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Musings on the Zodiac
 

Dr. Timber Gorman's Cataract Symphony

At Mt. Desert Island hospital I'm lying on the operating table on my back. The operating room orchestra starts out like this: bing bing bing bing--a regular beat. Pretty loud. Like something you might hear at a gambling casino. That's my own heart beating.

But to back up a bit, while the orchestra is warming up, I overhear in the pre-op space next to mine, on the other side of a curtain, a nurse explaining about colonoscopy. A lot more information than I needed to know. After she explains about the polyps and the gas (which is normal, says the nurse), I ask my nurse to take me for a little walk.

Then I'm rolled into the operating room. Rachel is my guide across the River Styx, which means she's the anesthesiologist. She knows me quite well and so she will give me zero to minimal dosages of anesthesia, for the most part. She knows I can calm myself with yoga breathing.

I'm a little surprised when Rachel says, in her Virginia accent, "Savitri, I'm going to put you to sleep for about 2 minutes." I found out later that this blank-out moment was because Dr. Timber Gorman needed to give me a shot that I probably would not have wanted to be aware of for the time being.

Rachel says, "Okay, Savitri now it's time to do your yoga breathing." Then Rachel holds my hand, while Dr. Timber Gorman begins the surgery.

Soft background music is a bit like Nat King Cole, but it's not. Dr. Gorman says to the male nurse, a few times, "Go easy on the irrigation." The man giving the irrigation coughs once. I can almost see Dr. Gorman giving him a look. Not that coughing is a bad thing, but maybe it is in the operating room.

A robot speaks now and then, giving directions. It's a female voice. Similar to Hal's in "Space Odyssey," only I don't think this one has designs to take over.

Now and then I hear a sort of rumbling gurgling, like a horse bubbling its lips. I have no idea what it is.

There's an airbag wrapped around my arm that swells and shrinks, with soft breaths. That's the blood pressure machine.

All the while there is an intense white light shining into my eye, and some activity going on there. I know Dr. Gorman is sucking out my old lens.

After a bit, Dr. Gorman asks in her gentle, calming voice, "How are you doing?" "Fine, but I need to clear my throat, is that okay (I'd been told not to move)?" "Yes, that's fine." I clear my throat. Dr. Gorman says, "Okay. Moving on."

Bing bing bing, bubble lips, Nat King Cole, robot woman, BP air bag, Dr. Timber Gorman 2 more times asking how I am and then "moving on."

After the third "How are you doing?" I ask "How much longer?" "Not long. I am about to put in the new lens."

Then it's over. Bright light off. Dr. Gorman smiling. I say, "Rachel holding my hand is better than any anesthesia." And then I say "Thank you," to Rachel, to Dr. Gorman and the two nurses, one male and one female.

With bandage over my eye, I'm rolled into the same room as the pre-op room only now I'm post-op. There I'm given melon and pineapple to eat, and orange juice, and a hot gluten free blueberry muffin. I'm quite hungry.

My neighbor drives me home to sound of Simon and Garfunkle.

The next morning very early, still a bit dark out, with my glasses propped over the patch, I drive myself to Dr. Timber Gorman's office, which is no where near the hospital. As soon the nurse Cathy removes the patch I see very clearly. The world has turned quite bright, and even brighter after the second eye is done. I feel profoundly grateful. And I'm lucky because it is fall season. Colors are brilliant and splendid.


I marveled
at that light,
and grasped it,
and brought it up to the sun.
I laid hold upon it,
and will not let it go.

--Makeda, Queen of Sheeba

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Fall Has Arrived

A cool crisp walk along Eagle Lake. The beginnings of Fall. An arrow of geese overhead. Water lapping.


Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being...
Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty.

--Rumi
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Circle of Love Inside Prison Outreach

My absence since my last post is due to the fact that Amma has given me an enthusiastic thumbs up to assemble and edit a collaborative book about Amma's prison outreach program, Circle of Love Inside. Riveting accounts of volunteers' experiences will be featured, along with inmate poetry and art.

The letter-writers' stories will reveal information about prison conditions, inhumane and racial. Quotes from inmates will give life to the authors' narratives. The Circle of Love Inside book will present a vital message to the world about those living in the shadows of our society, and about inmates' lives before and during incarceration. Tales of redemption are found in the ways spirituality helps prisoners find peace behind bars.

One of the inmates I write to has this to say about receiving mail:

Next to visits, mail is gold in prison. You should see the men who wait with expectancy to receive something, only to receive nothing from no one. It breaks my heart daily to see the reality of the abandonment of priceless human souls that just needed someone, anybody, in their corner.
—Apollo, Inmate in a California prison

The Circle of Love Inside personal accounts will show how writing letters to prisoners can be life changing for both inmate and person on the outside.


