life in the no fly zone

There have been many interesting things to observe of late, Gentle Reader. Just when things seem to begin to make sense, another vista opens up and yes, there’s more. Sense is a few steps farther away.

It may just be that after all this time my brain is able to parse what’s going on around it- after quivering like a jelly for months in recoil from what it was observing. Meditation has of course been a foundation and even though there is a fair amount of time spent in, oh wait a minute! That’s attachment or ill will or dammit how many breaths was it? there still has been some awareness dawning.

I realized at long last that given the history of this country, of western civilization in general, there’s no way around seeing the flaw at the heart of all of it. The inequity and cruelty we see all around us is not going away and until we all wake up a bit more we’re stuck in this roundelay of crap. The question is, beyond cleaning up one’s own act, as always, what is to be done?

I had three experiences back to back illustrating this, and amazingly enough I didn’t have images of myself smashing the other people’s craniums with a ball peen hammer. Progress!

I read something in an old book that said, Hostility does not need a response, and Be hard on the problem, not the person. So, in the midst of a harried day of errands I found myself in a farm supply store, talking to the salesperson about what I was looking for which they did not appear to have. In the middle of all this concerted conversation, a man (White and maskless) steps up in between the store employee and me (both masked, we’re going back into an ugly Covid tier here as we speak) and says, I need something for “x”. Proceeded to talk so no one could interject anything. Took a few minutes of time, which I was running short of. At long last he looked at me and said to the salesperson, Oh, she was here first and you were helping her, go ahead. I couldn’t help but laugh, and said, oh! you noticed! It dawned on me right there and then that this man was really completely unaware of what he was doing in the situation, how he was barging in and behaving as if nobody else had any business or concern that even mattered, and how what we had there was a text book case of White Patriarchal Privilege. It simply never occurred to him to question his assumption that HE and HIS WISHES were the only important thing. The employee was only there to serve him, and I was beneath notice. It didn’t even make me mad at long last, but it made me wonder just how this basic attitude can be addressed. You can attach any -ist or -ism to this behavior, like sexist, racist, on and on. It’s a bulwark of this society whether anyone wants to accept that or not. This person had no ill will or anything of the sort, but was operating on the set of instructions he’d been given. The sales person was tensing up a bit and I said, oh please. Go ahead, even though it really isn’t your turn. I’ll wait. He actually blushed a bit. I decided to count that as a successful interlude and thus armed went on to Number Two.

Number Two was a bit more menacing, given that it involved yet another….Man of a Certain Sort, who decided that he wanted to get gas at the pump he could, in fact, clearly see me driving into, almost completely, even though all the others were free. So he? guns his car and pulls forward quickly, almost running into me. (We might note that for both these interludes I was wearing my favorite 20th century Big Dogs t-shirt, with a St. Bernard in sunglasses bearing the words: BAD TO THE BONE. Just saying….) I stopped short of the final spot, honked my horn lightly to get him to actually make eye contact, which took a while. Pointed to myself, pointed to the gas pump, held up one finger (index, relax!) to indicate my spot in “line”, and just smiled a bit and kept looking at him. Thinking, do not ascribe motive here. Or pass judgment on this poor person’s IQ. Just pray that no one else in this crazy rodeo of a parking lot runs into you. He finally looked at me, with a rather dazed expression I couldn’t interpret, and backed up into his proper gas pump spot. Kindness is always better, even if it is mostly more difficult to maintain. Once you actually have to go outside, I mean. Feeling as though I had finally gotten past a sticking point of taking this a$$#0!ish behavior as anything other than a sort of mass, historical brainwashing and thus fortified to keep being kind while taking no shit, we got to this morning.

Hey! it’s a “holiday”/shopping opportunity today here. “Labor Day” which, when you think about it now, is kind of laughable. Especially since employers are now ranting about how people “don’t want to work anymore, unemployment is too easy.” Uhm, no. It’s that they no longer are willing to knock themselves out every day for a wage that they cannot support themselves on. But I digress. We were awoken shortly after the sun rose by gunfire, large caliber it sounded like, that went on for over an hour. Forgive me, Gentle Reader, when I say this is not OK. The fire danger right here right now is so intense that coughing wrong could cause a disaster. Hours of gunfire, random and constant, poses a real threat of conflagration. In addition, being awoken from sleep by prolonged rounds of gunfire is really not good for anybody. I found myself thinking about everyone on the planet who is being subjected to this, and so much worse.. As a result, with my newfound brave new attitude, a haze of exhaustion, and genuine curiosity I hazarded a post on the, yes, HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION facebook page, asking if anyone knew what all that was.

