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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 183

Where did a month go? I note this morning that it is the 183rd day of the calendar year, precisely the center of the 365-day cycle, as many days behind us as ahead. Today we are balancing on a fulcrum; tomorrow is like a half-new year's day. (I guess there is no such balance in leap years.)

It doesn't really matter anyway, because the real pivot was a couple weeks ago at the Summer Solstice which I marked by attending a low church Episcopal mass on Maui at David Malo's Church in Kihei. It is a Stonehenge-like outdoor ruin, a Christian heiau really, claimed by an Episcopal parish (Trinity by the Sea) which has a proper church office and activity center and a congregation of largely haole eminences gris, but no real church. The altar is outside, and I must say it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. I was late for the service, arriving during the last breaths of the Fathers' Day homily; I didn't expect any ruminations on the solstice, although it seemed like there should have been, at the altar there among the lava rocks and palm trees, birds flying about, the atmosphere all sunny and shady and breezy. It was very earthy, connected to nature. I avoided the post-Eucharist punch and cookies, humbly and efficiently excusing myself by noting that I was really just visiting while caring for my friend across the street who had just had surgery and I really shouldn't leave her alone for too long.

That Sunday was the mirror opposite of the winter solstice, and was followed, as Christmas follows the winter one, by the Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24). When someone asks me if I believe in God, I have taken to saying I belong to the Church of St. Yin-Yang. It's a sort of Anglo-Chinese parish.

I did in fact manage to neglect my surgically compromised friend inadvertently a couple days before. She'd retired for a mid-day nap while I took the opportunity to make a chicken soup. I was taking out the garbage and when I came back to her door, it was locked! I could smell the broth simmering and wasn't too concerned. I settled onto the lanai to rest, only to discover the only area of her book-filled home where there was absolutely nothing to read except the label on a pesticide container. Knowing that her SO would be back in an hour or two, I decided to meditate despite being interrupted by someone moving things in and out of a truck, cars and kids in the street. I was doing pretty well until her next door neighbor came out with a cigarette. "Hot today, isn't it," I said. He agreed, "I'm gonna have a smoke and go back in and turn up the aircon."

"Lucky you," I said, "I've locked myself out and have nothing to read."

"Well, I'll get you something," he said.

He returned with three books, saying, "Sorry, I only have 'informational' books." He offered me Who Moved My Cheese, Success Through Powerpoint, and Rich Woman--A Woman's Guide to Investing. My meditation foiled, I groaned to myself and picked Rich Woman, thinking investing might be more profitable than meditating.

I read the foreword, by the author's husband, who observed of his clever partner that she was the "ideal woman --fun, loving, kind, beautiful, independent, smart, and--rich."

About that point my friend's partner returned, with a key, and we retreated inside. My friend later said I was lucky...the neighbors were evangelicals and pizza franchise operators. "I'm surprised he didn't bring you a Bible."

I think I would have preferred that. (And maybe a pepperoni slice with olives and mushrooms...and extra cheese, if it hadn't been moved.)

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