I wish he would have told me that to learn his language would require a tongue wet with a certain desire to love those who will one day leave us behind. I wish he would have told me, before today became too late.
It takes hard work to know how to be sad. It's like learning to drive a car...that drives your life to it's next destination. And with so many stops along the way, strength and courage can roll down the window...let some air in. But it takes our entire being to get out of the car, and take in the view. And it only matters when we're ready. And we're only ready when we let our love consume us.
It was hard for his heart to hold so much wonderfulness, and so much of his crazy kind of love. RIP Sebastian
Eleven years ago, when the time came to adopt a dog, I did a good amount of research. I remember the books pointing out all of the characteristics of a dog "well-suited" for adoption.
1. Make sure he gives you eye contact
2. When they let him out of the kennel, he should be curious, but beware the signs of nervousness
3. The dog should be happy, willing to walk on a leash
So I visited all the shelters, looking for little Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.
I'll never forget walking into the South Central Animal Shelter. Each dog kennel stuffed with dogs as if they were sardines, most of them pit bulls. But one kennel was stuffed with the little dogs, with maybe one or two timid but larger breeds thrown in.
And there he was...shy, timid and a loner...wanting nothing all to do with the other dogs.
1. Couldn't look anyone in eye, actually turned his head when you'd look is direction.
2. Was so shaky and nervous, he pee'd on my shoe the moment he exited the kennel.
3. He was terrified and wouldn't let us put a leash on him.
Perfectly imperfect, sickly, untrained, miserable. It was love at first sight.
And after the doctors got him healthy, he quickly became our little partner in crime. Trips to Joshua Tree, camping in Big Sur, and trips to his favorite dog beaches. I'm sure his favorite memory was the drive to Alaska where he stayed with me for a year to hike snowy mountains, run from moose and dig his nose into pebble beaches scrounging for fish.
Of course if I followed the advice of professionals I would've had a trainable dog, one that didn't snap after asking for some affection, or that wouldn't run the opposite direction after calling him. But then, I wouldn't have had the puppy my mom would lovingly call "a spitting image of you, Jessica," with his abundance of energy, fearless attitude and ...refined palate. Well, refined until we moved to DTLA and he developed a panache for grabbing anything on the street, that might be food-related.
That's the Sebastian I want to remember, the fiesty and fun little guy who loved road trips, watching basketball games and who's favorite past time was laying in the sun. I hope to soon forget the Sebastian who couldn't walk six feet without panting, who couldn't sleep because it was uncomfortable for him to lay down with a heart his size and who couldn't stand the sun. And I'll definitely forget those congested coughs that lasted as long as his energy let them. And thank goodness for an amazing vet who made this last road trip of his as peaceful as possible for all of us, the good memories are richer because of it.
The kid had a great life. I wasn't always the greatest mom, my life is nuts...if he were alive he would tell you all about it, in his own words. But he was loved, and more importantly, he brought a lively kind of love into mine, into ours.
Thank you Sebastian, for letting this crazy lady into your life, and for bringing something resembling motherhood, into mine.
It’s more than Poesia Para La Gente, It’s Amor Para Los Angeles (or Beware of the Many Inverted Commas)
“The key to organizing an alternative society is to organize people around what they can do and more importantly, what they want to do.”
I’m back in full swing, from an amazing weekend. Amazing weekends are easy to pull off when they start on the right foot, and I think I’m getting good at helping to make that possible.
Saturday afternoon’s Poesia Para La Gente (PPLG) went a little different this time around. What we usually do is hold a reading, and maybe allow for some “open mic” time, inviting the public to participate. But this time I thought to try an experiment in writing poetry on-demand, the popular literary performance that gets poets closer to their audience by writing a poem for them “on demand.” The difference was that I wanted to change the medium that the poem was to be written on, not just to make it exciting but also to experiment with perception and communication. And it’s the holidays so why not incorporate some giving, why not solicit donations?!
And it worked! It was amazing from the start. Of course there’s always the very beginning, the moment everyone arrives…when we wonder what’s next. But that’s my favorite part, when everybody finds their place and I can see in their eyes that they “get” it…the reason why we all agree to do this. And that’s when the excitement begins.
You can let fear embrace you in an uncomfortable warmth, until it loses its feathers and covers you in false death. Or you can ride your fear. Let it take you to the center of your dreams where safety is a perfect mirage not too far ahead. But remember to let go when nothing makes sense...and be still for longer than you can stand. And watch as the undiscovered colors mold and meld into stories. Sooner or later you'll look back and realize that... you've lived. Fear is just a parked car in the home of the loved and lived.
On this day, Día de los Angelitos, we honor our beloved children that have physically left us, those born and unborn. It’s on this day that we celebrate their eternal wing, and as they stay with us in spirit we feel their love and the trail of hope that follows them.
In this crazy world, the truth is this place would be better with them in it, and if all of us were forever children…
“Think of your child, then, not as dead, but as living; not as a flower that has withered, but as one that is transplanted, and touched by a Divine hand, is blooming in richer colors and sweeter shades than those of earth.” -Richard Hooker
The days when he or I would come home, I'd jump into his arms and we'd kiss our way to the room where families begin, never happened...after that day happened. That day when everything became a question. "Our love was a different kind of love," he assured me while we held each other only halfway between where we last left our hearts, on that day. We had sampled the longing and lustful kind, the sad kind, the agreeing and smiling kind, the meandering kind of love. And after living two chapters of life hoping the lasting kind would arrive, I ran to the forest where trees of an entirely different kind grow, trees with flowering blossoms of dreams that don't need to come true. Where promises don't exist. Where obstacles are Gods way of bringing us closer. Our universe may be filled with the shadows of our own abandonment but the forests are where we find rest, make believe, truth, and love.
I don't count sheep. I count the curves of the swaying flamingos. I pause to watch them bury their heads in their reflections along the soft wet sand. As I count the just-hatched chicks, soft and white in a sea of pink, my heart closes my eyes. I count the days since I fell in love with Fuente de Piedra, hoping to return in my sleep.
Spirits can be scared of promises
and creators can regret.
Yesterday at high tide, Jesus rode the waves in,
disappearing the moment the white water touched the sand.
Proving that time is irrelevant
once again, Jesus rode the waves in
like a storm, early this cold morning.
He cradled the sand in the palm of his hand,
letting it slowly slip through his fingers,
a time-lapse of a million years, and a few promises.
By the afternoon he rode the wave out,
to the desolate heavens that we created for him,
and he carried this world on his shoulders
asking, "who is Jesus?"