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

30 July 2011

the saturday song, for both of us.

28 July 2011

for Golden Boy, on his first Pennsic.

Letters from the Outside, #48

A long stretch of hot bright days, the beds and garden get extra water, and then last night it rains and rains, lightning stitching hillcrests to the roiling sky around the valley, heralding another week of forecasted record temperatures.

I reluctantly pluck the Calendula heads from their stems to concoct an infusion, the Coneflowers rise to their prime, and the Delphinium have shed their petals to reveal the ripening seed, successfully primed by the seduction of violet skirts and pollen, intoxicating. One Tulsi self-sow by the French Melons, like a miracle. And the joy of discovering three Tithonia self-sows that should be two-hundred times their size by now.

The heat is foreign to me, this high, relentless heat and humidity that gives one the sensation of being slathered in glue-stick. I realize its a wee rabbit living in the bramble thats been at the beans, which, I just now realize, are of the pole variety, which I am not prepared for. Therapeutic weeding session reveals several Tulsi re-seeds beneath the beans.

And the sky lowers slowly and the grim rumble of the thunder that rolls slowly around the wet lip of the valleys wineglass like some distant and approaching doom, gaining that metal treble with proximity, the kiss of the cooler front, great green boughs whipped to a silver roaring and consummated in rain. The vastness is often dizzying, and im tharn in its midst.

Sunday, we returned to the waterfall where we were married, where on the very spot inexplicably grows in the middle of the streambed a tree, and swam like palsied dogs and sat under the falling water, letting it beat us clean. It even shed the amber callous of a second-degree burn I received by attempting to shift a conflagrant stump with my my naked phalanges. The world there is beautiful, all the stones have stories. I see, over many years, how someone, or everyone, has worked with the Earth toward a beautiful compromise, steps worn into precipitous ledges, and a sapling slowly grown parallel above it, offering assurance to the less nimble as the path reaches its most narrow. There is a green and sweet smelling peace to be found there, among the Nettle and the Fern, and a nursery of Hemlock and a wee peeper, penny sized. Artemis-breasted Mayapple fruit, electric emerald moss on fallen logs, dogs tractoring up where no path will ever begin. Countless marvels for the Open Heart.

It has been dry, and the rain, falling gentle and steady, is welcome. Heading out to double-check I havent left anything out in the rain I shouldnt have (again), I end up pulling Redroot and Purslane from around the Roses, and it feels wonderful. I emerge from under the hood and accept the baptism of rain as a Sign of Unconditional Love, followed by a benediction of sunlight through which Cowboy and I pick our way like pack mules up a gullycreek, chaotic with rocks run down from The Rest Of It, vertical miles of the East Hill, like wild horses funneled through a chute with no corral.

And the last perilous scrabbling onto a flat open space walled like a water glass narrowly broached by slate steps, crumbling, spangled with light off the water whispering through cracks in the flat black terraced ascension toward the fabled Great Reward. I lose my Presence, my self, in thoughts of the future, of returning down the packed silt cut bank backwards, irrational panic exposing that glorious Will to Live when I ran out of ersatz exposed root railing, and I dont even see where I am or let it in or breathe. But my steadfast mountain goat companion led the way and when I ran out of root to hold onto, was compelled to fall back and slide slightly to the next exposed offering and Cowboys hand clasped around my wrist, divine concentration of Love and Truth and Well-Being, and we were back on the rocks as the rain started to pour down.

With these days of rain, the lawns have gone green and growing again; its been lovely, this long rest from the roar of mowers. Late July, I see how Summer is arcing above the unconfined pastures, Corn sprouting its fountain crown, and each seedpod spilling pale green silks, each paired to its kernel, a gossamer umbilicus.

Pulling weeds in the darkening, wincing at the difference where the manuring didnt reach, how cracked and implacable it is. So it asks, and shall receive. Its been so hot I havent been walking, the walking that feeds my mind and soul and body, and I feel its salubrious ether leaving me in a slow leak. Darwin said it wasnt the strongest that survive, its those most adaptable to change. Those willing to release their Qi like water, quiet patience for the slow deep places and a twinkling song for running among the rocks. Life-Bringer, Primal Environment, Ocean Mother of Us All, Soul. We Love You.

25 July 2011

for me.

22 July 2011

its the birthday of Tom Robbins.

“Unwilling to wait for mankind to improve, the outlaw lives as if that day were here.”

21 July 2011

happy birthday Marshall McLuhan, Cat Stevens and Robin Williams.

for Golden Boy.

16 July 2011

the saturday song.  
for Cowboy, Winterbone Home for the Wayward Mad,
members of the Cirque du Soleil Reject Hour, 
and Our Friends from the Smokepit.

