"Everything is full of gods." - Thales
24 September 2010
19 September 2010
17 September 2010
14 September 2010
Earlier this summer, the local indy video store, That's Rentertainment (an Iowa City institution), went out of business. I found - and find - this depressing as hell, partly for personal reasons involving a love of video stores and the awesome experiences and conversations I've had with complete strangers in them, but also because this extinction is happening all over the United States. End of an era - the community-supported video rental era. It's a weird thing to see them all go. It's like suddenly someone decides to make all the barber shops disappear. No more barber shops. Now you just download your haircut online. It's cool - you can select from billions of available styles.
13 September 2010
Every toaster waffle contains a geometrically sound X and Y axis, upon which you may feel free to plot and graph such things as: the day's adventures, last night's dreams, humankind's overall progress (or lack thereof), or the rise & fall of eros in daily American life.
12 September 2010
Yesterday was the day of the big U of Iowa versus Iowa State football game (serious rivalry there), also known to yours truly as "the day a hellmouth opens up in Iowa City." [Yes, it's true, I believe that football is a g.d. bore and that the people who like football are using their fandom as an opiate for certain early psychosocial wounds. (Although exceptions exist. I'll grant you, for example, any leatherhead from the early 1900's, before the sport became an overblown capitalist opportunity. Or the low-income parents of a low-income but physically gifted inner-city girl who manages to cross gender lines and becomes an all-state high school varsity quarterback - I could understand their pride and interest in the game. These are only two exceptions, though.) That's a harsh judgment, maybe. But, you know, I know that there are people - like 99.9% of the population, for example - who would find my personal obsessions boring as hell, too. (I don't expect people to like Francis Stanford poetry or John Porcellino comics the way that I do, for example.) Different strokes, for...yeah - But, for some reason, "football people" get bent out of shape and really take it personally when you diss football...of course, this further proves that "football people" are unconsciously insecure about dedicating so much time to something so dumb. (And this sets them apart from all the other "people." I mean, you'll never see a book lover or cheese aficianado get all defensive about the legitimacy of their pastime. This is because to become any kind of aficianado, you have to dedicate a fair amount of time to your craft. Being a football fan only requires that you stare at people playing football for a really long time. I'm sorry. It's hard for me to appreciate the artistry of that. It's like someone being way into porn, but trying to pass off their solitary orgasm as some kind of cultural contribution.)]
So last night, until the wee hours of the morning, there were endless cop sirens, much late adolescent wooooooooooooooooo-ing, and the sound of drunken dumbassery in the calle... GO HAWKEYES!
11 September 2010
09 September 2010
This is Eleanor, a woodland faerie Of Hickory Hill, Iowa. She has a new kid sister that she's pretty excited about. Her new sister's name is Holiday B. (and the B. is for Blackbird, which is a mystery I'll be careful not to disturb), and she slid into this terrestrial plane of existence around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, about three hours after this photo was taken. Whether or not Holiday (as in Billie, as in Doc, as in holy day, just like every day might be, but most especially those days that involve new life and the sacred YES to it) will develop faerie tendencies remains to be seen. If I was a betting man, I'd bank on it. But, then again, I was fairly certain that in utero Holiday was a baby boy (as was her mama, the midwives, most of our friends, most family members, and even a handful of Iowa City strangers who offered their thoughts on the matter). So maybe we're seeing early evidence of a tendency to surprise, to individuate, to fake left, then go right. Who knows? She's beautiful. I know that much.
I also know that her mama and I are finding this whole adventure surprisingly natural, which brings me back to Hickory Hill Park, a local nature trail about a 1/2 mile from our home. On Tuesday afternoon, Janelle felt the stirrings of birth and gave me a call at work. I canceled the rest of my clients for the day and threaded my moped through Iowa City's massive road repair campaign, all dreamy and thrilled in the sunlight. It was about 3:30 p.m.
Home was the Pure Land, by the way - its own holiday. Janelle was stirring a big orange pot of marinara made from our heirloom tomatoes. Eleanor was perched at the kitchen table, full of spirit and talk. A fresh apple crisp was in the oven (we had gone out to the apple orchard on Monday, basketed ripe apples off the ground like Steinbeckian arhats of rural America, drowsy yellow jackets unperturbed, and decided we wanted to live on a big piece of golden land some day, or maybe every day, and "Dag, when is this kid gonna get born, anyway? I really wanna meet this person already!"). Orchestra Baobab was full watts on the hi-fi and Janelle had that look in her eye...a kind of full-of-life look that sparked our family in the first place. I can't describe it. I should probably let that mystery be, too...
And so, the contractions were rolling in. Janelle steadied her prana and went with the flow. We checked in with our amazing midwife, Monica, cranked the hi-fi and made our few remaining preparations (inflating the birthing tub, etc.) before deciding to go for a walk - Eleanor mostly ran, though. She had no idea her new sister was coming so soon, but it seemed pretty clear that she sensed it, tackling the wild woods with abandon. We walked for two glorious miles, terrestrial satori jungle hike, as Janelle & Eleanor & I were psychically attuned and all experiencing the woods as portal, and amber sunlight through the trees seemed to make everything burn and disclose its full life. There was crying, a lot of smiles, and the kind of transpersonal experience one hopes for, generally. Dragonflies buzzed around, gobbling up mosquitoes. Every stranger on the trail was friendly. Eleanor was a tiny St. Francis of Assisi (or more of a little Lalla, if you will) to all the suburban trail dogs in full cavort.
After our hike - and now Janelle's contractions were starting to pick up & require more and more of her focused attention - we came home, called Monica, and got Eleanor to bed. Holiday Blackbird was born via water-birth in our living room twenty-five minutes later. Now, birthing a baby is work. Probably one of the most difficult things a human being can do. And Janelle did it naturally and with total human-animal muladhara yogini presence. (I feel lucky to have witnessed this hurricane of presence twice in my life.) She held her new daughter and looked deep into her eyes - "Hello. Welcome." And Monica was nothing but compassion and support through and through, holding & tending the space that her lineage (the midwifery lineage) have been holding & tending for thousands of years. I tried to express my gratitude to her in words, but my gratitude was too new-dad blunt and huge, so what came out was a goofy word salad of thanks. She said "You're welcome. Thank you both for letting me be part of this." Her mentor, Kathy, showed up just after Holiday was born and helped us all transition to the new brilliant order of things. Janelle and I were in dreams by midnight, and the night was cool and breezy...early Wednesday morning, Eleanor and Holiday laid eyes on one another for the first time. And the woodland faerie bowed her head to kiss the new arrival.
06 September 2010
05 September 2010
Janelle's due date was four days ago. We are now set firmly in the waiting days. It's like this: You know this awesome, life-changing event is going to happen. You know you're going to be there, involved in the happening when it happens. And you know that it could start happening any minute now. Okay, there. Go ahead and try doing or thinking about anything else.
And meanwhile, waves pound the sand. The sun rises and sets. Fortunes are made, lost. The corn stalks turn to brown eggshell and whisper plainsongs in the gale...
04 September 2010
Earlier this Spring I found a plastic baggie in one of our unpacked moving boxes in the basement. It contained only a few old, moldy gourd seeds - gourd seeds my uncle Ben, from Shiloh, Ga., had given me about six years ago. I planted them in the dirt and subsequently forgot all about them. The resulting gourd vines have taken over the southern side of our home's exterior, and are now tendriling up into the trees!