Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances.”

30 September 2010

29 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #20

Coffee – the liquid will to go on. Overcast in Cloud Valley, the volume turned down on the wake-up and were all out the door in five minutes (yay for boys!) harried and unkempt but catching up to the rest of the responsible world that got out of bed on time. Thinking about the hell of dualistic perception. Making the quantum leap from you to One reveals us puppets for conflict and clutching. If even 10% of our consciousness was relegated to eliminating this predatory deception, the world would be a different place. All this cruelty and unhappiness stems from the Illusion of Separation. You and I are the same stuff, as the earth and the stars, the cloud contained in this paper, water that fell onto the tree that was taken to make this paper, rain on the reservoir that feeds the mill, the moonlight in the apple, the migrant worker in the juice. All is in all. And maybe ill dedicate myself to that this year. 38 is a significant number for the Norse, and it adds to two, number of the Priestess. I think theres surely some significant Journey in my future, the Light coming thick and fast, a phase of increased intensity for me on this path im walking. My roads been lonesome, and early early on I lost heart, laid down and let the wind carry me. But it aint over til its over, right? I cant fix the past, live it over with late wisdom. I have to let go of it, turn around, decide where it is I really want to go.

Out in the cool grey morning in the buffalo robe, wheeling another barrow of pumpkins out to the bench, yesterday one of the grandchildren came and chose three to take home. Just those few opening bars of Lifes a Long Song makes everything better. I dont think I can write with the meds. And ill admit to the ether that my words mean more than my ability to make it through the day without stepping on my own dick. When things get thick and the pain craving explodes inside the damp caverns of my heart, the nimble god of my hands hungry for blood, then ill take one or two to get me through christmas. Otherwise a life driving a desk under a fluorescent bulb hothouse paperpusher satellite dish pre-packaged shadow play starts to seem dulce and decorum. Im even editing the joys, the next one was an offhand sighting of otherwise unexposed flesh belonging to a member of the opposite sex and I thought vulnerability, shared humanity but didnt connect with it as a Joy so I thought id only talk about the ones I understand and the next was The Pull-Through Parking Space and I thought, Synchronicity, Serendipity, the awareness of being seamlessly woven into the world. The next, Realizing you have More Time to Sleep I filed under Satisfaction and Sanctuary, happily ensconced in the sensation of safety and the sweetness of rest. So im going through this list, People Watching, Wearing Clothes Straight from the Dryer, and they all hearken back to one or more of the ten original Joys. So therein lies the list, I suppose. Sanctuary, Serendipity, Possibility and Belonging. Effort, Self, Story, Humanity, Synchronicity, Satisfaction. Perhaps this is the Serpent Energy I was told to look for, was it Summer Solstice? Now with winter coming the serpent must shed her skin one last time before the Spring, seek Sanctuary and cook the new world in a cauldron in a cave behind the bones of a face looking out onto a sleeping world. What Happens is work we must do. There is One Forge, but many fires. And the meds let my fire go cold. Ill save them for when ill winds blow bitter burning smoke into my eyes and im clawing at emptiness for breath. Otherwise, give me the heat on my forehead, the sparks in my hair, the elven scroll of embers and a far sky of stars, each one in its own process of shedding and burning, giving off Light.  All these joys I wish for you, soon returned to us, your Light strong on our faces, your energy thrumming in our bones, not an echo or a memory viewed through a series of mirrors, like a telescope, from very far away.

Wednesday, all time and no money, a long nap in the morning to keep this cold at bay. They say rain is coming, and the dogs are hungry and most everything is a mess. But its warm when he stands beside me, the boys will have scratch pot pie for supper, and it could be worse. Whats different is that I care. i saw in myself something more than a stinking pit, a terrain pocked with quicksand.  Something, in rough transport, shifted, fell, broke open glowing like a yolk and smelling of hay and the poxy pricking imps fled from Good and left me to my Life, up to now a series of exodus and prodigal returns -- I became worthwhile. To myself. And that has made all the difference.  

27 September 2010

25 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #19

Eve of the Equinox. Sustained crescendo in the field, three hundred resonating exoskeletons chanting the Bardo, migrating battalions practice maneuvers over your head wherever you go, the clarion hymns pull you from stupor these days I think a lot about heat and density and I pray.
The night is windy and warm, I try a fire with green maple windfall and after a few hopeful flares I take a small walk around the neighborhood with the dogs to enjoy the darkness and the moonlight.

