The Small Book of Red Earth

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Lily went to Chiapas with Mickey Morgan's school group in the late spring of 2009. When she returned, she was changed. When she saw Deb and me at the airport, she was almost hysterical, tired from the long trip and little sleep. We hugged her but she didn't want to touch us; she ran ahead, agitated. She didn't want to talk at first, but Deb drew her out in the car, and she began to describe Chiapas' poor mostly indigenous people and their connection to their massacred friends and families buried at a local church, victims of political strife in 1997, I think. At dinner by the sidewalk at Magnolia restaurant in Hollywood, she kept looking at the buildings, signs and traffic, and hinted that she did not belong here. She wanted to go back.

Lily brought me a present from Chiapas: a small native-made notebook with thick pages and a flecked cover the color of red earth, always warm to the touch with a feel like tree bark. I have been moved regularly to write in it about Lily and her connection to the spirit, which she continues to share with us.

By the way, if you click on the black image above, you will see more clearly the picture I created with a child's computer art program on the morning of July 26, 2009. I did not think before drawing the small scribble; I just let my hand move. I did not know exactly what I was drawing at the time, and I still don't know, but it makes me think of several things.

I'm starting to type this from the notebook on August 18, 2012.

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The will of Allah is the same as fate.

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The literal meaning of angel is messenger.

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From the time she was about 12, Lily had a deep fear that her parents would die, and that the world was ending. Extrasensory visions run in the female side of Deb's family.

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Lily is a Gemini, participating in two worlds. She is a Persephone.

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In grade school, one of Lily's entries in the art fair was a picture of a crying girl, which disturbed her teachers.

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We were in England with Lily and Anna in 2008. There was a strong air of death -- cemeteries, the Tower of London, Stonehenge, where I experienced a terrible sadness. We stayed in a country inn where the owners' teenage boy had died suddenly a week previous, upsetting to Lily. Everywhere were black birds, black cats, black dogs, black sheep.

A group of crows is called a murder.

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Lily was spooked by cemeteries. Her grandmother Fran showed her the cemetery crypt she'd pre-purchased for herself, and Lily was uncomfortable. At her grandfather Hal's funeral, she sought out the grave of her great-grandmother, Belle (Lily's middle name). I found her staring at her own name on the plaque.

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Lily loved dolphins, and they came to her. Our friend Sarajo gave us a picture of a girl she'd painted years previous: The girl had long hair like Lily, a round face like Lily, eyes like Lily, and she was standing at the beach with her feet in the waves; on the bottom of her dress was a backward letter L, and her hair merged with a sky of colored lights.

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Lily had very long beautiful wavy hair. She cut it to shoulder length in spring 2009, saying that she wanted people to look at her instead of her hair.

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I sympathize with the idea of the Rapture more now.

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When she was about 12, Lily adopted a symbol for herself. It looks like a three-branched candelabrum pointed both up and down, sharing one stem. It represents many things to me: as above, so below; twin doves; the priestly arm gesture; Poseidon's trident; two mirror trinities; the three members of our family; the tree of life.

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We dance on the edge between dense earth and thin air, taking the air into our dense bodies, in and out. The tree reaches up to the light and the air, and it too breathes.

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At night we look to the light, reflected in the moon and the planet Venus. I see Lily there. We can't look at the sun, but we can look at its reflected light. Pharaoh Akhenaten depicted the sun as reaching down to him with many generous hands. We are light.

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When I close my eyes and cover them with my hands, I see Lily's eye next to my face.

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The spirit is forever. It is a gathering, like the many cells that make a body, like the many hairs that make fur. The gathering of many makes a vessel for the spirit, and the individual parts also have lives of their own; they are microcosms.

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The evangelist John called Jesus the Logos, the Word. The root of logos is to collect, like sheaves, the way we collect thoughts before we speak. So the Logos is both the thought and the communication.

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Lily asked me to help her pick a topic for a history paper. One of my suggestions was human sacrifice, and that's the one she chose.

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Lily acted in scenes from Macbeth. In "The Maids," she died and was laid out on the stage.

