Archive for Mystery

Death Cafes

I've been hearing about Death Cafés for a while. People gathering for conversations about death in each other's homes, or literally in cafes, starting out as strangers in many cases but quickly finding intimacy in the all-too-human stories that emerge from engaging this powerful subject.

Knowing of my interest, my love monkey Steve just sent me a link to a story about them in one of his favorite blogs, The Dish by Andrew Sullivan, but I cut through to the original story Sullivan was blogging about, a story about a Death Cafe at the top of Beachy Head, a famous suicide cliff in Sussex's South Downs where I used to live. It's a fabulous story, so I'll share the link here… it's by Claire Davies, published in Aeon Magazine.

I'd love to hear if anyone has experienced a Death Cafe…


Miracle of a Single Flower


"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
~ Buddha

Invitation to Wonder

BookI'm reading the coolest book right now; it's called Invitation to Wonder: A Journey Through the Seasons, by Elizabeth Ayers.

Invitation to Wonder is a delightful meander on nature, cycles, metaphor and physicality, and touches on so many subjects you might not have otherwise connected. I'm just starting to read, but already finding it full of wonder and insight.

Talking about the mystery of birdsong, which apparently only male birds do (and only in the spring to attract a mate), Ayers says that because young birds learn their songs from their fathers, variations build up over the years to create disctinctive regional "dialects".

She says that bird-song is probably more individual artistic creation than species-specific expression, and goes on to report a fascinating biological fact:

"Experiments with zebra finches prove that birds actually rehearse their songs in sleep, using their dream time to hone a whole range of improvzations they'll implement come dawn."

Perhaps I find this fascinating partly because of how I too experience creativity in that liminal dream state. I often wake up with particularly pleasing phrasing for something I'm trying to write about, and Ayer's words make me wonder if I've been "rehearsing" the sounds and word patterns for the prose in my sleep. I know I also sometimes work out a design problem or find a particular shade of color I need for a painting when I'm dreaming, waking up with the answer as I surface into the new day… Isn't it interesting that we share this phenomenon with our bird relatives, too?

But what about you? I'm curious… do you ever work things out your dreams?

Aspen Medicine, Taos

I have a backlog of Beauty Dialogue posts to write, but this morning I woke up in Taos to find the world covered in snow and suddenly there is only one (click to see her larger)…