Tag Archives: diary

Field Notes: Auroville, observations feeling lost (at first)

Intro / Disclaimer (longer than actual notes): I hesitate to publish this flashback diary, not because I fear away from my notion of embracing translucency in personal archaeology, but rather because these are notes from the first couple of days and after sort of a disconnected start (keep in mind, I had just come out of several weeks of fairly solitary time at an Ayurveda hospital).

Anyhow my (I don’t know how to say it) my “community building instincts” kicked in and I made friends with some fun Italians who had a house and some herb, we did some slacker yoga, met a young Indian man studying sustainable architecture and connected him with the wider hemp as a building material community which has gone on to be fruitful relationships, met some wonderful wise elder ladies from Iceland and Switzerland, sort of fell into my rhythm.

Matrimandir thatta way

Plus, I learned logistics about “how to live there which basically is “if you can contribute something, you can make it happen”.

So this part of the story which sounds a little bit bleak and, in many ways is accurate though as in recent times (as a round this up in 2022,) there are emerging and ongoing controversies about how a place like this should be governed which brings in a lot of questions about privilege, colonialism, ecology, status of the land itself, the intentions of founders (and how much that matters and how is to be interpreted), which all brings tension between long timers, and newer inter-lopers, and the people around the international enclave who are just living and trying to make the best of their life in a larger country which still kind of figuring out who wants to be in the bigger world.

oh here is Matrimandir

So,… there’s this part of the story and then the part where I had to leave suddenly upon the passing of my mother and make a rapid trip to Utah, (talk about culture shock!), on the middle, there were some pleasantness which I’ll try to articulate along the way under separate cover.

In short, I found that there was a need for archivists, librarians, radio talkers, communications types and I suddenly saw how I might fit in and disappear there forever.

Of course I loaded up on artifacts, ephemera and items from the bookstore with the teachings of the founders and various dispatchers and missives about peace and community. (Some made it in to a scrapbook chronicling the heart-wrenching trip from India to Utah and beyond).

I’m saying this because there’s a lot more to say but in the meantime I was also dealing with the crisis of the withdrawal of Rs.1000 and Rs.5000 bank notes from circulation which resulted in empty bank machines, and no way to get cash (which was particularly amusing/ironic in this cashless society when one really needed cash to not use cash – but without a bank account well… folks were flying to Sri Lanka just to exchange money and come back which seems to defeat the whole point of an ecologically sustainable and equitable community!).

As fate (if that’s a thing) had it, things went differently, very differently, but this place remains in my head as I try to sort out the conundrum to address here on these first tentative days, but also in my heart simply for the fact that this kind of “unique/weirdness” exists.

I hope to return, or maybe not, I just hope something like this exists in some utopian form. Yep, one can dream right?

Added a few snapshots in here, others will go in a sort of “in between days” post” (pardon my notes to self).

Oh and more about this time appears in audio form as “Field Notes from Elsehwere, Choogle On #121” in which i tell *way too much* about the missing years.

Auroville Observations

So far, its much more intense than intentional. Can a community grow into a city without bureaucracy, boards, meetings, committees, resolutions, motions, applications, infighting, mandatory contributions and acronyms?

Seems perhaps not, or is it? It seems not. Or is it rule dependent? Or personality driven?

But strong leaders go rogue and sex and power corrode.

Frequent complaining, loud motorbikes, local workers and no hellos and/or Namastes.

I have tea in a stainless steel cup. Will food come to me as a notice my cane? I suspect not.

With respect to intention and effort, are you simply trading one framework for another with new names?

various shrines but not “religious”

The spirituality if any is in the background. “Love” is the word but not evident in action. No hugs, no warmth, not cold communication but hardly an emotional symbiotic place or perhaps not physically evident.

Now, one full day in… Awaiting dinner after fumbling through woods on a dark trail. Why am I so unsatisfied? All afternoon scrapbooking, letter/package making-is it that I don’t understand this place yet? The only people who come to talk are other new people or “tourists”.

restaurants are neither businesses nor not-businesses, cash is no cash but cash

I get that long timers make this community for themselves and not for passers-thru but, still… This is neither a spiritual holy land nor brilliantly efficient or revolutionary self-sufficient nor rock ‘n’ roll fun nor artsy-craftsy-though all those elements exist.

No “religion” per se but cult of work-that’s sort of OK-not warm but not clinical. No hugs still, no hellos or help all day long. So many complainers!

