A Meaning of Life…

orchid - Copy.JPG


If the arc of an orchid

Fails to hold

Our attention,

Life is not



I’ve rewritten this “poem” because it is never finished–it is always in my thoughts. We are surrounded by beauty,  too often unnoticed when life is hectic, or overrun with suffering.  Orchids are nice but they won’t stop violence. But if we lose the ability to slow down and recognize fragile beauty, we weaken ourselves in the daily struggle to instinctively recognize what is right in the world–we allow anger to the direct our thoughts. Do you find joy in watching parents guiding their young children safely across the street? Or, do you find the question far-fetched? Peace.



Monday’s Path: Harder Than It Looks

DSC_0495.JPGThe setting for this path in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco is deceiving. The log steps are too far apart to accommodate the stride of a normal person. A seven-footer might be able to negotiate them, but the rest of us will have our feet sink into redwood chips, accentuating the long reach to the next log. Much of life can be like this path–seemingly simple tasks are fraught with unexpected setbacks. For example, I was making a seven-foot high quilt ladder this week. I was about to secure the last rung with a nail gun when I hit a knot that sent the nail sideways. Two subsequent attempts met with the same fate.  This craft project, made with $6 worth of materials, was almost completed in record time, instead, it had become a cheap wood disaster. Fortunately, it was only a hobby experience.






Chartan: Evil Returns



The ongoing struggle of a guru turned limo driver. Last week: Chartan drives home after visiting Brazil who is recovering from surgery.

Rather than run to the apartment, Chartan held the steering  wheel at 10 and 2 as he did when he was driving a fare. Straight ahead about 15-feet away was the first floor window of a unit that appeared to Chartan  to have new tenants every few months. The white blinds were drawn while all the other units had had glassy reflections of the day’s end. Was anyone behind those blinds? Did it matter? Why was his racing mind dwelling on such a trivial fact?

Tomorrow was a work day. He was to drive Ms. Minerva to San Francisco for the first time in three months. She’d specifically requested that he’d be her driver. He should be pondering why she wanted him behind the wheel, not who was behind those blinds, if anyone. But a strange force was telling him that there was a person of great interest in that unit. He checked his face in the rear view mirror. He frowned, smiled, then closed his eyes.

Slowly he drifted back to Ms. Minerva’s mansion where he’d encountered the temptress, Elisa, in the aftermath of a concussion suffered at the hands of the car window bandit. It had been a bizarre time in his life, one he wanted to forget.

The blinds in the first floor unit shot up as if pulled to excess. Was that a naked woman staring at him? Elisa? Chartan opened his eyes and struggled for air. The blinds were down.

He left the car quickly and marched to the building entrance with thoughts of how he might avoid driving Ms. Minerva. The evil of Elisa had returned.

To be continued…






Chartan Wakes Up


ChartanThe ongoing saga of a guru turned limo driver and his search for the meaning of life.

Chartan sprung up in bed, not knowing where he was. He stared at the doorway facing him and the hint of morning light. He heard a low hum and looked down at the expanse of black hair resting on his sheet-covered thigh. He was quickly centered by Gina’s presence. Why had he been lost these past few seconds? What had he done before falling asleep? No answers.

The bottom-third of the door way was taken up with an object. “Daddy, can I have breakfast?”

Chartan was now fully awake. He got out of bed slowly and shuffled over to his son.

“Jake, do you want a ride?”

The boy jumped up and shouted, “Yes.”

He heard a grunt as he reached down. Gina was up. The day was on—no more time to dwell on his memory gap.

Later that day he visited Brazil who was recovering from prostate surgery; i.e., it was removed.  They talked about their night on the mountain until Chartan realized his friend was asleep. Chartan studied the heavily lined face of a warrior so intently he was unaware that Brazil’s wife was standing next to him.

“He looks like a baby, don’t he?” she asked.

At first Chartan was unable to process the intrusion. He cleared his throat and responded quietly with “yes.”

When Chartan drove back to his apartment, he thought of the sleeping face and the stories it could tell. He truly sensed that Brazil didn’t have long to live and that saddened him because he wanted to know more about a man who had become a friend.  The further he drove, the more he realized he didn’t know Brazil at all. In fact, he knew little of Brazil’s wife who had done time with Gina. What had that relationship been about? It was only Jake he was certain of, but even that was threatened by every moment he was away from the boy. He stopped the car—it was good to be home.

Chartan Finds His Priorities


–The ongoing saga of a guru turned limo driver.

Last week: Chartan visits cancer-stricken Brazil who warns him to pay attention to those he loves before it is too late.

Gina and Jake were positioned in the kitchen as Chartan imagined they would be. It was as if he were a browser in a museum with life-like sculptures of those he loved most. They were frozen with smiles as he walked around them. A giant wall clock sent echoes of “tick tock” throughout the room. As the ticking increased, Chartan’s bewilderment slowly morphed into fear. Were they dead? Was he too late?

“Ready for dinner?”

Chartan turned to Gina who was leaning against the sink.


“My husband, it’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.”

He rushed to the sink and threw his arms around her.

“We have to eat first,” she replied.

“Have I told you today how much I love you?” asked Chartan, staring at the reflection of Gina’s dark hair in the window.

“Daddy, don’t you love mommy?”

Chartan turned around to face Jake in a high chair at the kitchen table. “I love you both.”

“My world famous macaroni is getting cold,” chimed Gina.

Later that night Chartan fell asleep holding Gina as if she would disappear if he let her go.

To Be Continued Next Sunday…


Chartan and the Panic Attack


ChartanThe ongoing saga of a guru turned limo driver.

(Last week: Chartan rejects the temptress Elisa.)

Chartan sat behind the wheel of the limo practicing “happy” facial expressions. He expected Brazil to reflect the look of someone suffering the ravages of cancer—he wanted to be uplifting, not morose.

            He pushed the doorbell.

            Brazil stood at attention in the threshold, smiling and showing no signs of a disease.

            “Are you okay? asked Brazil.

            Chartan quickly erased his shock appearance. “I’m fine—haven’t seen you in a long time, just surprised…”

            “That I’m not on my deathbed.”

            “Right. Cancer stricken.”

            “The doc is yanking it out in two days.”

            “Your prostate?”

            “Enemy number one—it has to go. Come on in.”

            Chartan and Brazil sat next to each other on the sofa.

            “Have a beer?” asked Brazil.


            “Good…I’ll get you one right after I go to the bathroom.”

            For the next hour they talked about their night on the mountain top and the ensuing events that led to them both marrying women they hardly knew.

            “Julie will be home soon—she went food shopping. She’s been a great caretaker.”

            “Gina is perfect. Our son is perfect—I wish I spent more time with them.”

            “Don’t put it off—you might end up with cancer.” Brazil laughed, but Chartan did not. Gina was probably making dinner with Jake coloring a book at the kitchen table. He stood up.

            “What hospital will you be at?” asked Chartan.

            “You don’t have to come—you have a family to take care of.”

            “I’ll be there…what hospital?

            “Downtown General on Thursday, noonish.”

            Chartan ran to the limo, images of his wife, son and Brazil spinning in his head. When he pulled on the door handle, he thought he heard Elisa shouting. He turned around. Looked across the street. No one was in sight. He got in, locked the doors and listened to his heavy breathing. My first panic attack.    

To be continued next Sunday…