What I got was a response that said, we live in the country, people can do what they want. And, it’s dove season. I was already a bit stressed by my bank being inaccessible due to some sort of web crash, to be honest. That didn’t stop me from considering the following: A) There’s a sign at the entry way to this travesty of a development that says NO HUNTING. PRIVATE PROPERTY. B) The person who responded that “we live in the country” has a big sign on the road in front of her house that says RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. This is about a half mile from us. C) We pay homeowner association dues as well, so if we’re in the country, what in the hell are those for? Also, doves as you may know are small birds. This sounded like AR fire (incredibly I can differentiate now, fun in the boonies). A corollary C1 might also be that there are many people in this whateveritis neighborhood who cannot, legally, bear arms or purchase ammunition. Ankle bracelets and all.

All this left me with a choice to make. I went back to the facebook page and said, yes, we’ve been here a long time too but the fire danger this year should be everyone’s primary consideration, keeping everyone up here safe and intact. ( I did not mention that it isn’t exactly hunting to blow a small bird to smithereens with an automatic weapon.) This entry got me two likes, which bucked me up enough to realize that my New Moon resolution was to at long last, while doing no harm, in fact take no shit. We’ll see how this goes.

It has just been strange lately to experience simultaneously a LOVE for ALL, and realize that there are individuals out there who seem impervious to love. SO. I decided to put that awareness on the back burner, it is what it is, none of us really knows what anyone else is feeling or thinking, much less what WE may be feeling or thinking….. and the task still is to go forth with openness and (at least an attempt at ) kindness. I think it’s working since so far nobody has shot at me!

Blessings and thanks, and please take care! Wear your masks, too. (The nonogenarian Betty White remarked at the beginning of all this that she had no patience with people saying masks were hot or uncomfortable. Try wearing a bra in August! she said. I do love her…..)



Or, perhaps, the flogging will continue until morale improves. It has been over 100 degrees fahrenheit every day for a solid month. Too hot for bees, even, so I have some anxiety about the fate of the garden this year. Anyway. After all the other fun and frivolity of the last several months, the heat and the, of course, HUGE fires have people walking around here like literal zombies. A quick survey of media will remind one, however, that the entire planet is engulfed in this sort of beyond challenging situation and it can be hard to know what to do in any way, shape, or form.

It’s been quite the endeavor, as we all know, to keep a minimal level of sanity not to mention engagement. Nothing is working, in terms of daily activities, the way one had become accustomed to. Let’s just say. I was intrigued, for example, to find out that in addition to potatoes and chardonnay, there are also no Rolaids to be found hereabouts. I did find a quite splendid ten inch tall silver colored elephant watering can, though.

HOWEVER. We’re not here to discuss Rolaids or watering cans, Gentle Reader. It’s more about how in the depths of all of this shift and disruption and sorrow and unknowing and yes, fear, we can still find a working pole star. I was beginning to wonder, myself.

It seems odd that we have to go all the way, sometimes, into pain and Incredibly Poor Repetitive Decisions before the light dawns. (Especially if you think you’ve already done that…..) In dealing with that pain, it is possible (after what can seem like armed struggle) to get to a place where the pain itself moves into second place in one’s awareness. Then, if you can ride that wave a minute, you get to a place where you see that what you THINK about the pain or whatever it is has a lot to do with your experience of it. Moving right along, you see that what you THINK was most often taught to you in your early life- so you may think/believe/whateveritis things without even knowing why, or that you do think those things. Then, the fact that the body itself is tense and hard and maybe even twitching around gets you to base camp, in a sense. You can, in fact, breathe THROUGH this pain. Keep breathing. Put the thinking down, leave your opinions way behind (especially if they are about you or anyone in your immediate vicinity), and then…’s quiet. Open. There’s light for a moment and that allows for perspective. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Then the exciting part starts, when all the room the old opinions and fears and attitudes took gets freed up a bit? new things appear. You don’t have to be afraid, really. We’re here to learn and try to enjoy as much as possible. Turns out enjoyment really springs from love. Love is the answer to whatever may be bugging you, and the thing of it is to learn more about love. What IS the loving thing to do in a given situation? Usually it involves at least a tiny bit of You realizing the Other is YOU, too, and You are Other and the real answer to daily problems and struggles is to work on the solution, not on rehashing or blaming or any of the other things we all so often fall back on. Which involves love and breathing which get you to action, which we or at least I often seemed to think was in starting place. But it starts with love.

Which is not to say that I love Bloviating Pustule (long may he stay away), or the guy who called me a nasty name when, after he asked me, I expressed a positive opinion about June 19 being a national holiday in the U.S. Uhm, no. Not even. I’m still disgusted with what the country I live in has done through the years of its existence, I don’t like it and I work as much as possible to change things and provide whatever redress there might be for all those who….well. Were treated with such cruel inhumanity it’s hard to know what would balance things. I include rivers in this category too.

I have realized, though, that when I ground myself and proceed with the idea that we ARE all one, it is easier to deal with the flashpoints of reactivity and rage and poor driving. It’s a fire not to be fed by getting sucked into it. It’s more a situation of allowing space instead of anger and blame, and it turns out you can too figure out how to ask someone who’s yelling at you, calmly, what it’s all about. If the situation doesn’t involve someone having a psychotic break or drug derangement, it changes things somehow when someone slows down and speaks, and it is my feeling, not to mention enormous hope, that more and more of all of us are going out doing exactly that. Respect can always be present and that is important. There’s a change, and it is, however it may look now, I think a positive one. The old ways of dominion and power and duality are moving away, and it really is up to all of us to remember that we ARE moving toward a better reality, one based on proper interaction of all energies from the smallest speck of cosmic dust to the smile of a dog. One moment at a time.