Even at the visitor center-everyone is on mobile’s-services spread out making wearing motorcycles and scooters necessary. Townhall was well, a Townhall. You change money for a card with Receipts and *sign here* for everything.

I buy and read all the books and I’m down with the charter and respect and work but somehow it feels oddly-indifferent to outsiders no doubt and unashamed to say-a shortage of houses but no quick prefab dwellings.

Old ideas are cool with local artisans but if a shortage is thwarting progress from only 2800-ish to a projected (and seemingly unreasonable 50,000) how well it scale?

I don’t care as I like small but masterplan seems dependent on a few “lions” and long timers. Sure it makes sense in a traditional conventional sense but it all seems so fragile and rather self-congratulatory while more or less like the old west of the myths of America – pioneer families incorporating a new town while carpet-baggers roll in often with new ideas and are branded “newcomers” even after a decade or so.

New arrivals who wish to settle are vetted after a year or longer. You have to contribute *something* of value (skills, building, biz…) which the community deems needed.

But the “community leadership” is nebulous and confused (from my vantage point). The newbs post bond in form of an air ticket home – your “home” isn’t here, it’s where you “come from” not like rainbow gatherings where the greeting is “welcome home” – maybe because of the outside political situation, hedging bets with a “punt play”.

The pain and guilt of socioeconomic class is palatable and unresolved.

Yet here I feel so alone despite surrounded by people for the first time in weeks. But no eye contact no warmth – to me at least.

Now I will eat and hope it’s just a bad day despite a walk to the visitor center, watching an introductory film, purchasing books with rupees for which change is difficult, chatting on blankets and towel, getting “non-cash” card, buying items to eat: pears and curd and cookies on bed while I listen to favorite music but all I think is “I am lost.”

mighty banyan tree
Continue reading Field Notes: Auroville, observations feeling lost (at first)

Chooglin’ through September, logistics & whatnot

Chooglin’ On -– not on the Canadiana tracks this time, rather balancing logistical and creative life in a cottage in Japan

Are you there pals? It’s me, daveo.

So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.

I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.

Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:

  1. Be a great hubbo and papa
  1. Take steps forward for health
  1. Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul

I.e. Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.

Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality) but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. (Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)

I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s); 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.

This is even before we dig into Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. 

And more important than any of this is playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. While on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.

++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies. 

So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is?

Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, and I will pluck the things as ripened.

I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.

Let’s make a start! Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.

We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! 

Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

I hope you enjoy hanging out with my unnecessary annotations.

Summary: yes, +/- 90% of my creative energy of late is spent on government paperwork – passports, taxes x3, disability, resident permits, visas, insurance, pensions, various IDs, certified translations, notaries etc. (the rest of the time, i eat oatmeal, fold laundry and make mix tapes).

Yesterday:

  • Tax papers signed and sent (to one of three national jurisdictions with which i contend, (for the time being of at least) still have to submit payment
  • Scans of important family registration/birth registration papers (acquired Monday at the Ward office) sent to certified translator for certified translation (duh) plus notarization to be returned by registered mail
  • renewed domain, yes, i only pay for one or two domains now
  • unplugged hard drives and routers drain a couple hours of pretty serious thunderstorm just to be safe
  • prepared a couple more posts for the creative life archive just to get down to the “only 300” in the draft/pending folder… Anything you’re enjoying from this project recently?

Still have a few series which just need a bit of ”clean up” to finish (much of which I can do from bed in a semifog) but a lot of stuff is just gonna wait for another “blitz” run.

Gonna slow this project down I think as I need to move on to three different projects:

1) finish Kerouac in Kobe video, I’m really close, but editing video is so rough on my eyes! October is a big month in the Kerouac world and I wanna make my contribution.

2) Google Drive shakedown, move/archive/back up files, cancel my 2 TB subscription (this is final step in my “quitting the saas” project this year in which i’ve canceled more than a dozen various online subscriptions which were really handy when iwas nomadic but now kind of redundant expense)

3) poetry book manuscript assembling project / long overdue, have the poems (so many!), have a concept/working title, and moving poems around is much easier on my eyes then video. It’s not something that will “make money” but it will feed my soul and hopefully inspire my friends (that’s you!).

Once I do this, then I can move on to a book of nonfiction travel stories and then a book of fictional short stories but first, these poems need an audience to breathe life into them – thoughts?