Slowly bringing the big branch rounds up to the fire, theyre post-modern rustic loveseats and I fantasize a full ring, a kettle archipelago with people sitting smiling their faces black and gold relief in the flames illumination. On the Equinox, it rains. Equinox reminds me of yesterday when T. asked me to spell Esquimaux and after spelling it telling him it was incorrect, like Indian, to even use the word Esquimaux. And that led to the word Inuit, which reminds me of Zane, and the farm on a grey day of rain with the sucking mud and the sound of enormous molars grinding corn. A million side streets everyday I wander, Gatsbys boat “against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...” Even though its raining I go out with the big black and little blue dogs in honor of the Awaited Celestial Event. This is the rainy day ive been putting everything off until, straightening the books at the top of the landing, going through the big basket beside the rocking chair. I even initiate the mending process on my Alternate Attachment Object from childhood. Living in the past is the greatest obstacle to my spiritual evolution. The instantaneous surge of Light I experience when I bring myself fully into the present you would think would be incentive. But lo, I am lazier than a pet raccoon. After a late contraction of summer, the wind just heat moving around a surrendered landscape, it sets alight the pyre, burning saffron robes rolling the valley through.

The meds are a stick in the spokes of my bike, inertia sending my body through space while my mind meditates on timelessness flat on its back in the ferns cloudwatching. On the meds my thoughts lose their nimble fingers but everything becomes catatonically fascinating and the pain cravings fade. So its a trade off, I went farther without them than I thought id be able to, november and december a death march through hostile country someone else has already ravaged, already burned (1). 

Asters on the byway and facecords hurtling toward winter in the beds of small pickups. A smell of fermenting, pumpkins on the red bench. Tomorrow collect the last tomato, pull stakes, weed the sage.
The smell of woodsmoke and cooking on the cool and quiet night, a good feeling like the way coffee tastes by a fire outside in the morning. There is more space between the beads, and I wander dazzled by the quiet. Cowboy and I, old ragged battlecraft tethered together in an untended harbor. If there are ley lines they are there running through us, tradewinds of reincarnation.

#9, the Joy of Synchronicity. The joy of living in the World as Oracle, reading the ley lines that connect all of us, reading them like music, and hearing them sing. Aleatory intersections, synapse crossroads that carry Love in their pockets. The joy of Being There. #10 The Joy of Satisfaction, feeding hunger slaking thirst. Not gluttony or perversion, but investment in the body as carriage for the Soul. Bringing Energy and Rest into our selves in balance, homeostasis. We have been led to forget that this is our Birthright. This is our True Self. Weve been led to believe that right out of the chute were stained and sorely lacking. That money will make us whole, the Key. I think you could call that living off The Grid, estranged from the Synchronicity that interconnects us and unifies the organism we forget that We are. 

In the cards, the Chalice emerges from the Cave, Grail Cup for the Hanged Man. Late supper for the boys baked chicken and potatoes, collards and garlic from the garden, a chunk of brown sugar, chiffonade and steamed in its own sweat. There was nothing sweet for after, but no one complained.

The emptiness is heavy and hard at times to bear. But that emptiness is the inside of the beginning. 
And saturday night a bright fire lit in vigil I can see from my kitchen window. Happy Birthday.

23 September 2010

happy birthday to the bard of the jersey shore.

22 September 2010

today is the Autumn Equinox!
(and the birthday of National Geographic and the Peace Corps)


21 September 2010

this is exactly how i think most people experience talking to me. 

"But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of
curiosity and the faint, unrecognised apprehension that here,
at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others,
I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed
and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked
by any window, in the heart of that grey city.
Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols;
vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones
along the weary road that others have tramped before us;
perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes
falls between us springs from disappointment in our search,
each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a
glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner
always a pace or two ahead of us."

~ extracts from Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh

20 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #18

Three of Swords, Nine of Coins, and The Hanged Man. This is the rest of my September. We shut the windows. Today, it rains, and even the rain does not deter the billion biting things that have recently plagued us. But I brave the onslaught and pick tomatoes, the round lovelies and the pointed romas, the beloved peacevines and the pleated genovese. Considering a lot of folks around here lost their fruits to blight, im grateful for the big bowlfuls I bring in to cook down and put up. Its a cool turn that calls our attention to the days ahead. I start pulling up the bean rows, wrestling with tomato stakes and cages. Corn harvested for the red squirrels and the jays, a platform set over the maples open wound, the idea being to climb ladders in all weather to dole out cobs. The woodstove is cleaned out and the living room reoriented to winter.

