I am slowly coming to understand what this new stage in my life is. I am slowing down. I have two structural parts to my day. Around 8 am, Isis the dog and I go for a walk on the beach, and we try to do about 6 miles. I have been really happy with a new invention called "sand socks". These are black ankle-high booties for wearing on sand. When I wear the "darn tough" well-built walking socks inside them, they give just enough support, and they keep the sand out. I have already worn out one pair, in about 4 months. The other structural part of my day is going swimming at the gym in mid-afternoon. I love to see the marbled sunlight in the water, and the droplets creating rings which ripple outward as I swim. I do the crawl one-way, and backstroke on the return. I try for 30 minutes. Sometimes I have to share a lane. Mostly the weather has been grand. When we walk on the beach in the morning, Isis has a sea lion who is like a mermaid to her. It sticks its head up, and she tries to run toward it, but then gets slammed with a wave or two. She turns and runs parallel to the beach, hoping it will come in closer. If another dog starts to swim out toward it, she heads it off. I think she really is hoping to play with it, and considers herself its friend. We have also seen lots of dolphins just past the breakers, and I always feel uplifted and joyful when I see them. They are in pods, and sometimes you can tell one is a baby, because it is smaller. Once I saw 3 riding a wave in together, although they ducked out at a safe distance!
I am also trying to write poems. I am still stuck, and not getting much done. I wanted to finish the book of Camino poems, but I got stuck at the place where I say I am carrying the tribes back from the new world to the old world, in my body, my person. I am not able to describe it right. I keep coming up against Roger Kamenetz' question--- HOW do you carry the tribes? I am glad to be in a small group of poets who are trying to write from our dreams. This is not easy for me. I don't dream very often, and finding imagery or symbols in the dreams to use is not something I have gotten any better at, over these months. But I keep trying. Last night we watched the total eclipse of the moon, and I loved that it was called a blood moon, due to the dusky red color. I couldn't see it through the cloud-cover, but the clouds had a dusky red appearance, and veins which looked like varicose veins in a suffused clotted limb. The veins were the thin places between the cobblestone clouds, in the dark sky. I watched the moon fill out again, over the next hour, and it was fascinating, thinking about Galileo, and how he came to understand the sky.
This past weekend Pope Francis was here in NY and Philadelphia, and it was great getting to see on You Tube so many slices of the day's events. I loved the group of religious leaders all together at the 9/11 memorial. It was very moving to hear the Jewish cantor and also the Muslim Iman, singing so beautifully for peace. And the young people, singing "Let Peace begin with me". It is wonderful that Pope Francis has given such a marvelous encyclical, Laudato Si. He situates us in the microcosm and macrocosm, in the holgraphic universe. It is very Teilhardian, and coherent, and Richard Rohr, OFM, gave a nice synopsis of it. Each of his sermons on this visit were superb, and it was wonderful that he mentioned Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, and Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. This is really exciting, and keeps showing that he is pushing to actually and truly help the poor, and help promote social justice. I am so hopeful. I was listening to Man of La Mancha on my way south again, and cried as Dulcinea sings that last recap of "to dream the impossible dream"--- it is still such a favorite, and embodies my era so well!
I am excited to be going to the lady doctor retreat at Esalen next week, and then a week at the beach. It is wonderful to have more time to pray, to wake up not panicky about what I am forgetting or haven't done, or a detail about a patient I didn't write down in the chart. I am so glad to have been able to let that part go. Otherwise, it is very like dying, not being oneself at all anymore. I have lost my persona. But it is so wonderful that I am still breathing, and still can walk and swim. I am beginning to feel there is a new way to be myself. It feels wonderful to be in my grandmother's space, the house in the lemon orchard. I am slowly getting it fixed up. It is very slow--- I was pretty naive about how long this would take. But it is coming together. And I love just smelling the lemons, and walking in the hill canyon park, and watching the light come up in the morning, and go down in the evening. It is peaceful and quiet. I am so blessed and grateful to have this time, folded into my life.