Archive for the ‘heavy weather’ Category

walking the line

I don’t know about you, Gentle Reader, but I am not really looking forward to the eclipses barrelling toward us.  Regardless of your metaphysical perspective, it seems to me lately that almost everyone feels pulled, toward what they don’t know, pushed, and they don’t like that much, and generally frizzled.  Eclipses are like the giant reset button in the sky being hit on a lot of levels and….I think we’re all kind of tired.  Anyway, I know I am.

Still.  I read something this morning, again in Patanjali, that made a lot of sense.  Once you can stop looking at time, clock and western world defined time I mean, as a Real Thing, and accept it for the construct it is that actually lives, truly,  in your watch, it’s possible to have a different approach to past and future.  With some discipline and effort, you can (really!) keep them from bleeding into the present, which means that you actually have one.  The now really is quite roomy when left to itself.

Another really groovy thing about it is that when you are IN the present, you’re not having opinions about the past, or hopes and fears about the future.  You’re too busy attending to the what IS.  The longer you can maintain this at any given juncture, the better the what IS gets and that can mean great ideas, a calm mind, all kinds of things.

Not to say that this is easy.  How often do you find yourself ruminating about some long past Episode or even more fruitlessly WORRYING ABOUT SOMETHING?  I can speak with some authority on this because, given the solitude we live in, there’s plenty of time to rehash those non-witty non-ripostes, and also to worry about the ever looming and expanding list of WHAT IF’S.  Something happened yesterday and it plunged me into a quite moody abyss.  However, I thought, really not liking this feeling state.  Let’s see…..and of course I realized that I had in the twinkling of a bird’s eye placed all kinds of disaster scenarios on this one more than likely non-event.  Even if the worst DID happen? What was I accomplishing except ruining what could have been reasonable moments??? leading up to??  And of course in this particular moment (as usual) there really was nothing to worry, despair, or be perturbed about.  I have to say I was rather proud of myself for the five minute meditation retreat I took which allowed me to get back on the horse.  (I did burst into tears a bit later whilst picking up dog doody- which somewhat shockingly reminded me of the army one Greek hero sowed with dragon’s teeth- in 100+ degree heat but, well, chalk that up to short childish outbursts.  Nothing a glass of Fortified orange juice can’t handle.)

Net net what I think this means is that it IS possible to get through a day with minimal or no blood loss, no matter what kind it is.  If you are in the now, you are thinking of what works in that space.  Not about what didn’t work in another space or what might happen if pigs started flying around your bedroom.  Given that pigs ARE flying around a lot of places they shouldn’t be, it may mean that one’s thoughts go to how the droppings might be productively used.  Can a window be opened so they can fly out? sort of thing.  Maybe they’ll all fall asleep? How can this actually work overall?  Of course this means that you have taken yourself out of the position of Center of Everything and Most Important, and joined the rest of the universe in its giant circle dance.  Which also means that, since you’re dancing, aggression and frustration are sitting this one out. Again and again the message seems to be pay attention to what you are seeing and feeling NOW, not to the blunt instruments of yesterday’s “thinking”.

So I think there’s hope, giant reset button and all.  Have a good week, blessings and thanks!!

the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

spring healing

It’s pouring again today, the sky is lowering, and the streams are rising.  But Spring is in the air, nonetheless.  The evening air has a green tinge, and the sky at sunset is teal rather than the usual deep blue- when the morning glory colored blue birds swoop in for their evening bug repast it is enough to make the very cones in your eyes vibrate.  The Dog was out doing his business the other night and the air was so spectacularly fragrant it was like a dream.  Turns out the scent is from the surrounding manzanita blossoms, which makes sense to me actually.  I mean, when you walk by the trees the smell isn’t particularly noticeable.  But at night the leaves almost glow in the dark, and as a remedy the plant brings thing to light and resolution.  It also, as a tea, is a specific for poison oak, applied topically.

So.  In this period of is it recuperation or what? it has been sustaining to realize that some things are still North Stars.  Tomatoes, for example.  The other day when one too many things had gone sideways in less than twenty minutes (short version: haybales, now wet and leaden, topple off side of yurt.  In attending to that, wall gets tapped and the one “cupboard” we have, in the “bathroom”, toppled, broke, and hurtled objects all over the place.  A festive yurt filling sticky collage of antihistamines, hairpins, emu oil, mysterious jars and shampoo bottles, and god knows what else…..) I was grinding my fingers and gnashing my teeth when suddenly the clear image of a tomato floated through my mind.  I felt the heat in the garden, felt the dirt in my hands, and smelled the plants.  Saved, in essence, by a tomato.  And the garden.  Which of course means flowers, which mean remedies and that led me back to the manzanita.  Which made me think…..

