Diamonds on the Water

Indeed, the late afternoon sun is glinting off the waves of Admiralty Bay. Each wave sparkles separately, like an aquatic diamond.
I have gotten back from a 16 day venture to help my family make a major move. It was originally scheduled to be 6 days. So blessed that I have the latitude to be flexible. Yes, the venture involved goats, several dogs, cats, septic system pipes, real estate brokers, and 98 degree weather.
On some of the stops we made in the multiple round trips to and from the new home, there were rocks by the side of the road or parking area that seemed to call out to me, “You need to take me home.” A couple were flat slabs of about a foot square, others were large chunks of holey volcanic rock, a couple were rusty red volcanic rock. Yes, you’re right, they are now here at home, finding places in my gardens.

“I Talk to the trees but they don’t listen to me.” The lyrics written by Alan Jay Lerner from the movie, Paint Your Wagon. Now Alan was married 8 times, perhaps the trees doubted his credibility. At least I listen to the rocks.

Driving home on I-5 north, I passed by Kalama, Oregon. The gigantic sign in bright yellow letters that said RESTAURANT, was still there. Fifty years ago, that same sign was there as I was driving home to Seattle with my Uncle Jerry. It was late at night, I was a kid, and he was driving. I was the only other one awake in the car with five people. The first ‘A’ in the sign was out as we drove by, so the sign said REST URANT. We had great fun laughing about resting our rants. Rants about late night driving, soggy French fries, and my cousin snoring.

This stunning view is going up Ochoco Pass in Oregon on one of the moving trips. So much beautiful scenery in the high desert, so much geologic amazement to see: basalt cliffs, deep gorges, mesas.

As I neared home and pulled up to the ferry, I saw there was still room on board the boat. Yay! Then I was miffed as the staff person put an orange barrier in front of me, walked around a minute or two, then closed the gate to the ferry.
I only had to wait about 20 minutes until the next one, yet I was still a bit cranky. Then, then, I was the first car to board the next boat. First. Which meant I was front and center with the wide open view in front of me of the sunset. The Universe had a plan for me, I just needed to be there.
Gorgeous orange and pink sky, waves swishing up against the boat. And diamonds on the water.

Art is a lie?

“Art is a lie that illuminates the truth.”
This tidbit is attributed to Pablo Picasso, Jacques Cocteau, and Albert Camus, among others.
Another interesting take on it, “Art is the lie that allows us to approach the truth.”

My interest was captured by this as I saw art as the truth, be it via Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Curtis, Derek B. Miller, Jodi Picoult, Virginia Wolf, or Jackson Pollock. There is some aspect of truth, enlightenment, or expanded vision in art. It was not necessary for me to like the art, just see it and learn something.

As I have gotten older, and recognized that just because something is a documented fact, such as landing on the moon or the Holocaust, there are people who don’t believe those things happened.

In getting older, I have come to see more truths about myself. Yup. A recent lightbulb was “Yes, Mary, you are valuable and worthy.” Somewhere deeply embedded in my psyche was the belief I was not good enough. Wow.

A lesson learned that still makes me smile is “I tell the truth so I don’t have to remember what I said.”
Perhaps I relate to that, as there were some big lessons for me with the choice of telling the truth or dodging it with half-truths, clouding the issue, or a flat-out lie in order to avoid a consequence for some action of mine.

Another ‘Yup.’ This really is an organ-grinder and yes, he has a real monkey on top of it. This was from my last trip to Paris, about ten years ago. What does this have to do with truth and art and lies? Reasonable question. Maybe because I think it is time for me to head to France again. My next book is a novel set in eastern France. Truth in the novel? Quite a bit. Art in the novel? Oh yeah!

Bob & Mario & Camille

“Like a rock. I was strong as I could be.”
Remember Bob Seger? I enjoyed his music in the 70’s and 80’s. His style, his lyrics, he found the right combination for millions of us. Back then, I felt like I ‘got’ the meaning of the lyrics, it is now I am relating to them in a deeper way. Yeah, what thirty+ years will do, eh? Kids, jobs, betrayals, mistakes, accomplishments, moves, spouse(s), adventures, lessons learned, opportunities lost, learning to live with gratitude.
“20 years. Where’d they go? I sit and wonder where they’ve gone.”

You, too?

Bob is 77 now. I found my copy of his “Greatest Hits” CD from 1994, which got me hearing the lyrics of several of the songs in an up-close-and-personal way. And think of some of the people in my past.

I wonder where many of them are now.
In first grade, there was this sweet kid in Ms. Winans’ class with me, Neil Gibbs. His family moved away at the beginning of second grade. He was so kind to me, little Miss Not-sure-what-to-do. I have often wondered how and where he is.
“I’m older now but still running against the wind.”

Mario Taveri. My boyfriend when I lived in Brindisi, Italy. Lots of stories from that year, o la la. I was twenty-three and na├»ve. He was thirty-six, or so… He got me a job in the ticket agency where he worked part-time which sold tickets for the ferry boats to Greece. Backpack and all, I had gotten off the train in Brindisi to catch the boat to Corfu and Piraeus, Greece. He and several other men were latching on to us tourists as we stepped onto the depot platform. No missing that all of us were tourists and many Americans. After a short time working there, I too, learned to tell what country a traveler was from just by seeing and hearing them for a minute or two.