I think nuclear weapons and jesus are the reason weve been made to kiss Israels bare bent bottom for all the world to see like a bunch of Templars. Im sure this is not an original thought, but lo, my rock is heavy and wide. I walk; with the windows shut my immune system goes on flip-out and I need the open air. This morning the sparrows return to the thicket on the roadside from their summer homes and there are frogs still sunning on the edge of culvert ponds but on another day its overcast with that glare and I can smell the corn silo. #22 in the Outside Magazine 2010 Life List is Swim Naked. Where was I though? #7 “Telling a Funny or Interesting True Story.” Always coming back to the notion of Connection. Joy in Connection, and all the different ways of connecting to your environment and your fellow sentients. But #7 is an ancient and sacred form of connection. Storytelling. We relay our human experience to commune and edify, deter and delight. The first petroglyph were stories. The magic of words spoken in hushed cadences around the fire during the long and perilous night. It has been said that instead of picking nits from our neighbors we chat. Story is important. Lets think outside the box a little and call #7 the Joy of Story. Revised, #6 would be the Joy of the Frontier, #5 would be the Joy of Effort, and 1-4 remain the same. #8 is “Seeing a Friend Stumble Over Himself” which I translate into the Joy of Humanity, and that Humanity possessing the Joys of Imperfection, Vulnerability and Compassion nested like Matrushka Dolls inside it.

We take the grand tour, arriving unannounced to folk on opposite hills, the Oak God and his feeding enterprises, King and his coffee and cigarettes. On the way home whatever ails me kicks in and we watch harvey keitel in scorceses first film and call it a day. Another sunday when the sun never rises, I cheer the house with some kind of random ratatouille and my jeep goes to rehab. The kind of day where little things get done, and im just waiting around for the boys to come home. Happy afternoon sunlight but it doesnt clear sixty, clean sheets and apple pie, Summer has come to term and suddenly everything becomes a belly, a cauldron of offering and transmutation. From the velvet uterine lining of a chestnut wreathed in the hot high bite of thorns I midwife glossy kernels, some fallen from split husks still hanging on the tree. A northwind comes up through the broken deer bones and im glad for my dogs and my sweater, but the clouds thin out and the sun shines through and its like that for most of the day, the changeable autumn weather, out in the late afternoon pulling up tomato stakes and shoring up another of my precarious woodpiles with some of the larger wheels of maple still loitering where they fell in the front yard that in even my lax, liberal opinion could use mowing, if only to keep the neighborhood stink-eye at bay. But secretly I love the whoosh of grass around my ankles, the green plush that invites rabbits, and the dog bliss of dewy rolling. The new squirrels are learning the penthouse boughs lose their bendy august quality about now; theres a great deal of branchbreaking and nutflinging in the wood along the roadside. A chipmunks mad venture along the ground makes the sound of some bigger beast now, and the dogs stop and wait for whatever it is to break through the spinney with slashing hooves and blood in the eye. But its just critter industry, everything sensing the waning resources, the  lessening light and doing its best to prepare. 

We took the blue dog to the vet; hair is growing back on her toes and her eyelids are returning. The oppressive heat leaves us for a few seasons, making room for new extremes. We miss you.

18 September 2010

i never knew always something there to remind me was a cover song.  
turned my day right around.  
then hayes carll sang and lo, it was good.

17 September 2010

a love song he wrote, about growing old together. 

just got this in the mail.  my lord and savior.

the themesong (along with Tipitina by dr. john) of This Years Revel.

Once upon a time I was the hurricane boy
There was no eye in me for you to hide
Head low don’t show oceans in my eyes
As the waves clap goodbye to sorrow

Daddy’s on the mountain yellin at the bloody sky
Mama’s in the mirror actin out another life
Children in the schoolyard singin ‘everybody dies’
And I am on the corner with a sentimental eye
I am on the corner singin sentimental lies

Hopped up on a gypsy train with tracks that you can hide
That way no storm could follow our tomorrows
But Shackled to a suitcase full of automatic thunder
All hail to death’s boy-wonder

JJ’s in the kitchen talking bout the end of times
Mo’s throwin Kerouac to Catch Her In the Rye
Tempermental yogis bakin merryweather pie
And I am on the corner with a sentimental eye
I am on the corner singin sentimental lies

Sometimes said it’s suntime
Let it sunshine on my mind

All the same its conscience waiting
Cross the line

Last night I dreamed myself upon a golden glade
The clouds passed in and out of my reflection
And everyone I’ve known held my hands till they were clay
And the storm finally bled from my complexion

Now Jadey’s on the mountain singing ‘We will never die’
The band is in the rainbow playin love for you and I
Heath is riding shotgun aimin at the paper sky
And I am only ‘I am’ now I’ve opened up my eye
I am only ‘I am’ that I’ve opened up my eye

Sometimes said its suntime
Let it sunshine on my mind
Healing I need healing
A good feeling I can Shine
Feel it like you can see it
Like you can dream it in your mind
Sunny Hallelujah comin to ya
Rain or shine

All the same its Conscience waiting
Cross the line
its the birthday of ken kesey, who said,

"Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing."