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Easter 2011 began with a cat yowling. I went downstairs to find the tip of a lizard tail writhing in a pool of blood; it kept twitching for five minutes. I decided to attend Easter Mass for the first time in 40 years. The day was overcast and gloomy. The priest at Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood talked about the resurrection of our bodies, and about his misspent youth as a prey of Satan. We renounced Satan, repeating our baptismal vows. At the end of the service, acolytes walked past me, removing the altar decorations -- Easter lilies. Walking to my car, I saw a license plate: "I [heart] U DADA." When I came home, I found new callalilies blooming in places they had not grown before. I associate hummingbirds with Lily, and I saw them everywhere, but I felt empty and tired all day. I read the Bible nearly every day, and that Easter I happened to have arrived at Wisdom 3: "As sacrificial offerings, He took them to Himself."

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I am Adam, which means earth, but I also need to touch sky.

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Lily can be Lilith.

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When Lily was in Chiapas, did she meet God on the Toltec mountain? In the waterfall cave?

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When we were in Jamaica, we were cursed "bloodclaat" by the farmer woman whose pig we disturbed. Lily wrote a song about the doomed pig.

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Lily was an only-begotten daughter. I love her as only a father can love. Deb the mother continues to give birth/life every day.

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The bloodlines of these people have ended: Greg Burk, Deborah Drooz, Gerald Burk, Catherine Burk, Harold Burk, Lillian Burk, Harold Drooz, Frances Drooz, Belle Drooz.

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On 5/21/11, Deb encountered a rattlesnake on Mt. Hollywood again. She was with the mother of Lily's friend Sam. This woman has prayed for us, and it was her dog that nosed up the snake. The snake is a messenger of knowledge and warning. We made an adoption appointment about the same time.

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My old song "I'll Go Too" now seems to be about Lily: the idea of following someone into the sun. Other songs of mine that now seem to be about Lily: "Helpless Love," "Death Is for Stiffs," "Poor Possum," "Having a Hard Time," "The Dark Room."

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May 2011 in New York. Deb sees a bald black homeless man in a church doorway and gives him a dollar. He's found a baby bird that's fallen out of its nest; he's trying to feed it with Cheetos and a bottle cap of water, but it is dying. When Deb left on the trip, I asked Lily to give her a sign.

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Animals are higher spirits; we can learn from them. Humans are corrupted with fake knowledge and pride.

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Like Jesus, we go into the earth and rise as spirit.

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The six-pointed asterisk is also the Lily symbol. The three is Lily, Deb and me, a stable triangle, pointed up and down. It will be three again.

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I have a breakdown after seeing all Lily's crowd at Marjorie's event. It feels like Lily's spirit yearning.

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I recognize Lily in the sudden breath and the hummingbird's unexpected arrival.

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Lily died at the same time of day that she was born -- when the light was full.

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7/4/11 -- I think of B.B. King's "Hummingbird," by Leon Russell. I find another dead bird this morning, after meditating on the rainbow reflection on my ceiling. On TV, I see the movie "Dragonfly," which has a Chiapas-like cave, a rainbow, communication from beyond, a lost child, a symbol like Lily's.

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On the web, I find that the hummingbird has been seen as a symbol for resurrection. Its wingflap patterns look like the symbol for infinity. It represents continuity, healing, love. It is a messenger of spirits.

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We are a house of opposites -- Deb and I; active cat and passive cat. We had a Gemini child, who was white baby/red baby. Danzig song: "Black Angel White Angel."

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Lily once wore a crown of thorns for Halloween.

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Gifts from Lily to me: the crystal apple, the fossil snail, the origami birds, the golf-ball clock stopped at 4:00.

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Each of us is an aspect of God's mind. God knows himself and his creation (which is God) through our interactions, like synapses. God is achieving consciousness gradually. Lily was a heightened receptor, a specialized probe with close connection to the center of the universal mind. Knowing causes pain. God could not know himself before the creation of life, the nerve network, the source of pain.

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The heart is indeed the seat of the soul; it was the place that became empty.

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The marriage of the Sons of Heaven with the Daughters of Men was the marriage of soul and body, producing what we call human beings.

