Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

where the wild things are

And, that would be HERE, Gentle Reader.

Lately it’s been so wild, in fact, that my sense of humor pretended it had been buried somewhere in the back yard.  GAH, it said.  This is no fun at all.  I shall hide under the bed of mint until things improve.  No amount of cajolery swayed it even one bit.  So I had to consider things without benefit of jokes or drollery of any sort.

Once I decided to stop thinking It Was Gone Forever, and moved on to not panicking about small things like where the hell are the car keys, and could all the metal pieces in everything just stop breaking, clarity returned, if not a steady stream of witticisms.  Turns out it was just another opportunity for growth!  It’s kind of like the time many years ago when I realized that my ability to know what people were thinking was something I used to protect myself, and thus had to drop until I was able to function on my own without that crutch.  The sense of humor, while a good thing overall, became another such tool.  Once a blackbelt co-dependent, I guess.

So here I am, unable to think things are funny for the past few weeks- largely because of course they really aren’t, and it was a weird experience to finally just get close to all those things without any armor (you know, fires, floods, murders, idiocy, that sort of thing?).  The ultimate revelation from this was of course that one doesn’t NEED armor after all.  The whole idea of separation from other things is an illusion and I guess we find that out however we can.  I realized that in fact with a moment’s attention you can really FEEL what someone else is feeling, and instead of shielding from that awareness or using it as some sort of protection,  say to yourself, Self? You know we’re all One.  Let’s open up and send some good vibes out just for ducks.  It’s harder to do this of course when one is righteously indignant (like having new neighbors across the road in the house where the ACTUAL MURDERER used to live, who pull up blaring their car stereos in exactly the same way he did at all kinds of absurd times like, say, 2 am…).  It’s also harder to do when you’re circling the anxiety drain over how is this going to get fixed or whatever.  But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  The other part of it shows Confucius wasn’t wrong about everything, since he said comparisons are odious.  No more comparing on the rigged scale we’ve all become accustomed to, either.  Things are as they are.  And they reveal their information over time.  Which ultimately provides guidance and a crumb trail to follow.

While I’m waiting for the sense of humor to crawl out from the mint patch, then, the crumb trail has led to some interesting culinary moments.  I made butternut squash enchiladas at long last, even straining the sauce like you’re supposed to and making the tortillas big enough to roll, and they were great.  It also turns out that you can indeed use  yellow lemon squash in place of zucchini in zucchini bread, and it’s almost better.  It’s also led to some amazingly spot on prognostications for people.  When I breathlessly tell the Partner that, guess what? remember when I told so and so such and such? He just shakes his head, like, silly bear.  Only YOU don’t know you’re generally right.   The trick now is believing in our own happy ending in this amazing new paradigm, where things seem to be irreparably blowing apart and mending themselves into something stronger, all at once.  The Dog, as usual, stays focused on the important things and is his usual invaluable counselling self, even when his usual question is: what’s to eat?  His quiet padding up to me in the kitchen area always reminds me that slow and steady, stick to basics, look everyone right in the eye, laugh…is a good way to go about things.  He may even find my sense of humor for me.

Blessings and thanks!

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life in a body

Perhaps it is the times.  Perhaps it’s because it’s been over 100 degrees here every day for what seems like eternity but has in actual fact only been about six weeks…maybe eight.  But I’m retaining the impression that most of how I used to look at the world was off by a bubble or two.

Things used to seem solid, concrete, have a”reason” to be where they were.  Now there is a shift afoot that makes even the idea of solid ground questionable.  As human beings we have quite a lot more capability than we ever use.  Bizarrely, we seem to feel the need to make more of us, not just in physical form but in mechanical as well.  Artificial intelligence?  Get serious. We have machines now we aren’t smart enough to use, and a brain in our heads we may NEVER have been smart enough to use.  The things we can actually perceive with our existing bodily equipment, if we put our energy into it, are astonishing.  The things we can see, the music we can hear, the languages we can understand- there is just so much more than daily life might lead you to believe.  Although of course daily life is precisely where to look for all of this magnificence.

And of course it is daily life that seems to be taking it in the neck over and over.   The premise that THINGS will make you happy, for example.  How realistic is that?  Then happiness can be doled out in drops from the top of the hierarchy and the inhabitants of earth can be led to believe that if they don’t have THINGS to make them happy, they won’t ever BE happy and of course? It’s their fault because they didn’t get the THINGS.  Oddly enough, most of the Nice Things along with the bulk of the stuff used to get them, aka money, gets wedged firmly at the top.  Funny how everyone at the bottom is just…not good enough.  Meanwhile the actual bringers of joy like relationships, conversations, having a way to make sense of your days as you experience them, curiosity and the urge to learn, an actual concrete relationship with FOOD…those things are all receding in the rear view mirror to the point that many don’t seem to know they exist at all.