(this quote posted in honor of the vet who said yesterday, "i knew you were something else when i walk into a room full of laughter and its just you and the dog")

14 September 2010

Letters from the Outside #17


Toucans, of all improbable things. Communication totem. “If you have a clowning personality that you use to cloak insecurities, the toucan totem is mirroring your behavior to show you that it is safe to take off the mask and reveal your true self.” Most people, I would venture, dont see me as having a clowning personality. But just this morning at work im waist-deep in children and I know all their names, call out to one or another, just try to germinate a human connection, a smile. I know things about these children. Their folk, their trouble, She has sticky fingers and horses, He raises goats and maintains an intense, blood-oath loyalty to john deere. Hes got eight siblings, Her brothers still sick. And I can think of something silly or kind to say to each one of them. And usually I can only be this freewheeling social luna moth around children. Adults scare the light right out of me. Im grateful they still let me visit, and maybe one day Ill be back. This is also the year I see the fledging of the children I first met in kindergarten. And I honor the worth of my living through the recent choices Ive made, but I really miss the kids I traded for them. The children who see me in the shops and call out my name. It was the only way I could learn that lesson, a life remotely crafted for just this moment when I allow myself to feel part of something. Upon being made part of something my second impulse is to flee. The first being to avoid that something in the first place. I am Ever-Changing, like Santiago said. And I always felt that sticking with something would hem in the molting, deter the chrysalis. That in my psychedelic existentialist outlook pointing to one box and saying I Am This denies the existence of any other of an infinite array of universal centers which I might be better at being. And leaving fed that newborn hunger, whetted from indeed aligning myself with a community but one slightly offset from my bohemian spirit which always made me feel like that one smiling black man that tap danced for all the v-neck honkies on the lawrence welk show. What, I thought to myself endlessly, if everyone were dancing? Leaving taught me too, that you cant have a flower without a stem, not one thats still alive.

Other bohemians driving bumper stickers attached to cars in a parking lot reflecting the mackerel sky drifting open into a Maxfield Parrish sunset boiling down into an electric watermelon heart of the forge of the world where the far hills are low above the waters horizon. Wet stone cloudbank approaching from the north spends its silver nickels on the ground. The rumble of air, affronted. I take the dog for a drive, she loves to watch the road unspool behind us, with each broken yellow line another trouble falls away. One of the last warm rides, acute angle of afternoon sunlight the sky chicory blue. Days that are like an old lover, the way the wind lifts your loose hair gently from your shoulders.
Tonight my breath is a rising cloud into the dripping dark. Early evening rain painted white noise over all, skywater midwifing the Earth into autumn. I knit a funny little renaissance hat, like Robin Hood. I call it my Mynheer Peeperkorn Hat, although id like to entertain that reference as far from schopenhauer as possible. Just for the record. Peeperkorn was a Dionysian, and thats what I made the hat for, I suppose. My Autumn Revels. A dandy prototype, the colors all wrong and I hope to eventually give it away. David Byrne singing Nothing But Flowers and a break in the malaise ive hosted (by turns nauseate and explosive) and the the sun shining through last nights rain falling from the trees makes me want to get something done after a walk. Its one of those cold wild bright september mornings, and I trundle pumpkins from the patch to the front step, one for each of us and the rest left on the vine for Cowboys grandchildren. He calls and im pacing in the street in front of the house on the landline in my Peeperkorn hat; I see how im seeking out the sun that becomes an increasingly rare commodity. I stretch a little to Krishna Das, and am ready.

I believe you can return to the country you once fled and call it home again. Only Man dreams a cage, for himself and anything else he feels doesnt fit. Nowhere in the natural world is there an intentional cage. Even the Venus Flytrap is a mouth that feeds, a cycle immemorial the wanderer walking, back down to the ground from which She sprung in the First Time, that Bolt from the Blue on the Water, the first beat of our Heart on the chart of our cosmic cardiogram to the smell in Her head from the nectar right before She dives.
“to turn will be our delight, till by turning we come round right.”

13 September 2010

for my Therian Sister.

