Green Carpet of the Heart


March 17, 2023- The darling girl owned the room, as soon as she and her mother entered. One of those people whose smiling eyes could melt the iciest heart, she engaged anyone who would listen in a few minutes of banter. We know each other from somewhere, and her mother is a doppelganger for a much loved friend who lives outside Portland, OR. We greeted each other cheerfully, but as strangers, as if meeting for the first time. Her grandmother showed up, a while later, as the Raven Cafe’s grand re-opening proceeded, with the Joe Booth Band, a rousing bluegrass and rockabilly ensemble, got the proceedings going.

Nonna mistook me for one of the owners, as I was sitting close to their table, in a small wooden chair by the water station, with the beer and wine menu overhead. I guess the father of one of the owners overheard and came over, interrupting my description of the t-shirt that had caught her interest, and making sure that the ladies knew who he was, before walking off to his next conversation. Normality has returned quickly to the Raven, after it was closed for a month, for structural repairs.

As Joe and the guys readied for their second set, they brought the sister of a friend on stage, for her first public performance. She held her own, for two songs, and seems to be a quick study on the fiddle. There was a goodly amount of dancing, mostly by the women and girls, wherever they could find space. The girl I mentioned at the outset was up there with the rest, dancing her heart out. This time, I contented myself with bouncing lightly in my chair-not really needing to be all that conspicuous. It was enough to see so many people enjoying themselves on the scattered open spaces.

Today being St. Patrick’s Day and, by happenstance, the 29th anniversary of my youngest brother’s passing, there was a bittersweet air. This time in March has ever seemed like a time of new life, at least in the northern hemisphere- the unrolling of a green carpet. Brian’s passing marked the end of a fair period of suffering and decline, so he moved on to his own new life-as his sister-in-law would, nearly 26 years later. Festivities such as this evening’s comfort me, as a kind of green carpet of the heart. Maybe the mother and daughter, who were so happy to meet me, are angels sent to make sure that the message of joy supersedes any lingering sorrow.

It is a blessing to have the Raven open again.

Nine Years On


March 5, 2020-

As my dear love got ready to go on to her next spiritual journey, I was driving with our son to her hospice.  Random road construction set us back, about three minutes.  As we got to the door of the facility, a slight spiral of air brought leaves and dust upward, on an otherwise still morning. I knew she was not able to hang on, any longer.

It’s been nine years, since that hard March morning.  Each anniversary since, I’ve taken stock of where I am.  The bottom line is that I am able, in general, to do what she and my other spirit guides tell me is necessary.  I feel her presence, constantly.

There has been a fair amount of travel involved, to accomplish the goals that she and I had set for our later years.  There are both family (biological and extended) visits and journeys on behalf of our shared Baha’i Faith.  There are acts of service to the developmentally disabled, whose education was Penny’s life’s work.  There is embracing  a community, in its pursuit of sustainable culture.  There is facing down all the negative forces that threaten the lives, and livelihoods, of so many-from the capriciousness of politics and finance, to the mind games that play out in interpersonal relationships.

These things always concerned Penny and sometimes “drove her nuts”.  There was one thing that kept her steady, even in the darkest of days:  Her faith in God and a knowledge that Creation, in its many forms, was eternal.  No corrupt financier, feckless school administrator or greedy medical practitioner ever kept her from realizing her goals.

To this day, I hold all the lessons of her life, dear to my heart.