Today though, gotta:

Continue reading Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Very happy to step into this compound

Handy:

Memo: What follows is transcribed from my diary very shortly after my stay, more or less verbatim, at the risk of being redundant, i have previously shared:

Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Along my healing journey, I received treatment had the most wonderful Ayurveda Health Home in Pokhara, Nepal.

This company operates two facilities, one in Kathmandu and one in Pokhara where i did my treatment [update: subsequently built a 3rd clinic which looks like a wonderful mix of the 2 and maybe this one is no longer operating?].

The hospitals are part of a German-Nepal partnership. As such, the facility ran on a very prompt German-like schedule, but with exceptionally diligent Ayurvedic practitioners, including several full-time doctor/medical officers.

On the way to AHH

The chief amongst their practitioners is the world-famous Dr. Rishi [update: RIP] – a most elegant and graceful man who emanated healing energy and power. While he is primarily based at the Kathmandu facility, he flew to Pokhara for my intake for which I was very grateful.

Me with Dr Rishi on my “out-take” review in Kathmandu / bless his memory

He had thoroughly reviewed my medical file in advance (including notes from Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda and my tests in Phitsanulok), and the intake was several hours long starting with a long discussion about my symptoms, background and objectives, followed by a massage, then an *extremely thorough* physical inspection.

I should mention that I had originally intended to go back to India and Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra but for some strange reason, my Indian Visa was declined creating a rapid change of travel plans which became *a little bit expensive* and complicated but I worked through it all by adding in a wander through Malaysia after more hospital tests and treatment in Thailand, OK carry-on…

The days were very busy, but very well organized. I would receive very complete instructions, hands-on, for each of the different treatments, which I would later self-administer.

These included various mouth cleanings, nose cleanings, eye cleanings, eye exercises, meditation, and so on. I also received a series of instructional sessions about the overarching concepts of Ayurveda – the history, background, purposes and information about doshas and the importance of the mind/spirit/body connection.

I also participated on one-on-one yoga sessions. The yoga was very gentle and suited for my body and condition. Rather than complicated poses, started with very simple joint rotations and was very calm rather than stressful experience. (Note: it seems strange to call yoga “stressful“ but doing complicated poses and rapid movement is very difficult for me – as i found later at Peacock Ayurveda Garden).

I received dozens of different kinds of massage, with different oils, different techniques, sometimes two practitioners working on me at once, herbal poultices, salt poultices…

I also went through an extensive series of enemas (don’t freak out)… some to cleanse and some to fortify. It was pretty intense to say the least but I was extremely well supported through the process, and my diet gradually build back up from thin rice porridge and herbal tea, to more substantial food, before I would rejoin the rest of the group for more standard meals.

A warm and welcoming table to convene with other patients
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

welcome to Peacock Ayurveda Garden

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Gist: Along my healing journey, I sought treatment at Peacock Ayurveda Clinic in Dikwella (map to Peacock), close to noteworthy Galle, in southern Sri Lanka. I stayed in-patient for three weeks for a complete “panchakarma“ program.

Background: Certainly, Ayurveda has a number of different flavours in terms of quality and type of the facilities… Ranging from “spa-like“ facilities catering primarily to relatively wealthy or western clientele, to very spartan and rustic, often government-run, facilities treating local people (see Dissanayake diary).

Can be difficult to find the exact right fit mixing with medical needs but with comfort and safety enough to have a relatively enjoyable and stress-free period of time.

This is especially important because doing an extended panchakarma (five medicines) program as it can be rather intense. You are quite literally cleaned out inside and out, and your days are quite packed from early morning onwards with yoga, meditation, meals, doctor consultations, various massages, eye, ears, and nose cleaning, and some of the treatments, let’s just say can be rather “delicate“ or even rather embarrassing. Further, the effects of the treatment can be very intense and lay one out for a couple of days.

I researched a lot of different facilities around Sri Lanka and ended up on this one which seemed, from the outside, to be a good fit for me. While overall it was not near as fulfilling of an experience at my time in Ayurveda Health Home in Nepal or Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra in India, it was a learning experience.