11 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #16

More grey, and rain, the blue jays call from the trees around the house, an agitated rant while they establish their winter homes. There are still hummingbirds coming to the feeder by the kitchen window that I am loath to close. The green sweater is a comfort, and I realize im going to need a pair of shoes for the coming cold, wet weather. By the time im come home from work its splendid and bright and the night comes vaulted with many stars, sunset over the water that brief electric magenta and in the mad little kitchen red wine and talking about family and self-actualization. I blurt an old dream, the dream I carried from a very young age of how my life would unspool, red wine and a porch in some college town, annie hall gets her groove on. And now its far more country mouse, my dream.

My boys are gentle and good and they have this preserve and protect feeling for me that I never thought id earn from anyone. Spending time with my sister yesterday was like time spent in that alternate universe I spoke of recently. International finance, just the right shoes, we all know im the superior animal so lets cut to the chase and this is how its gonna go right now lifestyle that hovers above mine like some gated cloud city and allows her to suggest with absolute impunity and no snark at all that I perhaps try out for the job advertised on printer paper taped to the pizza box on the way to the lakehouse. Her one daughter the exacting medical resident and the other a housewife of orange county in the larval state. I stand sometimes on the doorstep to that world wherein im told the dogs eat one another (in my world they sleep on the bed and lay around in front of the fire or the fan), and am never jealous of the benefits that corporate lifestyles provide. She and I , its like shirts against skins, cowboys and indians, thundergods vs. underdogs, and I realize that she, too, has to make that trip to the front step every time she sees me, she has to take the elevator down and spare me the details of a world im not focused enough to comprehend. I would only see beauty and suffering from such a great height, and thats not conducive to the bottom line. But im proud of her, for being who and what she wants to be, and I find myself yesterday and today suddenly falling through some soft spots in the road, the water pricking and pressing behind my eyes, my heart draped in a funny little ache that im sure most of us are so good at keeping at bay. Im moved by her determination and success, but I always end up turning away toward my own little life in the valley, watching the clouds and the trees and the birds sing a language I can understand.

Saturday is sulphur yellow mother color on the spectrum towards novembers topaz crone. Paused aside on the stubblefield verge, dry spiny harbinger of earth sleep the automatic windows and little kids waving in the back and im the hippie yokel with the honeybee dance of directions to the chicken dinner, or the trap shoot. I kick the spaulding walnuts into the road for the autos to open. I find a steeringwheel in the road like an omen; rose thicket bears fruit, thistles earn their wings and there are apples on the ground. Hawks call out caches and coordinates, the bees baptized in rivers of goldenrod. Two tiny snails napping in the petal folds of a sweetpea flower. The fox spoor is full of seeds.

#6: Making the Yellow Light. Text in the description given as “beating the pack.” the pioneering spirit. Briefly leaving the gravity of the crowd. One of those firehouse sirens that last long enough to get the poodles howling and I always feel like that woman in Babe who runs the hotel. Take off on Chanticleer to scout the situation and im swept up in a determined peloton of cyclists taking the hill out of town turning around half-way, coasting down in my raggedy skirt with which I dried the dishes and I think im going to switch to the rootbeer free spirit I got from my grandmother. Needs a nice mennonite basket. #6: The Joy of Self / Self-Acknowledgement. Self-Acknowledgement as the basis for so many other joys. We view ourselves with the same eyes we view the world. Divinity, Ally, Blood Relation. I guess I beat the pack by heading the other way. Unobstructed Soul Parade.
The glued wound, I believe, will develop a cleft into my fingertip, no rest from w or s, dishes and knitting. There goes my lead guitar career. The Ladies Mantle spreads and the rhododendron are still alive. We miss you.
Shekinah, Shakti, Shanti.

