|As seen from the N. Hemisphere, the 5 planets arc across the southern sky, shortly before dawn.The last time we saw all five visible planets together was from about December 15, 2004, to January 15, 2005, over a decade ago.|
Spring in the Pacific Northwest has brought a jumbo serving of pollen, Everyone is talking about the high pollen count, and I shift my daily travel plan to accommodate the yearly Scotch Broom in all their ramparts. They do become a wall of bright yellow that is a pollen sufferer's thang to deal with.
We also have the first week of warm to hot weather here, and we put in my tiny time garden yesterday.
From my vantage point as a time being the sky chart allows me to see the bright lights, the planets, if I am awake once the sun has set and the sky is clear. Through the incredible Tall Ones Nation, the nation of White Pine, Doug Fir, Hemlock and Cedar I have seen the planets. But, since there is no place from our wooded place to see a horizon's worth of sky at one time, I see at most two or three planets at once. Some things must be left to the Akuas, to faith, to Mystery. Simply believing, because it just might be.
I am re-reading Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being. I thought to reread the book because she included footnotes. Footnotes aren't usual for a novel, but, the practice came up when a friend and I were emailing about our latest writing projects. We're both in the process of hybriding; evolving the kind of writing we do. I'm not quite sure how my writing will evolve, yet, but re-reading A Tale for the Time Being was one of those messages that clearly was meant for me. Somehow, the many entries and post here on Makua o'o and the dozen medicine stories is part of a search party, a magnetizing pattern that is aching for a 'next'. I'm enjoying the unfolding, less anxious about what, and more interested that it does.
Ozeki's mythical ride of a story came in hardback form. I reserved it a week ago. I love libraries! It was already hot when I got into town yesterday and climbed the stairs to the library door. 'Thrilled' fits as a word, when I saw the paper reserve slip with my name on it. Ozeki's is the only new book in my stack. This time through I began by starting at the back, in old-style Japanese protocol. Let me backup just a tad. I did open the front of the book just to confirm the footnotes. Part I, page one. Three footnotes. Ruth Ozeki, writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist Priest begins the novel this way:
An ancient buddha once said;
For the time being, standing on the tallest mountain top,
For the time being, moving on the deepest ocean floor,
For the time being, a demon with three heads and eight arms,
For the time being, the golden sisteen-foot body of a buddha,
For the time being, a monk's staff or a master's fly-swatter, 1
For the time being, a pillar oor a Lantern,
For the time being, any Dick or Jane, 2
For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky.
--Dogen Zenji, "For the Time Being"3
Three footnotes! The bonus though did come from my inclination to read from the back. There I discovered (or forgot after two years) the Appendices. There the writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist Priest includes signals and sightings to appease the quantum physicist in a humble reader, or potential hybrid-writer looking for a layered platform from which to leap. I, the reader/writer was tickled silly with what Ozeki left.
Thanks to the technology of the computer, I find out about the 5 Planet Alignment that has been happening since January -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter. Then, I discover that this alignment hasn't happened since Pete and I left Kuliou'ou Valley on O'ahu to move to Hilo (2004-2005). How fitting to be celebrating our sixth year here on this Salish Sea Island, where an orchard of Dandelions flourishes without fear of being sprayed with Roundup. Instead, the lion-heart power-packed plant is honored, asked, and included in our food choices. Now that is a theme and a pattern worthy tracing.
Add to these two celestial kilo (observations) the 5-planet retrograde about to happen later this month and I see a growing pattern worthy of attention. Just what have I been doing with the trillions of moments in my life, as a time being? How have I lived my gifts, my kuleana my Hawaiian ancestors would say. How have I been responsible with these gifts, or these curses?
When we left Kuli'ou'ou in 2004, the influence of chemicals, those same ones that people use to kill dandelions, had created the final shove to my decision to sell the homeplace. Hard decision. Harsh decision. One of those curse, or gift things Elsa wrote about.
If I'm reading the sky properly, this retrograde period where Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto appear in the sky as going backwards may be a great time to use the slowing down to re-read my life. Maybe it's a time to pay attention to the footnotes, the small and potent explanations, the details left unnoticed or forgotten. Or, maybe the simple Japanese protocol of reading from the back to the front will be a practice in editing my style, and uncovering grace and hope (Jupiter) in unexpected places.
The retrograde period is not forever, it ends in late May when Jupiter goes direct. In the mean time I have a garden going, and a fence line that will serve as trellises for Long Beans and Straight Eight Cucumbers. I have the whole of the novel A Tale for the Time Being to savor, re-reading with a different eye and an open-heart influenced by the Dandelions, and will let those footnotes have their way with me.
Are we a species who seek patterns in our life? Do you?