Tarry, Lady Aurora

tarry

Just this once, Lady Aurora *
will you delay the banishment of the night’s coverings
of sleep sojourns and nocturnal secrets?

Delay your radiating of the sky heavens
with your infinite lumens that expose angles and circles
of our daily labors and mortality.

Let me tarry in this dawn ‘tween world
so I can still enjoy echo laughter of old friends
as their footfalls grace the trails of Tantalus. **

Let me savor the fading wafts of salty air
and hear the soft hissing of the Pacific Ocean
seeping into the sands of Kona. ***

Let me wake just enough to recognize the shadow
of my dreams though I live in your light world
while I simultaneously breathe sweet thoughts of fond times.

Then I shall be ready for your warmth, dear Lady
and gladly open my eyes to greet you in song
and rejoice in hopes you bring to this new day.

 *     Aurora is the Roman god of dawn who renews herself every morning and flies across the sky.

**   Tantalus is a wonderfully whimsical mountain on Oahu, Hawaii.  It is said to have been named after the Greek god who, always thirsty, was punished by being placed in a pool of water. When he tried to drink, the water receded.

*** Kona sands grace the west coast of the southernmost island in Hawaii.

Photo taken in the summer dawn in Harmony Park, Trophy Club, Texas. 

One More Forever

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There will be time enough for mourning, dear loves
for confessions of regret
and eulogies of breath and stone

But for now
caress my brow and tired arms
and comb the tangles from my hair

Lean in close and listen
to the spirit voice deep in my heart
I have things to tell you

You moored me in your harbor
when my voice echoed
in rooms that housed only shadows

You wove me into your tapestry
of delicately fine threads of friendships
and the colors of laughter and love

You let me share the warm companionship
and unconditional loyalty
of the loving dogs you master so well

There shall be time enough for loss, my neighbors
but only after we embrace as always
for one more forever

To Sit in the Shade

Let me just play on the beach for now
And one day I promise to save the world
Or at least don a First Communion veil beneath your stained glass
And win the spelling bee in the fifth grade of parochial privilege
And fasten the first college diploma to our immigrant family tree

Let me just bathe in the sun for now
And one day I promise to be June Cleaver in a pink business suit
Or at least know how to debone chicken for the perfect roast
And find the perfect stain remover for rainy day sleepovers
And keep the light low as I complete my report while you dream

Let me just sit in the shade for now
And one day I promise to be the complacent white-haired matron
Or at least the gracious dame who forgets old trespasses
And recall the generosity of generational patriarchs
And bequeath the wisdom of womanhood to girls who play on the beach

Meditations on Jellyfish

Jellyfish intrigue me. They are invisible in their translucency.  They glide without care, and typically eat plankton and shrimp that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I fancy myself a jellyfish of sorts.  It’s usually when I want to be invisible and harmless, only having to deal with that which crosses my path.  It’s usually when I am most desperate for the simplicity of drifting with life’s currents. 

I’ve been a jellyfish for several months, away from my usual haunts of relationships and interactions.  This blog has had no new entries for almost a year, my personal journal entries are few and eons between, and I struggle to post personal things on any social media. 

I used to consider this self-imposed exile as cocoon-ing, but that implies sitting still. Stationary I am not.  For many months, I’ve been traveling to Hawaii for a project, sometimes twice a month. It is not a particularly difficult project, nor is it easy.  It involves helping a client make a major change to the centerpiece of its 1,100-acre project.  If made, the change is irrevocable in the foreseeable future.  If done right, the change will bring unprecedented opportunity for the Hawaii .  The change pleases many, angers a few and intrigues the business-minded.  While the fundamental change is set, the process of evolving to the chance is still being defined; hence, my discretion in identifying the project and client.

I am retained to help the client, but the how, when and why of my consultation are sometimes unclear.  In fact, there have been times when I feel extremely out of sync.  Nevertheless, rather than force my views, or rail against what seems contrary, I did something out of character.  I chose to wait and see and I might best help.

In this waiting, I have become . . . a jellyfish.  I learned to move with the current, to migrate when necessary, to beware of predators, to accept sustenance that happens to be in my path.  I also strive to be transluscent.  I seek anonymity, and shy away from socializing, scrutiny and visibility.  All this so that my senses are heightened to what I need to do to help.

I think it takes confidence to wait and listen.  Some call it faith – if I listen well, act accordingly, what needs to happen will.  Others think of it as fear – should I not boldly proclaim and insist on my vision if I believe in it?  Still others consider me lucky – it’s a good thing I didn’t screw up before this. 

Whatever it is, my jellyfish existence has been prudent. I am currently able to contribute skills to the project team, at least for a few months.  I have learned to be more tactful, constructive and productive, a better team member hopefully.  I learned that, on one hand, I’m not as good as my self-advertisement purported.   On the other hand, I’m better than I feared in my night sweat awakenings.  I can live with this balance.  Quite comforting, actually.