Blessings and thanks. Take care of yourselves!


It used to seem so much easier to write, Gentle Reader. Thoughts presented themselves, seemed to have some coherence, and off we went. Now, it’s a whole different ballgame, at least for me. I swing between thinking this long period of silence and staying at home is a good reorganization and recuperation period, and thinking I am not doing nearly enough to be of assistance to all my relations.

The all my relations part of this is pretty important. Among the many thoughts that have wafted through my non spring chicken cranium of late is this: The reason people have such a hard time articulating anything about racism, and I’d say everyone but especially people of, shall we say? non-color, is that it is an installed part of the thought form of this culture. It isn’t a separate “thing” that people come upon in the course of their lives and decide to adopt. It’s part of the infrastructure of life for many, not separate from any other part of their existence or idea of what is. It’s like gravity, there but unexamined. It grows from that non-relational attitude toward everything, at least that’s what I think. The western cultural approach is that everything is of lesser importance than the wishes and imperatives of a few individuals and their possessions both current and future. So if you, as a preexisting inhabitant of a continent that gets landed upon by western culture (or maybe you ARE that continent), are in the path of all that, you will be in Big Trouble. Review western history for more information. Also, the wonderful quote from Gandhi, when he was asked his opinion of western culture. He said: “It’s a good idea”. Yes. It seemed that way, anyhow.

Thoughts and thought forms can be transcended and resolved. Everything is energy. Energy moves. Electrical current moves water, for example, and magnetic energy moves…well, everything. The hardest thing to change often seems to be the one thing we really can: ourselves. It seems, then, that if we can manage the use of our own energies, we can have an impact on the energies around us. We’ve seen,and still are seeing, full bore no expenses spared, the results of what deranged energy can do to all of us. It seems like now is a good time to focus ourselves on what IS- which is that ever present energetic world and universe of which we are part. We are all related and it is imperative that we realize that and act accordingly.

Here at the Yurt HQ, we’ve had the usual stuff all this time. Helicopter flyovers at all hours. Gunfire periodically. A spectacular Spring has become the lion colored tawny stuff that gets brown and covers everything til you think you may have forgotten about Green. We had the first fire in the neighborhood the other night, and while I am THANKFUL that we are close (all relative out here but still…) to a fire station, I was surprised at how my anxiety went through the top of my skull at the first chopper sounds. We went outside and saw the water carrier underneath and that was enough. Fortunately it got put out quickly (LOVE FIREFIGHTERS.) to be followed almost instantly by a huge lightning and thunderstorm, with winds pushing the smoke from the fire in front of storm clouds toward the coast. No rain, of course. Just another day. But, with some important practice elements. Fear is something we all experience but it is also something we can all deal with and move through. I didn’t always know this, but I guess the first time you dissolve into a quivering puddle of yuck under whatever Monster lives in your area, decide to breathe through the tears and hold steady, something does happen. You get stronger, and fear isn’t attached to every single thing. It’s hard to stay dread free in the face of rocket fire when all you’ve got is…flowers, but it’s important. What we think can affect our world, no matter how far out of it we think we are. I’m sticking with that.

Meanwhile, let us all remember to take care of ourselves and each other. We’re in a situation which, whatever you think about it, involves the whole world. Pandemics are real, we’re in one, and pretending otherwise serves noone. I don’t trust western medicine much farther than I can throw it, but that doesn’t change basic reality. Vaccines have effectiveness against disease, and have had for centuries. People wear masks because they work . The underpinning of all of that stuff is largely energetic and about the whole system that is in motion and creating itself all the time (physics, friends). It’s not all about YOU, personally. To imagine that doing things that protect other people infringe upon your rights is….unproductive at least. Here’s to getting all of our heads and hearts out of the paper bag so we can think and feel and behave responsibly, and love one another instead of being afraid.

Blessings and thanks!

where we find ourselves

Well, Gentle Reader, it has been yet again a long minute. Deciding to dispense with the concept of “time” for a while, it was possible to come to terms with the way WEEKS seem to go by in a day and DAYS seem like years at times. Practice stretching the legs moves on to practicing actually talking to someone so we are, in fact, moving right along, wiggling those body parts that seemed to have been relegated to inactivity.

It’s still quite scary here in this country, and you can pick just about any topic- they’ll all give you the chills. Then again you have to realize that we’re in a life and death struggle to let what IS real be the operating dynamic, not what someone wants to tell you is real for their own personal benefit. (Or, in other words, to stop at long last pretending and re-writing history.) Not everyone will be pleased with that at the beginning, as we can see. Many will deny til the last possibility is exhausted that any of what has happened, happened. Ever. And, if you don’t mind? we’ll just completely skip any discussion of epidemiology or public health or common sense. Thank you.