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10/13/11 -- Deb wakes thinking she hears bells in the closet. It turns out to be someone rummaging the recycling bins for deposit bottles, but she suddenly realizes her struggle and anger. She says, "If there's such a thing as an angel . . ." The evening before, I had been singing the song I wrote for Lily and asking her to help Deb.

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I have had a literal pain in my heart. Deb has had a literal obstruction of her vision. There have been coincidences. I dreamed of Jane going down to the sacred pool to turn on the light. Thelonious Monk keeps coming up. Rabbi Omerman says we must go down before we can rise.

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10/17/11, 3:10am -- I wake from a dream wherein I am an alien. Waves and waves of the Lily hug vibrations come over me for a half hour, but there is an apprehension in them, as if someone died (but no one I know did). Then I hear a quiet sound on the stairs. It's a big possum. It hides near my computer desk. Poor Possum. There were sirens, too. A messenger? The possum is alive and with me.

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The November 2011 Biblical Archaeology Review says God created man as a servant to bring Him food. What if the food of God is love?

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Our early memories persist, even though all our cells have changed several times. Is there a connection between memory and spirit?

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Folding hands in prayer, fingers touch each other, a reminder that we must unite even with ourselves, not only God. Lily's hugs transmitted divine unity.

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I have to open the door to my heart. When I did, Lily came in. There's no guarantee that anyone will come in, but the door must be open. A visitor comes only through grace, not because of my desire.

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We went to Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and hardly thought about that fact. We were drawn by grace.

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Akhenkaten thought our souls continued to live in the sun after death.

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Lily died on a Friday. I think of Good Friday. Easter comes in spring. Easter lilies come in spring. Lily comes in spring.

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11-27-11: Two hummingbirds came to me as I was taking out the trash. I thought of Lily and Mom.

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11-27-11, 3:45 a.m.: I haven't had my morning communion with Lily in a couple of days. I dream a detective mystery. I'm in a car looking for someone, but I have to pick up Lily, age 8. She gets in the car, Deb driving, and falls asleep. I turn from the passenger seat and put my hand on Lily's knee. She opens her eyes slowly and gives me the most beautiful quiet smile. I wake with wet eyes.

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12-6-11, 4:45 a.m.: I wake from a dream wherein the house is collapsing floor by floor, and Lily, age 12, is going out on a date. She's a bit nervous but happy. The earthquake is no more than a jerky elevator ride for all of us. This dream follows a day at the golf course where I've seen 20 big trees blown down by a recent high wind.

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12-14-11: I wake up missing Lily but peaceful. I give her a kiss, and it spreads over my whole head. We breathe together. I think of the teenager who died at the English farmhouse in 2008 a week before we vacationed there. Today, crows are flying outside, and just for a second, I see a hummingbird!

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12-24-11: Reading the Bible, I arrive at Luke's nativity scene on the morning of Christmas Eve. It's on page 1095, the only torn page in my Bible.

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1-14-12: After my morning communion with Lily, I think about the Name of God, which I've been discussing with Deb. I am drawn to Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, and open it to the chapter "The Idea of the Name." Thank you.

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1-21-12: I dream I'm living on a mountain road; my neighbors are Kateri and Kyle. Kateri has guinea pigs in a cage. Lily is in and out of the house. I switch phones with Anna.

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1-24-12: At the exact moment that I'm archiving Lily's computer files, her friend Jack emails with wonderful memories of her.

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2-1-12: Something changed in late January -- I could not feel Lily as clearly after a sunny morning when I saw the first hummingbird in a long time. I was very afraid and downhearted before yesterday, when the county foster worker came, but her visit went fine, and I feel lighter. Still, Lily feels farther from me. I love her. When I write that I love her, I cry and feel better. In the Gospel of Luke, I have just read about Jesus casting out demons "by the finger of God," that is, by the Holy Spirit. Lily is the finger of God. We all are.

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2-4-12: Two days ago I was auditing Rabbi Omerman's tape about the mourning kaddish; he said we must let the soul of the departed go home, and I cried. I could not let Lily go, but I felt she had gone. This morning I dreamed I was traveling in Africa. The buildings had mud hives stuck to their sides -- I was told they were called gregorys, and that many people can dwell in each hive. I was staying at a flat-profiled motel with a dozen other people and their kids, with no privacy. I had a spiritual communion with a musician, but it was interrupted by a child jumping on the musician. There were many cats and other animals around. The sun shone brightly. The musician taught me a song: "Yo abi yo, abi rit-tit abi yo, abi yo-oh-oh, abi yo."

