Miscellaneous

Lost and Found

Friday, August 19th, 2022

Hi Alexander

I came across your film as accidentally as you came across my Shakespeare at Swanton website.

As part of general downsizing efforts, a couple of weeks ago my wife, Jan, sent a beautiful Afghan dress she acquired in 1972, when we homesteaded in the woods of British Columbia, to a friend born and still living there, who took a photo of it, worn by her daughter riding a ropeswing on the property their family leases from us.

Seeing it reminded me of another woodland use of the dress in 1999 at Swanton Ranch. So I googled the old website to download a picture of it worn by  a student playing Hermia in scenes from A Midsummernight’s Dream that the class filmed there.

I was amazed to find the link to your “Shakespeare at Swanton” video and astounded to watch it.

I’m still pulsing with the world wide web of connections it activated. Parallel surprises of happening upon a relic in the course of searching for lost treasure—lost through fire and aging and through the digital loss of “bitrot” and software updates.

And parallel grief for the losses of Time: 1960’s back-to-the-land hippies turning 80, ’90’s English majors now in their ’40’s, a 2021 forestry student graduated and out in the world.

And the transformation of it all, through memory and art, via the alchemy of Shakespeare.

Interbeing, the Rhizosphere, and Green Burial

Monday, June 6th, 2022

NOTE: To access all of this post, move cursor to bottom of top page and click down arrow.

Interbeing, the rhizosphere and green burial

Cal Poly Foundation, Divest from Fossil Fuels

Monday, May 9th, 2022

Comments to Foundation Board of Directors and Finance Committee, May 7 2022

Seven reasons in three allotted minutes to divest Cal Poly Foundation from Fossil Fuel Investments

1.     To respond to the well-informed, respectful and impassioned student testimony at previous meetings urging you to act on this.  Clearly, today’s students and their children will be more impacted by the Climate Crisis than our generation.  Providing financial support to Fossil Fuel companies that continue to play a significant role in worsening that Crisis is neglecting the University’s commitment to the welfare of its present and future students. (more…)

Nancy Lucas 1942-2021

Sunday, March 27th, 2022

On Sunday attended a memorial service at the Sangha for Nancy Lucas, my age. Retired before me, about 2006.  Lost contact as part of my withdrawal from English department but heard that seven years ago she was moved by her two sons out of SLO to an Alzheimer facility where the older one lives in Healdsburg.  They organized the memorial at White Heron Sangha in Avila because she was an early member who left before I first got there.  The event was announced through the Sangha email list, but not, it seems, through the English Department. I had the impression a number of those folks, who were closer to her than I, had been personally invited, but many others were absent.

This is the third memorial for Sangha members I’ve been to: Barbara Scott, Melody Demerit, the two others.  Women I had special connections with—Barbara my therapist in 1992 and Melody my copy editor in 1998 and 2005.  Those connections were mixed with admiration: Barbara for bravery in dealing with the unimaginable pain of her rheumatoid arthritis, Melody for her steadfastness in serving on the Morro Bay City Council. And affection: Barbara for her ebullience, Melody for her bluff irreverence.

With Nancy it was different.  The most prominent thing about her was a spectacular beauty and grace.  Her head, with its great green eyes and bright red hair, seemed to float with a buoyancy that suspended the rest of her tall body. Her voice, with its slight hint of Texas drawl, seemed to sing recitative rather than talk.  And as so many of the speakers remarked, she fully shared that celebrity presence with everyone who basked in it.  An illustration in that place of a Buddhist aspiration to be fully there for other people.

And a poignant irony that someone so present lived out her life growing steadily more absent. So absent that the two adored and adoring sons who took her in care remembered, in lengthy detail, her rare moments of partially being there in laughter and song.

A picture of her at our house October 1991 during an English Faculty play reading of Sheridan’s The School for Scandal together with Mike Wenzl (1939-2017)