About Spring.  And about how life proceeds in the swoops and gyres and cycles, carrying us along even when we aren’t exactly attending to it all (by which I mean we- *I*- may be – have been- hiding in bed or something like that).  There is a bigger pattern to things and perhaps the real deal of it is to simply pay attention to the part of it you can actually see at any given point in time.  The familiarity of how a season smells, how the light is.  How the way you feel interacts with what you see and think about it all.  Then, one has to separate that awareness out from the pressure to do/get/go/get/consume/go/do….blahblah ad infinite nauseam.   This in turn allowed me to reflect when something happened that might, at another time, have thrown me off totally.

All in all, it’s hard to make a living doing what I “do”.  Fortunately on some level I don’t have to make a total living doing this but I do need to make a part.  So that means that I, above and beyond caring about the people I work with and wanting them to be helped and well served by what I do, also need that to happen from a purely practical point of view.  It’s taken me some time to even be really comfortable with charging people for my services because I feel strongly that such work should be given freely, and also so much of it depends upon the recipient’s state of mind.  Thus, it is unquantifiable on some level, this business of assisting people with their physical projects, notwithstanding what the AMA might want you to believe. Recently someone came to me with a fairly serious pain project.  I “looked” at it and felt that while surgery wasn’t indicated, the healing trajectory was going to be long.  There was also a nagging emotion present which I wasn’t able to put my finger on, and it was of a nature that seemed as though it might be a stumbling block of sorts,  but in any event.  I made a remedy and it didn’t have the desired effect.  Further testing and doctor visits actually did confirm my “diagnosis” but since my work didn’t “fix” the situation, it was deemed more or less a failure.  Never a good thing when you’re “in business”. Or, period.

In the past, I would have been upset by this and felt that I was a failure, completely.  Now I realize that in fact, nothing works all the time and the paradigm of “fixing things” is in and of itself a sort of, slightly heroic, fiction.  Nothing works on everyone.  Things can work at different times. Even though there are patterns, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.  We all really heal ourselves in the final analysis- any practitioner is assisting in that, shedding light and providing oomph where needed. Healing can take time, takes patience and energy, and has a somewhat unpredictable quality- except that it DOES happen.  But I knew, for sure, that I had done the very best I could.  Time will tell, as it usually does.  The other thing is that I hadn’t done any HARM.  So it gave me, in the end, a relatively positive feeling after all. I mean, I wasn’t HAPPY about it because I would have preferred this person not suffer. And it was not, of course, like when someone says, OMG you fixed my migraines! But more like: You’re part of this whole process, this whole thing, and the only thing you can really do is be as focused, present, honest and attentive as you possibly can be.  You keep attending to small things, and eventually the miracle is revealed to you- often having been there all along.  This seems to me somehow like gardening (which everything does somehow), and tomatoes, and flowers- like in one of Rilke’s poems, the hands that do more than you imagined they could, with flowers.  It isn’t always perfect or what you may have “imagined”.  But it is what it is.  And there is the beauty of it.  More of IT, less of oneself.

Meanwhile, in this seeming decade of pancake making around here, we recently made Adai, which I can heartily recommend.  Soak lentils and long grain rice for two hours with cumin seeds and red chilis.  Blend with more water, add more spices (turmeric, cumin, I added Amchoor powder too, and some other things…oh! fennel seeds! and pepper probably as well, some salt) stir in chopped onions and cilantro, spread in a heated pan as you would a crepe, fry and eat.  Really sensational.  Excellent with North Indian style cauliflower.  I take heart from this, especially since today’s project of infused honey is going to be a real barnburner due to a massive brain outage at the crucial early stages.  Perhaps this week’s theme is, you can’t win them all but….how much does that really matter?  Also there will be more Gratuitous Dog Photos soon- he’s HUGE now and the Valentine’s Day visit to his girlfriends at the vet’s was quite the occasion.  Other people were in there growling, why does HE get the treats? then saying: Oh.  Because he’s the cutest dog on earth, is why.  You’ll see.

Blessings and thanks, as always!

 

 

where is there?

Given that there are actual geographic locations around here called things like “devil’s portal” and “devil’s parade ground”, and knowing as we do now that the Truth is pretty much always right in front of you? It begins to stand to reason that the place is so often so much like Hell itself.  Fire, flood, huge winds….all manner of obstacles and snares for both the wary and the unconscious.

Anyway.  People up here are sitting with bated breath, wondering about snow melt and more rain and what’s going to happen next. Are we going to drown? Just a few months ago we were sitting with metaphoric wet cloths over our noses wondering just how close the flaming fires were going to get.  Are we going to be burnt at the barn? I take  huge comfort when I drive past pastures dotted with sheep, goats, cows, horses, working dogs….all so calm, so dignified, so eternal and so….emblematic of a Bigger Reality.  When things like this  happen it is terrifying to think of them all, not to mention the wild life- the deer, big cats, foxes, bears, eagles and bluebirds.

