Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wisdom Tooth Extraction and the Codeine Follow-Up: Guilt and a Song

Since having a truly brutal wisdom tooth extraction yesterday, I have been following the doctor's prescription of antibiotics and...somewhat guiltily, codeine. It's like when you're driving and see a cop car, you feel a little rush of fear and guilt, even though you're not doing anything wrong. I'm just born for guilt I guess.

The codeine dose is extra heavy and takes some getting used to, as my jaw swells and bruises and I see a nasty place at the corner of my lips where the oral surgeon apparently had to rip my mouth open. In my twilight sleep I remember him saying "I just can't get this damn thing out!" (Of course I have a tremendous crush on him now)

Since I really should be going back to work on Monday, I'm getting a tiny bit worried about having to give up this nice codeine relief, and wondering omigod am I getting addicted after just two days?!" A little while ago, I thought "God the heat today is really getting to me. I feel like hell. I just have to go upstairs to my air-conditioned bedroom and have a snooze." Then I realized I was already there, having a snooze. This is spooky.

Suddenly I remembered this old song from 1964. There's a 5 minute version that is the most depressing thing you've ever heard, which of course I used to love back then. But I will spare you and show you the one-and-a-half minute version. Check out the audience- just itchin' for a change! What do you think those guys looked like a year later?

From the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, right before all hell broke loose in the good old USA, here's the short version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Cod'ine" - (before she defected to Sesame Street). Gotta love that shaky voice!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dream of my Father

I was beginning nursing school with some of my daughters in an upstairs open-air hall or casino in a section that looked like an airport gate waiting area which had desk tables and chairs in a long curved line. Jule didn’t want to sit with us but she was there too,and gave us a little wave and smile, like "I'm fine" - also Lelah and Ava were there, We were all excited to be taking the same class, becoming nurses.

My father appeared…First I saw him attached to an IV in a hospital gown…he said he was going to go to the bathroom….it was a unisex bathroom and I went in too…I waited while he went in one of the stalls…and saw other people washing their hands etc. The floor was covered with water, I didn’t want my dad to slip when he came back out….but I went back to the class and left him there.

I said to Nancy S., an old college friend, "My dad's here, isn’t it wonderful?" I realized I shouldn’t have left him alone in the bathroom so I started looking for him. Suddenly he appeared in the classroom area, dressed in one of his beautiful light brown tweed sports jackets… looking hale and hearty, smiling at me with that gleam in his eye, about 60 years old, one hand in pocket, one holding a beer can, so happy and alive and smiling…looking so good! I could tell my young medical instructor was impressed that I was his daughter ....the great Dr. Chapman!...…I was so proud!...

Daddy sat down on the windowsill behind me as I took notes then I turned around and he was gone, there was just a stain - and a dark organic thing like a griffin on a tree stump in the window area where he had been, he had changed form. I started to cry at the table where my notes were. I asked Nancy if she saw him too…and told her, crying, that he was gone…

Then I got up from my seat and turned around and there he was again, restored, looking wonderful. He had just gone to get something! He held up a wide but short piece of paper that had numbers and writing on it, he looked amused…,he knows how messed up I am about money...and most clearly I realized that it was a bill he had picked up at some "office"....there was an $8 charge to be paid by me to "the main office", for seeing and feeling him so clearly. He kind of pointed to his pocket with a smile and made me realize that since he was not really of the flesh, he couldn’t pay it, and he was asking with a twinkle in his eye if I could take care of it. I said “Daddy I would pay $8 every day ! For this! “ He gave me that smile. I reached up and hugged him, feeling his broad shoulders and rubbing my hands along his back, feeling only the most fragile bones,not at all like shoulders and a spine, so differently aligned from human form....puzzling...…but holding together for this brief moment, so alive! It was a wonderful warm real big bearhug, we both knew it was in the dream world, and I said “Oh Daddy, Daddy thank you. Thank you. I miss you so much. You’ve been so good to me.”

The simple words I wish I had said at his deathbed. Thank you so much. I'll miss you. You've been so good to me.

Then I woke up. And decided to try to find out if this dream came via India. Because I have definitely had some supernatural experiences lately involving people my daughter knows, a guru and a swami in India.