Back to the jellyfish.  In reality, they are not passive or simply gliding through life.  While they capture algae, plankton, and shrimp that drift through their space, jellyfish also have a defense mechanism that attack predators and capture larger prey with their painfail sting.   They heed tthe moon and tide to know when to drift closer to shore to breed; they long to survive.  And though they may seem invisible, when the ocean currents conjoin our two worlds, the elusive jellyfish hover near swimmers as their tendrils seek to sting bare apendages. 

So I suppose that there’s always the option to sting if threatened.  But for now I prefer to glide.  Perhaps some waves will bring me into shallower waters where sunlight illuminates my membranes and I may catch a glimpse of you.

1 New Recipe a Week: Week 7 (aka Painted Fish)

Fresh seafood was a staple on our dining table as I was growing up in Hawaii.  On weekend mornings, we’d go to the beach, catch fish and gather limu (seaweed) and, if we were lucky, find an octopus or two or some panapana (sea urchin in Ilocano).  These items would be simply prepared, sometimes steamed with ginger, sometimes fried to a wonderful crispiness, many variations of seafood stews, or sometimes eaten raw (like the sea urchin) and limu. 

I like my fish unadulterated. I want to taste the ocean that they breathed and the seaweed that nurtured them. Whenever I go back to Hawaii, I eat poke, a popular raw fish dish in Hawaii that has a variety of preparation methods.  Ingredients might include fish, shrimp and octopus, and might be flavored with seaweed, green onions, kukui nut, sea salt, chili water, even kimchee seasoning.  The main thing is that the fish flavor is enhanced, not smothered.

The few glazed fish dishes I have eaten in restaurants were either over-cooked or over-sauced.  It was as if someone covered dark, rich koa or cherry wood with a thick paint.  Quite disrespectful!

In the interest of trying a new recipe, however, I set out to look for a glaze that might help me be more open-minded.  I found a wonderfully simple recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (yet again!) that had only three ingredients to add to the salmon.  Now that is simple.

In fact, it was too simple, so I decided I needed to stretch a little and bake a peach  cobbler from a recipe I found in an August 2005 Martha Stewart’s Living magazine. The peach filling is tasty with just a touch of ginger, but it is the taste and texture of the topping that renders this dessert a lavish end to a simple meal.

MAPLE-SOY GLAZED SALMON

The preparation time for this meal was 40 minutes, which is the time it takes to cook basmati rice in a rice cooker.  The actual time for the preparation of the maple-soy glazed salmon was about 2 0minutes, including the gathering of ingredients and cutting a side of salmon into fillets.

I simmered a 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup soy sauce for a few minutes until the mixture was the texture of syrup.  I baked six salmon fillets, skin side down, at 450 degrees for about three minutes then basted each piece with the glaze.  I baked it about three more minutes adding a little more glaze at the end.

I then sprinkled chopped up green onions and toasted sesame seeds on the top and the dish was ready.  It was served with rice and a mixed green salad with ginger tofu dressing. 

SALMON SIMPLY GLAZED TO PERFECTION — IN TEXAS!

p.s.  In my quest for a balanced meal, I rounded off this healthy fare with . . .

PEACH COBBLER ALA MODE!

Arrival at Baggage Claim C

He shifted his weight in the third chair of the single pew at Baggage Claim C.  He was amazed at how these thin seats initially looked comfortable, but soon made him squirm to find a good position.  His elbows banged up against the metal arms on both sides of his seat.  Why do humans intentionally design discomfort? 

“Flight 0804 has arrived,” the automated voice announced to the air.  “Baggage can be claimed at Baggage Claim C.  For passengers flying to another destination, please check the consoles located throughout the terminal.”

He was expecting many important people arriving on this flight.  Dignitaries, financiers, artists and musicians were listed on the manifest.  But he was especially interested in a woman he had yet to meet.  Her postcards always managed to reach him, bits of her life scribbled on the backs of beaches, mountains and cities.  Her simplicity intrigued him. 

“I like this town.  I may stay here awhile.” 

“I didn’t realize how much this beach meant to me.”

“These mountains must reach heaven.”

The tired-looking travelers started filing in one by one, pushing the turnstyle that ended their journeys.  He recognized the young senator from Illinois who will lead a nation, and another man who will challenge Israel’s sovereignty.  He smiled fondly at a dark colored man who will sing about how wonderful life is, and nodded briefly at a man whose baseball career will be tainted by his credibility before lawmakers.

He stood when a small woman came through, carrying an overstuffed red purse and a slim computer bag.  She seemed so . . .  ordinary next to these other destinies.  Yet he recognized her by her expectant glances at different faces, and a small smile that breathed anticipation. 

She set her bags down near the baggage conveyer and ran her fingers through her hair.  She was business-like in her movements, yet bent down to talk to a little Asian boy who will star in a TV series about being lost. 

She saw him walking towards her, and her smile broadened.  “I knew you’d be here,” she murmured when he stood a few inches away. 

He gently placed his hands on her shoulders, and said quietly, “Welcome to Gaia, child.”  They hugged as old friends do when time is of no essence.

“Let me help you with your bags,” he offered, as they waited for the conveyer to deliver her life.

a birthday present to myself