Creative Arts and Healing

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


The first fall air is like
nothing else
At first you can’t
believe it
you think it’s a trick of the soul
during a long hot summer
but no
you felt it
you feel it
you swing the window open
the coolness wafts forward
caressing every part of you
the birds sing
giddily of gladness
you can almost imagine
a gold leaf falling
The fall air surprises you
with its lyric song
its bright messages
a suitor
who finally, when you’ve given up
shows her/his face
and you know
it’s love


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


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Dear reader –

It is now the summer of 2011, a very hot summer (as all summers are in Tallahassee) but maybe hotter this year? Seems so. One day in mid June when my old high school classmate was visiting, and I took her down to the gulf beach to swim and loll, a record temp of 105 degrees was recorded in my city. What, I wondered (I have often wondered) did people do in Florida before air conditioning? Before iced coffee? Just sit and sweat? Slow way way down? Pick at their mosquito bites? Complain or turn stoic?

Be that as it may, it IS air conditioned in my home, as I sit talking with you now. And the train whistle blows, whoo-whoo, a melancholy sound. The train is pulling freight; our local station no longer has passenger service to other towns. In fact, our Amtrak office is now a little art theater where we can see films no standard cinema would show.

I am not teaching this summer (though I begin again in the fall – back to the women’s prison and back to Westminster Oaks, (an upscale retirement community), but I am in the midst of compiling my Wheel of Belonging book of faith columns and sermons. Now, having tweaked the galleys twice, I am focusing on the graphics, to stimulate the eye and break up the text. It takes faith to know that summer will end, and that fall will come. It takes faith to believe that this hurricane season will leave the very tall trees, surrounding our home, standing upright. It takes faith that my daughter and her boyfriend will survive a four day rafting trip through a deep river gorge in a wilderness area in Montana. Life itself takes faith, does it not, or maybe just blind obedience to habit and desire.

The breeze picks up, the magnolia branches begin to toss. Is another afternoon thunderstorm at hand? Perhaps pelting rain will dash the grass and garden, ensuring lushness. The two green Adirondack chairs on the hill, no one sitting in them, wait patiently for two friends to walk up there and begin to share confidences.

I reach out to you – friends, strangers – so as to link our journeys, our travels through time, through seasons, through recessions and upswings, through natural disasters and human acts of kindness, through political strife and community concensus, through garden planting and harvesting, old friends reuniting, tactical errors, acts of insight, even genius. I honor this life of events and musings, of history and creation, bird songs, low flying clouds, leaping fish, haiku poetry, gospel choirs, sewing projects, fresh raspberries and homemade bread, and especially I welcome the chance to witness to it all before it passes away.

What does summer hold for you this year? May it be a time of sweet delight and
gentle reckonings with fate. May you sip and savor the cool drink of your choice,
read what pleases you, dance till midnight, and dote on your loved ones. Your
correspondence – via my e-mail – is always welcome, any and all musings, and ah, here come the first droplets now….

Katya, June 27, 2011

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Spring Report! 
Dear friends -- The rain has swept my newly planted garden, the cat is on the deck licking rainwater out of a flowerpot dish, the sun is laying a pale stream of gold on the still lush rye grass, the camellias are still singing rose colored songs from between damp leaves, and I turn my thoughts to rebirth, as is befitting the season.

Rebirth is a bittersweet topic, as tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my father's death. Bob Sabaroff was almost ninety and had a life of great accomplishment, adventure, friendship: architect, engineer, professor, patron of the arts, world traveler, there is nothing to mourn -- except the loss of his presence, his quirky and dependable pronouncements such as "Look with your eyes!" and "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." The latter was said with gentle mockery because he knew hope alone didn't always bring success to our endeavors, but it was said with compassion too, for humanity's lot.

As the world seems to be in revolution - across the ocean - and in America the parties who try to rule our democracy are fighting it out as to who can blame the loudest, I continue to live my life as if I am the governing hub of my little existence, my Ka-ness. I just finished up an eight week class at the women's prison, publishing an anthology of the amazing and profound writings of the inmates, that they named "Imaginations Uncovered" -- and oh what power imagination has, to free us from behind whatever bars appear to be locking us in. The women humble me with their strength, and they honor me with their sharing. The same is true for my class at a senior retirement community, where one of my students laughingly praised me for "flipping her switch" - that is, giving her creativity an outlet, something we all need.

