Creative Arts and Healing
STILL SUMMER 
The dog days of summer are with us now in Tallahassee, but due to massive amounts of rain, the August grass has never been greener, nor the weeds so prolific. I'm home from my adventures North and am settling back into the familiar groove of life on Myer's Park Drive. In short term memory I'm gazing at lakes, though -- Seneca Lake in the NY Finger Lakes region -- and sifting through the slate stones by the shore, looking for those shaped like hearts -- rare, but for the dedicated seeker, also bountiful (I ended up with about 20)... And I'm still swimming in Pleasant Lake, scene of many happy childhood and teenage memories, back and forth, back and forth across the water, as I wrote in one haiku "testing ecstasy." I'm remembering the lakes, and knowing no swimming pool can ever take their place. What is there about a lake, a shimmering lake floating with lily pads, that arouses both awe and serenity?

It's too soon to think about sap rising and a fall teaching schedule, isn't it? I hope so because the motivation is slow in generating energy right now. Maybe it's enough to sweat as i prepare the soil for my autumn garden, maybe it's enough to frequent the public library
and dream of my own novel, yet to be born. Maybe it's enough to enjoy my adult daughter, who just found her dream job at a local architecture firm -- staying with us at home until her salary kicks in. Maybe it's enough to scroll through the achievements of past chapters,
amazed at how long and full sixty eight years actually is. What a privileged position to be in - not worrying about tomorrow, not worrying about health or money, or about what my final obituary will tell the world about who i was, what i loved, what i stood for.

As for the political scene and my hopes for America -- oh that would be too strenuous a topic to address, I fear. I remember the words of Rodney King, so simple and pure: "Why can't we just all get along?" I wonder how many languages that sentence can be translated into? Why can't inequality cease to exist? Why can't hunger be banished forever? Why can't
violence just be a word in old dictionaries?

On what is the idealist to base her hopes and dreams? Who decides what reality is? Who decides what's possible? OK, OK, the dog days of summer inspire such existential and
poetic questions in me. The body may be weak - from heat - but the mind chugs along
trying to fathom what's true, what's beneficent...

And the zinnias shout pink pink gold gold!! And the bees hover, sniffing out the
aphrodisiac nectar... Summer loves herself, it's clear -- she loves her overheated libido,
her wild rainstorms, her lightning slashes, her glaring unimpeded sun rays. Give in, she says, surrender to my inescapable embrace

And, from the air conditioned comfort of my study, watching the cardinals, so insistently red, land in my oversize avocado plant, I reach out to you -- in your summer daze, in your search for whatever is missing or calling to you -- just behind the slightly opened door --
dream a dream with me




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SUMMER, again! 
Yes, summer again. "And the seasons they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down" sang Joni Mitchell, and look, the year 2012 is about half way over already! And my workshops and classes are finished until the Fall, and in exactly one week I'm getting on an airplane and lifting off for Ithaca, New York, where my college roommate Ann and I are going to celebrate 50 years of friendship. Half a century! Besides romping around Ithaca, with its beautiful waterfalls, gorges, and heightened cultural offerings, we will have a cottage on one of the finger lakes (Lake Senaca) for a week, and walk, swim, read, talk, and eat to our heart's delight, our idea of the perfect get-away. Oh yes, and watch sunsets from the end of the dock over the serene waters. And write Haiku during.

After Ithaca, I fly to Detroit to see some cousins I haven't laid eyes on in many years, and revisit the lake where my grandparents, aunts and uncles, had cottages way back when, with willow trees, a beach, and canada geese, even swans, as i recall. One cousin still lives out
there and I will sit on her patio drinking my morning french roast coffee, and pinching
myself to be back in the realm of childhood once again.

The shenanigans of politics and the sufferings of the globe are, for just this short time,
relegated to a psychic shelf, to be tuned into later, and the beauty of nature and rest and peace will instead be in the foreground. If one can indeed ever separate oneself from the woes of the world. I do so now in order to become refreshed and gain momentum for diving back into the wreck as adrienne rich the now dead poet named one of her volumes. Diving into the wreck in order to rescue it, to heal it, to reframe it, to expunge its outdated paradigms and make the affairs of humanity whole again.... Such are the meanderings of my mind, as i talk with you tonight, on the eve of July 4, when America, and each citizen or immigrant, thinks about independence, and co-existence, and what makes this country great. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness....