On the other hand, since we are fortunate enough to live in a literal middle of nowhere, the ability to go outside and see what was a fabulous spring, even if it’s already starting to end, was a revelation. All of a sudden the whole world around us was a vibrating, resonant, spectacular GREEN. The oak trees around us leafed out almost all at once and it was like nothing either of us has ever seen before. The wild flowers were also spectacular, if fewer in number. Some never appeared at all, at least so far, like Pretty Face and Mariposa Lily. The California Poppies, on the other hand, were practically flourescent. It has been like they’ve ALL been speaking, and I found what they said to be moving, unsettling, and comforting all at once. The roses in our garden have started blooming in profusion and they also join this…hum. It sounded to me as though the flowers were saying they are protecting this earth, manifesting the energy and light and life we all share, rising to express life itself and the undying nature of a leaf, a bloom, a rose bud, a lamb or a calf, and us- if we can rise to the occasion. There’s an energy moving through things, and this past year may have been more like an unintentional hair on fire this time for SURE meditation bootcamp than we thought, but…..there is a whole different discourse going on now, throughout everything, and it’s both exhilarating and terrifying to take this journey into true Listening, which leads to actual Hearing (wow!) and then to the next skill set of Not Doing Anything Just To Do “Something”. Massive reboot, kids. The more joy we can meet this with, the better off we’ll be, of course. Blessings and thanks, as always!

following the strange changes

So, I know it’s been a long time Gentle Reader. In the interim, the Editor here has become even more Byzantine or it may just be that my toleration for anything whatsoever has shrunk to an unseeable speck. Maybe.

Also, of course, the Dog is staring deep into my shoulder as I attempt to type, with his usual message of FEED ME! TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME! which will, of course, have to be done.

It has come to my attention though, that on top of all the rest of the joy we’re all experiencing on the planet now, I myself have been undergoing a massive re-build. After the election in November, slump isn’t even the word. I’d been working too hard for too long and the stress of the whole thing finally just came and sat on me and said: Sit. Stay. The Dog can do it, so can you. Choosing as usual to ignore the warnings (couldn’t hold on to anything, anxiety that obviated the necessity for even panic attacks) I carried on until the body finally said, OK. Basta YA. And it has now been two and a half months of actual total change. Everything was up for review and with the help of the loyal and stout Partner and Dog, it appears that Shift has Happened.

I’m still not up to working at the pace of yore but what this all showed me was that, in addition to the huge cosmic shifts we all are experiencing, the big thing was that I was disregarding my requirements in favor of those of others. I allowed the Stuff of the World to crash into my head and control my emotions for a while…which, in days like these, is a total non-starter. Confronted once and for all with the way things not only are, but have been, seeing the truth and fully accepting it…not the most fun ever. But important because of course, we have Work to do . It’s hard to say just what is going on now on our small planet, except that it does not look good from any honest perspective. Change has to occur, and not everyone seems to be onboard even with the minimum requirements for decent human beingness. The good news for me is that at long last, the fear of Large Belligerents has gone. Not that THEY are gone, but somehow even as they feel empowered I feel their lack of substance. Also the fear of what others will think, or what they think about my work or what I do (usually expressed as “that s&^! doesn’t work”, to which I respond now, then toddle along dearie!). The bigger questions of what to do about it all, what is to be done….seem to be most clearly responded to now by one moment at a time, one day, one task, one deep breath at a time. Turns out you don’t always have to say anything, but you DO have to walk your (previous and to come) talk. Nothing is the way it appeared to be, nor will it be. Change is now, and the more we can all operate from our Heart and what is basically good for all (which, let’s face it, is not exactly fricking rocket science) the better chance we have of success. The big thing, and the hard thing, is changing our habits. Ask me how I know…..

It has seemed overwhelming and undoable for a while and certainly the horizon is uncertain. Despair doesn’t get you very far and the fact is, beauty still exists and we walk in it if we can but realize it. That in itself may be the change we need. Hard as it is to hold that awareness when you look at what’s going on all around you, still it is important. ( How to get people to stop the things that they’re doing without putting a spell on them? is a good question.) Observation may be key there, because the truth and the information ARE out there and available- you just have to be quiet and listen (definitely up hill for some of us) because the truth is always expressed. There is now, from among the hundreds on the hills by us, ONE Manzanita tree blooming, and it is covered with bees. The song of their hum is breathtaking, and as the Dog and I stood there looking (he trying to decide just which branch he’d run by and snatch a flower snack off) I remembered the wonderful perfume in the air every year when these trees bloom and I thought: THERE is the reality. If we remember to BE, things oddly do fall into place and things do work out and what is to be done is at least somewhere visible. This allowed me to go inside and make a needed practical phone call to someone who, at our last meeting, had said to me, the only good Democrat is a dead democrat. This time, the person was polite and we discussed matters of disagreement calmly and arrived at a resolution. There’s always hope, and giving up is not much of an option anyway.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!! take care, take heart and remember no matter how it looks? we are all in this together. Admittedly I have watched Too Much News of late, now that even a speck is overboard. I am dismayed and, really, sickened by what has paraded in front of all of us for the past….years and weeks. But one cannot concentrate on the hole all the time, right? You miss the whole that way! So even if I am, in my mind, thinking about how to set up a speaker to blast out, variously, pow wow music and San Quentin Imams calling inmates to prayer in response to our neighbor’s loud and hours long terrible bass lines celebration of Saturday’s “verdict”, I don’t do it. Right now that seems like progress even if it also seems like one does the same thing over and over in terms of reminding self that there IS a higher love and way…maybe that’s the one foot in front of the other part….Meanwhile….. Out to the Manzanita.

