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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thoughts From A Cave

Today I feel a strong urge to take refuge in a cave. Once while I was a college student I took refuge in the Assembly Hall in a cave made of thirty foot long burgundy-colored velvet drapes. I sat on the window ledge (inside, not on an outside edge; Goodness!!!!) to meditate on things. The actual things, I don't remember--the experience of solitude, I do. Caves are not necessarily made of stone. Today the way away might be some sort of cave through which much social media could not penetrate. Back when I sat behind the curtain society didn't extend far. Very few people had access to me, especially not immediate access, and I still felt the need for the cave. In the world of today I'm actually less visible than most, since my home cannot be reached by cell signal. Despite that the world feels enormous.

I like writing a blog--this meandering stream of happenings and dreams and visions. I love writing books, though I'm less and less keen about publishing them, and am completely resistant to marketing them. If I were Emily Dickinson I'd just stuff my writings in drawers. (Oh, wait! How is that different from putting them on the thumb drive?) Now and then I get a surge of business sense. I took my books to a Book Fair, had a terrible time, sold one or two. If I hold my publishing to Kindle e-books, maybe I can tolerate that. I won't need to come out of the cave because of an e-book.

Facebook seems so noisy. I like quiet. Though I do like to check in on nieces and nephews from time to time. Linked-In--I think I'm opting out. I'm going purely email. And the blog.

What does all this mean, I ask myself. It poses a question, not an answer. What is the purpose of life? Yes. I really think that's what all of this blather of mine is about. My dear and only sister is sleeping in the big chair right across the room from me. Her breath is even. She sleeps all day now. There's so little we can do--ever--all our lives. We can be compassionate to one person at a time. We can enjoy one moment. We can feel one thing. T. Roethke  said "Being, not doing, is my first joy."

And focus attention. Focus laser-like. Bring mind to a still point. That point at the apex where life and death meet is a point of the most intense being any of us will ever experience either in ourselves or in others. May we be focused...not scattered or diffuse.

The cave really is within each of us, isn't it? As is the point of complete Being.

Friday, May 4, 2012


The Great Man writes a note. He doesn't use a quill. He doesn't use the beak of a hummingbird. It could be an email; we don't know. The words of the note crackle through electronic cells. He wants us to have these words before week's end. Before he sails on Minnetonka--if he sails. Before he golfs--if he does that. Before he closes his computer down. The words do not use his voice. The words come through the voice of  the Lesser One, who knows nothing, who cannot interpret, cannot answer questions, cannot speak any other word but what is written on the note. The Lesser One reads the words over and over. One by one they fall and splash upon the stones. Each drop refracts the light differently.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


My sister lifts her arms. Steve bends to lift her body. Her hands tremble as she slips them around his neck. I stand behind her, holding the wheelchair, but at the same time as I see her adult hands, I also see the hands of a little girl, my baby sister reaching up from the playpen to be lifted out. Those were the days before she could walk. These are the days afterwards. Those trusting hands, old and young, wring my heart. "Let's dance," come the ritual words as he positions her in place to sit down in the chair. Her legs have lost their relationship to space. Rag doll legs, twisting this way, that way. But they do know their way in music. I said that previously, but it amazes me again today. Then, too weak even for music, knees fail, "I'm falling!" And Steve, confident, tender..."I have you. You're not falling."

"What is happening?" she wants to know what no one knows. "What shall we do next?" And we don't know if we are talking about dinner or dying or determining a new treatment plan. Shall we embrace Buddhism where all of those are one illusion? The next step seems related to the next bit of data. What will the doctor say? The specialist? What the I Ching calls "The Great Man." We looked into the educated eyes of many great men and women and all of them have just a  glint, a chip of meaning.

Take it.
See if it fits anywhere.
But where?

Because these are the trackless places where the stones lie broken. The mountains have tumbled. The sea receded to the world's edge. The winds are the beaks of hawks. And the questions are whispers of locust wings.

Would you like a sip of water?
A cool cloth for your head?
May I wipe away that tear?