I was quite struck this morning when I actually heard a county supervisor say that CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and should be taken into account in water and other land management.  It didn’t go so far as to give me actual hope, Gentle Reader, but it did make me think that perhaps we are getting close to the end of the beginning.  Maybe? Attention will be paid to what IS instead of what the power hierarchy throws down and says is “real”.

In the midst of all this I finally understood just what has been happening in our own little household.  It struck me that, in fact, both the Partner and I have been struggling through simultaneous PTSD  which has not been a good thing at all, what with everything that’s gone on so far this splendid year.  PTSD is not a fun thing and it doesn’t ever really go away completely.  It is something you have to manage.  You cannot always “see” it coming, and it takes a long time to get to the point where you can at least recognize it before the hole you’re in goes all the way to the end of the earth.  Anyway.  It was some comfort to realize that in fact all the spiky times of late have been because we were both reacting to our individual, lurching forward, mental godzilla heads.  Another review of contributing issues ensued, and progress has been made.  So the good news is, it can be done.  You can survive these things and move forward stronger.  You have to be willing to sit with some pain and sorrow to get to this point but I can say one does come out the better for it, somehow.  Certainly it intensifies compassion.

Which brought me to the next realization.  Kathryn Shulz wrote a wonderful piece in the February 13-20 New Yorker, called “Losing Streak”.  It’s about grief, essentially.  One issue she discusses is the “thing” of forgetting and misplacing things.  So.  When the Partner said, this morning, upon being presented with coffee with whipped cream on top (left over from butterscotch pudding- I’m not completely insane yet and we had a whole bowlful, so….) that he had “already forgotten” about the whipped cream, the article hit me with a bang.   Ever since that damned election, we’ve been immersed in thick, deep grief.  It’s hard to remember things or get up the energy to pursue anything.

So much has been shunted out of view and so much has been trampled already that it is breathtaking.  We have watched, essentially, our country die. Not to say it was in perfect health before, but now? Circling the drain at an ever increasing speed. It is amazing that people think you can go backward in time when it is so clear that you really cannot.  To try and go back to the beginnings of this country, reinforce the land theft and racism that built it, glorify the capitalist impulse above all else, and behave as though everything is working just fine? Not a workable plan.  There is an ever larger group of people who are like the “boil” they found on the “emergency spillway” in Oroville last night.  In essence, a place where water and things sink through and down and then get pushed back against the wall of the dam,  to roar up and move forward again, crushing everything  in their path.  There are too many people pushed to the brink on every level and sooner or later it’s going to blow.  The blindness it takes to condone this is breathtaking.  And frightening.

So.  What this feels like is this.  We’ve been through a long, long period of combat, lost everything just about- at least that’s US.  We come “home” and find no home.  It looks very much like having to go back to war again, but we KNOW that won’t work.  Also, we know we’re not up to it.  Another way must be found and it surely exists.  Pretending LPV doesn’t exist won’t work (believe me, I’ve tried) but perhaps out thinking- and out-FEELING-  all that (which shouldn’t be that difficult) can be done. A different perspective, view, line of sight.  And it must be done.  It feels, then, maybe just maybe, that hope has been restored even though we’re still in tears.  We will carry on removing Godzilla heads, in any case.  The Dog is a marvelous assistant in this endeavor- I’m starting to think that if I’d been accompanied by a Dog earlier in my life? Things might be quite different.  Just another reminder, if one were needed: LOVE, dear friends.  Always the way.  Darkness never lasts, and love never stops.

Blessings and thanks!

anatomy of meltdown averted

Ye GODS and effing little fishes, Gentle Reader.  Once again we see that there are even more previously undiscovered circles of Hell than previously supposed.  However, even in Hell you can keep your cool.  At least a bit.

So.  We had a bangup start to the year.  The person we rent space, water, and power from, Madame Entropy hereinafter referred to as MmE, caused just a bit of a snarlup right from the jump.  Maintenance not being a strong suit, somehow “her” power pole (as designated by the power company who puts poles out here but then makes landowners put their “own” poles up for boxes and whatnot) actually….just….disintegrated.  Yes there was snow.  And then torrential rain.  And high winds.  And 29 degree weather.  But the power pole just collapsed before all that because it was, essentially rotten.  AS it has been since we arrived here.

