dailybell: 11/2/08 - 11/9/08

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Election Days

11/3 PM Ringing on the Road to Reno
We had gone to Phoenix 4 years ago as poll watchers for election protection.org. We witnessed first hand such a deadly combination of corruption, incompetence, misinformation and intimidation that it was obvious that the will of the people was not being honored. So this time around, Norman and I voted early in San Francisco so we could go to Nevada for the election to help get out the vote there on election day itself. The sun set as we were stuck in rush hour traffic on a rainy Interstate 80 and we just pulled over to the side of the road and rattled some cowbells at the slowly passing cars. As we approached the Sierra Mountains, that rain turned to snow and we got caught in a blizzard going over the Donner Pass. The road was closed to anyone who didn’t have chains or 4-wheel drive. Our little rental car had neither and we couldn’t go ahead or turn back without them. So we got in line at the gas station and got some chains and put them on in the parking lot with the snow blowing and piling up at an alarming rate. Then off we went -over the mountains. There weren’t many cars on the road so when we spun around and went off the road, it was quiet and smooth and easy. Fortunately, once we came to rest and waited for the line of cars coming over the rise to pass, those chains gripped the road and we were off again.

11/4 AM Canvassing in Ne-VAAH-da
We were in Reno to canvass for the election and were on the road by 5:30 AM. By the time the sun was coming up, we were already out hanging election reminders and poll information on the doorknobs of many sleeping households. It was SO cold, but the snow on the distant mountains was turning a cotton candy pink, and the sight was worth freezing for.

11/4 PM Yes we can. Yes we did!
Wow. I didn’t believe it was possible. AUDIO (bells recorded at the Exploratorium).

11/5 AM
It was so dark in the room when I woke up this morning, I thought I might have gotten up too soon again. But then I remembered where I was and opened up those very effective blackout curtains found in all the finest hotels. And the Circus Circus was no exception. It really is a lovely sight to see the sun come up over those snow-dusted mountains. We left Reno to drive back to San Francisco this morning. What a difference two days make. The Donner Pass was clear and well salted.

First Week of November

11/1 AM Barking Crow
It’s our 11th anniversary today. There was a crow barking outside this morning. It was regularly and cawing in short bursts for at least 15 minutes. If it was a dog, I would have been irritated. I imagined for a moment that it was a dog and thought about why that would have bothered me. If it was a dog, I would have been annoyed at the owners of the dog for letting it bark. But because it was a crow, I only thought about the crow and the fact that it was a bird making the noises that a bird makes. It never would have occurred to me to think beyond the bird or to look for someone to blame for the persistent cawing of the bird. But I have gotten annoyed at the same persistent barking of a nearby dog.

11/1 PM Fish Song
We went out and bought a goldfish to keep our other fish company. She’s 13 years old and has outlived two other fish. We thought she might be lonely and several people who have come over lately have said the same thing. At sunset, we decided to serenade the new little fish on her first night in our house and rang some bells for her. Then we released her into the big tank and hoped for the best.

11/2 AM
Norman rang Hy’s bell this morning and I went and got the little tingsha (cymbal) bell. When we rang them, they were almost the same pitch. This was the first time I noticed that.

11/2 PM Sudden, Early Darkness
This was the first night since we have turned the clocks back. It was also the last evening of our training as volunteers for Jewish Family and Children’s Services Palliative Care Program. It’s been really wonderful to ring down the sun with a group of people who have looked forward to it and embraced the project and experience. Thank you all again. I am so happy that we have met, and I look forward to where we go from here.

11/3 AM Standard Time
I got confused this morning and thought the sunrise was at 6:08 AM. The darkness creeps into each day one minute at a time and last night the sun set at 5:09 PM. Somehow I subtracted a minute but it was from the wrong hour at the wrong end of the day. So when I woke up this morning, it was still pretty dark outside. But because there was a little bit of pink light peeking over my neighbor’s trees to the south I knew it was only a matter of time before the whole sun appeared. I just thought it was extra dark because of fog or clouds or some other mysterious reason. In any event, I didn’t want to wait around until it got lighter, so I got up and rang my bells and went back to sleep while it was still early dawn.

11/5 PM
Ringing down the sun just after 5:00 with Norman and Carl.

11/6 AM feed them and they will come...
There are so many more songbirds in the mornings now. It’s partly seasonal, but since Norman has started feeding the birds on our back porch, there are many, many more birds nearby as well (audio).

11/6 PM No Bells
I knew that I would be in the middle of my physical therapy appointment when the sun set so I brought bells with me. Then I left them in the waiting room. During my session as the therapist was working on my neck, she remarked about how dark it was getting so early in the day. So instead of ringing bells, we both looked outside at the fading day through a little crack in the blinds. We talked about turning the clocks up and back and how that disrupted what could be a gentle compression and expansion of our days and nights.

11/7 AM Easy Listening
The easy ringing home routine. Alarm goes off. Bells by the bed. Look outside. Sunny? Foggy? Ring the bells for a minute or so. Back to sleep.

11/7 PM Every available Friday,
I visit with my friend Krys and hang out with her 10 month old son (my Godson) and his 9 month old buddy. We spend the day juggling the 2 boys. If they weren’t so heavy, I would say, “literally juggling”. At the end of the day, just before I had to go, we all sat in the fenced-in play area known as the “mosh pit” and rang the sun down together. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that some of us rang, one of us sat still and listened and the other explored his bell with his mouth. It was lovely. By the way, it took me a while to understand what a mosh pit was. Because my mosh pit days are so far behind me, I only had the faintest of recollections of having heard the phrase before. And now after spending a bit of time in the mosh pit, I think a much better name would be the “mush pit”. I’ll say no more. I didn’t have a camera with me at sunset on Friday, so this is a photo of the boys at the polls on Tuesday.

11/8 AM That crack of dawn must be awfully loud
to wake up so many birds. By the time the sun is about to breach the horizon, the birds are very noisy and busy. As I opened the door to go out back and join them this morning, several pigeons flew off the porch into the crow tree next door (audio). Their wings made that creaky hinge sounds as they flew off.

11/8 PM It drizzled all day
so the porch steps were wet and shiny. They look pretty good since we cleaned them, too. So Norman and I stood at the top of the stairs and leaned over so our bells showed up reflected in the wet bricks.