And.  While we are each others keepers in the overall sense, that means we love each other and care for the common good.  It doesn’t mean making everyone think the same way you do and do the same things- or else all that “everyone” becomes bad.  It doesn’t mean consigning huge swathes of everything to the junk heap because somebody in some cubicle somewhere thinks commas are boring and words mean what you want them to in a given instant.   The common ground from which we are able to reach out to each other and our world is rolling up and out like a rug on moving day.

Not to even mention the titanic level of dishonesty that exists.  You can now see at almost any time of day someone who should know better saying something that is totally untrue.  And I’m not just talking about your local weather person. Aside from the packs of individuals who seem to have an endless amount of time to tweet on apparel and habits that are none of their business, nobody ever calls bullshit on the bullshit.   It’s as though a whole level of fear was poured all over everything…about seven months ago.

Still.  I realize all these things are manifestations of the change we’re all undergoing and as such can actually be lived and experienced, and thus actually dealt with.  The only thing for it is to be as awake as possible, armed with compassion and patience.  Lead us, as it says in the Upanishads, from the unreal to the real.  It turns out that is a far more challenging journey than you think when you first step out on to the path, humming and thinking, Oh YES! Reality! Truth! Onward! A few years into it  you may think, hmmm, not finding much truth here and reality may just bite.  But I’ll carry on.  A few more years and you think, holy unnameable item! Ignorance IS bliss! What can I do now? Limiting the snivelling as much as possible, eventually you crawl to the top of whatever you were laboring toward and see? More vistas, of course.  But in those vistas may be part of what is being sought, which is that goals and seeking may not be all they’re cracked up to be.  The map you use and the travel tips are, after all, from others just, or pretty much, like you who have toddled forth.  Opinions about reality, we might say.   So maybe it’s more about stopping at a pleasant spot, or just where you HAVE to stop, and not needing to have an opinion or an evaluation.  Experience all there is there without imposing anything on it, and try not to mess it up while you’re at it.  Not imposing like/not like on things is remarkably freeing, too.  Not so easy to do after years of  it being drummed into you, but well worth it.

In the like/not like vein, something we deal with here is snakes.  All kinds but the ones we’re thinking about right now are rattlesnakes.  Which one usually says to oneself, you know? I don’t really like these guys.  I have taken to saying a snake blessing prayer every time I go outside because it is HOT and snakes like being out in the hot afternoons and the garden is ever more jungly and OMG please don’t bite me.  Or the Dog.  Or the Partner. ( Although HE tends to talk to snakes and pat them on the head so I don’t worry about him quite as much.)   So as I said, a prayer.  I enumerated, each time, all the good things about snakes, my appreciation for them, my harmlessness.  So far? No rattlers.  Which was because why? It turns out there is a totally splendid King snake in the garden, like a small to mid-sized deity, protecting all of us, from birds and lizards to Dog and Moi.   This made me think two things.  One, as always there is more to all this than you know, and Two, good will eventually always wins. We’re protected, the rattlers know enough to stay away, the natural balance of things is maintained without mayhem. So in the midst of wondering if my brain has actually finally been boiled for good this summer and if so why does it still hurt so much every time the LPV shoots into view, I also know that there really IS something, some order, some reality, all around us, supporting us once we quit deciding whether or not we “like” things, and working toward what really does look like….Truth and Beauty.  The Good Stuff.  Grisly daily reality notwithstanding.

And with that, perilous as things seem, I made another ice cream.   Banana.  The secret to which is steeping chopped, ripe bananas in whatever milk you’re using- we’re still stuck on Dulce de Leche so I just slowly caramelized that with the chopped bananas, let it sit for a few hours, blended until smooth, and combined with a light custard (about 3 cups total material).  It is truly magic stuff even if I  only have a bite of it here and there.  Just restorative enough.  So that combined with figuring out how to make a kinda sorta summer squash (which we of course have coming out our ears) gratin on top of the stove (oven on is a non starter right about now, sadly) in about 25 minutes gives me a bit of cautious optimism.   Surely we can all do some good if we choose.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

what persists

This morning’s brain storm involved Greek philosophers.  Who said, among others, two things.  (And, spoiler alert, we may have successfully inserted a picture at the end here….)

One: Resistance to what is causes suffering. (They weren’t the only ones to say this of course.)

Two: What we resist persists. (I think we all have this tattooed on our wrists, actually, and mistakenly think it is an instruction instead of a caution.)

So.  Suffering thus continues ad nauseam if we let it, by behaving as if we have no control over ourselves and thus none anywhere else.  Control is of course a relative term, since the only thing we can ever even hope to control is how we respond to things.  But our responses do have demonstrable effects and those can be positive instead of negative if we choose wisely.  It becomes more a thing of seeing the flow of things instead of the immobility of how we think we want it or how unfair it is that it isn’t the way we think we want it.

So, what I thought, Gentle Reader, was: If, and it is a largish sized IF, we accept what is as simply that- what it IS, we alleviate our suffering.  And we also can posit that while pain is, as they say, inevitable since it is what IS quite often, in not resisting that in the sense of non-acceptance and non-acknowledgement, we again alleviate our suffering.   And alleviation of suffering leaves room for process, change, and movement.   Flow.  Which is still flow even when you have a slight limp.