10 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #15

Moon waxing in september. Tom Waits, Blue Valentine thursday when the sun never rises, theres a fog duvet over the valley that lets through only the most diffuse illumination. So heres #4: Skinny Dipping, which encompasses so many joys indeed, how to narrow it to just one? I settled on Belonging. The Earth has given you your physical form, has given you the body of water and the night. Nothing else required. Release yourself into the water that will, if you only let go, hold you up, so you may take in the stars, or the rain, or the moon, or push through the water like an otter, something first and deep remembering days before land, or the Loss of Atlantis. And to me that signifies Belonging. That lovely mindstate where we feel woven into the world. How could wars be waged, atrocities premeditated, when youre in some little mountain lake, naked as the day you arrived, the smell of the woods and the water and the moon a bright shifting smudge in the bowl of your hands. The sense that you are perfect, that you are part of the world, which is perfect. And mind you, this perfection has nothing to do with parking lots or plastic or petroleum. #5? “Receiving a Real Letter or Package via Snail Mail.” this, I think, is the simple pleasure of Effort put forth on your behalf. We are so distracted, as a culture. Handcrafted anything has become so radical its embraced by the Punk Left and Christian Homeschool Right. I go to parties sometimes where gifts are required and am without fail the only one whos taken the time to Make something, even if its just bakery. And some would argue, for sure, that thats because I have the time. But I think its more than that. The buy-it mindset really took off after WWII, this huge confluence of money and advertising that brought us cake mix and dishwashers. Now, im as grateful for my washer/dryer as the next josephine, but you dont need to sell your soul to madison avenue, let them coca-colonialize your mind. Were constantly distracted from Simple Pleasure #4. we forget the gifts of the earth, our belonging to her. Our attention kept always at the surface, the jeans, the car, the bronzer. The aesthetic obligations theyve superimposed on us are not too much with me, you can tell. I look always for the truth you can find in the elements, stripping away the barriers between me and my experience, not tasteful layering of cosmetics with apparel ornamented with the very latest in chain-gang technology. I do not text or tweet or watch TV. I knit and bake and garden and walk and read and yes, maintain a blog that all of two people read. And I realize that as I get older, the chasm between me and “The Real World” continues to yawn. And thats alright. Ive got some lessons to learn, and I cant do it trying to keep up with someone elses affairs. I dont want to be distracted. Im infinitely curious about the world, and my fugitive hour in it. Like ive said before, I was never well assimilated. Not in my nature. End of rant (for today).

Starting to get called in again, which is a comfort. Waxing moon, turning tide. Every day some small accomplishment, but in my dreams I struggle against angle and gravity from a great height. I lose my connection, and on the ground I find a crystal, the vision and protection I am seeking always. Autumn as a liminal season, a threshold. Threshold of portent, transformation. Shekinah, Shakti, Shanti. Resting Place, Creative Energy, Bliss. Matrix, Manifestation, Transcendence. Earth, Body, Sky.
The sound of acorns falling onto the pickup in the drive. Boneset in the creek, in this, the first year I remember there being water all the way through the season. And this unpleasant influx of microscopic biting insects, perhaps bred in the creek that never now runs dry. Days of rain. An enormous articulated tractor-trailer trapped in the warren of our little enclave this morning, outlined in lights and incanting reverse, testing the exits.

Reading upstairs and down, Everything is Illuminated and The Echo Maker, a butcher block of a novel concerning neuroscience and the migration of cranes, whipping itself into an engaging read the last hundred pages. Got a request for a Little Pig knit hat, should muck out to the garden and gather more tomatoes for a weekend canning session. Got called in to work already, which is heartening. People all around me wrestling with various angels, kaleidoscope trajectories that life is capable of, im trying to just breathe through my own days, hope the proverbial candle lighting a vigil in the growing dim. I tend it for the triumph of Love, an urgent prayer for Compassion, Liberation and Well-Being.

08 September 2010

07 September 2010


Life, you're beautiful (I say)
you just couldn't get more fecund,
more befrogged or nightingaily,
more anthillful or sproutspouting.
I'm trying to court life's favor,
to get into its good graces,
to anticipate its whims.
I'm always the first to bow,
always there where it can see me
with my humble, reverent face,
soaring on the wings of rapture,
falling under waves of wonder.
Oh how grassy is this hopper,
how this berry ripely rasps.
I would never have conceived it
if I weren't conceived myself!
Life (I say) I've no idea
what I could compare you to.
No one else can make a pine cone
and then make the pine cone's clone.
I praise your inventiveness,
bounty, sweep, exactitude,
sense of order – gifts that border
on witchcraft and wizardry.
I just don't want to upset you,
tease or anger, vex or rile.
For millennia, I've been trying
to appease you with my smile.
I tug at life by its leaf hem:
will it stop for me, just once,
momentarily forgetting
to what end it runs and runs?

