It’s mild today, but the bridge was sure to be slick with ice, so we kept to the trail west of the lake.

E. got me up from the computer and out the door. And Leonard Edgar seems to finally have his mojo back, while I lagged behind taking pictures, effectively running intervals to keep up.

Hat off, gloves off.

Now yoga in the sunlight.

Then back to the computer.

So much of the Buddhist philosophy makes sense to me. Except the aspect of non-sensuality – at least as I am understanding it.

To give up the pleasure of the senses, seems to me a premature death. Surely one can consciously experience and enjoy being in the world – this very physical world that we can only perceive with our senses – without craving more of it.

Does savoring inevitably lead to a desire for more? Isn’t savoring the opposite of craving? Being open to what comes through the senses, without clinging?

I’m going to forgive myself the cherry-picking. And forgive myself for not understanding other people’s mental organizing. My blue is not your blue and I am not going to get into a pissing competition to impose my words on you.

Fall in line. Pick a paved lane. Submit your perspective.

I’m going to try to find a way around that uncomfortable word “mindfulness”. If I’m not selling sh*t, is it appropriation? A personal iconology – a personal understanding that would otherwise leave me with misogynistic systems through which to navigate the world. Navigate the self. My self.

No, thank you. These, too – these hierarchies and transmissions of wisdom – are illusions.

My son and I talked about giving in to the experience of cold. A non-judgmental acceptance of the experience, the relinquishing of resistance means less suffering. But pain, yes, that is there. Childbirth – the acceptance that the pain comes in waves, then the letting go of each of these moments. I will not speak for all women who’ve given birth, but in my case it was a sensual experience of pain without suffering.

And it took just as much effort to let go of the fear as the pain itself. I know these are supposed to be the same thing: fear of death is suffering as a consequence of clinging to life. But the belief in reincarnation is a balm for that, until one is ready to step off the merry-go-round. We should all be so lucky to get to the point of wanting off. Satiated. My grandparents both were there – “good Christians” that they were – though she edged towards agnosticism as so many of her prejudices un-clenched toward the end.

She lost her fear before she brain began sticking, long before the rest of her body shut down. She was in the physical world, experiencing it through her senses, without clinging. Pain – even judgment – but suffering? Those who cared for her, surely. But her?

Memory is suffering. Anticipation is suffering – clinging to the story we’ve written for ourselves, no matter how awful that story, we grab an illusion of control through it. We can predict the future. (What a difficult illusion to give up: preparing for the worst.)

I have to blow out the candle now. Watch the smoke curl. I’ll turn off the space heater and lace up my running shoes. The story is, it’s cold out there – and dark at 5.30. The dog is curled up in the chair and he’ll reluctantly step down, but then stretch his back legs one after the other, and reach his head through the harness. And his tail will start waging in anticipation. I’ll open the door and it will stop. He hates the rain.

Are we so different really?

There’s nothing new here. But that’s okay. Nothing has been transmitted to me. And reading about a clementine – listening to someone describe one, give it a circumscribed meaning for me to swallow – is not the same thing as tasting one.

from whatever perspective offers itself.

Work days in a literal black box, desk facing the wall – I have to remember to take the time to seek out a window.

A reflection of the setting sun, early afternoon.

Somewhere in the world it’s Thanksgiving, with all its ambivalence.

A walk this morning while my hamstring mends. I was unsettled, but it took me a few minutes to understand why:

Missing the birds. Not a magpie, not a crow, not a sparrow this morning.

Finally, the ducks who dare to over-winter here, along the edges of the water. Quiet.

Too quiet.

Leonard shakes off the tension and his harness clinks.

In art class
the instructor tells us to always observe carefully
the instructor tells us that there are no lines in nature

but he isn’t paying attention
__everything lines up
everything falls
___________in line

and there are lines to be crossed
and there are lines not to be crossed
____there are lines that divide
and there are lines that mesh

that hold us as we breathe
in and out in lines that are ripples expanding
the cages that hold our beating hearts.