Archive for the ‘House in the Country’ Category

forty days, thirty nine nights

And of course it FEELS like all eternity has passed, but when I heard that the Carr fire had started 39 days ago, on the 40th day, I thought, well.  JEESH.  I looked up the significance of the number 40, and found that it was, in the past, considered to be equivalent to Umpteen.  So there you are.

The wind shifted so we are once again enveloped in smoke.  Yesterday we saw blue sky, clouds, the mountains for crying out loud, and stars.  It was like a dream.  Today we are back to what has become typical:  oppressively hot, airless and turgid daily reality.  It is quite fatiguing, probably because of the low oxygen presence, but this has not kept us from the Quotidian Beast Slaying and, of course, cooking.

On the Beast Slaying? Honestly.  Part the first was getting our trash removed.  We have to take it to the dump ourselves, of course, and after a certain amount of time it’s a toss up as to whether it is nobler to go to the dump every month or just get a container once a year.  We don’t actually have that much trash, which I comfort myself with in times of demoralization.  Anyway, getting the trash picked up turned out to be like a whole season of Jerry Springer.  It strikes me as odd that the harder it is to find a job and make money? The more reluctant the people are who do have jobs to do them.  The first person I called to do this said, well, MY time is REALLY VALUABLE.  So I’d like you to come along with me to help.  And pay $30 an hour for the privilege of same.  We did not take that option.  Finally I found a delightful young man who, although apparently incapable of following directions, did finally arrive on scene and perform the requested work.  SUCCESS.  I still don’t know what part of: it’s the next driveway after the one with the address on a horse pen, is mysterious, but it doesn’t seem to be something anyone can figure out so once again we found ourselves running down the driveway with flailing arms.  Still, it got done.  Beast the second was even more formidable and took yet another week to resolve.

It turns out that having a post office box is tantamount to having DANGEROUS NE’ER DO WELL tattooed on your forehead.  A company, who shall remain nameless, who I use in connection with my website sales, decided that it had to have Proof of my Physical Address.  They froze my account pending establishing a location for me where? who knows, men in black will race up and kick the door down any time now.  Since I cannot get mail here, I do not use this address for anything, so I don’t have anything with it appearing, like utility bills (which I don’t have since we’re off the grid, another concept that is seemingly unfathomable) or, even funnier, brokerage accounts, which were what this company asked for.  We went back and forth, I sending things, them rejecting them, until finally I sent a copy of my State issued Resale License, since it does have this address.  I’d asked if this would be acceptable and what non responsive item on the drop down menu should be used to describe said page.  So you may be able to imagine my state of mind when I once again called the company, got someone in an archipelago somewhere, which someone said, Oh, No.  WE CAN’T ACCEPT THIS ONE BECAUSE IT ISN’T AN EIGHT AND A HALF BY ELEVEN PAGE.  I came completely unglued.  There was loss of temper.  There was even a  bit of what might be called yelling, and the Dog retreated to his bed as he does when kafuffle rears its ugly head.  Somehow after I once again demanded, and finally got, a “supervisor”, public records were checked and whaddaya know, they “granted my case”.  Since everyone I told this story to said, oh, that company doesn’t do that, that never happens to ME, and so on, I was reasonably proud of myself for not succumbing to total paranoia and thinking this was Personal.  No sirree bob.  Just business.  It also made me think about how the fact of it is that I tend to hide in general and be very private in areas where I feel things are nobody’s business.  Like, where I live I guess.  And  no, you don’t get my phone number if I sign your petition, either.  So things like this are to be expected, even if they are beyond the beyond over the top ridiculous. One person said to me in the course of all this that they “required these informations” because of, wait for it! The Patriot Act.  It’s the government, they said.

So there was plenty to think about as I made grape juice in the food mill, fig jam, fig pizza, many OTHER pizzas, pesto, basil puree, and the continuing zillion zucchini things, along with every imaginable kind of cucumber salad and salads made out of melon balls and wontons stuffed with herbs and vegetables.  Every year something goes bonkers in the garden, and this year in spite of the ghastly conditions we have had cucumbers coming out our ears (41 in the kitchen right this minute).  The fig tree has been prolific and the basil has been mind boggling.  The melons are coming in now too. We expect tomatoes late again since it is just now not 115 every day so maybe flowers can set and….who knows.  Anyway it really is true that once you grow your own, nothing else is as good so all of us take heart from the garden.  The other day I even saw several swiss chard seedlings around the pot where we’d had the Perennial Chard Installation for the past three years.  Happy!

