Friday, December 12, 2008

Cypress:Tree of Light

Even though I have the inclination to move onto some new imagery, namely the legendary phoenix bird, I choose to revisit this Cypress. In rereading my blog, I had only begun research and then abandoned the process of it. I find this is a tendency of mine: to pursue with passion and then walk away when the fire fades.

I'll none of that. The Cypress is far to important a locus for my identity to treat as a flippant fancy. Here are some words for my meditation from my readings met with the words you gave so generously:

tree of light in a desolate place of death
reviving tonic to women in labor
mythically ancient
bark: hard, fine, close in grain, durable, beautiful reddish-brown color
resinously fragrant
cypress twig secures free and safe passage across borders
the earth spirit of the East dwells in the cypress, and a portion of its immense life force can be absorbed if the resin is chewed
whispers in the wind and asks the birds of the air to deliver its messages
when harmed all the other trees will assemble at night to heal its wounds.
involves "bathing" in the fresh and healing air of a forest of cypress trees

I am inclined to first taste of the Cypress and enjoy its splendor. Instead of superficially identifying with these characteristics, I want to meditate on them for me, not through me.

The paradox of a powerful light, is that it is most brilliant in the darkest of places. Were I kneeling at the end of all things, I would trust the Cypress to guide my horizon and draw my eyes heavenward. I see a spiraling Cypress, evergreen and flaunting its life like a protuberant, proud chest, held high in the face of fear. I would rely on the Cypress to sway, carrying an odorous message to the falcon perched atop. "Guard her. Shelter her."

When my only comfort threatens to be cloak upon robe upon ragged garb over my flesh, the Cypress woos me from shame, from a mask of fear. Rather than hide from death and be weighed down in my claustrophobic attire, the elucidating presence of the Cypress inspires me to disrobe. I do desire to stand naked, bathing in her resinous, healing light. My body has too long been broken under these suffocating fears. My arthritic hands, my swollen knees, my fragile ankles, my clenched jaw, my organs burning, cramping, aching.

But, to be nude amidst so much death. To stand with nothing but peach flesh to separate you from the wintry cement of the grave. To open my arms to the starred sky and receive what the fates have long intended. To be comforted by the tree of my now. Disarmed, unimpeded, I proceed to her roots with tempered gate baring only the audacious hope of metamorphosis.

The pangs of a new life have doubled me over in a weary acclimation of daily pain. She rises, consuming my line of sight as I fall to her base. My eyes ask for her sacrifice and I am instantly reassured. "Partake." Drawn to the reddish brown bark of her trunk, my fingers delicately pry a shard of sturdy, dense meat. The smell is tantalizing, like the earth and sea mated in a bed of moonlight. I chew. The bittersweet flakes melt into a sticky sap, which sticks to my teeth like hard candy. Relief.

As I swallow, I feel a warm arm touch my ankle. As I look down in blissful comfort, I see a root, dark and foreboding against the white of my skin. Yet, there is no fear in me, even when I reach for it out of habit. The pockets of my doubt, self-abasement, and flagellation are spilled out on the rotting ground beyond my ken. As my hair is swept up in the wind, it snags onto the splintered edges of the base of the Cypress. I inhale the now overwhelmingly pungent aroma as my face is pressed against the tree. Freely, I wrap my arms around this sacred bush. I cannot see my legs, which have been carefully folded into the earth through a system of powerfully old roots.

Earth bound. Though the stars would call me home, I linger. Held fast by my sister, the Cypress. My pink skin has become but a reflection on her limbs, which one would mistake for the glare of moonlight. Together, we whisper to the birds, comfort the mourning, offer sacred balm to the birthing, and linger to meet death's sting with the warmth of a tender light.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Morning Sky

As I opened my car door to head to the U-district for a proctoring gig, I was lulled into slow motion, mesmerized by the sky. At first, I couldn't quite place the distinct brilliance of the blue, the close crystallized clouds shimmered in butter yellow. Whirling back to a normal speed, I realized that it was simply morning.

Even now, I cannot remember the last morning I greeted outdoors. The air seemed sweeter, less recycled by the day's breath and pollution. The colors sharper, a piercing glow that both held and stirred me. I felt I had a secret I could not wait to share.

Shhh... Let me whisper it in your ear.

As it so happens, my proctoring services were not needed. I willingly laid down my day of work to another, and in return received a gift from the gods, a spontaneous morning with my dear friend, Jenae.

We ventured to Vivace's new location for an incomparable cappuccino and latte. We mused about being 30: settling into self, trusting our passions to surface in their own time, choosing wellness in our work, feeling hopeful.