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Lily came from the light and lit us like candles so we could see.

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The whole cosmos is breathing.

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3-1-12: When I woke up, I had a good cry with Lily and the departed members of my family tree. I put on all black clothes. I saw a TV show with Danzig's "Twist of Cain" in it. I audited a Rabbi tape about the tsaddik who goes to the depths to raise evil to God. Then Glenn Danzig emailed and called.

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Charles Lloyd said Lily was an old soul on her last return. She was close to the Spirit, and she wore the crown of thorns on Halloween. When she was born, she was slow to adjust to the Earth, because her spirit was pulling away from the Earth. But she had one last gift of love to give.

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Karma involves our willingness to bear the pain of others.

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I began to get the words for my song "Opening the Stream" when we flew out of Jerusalem on New Year's Eve 2009. I was weeping constant tears for hours as the other plane passengers slept. Maybe the stream relates to the one in the tunnel built by Hezekiah to give water to the city during a siege (we walked in that tunnel), but I didn't think of that at the time. I was given the melody after my mother died in 1996, and it was united with words on that airplane, close to heaven, after we had been on the holy mountain.

Opening the Stream


You are here in the sounds
In the greens and the browns
When the cat lifts her eyes
And the smoke begins to rise

Let me thank you for opening the stream
Thank you for opening the stream

When the sea grew so calm
And the star shone down
And the mist touched the air
Flowers bloomed and you were there

Let me thank you for opening the stream
Thank you for opening the stream

Beyond our yesterdays
I feel your loving gaze

And I can’t help wishing on a dream
So I’ll love you forever
And until we’re together
Thank you for opening the stream

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When Lily was just starting to talk, at about age 2, she heard me playing a Charlie "Bird" Parker song on alto sax, not very well. I was blown away when she laughed and said, "Don't play the Word, Daddy. The Word is too strong for you." I could not believe she consciously said that, and now it even seems like an even more complex statement. I had studied the Bible with an emphasis on its oddities and contradictions; now it seems as if I should not "play" the Word. Also, as the Trashmen sang, "The bird is a word." And the Holy Spirit is represented by a bird, a dove, like the white pigeon, Alice, who stayed with us for a while in Lily's room after we returned from England in 2008.

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Consider Revelation 14:3-4: The 144,000 are unblemished virgins, the firstfruits ransomed to follow the Lamb, the only ones who can learn the angels' song.

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5-3-12: I wake with a dream of 3-year-old Lily, playing with a small white poodle in the Tracy Street house. Deb and I sit in the kitchen, as Lily rolls on her back and kicks her feet with the joy of being a child. I hug Lily tight, tell her I love her and wake up. I go outside and commune with a hummingbird on a wire for a long time. It sits, flits and watches me. Last night at dusk it put on an aerobatic show for me. The planet Venus (Lily's white star) and her asterisk symbol and the hummingbird and the white dove are one.

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5-7-12: I wake from a dream of Lily and her friends, age 5, swimming in the pool. The pool is a bit dirty (often problems with plumbing in my dreams), but everything is OK. I finished the bottle of water with the fleur-de-lis this morning.

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Royalty wear purple and red because of their priestly role in blood sacrifice, Ex 28:6.

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Living causes you to die. The process may not require medication. Dementia is a palliative.

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The gospels and the Koran are the word of God AND the word of man -- they communicate through truth and through their fallibility.

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6-22-12: Alice the white dove, the hummingbird and Lily are all the Holy Spirit, the angel, the mediator between earth and heaven.

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John 20:22: Jesus risen breathes spirit into his disciples. It's like the breath I get from Lily, filling me and giving me peace.

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7-24-12: Deb and I walk up Mt. Hollywood. Deb brings along something she and Lily found there -- a tiny metal Tinkerbell (Belle), a hovering hummingbirdlike creature. Ravens surround us when we're at a bench near the top. Deb doesn't like them.