So as I pondered the ever more dismal happenings in the world overall (and by the way? the LPV or loser of the popular vote will now be herein referred to as BP, or, bloviating pustule) and wondered what the world would be like without Aretha, I was able to keep in the forefront of things the fact that yes, it does get grotesque periodically.  But there is still Real Life, and the beauty and grace and grandeur of that is what one must attend to if one wishes to stay upright and civil.  Given that such attendance includes everything from cleaning the toilet to watching the Dog reduce customers in the farm store to giggling joyful individuals moving blindly forward for a kiss from his Divine Doggy Snout, there’s no need to panic unnecessarily about where to place one’s attention- unless of course you’re navigating a moving vehicle.  It’s just all present, and my concern often is that so many are not partaking of the feast right in front of them.  Listening and observing seem to be overlooked skills more often than not.  Words, for heaven’s sake, don’t mean what you think they do, and whole concepts, like saeculum, are no longer to be found.  (Saeculum is an old measurement of time referring to the time period between and event and the death of the last person who experienced it.  Food for thought there.) And. Yes indeed, it is often through one’s tears that this partaking occurs, but the disengagement from things like conversation, cooking one’s own food, paying attention to what’s in that food, paying attention to the beings around you, watching where you’re going sort of thing, seems to be increasing exponentially.  I firmly believe that if everyone smoked weed and had a dog? It’d be a lot nicer world.  The same goes for making pizza dough.  There is a LOT of bang for your buck with pizza dough after all: pizza, calzone, and focaccia, just for starters.  Also, just simply being Present makes things smoother, oddly (or not).  It’s not necessary to fill the world up with stuff, and it turns out to be a lot more fun to just pay attention and see what happens.  Even when what happens is Not What You Wanted At All, things are always moving and nothing lasts forever in one condition.  Not to mention the always available opportunity to learn from your mistakes.  Back to it, for now, with renewed praying for..er…Self Control When Things Get Dicey.

Blessings and thanks!!!!!!

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don’t think it hasn’t been fun

how-it-is.jpg  This cartoon from The New Yorker pretty much says it all.  And yes, we HAVE been eating olives.

What with the over 110f temperatures every day for a long time, the state of the world and all, everyone’s been a bit Tense.  Barky, if you will.  So this past week kind of put it all over the top, completely, seeing as how we currently find ourselves a bit closer than we’d ever want to be to the south end of an 89,000 acre fire, complete with firenados and total murk as far as air goes.  The wind here is always like something out of some movie where you’d say, Oh, that’s not realistic!!! Wind doesn’t do THAT! so when there are flying sparks involved and the wind does THAT? It creates something very close indeed to apocalypse in spots.  This afternoon is the first time in days that there has been anything even hinting at blue sky and it’s mostly in my imagination, probably.  Anyway the other night we watched the City of Redding burn from our front door- the flames reflecting off the huge clouds of smoke.  The fire guys got on it quickly and the red sky dimmed in an hour or so but I very much hope not to see anything like that again.  It’s all kind of a stress blur, but yesterday it looked very likely that we would have to evacuate.  In this situation, what that actually means is you leave and know there will be nothing when you return.  So, what THAT actually means is you have to get over your sense of your entire body being ripped open, think it through and realistically assemble what can be taken- if you have, as we did, the…uhm, luxury…of time.

Seeing as how I have hundreds of books and bottles of oils and tinctures and essences and what not this was not the most fun I’ve ever had.  But, I was proud of myself because I actually was able to put things together in a pile by the door.  Leaving, of course, 99.9% in place.  A Kitchenaid mixer can be replaced.  An out of print copy of the only existing authoritative book about Yoruba herbology probably cannot, but there it is.  In the end, at least for yesterday and today, the fire line held and we are still here.  For which I am truly thankful.  While we’re not anywhere near the end of this, unless the wind does something totally infernal, even for it around here, we will probably be OK.

