Friday, June 30, 2006

Building Community

Last weekend, during our trip to Colorado, we participated in the site design workshop for the cohousing community we've joined. It was a terrific weekend - by the end of the two days we had a site plan for our new community and some surprisingly close relationships to the others in our group.

We've been interested in cohousing for years, and after a visit last fall to some friends who live in such a community in western VA, we were certain this is how we wanted to live once I finish m time in the Marines. In January we joined this group, and we should be moving into our new community in Arvada, CO in 2008.

I've started a new blog where hopefully the other members of our group will join me in telling our stories as we build this community over the next two years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kids Say the Funniest Things

(plane lands; a mom and her two kids leaving the row in front of me)

hurry up let's go

but mom i lost something

don't worry about it - just leave it

(proceeding up the aisle)

it was my shoe!


Monday, June 19, 2006

A Gift of Presence

I spent yesterday, Father's Day, with my dad in his favorite place. It's the first Father's Day I spent with him in years -- decades, really. And of course the last one I'll spend with him, or with his physical form anyway.

I went up a day early and camped out in the old "family camping spot" along the bank of Curecanti Creek. It was like a mental tour of my childhood -- I remember playing with boats with my mom in that pool -- I remember hours spent around the fire with my parents, grandparents, various cousins and aunts and uncles -- I remember telling my wife I loved her for the first time in that sacred place.

My dad spent a lot more time there than I did. In the years before we relegated him to a nursing home, he would go up there for weeks if not months at a time. I never really thought a lot about what he did while he was there, but in my solitude on Saturday I began to wonder.

When we went there as a family, we did a lot of fishing -- at least my grandfather, my dad, and I did -- and hiked and gathered firewood and did all the other camping stuff.

So what does a grown man who doesn't fish or hike anymore do when he's camping in the woods for weeks at a time?

Maybe a clue lies in my own ongoing mindfulness practice; beyond meditation, bringing aware presence to everything that I do.

I think he just sat.

I can picture him sitting in his folding lawn chair, back straight and head up, hands on the knees of his blue jeans, glasses gleaming in morning light. I see him noticing all that is around him and feeling totally connected to it -- the mountains, the trees, the animals, the water -- totally present.

Ripples arise in the humblest puddle.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Let Me Carry You

up to the sky again we go
one last climb we’ll take it slow
a burden light within my pack
this time you’re not coming back

first time up you carried me
this time let me carry you

I’ll leave you there on winds of light
soar and dive a bird in flight
never leave your sacred place
forever there infinite space

first time up you carried me
this time let me carry you

I remember what you said
there’s nothing left when you are dead
but Dad I think you got it wrong
you live forever in my song

my whole life you carried me
in my heart I carry you

Eagle Rock, Curecanti Creek Colorado

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Theodore Chase Rouillard July 5, 1931 - June 13, 2006



"Hi, it's me. I just got off the phone to your mom, and...well, your dad passed away last night."

Sharp intake of breath

"I'm so sorry. Your mom really wants you to call her."

"OK - I'll call her later."


It wasn't a surprise - my dad has been in an assisted living facility for seven years, and was in the hospital for the last week after experiencing "mild congestive heart failure." But it was still a shock initially.

So here I am with my mom in Colorado . We are both doing well and there seems to be a new spaciousness around our relationship. He lives on where he always has, and always will, in our memories.

This weekend I will climb Eagle Rock, a granite monolith overlooking my dad's favorite spot on Earth, and scatter his ashes to the winds. It feels like taking him home.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Untitled 6/12

last night i played
at an open mic

it's a few blocks from our apartment

i rode my bike
with my guitar strapped to my back

not the blues-man thing to do
but saves on gas...

(inspired by an e-mail from my good friend and Blues Man Jason)