Don't be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your candle and step forward.
—Amma



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Flamingo Day in Maine

July is the season. We here in Southwest Harbor, Maine, pretty close to Canada, very definitely North Atlantic, we pretend we're in the tropics. For one day. Villagers get all decked out in pink clothes, many gardens are strewn with plastic flamingos, and then our parade. A celebration of warmth and just plain old goofy fun.

All the ones in the parade throw candies out for the children...or for anyone who likes candy.

Yesterday while I was riding my bike home from the library, I heard a band practicing. "When the Saints Come Marching In." I watched them march down one of the side roads. And now today, there they were dancing down the street, their horns loud and wonderfully out of tune, marching in the Flamingo Day Parade.

"You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,
your voice-thunder makes us very happy.
Roar, lion of the heart,
and tear me open!"
--Rumi Read More 
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Gold Finch

Gold finches and chickadees populate my balcony, their main interest being my bird feeder. Every once in a while a larger bird such as a cardinal tries to perch at the feeder, but usually fails to gain purchase. Instead the cardinals crouch down in the white pot, eating the seeds the gold finches have thrown away.

Anyway, the little golden fellow in the photo seemed to want his picture taken, posing on the top of a piece of driftwood. He is surrounded by pansies and red flowers (I didn't ask what they were called when I bought them as my main interest was attracting hummingbirds). The finch's piece of driftwood sticks out of a large white pot with dill, parsley, and climbing peas.


"O friend, understand: the body
is like the ocean,
rich with hidden treasures.
Open your inmost chamber and light its lamp."

--Mirabai
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The Day After the Full Moon

Spirittapestries.com has come to a close. I've transferred everything that was important on that site over to pathofthemother.com.

One thing dies and another is reborn.

Life is constantly changing.

Summer has finally arrived in Maine after a troubled start. Dense, cold fog yesterday. Today, warm. That means the veggie garden will be very happy.

A mother duck led her 7 or 8 ducklings into Norwood Cover waters. They all sort of spilled into the water, a bundle of downy feathers. The osprey was no longer cheeping and soaring overhead. Those brave ducklings followed their equally brave mother in one single file, down the center of the cove until they disappeared from sight (too small for my eyes to see).


"All night I could not sleep
because of the moonlight on my bed.
I kept on hearing a voice calling:
Out of Nowhere. Nothing answered 'yes.'"
---Zi Ye (From Jane Hirshfield's Women in Praise of the Sacred
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The Day Before The Full Moon

Riddle:

The beginning of eternity
the end of time and space.
The beginning of every end,
The end of every place.

--Anonymous
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Summer equinox

This Path of the Mother website experienced a renewal today, with me adding and subtracting many things. And it was a fine way to spend the first day of summer, while the rain was pouring down all day long. A lovely rain.

I imagine that tomorrow when I go downstairs to my raised garden beds (2 of them, 7' x 7' each) I'll find some very happy newly-planted flowers and veggies (some from seed and some from seedlings).

Meanwhile, at the moment, the light of day is fading. Rain has come to a stop. One lone bird sings an evening lullaby.


When the mind is pure and quiet it becomes one with the universal mind. That mind is like a mirror. The secrets of the Universe will be revealed there. --Amma Read More 
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Spring in Maine

Spring Equonox has come and passed. On that day friends balanced eggs on their tips. Day after day, the people of Maine began seeking evidence of the coming of spring. It snowed and snowed some more. The sun came out and the temperatures rose to 50 degrees one day. Then came the rains, followed by snow, followed by hail. Rain. The snow is melting. The sun comes out more often. Birds sing. People are out walking again. Even smiling.

I give you a poem I wrote:


"Only One"


Only one lobster boat on Sunday morning.

Only One.

Only one chair.
Only one ladder.
Only one lobster.
Only one crack in the 78 record.
Only one song.

From the empty church,
with the roof collapsing over the altar,
only one host growing moldy.
Mold growing in his beard,
on his feet,

until the pond arrives
landing on the meadow,
yellow daisies and lavender asters
circling
dancing to the one bag pipe in the center of the pond.

The man stomps his feet to the drum of the jig
as the women arrive in a coracle
on the river flowing in a spiral around him.
He dances in the middle of the line of women
holding hands,
snaking their way in and out,
pulling him along with their song
from the broken record
filled in with silver scales from the fish
that now leap in profusion,
offering themselves on the banks of the river—
a feast of the host.

His feet grow pink in the twilight,
a baby’s feet,
his hair on his beard, the peach fur of a young boy.
The women touch him all over,
finger tips,
a tingling of energy—everything, everyone, every animal and tree,
tingling
with the energy that glows in the dark.  Read More 
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Spring Equnox Approaches

It's nearly time to poke your head out of the hibernation cave. A few more snow storms, a little warmer outside. It's time to get into the spirit with another poem, this one by E.E. Cummings:

"i thank You God for most this amazing"

I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
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