So once again I marvel at the workings of the universe and all its mysteries, and once again realize that you do create your reality with your thoughts.  No matter how awful the scene in front of you appears to be, it is always shaped by how you are reacting or responding to it.  I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who live with smoke and destruction all the time, like in Syria.  And what that kind of stress does to people- the grocery store yesterday was enough to make a person reach for Xanax, after a mere week of this disaster.  But also? There are the unimaginably angelic individuals, like the farrier who was helping people move their animals to safety just Because.  And of course, the firefighters.  I feel as though I have a lifetime debt to them- it’s going to be interesting to figure out how to get that in balance- aside of course from the daily work of kindness to those one encounters.  These people go directly into Hell and save places and people they don’t know, with everything on the line.  Just Because.   So in the end, and despite certain other things that transpired that sent me directly to the cocktail olives, I feel for the first time in a long time, a certain sort of hope…or maybe it isn’t hope. Maybe it is the sense of the Light that is always there, no matter how dark it appears to be.  There is a peace in that, and a peace in knowing that there always IS light, and it is us and we are it.  And, eventually the ash will stop falling, we’ll reorganize and move along.  All of us.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!!!!

 

rising and falling and rising

Well, yes, it’s been Quite Some Time since I’ve been here Gentle Reader.  AS always, don’t think it hasn’t been fun.

Aside from the cursor on my laptop deciding to continuously pretend it’s actually a member of Cirque du Soleil and toss things around the big screen wildly and erratically and immovably, the main reason was that in a crescendo of awfulness, my hands, wrists and elbows all decided to shriek in unison for about six weeks.  Years of overdoing turned into the tendonitis/bursitis bout from a previously unknown circle of you know Where.  In short, I couldn’t do a damn thing.  I can report that CBD oil (I made a mix with a wood essence) does help with this, as does the TENS thingy you can get at a large pharmacy.  And doing nothing- this would of course be more fun if one didn’t keep thinking about What Has To Be Done.  Still, I managed to restrain myself and healing actually has happened.  But it took a long, long time.  With NO LIFTING, or typing, of any sort.

Other things demanded attention, of course.  Like someone hacking my bank account and subscribing me to cable TV in sub-Saharan Africa.  So not too long after the ongoing no phone- no internet- snafu return of equipment- yadda yadda, we then had no bank and no money for a while.  Then I got to laboriously change all my payment methods to the new account, right? and then? find that none of them had gone through and things STILL bounced.  But this is just “normal life” now, and one can give oneself a hearty and careful handshake for navigating it without undue injury to self or others.   And, fortunately, it so happens that tequila has been on sale lately.

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(image courtesy of the always wonderful TERRIERMAN’S DAILY DOSE)

SO.  Part of what went on also was a kind of shift.  Not just because pain does something to a person. But.  This picture really spoke to me, and after I stopped laughing it made me think more deeply about how our lives get structured. Because, really, rabbits do not need Freud.  And too much Freud can really screw a rabbit up royally.  Especially if the rabbit isn’t clear about exactly everything having hopped  briskly up to now, along with not being altogether clear about just how big that inner brain/library/dance hall is and how in going from one end of it to the other things can be lost and found…at the same time.  What shopping list?, sort of.  Which all added up to a much bigger sense of the continuum of things and a stronger sense than before that if…..really, IF….we can all shift our thinking just a bit about the things that bedevil us, those things shift and when that happens it does have a sort of boat lifting effect.  Mysteriously, but there it is.  Anyway it’s an idea.  And so far, all the horrible things people were going through around me have gone their course and we’re all still here.  In terms of the larger picture? Hard to say but surely goodness and mercy triumph ultimately- at long last?

In other parts of the empire, our seeds for the garden are sprouting very well indeed.  Melons! tomatoes! a cucumber! Lettuces! We got a lentil plant! (Photo below of one of our recent nursery expotitions) Raspberries and rhubarb! Figuring out where to put it all has been interesting and after all my laborious charting this season? The Partner has been repotting, hardening off, and generally beavering away….and moving things so I have no idea what they are once again.  Then there’s which things can be by fennel, and which can’t.  drivingoses The roses have outdone themselves, too- there are over 100 blooms on the big pink one in front, picture I hope to follow.

Meanwhile:

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So perhaps what it amounts to at this point is: we’re enjoying the chaos a bit more than before.  It’s a start.

Blessings and thanks!!!

the never ending reveal

The Partner just showed me a piece of wood he’d brought in for the woodstove.  The tree it was from, which had fallen, looked to be from the rings about as old as we are.  Sobering thought in a way but also just totally amazing and also,  a kind of proof of interconnectedness and the flow between all things.  I don’t know, maybe it was watching the young turkey mosey on up the driveway last night with a hummingbird escort, or maybe it’s the beauty of our Very Short Spring, but everything seems flooded with a kind of light and beauty, even in the most austere spots.