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7-24-12: I watch the Ozzy Osbourne documentary. It features "No More Tears," which has the lines "Your mama told you not to talk to strangers" and "the face in the mirror." The song was released in 1991, the year of Lily's conception. Ozzy called it "a gift from God."

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7-25-12, 3:25 a.m.: I wake from a dream of Deb, who is weakened from an operation from which she bleeds; her bloody footprints are all over her dream house. I feel an earthquake -- 3.8 in Culver City, it turns out -- and spill water on my Bible. I read John 19:30 (Jesus' death) and write next to it, "No earthquake," because Matthew has a quake but John, Mark and Luke do not, though Luke has a sudden darkness at noon. Here Jesus "gives up the ghost," in the colloquial phrase, breathing out his last breath and also handing over the Holy Spirit to continue in the world.

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A child is close to the parent, then goes out into the world, then instinctually returns to the parent. So also we return to the spirit from which we came.

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8-19-12: I remember what I said at Lily's memorial: Think of her and be happy. I cry tears of joy and gratitude for her love, not sorrow. She responds with a soft vibrational hug. (As I transcribe this in December 2014, it happens again, but with more sadness.)

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8-21-12: I recently experienced more inner light as the light of the full moon increased. I'm reading Rabbi Omerman, who says this may happen at Hanukkah, a feast of lights. I'll take my Hanukkah now, in August.

8-21-12: On the same day, I read in Biblical Archaeology Review about the red soil of Israel, parallel to Lily's book of red earth where I write my notes.

8-21-12: The tree (menorah, tree of life, also Lily's symbol) directly uses light to grow, so it has more affinity with light than humans.

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9-26-12: It happens to be Yom Kippur when I'm editing Rabbi Omerman's Yom Kippur talks. I'm asking forgiveness for the hurt I've given others, when Jah the cat brings in a squirrel. Deb and I release it; it feels like atonement.

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October 2012: As Halloween approaches and the neighbors decorate their lawn, I again think of the word ghost. I disagree with Webster's Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, which suggest that ghost comes from the Sanskrit heda, anger, related to something that frightens because it tears to pieces. To me, it makes more sense that ghost relates to the word gust, from the Old High German gussa, a flood. Therefore a ghost or gust is something poured out, and also relates to an exhalation, a breath. The breath idea also connects with the Bible translator Tyndale's rendering of the Greek pneuma hagion as holy goost. St. Jerome had translated pneuma hagion into Latin as spiritus sanctus; pneuma and spiritus both denote wind or breath. The holy spirit or holy ghost is the breath of God, continuing in the world after the ascension of Jesus, and God's breath is the life force in us. (Another early meaning of ghost is the seat of life or intelligence; Jesus always talked about gaining eternal life.) A person gives up the ghost when dying -- he expires, or breathes out. The ghost, the spirit, the breath, returns at last to God.

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(On 7-4-15, after I have just transcribed the above, I open my email and see a press release for a Brooklyn electronic duo called Holy Ghost, which is touring.)

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October 2012: We go from our time of knowing, to our time of forgetting, to our time of being and union.

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October 2012: Pride is a greedy drawing inward, the counterpart of fear and insecurity.

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11-13-12: We are fingers of God, and the broken or shaky finger can touch in ways that the perfect finger cannot -- more consciously.

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Contrary to later tradition, the Bible suggests that Jesus was born in spring, like Lily. Maybe Jesus was also a Gemini, a split being, half God, half man.

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The paper of the book of red earth is made from the Tree of Life.

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I am like a broken mosaic. Putting me back together makes for gaps, but in some ways the picture may be improved.

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1-26-13, 5:45 a.m.: A dream. I see 5-year-old Lily through thick aquarium glass, then I go to a bus I know she will be on. I go to the back of the bus, and she is curled up asleep in a corner next to two adults. I wake her up and hold her, and we are so, so, so happy to see each other. I wake up and have a vision of her falling through the sky, looking at me, afraid. But then I get wave after wave of strong hug vibrations. We are together.

