23 06 2009

Do say the bees will return,
And with them, seasons.

This bee was trembling. Can you see it–it is all of a blur…
Admittedly, the camera (my iphone) is not the best equipment…but I tell you, it was truly trembling.

Below and behind it, the tide was coming in on the lake, and little waves were splashing, making it feel, if I closed my eyes, like I was near the sea.

Stars about my head I felt
About my Feet the Sea–

Except that it did not smell like the sea. The lake has a clearer scent, less salt and rot, and does not smell nearly as translucent to me as the ocean.

(Can you tell how much I miss it?)

There is something to Sina Queyras’ fear about the bees–recently, whole colonies of bees have been dying off. This has been named “colony collapse syndrome” and has caused considerable concern. Recently, a primary cause of this in honeybees has been identified–the parasite Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia). Researchers were even able to cure a colony of infection which is good news.

One clover, and a bee.

of course.

Except that honey bees are not the only bees–and the Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini) is now, perhaps, extinct. And many other native bees are threatened. And less you complacently suggested that the Franklin’s bumble bee was never particularly common–take note. Dr. Robbin Thorp, an entomologist professor (emeritus) at UC Davis regularly censused bees, and the Franklin’s bees were among the 10-20 most common species. (Though perhaps you might not be convinced by that, had you not known that there were upwards of 20,000 species of bees across the globe).

Last time Dr. Thorp saw a Franklin’s bumble bee was in 2006, when he saw a lone worker at Mt. Ashland.


Another species vanished and I bet you didn’t see it coming.

Where man is, nature is bereft.


A Political Interlude

19 06 2009


I am following Iranian Student @Change_for_Iran on Twitter. The last post was:
“we have to leave, it’s not safe here anymore! wish us luck!”

I am one of Iranian Student’s 24478 followers.

Everything is superimposed upon everything else.

my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass,
that the Guest leaves—

I really appreciate being able to read Iranian Student’s posts—it is the experience that I always feel I miss with things happening elsewhere when I read the news. I feel as though something of the inside is out. I do not feel very useful. I am worried about Iranian Student.

We’re fearing that their Hearts will drop—
And crush our pretty play—

I am reading the protests, the marches and the repression from people “on the ground” and deeply inside of it. I can read the anxiety, confusion and excitement. It, at some level, resists synthesis and evaluation because it is immediate.

I am also, of course, reading our country’s recent history as well. Part of this is searching for a direct connection—how is what is happening there related to what is happening/happened here. A clear attempt to reflect back to the self—and to blame. (Like how the label “Axis of Evil” created the environment for Ahmadinejad to push more repression).

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly

I am not the only person—many people have pointed out that things might have been different in this country if folks had had the cajones to rise up in protest in 2000.

My first reaction to this was—yeah—what a lot of cowards we are. But my second reaction brings out the social anarchist in met—the election was not stolen in the way that people suspect Admenijad of stealing Iran’s election. It was robbed through the action of the Supreme Court—and institution that was built up directly out of manner in which the citizens of this country voted over the thirty years prior. And Bush was re-elected. His presidency was not directly the result of repressive tactics (although, there were some arguably dubious moves made…) in the way that would invite a mass uprising.

(I am full of shit…a moral coward—I am just too comfortable to put myself at risk.)

I am, apparently, a social anarchist. I believe our country is too big for true democracy. I am tired as hell of paying the price in environmental degradation, poverty, and lack of education, because of other peoples ignorance and unwillingness to do the hard work of learning.

Perhaps I am just an insular piece of work.

And when I think of the Civil War, I must remind myself what the threat of succession did to this part of the world.

I know it is more complicated that I imagine.

At any rate. I am still getting Tweets from Iranian Student—and I am getting more nervous for all of the people demonstrating because the Ayatollah is essentially threatening to crackdown. He has clearly decided to throw his cards in with Ahmadinejad.

So I’ll keep checking up and hoping that something shifts and we don’t have to watch a lot of people hurt over the next days and weeks.

If you are annoyed by my overthinking yoga, then skip this

8 06 2009


I have fifteen minutes to write this.