For example, on a recent evening it turned out we’d both, as kids, seen the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame at about the same ages, and both recognized, with a start, Self in the Hunchback.  We’d both been dragging virtual hunch backs around with our respective Histories, and the memories of walking down hallways in school and people leaving a few feet of space between them and us, as though there were a contagion of some sort we’d been exposed to and they wanted no part of, were the same for both of us. I was quite frankly shocked.  YOU? I said? Handsome and kind YOU?  Well, he said. Yes.  And YOU?

It really made me think about what we go through as humans, and how some of it is so hard that your possibilities can be shrunken, in your own estimation, to the size of a grain of rice.  How much effort must go in to stepping around that obstacle, that possibility, and how much further effort into not carrying that sense of alienation along with one for the duration.  How all those hardened faces you see in life, all the issues and ailments arising therefrom, the narcissists and the shooters….all of it is about that beginning salvo of you are not OK.

So, ok, fast forward through the wending around all that.  I recently re-read THE DIVINING HEART, by Patricia and Richard Wright  (a companion book to THE DIVINING MIND, by T. Edward Ross and Richard Wright).  Both of these books came to me when I was first learning how to dowse, which perhaps not coincidentally is Another One of Those Things I don’t talk to most people about lest they be sure I am a nut.  Dowsing, popularly thought of as what some strange individual does with a forked stick, announcing in a creaky voice where you should dig your well, or where your car keys are, is actually a way of focusing your mind and all the energies therein on investigating the Universe.  Theta brain waves floating out from you with a question, coming back with an answer.  The question, of course, is most important, and one of the many great things about dowsing is that you actually learn how to formulate and ask proper questions.  It changes the way you communicate across the board because superfluities such as One’s Very Important Story are not part of the equation, nor is any sort of brow beating or Proof of Currently Existing Concept to the Exclusion of All Else.  In other words, it is a kind of ego-free way to learn.  Also, you find your car keys a LOT sooner.

Anyway in rereading this book I came across a part about the power of focussed intention on healing, which is sometimes referred to as prayer.  TCM refers to this, in the preparation of medicine, as Bao Zhi, which is simply (or over simply maybe?) the power of the practitioner’s awareness and loving kindness being passed in to the preparation.  Prayer has many connotations, I suppose, especially now, but I think of it as what another teacher called it: Unencumbered communication with Creator.  And, since I agree with the Buddha that all beings want to be happy, what I understand this as in a healing framework is the practitioner smoothing, so to speak, the electric and magnetic and emotional waves of another individual, with clarity and love and no preconceptions of what anything will look like, so that person can themselves reach into their own still point of this communication.  That is where healing happens and this, I believe, is HOW it happens.  We always heal ourselves, if we are willing, but we often need help from another in holding, so to speak, the space where it all happens minus fear and expectation, and with the provision of whatever other elements may be most appropriate.

SO.  The other day someone suggested I write up a sales flyer for a short weekend fair about my “stuff”, being careful not to step on the toes of another person in the situation who works with essential oils in a fairly traditional way, which is to say, eucalyptus is good for colds and muscle aches, lavender is calming (in small amounts), etc., i.e. the commonly known and already conceived “knowledge” about these substances. I realized that the situation was not appropriate anyway, and I certainly didn’t want any fur raised anywhere, but beyond that it came to me that I had absolutely no idea about how to simply describe what I do, since it is not “that”.  Because in a way it “sounds” crazy and this, Gentle Reader, is where the whole Hunchback Quasimodo thing comes in.

What I realized, the moral of this story thank you Bob Dylan, is that in fact one SHOULD never be where one does not belong, and if you can’t explain something simply without pretense and inhalation it’s perfectly fine to smile, say no thank you, and carry on.  People can clear a space around you or come calling, it’s their choice.  The distractions of current cultural imperatives, money, conformity, appearances- are just that.  Distractions from the work at hand, which is to do the best one can in any given situation, whether it involves wide open solitary spaces or hands on someone’s forehead when they’ve just tripped and fallen and are bleeding in front of their propane tanks.  I’m not a religious person, do not denominate myself, oppose patriarchy in its many guises….but I’m coming to see that quite often doing the best one can involves the prayer, the open question to the skies which takes into account what is already known and elicits what is not, with a humble and open heart.

Blessings and thanks, as always.

the Dog has a bilious attack

Oh, Gentle Reader.  It would be, really, impossible to describe just how much fun we’ve been having of late.  A friend accused me of being a “fun hog” after hearing the most recent happenings.