Mario proceeded to tell me the boat workers were on strike and no boat that evening. Did I know where to have dinner? “No,” I shook my head. He knew a great place. “Okay,” I said. Off we went. My first calamari. Wonderfully delicious.
I found out later there was no strike, he had ulterior motives.
I didn’t make it to Athens for some months, and then it was a work trip, related to moving part of the ticket agency owner’s furnishings. I got a good look at the Parthenon as we drove by. “I was livin’ to run and runnin’ to live.”

Stories. There was the young, slim Mid-Eastern man with a bodyguard. He was trafficking men from the Mid-East up to work in Europe who had no papers or passports. His bodyguard was built like Joe Greene or Dick Butkus and carried a wad of $100 U.S. dollar bills bigger that his fist. There was the Scottish woman, Anne, living there with her boyfriend, Gianni. He was no more faithful to her than a mosquito, I didn’t know why she stayed. She missed her family and home in Penrith.
There was the trio from southern France: Helene, Michel, her husband, Camille, Helene’s sister, approximately late 20’s in age. They were traveling in a van. They stayed a couple nights in Brindisi, which has historical significance: the Appian Way ends in Brindisi, Spartacus was captured near Brindisi, Cicero visited regularly, and the poet Virgil died in Brindisi. Lots to see.
One afternoon, I am coming back with a latte’, when I see Mario coming to the agency from one end of the block and Helene from the other. I knew in that second what they’d been doing the last couple hours.
Mario made a big fuss about getting me a calzone to go with my latte’. I just looked at him.
About an hour later, I heard cries and whacks from the back room. I opened the door to investigate. Mario said, “Stop. You might get hurt.” However, I saw Michel kicking Camille as she lay on the floor, trying to protect herself. I rushed in, yelled at him to stop. He looked at me, kicked her again, and stomped out to the front office.
I helped Camille wash her face, put some ice on her bruises, and sat with her awhile. Where was Helene?

Then early that evening, the three of them got in the van and drove down to the ferry dock, smiling and waving at Mario and I as we stood on the sidewalk and watched them go. As they were leaving, Camille gave me a long hug. “Remember me,” she said and pressed a small jade heart pendant in my hand, kissed me on both cheeks, and got in the van.

Yes, I still have it.

I would love to know what happened to Camille and where she is today. And Mario. And Neil. And Anne.
“Like a rock. I see myself again.”

Thank you for reading~
You can also find me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter now and again.
My book (!) available on Amazon in paperback and e-book
Check out my Upcoming Events page. Sometimes I am doing cool stuff, like this February 3.

Blueberries from Peru?

Indeed, it is the end of December. Blueberries have been out of season for months here in the Northwest. Yet they are on sale at the local supermarket. The label says they’re from Peru and Chile.
Again the question and thought arise: How has the world changed so much in the last decade? I will spare you my theories about that, I am working on clarity and not blaming!

Successes this year? Getting healthier, being more patient with my pup, who is now 2, helping my family, scads of work done on my home, walking regularly. And getting my book completed and published! Up on Amazon, so now the ongoing marketing.

Dmitri Matheny, my book, and I at the Anacortes Library in October.

A piece of clarity recently delivered was how the book, my pup, and the myriad of issues with my house have distracted me from my music. A couple of recent gigs and one coming up have brought back that missing element to my life. And it feels good to have it back, a void that I had not noticed until it said, “Hey, no practice, no gigs! No practice and your playing sucks!” Oh yeah, and I forget stuff! There is a richness and a being present when I play music, even practicing scales.

Practicing gratitude daily has also become part of my life. My opportunities, my freedom, my view of Admiralty Inlet, having a carport, my pup, caring and supportive people in my life, my adult children’s stability and families, my return to lap swimming. Oh yeah, and blueberries in winter.

All the best to you in 2023, it portends to be an abundant, productive year.
Thank you for reading.

Woo-Hoo! My Book

A journey. A learning curve. An accomplishment. An undertaking. A wow-do-I-feel-great!
It’s up on Amazon… When I Was a Rock Star: Thoughts on Being Present in the World.
Yee gods and little fishes, as my best friend in grade school would say.
And this week of publication has brought excitement, visits from friends as well as a gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers from a neighbor this morning.

Working at seeing the abundances in my life. There are many. The Canadian geese are starting to fly through with their amazing honking as they cruise overheard. My pup is two years old and still speaking to me. My new abode is now really feeling like home. The lupine seeds I planted months back are finally sprouting. The nectarines I got at the market a few days ago are perfectly ripe and delicious. This amazing opportunity to publish. Ah yes, gratitude.
Thank you for reading. Thanks to so many of you for support over the years.
My request: Please tell everyone you know about my book. If inclined, leave a favorable review on Amazon. The more sales and reviews get me more sales and searches, which increase my reader audience. Yay-hoo!

P.S. You can find me on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and facebook.

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