I find it always hard to leave my garden, my ashram, and leap out into the larger world, and always a blessing to return, renewed. I will take good notes, and report to my blog in the Fall with whatever i have reaped or gleaned from my adventures.

In the meanwhile, may each of you reading this find a comfortable spot to curl up in, or a bike to ride on, or an ocean to jump into, or a garden to wander in, picking fresh
tomatoes and cucumbers for your mid-day meal. May each of you have the vacation
you want -- even if it is just falling into a good book, or preparing a special dinner
for a loved one, or putting on reggae and dancing wildly in your livingroom. Vacate and return, vacate and return, in that rhythm of nurture, stimulation, and purification. As the seasons go round and round, and our hearts beat on, linked to the one great heart of the universe ---

Fireworks! Sparks making blossoms in the sky The full moon casting its light on merrymakers below --- trails of beauty never lost for having once been


Katya


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SPRING AGAIN!!! 
Can you believe it? We've gone from the russet leaves of fall (my last entry) to the lush green eden of spring in Tallahassee. I lived through winter, Im sure of it -- lived through my daughter's 24th birthday, Chanukah, Christmas, New Year's, my January birthday, my 25th wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day, but apparently I didn't stop to write about any of it.
Oh yes, also lived through Alana's trip to India over the holidays to study eco-housing in preparation for her masters thesis in architecture. In no time at all she will graduate, just as I graduated at age 24 with my masters in education...

Suffering through a springtime cold, for the first time in ages, i lollygag around reading old New York Times book reviews, thinking about which book of mine i should focus on next, or how to find an agent, or whether gardening is enough of an accomplishment. Back in the women's prison with a new class, i never tire of first meeting my students knowing how close, how intimate, we shall be by the end of the course, seeing their eyes light up when they "get" that we're all "equal under the law of the pen" that this is not a writing contest, and that each of us has something of value to share. It seems so obvious to me; we've all lived, suffered, rejoiced, made mistakes, atoned for them, enjoyed a good meal, wished for love, had our dreams, put one foot in front of the other as we made our own unique path. And now it's time, high time we could say, to write about it, to recall and deliver to the world our own human literature.

Ok, I'm a crusader for lifestories, for haiku poetry, I'm a crusader for "everyone has something to say and deserves to be heard." I've made it my life's calling, my life's
passion, my life's joy to write and invite others to do so. I don't care if I'm a household word, just let there be many words, let their be huge democracies of words, huge encyclopedias of the human experience set in ink... on real pages, PLEASE, a book one can hold, as close as a lover, letting the pages riffle in the wind, spilling a rosy drop of tomato on it, what the heck, or a tear. Let the books be loved, read again, passed on to others, rediscovered, reprinted, and adored by readers everywhere, writers everywhere.

So sayeth Ka.

And inbetween my crusading, how i love my flowers, my vegetables, my bouquets all over the house, my e-mail exchanges, my cat Georgie, whose purr rumbles as he plumps down on my lap, a hefty loaf of pumpkin fur, how i love the sunshine and rain, the yellow butterflies of spring, the buzzing bees, the tiny new green leaves, the wind in the chimes.
I love reaching out to my anonymous and welcome readers, saying "I'm back, I'm still
alive, I'm still writing" and glad of it.

May spring gladden our hearts, make us want to romp in the clover, plant seeds that will blossom and fruit, as we sow now what we most wish to harvest... may it be peace

A coupla spring haiku


Too many flowers
for just one woman to count
let the bees do it

Cat cannot decide
this garden bed or that one
for its daily snooze

Birds write brand new songs
for the springtime hit parade
treetop broadcasting


xo
katya




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AH, THE RUSSET LEAVES 
Ah, the russet leaves let me know autumn is in high gear, at the apex of its charm here in tallahassee. at twilight their soft hues blend with the last calls of the birds, both giving testimony to the beauty of november - saying "hush" "day is done" and a moment of
peace, a respite from wondering or worrying or even hoping, just watching the wisps of charcoal and pink float across the sky.

And, i'm celebrating the arrival of my latest book: The Wheel of Belonging (The Faith Columns and Sermons of Ka) -- another assurance that i will live on, through words on paper, and photographs, i will live on if humankind decides to continue reading books, which i prayerfully wish to be true, don't you?