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2-7-13: I return from Deb's birthday (she adopted her late father's birthday for a few years so it would not coincide with the Dark Day), and I am moved to look at the sky. The planet Venus glows within a heart of clouds.

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Lily, you kept the best of us and left the worst. I love you forever. Your innate kindness and perceptivity remain with me, if I look for them.

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3-27-13: It is the Wednesday before Easter. I get up to dress, and suddenly feel moved to look out the window. A hummingbird sits on a wire 50 feet away. When I thank Lily, the bird rises 5 feet and settles in the same place.

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3-31-13: Easter morning. Before I rise, a hummingbird appears at the east window in front of the sun, which is climbing through the clouds.

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April 2013: Jah the cat has disappeared. Maybe his other family moved. I used to hate him, but now I miss him. He was preparation for bringing someone into our home. God hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to accomplish the Exodus.

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4-13-13: I'm exercising on the stairs when I feel moved to put the weights down. A bird flutters at the peep window in the front door. I go out through the gate, and see a different bird, a hummingbird, hovering over the intersection. I watch as it visits Bird of Paradise plants, some of which are double-headed (Gemini) this year -- they're usually not. A car with a man and a woman in it approaches the intersection. They're lost. They start to turn left against blind traffic. I yell, and they stop just in time to avoid a collision. In my desk calendar, April is the month of hummingbirds.

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Lily -- here are some things prospective adoptee Diana has in common with Deb. 1) D.D. 2) Last name starts with D, ends with Z. 3) Both are Leos. 4) Both are below average height. 5) Both are sarcastic. 6) Both are bad at math. 7) Each has had an untimely death in her family.

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5-5-13: This afternoon I tried to save a hummingbird that had worn itself out against the inside of the garage window. It was past saving. Deb and I watched as it stretched out its wings a final time and died. This morning we found a poem by Lily in her copy of "The Great Gatsby." In the poem, she said that the only thing in her that was in its right place was her blood. I read "The Egyptian Book of the Dead," where the soul transforms into a heron, a lotus, and light in darkness.

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5-31-13: Walking back from dropping off Diana's application for seventh grade at Immaculate Heart Middle School, I saw an old hawk in a pine tree, beset by two mockingbirds as two hummingbirds and a robin looked on like an audience. The predator ignored the attacks, indifferent as death.

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6-12-13: Lily would have been 21 today. Deb walked up Mount Hollywood, as she usually does on Lily's birthday, and saw the track of a snake across her path. She got lost, took a long detour and eventually found her way home. Later, as Deb walked with Diana, Diana spied a badge on the ground -- the Oaks School. At Diana's age and at this time of year, Lily graduated from the Oaks.

This is the last page of the Small Book of Red Earth. I will continue transcribing the thoughts I am writing in the sequel notebook, a small, ordinary one, bright red, with the word memo on it. Memo is short for memorandum, a Latin gerundive meaning "something to be remembered."

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June 2013: When Diana was about to come live with us, Deb cast the I-Ching. We got #26, Ta Chin, The Taming Power of the Great. It indicates holding firm, caring for, not eating at home, crossing the great water, creativity, light, renewal, history, hidden treasures, defense, direction, the way opens, teamwork.

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6-13-13: The day after Lily was born, we took her home. My car battery died immediately after we got home. We were barely worthy to receive her. We had lost a fetus by miscarriage in 1988, when we were not ready.

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After Jesus died, he returned to his disciples, and they did not recognize him (Luke 24:15). Thus we all die, transform and return.

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Diana loves flowers. She gathers them, gives them to me, preserves them. Lilies.

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God strikes a chord. It fades and he strikes another.

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9-8-13: I can't love Lily in the past tense. I am forced to love her in the present, because memories hurt too much still. I want my memories back.

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11-1-13: Deb's mother, Fran, dies at sunset on All Saints' Day, the first day of the month she always considered unlucky. (She had insisted that Deb and I not get married in November.) I look up All Saints' Day, and there is a painting by Fra Angelico -- FRAAN. The previous day, Halloween, was our 25th (silver) wedding anniversary. The next day, November 2, is All Souls' Day, the Day of the Dead. Diana is making a Dia de los Muertos altar as an art project for school. I see hummingbirds.

