Thursday, August 28, 2008

Easy certainty

Whether in the strains of Gershwin and Chopin during a lunch time piano concert downtown or in the stars twinkling as I lay on blankets for film nights in parks, the intimations of "more" keep coming to me in relentless, yet gentle, waves.

Days have been sweet and truth goes deeper into my bones, though my mind can lay claim to less and less as I age. No, not insanity, but knowledge of fact, force and surety. As my knowledge increases, my knowing becomes more primarily of gut: a knowing I've always had, but with experience and time... becomes less of head, less measurable.

I concur with Rev. Jim Wallis: "Real faith... leads us to deeper reflection and not - not ever - to the thing we as humans so very much want... Easy certainty."

Currently reading : The Man Who Ate Everything By Jeffrey Steingarten

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Bottle Shock" screening

Last night, I was "press" for a screening of "Bottle Shock"(love those free screenings, Guardian!) I took Annelies. As always, we had a heartwarming talk about what we both love best: cities, social justice, writing, the arts, travel, food and drink... finding our call and purpose as we grow older. Apropos then to see a film about the wine industry and a "later in life" realization of huge dreams. The film is about how California (Napa) changed the wine world in the '70's when the top palates and wine names in France chose the best red and wine wines of the year in a blind tasting, certain they were French, the world leader (followed by Italy) for many centuries prior. But they chose CA wines in both categories based on taste (red from Stag's Leap, white from Chateau Montelena - one of Dan & I's favorite Napa hangouts for over 7 years), and ever since, the monopoly on world's best wines is no longer held in primarily Europe.

It's not a perfect film by any means (Alan Rickman pulls out the best performance, not surprisingly), but it's a rousing story, showing how "the establishment" can, and at some point will, be disrupted. It shows what's possible on the other side of seeming failure... and how "the new" can invigorate "the old". Makes me proud to be from this area and celebrate such rich history and influence in my daily life of food and drink.

Even better, winemakers portrayed in the film were there, as were the husband/wife producers. The most darling middle-aged couple, married 21 years, they spoke of their love for wine and film that led to the making of this indie for well under $10 million. Their obvious passion for the subject was invigorating, as was their team approach to pursuing their dreams - it made me think of my Daniel with fond hope for a future where we continue to dream, create and actualize together. Never too old for something new.

Currently listening : Sam Cooke - Greatest Hits

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Two amazing poems that make me think of Dan...

A THIRD BODY - Robert Bly
A man and a woman sit near each other, and they do not long
At this moment to be older, or younger, or born
In any other nation, or any other time, or any other place.
They are content to be where they are, talking or not talking.
Their breaths together feed someone whom we do not know.
The man sees the way his fingers move;
He sees her hands close around a book she hands to him.
They obey a third body that they share in common.
They have promised to love that body.
Age may come; parting may come; death will come!
A man and a woman sit near each other;
As they breathe they feed someone we do not know,
Someone we know of, whom we have never seen.

TOUCH ME - Stanely Kunitz

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Currently reading : On Modern Marriage and Other Observations By Isak Dinesen

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Kronos Quartet and Ammons weave together in my consciousness

Last night Dan and I sifted through a dreamy Kronos Quartet concert: "Music without Borders" - music from Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Palestine and more. Free orchestra seats through work - man, I love my job!

Kronos is one of my long time experimental classical favorites (especially their "Performs Philip Glass" CD from 1995 - still kills me every time). I wish there was a CD of this show... very avant garde or completely different sounds for our Western ears. The variety and experimentation was inspiring.

As I describe a few favorite pieces, I'm reading
A.R. Ammons, "Sphere: The Form of a Motion", and somehow both the concert and his poetry weave together in my spirit this week. The quotes are from Ammons:

33: "Order is the boat we step into for the crossing: when we/ step out, nothingness welcomes us: inspiration spend through..."

Kronos started the concert with the rousing, if brief, North African/Lebanese tune by an unknown artist: "Oh Mother, the Handsome Man Tortures Me", a title that amused both Dan & I.

57: "...everything in moderation including moderation..."

A traditional
Iranian 1976 lullaby was haunting and soft. Glenn Branca's "Light Field (In Consonance)"? A revelation! Coupled with the slowly changing lights on the curtains... mesmerizing, unique, dreamlike.

70: "...I am terrified of my/ arrogance and do not know and do not know if the point in the/ mind can be established to last beyond the falling away/ of the world and the dreams of the world: but if we are small/ can we be great by going away from the Most High into our own/ makings, thus despising what He has given: or can we, accepting/ our smallness, bend to cherish the greatness that rolls through/ our sharp days, that spends us on its measureless currents: and/ so, for a moment, if only for a moment, participate in those means/ that provide the brief bloom in the eternal presence..."

"Nihavent Sirto"
by Turkey's Tanburi Cemil Bey made me want to get up and dance.

143: " the time you amount to something,/ the people you meant it to mean something to are dead and you/ are left standing there, your honors in your hands..."

The Kazakh tune by
Kurt Shildebaev, "Kara Kamir", is heartbreakingly sad and chilling.

153: "...lately, we've left out the high ranges of music,/ the planetary, from our response... not homogeneous pudding but/ united differences, surface differences expressing the common,/ underlying hope and fate of each person and people, a gathering/ into one place of multiple dissimilarity, each culture to its/ own cloth and style and tongue and gait..." YES!

The weaving, multi-layered, surprising web of
Aleksandra Vrebalov's, "Hold Me, Neighbor, In This Storm", was an epic finish to an utterly unique and vibrant concert.

126: " can sit around/ and talk about it all day but you will never walk the tightwire/ till you start walking... fall off a few times to see it won't kill you..."

Currently reading: Revelations: Personal Responses to Books of the Bible

Friday, August 01, 2008

Favorite July Moments

1. Dan & I's gloriously lingering, life-filled Sonoma day
2. Stirring discussions with David & Amy at Flora or joined by Scott & Louise at our place
3. A free-spirited Oakland night w/ Dan, Tash, Ty, Karen & Gina at Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen, then Zydeco Cajun dancing, finished off with tiki drinks at Conga Lounge
4. Cozy 4th of July BBQ at McC's house w/ 15 friends
5. Spontaneous times w/ my girls: A & A over for late night talks, "Brideshead Revisited" screening w/ Anna, drinks (Fresca) and late night pancakes (Toast) w/ Anna & Lyla, Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (bird poop!) w/ Amanda & Anna, Ryoko & Rye night w/ the ladies
6. Last minute visit: a day w/ my dear Shannon in Palo Alto
7. Jus sleeps over while Dan's away (Project Runway marathon!) - night roaming Hayes Valley and going to SF Symphony for Rodgers & Hammerstein concert
8. Many excursions with Chesna (Berkeley day, breakfast at Chloe's, rousing night w/ our husbands & Jo at Bourbon & Branch & Chutney)
9. Laughs, grillin' up sausages, watchin' Will Ferrell movies w/ "the boys" (Dan, Ty, Scott)
10. Great, long talk with Conor & Loni visiting from Canada
11. Building relationships volunteering at Mentone, feet washing at Boedecker Park Block Party & Human Trafficking meetings
12. Watching "Big Night" under the stars at Charles Chocolate Factory w/ Tash, Chuck, Chesna, Scott, Kristy, Ali, Caroline & Dan
13. Exploring old pirate and movie ships with Dannee all day during Festival of Sail

"And then the knowledge comes to me that I have space within me for a second, timeless, larger life." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Currently watching : Into Great Silence; Release date: 2007-10-23