It's such a clutchable little book, just the right size and heft to pick up and fall into,
and the photo of me, at 27 on the front cover, matched by one of me at 67 on the back cover, is oh so tender, knowing four decades of life happened in the interim, life which is condensed into black ink and philosophy to share with the masses, or with, at the least, my humble group of pilgrim pioneers, you who now peruse these words.

I've started another semester at the women's prison, teaching a new group of students who are finding out that there's no way to fail this class, no way to "write wrong" or to "think wrong", no reason to be anything but who they are, telling their stories, their hurts, joys, memories, redeeming themselves from the fact of their incarceration. And as Bo Lozoff the new age prison reformer and author once put it "We're all doing time". But at least we, who are not behind bars, can bathe in private. At least we can prepare our own food. At least we can hold our children (or grandchildren) in our arms.

And finishing up my class at the senior retirement community -- with a LifeStories Review, with leaf art on the cover, in honor of the season. It is going on 30 years now that I have
taught these classes and put out these anthologies. Dust in the wind? Or seeds for luscious blossoms and fruit? Does it matter? If it doesn't matter, what does?

So i philosophize, as night draws near, and Tom and i prepare to put on "going out" clothes to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, not a cheerful play by any means. But the human condition
is so varied, is so rich and complex -- our pain and our liberation from pain.

May we all crunch through crisp colorful leaves, and listen to the geese honk as they head for the nearest pond; may we glory in these mellow days before the onset of true chilling winter (for those who live in northern climes). Let us celebrate Thanksgiving --that we are here, still here, riding the wave of Time together, as the scarlet and gold trees whisper their mournful and uplifting melodies.

Perhaps we prepare to close the book of this year with a gentle gesture, but not too soon, please. Let fall's golden lantern cast its beam a little further yet...


Katya








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ALMOST AUTUMN! 
ALMOST AUTUMN!!!

In Florida, Autumn is a tease, and what a tease! Here is a poem I wrote on Sept 2


THE FIRST FALL AIR

The first fall air is like
nothing else
At first you canít
believe it
you think itís a trick of the soul
during a long hot summer
but no
you felt it
you feel it
you swing the window open
wider
the coolness wafts forward
caressing every part of you
the birds sing
giddily of gladness
you can almost imagine
a gold leaf falling
soon
sooner
soonest
The fall air surprises you
with its lyric song
its bright messages
a suitor
who finally, when youíve given up
shows her/his face
and you know
itís love

KA

And now it is the 16th, and the fiery breath of afternoons of 93 (again) show up,
then sudden rain falls, and the windows can again be opened wide.

I listen to Beethoven's Ode to Joy as I'm writing this, celebrating the rebirth of the human spirit, out of the doldrums into bliss, out of sorrow into a paroxysm of hope!!!

What a parable, summer/fall/ human condition. Some days peace, some days stress,
some days monumental accomplishments, some days lethargy.

Back from Oregon, from my 50th high school reunion, from visiting beloved Haystack Rock on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, from visiting old friends from the 70's, the glory of women's liberation (cultural revolution) days. Remeeting a self that was only 17 when i graduated from Corvallis High -- now 67, and happily content with what -- woosh -- the last fifty years have brought -- and relieved to find my old classmates mellow too, and
happy to see me -- me, Nina, as I was known in those days, editor of my high school
newspaper, the "bohemian intellectual" I still am, n'est-ce pas??? We were all grateful to still be here to walk down memory lane together...

Now home to Florida, to my fall garden, upcoming classes, my newest book about to go to press! Home to a sudden urge to offer movement classes again (Reach, bend, sway, bounce, twirl, balance, leap, breathe!) Home to Haiku arising -- spontaneous, magical, words of solace and revelation. Home to the wheel of fortune, spinning, and my own place on it. Home to you, my readers, students, strangers yet to be met.

Let's touch hands as we pass --- under the leaves of gold -- while the sky becomes radiant, and wishes come true --- and the sad world is healed, and sisters and brothers
dance in the streets --- and what we declare to be true, is recognized as wisdom
and shared among the populace ---

cast your fortune now! and soon, so soon, we'll collect the prize

xo
ka


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