello Will. Your face gets around a lot. Your hair is receding old chap, I guess you knew that. It would hardly bother me at 440 either. This, I believe, came off of a pair of earrings that belonged to April when she was in about the third grade. Yes, she went to the third grade with dangling earrings bearing the likeness of William Shakespeare. Probably wearing one white tennis shoe and one back one as well. April has always done precisely what April wanted, that is for sure.

Here is a shell that came from a far off sea, it came from the hands of a friend that I have never seen. It has chambers open to the air as if all its secrets are known. I don’t believe that for a moment.

The Chambered Nautilus

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)

Mnemosyne do you weep for me? You who know and remember all?
Do you weep for what I’ve forgotten? Do you weep for what I recall?
Do you weep for what’s gone unnoticed?
Do you weep for what’s gone unseen?
Do you weep for the moments unremembered and grey?
Or the ones that will always be green?

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Mining for Scrap

Today is Saturday 19th Feb 2005
This is a mining story with a twist
On Friday I typed up a list of the materials listed
by Heather for the school kids projects.
I put each list in a clear sheet proof collector A4 envelope
And thought hard who would be good candiates for collecting items from.................
Who has un tapped boxes stored in garages
Who never throws out anything even ribbon ties and wrapping paper
Who lives just around my corner and can pop in at any time
Who will part with nice odds and ends
Who is not too sentimental about old beads and buttons
Who has time to spend a few hours in fossicking for said items
The answer I found within myself is that each person is in some way maybe hanging on too long to the past as I myself did, but now I find that giving away possessions brings me joy and the recipient pleasure and it is great to be able to reycle such I popped my reguests into their letter boxes.....and TODAY
I have had 3 visitors with bags of goodies and more to come
So although I was going to mow the lawns (it didn't get done)
It turned out a a good day for welcome gifts ...
So one really needs only to ask and if the request is not too difficult then little miracles happen.

Lois (Muse of the Sea)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Treasure Box of Memories

Long after I have gone there will be in a treasure box,for those left behind
and in that box will be
A collection of a life past
A life enjoyed
A life treasured
A life varied in its creativity,
its growth,its wonder,and its thankfullness,
It will allow those who find this treasure box
an insight into how and why they are loved.
It will be a special day to share with others
The life I lived and the life I celebrated.
I will not bury my treasure box too deep
I want it to be found and rejoiced of my being here
I want a celebration of the life I loved and lived.
And for you to be happy that I was here,and that is all that matters.

I and Mnemosyne permit you to surround yourself
with the memories of me and be gladdened that we knew one another
and that is a blessing for us all.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 10/2/2005.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Mnemosyne's Advice

This is what I need right now, right here,
in the depths of winter at the heart of my despair:

the colors of flowers-
heliotrope and pink,
periwinkle and crimson,
citron and violet,

the sound of their names:
larkspur and foxglove,
cyclaman and daisy,
delphiniums and lilacs.

I need a burst of sunshine, the caress of a breeze,
the absense of snow and the presense of butterflies,
bees over-laden with nector, birds building nests,
sweet honey scented air and vast, endless skies.

I need the garden in Lemuria today
Mnemosyne was right.

Down,down down to the ends of the earth @16.