Other things, dear, other things call.

The other day I was practicing yoga and all the voices of all the teachers I’ve had or read were inside my head. I turned them into a river.

But it was not enough. I had to give it up—my husband and children’s bodies and faces floated up in my mind and I could not help but grieve over time. Over that moment that I was not with them.

And isn’t it nice there is such a gorgeous metaphor available for me to steal—Kali, come on over here and sit with me awhile.

Since that interrupted practice, I’ve been busy.

There’s a start…you like that? Who isn’t busy, inside and out?

Again…since that interrupted practice I’ve been angry.

I have, as I’ve said, hard nut of anger. Sometimes it is (to extend the metaphor to beyond its natural range) cracked and the anger comes out and wraps all over me.

Luckily, I am better at not letting it swallow me, as much as bathe me, so I am able to move about some.

Not very “yoga” of you.

I want to practice a great generosity of spirit.

I want to move with grace on every level, instead of with this physical and emotional clumsiness. I want to use fewer words, not more.

But I cannot help myself.

I do not know of any other practice that allows me to balance myself physically, cognitively and emotionally (as well as other ways…). I thought for a little while that I’d give it up, start training for ultra marathons again—and maybe I will. But probably not. That kind of training doesn’t cut it, fabulous as it is in many ways, doesn’t get at what I need.

And this pisses me off.

Here is a specific: reading a recently acquired text on yoga practice I stumbled upon yet another list of things that a woman should not do when menstruating—no vigorous practice for 3 days, no practice at all for the first day. (The other suggestions: no inversions, no backbends….) And of course, sequester yourself in the menstrual hut so that the menfolk in your life do not risk coming in contact with you. You are unclean.

Perhaps this is unfair—underlying much of the talk about yoga during menstruation is based on the idea of the direction of energy: of apana. During one’s flow, one wants the energy going down (based upon Ayurvedic theoretical considerations) and inversions, for example, impede this.

I suppose I am not knowledgeable enough to really debate this—but reading this in yet another text written by a man made me put the book down. I feel as though things like this are said, recommended, become part of the discussion about yoga because people are unwilling to really dig and ask, where did this come from? What we receive from teachers and text are culturally inscribed and originated out of some form of cultural context, and honestly, I suspect the ideas about menstruation were inscribed by men speaking theoretically rather than by women speaking experientially. Whether or not the theory was emerging out of menstrual taboos or simply out of the Ayurvedic schematic of energy flow, I am loathe to accept any rules in this area. I want to make my own discoveries.

(I should admit that added to this basic experiential versus theoretical concern arises my cursory readings of academic texts about tantra—including David Gordon White’s somewhat controversial suggestion that the fluids of the yogini were the ultimate goal of tantric practice—)

But really, what am I resisting here? It is not these discussions about menstruation. In fact, it might be obvious to you that that little bit above is a diversion.

For me all sorts of things are laid bare.

It is easy for me to create diversions because I read a lot. And I overthink things. If I go back and read seminal texts—The Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita—all of the other elements slip away. I miss much, I am sure, in these readings—my cultural context is different, I am reading translations, I am missing all of those things that at the time were weaving through these texts. But I suppose, this is the same thing that happens when I read anyone’s work, Emily Dickinson for one, living in a context very different than my own.

That doesn’t mean Dickinson’s work is out of my reach, it just means that I will read it in a different way. I will also discover different things as I read her work after reading about her, about her context and the texts she read.

So, I suppose with the Sutras and the Gita.

Acheronta movebo

Yoga is a way for me to move the deep. Dig into upwellings. Burn through…burn through what? Burning is what I visualize during meditation. Burning to ash, then wind, then integration, and nothing.

Move the deep

What does it mean to lay bare in a communal space? What is necessary for safe passage?

I began with the voices of my teachers–and that is where I’ll end, because that is part of what I’m trying to understand. I am not ready to practice entirely upon my own, but I have become a little bit afraid of the space between teacher and student. I am arrogant and resistant and uncomfortable (STILL) in my own skin and this is part of the problem.

Whatever. I am out of time, or more than that.