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1-13-14: In Sequoia National Park, I walked away from Deb and Diana among the big trees, and there was a dreadful, frightening silence. As at Big Sur after Lily's death, we were conscious of our insignificance. But then the sun lit the top of the highest tree like the flame of a candle. Tears came.

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2-28-14: In Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Malachi, the Bible refers to the painful smelting, like silver, of the Chosen People. Thus they become pure and malleable to God's will.

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3-17-14: Diana finds a video camera in the closet. There is a tape in it: Lily from 6-14-06, two days after her 14th birthday, wearing red devil horns and improvising about Satan and death. Pretending she is dead and in hell, she says, "I miss you, Mom. I miss you, Dad." The light by my bed flickers off and on. There was a 4.4 earthquake this morning. It's St. Patrick's Day, commemorating the man who drove out the snakes.

The next morning, I awake at 4:15 a.m. with thoughts of Lily. I think of her hummingbird messengers, and then I think of Diana. I say, "You sent her," and a familiar wave of spirit hug vibrations sweeps over my body. I love you, Lily.

Last Wednesday we went to Forest Lawn Griffith Park to visit the grave of Diana's mother, Maria Estela Vasquez, on the anniversary of her death. Deb and I walked away from Diana and her sister Iliana so we could cry together -- cemeteries do that. The plaque on the grave read, in Spanish, "Look to the sky; I am with you." Estela means star.

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4-14-14: A month ago, Diana got black mouse, Morrissey, and a white mouse, Elvis, whom she loved and cared for. Tonight, when she and Deb returned from Ruth's seder, we found Morrissey dead. The full moon, the black eclipsing the white, was called a blood moon because of a supposed redness that occurs in this circumstance. I saw only gray. Diana cried hard and recovered quickly.

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5-26-14: I wake after a dream featuring "Pressure Drop." I remember in Jamaica a woman cursed us -- "blood claat!" -- for disturbing her pig, and Lily composed the "Piggy Piggy" song there about the pig who will be killed and eaten. I don't eat pork, but she feels part of me and I of her.

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This notebook is by Mead. We live in what was once the Mead estate, according to a book about Los Feliz. Feliz wwas the name of early Spanish landowners, The Happy, The Saints.

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6-10-14: Today was Diana's official adoption. She has been with us over a year. After the adoption ceremony, we went to Mulholland Fountain to make wishes. The penny I drew from my pocket to toss into the fountain was dated 1992, the year of Lily's birth, and Lily was born June 12, two days from now. At night, after dining with Susan R, Ruth, Nick, Jennifer and Gabriela (they all knew Lily), a large dragonfly beats at the kitchen door, enters through the cat door and is chased by Seamus, our cat. At court earlier, I used my eyes to look at Randye, MH, Ellie and Susan for Lily.

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July 2014: Seamus is very ill, and I have seen a young mourning dove walking on the ground, never flying, just as happened on our porch not long before our previous cat, Black & White, was killed by a coyote. (Also I remember Alice the white pigeon, whom we found on our porch with a broken wing. Lily nursed her back to health, and she flew away.) Next day: It turns out that two parent doves were watching over this fledgling with poor flight skills.

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The afternoon of the same day, Diana's skateboard topples out of the foyer closet and breaks Deb's toe, causing her to postpone her trip with JoAnne to England, where, the year before Diana died, Deb and Diana and Anna and I saw so many black omens: dog, cat, birds, buried crusaders, buried nuns, the recently deceased son of our hotel keepers. Deb says, "Am I being told to stop running away from my grief?"

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9-14-14: A dream -- I'm fascinated by things that are buried.

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1-3-15: Not only fingers of God, each of us is a Jesus, an aspect of God who comes into the world to experience suffering, death and happiness.

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The same morning, I watch Lily's videocam tape and don't cry. She's 14 and silly, cooking with Emma and improvising in a devil hood. (We also have a picture of her wearing Jesus' crown of thorns. Gemini child.) While Lily is videotaping herself, Deb calls, and a whole absurd conversation is documented. At the end of the tape, after hanging up with Deb, Lily says, "I'm dead," casually, not at all concerned.