I was reminded recently when searching through photo albums going back some 50 years of a holiday taken when I was a young girl of 16 years.The snap was of me and my Mother Jessie standing outside our tent at Bucham Caves (pronounced Bukan)
These caves are well known in Australia and visited by overseas travellers now,not so much in the 1950's.
We had gone there camping ,Mum and Dad and my brother John.Our 1st trip in a borrowed car,as my Father Bert had just got his licence.Not enough money to but a car ,he had to wait until he had the cash which he insisted on ...House to pay for firstly.My Dad was keen to go down these caves as he had worked on a big dam project called the Snowy Mountains Scheme,one of the largset dam building schemes in Australian history.
So here we were,I had never been underground or up in a plane for that matter .."Nothing to it " said Dad,
There was a guide at the entrance who had a lantern and a few small torches for the youngsters.You were not allowed down under 10years of age....So we entered ,Dad firstly then John and Mum and I.
The smell was the first thing I noticed. Cold,a deep cold and a chilling feeling.Not a lot to see until we descended further.
By this time I was starting to have trouble breathing .It was so cold ,but still I pulled the high neck sweater away from my neck.
I asked if I could go back as I had started to shake,no one else seemed effected and as my Father said "Most people feel like this at first,you will get used to it ,give it a bit longer".
Five minutes seemed like an hour,and my hands and legs wouldn't stay still.
I felt giddy,the next thing I remember was sitting on the ground with my back resting against the cave wall and looking up at stalactites hanging above me and the guide and my family looking down on me.
I had spoilt my Fathers' dream.When helped up by him ,I was still wobbly.We returned to the surface and there I stayed for some hours dozing on and off I was told.
Nothing more was said,Dad and my brother did the trip down that afternoon and talked and talked how wonderful it was.
I didn't care if they had met the lock-ness monster down there I was never ever going down underground ever again.
That night I had what is termed as a nightmare .I woke in a lather of sweat and thought I was dying.I wanted to tell everyone in the family that I wasn,t going to be alive after that night..I could not be pasified.Mum got me a pen and paper as I had insisted on, and I wrote out where all my possessions were to go (Not that I had much) having just finished school and about to start work at Swallow and Ariel biscuit factory in the February.
Next day Mum pumped fluid into cups of tea,cordial and water and loads of sugar. I spent the rest of the day between the tent and the toilets.
I don,t remember a lot of when we came home or if the holiday ended abruptly.The matter was not spoken of again and only a photograph remains of a young teenage girl with brown curly hair standing in the sunshine outside a tent with her arm around her Mothers' shoulders.
And I might add that to this day I have never ventured below ground even declining an offer to go down into a submarine docked at my local pier. "No thanks " I said "I'll give it a miss"
Looking back, that experience left me with a very high regard for any miners who do this for a living ,as far as I can see they should be paid whatever they deserve,instead we see them having to fight for their rights with the mining companies who after all,do not own what they take out of the ground,it is only leased to them.
The profits they make for their shareholders far outweigh the wages of the miners.
In closing I hope I can call my story.
"Mining underground is not all that it is cracked up to be"

Lois (Muse of the Sea)
PS When I see Madam Muse again I will show her the photo of Mum and I and that terrible experience down in the mine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

~BELOW~ Part 1



I begin to fall behind. The voices of the rest of the company keep getting more and more muffled and the light keeps getting dimmer and dimmer. I get so tired at the end of the day, the equipment starts to feel so very heavy. I stop to rub the back of my neck, my stiff fingers kneading the knotted muscles between the roots of my hair. The lights are moving further away, bobbing along in the semi-dark, but it doesn’t really seem to matter, as my eyes are beginning to rock shut on every other pulse beat anyway. I take off my safety goggles and rub my eyes, shaking my head hard to try and wake myself up. It doesn’t help much. The lights are getting bleary and blurred as they get further and further away. Suddenly they turn a corner and I am plunged into complete blackness.

The thing is, of course, I ought to be terrified. I am not terrified. I am staring into the inky darkness completely calmly. I take an inventory. My heart is not hammering, my breath is not coming too fast. I can’t see anything. I am completely alone. I haven’t a clue where on earth I am. Interesting. Obviously I know something that I don’t know that I know. That would be intuition. Of course it feels much too strong to be merely intuition, but I don’t know another word for it, so I will call it intuition. I am not frightened or alarmed or panicked. I know everything is going to be fine, everything is going to be all right. Except, of course, for the fact that the song that has begun to fill the air, is just a little bit on the flat side.

It is a sparkling song, however, a song that is actually putting small, bright diamond bursts of light into the air. It smells like diamonds too and if I breathe in quickly through my mouth, I can taste it. Wet diamonds. If I didn’t have such a good ear I wouldn’t know it was flat either. I consider: a diamond song really would have to be a little flat, in theory. A diamond just isn’t round after all, not like a ball. Roundish, of course, which is why the song is just a little bit flat. I reach my fingers out and try to catch the diamond sparks that are snapping in the air, but they are elusive. Elusive diamond sizzles snapping in the dark.

When the a new gem enters the air, I actually taste it first. I inhale through my mouth, my tongue against my lips, and find that the clear, sparkling diamond essence has been replaced by
ruby. Not cherry, or strawberry or even just red, but ruby. Umm, I like ruby better than diamond, it has more taste and, truly it’s song is not so flat. Why is that, I wonder? It doesn’t sizzle quite as much, however, nor snap. It seems to seep all over, making everything a deep, darkish crimson color. I can see around the mine a little bit now. I use the thick red light to locate my hat and pick ax. When I stand up, I find myself looking right into a bed of cream colored crystals. Sitting on the bed of cream colored crystals is a quite attractive Fae, about the size of my hand. She is purple and has pink and purple wings. Well. She looks purple in this ruby light anyway.