13 July 2011

"Catechism for a Witch's Child" 
When they ask to see your gods
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing
tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in night’s so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drank
the holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your mother
who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and in a million, million light years
of being

-J.L. Stanley

thanks to aerialcircus
Letters from the Outside, #47

Bergamot blooming, chinese red pyrotechnic still-lives, and the day lilies, resplendent french-canteloupe colored waves of summer in the light and shade of the roadside. A stretch of bright, hot days, you find yourself walking through some wild meadow, brushing through trefoil and butterfly weed, toward a group of people you know cooking food over a fire and jumping off a little dock into a pond. The woods are cool and its shade excellent to breathe in. the blackberries are visibly red from across the lawn, and then I catch the boys eating their way across the swath. T. returns with a tithe of the small berries which havent yet reached their bursting prime.

I start another blanket, with no specific recipient in mind, just something for my hands to do. Theres one particularly beloved by one of Cowboys granddaughters, which may wear through, and im thinking this one on the needles, its twin, could be an eventual replacement. I broke down and bought two more rather sizable Bergamot plants to fill in the other side of the front steps, and dug some of the rooty bits from the edge of the established swath and relocated them also.

The outer stems of the new plants were recumbent, so I dug them under a wee bit of earth and Goddess willing theyll take root, too, and increase the coverage potential. Found a Bull Thistle growing behind the front Peonies and left it, for sentimental reasons. Scattered some Lupine seeds, the dry pods popping like Jewelweed if you hold them too tight. It may be the year off for my Hollyhock (its the year off for a lot out in the garden), so i dug it up and set it back against the outhouse, so that when they scatter their seed, the seed will settle and root into receptive loam, not lie on the thatch of the lawn and rot. The Mugwort I resuscitated several times in a small plastic pot its inhabited for two years now was planted out and thrives.

Bought a half-pound of clear rock candy for the cordial, and should go out and gather my quart while its still there. All the brassicas I planted live, but could certainly use more water than theyre getting. Everything could. Driving around you see some corn not three inches off the ground, and some you could wade into up to your floating rib. In the garden, a bird has snipped off some of the heads of growing Sunflowers and Brussels Sprouts.  The aluminum pans will have to come back, to keep what Tomatoes im blessed with intact.

Parched earth culvert mosaic floors wind buffeting around in the trees, you close your eyes and youre almost at the ocean shore. The walnuts big as ping-pong balls, the wild turnip and the lilies and the vetch, joined now here and there by the soothing blue chicory, and the meadows in this long run of rainless days has gone brown, but a boon for haymaking. Weve been teased with the mere possibility of rain only twice in the last long while, and in the end for naught.

The garden is/was so truly delayed this year. No Tithonia, my deep orange Faerie crowns, the Sunflowers half-height (due to their move, no doubt) the Tomato plants also not the fragrant, serpentine thickets they usually are. So much fails to even sprout. And only half the garden itself is under cultivation. No carrots, no beets, no corn, but im having a hard time getting over the Tithonia. I was hoping some would self-sow, like ive seen the Delphinium, Lupine and other Sunflowers do, but no. but this is what it is. We need to inundate the fallow half with fine local manure and maybe next year do the same and let the second half rest. A large part of the problem this year was the saturation of the soil. Amending would assist immensely. Again, this ground has only been garden for, at the most, three years. There was the first central plot, then the right flank, and then the left. It takes, they say, seven years for a garden to really get its groove on. So I surrender, as always, to The Imperfect Process, and have those dense offerings of Echinacea and Bergamot to soften the blow.

In a flurry of industry I concoct the blackberry cordial and map out agitation requirements (for said spirits, not for me...as those are frequent and entirely unscheduled) on the calendar. I also throw together a batch of vanilla extract, but I question the quality of the pods, which have been sitting in a plastic bag in the cabinet since I met Stephen Marley. So I live like a Hobbit, whimsical and oblivious, going on about the dogs or the garden, while the juggernaut forces of what weve started to call around here “the Complex” direct their ego battalions to wade into the catastrophic subjucation of the world, hip deep in blood and money. Nick erected a few panels of privacy fence, which has made a huge difference. I put a little shrine out there for Red Stone Woman, and last night, we sat briefly under the moon, a beach glass bone caught in our planets spiral tide, with the flame from the wee vilakku bright and strong even in the blessed night wind. The evenings have been dreamless and mercifully cool, but the days are dense heat and biomic dehydration. But were a crafty and adaptable kind of creature, are we not? And we abide. And we fiercely miss you.

12 July 2011

its the birthday of Henry David Thoreau.

"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."

09 July 2011

for sara.

"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)