just write

Well, Gentle Reader. OMG, WTF, and really, just WHY?????? It’s been weeks since I have been able to put paw to keyboard, partly because it’s all Enough Already and I just want to Lie Down, and partly because of the huge amount of Work it has been to stay equilibrated through all this, yes, crap. Words don’t come easily.

On one hand, the quarantine hasn’t changed our DAILY life since we’re out in the middle of nowhere and see no one for the most part. Now? I think I’d be happy living even farther out. But on the other hand, as the designated person to go “into enemy territory” aka grocery shopping, as the Partner puts it, the whole scene has gotten to the point where one can almost not bear it at all. It’s been a long time since going out around here didn’t mean being exposed to verbal assault and innumerable germs and pathogens from maskless sputum spraying individuals, and what with the events of the recent several weeks it’s all turning into a no fly zone before one’s very eyes. It’s so awful for the most part that I couldn’t even be as happy about the person who said to me last year “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” now saying, “Well, (it) shot himself in the foot, for sure.” One day recently was an apex, wherein I found myself in that apparent epicenter of wack, the post office, backed up against a wall of mailboxes by three LARGE no mask people, all screaming at me that they weren’t sheeple and didn’t do what they were told and were rebels and no damn way were they wearing a mask. This was because I’d indicated where the line ended for the service counter, standing there in my little pink mask with bees on it. Then there was some jerk in a pickup who couldn’t understand why I didn’t drive into traffic on a red light to get away from an ambulance- behind HIM. Fortunately the ambulance driver was alert and yelled at this guy on his siren/megaphone thingy. Flatbed trucks drive around blaring unintelligible “music” with posters of #45 saying God will punish those who didn’t vote for him. NOT EVEN KIDDING. I had pondered writing the County Sheriff, which is what passes for “law enforcement” in this weird little town that spans two counties, asking what plans they had to enforce mask wearing in public places. But then? I went to the Sheriff’s website where I saw the following information. Not only are they not coming out for “calls” of any sort unless there’s an ocean of blood, they are also not wearing masks themselves…because? Some of the officers got claustrophobic. Not even kidding.

ON the other hand, of course, there is REALITY. Which in my opinion, is Nature and Life. We saw an expanse of oak trees the other day and saw that tell-tale hint of pink haze floating above them- the new leaf buds. Spring! Long walks with the Dog where we wind up just standing still in a meadow, watching all the life and energy around us. It’s breathtaking and a reminder that all this…quotidian stuff, as awful as it is (and it IS awful) is not really…REAL. It’s the thought forms, energies, attitudes, of some individuals and groups and even institutions, who are for some reason flying in the face of the immutable and trying to assert their puny little impulses of greed and power over and selfishness and hatefulness. It is to be risen above, of course, holding to Unity and the knowledge that even the most craptastic individual in these incidents is in pain and non-comprehension, and staying calm and neutral is almost the only rational response. We have varying degrees of success with this Project, let’s just say. The mask really helps in this endeavor, covering the mouth as it does and obscuring the periodic laughs of astonishment. (At things like, you’re going to HELL! and I’m thinking, Jeez, aren’t we already there? or, I’m not stupid you know, and I’m thinking, GOD. What a RELIEF).

Anyway, weird as it is, we are all in this together. For our part, we’re looking forward to the next garden, the fig pizzas and grape sherbet, cucumbers and beans, the peace that comes from doing what needs to be done on the most basic and essential levels. It’s interesting to see how much you get done when you’re not “doing it”. The Partner has been culling dead trees this winter and the land itself looks almost like it’s stretching and saying, thanks! this is a LOT better! The Dog minds about 96% of the time which shocks me, always. Until he looks at me and as much as says, I’m humoring you now, don’t let it go to your head. It’s hard to get things accomplished in terms of the worldly tasks (among which I count vacuuming) but then again, pushing against the river never gets you very far. Reading the Dalai Lama is much more effective, it turns out. I still have an apparently indomitable sense that all will be well and it always is, anyway. It’s a lot in how you look at it, as we all know. So: hugs and kisses, smiles and deep breaths. Blessings and thanks!

hope springs eternal

AS in, here I am dealing with this Editor again.