Now. I am aware that most miners who happened to look into a bed of cream colored crystals and see a purple Fae the size of their hand would probably decide that they had been exposed to some kind of gas leak and were hallucinating. They would immediately lay down, shut their eyes and try and make the purple Fae go away. Consider, however: I have already been perfectly at ease listening to slightly flat diamond music snapping and sizzling in the dark and slurping ruby juice off the air. Tells you something doesn’t it?

I look at the little Fae sitting in the crystals. “Hey,” I say, trying to sound off hand. She smiles slowly. “Straw is cheaper, grass is free.” Then she laughs. Her laughter is worth the stupid joke. It sounds like sweet, clear water tumbling over melting ice in a Spring chinook.

“Are you lost?” she asks me hopefully.
“Possibly.” I say nodding. “My company sort of went on without me and I don’t have any light.”
“Well, that sounds promising,” she says doubtfully.
“Are you supposed to be catching lost miners?” I guess.
“Oh no,” she says shaking her head. “I’m not even supposed to be talking to people who can’t hear me.”
I have to think about this. I look at her carefully. “I can hear you, you know.”
“Yes, there is that,” she says shrugging. She sounds disappointed.
“I take it,” I say, “that you were expecting someone . . . different?”
She squints up at me. “Well, yeah.” She scratches her ear. “A Princess, I think. I mean, I wore my DRESS and I’ve got proDUCT in my hair and everything.”

Sure enough, she is wearing a really cute, really little, little black dress and her black hair is spiked up on top quite carefully.
“Yeah,” I say nodding, “you look really good.”
She smiles. “Yeah?”
“Uh hu. Did you do you own hair?”
“Well, like, I DID it, I mean I didn’t CUT it, but I DID it you know?” She smiles again. “Your not a Princess, though?”
I shake my head. “I don’t think there is much doubt of that.”
She looks disgruntled. Then she looks thoughtful. Then she looks calculating. Then she looks crafty. Then she looks resigned. Then she looks delighted. This all happens very quickly, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
“But you CAN hear me?”
“Oh, yeah.”
“Very good.” She jumps up on the crystals. “You are elected. OBViously you are THE one. I mean, I don’t know why you are wearing such weird clothes and all, but, hey, that is not my problem, you know?”
“OK,” I say. “What am I elected for?”
“Well,” she says carefully, “I’m going to take you Below and I’m going to show you how things Are when they are Backwards. This is important so listen: Once you understand how things Are when then are Backwards, then you can go back up topsides and tell everyone and they will understand and soon everything will work out better up there because they will understand and things will begin to be Backwards up there too.”

My eyes narrow slowly. “Rrrrrright.”
She takes hold of the end of my index finger and begins flying, pulling me along the mine shaft. This feels exactly like you would expect. Like having a butterfly attached to the end of your finger. “Comon.”
We might go over that part about hallucinations and toxic gas again, but, we are just going to assume that you have figured out a few things about me by now, so we can skip the part where I ought to be examining my sanity and move ahead to the moment when we come through the low shadowy mines to a find the long, long drop of an empty mine shaft. The pale reddish light of the ruby is still filling the mine around us. There is another kind of a light coming out of the shaft. A creamy, pearly light that leaves a shaft of swimming golden motes glowing above the mine shaft. I look down, but I can’t see the bottom. I mean, the mine shaft is lit all the way down with the same pearly, gold glow, but I literally cannot see the bottom, it is too far away. I look at my friend on the end of my index finger. “Below?”
“Yeah. Below.” She scratches her ear with her other hand. She looks me up and down. Her lips twist. She puts her head on one side. “Hummmm.” She chews on a purple thumb nail. She lets go of my finger, flutters over and looks down into the shaft. “I suppose you wouldn’t care for the idea of sort of . . . free falling?” She finally asks.
“Well, that sort of depends on what happens at the bottom.”
“I’d . . . I’d get down there first and catch you,” she says. “In theory.”
“No. I’m afraid I couldn’t go for free falling if it’s just in theory.”
She nods absently. “OK. How do you feel about wings?”
That is another story entirely. I smile. “Oh, I could DO wings! Is that possible?”
She looks at me critically. “Yeah. I think so. You are going to have to do some . . . shrinking and, I think you’re going to have to take your . . . shirt off.” I’m about to ask her who we might be going to run into “Below” when I decide I really don’t care. For the experience of flying, I’ll arrive where-ever topless if I have to.