Anyway, on Monday, the first morning I’ve felt even remotely OK for  weeks and weeks, before I had coffee, the Dog, who’d had a Big Day the day before at the farm supply where we buy his food and he has, essentially, a fan club whose members stuff him with treats and hugs, barfed all over his spot.  This included his just eaten breakfast and treats.  I  realized at once that he’d a) overindulged and b) been affected by the bone crushing level of stress around here.  This caused me to remember a song, whose artist I don’t remember, the lyrics of which are in part: “I smoke two joints in the morning/I smoke two joints at night…” This actually made me laugh because when I used to hear that song, I didn’t realize the truth of it, which is that cannabis is a powerful aid in dealing with intrusions, both unwanted mental ones and the more rude, intentional ones performed by humans.  Feeling thus bucked up at the realization that I’d actually made it through several more Scylla and Charybdis episodes with a bit of such aid (the Dog gets flower essences for same),  I further rejoiced at the finding that there IS a use for AARP magazines.  They are excellent at picking up dog barf.

But and so.  We had no internet or phone service for around two weeks.  This is special on so many levels but I maintained a sense of pride at not having screamed at anyone even once, over the three hours on the phone this caused (including the part at the neighbor’s where one person started shooting his .45 at rocks about six feet from me while I was talking to a young man in the  Philippines who promptly freaked out- and I probably did not exactly help by saying, Oh, it’s nothing, just a drug dealer shooting himself in the foot) explaining that no, I can’t be in front of my laptop now because I am 20 miles away from it, where I have phone service.  But when I WAS in front of the laptop this is the diagnostic code I got.  What part of off the grid don’t you get? especially given that NOBODY has Hughesnet unless they have absolutely no other recourse.  Well, my favorite guy said, I’m here to help!!!! Which he did by saying we’d agreed that I’d take a $10/month credit on my bill over three months to make up for the extra money it cost in gas, and all the joys of having an internet business with no internet and missing calls and orders.  Not to mention that I’d paid for service I did not get.

So in the course of one day, I got to:

a) begin wrestling Hughesnet to the ground about the non agreement with absurd offer and get a proper credit for non-service,

b) wrestle with my health insurance about how they sent me a request for information to avoid cancellation which I got the day before it was due back to them, so therefore it would not be “on time”, and

c) continue working on the Larger Issue which I can’t write about here since Actual People Are Involved, but which borders on being life and death.  The person I’m dealing with, in the middle of yelling at me, said, oh, you are just so ENTITLED.  At which point I started laughing, calmly restated my position (which happens to be the only legal one in the picture on some level) retreated to Yurt Central, and had cocktails.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I hope progress has been made on this front, is all I can say.

In the meantime, as usual to calm my jagged nerves, I cooked.  Focaccia, squash lasagne, butterscotch pudding, and at the same time as my friend in Chile did, baklava.  Plus of course tacos, Thai style coconut fish curry, and a million wonderful ways with beans.  Also, my planted peach pit sapling bloomed after we had a week of 75+ degree weather.  Then we had several hard freezes, of course, but the tree is FINE.  I am thrilled.  I mean: PEACHES. !!!!!!!!!

And of course as usual I learned alot.  How dumb was I, is a frequent question these days, but…..I learned unequivocally that whatever you call it, faith is both indispensable and the lever with which you can move..well, whatever it is.  After four months of living in the pit of my stomach I was shown that good decisions do not emanate from that region.  You just gotta move up toward the heart.  You have no duty to accept abuse but must remember we’re all here together.  Solutions can be found, but at least one person in the room has to be coming from some spot other than the Democratic Republic of Ego.

There’s also a good bit of observing and letting go.  In the midst of all this, more of the typically upsetting news I get from my (in fact only one person) family of origin arrived.  Realizing that freak outs of any sort are strictly prohibited in such perilous times as we currently are experiencing, I reviewed the situation, which involves me having severed contact a few years ago, and realized that in fact the whole thing turned out, for them anyway, as well as it possibly could and that was something to appreciate.  FROM A DISTANCE.  It also meant that I could no longer kid myself about my position in line so to speak, accept it and realize that I am in many ways exactly where I ought to be, and faith is my…well, strength and shield.  I have something to do besides  chase worldly success and please people.  It’s a new paradigm, Gentle Reader, and those who can leave their matched sets of emotional baggage behind at, or close to,  the outset have my deep admiration.

notkidding

When reality looks like this? Who are we to question.  Missed you!!!!! blessings and thanks, as always.