-Wislawa Szymborska
Letters from the Outside, #14

Hot. A thick heat that makes it hard for me to breathe if I dont keep up with the meds, which get expensive. I start taking a hippie multivitamin hoping itll help with the general malaise, maybe a deficit in my tomato-mayonnaise-white bread-salt diet. Even the dogs are hot, vying for prime real estate before the factory fan. Every hour or so I go out and wrangle another wheelbarrow of firewood, the crackle of leaves calling in september. I putter, make hummingbird food, the hummingbirds who will fly away and the little chickadees, finches and sparrows I notice coming back to check on their winter feeding stations here. The kitchen counter is covered in big bowls of tomatoes, the beloved peacevine cherries, the Uncle Jamie little yellows and big pinks, the neighbor romas, lobed costalutos that for taste is my favorite of the slicers but not built conducive to sandwiches. The little red calabash I dont think ill grow next year, and the round, winsome oregon spring bush which may have also had its moment in my sun. the organic heirloom seed people I buy from have a huge selection, and id like to try something different. Ive been growing these for about three years now, but this is the first year I really saw them for what they were, they way they grew, the way they felt, smelled, tasted. Getting to know a stranger. Next year, maybe Black Plum, Nyagous, Red Zebra, Siberian, Crnkovic.
It doesnt take much to overwhelm me, im a glass full to the meniscus, the littlest shift pours me out onto the ground. Friday a cooler air buffeting through the denser sunlight. Put the painting in the post, bring a jalepeno and a tomato to Sister Mother, went home baked brownies to john wesley harding (an excellent autumn soundtrack), washed dishes to john coltrane (pursuance/part 4 -psalm), dragged more maple and waited for Cowboy to come home. Drove down the town road for mennonite eggs with my arm hanging out the window listening to Steve Earle sing Hillbilly Highway. Fiddled endlessly with cd songlists for Zuzu. Brought brownies to King's Hill, the sun setting in a storm sky, double rainbow in the east and in the west a molten gold washing over the russet tassels of corn, flameless torches swaying in the dusk. I love to stand in some open place and feel the wind rush through me.
Night on Sister Mothers porch, little girls in rhinestone tiaras squealing around the house, the laughing chatter of adults. Fine sleeping weather sets in. The next night a campfire at our house, I light the way with little votives in small jars, and it feels good to just sit outside in the night with the company of fire, and stars. I cut my ring finger clean and deep and all day it bled through the bandage until we glued it shut. The breaking, cutting and burning continues; the Earth Herself adjusting to the axis shift, and a few more days of Mercury in Retrograde. 
Fall clean-up begins around here. Tuesday, the last day of summer vacation, is glorious. Warm, honeyed sunlight with a freshening breeze. Quiet, peaceful industry of home. Last night I started canning the tomatoes, and decided to freeze the small cherry and pear varieties instead. Awhile back the cards gave me the Horned God, and Four of Wands, masculine energy and a happy home. Cowboy points out that im the only human female in the house, and how good it feels for us all to be together. Today, the cards show The Lady, and Plenty, and I am strengthened in my faith that all is unfolding as it should, despite my petty frustration and wrong turnings. The Lady and Plenty in this time of Harvest, bringing into ourselves what summer has given, our faces to the sunlight we know will soon be in short supply. Honeycrisp apples debut at the market. Thoughts turn to firewood, and horse manure for next years garden. Ive promised cookies, but theres more wood to haul and I just want to be outside on a day like this, feeling hopeful and alive, which I wish had lately been the norm. But im learning to breathe through the bad days, and count my blessings. Orchard weather, cider light. Ill come in in a few hours, plan dinner, wash the dishes, and bake for my boys. 
The routine and early rising begins tomorrow, schoolwork, all the buttoning up that needs to be done before true winter. It seems a long long time since spring, and so much has happened to alter and improve the course of our lives here together. Im trying to stay open to all the magick and beauty afforded me here during my short stay, learning what lessons there are to lift the heavy dark that has always threatened to cloak my soul. Love as the Light, and the Law. We miss you.

05 September 2010

for cowboy, again.

03 September 2010

from John Wesley Harding

"...its about doing good by manipulating the forces of evil."

02 September 2010


or this, tom robbins on wait wait!
Letters from the Outside #13 

#3: Making Brief Eye Contact with Someone of the Opposite Sex.” theres a fleeting connection made between two organisms, a frisson that passes between two cells. I call this the joy of Possibility. That we are surrounded by a literally infinite number of possibilities. Every moment, in our thoughts and in our actions. This is freedom, open to possibility.
Decide to make september the month in which I begin living more magickally. The heat isnt quite as oppressive today, the winds are shifting, all that wild weather on the coast were getting the ragged tattered hem of the wind off the ocean traveled some-hundred miles to wash over my face while I peg up laundry on the line.

Took the mason jar sling on its first tour of the neighborhood and its better than I expected. It even lets me set the whole thing down without toppling over, which I wasnt sure it would do. Finished the painting for my most excellent friend, Zuzu who unsheathed her vorpal blade to slay grim illness and now shes forty. Were both crafty women, we like to work with our hearts and our hands. We both share, among many a splendid thing, a love of creatures, especially dogs. And a joyful little dog showed up in the painting. If I can figure it out, ill scan a photo of it and send it to you, which you would now find enclosed. So I painted this for my beautiful friend, on the occasion of her fortieth birthday anniversary, with my boobs. 