ADDENDUM: Several days after this dream I spoke by phone to my daughter in India and she told me about a dream she had had of Grandpa. She was fascinated by the dream and (not knowing about my dream) described it something like this: "Grandpa came to see me and he looked just like his old self. He said some really nice things about me being in India and then gave me a big hug. I noticed that some make-up rubbed off from his face and he smiled and winked and said that he just needed to put on some regular-world stuff so that I would recognize him."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Le Bassin aux Nymphéas by Monet: Eighty Million Spent Today, for a deathbed comfort?

I don't know about corporate art purchases and how that works, but tonight I have a fantasy about a man who has just spent $80,000,000 for a soothing painting to hang in a room where he will die someday.

If money were no object and I were that man who had lived a long and busy life, acculturated by education and life-style to the finer things in life...perhaps had many lovers, many wonderful dinners,a spouse or two, some children perhaps, much travel, and then found that life was closing in on even me.... and that my days were numbered... I might buy a remarkable painting by Monet of a soothing pond of water lilies. At this point in my life, I would be thinking of my dying days and wondering which face I might be looking into in my last moments. Good God not THAT ONE I hope!...Being none too sure about that, and whether I would really want any of them there, I might choose to run the gamut and purchase something of solid provenance...a soothing Monet. Blow my wad on the thing. Hang it in the bedroom. Be sure to have beauty there at the end, and peace.

People run their own little trips on you when you're dying. They think you need to hear a certain Bible passage or a certain poem or a certain song. They think you need to have certain memories. They argue at the deathbed among themselves and their old little personality conflicts come to the fore while you are getting oxygen and breathing your last. The only really meaningful thing anyone could say is "Thank you." "Thank you for all you have done in your life and for what you have done in our lives, and all that you have meant to us. We'll carry on, we'll carry you on in memory. Thank you, thank you."

But it doesn't go that way. People mess up. They can't make it there, their plane is late, the kids are sick, they're in the middle of a divorce, they're upset, they say the wrong thing, they're uncomfortable guilty and sobbing, they're broke, the doctor or night-shift nurse says no-no to letting the little ones come in, the ones who might have reminded you at the end of your tenderest times. The times before you got caught up in life. The times when you were a child being adored, playing outside, feeling curious, the times when you were a young adult, feeling the sweetness of life.

So as insurance against things going wrong at the spend $80,000,000 on a Monet that won't let you down. Your children will prosper, they can sell the thing when you're done for whatever price, but there's no reaon why you shouldn't have it all right there in front of you at the end. You deserve it.You can stare at it until they turn your bed around for their own convenience and say "oh he can't see that anyway. Can he?"

I imagine this man tonight and congratulate him on his heroic effort. But, sir, I would be there no matter which way they turn your bed. I would make sure you could see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear and feel what you want to feel and have what you want to have. I will read to you and we will admire reproductions of Monet in excellent large books, I will soothe you and herald the way for you. You are someone in my dreams and I am in yours, and rest assured, I am always here. No price attached. I'll bring the books.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A vignette of India

In the interest of keeping the homefires burning, I spoke by phone to my daughter in India and suggested that she go see a recent U.S. block-buster movie, just for fun. Thinking I might be irreverent and manifesting horribly,since she is there studying pranic healing, I said "Go see something like Sex and the City, they must show it there." She, ever ahead of the game, said that in fact, she had seen it last month in Bombay. I, having read "How to Manifest Horribly and Enlighten Others" back in the sixties, backed off.

Although she had no intention originally of going to Bombay on her present journey, she did end up there for a few days after being waylaid by riots in Jaipur. She had been in Rajasthan, the area where Guijars were closing down railroad transportation and torching busses and so forth, and had had to sacrifice her ticket to Delhi and fly south to Bombay to circumvent the riots. She claims she never felt endangered. Sitting at home watching the news reports, I saw it differently.