So, OK.  While it was in fact something of a miracle that it a) got fixed at all and b) within a ten day period? Seven to be precise? We had no power, no water, no phone, no nothing for all that time.  No place to go. No chainsaw for wood, either.  Twenty nine degrees, people.  Forty mile an hour winds.  I won’t bore you with the details of All the Excuses I Heard etc., but net net? I’m down about $700 clackeroos.  Which I didn’t actually have to begin with but bartered a stretch out for a portion thereof thanks to the good will of a friend.  The Subaru is probably going to smell like gasoline for several months from all the trips back and forth to fill the portable gascan to fill the gas guzzling generator we THANK GOD were able to use- for a price, yes, but that does not lessen my total gratitude. Not to mention the gas the CAR used because of course the creek was at flood stage and we had to Go the Long Way.  I found myself slogging through what was eventually about half a mile more than once  what with all the trips to and fro with 10 gallon buckets of horse trough water so we could flush the toilet.  After it essentially overflowed. (Snow melt and rain, ya know.  Filled septic up briefly.) I got a bit of a charley horse from yanking my mud caked boots off ten times a day so as not to have the yurt be an impersonation of a barnyard. We have not yet reached agreement on the central current issue which is that since I had to do amazing things to get through this, and the causal responsibility is squarely on certain shoulders, there will be no money forthcoming in that direction until I’m out from under the $700.  Which, technically, is the law.  However this intelligence has been greeted with dour dismay.   Not a surprise but still.  One more Thing.

A few other gruesome events transpired during this festive period and I admit that I came within millimeters of just….giving up.  Enough already.  I felt like I’d been shot but hadn’t yet fallen down.  Am I dead yet? NO????? WHY THFUCKNOT?????AAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! sort of thing.  But then.

I thought about the larger reality.  Even when this morning, the Dog tore off down the “driveway” seemingly never to return? I allowed myself a brief strangled cry and then thought, the only way out is through.  And the only way through is Love.  So I beamed LOVE toward his little doggy brain, trudged into the underbrush, and eventually all was restored to its current dull roar.  He’s also managed to nearly cut his paw off which adds a level of zing to things since a visit to the Vet is not a possibility at present.  However, I suspect the Partner was a mummy wrapper in Egypt because he has battlefield level wound management skills with bandages.  So, so far so good.  More or less.

Love doesn’t mean letting people crap all over you, and it doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t happening when they are, but it does mean that you step out of the reactive radius of the ego into the slightly more spacious area of, in progression, WTF? and REALLY? NOW? and, actually beauty still exists after all! on to We can, in fact, do this.  People say, especially now, all sorts of things about the nature of things, and the nature of thinking, and the nature of money and all the rest of it. It does look, to all intents and purposes, as though we are on the express ride to hellish crappola.  Starting Friday.  But bottom line? You can only BE where you ARE, and on some level that is timeless, even though time flies while you’re there.  The thing about time flying is, of course, it’s a bit of a magic carpet if you allow it and before you know it, or at least before too many more moons have risen and set, you are BEing somewhere else than you were, even if in temporal space and time it is the “same” place.   For me this current somewhere else is largely constituted by its being something completely different, in every sense, from anything I ever thought I “knew”.  Nothing, literally, is as it was. I am truly not stepping in the same river.  It has become more imperative to explore and observe than ever.  Given my energy levels as a person, I find it better to devote the energy I do have to this exploration rather than staying in the utter despair and why?why?why?.  The big thing I noticed in all this, too, was: being nice and kind really DOES make a huge difference wherever it occurs.  So. Be nice.  Be kind.  It works.  It helps your fellow creatures.  And really, staying in internal muck just keeps you begrimed.  Breathing is the first step out.  Sometimes staying at least a tiny bit sane is the best you can do.  And even that radiates out for the good no matter how dire things are or seem to be.

We found ourselves in this, actually entire, situation through a confluence of things, which make more sense to me now than they used to.  I no longer blame myself for not fitting in, not subscribing to the prevailing belief systems, for allowing myself to believe all who told me I was basically nuts due to the results of items one and two, even though that has led me to HERE.  In many ways I really like it HERE, and wouldn’t go back even if it were possible which it most def is not. I mean, seriously. NOBODY regular can afford to live where we used to eke out our lives. The burndown of the Ghost Ship is just one example of that. But what I think I learned this trip down the rabbit hole is that you cannot continually accept other people’s ICK.  They aren’t going to be good and nice, and especially honest, just because you are or because you want them to be.  It is important to have clarity at all times and not pretend, and express that with kindness. As in, no thank you, that particular load of crap is not landing on me.  I’m sorry but you get to keep it, dear. That’s the next project anyway, and I hope it doesn’t turn into yet another runway to ?????!!#@@#!.  Still, even if it does? This time I think I can cope, at least for a bit longer.  I hope, eventually, to have snow pictures, too.

Blessings and thanks!