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5-31-15: A vision. We are fingers on the surface of a sphere. Our task is to touch the material world, to learn about it and to share with one another and with the interior, which is the collective mind of God. When we die, we recede into the generative interior, where the illusion of our individuality recedes and we become connected with the One Love, gradually becoming One again.The fingers can communicate with one another on the surface of the sphere, but much more quickly and deeply by communing with the dead, just beneath/above our surface, who have access to the entire interior where adll the knowledge gained by all the fingers resides. The sphere expands forever. Nothing is lost. Our love reaches out, and our pain adds to the universal knowledge. All life participates in this striving and creates knowledge of Matter and knowledge of Order, which results in knowledge of the One. Each finger has its own ability to gain knowledge, and each finger contains a multiplicity.

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7-23-15: Deb reads from a book of Dylan Thomas poetry that was owned by Lily. One of Lily's margin notes reads, "She is heavy light."

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7-30-15: I wake before 5am and seek the spirits. Lily breathes with me but will not let me say her name, and the other spirits present themselves only as abstractions, not faces. It is only when I say, "Oh, you are all one" that I receive the tingling spirit hugs. Out the window, dawn breaks. [I receive the tingles again when I read this on 12-24-16 at 8:10am and again on 9-17-17, the day I'm typing this, at 6:52am.]

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8-23-15: I'm thinking about our recent trip to Spain, and how in Granada the deepest impressions came from sounds -- thunder, cicadas, roosting birds at sunset. I consider that Granada was the highest elevation we reached, and realize that the sounds came from Lily. I get a big wave of spirit hug and smile in the mirror for Lily.

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10-1-15: Again I think of all my souls who have crossed over before me. I feel the tingling spirit embrace and know that all these souls have made me, and that we are one.

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11-21-15: I wake up with a song, another I attribute to Lily, "A Nose and a Rose." Words require a creative act, but melody does not, it's like picking fruit.

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11-24-15, 12:55am: I wake from a dream where I (as a young person) am flying slowly around a high-ceilinged room. Several people are watching me from below. I say, "Grab my leg and pull me down," then I wake up. Every time I think about this dream, I get intense waves of vibrations all over my body, the Lily spirit-hugs. Has someone died? [No.]

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2-5-16: Just before dawn, I wake up and think about how my dreams of Lily always find her happy, and present her at all different ages. The spirit hugs come. She is well.

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3-2716, Easter, 5:57am: God has no use for memory, since God is everything interacting in the moment. There is no cruelty without memory. But for us, who are fragments of God's consciousness, memory binds us into a condensation that persists through time. Faith does the same thing. This is "eternal life," an illusion of continuation as a condensation separate from God. The only real Eternal is the One. Jesus is an example. He was "raised" after death to be with the Father -- "I and the Father are one," as we all are, ultimately. Jesus was aware of the unity; most of us are not.

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Possible title of a poem book: "Nothing by No One."

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12-24-16, 8am: I notice that I have not written in this book for nine months. We moved to Cromwell Ave in September. Jane says life goes in seven-year cycles. Maybe now, seven years after Lily's passing, we have moved to the next.

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New Year's Day 2017, 9am: I wake with a dream of Lily, age 17. She is aware that she has come back to life. She is a bit confused, and shows me that she must grow her hair a bit longer -- pointing to her collarbone. I am overwhelmed with love, and I hold her tight, face to face. I can feel her warmth and the moisture of her skin, and I can smell her sweetness. Up close, I can see bloody scratches on her neck, but they have almost healed. I am so happy, then I wake up, but I am not sad. I have shaved the beard I grew the Christmas before she died, seven and a half years ago. I have made a new beginning with Lily. We will always be one. I must love everyone more -- I am old; we all are. I wake Deb, who had almost the same dream of Lily, 17 and happy!

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4-16-17, 5:22am. I wake to a strong wave of spirit hugs, and know Lily is with me as always on Easter, the day of resurrection. I close my eyes and see black and white clouds in motion. If clouds pass before the sun, it doesn't mean the sun is gone.

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8-6-17: Life is our ignorant insistence on separating ourselves from the One. This is damnation and hell, willful mortal sin, because it breeds death.

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