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Picture

I was surprised to find
I dreampt of you last night.

Suffice to say
in looking for your own
I found you reading in your sacred space.

We met as friends
but my profession of wanting more too soon,
led to your exit from the room.

Normally a dream would have ended there, but

I was surprised to find,
I saw you once again!

And in looking for my own
I found you curled up reading
in another sacred space.

And upon seeing me,
I watched you in your haste of flight
to find another place,

I was saddened by regret,

that true intimacy is shared,
not taken.

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20200319_191439If I were to die tomorrow…
The thought has crossed my mind a few times today. What with Corvid-19 going around and being 65 and a hypochondriac. I have the dry cough, sore red throat, and congestion. Wifie says the virus kills the cilia lining the throat. You can’t cough stuff up so you get pneumonia and die.

So, if I were to die tomorrow. I wouldn’t be too upset. A sudden illness and quick death would be much better to me than say, a slow decline into Alzheimers. Better to rip the bandage off quickly than to peel it back slowly.

Hm. All this imagery.

I suppose I’m not too worried because I have certain expectations of death. It will be like the next horizon. The undiscovered country. When I stand there, you’ll see me, but you won’t see those whom I see on the other side of the hill. There are the people I leave behind and the people I meet: generations of family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers for whom I’ve done so many things I don’t remember.

Life’s been good. For the past 33 years. I’ve had a better half who has kept my heart warm, life challenging, and to whose presence I’ve looked forward every morning. If it’s true that “man is, that he might have joy”, then, having “endured to the end”, I have “fulfilled the measure of my creation”.

I do have my regrets though. I wish I were more brave, and could have said those things I wanted for my family and friends, to them. I’ve partially hidden behind a facade of “live and let live”, and Zen. That if people wanted to change, wanted more, they would have pursued it.

But that’s not totally true either. People are sometimes afraid, and that fear can keep them from what they want. Just as my fear of rejection keeps me from sharing what I want for them. Perhaps if I had said something, I could have helped them with their fear.

I know there is no letting someone do something. I can’t control my family, friends, and acquaintances, but, I can influence you.

So if I were to die tomorrow, tonight I would say to you, “Be Good”. Most of the troubles we endure, we create ourselves. Live while looking forward with an eye of faith to the undiscovered country. Life is eternal.

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A world away,
in another time,
and in my callow youth,
I returned to the land
of my inheritance…
and left a friend behind,

Now,
in an older age,
regret blooms
from the fertile soil of memory.

Where is that friend?
Did they realize their hopes and dreams?

I realize now, that there is no thing
more important in the eternities
than our association.

I will try to transcend time
and sift through the Earth
to reconnect.

If it pleases them.


Dedicated to:

Osamu Ujita Kyodai 1981 (Not pictured)

and the following.

Ukie Ueyama Shimai 1981
Fumiyo Sugiyama Shimai 1981
Misako Fujiwara Shimai 1981

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I’ve been away for a while. Doing other things. Recently started to learn to play the cello. I can do one scale and can play the Christmas Carol “Silent Night” badly. I figure in ten years–if I make it that long– I might be a passable player.

I’ve also been watching Korean Romantic Comedies too.

In a world where I hear that R rated movies of today are the same as pink porn of the 70s, it is refreshing to find for the most part–a G-rated genre where the worst curse you hear is, “You punk!” Where a relationship is started by a couple holding hands; where that relationship is consummated with a kiss at the end of the series. And where saying “I like you .” is tantamount to a declaration of love. I have more to say about this topic but I’ll leave that for another day.

But, the point is, I feel like writing again and you have seen the result of that in the last couple of days.

Cheers!

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A reader previously asked the question of whether I knew of any other clans in the Red Lake System. At that time I did not. But I’m pleasantly surprised to learn, and pleased to share, that more existed in antiquity. Here is the source of that knowledge:

From the Bulletin of the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Volume 2, 1880-1882, Red Lake Notes. Pages 99-100.
Totems of Red Lake Odjibwas. –Herewith is subjoined, in the hope that it may be of use for future reference, a list of the totems of the Red Lake band of Odjibwas. There were named to the writer by the old chief, Little Rock, who is a leading medicine man belonging to the grand medicine, as it is called, and who was pointed out as authority in the matter under investigation. Miss Mary Warren, to whom Odjibwa and English are alike mother tongues, kindly undertook to act as interpreter in the case. This cultivated lady is thoroughly conversant, not only with the purely theoretical range of the totem system, but likewise with its practical workings and she has taken especial pains to ensure a precise translation in the present instance.
TOTEMS OF RED LAKE ODJIBWAS
Bald Eagle,      Eagle,          Lynx,           Snake,
Bear,                 Eelpout      Marten,       Sturgeon,
Catfish,             Elk,             Mermaid,    Wolf,
Crane,               Loon,         Moose,         Woodpecker,
Rabbit,             River.

