Christin's Words from Sunshine Hill

If it is to be music
you must be present to it, must offer to it
a profound self-remembering.
-from Altar Music

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Delicate Balance


Just look at this exquisite photograph by Sandy Rubini. I'm amazed by her eye. Just imagine to have captured this image in the moment of its delicate balance. Not only is she talented; she is gracious. When I proposed that we might collaborate once more (her photography also graces the cover of my novel, Gypsy Bones), she agreed. It had been my intention to publish a fourth novel, then titled Small Hands, but as I have been revising it, I've become unsure. At first I felt unsure only about the title. For a while I started thinking of the story as expressed by the water drops, the rain, the tears, and turned to a different phrase from the poem by e.e. cummings that gave me Small Hands. So for a month or so the book was called Not Even the Rain. 

Sandy's photograph was drawing me into a project I'd not yet been able to imagine.

And I began calling the novel A Delicate Balance, the same as the title that graces the photograph. At that moment it ceased being a novel at all, and became an imagination of something in my life I have hesitated to capture in words: marriage to three very different men and surviving the death of two of them.

The process of writing any book is a delicate balance between what we know and what we have not yet dared to know. The excitement of beginning can trick us into entering what seems simply a cave in which we might find gems. But soon the cave reveals itself to be a labyrinth along the paths of which are secret rooms, amazing turns, dead ends, darkness--all of this before arriving at the center. The center is the core of earth. The womb of being. The balance of opposites. the perfect sphere. (I'm trying not to mix my metaphor, though I fear that is what is taking place) The word, the phrase, the story in which a life makes sense.

Creating anything takes daring (as you can see from the jumble I made of that metaphor) because an artist, whether photographer or writer must in the doing of it face the truth and then present it with a balance that is beautiful.

Shall I undertake it? Shall I follow the call of Sandy Rubini's photograph? Can I? Does it matter if I fail? Maybe I need to ask that question of those husband spirits that surround me every moment I remain alive. I know I have in me an image of their love like a drop of rain at the tip of a leaf. I'm inside it. The perfect sphere reflects the perfectly coordinated rainbow light of the spirits of my three beloveds. But what else do I see and am not yet aware that I see? And will they show me?

So shall I write?






Saturday, February 8, 2014

Misty Morning Communique: Do We Understand One Another?

It's been raining--a true gift for us here in southern Oregon where the drought gave us only nine inches of rainfall the entire 2013. Not that it is raining torrents, at least not up here on Sunshine Hill. No, it is something between a mist and actual rain. If you were to visit, you would find me in my writing room looking at the mountains to the southwest--towards California and the ocean. You'd notice I was quiet; I like the rain. Also, though, I'm thinking about communication. The word suggests that the act of communication is related to communion, an intimate act. But what actually happens when we speak a word or offer a work of art or dance on shining blades?

I pause here and stare at the monitor. Last week my reading of Sri Aurobindo impressed me the idea that we understand a communication in accord with the frequency of vibration we experience when we take it in. So this meant to me that we could read the same words (or contemplate a work of art) again and again and each time experience them at least somewhat differently. Father Roman, one of my novitiate teachers, used to say that we could spend our entire lives with one verse of the Scriptures and never exhaust its meaning or its beauty because the Divine Word is infinite. And St. Clare used to teach contemplation on the crucifixion of the Christ as a mirror into which we could gaze eternally and never reach the fullness of that gaze because Divine Love is infinite. Probably Aurobindo would suggest that "my" vibrational frequency would need to correspond to the divine vibration for full communication to take place. And I wonder: is that everlasting Life?

This is how my mind occupies itself, with such thoughts as these. Sometimes even my dear friends seem to be looking as me as though I've (what's the cliche?) gone off the deep end. You've seen Tarot's Fool, right? Dancing mindless on the edge of the world's precipice.

Then yesterday a friend sent me a link to an astrological site providing insight into what it can mean if Mercury is retrograde. (Such is the present situation.) Basically: communication will be scrambled, dead-ended, misunderstood, out of sync. (The vibrations between us won't match. Maybe you are feeling that way as you read ;) I know almost nothing about astrology, but I'll try to listen to wisdom from any tradition. Also, I did have my birth chart done back in the 80's, so I know that Mercury is in my sun sign of Scorpio--the only planet there, in fact--which if I understand correctly,  impels me towards communication. Writing. Teaching. You get the idea. Maybe I should be out in the mist today, scattering wild flowers in the bare round area above the septic tank rather than here in the chair by the window attempting to defy retrograde Mercury!

Here, though, is the thought that has made music when vibrating in me: When the word leaves my fingers, when I click SEND, or publish a book; or when I share a thought with an individual or a group and the word is received by another it is always a combination of what I think I said with what the other person has received. The word passes through the vibrational pattern of the other person's mind, soul, history, experience and is understood accordingly. The communion of our thought and experience is a new thing, no longer totally "mine," but created by and belonging to the two of us together until we share with yet another and the belonging and the letting go increases exponentially.

The backdrop to all of this turns out to be unspeakable--the synthesis of all words and every communication, and the transcendence of that synthesis through the Eternal Word into the Infinite Silence. We dare not speak, cannot define this Silence because it is limitless. In that Limitlessness all is One.

Today the nearest I can approach is through the mist, because as you must realize if you persevered to the end of this twisting, turning mind trip, attempts to put such things in human words don't work as well as mist on eyelashes and a drop of rain upon the tongue.