I ponder what's next --- a new class coming up at the prison next week, a new class at the senior center in April, a trip out to Oregon in August to celebrate my 50th high school reunion -- seeing people i haven't been in touch with since i left home for college at seventeen! And more immediately, more veggies planted, more veggies harvested, more walks in the neighborhood, more work on my Wheel of Belonging book of sermons and faith columns, hopefully to be printed by June -- when my garden is reaching its peak! More Tuesday morning stints at the homeless shelter, preparing and serving food to those who have lost their jobs, their homes, but hopefully not their hopeful spirit; i count my blessings as I ladle out their casseroles, I pray for a society who counts the homeless as true members
of our planetary family.

Readers, I ask you now as I ask myself - what is being reborn today? What do we have faith in? How do we want to spend our time, our energy, our money? What words lie hidden within us waiting for expression? What evolutionary visions have we of this season, of the promise of tomorrow? Let us not forget that idealism is its own reward, so much more practical than cynicism or despair!

Write to me - share with me - dance with me - as the rain stops and the sun comes out. I praise our intimacy across whatever divides us.


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dear friends, readers, all who happen upon this post

I KNOW i wrote a blog entry in August. I had just returned from more than two weeks of R and R up North, in Morgantown, West Virginia and Ithaca, New York, including a week long stay at a cottage on Cayuga Lake, and I was revved for thinking about Fall when the sap would rise and I'd be on a creative wave of energy.

I wrote in that entry about returning to teach in the prisons, a women's prison, not far from my home, offering writing to the inmates. I used to teach in the jail and the prisons nearby but haven't since 1998. I hope one day to compile an anthology of writings from the inmates and from my own pen (we always write on the word prompts together). I will call it PRISON WISDOM. Its amazing how each person has a unique voice, a unique back story, a unique heartfelt way of expressing their reality. And, as someone more famous than me once remarked "We are ALL doing time."

I wrote a blog about returning to the wonders of my garden, where the zinnias were aflame and happy to see me, how my cats rejoiced and my parakeet sang like crazy, and so on and so on, and I posted it, and I thought it was there, but when i recently went to check -- woosh, it wasn't there at all.

Did I dream the whole thing up? Anything is possible!

So here I am, trying again... and sharing that this morning for the first time in a long hot summer, i felt a coolness come in the window, and my heart sang -- ah, a whiff of Autumn. For Fall truly has always been my favorite season, i feel invigorated and ready to take on projects, discover new challenges, and take advantage of opportunities that suddenly appear
and beckon to me.

Thank all of you for being alive at this time, too, and being part of the tapestry of my
life, my journey. Since this is not an interactive site, remember you can e-mail me if you have thoughts or reactions or just want to share your own hopes, dreams, victories,
worries, and rejoicings.

Now, let's see if this will post!

xo Ka

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My Spring to-do list
plant garden, water garden
watch my life ripen


And, it's time for a catch up. What have I been up to since the last entry? Writing a whole sheaf of Out the Window poems, inspired by a pen pal whose barred window reveals only a brick wall, who asked me "What do you see today out your window?" Perhaps this collection of "what do you really see when you look, how is nature revealing herself, and what human spin does my consciousness make of the scene before me?" will be published to inspire others to watch the shifting reality of their own landscape. I've also taught another Lifestories class, held a writing retreat at Alligator Point, and offered a Haiku Hour at our local Knott House Museum.

I honored the one year anniversary of my father, Bob Sabaroff's, death, on March 11.

April 30 is the last full day of paid employment for my husband Tom as he transits into retirement and creating his own firm to continue his conflict resolution advocacy.

On May 1, our daughter, Alana Rose Taylor, will graduate with a degree in architecture from Univ of Florida, and go on to graduate school for her Masters.

I'm out in the garden planting and watering, picking flowers for my sills and kitchen table altar, getting ready to update my will -- yes, mortality is on my mind -- swimming at Myer's Park Pool several times a week, continuing to take stock of my life in my current journal, and writing "assignments" with friends, and pondering - as always - what workshops or offerings are next, which manuscripts to compile into books....

I go on witnessing the political stream of rancor and hope, trying to "be the change I want to see in the world" rather than frenzied demonization of "the other side" (so easy to fall into this trap), weeping for tragic loss of life in earthquakes and other climactic disasters, celebrating the passage of health care reform - even in its imperfect complexity -- weekly visiting my public library to nourish my continuing love affair with books, language, as well as tuning in to the wisdom and talent of fellow writers...

And I'm pledging to write my blog entries more consistently, in case my readers are wondering where I've gone to, and when I'll return!

every day I find myself
beginning again

So grateful for my life, my fellow pilgrims, my earth, and this amazing internet that permits us all to share instantaneously and continuously with one another. On we go!

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