I unbutton my work shirt and shrug it off, letting it fall on the ground. My sports bra goes on top of it quickly. She looks at me and blinks. “Tattoo. Wow. Cool.”
She flutters over in front of my face and forms her hands into a triangle, her thumbs together, her index fingers touching. Then just as if she were blowing a big bubble, she starts to blow slowly and softly on her hands. I hear a sound something like a harp arpeggio and I suddenly I start to itch really badly between my shoulder blades. I’m reaching my hand back over my shoulder to scratch when I am struck by several things all at once. One is that I am sort of hovering in mid air. The next is that I’ve put my hand, not on my shoulder, but on something that feels more like a maple leaf. The third thing is that I am still looking at the tiny Fae, but she isn’t tiny any more, she has grown to be the same size I am. All at the same time, I realize that none of these things make any sense and suddenly I come down with a rather large whomp on the floor of the mine, sitting on my work pants which seem to be big enough for the Jolly Green Giant.

The purple Fae alights next to me and sure enough, we are the same size. She smiles and nods indulgently and points over my shoulder, “Wings.” I twist around. NOW my heart is hammering and my breath is coming too fast. Spread behind me are the most beautiful pair of wings I have ever seen in my entire life. Well. I don’t know if they actually ARE the most beautiful pair of wings I have ever seen in my entire life, but there is no doubt that they are attached to my back, which automatically makes them the most beautiful pair of wings I’ve ever seen before in my entire life. I can’t see all of them, but I can see that they are blue with black veins. Yes. They are beautiful.

She is scratching her head. “Kinda . . . small.”
“Are they?” I look over my shoulder and end up turning in a complete circle getting hit in the face with a soft swish of wing at the end. They are smaller than hers. They just cover and rise above my back, where hers are big enough that she could wrap herself up in them if she wanted to. She walks all the way around me with her head on one side and one eye closed. “Temporary,” she finally concludes, “serviceable and . . . veeeeery attractive, if I do say so myself, and I do.”
“Yeah?” I can’t quite believe how pathetic my voice sounds.
“Oh, Yeah,” she says, nodding, “they’re gorgeous.”
We stand there grinning at each other rather foolishly for a moment.

I move my shoulders experimentally and the wings lift and close. When I move my shoulders a little bit more they lift me right off of the ground. Whoa! I look at the Purple Fae, “How do you . . .”
She shakes her head, “don’t think about it.”
“Don’t THINK about it?”
“Uh hu. You gotta just not think about it. Like, doing the Watusi, or riding a bike, or . . . yeah, you know. Just don’t think about it.”
I look at her with slightly narrowed eyes. “You do the Watusi?” She shrugs, “I can fly.”
OK.” I say, purposefully blanking my mind and subsequently rising up into the air.
“Very good,” she says, smiling. “Take a whirl around the mine.”

While I am flying there is a gem change. Because of that, flying will always be green. As green as the cucumber crisp menthol mist of mint on the tongue of summer, as green as the touch of cool dew damp grass and deep, wet, jade moss, as green as the ultimate, luxuriant, lush sound of emerald.

Fifteen minutes later I return to her side. I know that my eyes have changed. I know they will never look the same again. She looks at me, and her own eyes soften. “There will always be dreams,” she says wistfully.
I smile. “Fifteen minutes,” I say. “It was worth it.”

I have realized, of course, that I am not wearing any clothes. That didn’t matter either. She looks at me now, however and says, “I think we’re gonna have to cover the tattoo. Sorry.”
I smile and hold out my arms. “Have at it.”
She blows again, this time through just a circle made by the forefinger and thumb of one hand. There is very short sound like the single hollow note of a wooden flute. I look down to find that she has given me a rather terrible prom-thing with a big poofey baby-blue chiffon skirt.
“Oh, honestly! Are you trying to pull off the Princess thing here?” I ask her.
She shrugs again. “I thought it was worth a try.”

I swish the skirt around a little. “It matches the wings anyway,” I comment.
“Yeah,” she says modestly, “I’m really good at that.”
I look at my hands. “The gloves are a mile and a half beyond cheesy.”
“I like the gloves!”
“If you were going to go to all the trouble of blue gloves, you might have untangled my hair.”
She looks at the snarled rats nest of my curly blonde hair. “I like your hair!”
I snort through my nose rather too loudly. “Uh hu. Well, let’s go. You’ve got me looking like something short and fat right out of Sleeping Beauty here.”
She giggles. “Yeah, you kinda do! you know? You look just like Fanny Weathertinkle or whatever their name was. And the dress will all poof out when we go down too. So dainty.”
“Oh, go jump down a mine shaft.”