What im lacking these days, and what these days desperately require, is oomph. But I feel my oomph rising. Another day, another tomato sandwich. When I drag the big branches down the street, skidding them out to the highground firepit for kindling, they sound like the ocean. What I need now is a rake and a hatchet, an afternoon under the picnictable pinetree to thresh the windfall and assemble the long equations of fire.
I broke another dish, geometrical sunburst of hot glass shooting off into everything, the central disc was a lens that burnt my hand. We talk until the mosquito tide rises and inside I make Cowboy his first-ever toasted cheese and tomato sandwich, the tomato a little thick but a great tomato, deep red dense flesh of late summer, and some impromptu curry with eggplant, zucchini, tomato and pepper from the garden with a cucumber raita by candlelight and music playing. I exhume my boxes of cds, and spend the evening filing songs into the computer, sifting songs into cds for Zuzu, posting photos and quotes on the painted veil.
The night is cool and dark and I am wide awake.

Another hot, thick day, I take the bike for milk and stamps, the steep ascent into town and the pleasant, effortless coasting home.  It is now september. School begins and the gridwork of schedule drifts down to settle on the days, all home together again after a tumultuous spring and recuperative summer. I want my time through the seasons to be a dance, not a deathmarch. I usually start off seasons with a long list of goals, but for this fall all I want is to learn to forgive myself, practice compassion, and laugh. I want to walk and stretch and work my way into winter, making room for all the good green growing things that come with spring. I want to believe that theres still time for a few of my dreams to come true. I want to be a good wife, a good mother, a good friend. I want to rid myself of at least some of this heavy heartedness that drags me down, rope around the ankle, eyes still searching through deep water for the light.

"dog rose"

i could fiddle with it forever and just need to get it in the mail.
you can see where the paint is still wet from a recent adjustment.
the Shaman came today, given a place of prominence in the kitchen where i may gaze upon her and her dark companion, absorbing the Mysteries.  
Blessed Be.

"You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. and you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. all your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.
The weeks stood still in summer.
the trees’ blood rose. now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. you thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit;
now it becomes a riddle again,
and you again a stranger.
summer was like your house: you knew
where each thing stood.
now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. now
the immense loneliness begins.
the days go numb, the wind sucks
the world from your senses like withered leaves.
through the empty branches the sky remains.
it is what you have.
be earth now, and evensong.
be the ground lying under that sky.
be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real..."


01 September 2010

"And if the question were asked: What is more real, the mundane or the sublime? most would hesitate before they gave an answer. On the one side, details: say, the aftermath of a breakfast, dirty chipped plates in the sink, their rims encrusted with egg yolk. Against this, the unnameable: small aching heart with boasts, what can you know? Outside the cage of everything we ever heard or saw, beyond, outside, above, there lies the real, hiding as long as we shall live, there stretch and trail the millions of names of God burning across the eons. When all through this our end will come before we even know the names of us.

For many the egg yolk prevails." -L.M.

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well."

"The perfection of the Absolute where all Becoming stops and pure Being, immutable, timeless, unchanging, hangs forever like a ripe peach upon the bough." -E.A.

"...and the whole incident was incredibly frazzling and angst-rod and filled almost a whole mead notebook and is here recounted in only its barest psycho-skeletal outline." -D.F.W.

"At the top of the mountain, we are all snow leopards." -H.S.T.

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." -D.T.
"Cometh a voice: My children, hear; From the crowded street and the close-packed mart I call you back with my message clear, back to my lap and my loving heart. Long have ye left me, journeying on by range and river and grassy plain, to the teeming towns where the rest have gone - come back, come back to my arms again. So shall ye lose the foolish needs that gnaw your souls; and my touch shall serve to heal the fretted nerve. Treading the turf that ye once loved well, instead of the stones of the city's street, ye shall hear nor din nor drunken yell, but the wind that croons in the ripening wheat. I that am old have seen long since ruin of palaces made with hands for the soldier-king and the priest and prince whose cities crumble in desert sands. But still the furrow in many a clime yields softly under the ploughman's feet; still there is seeding and harvest time, and the wind still croons in the ripening wheat. The works of man are but little worth; for a time they stand, for a space endure; but turn once more to your mother - Earth, my gifts are gracious, my works are sure. Instead of the strife and pain I give you peace, with its blessing sweet. Come back, come back to my arms again, for the wind still croons in the ripening wheat."
-John Sandes, The Earth-Mother (excerpt, 1918)