dailybell: Beginning of September

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Beginning of September

9/1 PM
Such a beautiful, clear day. Most people associate Labor Day with the end of summer. But for us out here in the Bay Area, it’s the beginning of the nicest weather of the year. For the next two months, anyway.(audio)

9/2 AM Looking and listening.
Another day out in the back yard.

9/2 PM A Little Help From My Friends
As I ran out the door to take Norman to the airport I grabbed the camera case and some bells to ring later in the evening. However, at sunset when I went to get the camera, the case was empty. So I assumed I would quietly rang a few bells in the church courtyard, the same as last Tuesday night. Since the sunsets so close to the time our sitting group begins, there were a few stragglers arriving a bit late or waiting in line to use the bathroom. While there is no media documentation for this evening, there were a few additional witnesses to the sunset who joined me this evening. It shouldn’t matter whether or not I do this alone, but I love having company. Thank you stragglers!

9/3 PM Mummy Movie
Amir came by this evening, and we went to the movies again. This time we both set our cell phones to vibrate at 7:31. Since we were seeing the latest Mummy movie - preview. I had hoped that it would be very loud and that we would be able to ring from our seats. I like doing that. However, the movie had just started and was still warming up when it was time to visit the sunset. I went out to the lobby and there was an usher sitting on the bench. Only they aren’t called ushers anymore. Does anyone know what those young people in uniform with the badges are called these days? Anyway, I sat on the bench with him and chatted for a few minutes before it was time to ring the bells. He told me that he had just looked outside the theater and saw the sun setting already. So he and I rang the bells a few minutes earlier than I had expected. He is usually working at the theater at sunset and he said he would ring his little bell on other nights. Then I went back to sit with Amir and watch the rest of the Mummy movie.

9/4 AM Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning...
It’s too bad I am so sleepy first thing in the morning. I really do not appreciate the sunrise and some days I actually dislike it. Today was one of those days. I got up, stuck my head outside and pointed the camera around trying to find something interesting to land on. It looked the same as it usual does – either clear or foggy. And much too early.

9/4 PM Calling All Gongs!

This evening I walked by the living room and saw the gong hanging there. I had just finished writing the entry about Warren’s scary brush with death while he was in New York. The sun was still pouring into the room at that time and everything was very bright and magical. This evening’s observance is dedicated to Warren. Get well soon!

9/5 PM Ocean Beach by Any Other Name...
Each time Monique comes to San Francisco, she visits the ocean at sundown. The last few times, she has invited me to join her and now it’s become something of a ritual for me as well. On this occasion, Monique is here to perform in the 9th annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival (SFEMF) - which is already well underway. Although observing a sunset half an hour before the beginning of the evening’s events is cutting it a bit close, we met at the beach and rang bells together as the sun seemed to literally melt into the water. We enlisted a passerby to join us as well, and after the sun went down she said, “I don’t think I have ever been to Ocean Beach for the sunset”. It’s understandable that a place with such a practical and uninspired name like “Ocean Beach” would fail to motivate someone to visit if it required an effort at all. But don’t let the name fool you. For an urban location, this beach is relatively undeveloped with dunes and grasses and long clear beaches. Windy and cold it may be most of the time, but the air is good and the views are different every day.

9/6 AM Ringing tiny bells that sound like the birds

9/6 PM No Parking Karma
Driving around the Mission looking for a parking space, I went up and down, round and round the same blocks over and over again, hoping that something would change while I was somewhere else. After 4 or 5 times running the same circuit and looking at the same cars in the same spots, I decided to swing further away. In the meantime, I missed meeting up with Krys and Thea who were waiting in from of We Be Sushi. Having come in on public transportation, they were on time. So at 7:30 I grabbed a few bells, plopped the camera on the dashboard, turned it on and continued to drive around jingling as I went. Police at every turn...

9/7 AM
There was a lot of activity outside this morning – especially for a Sunday. I added to the noise for a moment (audio), trundled back into the house and fell asleep.

9/7 PM Looming Insanity
As so often happens, I am behind in editing the documentation for the blog. I am obsessed and will sit slavishly at the computer trying to catch up as long as there is media to edit. In the name of sanity, or merely a desperate rationale, I am curtailing the documentation. I am too obsessive to completely eliminate it at this point in the year. Or maybe I will do it when some other form of craziness overtakes the obsession. For now, I will continue to ring with pleasure. I look forward to it, at least in the evenings. And for the documentation- here’s a photo of the bells I chose for this evening’s foggy sunset observance.

9/8 PM Social Security- gone to the dogs
My neighbor, Helen called just before the sunset this evening. She had received her “Explanation of Benefits” from the Social Security Administration, and it got her all excited. She is due to retire in a few years and the amount of money she is entitled to receive wouldn’t feed a dog for a month. After we rang some bells together for a minute, we went inside and sat in the kitchen for a while. Helen doesn't have much confidence in her English speaking ability, especially when it comes to navigating any kind of official business concerning money. She said she was entitled to some percentage of her ex-husband's benefits and she wanted me to call Social Security in the morning and find out how much. The really awful part is that while her husband’s check could feed himself and a dog for a month, there wouldn't be enough left over for anything else.

9/9 AM Mindless Exuberance
I had decided before going to bed last night that I would like to ring as many bells simultaneously as possible. I tried it out and I loved the way it sounded. It was exuberant and melodious, and I looked forward to greeting the day in that way. Well, too bad. There’s a big difference in my physical coordination at the end of the day when I am fully awake compared with my abilities first thing in the morning when I approach stairs as if they were an escalator. Abundant enthusiasm without a mind or physical dexterity looks pretty frantic.

9/9 PM Meditation Bells
In anticipation of this evening’s sunset just a few minutes before the beginning of our meditation, I had invited everyone present last week to ring bells at sunset this evening. As people trickled into the garden, some walked directly into the Church and others began to congregate along a low stone wall where I had dumped a little pile of bells. As soon as someone had a bell in their hand, they started ringing it and very soon, the garden was sparkling with sound. And then it was over. (Historical photo of Church)

9/10 PM A Tree for Toyoji
This evening was the memorial for Toyoji Tomita. It was held at Mills College and jointly presented by the Mills College Music Dept. and the Deep Listening Institute, LTD. We gathered next to the music building just before sunset for the tree planting ceremony. The sun set a few minutes before the ceremony was due to begin so we all rang bells while we waited. After dedicating a young Red Maple to Toyoji’s memory, we all walked over to Lisser Hall where friends and family remembered Toyji with words and music. Very sad. Much love. Make a donation in memory of Toyoji

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