As a musician, artist, contemplative, theologian, and cultural explorer, I find a strange joy in grappling with the larger questions about life and existence. To me, this is the heart and soul of communications — exploring the dynamics of what it means to be human, how we connect and relate with one another, how we cultivate love and growth, and how we perceive ourselves in relation to the wider universe or the Divine. My reflections here are an attempt to capture moments of life — through a canvas of words, songs, images, and reflections — that I hope bring a deeper meaning into focus.
It was during the summer of 2003 when I found myself one evening in an upstairs bedroom of a home in Alameda, California, staring into my computer screen, searching my mind for an email address. I was in my late 20s at the time. And, were it not for the generosity of the couple whose home I was taking up space in, I probably would have been basically homeless.
I recently discovered that Rachel Carson began her life’s work as, not as a scientist, but as a writer and poet. And this made me love her even more. Like me, she had been so captivated by the sea and the bird songs and every magical object of nature in between that she couldn’t imagine putting words to what she bore witness to without using lush, vivid language, full of color.
Earlier this week on one of those sunny afternoons, I found myself craving a walk outdoors in this very cemetery as I tried to make sense of a world gone sideways. Amid the news of death and sickness all around me, the economic plunges, canceled meetings and events, schools closures, emptier-than-usual stores and cafes, and people keeping plenty of “social distance” from one another in an effort to stem the spread of COVID19, I took a silent walk among the dead.
As the season of winter came into full view this month, I found myself quietly hunkered down in our new home, taking refuge from the cold, rainy days that had fallen upon us here in northern California. My normally outdoor-loving spirit that craves sunshine and fresh air was strangely content to snuggle up indoors with the lights turned down low and the constant burn of a balsam fir-scented candle beside me while I worked. Soft piano jazz streamed from speaker system for days on end. I had the heater running far more often than I want to admit. The lure of hibernation never felt so good.