“darling, i’am off to a rejuvenating Pachakarma treatment, see you in a two weeks”

Grounds / Facilities: Of the four different (at the time) Ayurveda facilities at which I received treatment, this one was definitely the most fancy and spa-like.

oh hi buddha

There was a pool (which frankly I was really never able to use but that’s cool), lounge chairs, beautifully manicured gardens with flowers in abundance, and overall the facility was very splendid, filled with interesting antiques, and the patient rooms were like a very nice hotel rooms, even with a private patio area for sitting and resting.

the grounds were immaculate and yes sometimes peacocks

Treatments / Schedule: The treatments were performed in a variety of traditional style huts, which were quite functional as well as charming. Each day, I was issued a fresh sarong and shirt and hat as the treatments are very oily. Additionally, I was given a basket of tiny disposable underwear to wear during the treatments.

Most days, I would have a short consultation with either the senior doctor (a gentleman who was very busy and often/mostly offsite) or a junior doctor (a young lady who was clearly still learning and mostly observing but very kindly).

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

Meta: archive fiddling (instead of tea ceremony)

Wiped out today after (by my standards) a really hectic week so I didn’t go with my double darlings to tea ceremony. Had some emotional lay down, bit of house tidying/ usual laundry folding, “Life admin“ list reviewing, and some fiddling with my creative life archive.

Re: creative life archive, still clearing draft backlog (315) & enjoying the process, more or less.

(this composition was made for the #daveo50 series and now I’m #daveo52 but no one’s keeping score, right?)

Next up: a new series/category of “signs in the wild” + a couple more Ayurveda hospital reports from Nepal and Sri Lanka, & notes from a Shodo calligraphy exhibit & more museums.

Reckon ive mentioned before but for me, assembling the archive post is like playing some sort of video game or a puzzle or maybe even watching a TV series… I scout around hard drives and repositories for the items, combine various media, figure out categories, plot a schedule.

And, as “collections” grow from 3 posts to suddenly 7+… I create & nest in a new category.

For example: just finally made categories for “payphones” “postboxes” “currency/bank notes” and “typewriters” & moved posts.

It’s semantic web funtimes w/ clear url slugs & metadata!

Diary: ME to Consulate / much officialness + sleeping masks & fades

Yesterday’s #MECFS medical intake checked off the list (more to say, of course, I have more to say… there are notes).

All packed up

(Very brief version: long day, spun me out but “felt heard” & respected and have some new approaches)

So today was resting in a cool dark room for Thursday is business of an official kind in Osaka for the US consulate but just gonna do it as an “sniper mission” with no additional stops.

Rules: Items are forbidden beyond scant essentials. Various documents and methods of large payment. Oaths will occur.

As such, I’m looking official, right? #WorldsWorstSecretAgent

No spectacles or smiles allowed, also must fit all hair inside the photo, really.

Yes, I am leaving the prefecture. We will travel by private vehicle rather than train for precautionary purposes.

Then next week starts in projects for Canadian and Japan passports for Ichiro, (and renewing Canadian passport and Japanese resident card for me) but that’s next week(ish)…

Tip regarding passports in general: keep dozens on hand for various purposes, mix and match, trade with your friends! Remember, everything is a forgery. Invent your own country.

All right, 4:38 PM, got to get out of bed and wash some dishes… Get ready for my darlings coming home. Think we’ll have kabocha croquettes

PS re: sleeping masks

I have about 17 sleeping masks, 4 or 5 in regular rotation but am (obv) still seeking *the perfect 1”.

AudreyHepburn’s much sought after blue satin sleep mask makes £6,250, over x 4 the high estimate #AudreyAtChristies #AuctionUpdate

Above is Audrey Hepburn’s actual sleeping mask, not the one used in-character in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which is endlessly reproduced and sold through all your usual Internet outlets… This one went at auction for £6000

Want:

  • soft to touch/silky material
  • big enough to really cover beardo face comfy w/o squeeze
  • wide backstrap w/ covered elastic
  • and dammit, want it cute!

I keep buying them and what should be a very simple solution is always either under built (skinny shtty elastic are the worst), poor materials, or too much “technical” cloth that doesn’t feel nice aside from an emergency use, or so massive that they wrap your head in some kind of overheated cocoon.

With my illness, I wear these like a super lot. I would make my own but I’ve got a few projects on the list before that and figure someone’s got this figured out.

Advice?

PS A few more notes and examples commingled with notes about Ramen and I don’t know, probably pickles

Not for passport use that surfaced from 2014, fresh from Junior’s Barber shop… Just thinking I might get to go back there one of these months 
* Public Service Announcement *

Note: Junior's BarberShop does the snippy snip in chill style.

Ya be a fool to go nowhere else for fades, razor cuts. & all that...

Down Davie st near Burrard & Hornby - find it, worth it.