While in Bombay, which was oppressively hot and congested, she and a friend decided to escape to an air-conditioned theater to see some Bollywood, but they ended up seeing "Sex and the City." Before the curtain went up, the entire theater audience stood up to sing the Indian National Anthem. Imagine! Why don't we do that in America? It reminds me of the 50's here in the USA. Whose economy is on the rise?
I don't know economy, but isn't theirs doing pretty well, all things considered? I know that people who will rise to sing their National Anthem before watching "Sex and the City" have a mighty special place in my heart and remind me of those times as an innocent child when I sang loud and clear, hand on my heart, fifty some years ago, about how much I loved my country. Maybe afterwards, on the weekend , I paid a quarter to go see "The Blob" or "Return of the Mole People", but my heart could sing out any patrotic tune with love, anytime anyone expected me to. I'll be glad to do it again. Someone make me!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Trans-global Pranic Healing Experience

My daughter is currently studying Pranic healing in India. On short notice, by phone this morning, my beautiful daughter Honna arranged a long-distance half-hour meditation for me in Cape May USA, with her, her teacher by her side, and her teacher's teacher (both of them older men in Uttar Pradesh- aka Uttarakhand) at some distance in another part of town. My daughter told me to sit facing east with my feet on the ground and my palms open facing up. She called to say that the session would begin and then called half an hour later to say it was ending, to instruct me to give thanks for the healing and to pray that I will receive positive benefits from it, which I did.

I have a healthy skepticsm about these things, but if you read my earlier post you will know I have a healthy skepticism about modern medicine as well. When I was young, I identified myself as a "seeker" and went out in the world looking for some truths. I still look for the truth, and am particularly interested in things that are always true. I have found that it's always true that the gentler side of life, people who have kind, light and gentle spirits, wildflowers, simple things, are sources of comfort. And more than all else, faith.

While in my shared meditation extending from my living room in Cape May to the Himalaya, I experienced the most logical and clear feeling I could have: that I was being helped, that there was positive energy coming my way, and I felt the love of and for my daughter shining like a golden sparkling spinning healing orb.

During this remarkable experience, as I felt a number of physical phenomena, many memories opened up of my own youthful searches. I remembered my children, my beautiful babies around me in meditations ranging from Vedanta meditations in a dark room in Pittsburgh, to a Quaker prayer meeting, to Hands Across America on the Ben Franklin Bridge, to some whole earth meditation at dawn years ago on the beach, to solstice parties, glorious Thanksgiving meals, transcendent moments at the altar rail in the Episcopal church. I know things will go along well, all forces combined. And I remember the Reverend Claude Jeter singing "All Things Are Possible If You Will Only Believe."

Cynical about the Medical Establishment: Old root canals and old wisdom teeth acting up

My sister must have a tooth pulled this week and says it makes her mad that an old root canal has somehow gone wrong. She has taken very good care of her teeth all her life. This is the third story I have heard in one week about old root canals causing problems. I was interviewing someone this week who was hospitalized recently for nearly a week because of a serious infection in her head stemming from an old root canal. My son-in-law's father, aged 80, was hospitalized in Italy this past week for a similar problem. And now my sister. It turns out I may have oral surgery this week as well because of an impacted wisdom tooth gone bezerk here at age 61. The first x-ray said "dislocated jaw" - All of us have been vigilant, well-insured, and are of above-average intelligence. We go to good doctors whom we trust. Who really knows what lurks beneath? What doctor, what diagnostic test, is 100% fool-proof? At the moment I'd wager to say none, unless it's already too late.

The whole medical establishment makes us feel that if we pay good money to take care of our health then we will be ok. It's like a security blanket to go to good doctors on a regular basis. But it’s all kind of fake. You are either healthy because you live a healthy life style and/or have great genes, or you aren’t healthy and/or don’t have great genes. Tim Russert thought he was going along just fine. But the finest doctors didn't see it coming and neither did he. And I know of four people in the last week who have been surprised to discover that although they have not been neglectful,they're completely vulnerable.

will continue above with my pranic healing experience this morning

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"You Can Call Me Al" - by Paul Simon, with some pretty enthusiastic assistance from Chevy Chase

This is one of the all time greats, a family favorite for years. My son Will loved this so much when he was five years old, totally got it, every nuance. It's crazy to say, but this video was truly formative in my kids' lives, they all have the best sense of humor, and I thank Paul and Chevy, in part, for that!

And while we're at it, Lelah's favorite from when she was twelve: "Take On Me" by A-Ha!

Lelah used to take countless photographs of the TV set when this came on MTV and she was twelve years old!