All in all, a delicious morning. Mornings. Hmmm... I must sample more of them - from time to time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Can French Inhale

"The guys really go for it. And that's how I got my nickname, Frenchy. "
"Sure it is!"
~ Grease

It's immerse myself in French time. Here is a list of to read, to watch, and to learn French by:


L'Etranger, Albert Camus
Le Petit Prince, Antoine du Saint-Exupery
Le Malade Imaginaire, Moliere
Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassante
Les fiançailles de Monsieur Hire, Georges Simenon
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo


La Haine - Hate
Le Pacte de Loup - Brotherhood of the Wolf
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf - Lovers on a Bridge
Les Diner de Cons - The Dinner Game
Trois Couleurs: Bleu, Bialy, & Rouge - Three Colors Series: Blue, Red & White


Les Fleurs du Mal, Charles Baudelaire
Une saison en enfer, Arthur Rimbaud
Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes, Honore de Balzac
Le Moyen Court Et Autres Écrits Spirituels, Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon
La Mort en perse, Anne-Marie Schwarzenbach
La Vie dan las plis, Henri Michaux

Shall we inhale together?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dream Gum

My dreams, as many of you know, are insatiably visceral. A recurrent character of late has been chewing gum. I don't often chew gum, so dreaming consistently about it is curious as it is. But, this seemingly harmless gum overtakes my mouth the moment the dream reaches its climax (think literary).

I struggle to pry it from my teeth and gums as it is lodged on the roof of my mouth and down my throat, gagging me. I then have to pull it from my throat without it breaking off, which it always does. I am forced to swallow the large lump of gum. Finding some relief at having come through this ordeal, I return to face my dream, only...

... I wake up.

Here is what has to say:
To dream that you are unable to get rid of your gum, suggests that you are experiencing some indecision, powerlessness or frustration. You may lack understanding in a situation or find that a current problem is overwhelming.

Hail Joseph! This is precisely my perplexing condition. The word of my undoing - overwhelming.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Tree

For some time, I have been drawn to the cypress tree.

My grandfather painted the cypress trees that line the northern California coastline. I have also heard that they can grow to at least twice their size under ground, with an expansive root system. This gives them the ability to endure arid and precarious conditions, as well as the intense winds associated with the sea.

As I am in search for a new tree, a new association set apart from the Arrow Poison Tree, a picture came to mind amidst a deeply stirring conversation last night with a dear friend, and saintly guru. It was of a tree rooted at the edge of a cliff alone and along a sea shore. It did not occur to me that this could be a cypress tree, until I came across this picture.

So, I'm in pursuit of more information, both mystical and physical, regarding the cypress tree, in hopes of some new imagery for my life. Here's what I've learned thus far:

* In Greek Mythology the cypress is associated with the god of the underworld, Hades.
* The cypress is an evergreen, cone-bearing tree whose branches are often meant to represent grief or mourning.
The wood of the Cypress is hard, remarkably fine and close in grain, very durable, of a beautiful reddish-brown color, and resinously fragrant.
There can be little doubt that the Cypress was originally a native of Asia Minor, and probably also of the island of Cyprus, from which it almost certainly derives its name.
* The tree at Soma:
Perhaps the oldest living tree of any kind, is the historical and gigantic tree at Soma, in Lombardy. It is popularly supposed to have been planted in the year of the birth of Christ, and is looked upon with great reverence in consequence. It is more than 120 feet in height, and its stem is twenty-three feet round. In addition to the interest arising from this great age and size, the tree has the distinction of having been wounded by Francis I., who is said to have struck his sword into it in despair after his defeat at Pavia; and of having been so respected by Napoleon that in planning his road over the Simplon he deflected it from the straight line to avoid injuring the tree.
* The legend of the origin of cypress from Metamorphosis, by Ovid:
"Praying in expiation of his crime
Thenceforth to mourn to all succeeding time.
And now, of blood exhausted, he appears
Drain'd by a torrent of continual tears.
The fleshy colour in his body fades,
A greenish tincture all his limbs invades.
From his fair head, where curling ringlets hung,
A tapering bush, with spiry branches, sprung,
Which, stiffening by degrees, its stem extends,
Till to the starry skies the spire ascends.
Apollo saw, and sadly sighing, cried,
'Be, then, for ever what thy prayer implied:
Bemoan'd by me, in others grief excite,
And still preside at every funeral rite.'"

If you are able to find any more information about the cypress that might offer insight, please do so. Or, if you see any meaningful connections between myself and this mysteriously old tree, please do not hesitate to speak.