The wake of Kenny-La

October 3rd, 2015


Kenny was the reddest man I have ever known. Pure fire. A burner, of bridges and walls and so much more. He left a wake of creation and destruction, chaos and art.

Kenny was my teacher in so many ways. He taught me about my own anger, my ego, my pride. There were times I genuinely wanted to kill him, but I kind of believed he was unkillable, since by all laws of physics he should already have been dead many times over. He forced me to work with the fire of my own anger, and in that Kenny was right: fire purifies. He taught me about forgiveness. Kenny did not hold a grudge against anyone, his own demons included. The times when I hated him for what he said or did, I had to confront my own monsters eye to eye, forgive them, and move on.

Kenny taught me the virtue of imperfection and impermanence. He did not wait until it was the perfect time, or until he was ready, or until he knew how. When inspiration struck Kenny would act, headlong, at full speed and perfection be damned. I would rage as he left tools out to rust in the rain, untreated wood to warp, pans scorched black, garden eaten by deer, graveyard of crashed vehicles at the bottom of the hill. He left a trail of scorched earth and wrecked relationships. But then, foxglove and dharmsala sprang up in his footsteps. I would seethe, and he would chuckle. An old sawblade hanging from a rafter, a teapot on a stump, a gold-painted bicycle, a rack of flouro green handweights and a chainsaw on the altar. He would build it and watch, giggling, as it crumbled away. Kenny had reverence for nothing and love, for everything.

Kenny’s wabi-sabi wonderland was his great dana, his gift to the world. So many came and found refuge there, and I was just one of them. What will become of Dorje Ling now no one can say. I have fantasies of helping to take it forward, as a steward, or more. But as Kenny-La knew so well, everything crumbles and fades. Dorje Ling was, and Dorje Ling is, and I will forever be grateful for the madness of Kenny-La. Long may his fiery spirit ride.

Gate gate paragate, parasumgate, bodhi, svaha!

<<More about Kenny & Dorje Ling, incl. many photos, at:>>

Tree: 1 Island: 0

August 6th, 2015

treeShe did not go gentle into that good night, oh no. A windstorm took her head off and her body soon followed. When she fell this 700-yr-old grandmother fir shook the ground, swiping the power lines and taking the island down with her.

We were 30 hrs without power, the silenced grid a soft blanket. A generator chugged here and there, a whiff of gasoline dissipating in still air. Bertha’s General Store quiet and dim but the till still open, popsicles and beer kept cold by the genny growling out back. But away from the puffing engines, so quiet, and at night the darkness so rich.

For me up on my blufftop the outage meant little. My hose still gushed gravity-fed water from the pond up the hill. No electric pump for the tree to silence. I pull out my campstove for cowboy coffee and pancakes, one burner less than my hotplate stove but otherwise no hardship. Candle lanterns burn in the night as usual. CBC on my transistor radio says the storm has passed, but Cortes Radio says only static, transmitter still down.

I live in a place where one tree can take down an island. Living small, like a squirrel I slip through its branches.

The perfume of fear

July 30th, 2015

1054326558_ultsdamselA woman in a red bikini drifts toward the sandbar on a grey inflatable dinghy. The lagoon at low tide a playland of clam-diggers, happy dogs, and children with float toys. Bikini lady is shrieking at the top of her lungs: noooooo!!! I’m SCARED!  help me help me help me! Laughter mixed with shrill mock-terror. No really i’m serious hee hee hee ha eeeeeeeeeee i’m scaaaaared HELP ME! The men on the beach turn follow the seductive waft—the smell of a damsel in distress. Read the rest of this entry »

Ann Randolph and the Bitch

July 22nd, 2015

AnnRandolph3Ann Randolph is a storyteller/performer from LA. She’s got the courage to get on stage and not be pretty, which makes me want to fall down and kiss her feet—I am so sick of watching women on stage in pretty dresses crooning pretty songs with pretty guitar chords, trying desperately to be sweet and inoffensive. Ann does real, and it isn’t always pretty. Just wearing those camel-toe pants on stage is an act of supreme chutzpah. Her stuff is definitely adult content, which is a rare enough thing for family-friendly Cortes Island to get me excited. When I saw Ann’s show, Loveland, last summer, I laughed so hard I just about strangled. And then of course, I cried. I was torn by envy and awe. Ann will perform her new show, Squeeze Box, at Mansons Hall this Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

How serious is serious?

June 7th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I just got back from this wonderful road trip with my, uh, guyfriend. To visit his mom. In California.

I say this, and people give me this peculiar piercing look. Then they ask me, is it serious?  And I am flummoxed. I mean, what is serious? Liver cancer is serious. Babies are serious. Anything involving lawyers is serious. But love—how serious is that? Read the rest of this entry »

Living the semi-wired life

May 17th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnwiredness is one of the luxuries of life in my green schoolbus on the bluff. No wifi, no smart phone, no wires. I have a battery-operated radio but the reception is crap. When I want to hook up I carry my computer down the cliff trail and along the ocean boardwalk to the farmhouse. It is only a 5-minute commute, but that distance makes all the difference in the world.

I climb down the cliff and sit myself down here under the patio umbrella, log on, send off my queued emails, download my mail and maybe a podcast or two for later listening. Check my twitter feeds and analytics, and the Tideline for island gossip and news. Do a little blogging, send and receive a few graphic files. Log out, feed the chickens, pick some kale. Then climb back up to my bus on the bluff, to work and practice and play. Read the rest of this entry »

Mothers Day post-partum

May 10th, 2015

non-moms banner3 sizedWhew [mops brow]! I’ve just delivered a whompin’ 10-megabyte blog. This baby’s been at least five years in the belly so, it’s about frikin time. Gonna get some sleep now. Happy Mothers and Non-Mothers day everybody!

Check it:

In love with a boy and his dog

May 2nd, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am in love with a boy and his dog. It’s an old-fashioned sort of a thing.

Because mostly how things go in these fast-moving times is: you meet, and you flirt, and then you have sex. Sometimes on the same day, or maybe on the second or third date. And then hormones explode and you get all dizzy and euphoric, and then mildly to madly obsessed. You can’t think about anything but him/her, you replay every moment and fantasize relentlessly. You ignore most of your friends and bore the rest of them half to death. This, is what the pop songs call Love. Read the rest of this entry »

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