A little comic relief, from the Alan Parsons Project "Don't Answer Me"

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Daughter's Beck and Call To India: Easy

So now I'm going too. To India. Bought my ticket, destination Ladakh, way up there on the Tibetan plateau. Can't wait. It won't be hard, as long as I survive the altitude. If I don't, put me out for the vultures on a hilltop, or whatever is easy....please don't drag me "home" - please just let me drift away in the Himalaya, according to local custom, and according to my life-long dream. I have loved my life beyond measure, my children and their mates, and parents and sister, and nieces and nephews, and cousins, and friends and all into eternity..... I have experienced moments of exhilaration beyond measure- it's almost unfair to those who struggle in this lifetime without joy, how much happiness my children have brought me. But thank you, my children, from the bottom of my heart. Let's hope for many more years for all of us.

So now I have purchased a ticket to India, way out of my budget, but within my crazy reach. My daughter kept encouraging me to join her - then an old practically anonymous college-time friend from 45 years ago gave me the push I needed....saying can't be sure how much time we have left...then Tim Russert died and that day I bought the ticket..just a moment in time in cyberspace, not quite sure how it all happened... My goal is to go to Leh in Ladakh with my 22 year old daughter who is presently feeling comfortable in Dehra Dun, and to not succumb to high altitude sickness nor, well , God forbid, cerebral edema. I've wanted to go to Northern India and/or Tibet, since I was a kid reading my grandparents' old National Geographics, and saw those beautiful Tibetan faces. I used to dream and sing words like "Shey" and "Ringdom" before I ever even knew there really were such places.

I feel my old 60's exhilarating fearlessness coming back to me in my 60's. The same feeling I used to have when I hitch-hiked across country a dozen times, invincible, or slept under bridges in Paris, or lived in a lean-to on the beach in Mexico. How great is that? It was great then and it's great now. I'm ready for anything. I'm not easily fooled anymore, which is good for India, but I remember the joys of illusion. And would welcome those joys again any old time. Going to give it a go. The Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, here I come.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Waiting Neurotically For the Doctor to Call With the Test Results

A week ago I went to bed happy as a clam, perfectly healthy and woke in the middle of the night, unable to open my jaw. Ah the pain! Oh well, probably slept in a funny position, not to worry. Took a few ibuprofen and woke the next morning, it was worse: lockjaw for sure! It got a little better during the day, and not wanting my doctor to think I am neurotic, I held off til Saturday morning, suffering every night, before asking his opinion. My father, a doctor, used to always say that for neurotics, "A few good diagnostic tests are often the finest cure." I didn't want my doctor thinking that about me, Lord knows!

Luckily I had preserved a tick the size of a poppy seed in a napkin, having written on it "Deer Tick? June 5, 2008, found behind my ear" then stuck it in a Ziplock. My family, one and all, had squinted their eyes and sized the little thing up, assuring me it was not a tick. The doctor took a light and a magnifying glass to it and said yes, it's a tick, but it's intact, you're fine. "Wait a few days," he said, "and see what happens."

By Tuesday of this week, no relief. I felt a little feverish. I had researched TMJ, Lyme Disease, bone and thyroid cancer, arthritis, the works. The doctor ordered a TMJ xray, a hard one to get. It took the technician a few tries, increasing my exposure and making me wish I had fought the insurance company to go straight to an MRI.

So I got the xray Tuesday night after the radiologist had gone home, and I would get the results on Wednesday. "But my doctor is off on Wednesdays!" I mouthed in sorrow. They said "If it's an emergency we'll contact the doctor through his answering service." He worked today, Thursday, but doesn't make his calls until dinnertime, of course. Still no call. Is he putting it off because it's not important or because it's the Big One, the news that's hard to break?

Oddly enough, in the past two days, while waiting for the results, and going about my daily business at work, dining out, and at home, taking my temperature now and again, I have heard not one but two tales of people hospitalized for infections in their jaw and head that resulted from root canals gone wrong years after the fact.

I have never even considered going to the dentist! The pain in my jaw and under my ear, seemed so far removed from my mouth! But after all, really, how far is your mouth from your jaw? I mean, forget what your brain thinks: just look in the mirror.
It's probably that. Instead of panicking and thinking big, I should have thought small. Now the dentist is on vacation.

And so now I'm off to the opera at my local movie theater, a high-definition presentation of Puccini's La Rondine from Teatro La Fenice in Venice. I have found some old expired codeine- (never believe expiration dates!) So off I go- the doctor will have to wait to tell me what it is I long to know. Just what the hell is this excruciating pain? A week has passed since it started. I could blame the medical establishment, but it's nobody's fault but mine. He who hesitates is lost. Oh God! Lost!? Farewell!

