Saturday, November 30, 2019

Savannah Thanksgiving

Morning in the Connor House.

Steamboat and freighter. Pretense and reality are the theme of this Thanksgiving here. If you want authenticity, you have to look beneath the surface facade of tour buses and buggies. Delve below the stories handed out by guides. Same with our pretense of a President, a man incapable of leadership or compassion. Isn't our own giving thanks for our "blessings" itself lacking in compassion for a world dying in poverty, war, pollution, and climate catastrophe? Our pretense of happiness is steeped in unthinking selfishness.

Dinner at the Flying Monk.

Returning to the Flying Monk for dinner with John and Darryl, there is a tad more to the pretense-reality dichotomy as turkeys turn into Santas, namely the notion of God. We all know the Good v. Evil aspects of religion. Marx and Freud hit the nail on the head with Thor's hammer. Buddha gave up all his possessions for the non-material way to enlightenment. Jesus, as I've written before, held socialist values. What grim reality that people were burned to death in his name. Religion is the greatest fraud of them all: control people by making them superstitious and crying for a make believe afterlife. Capitalism is the success story of rich masters who have made slaves of the rest of us while destroying nature and life in the process. My thoughts as I slurp those tasty Singapore noodles...

And Thanksgiving Dinner Wednesday at Mrs. Wilkes:
Great editorial about T'giving in NY Times, posted. I think of yesterday as our feast day. 8 of us at the table, 2 couples of color and 2 white couples. The woman next to me resembled Kamala Harris. Across from me a man in his fifties from Savannah with a polo shirt with a Ga Bulldogs logo. We all chatted. There was another teacher at the table. We talked of travel and Tgiving plans. We passed bowls of vegetables around the table. I thought it quaint how the polo guy, white, Ga man, kept saying " sir" to me. His wife was the elementary school teacher. The woman beside me worked for the air force. At the head of the table sat an elegant, middle-aged black woman, quite glamorous, lovely silver hair pulled back. When the owner, and my former schoolmate, Marcia T., walked over, I introduced my husband Darryl to her and wished I could read minds to know what everyone thought of that. All in all, I felt as if I were with family, or a great symbol of family. Did I mention how delicious the food was, almost an aphrodisiac. And those butter beans.



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lookout Chattanooga

Dar and I enjoyed a weekend jaunt to visit Starr at her house on Lookout Mt. I think we were all sad that she has sold the house and will move out November 15. It was a curious trip. Dar and I walked to Point Park. We watched the nearly full Moonrise near the Incline. Darryl bought some fudge to take back to the house.  In Point Park we watched the red, red sunset in the West. We both took photos. 
On our stroll home a police car pulled over beside us. "Are you Jack Miller and Darryl Gossett?" the policeman asked. He told us a lady had reported us missing!
All in all, we had been gone a little over an hour on our walk; it was not yet 8 PM. Starr then called and yelled over the phone that it was dark and where were we. You've been gone three hours, she insisted. A few minutes later we got to the house where the door was locked. Starr was angry and yelling. A bit later she was crying hysterically. I guess the move next month, the death of her brother, the senility of her mother, had all been too emotional for her. Eventually, we all settled down and had beef-vegetable soup.

On Sunday I went with Starr, Brooke, and Chris to the riverfront. We hiked over Walnut Bridge and along the waterfront across the Tennessee River. Then we had drinks at Edwin, the hotel named for the creator of the bridge. It was a gorgeous fall day and we sat out on the terrace overlooking the Hunter Museum and river.
On our Last night Starr and I watched the Durrells as Dar read in the living room. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

911 revisited

Here is a short entry I wrote in 2006:

Monday, September 11, 2006

911, Savannah, and the Collective (Un)Conscious

Today, as the Multimedia news world attempts to gag us with platitudes about the horrors of 911 in New York, many of us are switching off the televised photo ops and political posturing that seems to be necessary for those in the public eye to maintain their status in the Collective Conscience of the nation. Maybe we should get more in touch with the Unconscious, the groundwork of far more than one catastrophe.

Bridge to New York
photo by Jameson

This blog contains plenty of images that ought to give us pathways-- the clay tablet from Uruk depicting tortured prisoners in Mesopotamia, the image of Saladin, defending Moslems from the horrors of the Christian zealots, Delphi, the Oracle of which should remind us of the irony of misleading predictions, Munch's Scream which transcends time and place... Or San Martin, horseback, the image of a leader virtually unimaginable among the world's puppet masters today.

Bridge to Savannah

photo by Jameson

In Savannah, over Labor Day, Dar and I read Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore (click). That novel spoke to the Jungian Soul, and portrayed a rich reality deeper than the holes left in New York. Read another review (click).

It is as tragic that those holes have become cliches as the lie that has linked them to Iraq. To the extent that we have given in to fear and yielded our freedoms and our common sense, the terrorists have won.

Thousands of people tossing tiny packets of shampoo into the bottomless trash of our airports-- that is the archetypal symbol of our defeat.
Today I would write more about capitalism and terrorism, both of which, in my view, are dreadful. The twin towers were not symbols of anything intrinsically valuable; nor were they beautiful. They were two monoliths of power and wealth. Take away the loss of life, and the destruction of the buildings poses no irreplaceable loss. Aesthetically, the loss of the Parthenon was greater. Americans, self absorbed, ignorant of history, lacking empathy for countless losses to terrorism of others, magnify their own loss as somehow more important than others. And therein lies the reason Americans are so despised. 