We don’t actually fly down the mine shaft. It is more like floating on the golden whatevertheyare that are slowly drifting up as we are slowly drifting down. It feels like falling through champagne might feel; really dry champagne, I mean totally dry, the bubbles sort of tickle all over as they go past, the way champagne bubbles tickle your nose. It seems like we are in the mine shaft for no time at all, and yet, it also seemed like we are here for eons of soft, slow, golden time as well. Nothing happens in the mine shaft. I could easily stay here the rest of my life.

We land gently and my skirt does, indeed, puff out. The purple Fae laughs her beautiful laugh again. “Bibbbybobiedwhatever,” she giggles.
I scowl at her. “What IS your name? I can’t keep thinking of you as “the purple Fae.”
She snickers. “It’s Fay.”
“It is NOT!”
“It IS!”
“And what is your name?” She asks, smiling.
“It is NOT!” She throws her head back laughing; crystal water singing over melting ice.
“Actually, it isn’t,” I say dryly, “It’s Yekaterinanna, but that is kind of a mouthful.”
“Wow!” she says, “it IS! I can’t even SAY that!”
“Fine. Call me Kaija.”
“Kaija,” she repeats, “and you can call me Fay,”
“Fine,” I say again, “as long as you are not going to tell me your first name is Purple.” She smiles slowly, but she doesn’t say anything.

(Here ends Part I, of BELOW)

Blogger Beast

She lays on the couch, staring up at the cobwebs crackling across the ceiling. “It’s like this doctor . . . It all started when I was a very small child and my tricycle was eaten by a Blogg . . . ”
He adjusts his monocle. “They did not have Blogg’s when you were a very small child, your tricycle could not have been eaten by one. This is clearly another case of transference.”
“No, I mean it, all my psychic fears were caused by Blogg’s. A Blogg locked me in an elevator once, that is why I’m claustrophobic.”
“That is preposterous. A Blogg is an inanimate object.”
“HA! That is what YOU Think! You know perfectly well that the minute your back is turned your Blogg gets up and plays old Elvis CD’s on your stereo.”
“All right now. It is time for some positive work. You are going to go to the Blogg and try to put some words on it.”
“OOOOoooooh Nooooooo I’m not. It will bite my arm off. I need my arm, I’m an artist. Besides, I just had my nails done.”
“Come on now. It is part of your therapy. Off you go. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Another failure experience isn’t going to kill you, you’ve certainly had plenty before this.”
“Gee, thanks loads doc.”
“That’s a good girl. Over to the computer. You can do it.”

She moves to the computer. She starts poking around with the dreaded Blogger Beast. The last we see of Herr Doctor, he has opened his CD machine. He looks inside where he finds “Nothing but a Hound Dog” spinning silently round and round. He raises a hairy eyebrow magnified ten times behind his monocle . . . perhaps she was right all along!!!

The Song of the Seven Miners

When I signed up to go on a mining expedition I didn’t know what I would uncover as I ventured into the mine, making my way down winding untouched pathways and unexplored veins. For one whose biggest fear was discovering nothing I could hardly imagine that I would find precious gems with my first few tentative steps into the mine. Nor could I have foreseen the way the musty walls would creak and moan calling to me, challenging me, guiding my steps, and propelling me forward, even in moments where mining was the farthest thing from my conscious mind. I entered the mine afraid and reluctant in spirit just a couple of days ago. I figured I would have to go in quite deep before I would uncover anything of importance, so with no expectations as of yet I pulled out my trusty flashlight, found a sturdy rock, brushed away the dust and planted myself down.

“No reason to rush,” I thought.
“After all you made it inside, that’s as good a start as any.”
I pulled the paper out of my back jeans pocket and began to leaf through to see what was going on in the world outside of mining.
I made it all the way to the D-section, when I began to hear the whisper of the wind whistling through the mines. I buttoned my shirt and turned the page. The whisper then became a word, an echoing word…
“You’re imagining things” I tell myself as my eyes begin to scan down the page.
“Come and See”
When I can no longer deny that the wind is speaking through the crevices in the mine rock, I choose simply to ignore it.
“How hard could it be to ignore the wind,” I thought.
..but I have to tell you wind can be persistent if necessary and with nothing to do all day but blow it showed no signs of stopping.
“Come and See”
“Come and See, Beth”
Since when were we ever on a first name basis.
“Come and see”
“Come and See, Beth”
“Come and See what!” I shout.
“For goodness sake, I’m on an important mining expedition here.”
“I don’t have time to come and see!”

