It’s been a shamefully long time since I have written here. But in such an hour of political angst, fear, and revulsion, frivolity feels underdressed at the table. How can I blather on about cats and the wonders of the First World and my fabulous spa experiences when national leaders are being chosen, apparently, on the strength of their distain for the very things, ideas, and beings over which they will have responsibility? But how can I write about these weighty, important, but utterly gut-wrenching things when the news streams are full to the brim with them already? I cannot.
This is Pumpkin:
She lives on Vashon Island in Seattle with some humans and a dog. I used to call her Plumpkin, when she had free access to a bottomless bowl of kibble. But after an unfortunate incident of too much dry food and not enough water or exercise, she has been… restricted. She gets to eat canned food for every meal! But meals happen only twice a day. Pumpkin has trimmed down, found new energy, and seems to feel better overall. Next year, I will try to be more like Pumpkin.
This is a barest sampling of the marvels to be found in places such as Trader Joe’s, Staff of Life, and plain old Safeway:
Even as heretofore unheard of substances like tortillas, seitan, and maple syrup are appearing on shelves at home, every trip back to the States overwhelms me with new and amazing wonders of gastronomy. I wander, a slack-jawed bumpkin, through groceries, gawking at the bulk food sections, transfixed with option-paralysis over the array of non-dairy milk products and cheez. It’s a blessing that my memory is poor or I would remember these aisles of bounty when I visit my fruit & veg stand and ponder what flavor to make the cauliflower and/or eggplant today, flavors I have collected and hoarded from travels abroad. Yes, if I’m going to be more like Pumpkin, it’s probably good that my usual diet is so limited.
This is Rupertus Therme in Bad Reichenhall, Germany:
We took a little pre-vacation holiday to Bavaria to meet up with some friends visiting from San Diego and catch the Christmas markets. Two days soaking in a wide variety of pools, jacuzzis, saunas, and steam rooms, with massages spliced in to take advantage of the loosening of muscles. In fact, rather than collecting stuff and tchotchkes, I invest in the personal pampering. Two days after arriving in San Francisco, I was on a student’s massage table at the National Holistic Institute for my $30 fifty minute shiatsu. As often as I manage to find body work, they always find new tension accumulated where I never suspected.
Since I began writing this post, someone drove a truck through the Christkindlmarkt in Berlin, killing 12 people who, like us in Munich only 3 weeks prior, were just strolling through the festivity, soaking up the magic of it all. It casts an especially dark shadow being blasted into a season of joy and hope, one more right hook out of the blue.
The existential darkness still gathers and looms, even on this day which heralds the returning of the astronomical light, but for our own health and sanity, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked down into it. Be kind to yourself so that kindness may flow out into the world. Fight the good fight wherever you may, but cultivate love everywhere you go. Love drives out fear. It is all that can.