It seems impossible at this point to overstate the awfulness of the situation in this country right now. People are at breaking points and many are behaving very badly indeed. Others go about as if nothing is happening. Meanwhile, the practices that have brought us to the edge of global destruction continue, unabated, and then of course there’s the ever growing Flat Earth Society contingent which seems to think that any kind of parity, fairness, compromise and service are all totally out of the question. Things are happening that are too awful even to consider all over the place, and we’re funding them directly or indirectly.

THUS! it is with joy that I can relate the following. In the past few weeks, two books were published, written by women I am proud to know and call friends. While being different in subject, both are memoirs by brave, smart, compassionate women who are doing what I consider to be Big Things, which involve walking their talk: a kinship relation with all life and beings, and working for a truly better world and life for all.

One is OUT OF THE CRAZYWOODS, by Cheryl Savageau. A First Nations poet who lives in Massachusetts, this book is about mental health, what it means in reality and how it is handled in this country. It is a deeply painful story, really, but incandescent and beautiful. Ultimately completely affirming, it is a book I think everyone would benefit from reading. While you’re at it, check out her poetry too. It’s wonderful.

The second book is MEDITATIONS WITH COWS, by Shreve Stockton. An adventurous, creative and inquisitive soul, this book is the story of how she came to devote herself to sustainable meat production in Wyoming. The facts of how animals are raised here now, what that does to everything on every level (like, for starters, have you ever wondered why things don’t taste the way they used to?), how to do this another way that really works better for everyone involved including the bovines- all these things are presented in the context of daily life with cows and all the other creatures, great and small, who live with her. Another bonus is, great photography. There’s also another book you can explore as well- about a coyote named Charlie!

These books are written by very thoughtful, creative people, both of whom DO walk their talk, and DO believe that we are all One, from bugs to broncos to homo sapiens and flowers and all the rest of it. The work being done by both is the kind of thing we all really need to be aware of and hear about now, when it is getting so dark. Reading these two books gave me hope and restored my tattered faith. Also? made me laugh, which is equally important.

Now, having voted, I intend to take a long nap in hopes of restoring my customary bounce and joie de vivre. Blessings and thanks, and take care of each other and yourselves.

watching Rodan

In addition to slavishly watching fire maps, power outage warnings, weather reports and evacuation listings, we found ourselves watching the movie Rodan the other evening. Yes, from when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and yes, from the era of Monster Movies Starring Godzilla and various other giant reptiles and moths menacing Japan.

The description of the movie went like this:

“A bug eating Pterodactyl flies out of a coal mine and wrecks Japan with sonic booms.”

At a news conference in the movie, a scientist is asked what he thought caused Rodan to hatch at this particular time. The Partner immediately spoke up. “The Electoral College“.

This did make me laugh in the moment but it also had a rather eerie and menacing ring of truth. I mean: bug eating, flies out of a coal mine, wrecks things with extra loud noises? I leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to ponder.

Meanwhile, here we are in the Fire This Time. People are having to evacuate twice this time, for totals of up to five evacs for the past couple of fire years. The acreage is staggering, and we’re about 15 miles away from a real doozy of a blaze. Post traumatic stress is in your face here everywhere, we’re all in tears unexpectedly and nobody can breathe. The upside to it is that at last, most people are wearing masks. The dime finally dropped, given that counties up here are on various levels of lockdown because of the (big) jump in COVID cases. There’s even a bit of tut tutting and glaring at those individuals wearing MAGA hats or No Hablo Libtard shirts, pushing their way to the front of whatever line one might be in, maskless. (Really! A man did that to me a week ago, turned and glared at me, and I said, age before beauty, dude!) It’s harder to cope with the Valiant Mothers tugging their kids around, maskless- there’s really no response to, I’m a rebel! Not wearing a mask!

So. I’ve been thinking back to early Spring, which seems now like another geologic age. The flowers were extraordinary this year, profusely blooming and extravagantly colored. It got too hot too fast and the garden didn’t do all it might have but we’re still getting tomatoes and chilis so that’s a good thing! The animals around here have pretty much made this property their homes now, deer, turkey, who knows who else, and it’s actually really fun walking around seeing all the places various and sundry bed down. The birds are laying low in all the smoke but in the evenings they cover our front garden, and the squadron of lizards darts around among them. In spite of the fact that we haven’t seen the sky for more than three days in the past several weeks, and in spite of the fact that everything seems bound to burn to a crisp, AND in spite of the fact that it feels as though it may never rain here again….the natural world supplies the energy and sustenance for the heart and soul required to keep going these days. The Spring was almost saying: Look! don’t despair! What’s real IS real, and what isn’t, isn’t. Fear not. We CAN be peaceful and happy, here and now. We CAN believe in the power of actual truth, real beauty, love and understanding. And, of course: believing leads to manifesting. Surrounded as we are by the wild world here, it’s not impossible to believe that real change is coming. The earth itself is drawing it forth. All we have to do is BE. BEING links you to what IS, distances you from the pushes and pulls of the individual concerns, the ego, the fears that keep everything shut down. As a friend says, this ain’t for the faint of heart. But it IS for the HEART. There’s still a big huge beating one all around us and we can help it live. Fear not!

