Ode to Kali

This Spring’s beauty has never been greater. I know, for some of us elders, this is how it feels every spring—a green fuse filled with fire of blooming: California buttercup and shooting star and purple cups of Douglas Iris and now spires of lupin, tiny whispers of trillium, and blue-eyed grass. Such delicate, sturdy presences invite calm and quiet. They resonate with the state of consciousness known as goatsong, in which a sacrifice must be made of our passions and cravings for the essence of life. The liveliness and the angst of these times co-inhabit the fresh scent of finished compost become earth. Perhaps the apprehension of goatsong consciousness is why we don’t slow down. The painful experience of incarnation is heart-rending. Nothing gold can stay.

It has been months since I wrote a blog here—months filled with holidays and a primary election which will deliver three women to our Napa County Board of Supervisors to join two incumbent women in January 2025. For the moment, we celebrate. Perhaps for the next few years, we will have a county government governed by a land ethic. Ecologist Aldo Leopold wrote that in a land ethic, humans are citizens of a community of interdependent parts, a community which includes land and water and the atmosphere so important to our survival. This challenges our old attitude of being conquerers of Nature.

Personally, the last months have included a very ill brother and sister and a dear friend now on Hospice. The unimaginable has visited too many times. 

But the last months have also surprised me (and shocked my kids) with a new relationship— a new love—which is at once anciently familiar and temporally disorienting. Such joy I welcome!

Does aging allow a slowing into renewal imbedded with recognition that any cycle of new life includes death and decay? Is this the genesis of Beauty? Her earliest leaf’s a flower/ but only so an hour. Is this our task? holding both at once?