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hawaii: Three Islands, Three States of Mind


The first reaction on landing on Kauai is euphoria. The hotel welcoming van whisks us along the Eastern shore of the island. Sea, mountains, and the ocean air lift our spirits. Our room opens to a balcony with a view of the beach and ocean, opens to sound and wind that signify healing, healing the soul, tired from hours of flight and whatever annoyances we have left behind. The euphoria comes again with the sunrise of our first full day. This is the time of recovery from jet lag, of acclimation, and of appreciation of the new environment.
The second day brought the additional joy of meeting friends again, giving hem welcoming leis of real, fragrant flowers, and heading to our new abode on the Western shore of Kauai.

Our shared cottage on the shore of Waimea.

 Black Sand Beach

The Na Pali Coast from land and sea.

The Big Island (Nostalgia)

After the two part flight to Hawaii from Kauai via Oahu, a flight right over Diamond Head, we acquired a car in Hilo, bought groceries at Safeway, and made the drive to Nihole, the town where our new home was. The house was an estate, gorgeous gardens, a wonderful view of the ocean, and a pool with a sign saying "closed." The house must have been a palace once, a luxurious mansion on the cliffs above the sea. Now it is deteriorating, left poorly cared for, as was the pool which had been one of its drawing points for us. The house had a gorgeous kitchen, three bedrooms, and all the necessities well supplied. For the closed, non-maintained pool, we got a one day refund. 
The Big Island has always been a magical place for me, the nights of singing, Caribbean  Coquí frogs, the two high mountains, the hot, living lava, and especially Kalani. Our friend Tiki, once the manager of Kalani, met us at the Hilo Bay Cafe for lunch, and we were all three: Tiki, Darryl, and myself, filled with nostalgia for all the time we have spent here. Nostalgia was the dominant emotion for me as I recalled times on the peak of Mauna Kea, the view of the stars, the nude beach near Kalani, and all the times I stayed there. Everything we did, even eating at Merriman's,  reminded me of past stays, including seeing the Waipio Valley.

Waipio Valley Overlook

Our Estate 

Hapuna Beach

Mauna Kea

Maui (Ataraxia)

The flight to and over Maui was easy and stunning. The drive to the Makena area where our B&B was located was also easy. The doors to our respective rooms were open and welcoming. The pool and gardens were a delight to behold and enjoy. Our hostess, filling in for the owning gay couple (Mark and Steve) did all she could to make us feel at home, including a demonstration poolside of how to carve and eat mangoes. The house and the subsequent visits to Lahaina for music, and a visit to the Buddha, Haleakala for splendor and a hike in the Hosmer Grove cloud forest, and Makena Beach, Big and Little, where I joined the drum circle and swam naked in the Pacific, all provided a rich sense of transcendence and tranquility. 

Iao Needle

Makena Beach


Buddha of Maui



Thursday, April 18, 2019

Hawaii X 8

The Islands of Hawaii

My first experience of Hawaii was in the 1980s when I joined my brother who was house-sitting for a friend in a spacious home looking down on Diamond Head. Not only was it a good time for bonding with John, it was also a time for shedding all my hackneyed preconceptions about Hawaii as a mere tourist destination The Big Island gave me a gut wrenching awareness of another reality. 

John on Oahu

I spent several weeks there over Christmas vacation. John and I flew over to the Big Island and stayed at the Volcano House overlooking Kilauea Volcano. I got sick from the rich food at the lodge or possibly from the fumes I breathed emerging from the steam vents. Perhaps Pele, herself, was initiating me. I have never gotten ill in all the subsequent visits to Hawaii, Hawaii. 

The second trip was in 1991 with Steve and David Killian as a stopover on our trip to Australia. The nice Northwest Airlines agent in Honolulu upgraded Steve and me to first class all the way to Sydney. That was one of the bygone days of flying as a wondrous adventure and a delight. We spent only a few days on Oahu going and returning; but had an enjoyable time on Waikiki. 

The next 5 trips to Hawaii were with Darryl--Four times to the Big Island and once to Maui. Starr joined us for one of our stays on the BI to celebrate her 50th Birthday. The stay in 2008 was transformative and enlightening. Darryl had volunteered at Kalani for 7 weeks and we both had the privilege of experiencing that magical place, together.

The Zen Swing at Kalani

Our 7th Stay was in 2010 when Darryl volunteered at Kalani for 3 months and I joined him at the end of his term.  It was as if this could be our home.

Below are glimpses of our stays in Hawaii over the seven times we were there.  We are now on the eve of our 8th stay on three islands with dear friends Wolfgang and Sebastian...

Big I- Akaka Falls

Our Tree-house Party

Starr over Honolulu

Dar and Starr in the Tree House.

Buddha, Maui

How I Loved nights, floating naked in the Kalani Pool, looking at the Milky Way and all the stars. 

Hapuna Beach, BI

Hiking Haleakala.

The Kalani Pool

Makena Beach, Maui

Sunset and shadow
Mauna Kea, BI

 Gift for Pele

Dar volunteers for the Kitchen

Hapuna Beach