Addendum: The phone message from the doctor later tonight says it's a dislocated jaw, and next I need an MRI.

Friday, June 13, 2008

For Those of us Who Love Tim Russert: Watch Him Passing the Torch

On March 5th Tim Russert came onto the set of Morning Joe in a curiously elevated mood and talked briefly about a new age, and appeared to be greeting everyone effusively on the heels of some sort of Obama victory, and seemed to be passing the torch. I wondered why he had such an air of satisfied finality, pulling away, and he was over-the-top with happiness. Watch it if you can- probably only his wife or son Luke could have the clout to access it. But I swear, he seems to have a notion during his entry to the studio that he is nearing his end, there's a sense of finality, job well done. I know this because I started a blog about it that day that I never published because it seemed too strange.I don't know how to access footage of that day or I would post it here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

David Brooks' Column "Growing Up" (About Our Bi-polar Abe Lincoln)

Interesting article about one of our greatest presidents: Abe Lincoln, believed to have been bipolar, and one of the all-time best lines of thought: character building achieved by rooting out weaknesses forthrightly and with self-discipline, instead of brushing them under the carpet, talking a good game, and pretending they don't exist.

The Art of Growing Up

By DAVID BROOKS New York Times Op-Ed Columnist
Published: June 6, 2008

"In January 1841, Abraham Lincoln seems to have at least vaguely thought of suicide. His friend Joshua Speed found him one day thrashing about in his room. “Lincoln went Crazy,” Speed wrote. “I had to remove razors from his room — take away all Knives and other such dangerous things — it was terrible.”

Lincoln was taking three mercury pills a day, the remedy in those days for people who either suffered from syphilis or feared contracting it. “Lincoln could not eat or sleep,” Daniel Mark Epstein writes in his new book, “The Lincolns.” “He appeared at the statehouse irregularly, hollow-eyed, unshaven, emaciated — an object of pity to his friends and of derision to others.”

Later, Lincoln wrote of that period with shame, saying that he had lost the “gem of my character.” He would withdraw morosely from the world into a sort of catatonic state. Early in his marriage, Epstein writes, “Lincoln had night terrors. He woke in the middle of the night trembling, talking gibberish.”

He would, of course, climb out of it. He would come to terms with his weaknesses, control his passions and achieve what we now call maturity.

The concept of maturity has undergone several mutations over the course of American history. In Lincoln’s day, to achieve maturity was to succeed in the conquest of the self. Human beings were born with sin, infected with dark passions and satanic temptations. The transition to adulthood consisted of achieving mastery over them.

You can read commencement addresses from the 19th and early 20th centuries in which the speakers would talk about the beast within and the need for iron character to subdue it. Schoolhouse readers emphasized self-discipline. The whole character-building model was sin-centric. So the young Lincoln had been encouraged by the culture around him to identify his own flaws — and, in any case, he had no trouble finding them. He knew he was ferociously ambitious and blessed with superior talents — the sort of person who could easily turn into a dictator or monster.

Over the course of his young adulthood, Lincoln built structures around his inner nature. He joined a traditional bourgeois marriage. He called his wife “mother” and lived in a genteel middle-class home. He engaged in feverish bouts of self-improvement, studying Euclid and grammar at all hours. He distrusted passionate politics. In the Lyceum speech that he delivered as a young man, he attacked emotionalism in politics and talked about the need for law, order and cool reason.

This concept of maturity as self-conquest didn’t survive long into the 20th century. Progressive educators emphasized students’ inner goodness and curiosity, not inner depravity. More emphasis was put on individual freedom, authenticity and values clarification. Self-discovery replaced self-mastery as the primary path to maturity, and we got a thousand novels and memoirs about young peoples’ search for identity.

In the last few years, we may be shifting toward another vision of maturity, one that is impatient with boomer narcissism. Young people today put service at the center of young adulthood. A child is served, but maturity means serving others.

And yet, though we’re never going back to the 19th-century, sin-centric character-building model, for breeding leaders, it has its uses. Over the past decades, we’ve seen president after president confident of his own talents but then undone by underappreciated flaws. It’s as if they get elected for their virtues and then get defined in office by the vices — Clinton’s narcissism, Bush’s intellectual insecurity — they’ve never really faced.

