• Tag Archives night
  • Strange Weather

    Fall                                                 New Autumn Moon

    A strange weather time.  A storm system and winds blowing in from the east.  Our weather systems almost always come from the west, following the planet’s rotation and the jet stream, but this raggedy storm system got stuck over Wisconsin and has begun to retrograde, head back west.

    The quiet of night.  A healing time, the darkness.  A moment when the cares of the day can slide away and the still, small voice can speak.  The body can collect itself, relax, replenish.

    Think of sleep.  Almost a third of our lives, maybe 25 years, think of that, 25 years asleep.  We are all, in this sense, Rip Van Winkle, unaware as the world changes around us.

    In the sleep time our minds create the worlds we inhabit, pluck scenes from stored memories, movie clips, fears and joys, wishes and needs.  Vivid life, times of ecstasy and insight flow through our brains, a stream of cobbled together life, chunks of invention.  We are each novelists while we sleep, drafting narratives with characters about whom we care deeply.

    Here’s the tricky part.  If I understand modern neurology, we do the same thing when we’re awake.  Our minds take sensory data and create worlds.  Narratives form so we can keep the world we create coherent, so we can remember the plot of our lives.

    There are parts here that elude me, standing just outside my peripheral understanding.  Who is that watches the movie?  Who is the narrator?  Where is the narrator?  Is he a reliable or an unreliable voice?  Can we count on this movie?  By that I mean does it conform to what we, at least in a common sense way, take as real.  True.  Out there.


  • A Northern Night

    Beltane                                                                                      Full Last Frost Moon

    The last legcom call of the session tonight.  I went into the Sierra Club office to make the call because I had to be in a meeting at 6 pm just down the block.  The legcom call is at 5pm.  Not enough time to make it into the city for a 6pm meeting.

    I got a chili cheese dog (oh, I know…) and a blueberry smoothie at the Fast Freeze across the street from the Sierra Club offices.  Eating local.

    The last meeting was interesting, but went over time.  I was glad when it ended.

    I still had the drive back to Andover of course, but I have a new book on DVD, so I had a reward.  It’s a W.E.B. Griffith novel about the covert world.  He’s not very adroit at getting the backstory into the narrative, in essence he tells most of it rather than shows.  The real book starts somewhere well after the first few pages.

    It was one of those northern nights when the modest heat of the day lingered atop the oncoming chill of the evening, a time when driving becomes mesmerizing, a trip back in time.  Nights spent cruising drive-ins, looking for girls.  Nights driving past the acres and acres of corn that grew in the fields that surrounded my hometown.  A night driving back to Kona from Kiluaea, a full moon in the sky and the air scented with jacaranda and jasmine.

  • Northern Nights

    Samhain                                  Waning Thanksgiving Moon

    The night is great.   Still.  When you’re up at 2 am, back to bed around 5 and up at 11:00, then a nap at 2:30, up at 3:45 and its dark by 4.   This is an almost northern night kind of schedule.  Feels weird.

    Kate’s gone to Fat Quarter Quilting for a Quilting Guild meeting.  I don’t know if they have secret handshakes and pass along occult sewing tips or not, but I do know Kate enjoys going.

    Out of synch.  That’s what I feel.

  • Night Talk

    Samhain                                   Waning Thanksgiving Moon

    Though the pain has subsided, it still keeps me awake without medication.  So, I’m up at 6 am, a rarity for me these days.  When Kate shifts off regular work, no longer comes home around 10 pm, then I’ll go back to an earlier bed time and 6 might not be so unusual.

    I understand the attraction of the night.  I feel it myself.  The quiet, the dark has a friendly feel to it, a time when the home becomes a hermitage or a studio or a writing garret, far off from the demands of mundane life.  Reading late has an appeal, the book, the words float up and occupy the whole, not reading anymore, but traveling along, carried on a river of narrative.  Writing has the same free, anchors away momentum.  The ship sails away from the dock, following the rhythm of an ocean current, one that runs just along the border between the conscious and unconscious realm, between the warmer, busier, lighter waters near the surface and the benthic deeps, unvisited, stygian, fecund, down there the ocean reaches its source, the collective unconscious, yet deeper and universally expansive, the holy well from which archetypes, genetic memory, forces creative enough to bring life itself into existence make their slow way.

