That door

I’ve watched that locked wooden door for decades. Today on a walk, imagining, I step closer. It is tall, and deep crimson.

Painted slowly.

Its round brass doorknob begs to be turned, and its keyhole is big enough to look through. 

I kneel to look, and I see cold spring grass, green as only California hills can green it. Lilacs and daffodils, sprung wild from bulbs even the squirrels forgot. Live oaks and laurels; wild-rye and trillium; rare pallid manzanitas that grow only between here and El Sobrante. 

I stumble back, stand, blink.

Good God, it’s not what I thought.

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Barefoot in the dirt outside our tent
in the dark, I bend back my head
and open my heart to the night.

I hope to see heaven unravel
as galaxies take up the thread
then spin, then stretch, as 
vast, practiced hands
join woof with warp 
until smooth folds of time become
measureless yards of
absence and substance—
endless bolts of evidence
unrolling across the sky.

Meanwhile, one by one,
after billion-year trips,
photons land without fanfare 
in my eyes, in my hair,
each quantum a jewel that
graces the dirt where I stand.

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Album notes

Album credits Words and music by Katarina Stenstedt Vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboard by Katarina Stenstedt Drums and percussion by Bobby Medcalf Vocal harmony on “Kristina’s Song” by the lovely and talented Kristina Dunworth Produced by Bobby Medcalf and Katarina Stenstedt Recorded and engineered by Gene Anderson Mastered by Masaki Photography and album design by Gene Anderson About the album Gene, Bobby and I recorded every sound on Go in Peace in the living room of Gene’s and my house in the Oakland hills. We used a Roland VS-1880 digital recorder—a dinosaur with no computer interface. (Next album, ProTools!) Each time we’d record, one of us would jog down to the basement and flip the breaker to turn off the refrigerator so it wouldn’t hum and rumble in the background. We’d turn off the phone’s ringer and hope neither of the cats was about to launch into an inexplicable, crazed […]

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What’s *that* doing here?

I’ve been walking outdoor labyrinths lately—I love doing this! I’ve experienced these labyrinths as enclosed, safe containers that hold me and all that’s growing in me… …spaces that honor interior privacy, thanks to the custom of silence and the narrowness of the path… …sources of nonlinear reverses and surprises that take me close to the center even when I have a long way to go… …patterns that guide people into nonhierarchical configurations, because the person who started in front of you is now next to you, now behind you, now in front of you again. An outdoor labyrinth is a holding space held by the larger holding space of Nature, which is held by the larger holding space of the Creator. It’s hard to escape the feminine imagery in all that I just wrote. When I’m open to receiving this generative aspect of the labyrinth, quieting my “how does it work” […]

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A non-anxious presence

I was recently in western Michigan at a retreat, and I spent time with Lake Michigan—a living being, a new and subtle friend. The sun on the water, the rocks, the rain, the waves that were loud one day and quiet the next. A lake that curls like the ocean, yet smells like plain water. During the break one afternoon I swam, and it was a highlight of my trip. Even far from shore, the water was shallow enough that I could stand, waist deep, on ripples of soft sand. I had fun striding around out there, watching the clouds pass across the sun, watching the moods swing across the water’s surface as the bright light came and went. And then I noticed that we were alone, the lake and I. It was a private meeting, and so I started to sing. I sang Bruce Cockburn’s All the Diamonds, in its […]

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