 

 

 

yet another palimpsest

Well, sheesh Gentle Reader.  The normal torrent of words flying around my brain has slowed dramatically of late and writing, which is usually fairly easy? has been like pulling teeth.

However, I decided to take the position that this is a Developmental Phase and inspect all the words that DID pop up along with their associated…associations.   All while fairly major things were transpiring, as usual.

I’m slowly investigating things now that make my stomach upset.  Realizing at long last that stomach upset is, guess what? a SIGNAL that something isn’t right, I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve disregarded my inner voice, self, whatever you want to call it, in favor of the opinion of the Other.  And how in the process I internalized that Other Opinion.  Which has pretty much been a huge mistake every time.

It has been a mistake because in those moments I relinquished my authority over myself and set it outside.  This sort of thing always leads to the same place, which is nowhere you really want to go and often includes the permanent installation of that stomach ache.  You think, of course, at the time, that it’s a good thing and this other person knows more than you do and all the rest of the malarkey that goes alongside.  It turns out that generally not to be the case, and people who insist you take their opinion as Fact do not for the most part have your best interests at heart.  The sad thing is they may think they have THEIR best interests at heart, and that isn’t true either.

Net net, after all this sitting still and observing things, something big happened.  I accepted myself as IS, and yes, not a moment too soon.  Early in December during a massive flood of unpleasantness, someone came over to our house and proceeded to tell me in a very patronising way that the work I do, what I do…none of it works and it’s just silly.  This pretty much covered everything from gardening to my remedies. I looked at this person and thought, wow, you must really feel like crap to attack me like that for no reason.  Then I thought…whoa! this isn’t the first time at this particular rodeo, kid.  People have told you this over and over.  Intellectually I know it isn’t true and those uttering such sentiments speak from ignorance and limitation,  but….and there’s the but.  I saw that I doubt myself.  I decided to just try to nip that in the bud each time it poked out and wow, was THAT a full time occupation.  The way I spoke to myself for most of my life was in a manner continually anticipating some sort of ghastly failure.  Admittedly there is some historical basis for such a concept- but not all the time.  The countervailing force of “stay in the now” saved me but also caused a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. stomach aches.

Anyway, in taking the long view it became clear just how much magic and goodness filled, always, my days and how that, in fact, kept me afloat in a world that seemed not to wish me well.  Balancing the necessity of living in that world with the necessity of staying sane while so doing has finally paid off, however.  I recently had two powerful and really, incontrovertible, instances of where my work and remedies made a big and sustaining difference in people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience, like fireworks were going off all around me and I’d finally come up to the surface of a deep lake from the bottom, spluttering and shaking water from my eyes, to see….myself, waiting for me.  No division, no stomach ache.  Challenges for sure….but the knowing that they can be met.  So, it IS true.  Once you believe it, you  see it, and not in the sense of seeing what you expect to see, but in the sense of removing constricting information from your viewfinder and turning the darn lights on.  It can be done!

As a reward for your patient reading of this:

bloodoranges

Aren’t these AMAZING? Given the harshness of the climate here, the fact that this little tree produces this much magic fills me with joy.  Plus they’re totally yummy.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

raisins d’etre

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Time is zooming by and at the same time, it’s like a big piece of amber in which we find ourselves closely held.  The seasons have changed, the one week Fall colors were completely different this year in shades of rust and copper, and there was a last group of lizards and frogs and bluebirds before it began to freeze at night.  The hummingbirds have taken to following us around on walks, bossing (or trying to) the Dog and Partner around in no uncertain terms.

A lot has happened, and nothing has happened.  As usual I suppose, but seriously, Gentle Reader, this has been a time in which the austere face of how things are in fact has shown itself in an irrevocable kind of way.  An adjunct to that is the realization that my lifelong effort to see the good in people may have….er….blinded me to certain prevailing truths.  Which gave a whole new cast to this life thing to be thrashed around (with AND by). So the masks have fallen, the gloves are off, and it’s more than a bit scary.  Then of course, there’s the “news” and the “world” and well.  Some days it is simply too much.  As usual I retreat to my Dharma (the kitchen!), my Sangha (D and P!), and of course the Buddha (to whom I address important questions like how much sugar do I really need to put in this glaze?).  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, which I do not have today.  So, above, we’ll say is the oft-consulted Buddha.  Below, and you can decide which is which, are the Dharma and the Sangha.fantinlatour

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BLESSINGS AND THANKS.  May we all weather the changing seasons and greet the flowers in spring with joy and heart!