    Night talk.  Or, rather, very early morning talk.

  • And I Just Sat Down And Wrote This

    Summer                                    Waxing Grandchildren Moon

    Night again.  Serenity.  That place to fall into where the universe catches you, holds you in its arms, then you remember that the universe is your body and those arms are your arms and so you sleep.

    There are bad things out there:  Democrats pulled back the climate bill.  Geez, guys and gals.  The oil well may be capped but the oil gushed into the gulf cannot be played backwards into the hole.  Only in the movies.  Bernanke said we may face years of a restricted labor market.  And the Republicans want to deny unemployment benefits.  One of the greatest ironies in modern political history may be the news about Cheney’s health.  He could need a heart transplant.  More like an implant.

    There are good things out there:  Financial regulation passed.  It’s weaker than it should have been, but it is.  I finished the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  The garlic is ready to bring in and Artemis Hives has produced its first honey.  Blooms fell off the potatoes so we should get some new potatoes in two weeks.  The World Cup is over.  Football training camps begin soon.

    We live in a world which we did not make, a life we did nothing to gain and move toward an end we do not comprehend.   To make your way here a clear eye, a straight heart line, a curious mind and a poetic soul will help.

  • One Cute Ruth

    Summer                                      Waxing Grandchildren Moon

    ruthThree out of three grandparents agree.  This is one cute Ruth.  She’s four and smart as a whip.  Athletic, artistic and stubborn, too.  Watch out boys.

    I’m still exhausted from the last week and a half.  Spent today getting to 95% in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  This is an amazing work of art and one I will reread for sure.

    Tried Latin but my eyes wouldn’t focus.  Tomorrow.  If I can’t get far enough, I’ll just cancel class.  When you’re paying by the hour–literally, you can do that.

    Night’s quiet cloak has fallen over us.  Again.  A time of serenity, of possibility.  Of vulnerability.  It’s allure is so strong, so winsome.  Easy to create in this time.

  • Night Casts Round A Cloak of Quiet

    Spring                                                  Awakening Moon

    Night has fallen, the temperature, too and quiet dominates.  It is, as I have written here before, a meditative time, a free time, a time when the world is little with us and the mind can roam free over its own landscapes. The spinning of the planet then creates a certain amount of time in every 24, almost everywhere (with the polar exceptions), when we can all become hermits.  Yes, it’s harder in, say Manhattan or downtown Las Vegas, but even in these places where the bright lights and nocturnal activity pulse away, even there, the night is still a time of refuge for the soul, at least if we choose to take it.

    I’ve begun watching another John Woo film, Red Cliff, which recounts the fall of the Han Dynasty in the early 3rd century A.C.E.  Red Cliff is a battle site, so recognized that it might be named Gettysburg or Bunker Hill or Pearl Harbor were it an American battle of equal renown.  Gradually Chinese film makers have begun to explore the long, long history of Chinese civilization and create films at least representative of key times in that history.

    The Han Dynasty covers the same time period, roughly, as Rome immediately after Caesar, the time of the Emperors.  I find it interesting to keep these cross cultural time lines in mind, to know that as the battle of Red Cliff rages in China, the Emperor Diocletian has decided to sever the Roman Empire into its Eastern and Western halves.

  • Star Filled and Wonder Saturated

    -4  bar steady 30.28   0mph SW  windchill -4   Samhain

    Waning Gibbous Moon of Long Nights

    I have a run of almost 3 weeks with no outside obligations.  This is a time of the year, even when I worked for the Presbytery, that I would stay home, take up a research project or a book I’d wanted to really absorb.  This habit probably started during the Presbytery time because no congregational folk wanted to talk to judicatory people during the Christmas holidays and immediately afterward.  Which was fine with me.

    Right now it’s quiet.  It has been dark since about 4:30 PM.  The long nights have begun to swell and take over the rhythm of the day.  This means more silence, more time to enjoy the darkness of mid-winter.  This is a time of year and a natural cycle that draws us all inward.  This inward pull pushes some of us to string up lights, go to multiple parties, perhaps drink to excess, spend money beyond our means.   We’ll wake up sometime in the new year, ought 9 in this case, with a hangover wondering how the season got so out of hand.