It would be nice to have a president who had gone to school on his own failings. It would be comforting to see a president who’d looked into the abyss, or suffered some sort of ordeal that put him on a first-name basis with his own gravest weaknesses, and who had found ways to combat them.

Obviously, it’s not fair to compare anybody to Lincoln, but he does illustrate the repertoire of skills we look for in a leader. The central illusion of modern politics is that if only people as virtuous as “us” had power, then things would be better. Candidates get elected by telling people what they want to hear, leading them by using the sugar of their own fantasies.

Somehow a leader conversant with his own failings wouldn’t be as affected by the moral self-approval that afflicts most political movements. He’d be detached from his most fervid followers and merciful and understanding toward foes. He’d have a sense of his own smallness in the sweep of events. He or she would contravene Lord Acton’s dictum and grow sadder and wiser with more power.

All this suggests a maxim for us voters: Don’t only look to see which candidate has the most talent. Look for the one most emotionally gripped by his own failings."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Congratulations to Barack Obama: So This is Christmas

Tonight I think about Barack Obama's victory and I am filled with all of the very best feelings I used to have when I was young. Can't stop thinking of how graceful he's been throughout. Can't stop thinking of Ted Kennedy's endorsement even from the throes of his illness. Can't stop thinking of John Lennon. Can't stop thinking of what it would be like to be young and filled with hope. Can't stop thinking how wonderful it is to be in my sixties and feel that way again.

With love, respect, and gratitude for all that Barack Obama seems to understand. And though I probably should apologize for posting this sad video accompaniment to John Lennon's Happy Christmas, War is (almost) Over. I know Mr. Obama understands, and will do something about it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Adventurers in India

In the last several years two of my daughters have gone to India, incidentally fulfilling one of my own lifetime dreams. It has thrilled my soul to "picture them" there. All of my children, their mates, and my grandchild thrill my soul day in and day out. But this India thing has me entranced, and I mean majorly entranced.

Why do people go to India? In my family, India has been salve and sustenance. I would say that my girls have gone for spiritual reasons, soul-soothing. One went to Darjeeling to work in a Tibetan School after heartbreaking revelations by her fiance, and a disastrous end to their engagement.

My youngest, my 22 year old, is in India now, headed off suddenly after working for eight months in Manhattan, feeling unfulfilled. She has been staying for the last few weeks in Udaipur in Rajasthan in a guest house called Dream Heaven, in a room with a beautiful view of a lake and her own bath and shower. Originally the room was $4.50 a night, but she and a friend who works in Udaipur bargained for $1.50 a night. The room was sweetly painted and decorated and clean despite having some lizardy things like geckos climbing on the walls. She has loved it there in her little room in that beautiful city, and is sad to leave.

Today she wrote to say that she has extended her trip annother six weeks and had checked out of Dream Heaven. She's on the move, alone, by bus to Jaisalmer, a ten hour ride, and thence to Chandighar, Amritsar and Dharmsala in time for the monsoon. She has signed up for a highly intensive ten-day meditation course, Vipassana, in Dharmsala. Then she'll head across to Darjeeling.

She sent me a phone text message from the bus she's on right now saying that she was in a cupboard above the seats, no air conditioning in 100 degree heat, and the "cupboards" were like fishbowls. She thought it was funny. But how funny can something be when you're alone in that situation, right near the Pakistan border in an area where rebels have been disrupting public transportation with the most primitive of weapons, including sickles?

I've been trying to think of a word to describe how I feel. It's an agitation, fear of the highest order, concentration, constant prayer, and excitement that defies description, my molecules are all astir, I know there's a word for it on some planet somewhere. That old nut Gurdjieff probably made up a word for it. I'm so glad that my girls have had this experience as young women. I feel enormously proud of them, but that's not even it. Bone of my bone, flesh of my ancient crazy wild wonderful India! Drawn to the Himalaya, they journey north and leave bits and pieces of their DNA in the sworl of humanity there, as they brush their hair, touch the flowers, swim in the waters.

Even the thought of the Himalaya and beyond that, the Hindu Kush, sets my blood on thin-speed, and makes me feel an exhilaration I cherish.

I'm on edge.
I pray.
I'm there with you every step of the way.

I think of coming but may be too old,
I can't stand extremes of hot and cold.
When I was young
a room for a dollar a day
was just fine.
Do you think
I could still be that way?
So do me a favor
and try not to stare:
just tell me if you can
picture me there.