Peace in every street.

Healing Ramble: Chronic Dude, logistical notes about “how to deal with traveling”

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

(also riffs already from Thailand, India etc + tips about pros/cons and how-to logistics coming…)

Notes & Travel Tactics / summary

  • Comfort Kit and crash kit
  • Flight time: afternoon or energy time (no early or late night)
  • Airport hotels with bathtub for pre and post flight … wheel right to checkin
  • One place and be part of community 
  • Postcard and scrapbooks along the way … send home by Post offices
  • Playlists
  • Stretches – aisle seat
  • Massage
  • Coconut water/hydration
  • Wheelchair service
  • Block out airport stimulation (blue specs, ear plugs… )
  • Break it up / short hops, stay over
  • Medication CBD/RSO (but don’t take it with you!)
  • First on, Last off
  • Pack extra light, easy schlepp, buy stuff if needed and ditch it)
  • Travel uniform (slippers, compression socks, track suit, slip on shoes
  • Pick the right place
  • Places to get medical help: Thai, India, seems weird but… 
  • Confidence
  • Better than home w/ reruns
  • What are yours? 

Tips and Topics:

  • Crash Mode
  • Triggers (list, notice)
  • Warning signs eyes extremities, foggy, stutter
  • Get to safe place to regroup 
  • Quiet
  • Lights unscrew
  • Sound & batteries
  • Kids
  • Warm and fresh air
  • Electric /weighted blankets
  • Hydration coconut water
  • Magnesium etc. 
  • Soup
  • eyes/ears
  • Bath 
  • Candles
  • Epson/Magnesium/THC Salt
  • No interruption
  • Music/med
  • Reduce ? and sadness? 
  • Slow Docu films
  • Art Postcard therapy
  • Recover – ravenous … no junk!
  • Magnesium is handy
  • Cold bandanas around neck and/or temple
  • Moulded ear plugs
  • Comfy eye mask
  • Perfect pyjamas
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Chronic Dude, logistical notes about “how to deal with traveling”

August Ends, so we go on…

{This end of this summer is not melancholy for m/we, no one leaves to school or to deserts or even to foreign lands, it just ends with a storm}

August ends
September begins
Ganesh comes to visit removing all obstacles.
“All of them Ganesh, all of them?”

So we go on:
Two big plans
in one week, next week –
for now,
The power returns
though I remain in the dark
waiting a turn.

typhoon weather
morning teapot fills up
with rainwater

The edge of a typhoon at Tsuchida cottage, The lad and I turned the couch to face the window and he cuddled a bit when the thunder was loud

Musing: fires, volcanos, axe handles & cycle of children

This shelf, containing “danger on peaks” was itself dangerous and not aesthetically pleasing so now it is a garden planter box

March 13, 2022: I went to sleep last night – first night without a fire in the stove for some time – on tatami mats reading “Danger on Peaks”, dedicated to Carole, woke up as my Ryoko took little Ichiro to school, recalling Gary writing about being a 63-year-old stepdad taking a 10-year-old to school in the carpool, and thinking of myself at 10 years old on 95th Ave. in Surrey, getting ready for church the Sunday morning when Mt St Helens erupted, remembering the feeling of the unusual rumble (was not an 18 wheeler), and thinking of Gary coming down the mountain as a 13-year-old to learn that Japan was bombed and “nothing will grow there for 70 years“ and how Hiroshima is just down the road from me, indeed wonderful noodles, activists & parks.

Poured fresh French Press coffee, and picked up my robot and read Wang Ping’s remarkable recounting moments with the axe handle, with the boy-now-man (about my vintage) who the axe handle was created with, with the poet (who had been just up the road in Kyoto, probably pass through here at some point), together throwing hatchets into a stump, then into a barn (no food allowed to prevent pests, like my kura), pulling out Ezra Pound and Han Shan, pages falling open to the exact place, and marveling at the un-coincidence of it all. Such treasure.

It’s all about the cycles as Gary said to Lew. Or was that vice versa?

Also, Ichiro – a year and a half old – loves no toy more than the brush and scoop to clean the woodstove & darling Ryoko now has the skill to light the store with a single match with help from my special arts and crafts made from egg cartons, soy paraffin and sawdust learned from my mother, her ashes on the altar.

Hail the fire queens, axe carvers, and pantry mice!

Axe Handles
BY ©1983 GARY SNYDER

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
                               the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.