    The season can be filled with holy nights, silent nights.  Starred filled and wonder saturated nights.  It matters how we come to the season.

    Instead of driving in to the Sierra Club meeting tonight I chose to participate by phone, as did all but two of the other legislative committee members.  By the time I got done with my workout and shower, a lassitude crept over me, borne of the tensions and aches of the last couple of days.  If I had driven in, as it turned out, my trip would have taken twice the time of the meeting.  Not very efficient.

    My original reason for driving in, to match peoples faces with names, would have been thwarted, too.

    As it was, I was on the phone for 45 minutes, took notes, then hung up and went upstairs to read the Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  Without the long drive it felt like I’d cheated.

  • Cool House Plants

    69  bar rises 29.73  0mph NNW dew-point 57  A summer night

                       Last Quarter of the Flower Moon

    This time period, after the iris bloom and the lilacs have died back, we have annuals like petunias, begonias, geraniums and vinca plus the odd Siberian Iris and peony, not many late June perennials in our garden. We await now the Asiatic lilies.  My favorite among our flowers many of the lilies in our garden came from lily fanciers who live in the upper midwest.   Purchased at a lily growers special season sale at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, they come in beautiful colors and many, like the Star Gazer, have scents that beguile.  A bit later the hemerocallis, day lilies, will begin to bloom. They will take us into September along with the Liguria, the bug bane and the bush Clematis.

    It is a clear night.  Stars light the sky, ancient messengers of events and objects of long past. They are deep history, a counterpoint to the now.  Insects chirp.  The occasional owl hoots.  Maybe the sound of some small animal scurrying through the grass in search of food.  A bats quick, furtive flight crosses the moon’s half lit face.

    These nights offer a softness and elegance found only in the natural world.  There is no need for fancy dress, cocktails or dance music.  All you have to do is walk outside and share the company.  Your clothing or lack of it will not matter. Some of the party may find you irrestible, of course.  Yes, unwanted attention sometimes mars a quiet night.  It does show, though, that you have a niche. You are the canape.

    Kate and I spoke to Mary on Skype today.   Arranging a physical connection with Singapore has its modest challenges.  She called us, for example, at 11:00 PM today, though it was 10:00 AM here.  Today has long since turned into tomorrow there.  She’s off this week finishing the revisions to her dissertation.  Then it heads out to her supervisor for one last check, then onto external readers.  More revisions likely.  Finally, the oral defense sometime from now.  Later, awarding of the doctorate.  Pretty cool.

    She may visit the temperate latitudes building at the Botanical Gardens as a treat for finishing.  That’s where they have trees and plants adapted to cold weather, a mirror to our conservatories with their palms and philodendrons and other tropical vegetation.  A strange notion from the perspective of Minnesota.

  • Off to Dreamland

    20 88%  27%  0mph WSW bar29.87 windchill20  Winter

                 Waxing Crescent of the Winter Moon

    Day is done; gone the sun. 

    The time before bed has a peculiar poignancy.  We lay down the work of this day, set it aside for a period of sleep.  We give up our apparent agency in the waking world for a sleeping world in which we seem to become passive participants in jagged scenes made up of pieces of daily life intermingled with invented plot lines and sometimes extreme emotion.

    The dream world has always fascinated me and I’ve gone through parts of my life where I kept nightly dream journals.  Sometimes I would work with these dreams with a Jungian analyst.  Other times I worked with them on my own in a journal keeping process I learned in workshops designed by Ira Progroff, an American Jungian who believed in self-directed forms of analysis and self-care.

    A couple of years ago I participated for a full year in the Jungian Seminar, an intense Saturday long class that runs during the academic year.  It is taught by Jungian analysts for the most part and can serve as part of certification for Jungian analysts in training.  A wonderful, rich time, one I gave up when I took up the docent training program as too much, for me a lot like too much chocolate cake.  We worked on dreams a lot.

    In spite of my project manager I try to keep the activities of the day confined to that day.  I’m not always successful, like early this morning, but I try to resolve differences of opinion or strong feeling before bedtime if it is at all possible.  We never have more than this day, this hour, this minute, this moment. Ever.  Hard to keep that up front, but I try.

    Good night, and as Edward R. Murrow used to say, good luck.