Also, if you’re in the benighted U.S.? PLEASE VOTE.

As always, blessings and thanks! Take care of yourselves and each other, as well as the random squirrels.

deeeeeeeeep breath

It feels like a river of dread is what I’ve been propelled through and over for weeks now.  We’re all inner tubing down this thing, of course. For extra fun, here we’ve had: a few weeks of daily temperatures above 106f/42c; someone trying to drain my bank account with all due ensuing joy at trying to rectify the situation when you cannot talk to anyone because Covid, and it all has to be done online and…hahaha, internet service has been terrible due to heat; a large and scary fire at the end of our road requiring 7 fire trucks, 4 aircraft, 1 sheriff and 1 fire chief; bureaucratic snafus up the yang; some health issues- anyway, more than enough stuff to make my heart jump out of my chest, stand in front of me and say HEY.  I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS.  And then, of course, there’s the World.

While taking some, in fact, a LOT of, comfort in the fact that we’re all feeling the same things, my confidence that we will all work together to rise above the tide of crap and move forward is not at an all time high.  It was encouraging somehow, at a recent doctor appointment, when the Doctor said, people here are really strange.  Really jittery.  They don’t appreciate the beauty around them. It’s just weird.  No kidding, I said.  She’s from Texas which in a way makes this remark even more telling.  I mean: this is CALIFORNIA.  Then I remember people I used to think of as friends, also in California, who revealed that they essentially believe in Pizzagate .  Like the woman in the propane store who told me not to worry, enjoy myself, all this will be over at some point and was referring to the Rapture and not a lessening of…viral load.  The concept we hold on to here is that this IS a pretty strange place, and it can’t be this way everywhere.  Right?

It seems logical to me that COVID 19 will be dealt with and SOMEBODY must know some actual facts about it, which would not be apparent to the average person in this country.  The lack of, and mis-information is mind boggling, and there really is no good reason why this infectious disease is still so powerful except: we are at a point in this country where we may really not continue even in the incomplete democracy we thought we lived in, unless everybody puts their kool aid cup down quick and in a hurry.  When the inhabitant of the White House says he wants the post office to close because otherwise, to put it simply, he won’t win the election, which is all that matters? when said individual suggested drinking disinfectants since they might do something about the virus and why not since you can’t get a test anyway? when it is revealed that the same individual caused needed pandemic aid to be withheld from “blue” states because? they didn’t vote for him? and when we continue to be subjected to racist, sexist, idiotic statements presented as fact? it scares me.  Marge Simpson, for heaven’s sake, has to defend herself. Suddenly there’s “diplomacy” in the Middle East? perhaps it is more an alignment of where the weapons and money are going in truth. The functioning US government is being dismantled, justice is more than elusive, environmental and civil protections are being slashed without anyone even knowing until after the fact? The fact that Breonna Taylor’s killers have not even been charged or arrested or anything? The founding principle of separation of church and state seems to be more and more a blurred line.  Photographs of postal service vans being removed by huge trucks in Los Angeles and not for repairs have been viewed.  It just goes on and on, and nothing is done to even address the very real questions raised by what is being said, and seen, and done.  And the manifested concern seems to be whether or  not one can go to a bar or get a tattoo.  Or be abusive in public at will. Exercise, you know, their rights.  Because, as I have been told more than once, this is what patriotic rebels do.  Someone actually said to me recently, very politely, that I, and people like me, (as in, appears to be a Democrat) really should be dead- that’s the only way we’d be “good”. Not EVEN kidding.

So. Yeah.  I fell into a pretty deep hole, which I realized one day when a petition to stop baiting and killing of bears (misnomered as “hunting”) completely gravelled me and I could hardly proceed with signing it.   It did get signed, of course, and we proceed with things like making dog biscuits (healthier! and also Someone may be a TINY bit spoiled), mayonnaise (now MIA in local stores), fig jam, salsa with our chiles, and tending to the welfare of this little family.  Keeping us stocked with the best mineral water on earth, Topo Chico. Making remedies and remembering that the Thing is to stay with what you know to be true.  Nature and kinship is what is true.  Love is what is true, and even as I sink into the attitudinal morass at times, still love for all of us rises more strongly than ever.

The question is, in this moment, about co-existence.  Is it possible? I always thought it was even though experience showed me it was generally a rather dicey proposition.  In the past, my belief that we could all get along and understand each other and accept differences and share what we know seemed unshakeable.  Non-violence seemed the only real way.  Now I wonder.  There are people with whom I really don’t want to communicate at this point, in the sense of not wanting to accept their abuse or lack of truth.  Another part, which may actually be a good thing, is I am no longer willing to compromise, fudge, elide,  what is correct for what someone else wants or finds pleasing or is willing to threaten me to obtain. (Apparently, according to a friend from high school, I was “always an outspoken bastard”, so maybe it’s just an old attribute rearing a head.) Bravery, after all, is often about keeping going in spite of how afraid you are, being of assistance where you can, sticking with it against apparent odds…more than it is about force or power over another.  In that vein, onward! Blessings and thanks as always, and take care of yourselves as we all carry on.