I began to mumble to myself just as my eyes catch sight of something interesting on the page. Towards the bottom, in a small section on the left hand side I saw twinkling amid the stark black and white text. Running my finger over it I realize it is dust…gold dust glittering on my finger, shiny specks of golden dust dancing in the air above my head settling in my hair, on my shoulders, on my bare cheeks and lips. I wipe away more of the dust and it is there I uncover my first gold nugget.

I am astounded. I didn’t even have to break out my axe and chip away any ore and stone to find this treasure. There in small print is an open audition call for more singers to join a choral group that sings accompanied by the symphony. I feel the wind caressing my cheek and gently pushing on my back.
“Come and See, Beth”
I feel butterflies swirling in different directions in the pit of my stomach as excitement begins to build inside me.
“I have to do this.” I think to myself.

As soon as I affirm this calling, I hear shrill screams from deep down in the mine. It sounds like an entire swarm of banshees crying out loud. In a wild frenzy they come rushing at me and unexpecting, unaware, and completely unprepared I am assailed by a mob of doubts. They shriek in high-pitched tones past my ears. What about the time you were supposed to sing the National Anthem in Tallahassee and you intentionally stuck your skirt in the toilet so you wouldn’t have to go on stage. What about the Spirit Song audition where you messed up the harmony? Your name wasn’t on the accepted list, but your boyfriend’s was and what about 7th grade when you were a finalist for the Little Mermaid solo part, but froze up and never could stay on cue? You can’t even sing in the shower when you know someone’s home. Who are you kidding? They came in droves, each one carrying its own fear. I couldn’t believe there were so many. What about your voice, your laryngitis...

I covered my ears closed my eyes and listened for the wind. I didn’t have to listen hard. The whisper came easily, audibly…calling “Come and See, Beth…Come and see. I uncovered my ears and slowly opened up my eyes. The winds that had sent the gold dust swirling were gone, but the whisper, the prodding remained in my heart. I stood up, brushed the dirt off of my pants and took a few steps, but the path was steep and dark and I nearly lost my footing. Behind me the banshees cackled with glee. “See not even a yard into the mine yet…she’ll never make it…I can feel the doubt creeping in…the banshees poison seeping in slowly, wanting to suck the whispers of inspiration right from my very heart, but the dust on my finger still gleams in the cracks of light, and I know I will do this.

I close my eyes and call upon The Power of Seven.
I call upon the strength within myself, the red glittering horn, the pinecone basket and my six other miners.

They aren’t in range to get to me…all in different sections of the mine, but they hear my call. I toss them each a line and they help me keep my footing steady as I go. Winnie shines light in my direction…illuminating my path, and lifts my spirits with harmonious song. Barbara and Lois speak wisdom and encouragement that drowns out the banshees and directs my focus. Gwen reminds me of herbs and remedies she placed in my pack before the journey to keep my body and spirit healthy. Steph shares with me the similar challenge she faces from outside the mine and I know I am not alone, and Gabe shows me how I opened my heart to the mines and the mine was opening up new veins for me in return.

With “The Power of Seven-Plus” holding the line, I did go and see…and my song can now be heard in the whisper of the winds moving through the cracks in the mine walls. I invite you each to listen to my first treasure.

It comes from a song sung by my new choir and I know it was given as a souvenir of my first discovery. It was given as a gift to me. and I in turn give it as my gift to all of you who held the line for me:

It is from “I thank you God for Most This Amazing Day” by e.e. cummings: “I who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birthday of life and of love and wings…now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened.”
Exhausted after a day of discovery I lay down on the floor of the mine and drift into slumber, dreaming peacefully,
my first dreams of a still far-off place called Eldorado.
I have far to go, and my boots are heavy, but for the first time my burden feels lighter and there is a song in my heart.

**Thank you all so much for your prayers and support and for holding the line for me...I did make it with the condition that I train for 6 months under the same Maestro, with the community choir he also directs. At first I was disappointed having this provision added but then I realized I get to have six months of additional instruction under an incredible Maestro, and who knows what discoveries I will make along the way. I am already so joyful that I even went through with the audition with my stagefright and the condition of my throat withstanding. For me this was such a big step. I seriously could not have done it without all of you along for the journey and as for the provision I have chosen to accept it with an open heart and an enthusiatic spirit. Who knows where this path will take me, and afterall it's not nearly as much about the destination as it is about the journey. A journey that has already taken me to places that just two weeks ago I would have doubted I could reach."** Beth