A Rabbit totem, or clan, and also a River totem, are found among the Odjibwas: but it is the belief of Little Rock that no representatives of these totems are at present living at Red Lake.
The Bald Eagle totem, and the Eagle totem, represents each, a clan altogether distinct from the other and independent of it.
The Loon clan was formerly a large one here. Mr. warren tells us concerning it that in olden times when the civil policy of the tribe was much mixed up with their religious and medicinal rites, “the totem of the Mong (Loon) ruled over them, and Musk-wa, or Bear totem, led them to war.” May-zhuck-ke-osh, former head brave of the Red Lake band, is of the Bear Totem.
The Martens, and next below them in point of numbers, the Bears, are held to be the two largest of the lake clans.
The term Mermaid stands out in such bold relief, as embodying an idea naturally foreign to an aboriginal and especially to an inland tribe of savages, that, at first, I hesitated to accept it as a correct exponent of the thing meant. However, I was assured by both Little Rock and Miss Warren, that the Odjibwa totem name under consideration is really properly translated by this word, and further, that the word signifies with the Red Lakers what it does with us; but I could get no clue to the origin of the myth thus curiously brought forward. I have since learned that these people formerly believed their lake to be haunted by mermaids.
While a red Lake Odjibwa will never name himself to a second person if he can avoid the necessity, he is always quite willing to mention his “family mark” or totem. The latter trait is prominently exhibited at the government school, where the pupils are prompt to exchange genealogical confidence with their friends, and to assert the ties of clanship as well as consanguinity.

[ My note: This, contrasted with the present 7 clans, just goes to show that tribal culture is a dynamic and changing thing! ]

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The rushing of the wind

ruffles the feathers of my soul.

And makes me yearn to crouch and leap and slip my earthly tethers,

unfurl my spiritual wings

and by thought alone,

to navigate the heavens.

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The following is a non-fictional writing exercise on perception:

I ask my wife what she sees when she closes her eyes in a totally lightless room. “Black.” She says.
“Anything else?” I ask.
A boring “No.” is her response.

What I see when I close my eyes is… complicated. It’s different depending on the situation.

Color-wise the elements are muted flourescent greens, the kind you see on a glow-in-the dark watch face after a few hours into the night,

and muted flourescent purples; the color of dust on velvet under a black light.

Speaking of black, I see that too. Rarely is it ever the rich perfect vibrant black seen on an OLED color TV screen but is almostly totally muddied, washed out by the overlay of the previous two colors.

The picture is complex.  As I describe this I have to alternate between turning the light on in my room to write, and turning the light off and placing the palms of my hands over my eye sockets to return to my interior vision. When I do, what I see has no boundaries save it be how far I can turn my eyes left and right, up and down. If I had 360 degree vision, I suspect  the picture would be spherical. In fact that is it. It’s just that my viewing arc is more restricted. And “I” am in its’ center.

When I say picture, I mean both senses of the word. The “picture” is what I see, but it also has movement. There are elements which are static for an instant when I focus on them, but change, either when I move my eyes to another part of my visual field, or shift into something else when I concentrate on them.

There is no horizon. There is two and three dimensionality. It is sometimes like looking into a microscope and seeing what you have focused on a two dimensional plane and then turning the dial and seeing the focus of a nearer or farther plane.

The elements are multitudinous, minute.
They comprise my whole visual field. I suspect it is part after-images, but I know upon experimentation that they also are physiological manifestations. For instance, if I roll my eyes as low as I can, I see two arcs/ circles flashes of light which I suspect might be photons silhouetting my retinal disks.

And the elements sometimes strobe. I wonder if this is due to microsaccades generated by my superior colliculus. You know, those little jerky eye movements that keep things from disappearing  if you stare at them too long.

I’m getting sleepy but there are three other things I mention off of the top of my head. Sometimes the picture is cross-hatched. I don’t know where that comes from. Sometimes I see typeface. That comes from reading too long before bedtime. And sometimes it’s like looking through a sponge of neurons, which makes me wonder, since eyes, optic nerves, optic chiasm, right and left lateral geniculate nucleai, and right and left striate cortices are all connected; whether the visual seat of my consciousness is looking from the outside in, or inside out. Perhaps it’s one of those things that’s dependent upon your choice of view.

Am “I” actually able to peer through the cells in my visual cortex? I kid you not. It’s food for thought.

So, what do YOU see when you close your eyes? I’d like to know!

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