At the Not-OK Corral

Dear o dear, Gentle Reader.  Things are Quite Gnarly right now and the cavalry does not appear to be anywhere in the vicinity.  I guess we are going to get to be our own cavalry this go round, and for the foreseeable future.

Naturally along with many others, I have been wondering just How we are all going to talk to each other about what IS and what to do and all the rest of it….the polarization is like being a walking pair of sunglasses at this point.  I found myself having the thought that it might not be possible at all to get through to some people, no way to talk to or reach them, and how can that be?? Not to mention how truly scary the overarching situation is, COVID-19 aside.

AS usual, Universe to the forefront.  Pondering this question ad…well, too far…I recently found myself actually dealing with it in person.  Admittedly it took me a minute to realize I was in the process of investigating something complex.  But! There I was, in the farm supply store, innocently minding my own business and getting food for the dog. (That part of it, at least, was a success. I got a different flavor this time, turkey and pumpkin and Somebody has been poncing around grinning ever since.) It took a moment to realize that not only was I the only person in a fairly full store wearing a mask, but that some of the other patrons, and employees, were standing at the cash registers, literally glaring at me.  You’re wearing a mask! someone said in a stern tone.  Yes, I said, I am. We don’t wear masks around here! I do, I said.  I was starting to be a bit not happy about this.  But I stood there with the dog food and treats, quietly.  WHY are you wearing a mask came from the glaring section.  Because, I said, it is the right thing to do.  It keeps us all from catching this virus which, despite what you might want to believe, IS real, IS around and by the way, we went from zero cases to over 100 in less than a month, in a somewhat underpopulated area to boot.  So it’s just common courtesy and common sense.  Basic hygeine and infectious disease prevention.  Just what  you’d do for your cows if they had something wrong with them.  The glarers, while having to admit the correctness of the words, stood a bit taller and glared even more.

Fortunately at that moment the man who works at this place, loves the Dog and is friendly to us, came in and came to my rescue.  The glarers scattered as he briskly told me how much his wife had loved the sourdough bread we brought him (well, it was the DOG’s idea, being his favorite thing and all, and he wanted to share it with a friend), and she wanted to know how I did it and what not.  I told him she could call me anytime, and once you get a good starter going it’s mostly about the flour.  A path cleared around me as he lifted the purchases up and took them to my car.  Given that this was the next day after I’d spent three hours getting a wheel fixed on the car, and found myself retreating to a far corner of the place since it was full and nobody was wearing a mask and there was a lot of loud conversation about “these rotten protesters”  “what kind of idiot wears a mask?” and the usual I’ll do whatever I want sort of thing, it is probably not all  that surprising that once I was safe in the vehicle, the shaking began.  (The fun folks at the car place even made the woman working the front desk burst into tears after they’d all trooped out, so it isn’t just Me.)

And, yes.  That kicked off a few days of bleak thinking.  There appeared to be no hope at all, from the perspective of the hole I was in.  It seemed like dialogue and moving forward was impossible and even though I know that under anger is pain,  I found no interest in myself in toddling one of these individuals along to a clear place in the woods. Then of course the realization dawned that, no, you don’t even have to go there.  Just embody what you know to be true, which of course is coming from the heart, coming from being grounded in the reality that nature shows you every second if you look.   Maybe I am getting the hang of this by now, never having lived in a place like this before  for this length of time.  Probably a good thing since it looks like this is the place, for a while.  Do no harm, and take no shit seems like a good model in the moment.  Set aside the loneliness and put observation in that space instead.  Also I remembered in a flash something that had happened a couple of weeks before, right after the Governor said everybody had to mask up period and there was A LOT of complaint, let’s just say.  Several errands, some of which had the testiness described above, and the last one, which was like a visit from an angel.  There is a panaderia in this town that the Partner really likes and I must say, their conchas and raspberry coconut things are extraordinary.  So, I go in and the young latin woman at the counter is sporting a beautiful mask, embroidered with flowers.  Mine is a terrific silk/wool number a friend of mine created in shimmering colors.  We looked at each other, pointed at each other’s masks, and said, que belleza!  Then, out of nowhere, the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams came on the radio and…we just danced with each other, twirling around the floor.  A moment of joy.

So THAT is how we do it.  One moment at a time, and it’s OK if the time outs in between have to be a little longer than usual.  There really is no room for  darkness in one’s soul now, and if the opening to the light must be done as gently as possible, especially given that we’re being hurtled pretty brutally toward an unknown target, that’s OK too.  The thing is to show up.  As always, blessings and thanks to all.