dailybell: 4/13/08 - 4/20/08

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Goodbye my friend

It has been incredibly windy all day, and I think it’s Ann and a huge release of her energy. Finally. She was immobile and trapped in her body for such a long time. This wind is constant and huge. Not gusts. This is a roar, a long hard rush of air. Goodbye my friend.
View "Spark" Segment about Ann

Friday, April 18, 2008

Second week in April

4/8 PM
I arrived a little early for my weekly meditation group so that I could ring the bells in the little garden out front. Even though it was a few minutes before the sun was due to go down, I rang the bells as people were arriving and a few people came to join me. I rang the bells for about 15 minutes and it was so windy that by the time I finished my hands were numb. That was the longest time I have rung the bells and it felt great.

4/9 PM
More Singing Bowls
I would have liked to drive the big bell around this evening but it’s with the car and the car is still in the shop. So Darren and I rang his gigantic bowls as the sun was setting in Oakland. The pink one is crystal and the other is metal. I couldn’t get mine not to buzz, but it was still a treat. Thanks Darren!

4/10 PM
Fish Tank and the Big Bell
It was still warm this evening after a long sunny day. I finally got my car back from the shop (with the big bell in the back). I had missed hearing that loud clanging. So of course I wanted to ring that one. At the same time, the sound of the fish tank was so clear and nice, like a running brook that I decided to ring from inside the house. The sound on this video was recorded separately so it should sound better than usual. Malcolm was an attentive audience.

4/12 AM
Morning with Malcolm
As soon as I opened the door to go outside, Malcolm shot out the door and leapt off the porch. He was hardly awake, but his escape instinct was on autopilot, so over the edge he went. Then he just sat down there in the cold, wet grass while I rang the bells.

4/12 PM
Happy Birthday Darcy!
This is Darcy’s 27th birthday party at my friend Jenny’s house. There were two young brothers there who were really bored. First they wanted to light a fire in the yard. Then one of them got a hold of Jenny’s car key ring and started beeping the car horn with the remote button. Loud and for a long time. These boys had had enough of an adult party. So the sunset bell ringing was welcome diversion for them and a happy birthday song to Darcy.

4/13 AM
Wet Clothes
We’ve been having such incredible and unusually warm weather these past three days that I’ve been hanging my clothes out back to dry. You can do this about 5 days a year around here. When I went out to ring the bell this morning I noticed I had left a few items out overnight. Of course, they were all wet again- but Oh So Fresh!

4/13 PM
Fires in the Fog
Tonight was the end of that sunny hot weather here for now. As I was coming home this evening, the fog was pouring in. I wondered what was it was like down by the beach so I went by there. It was really socked in. Nice and cool and grey. I have never seen so many fires on the beach at one time. Maybe people were there during the day while it was sunny and then when the fog came in someone got the bright idea to light a fire. A good idea spreads fast.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ringing for Rebates

SUNSET April 15, 2008
Liz and I were having dinner in North Beach when it was time for the sun to go down. We were across the street from Washington Square so we walked over there. It was so windy and much of the grounds were fenced off for reseeding. So we just went to the edge of the park and started ringing the bells. The first group of people thought we were giving the bells away. And the second man wanted to know if we were with the Salvation Army.

SUNRISE April 15, 2008
People come into the city from the water at the Embarcadero. They arrive from the ferries walking in a thin line from the docks to the street where they fan out into the city. It’s a good place to meet people in the morning and a great place to make noise. There are no residences there and while everyone is determined to get where they are going, they aren’t trapped at a bus stop. This morning, I cut it too close and was only able to pull over across the street from the dock in time to ring the bell. However, I found a parking lot on the other side just along the pathway that everyone seems to follow as they walk from the ferry to the road. I'll be back!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

End of the Crusade?

While preparing to post the weekly offering, it seemed like a good opportunity for reflection. Intention is everything and as I examine my own intentions for doing this project, I find myself wildly fluctuating from altruistic to self-aggrandizing. It’s also apparent that while I understand some of the reasons for doing this, I haven’t the faintest idea or insight into others.

In addition to the initial inspiration for the project, there is another large factor that drives and sustains me in the more personal aspect of the daily practice of observing each sunrise and sunset. A very dear friend has been slowly dying for the past two and a half years. She has been given the one-month-to-live sentence several times during this period and each time, we prepare anew to say goodbye and “wrap things up”. When I say, “we prepare” I am referring to her family and friends and not to my friend herself. Due to the nature of her illness, she is and has been largely unaware of her condition and has not suffered from the stress and anguish that might normally attend this awareness. We on the other hand have been continually amazed, inspired and overwhelmed by the power of her endurance and the strength of her life force. I love her and I have tried to maintain a deep connection with her throughout this time of her slow and inevitable departure from this life.

Once someone is dying, all bets are off with regard to simple things like making certain kinds of plans. Even more unsettling is the disruption of expectations of ordinary things like sharing and communicating ideas, feelings and perceptions. When the glue of our daily conduct and ways in which we connect with each other are seriously altered, we experience a profound loss. However, if we want to continue to connect and share our lives and experience, we attempt find new ways to do this. Unpredictability is the new gravitational force that permeates reality.

So with this in mind, it make sense that I would be somewhat desperately and tenaciously seeking and clinging to something inalterable and utterly predictable. An ultimate truth as undeniable as death itself. Hence, the attraction to the activity of the rotation of the earth and the sun that presents two such indisputable events each day.

As compelling and true as this is for me, I could simply observe this relationship as a personal and private daily practice, enriching and healing myself. However, there is more to it than that. This prolonged experience with dying has persistently and gently forced me to observe and participate in the world in a different way. It’s not to say that I am more patient or kind or compassionate. Neither am I less cranky or intolerant. I still yell at cars while driving. I get jealous and feel slighted. I argue with my husband. ETC. But somehow I am doing all of this in a much larger world. Or I should say- a world more greatly observed and appreciated.

This expanded and prolonged engagement with the world through the lens of the close association with the death and dying of someone I cherish has quite simply expanded what I am consciously aware of in my ordinary life. This perspective has informed my interests and curiosities about life and being human. It was inevitable that this should find it’s way into my work. The dailybell2008 is an exploration. As such, I don’t really know what I am doing. I have ideas of what I think I am trying to do. I have plans. I even do things. But nothing is really clear to me except that I have created an obligation that I intend to honor.