Things really are bloody awful in this country right now and look poised to take a dive into even further depths of the dumper.  It would be easy to become totally discombobulated, which a part of me often feels is Part of The Plan.  The speed of the digital world leaves no time for digestion, basically.  Also substance is often lacking therein, no matter what topic or level you choose- it’s thorough going from A to Z.  So everyone is malnourished while feeling stuffed and empty at the same time, and when you’re in that space you’re cranky.  You may even reach for something totally inappropriate to assuage that feeling, only to find it’s made things worse since it gave you acid indigestion.

Resisting this whole paradigm was causing suffering, let’s just say.  So I began to task myself with focusing on letting nothing that came from me, word, deed, dessert or salad, come from anything but love.  This is very easy in the abstract of course while one is pulling weeds or staring into space, but in the nuts and bolts day to day it takes a certain discipline to even think about how while, no, you don’t have to kiss this jerk you really want to hit with a two by four, at the same time the helpful thing is to recognize the divergences and not pay undue attention beyond that.  For me this quite often means keeping my mouth shut and my face clear and just skipping the exegesis about whatever it is. ( I’m expecting to see some significant weight loss from all this effort, too…) Another component is not letting one’s mind go amok with all the things that could go Terribly Wrong At Any Second, complete with all the embellishments that can happen when it turns unexpectedly into a novel writing episode.  I mean, really.  The things you can imagine going sideways can make you completely nuts, and are also completely unnecessary.

In that vein, I can report things are going better- only a third of my head explodes at any given time of late. It’s a fascinating experiment to conduct if nothing else, just seeing what happens when you give any situation, or thing for that matter, your positive and appreciative attention.  Somehow that energy returns to you, then goes back, and it circulates on.  And also? You feel better yourself.  So much of it is also about replacing all those self centered thoughts with doing something for someone else, however small.  Open a door, give a complement, do something for your loved ones you know they want done (like, say, picking up dog poo from the yard).  Simple.  In fact so simple it is easy to think it’s of no value.  And this can be extended to whatever is happening outside one’s immediate personal life.  Love, as Athol Fugard said, is the best subversion.

The Dog of course continues to be the constant instructor.  We had to do several business and anxiety provoking errands this week, and we all went.  The mere PRESENCE of the Dog made people smile, then laugh, then be extra helpful.  He smiled all day with enough wattage to power the yurt.  It really made me think long and hard- the simple fact of the joy inherent in living is what he manifests- even when he gets irritated about the density of Mommy not seeing that he needs a treat RIGHT NOW.  And that has a huge impact on everyone around him.  We had a good example of that, too, the other morning.  He went outside with the Partner for his morning rounds, and a hummingbird flew up to him at eye level.  They looked at each other for several seconds in an astonishingly companionable and communicative way.  The Partner asked the Dog what Hummingbird said to him and for some reason I hummed the tune from Close Encounters.  Dog? looked at me in a startled way then SMILED and I swear he also nodded.  That’s what Hummingbird said I guess- it’s a big cosmos and we should probably accept that and enjoy it.  There’s everything and more for us to see and experience and learn, no matter what the circumstance.  Here he is, probably pondering the Next Lesson if I know him.heavycrown

Blessings and thanks, as always.

what just happened here?

Lately it’s been a daily-ish experience to kind of have my head, unexpectedly of course, snap around and wonder what just happened here?  It’s almost as though Sleeping Somebody just woke up and however much sleep is rubbed from the eyes, it’s still an unfamiliar vista.

Staring at the now Very Big fennel area in the garden, which was seeded  four years ago, I not only wonder where the time went but who was that masked person who planted those seeds?  The descendants of Tyrant, the OG Hummingbird, flock around the feeder now and eat all together.  We can see the markings of everyone who went before, including the amazing copper hummy we saw last year.  Spring came and went, in the usual quick fashion of this place, with incredible lush swaths of green everywhere and the wild flowers blooming as if in arranged bouquets, short to tall, complementary colors.  Lots of new cows and goats and lizards.  It took about a month but now everything is dry and crisp for the most part, the snow and cold are a memory, and the rabbits are once again lying in the relative coolness of shade spots on the driveway.

I’m feeling the permanence of the impermanent, maybe.  We try, all of us I think, to throw off the weight of entropy, of inertia, what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the dead hand of the past, and live our lives.  At least we try to do that when we commit to being present, feeling what we’re feeling and following that, in an effort to find Peace of Mind. And when we are able to do that? There is a brilliance to things that is almost blinding,  They race by, they stand still, but everything is somehow different in its unfamiliar familiarity.  It’s a flow, a big river of energy and light and stops and gos.

Our quotidian struggles have come and gone and been replaced by new ones, of course.  (Notwithstanding the periodic bleak moments that happen when I hear “the news” however briefly and it seems like we are in a Really Deep Hole that Goes On Forever.  Like seeing that a municipality in Oregon is going to spray a 200 acre organic farm with Roundup to “eradicate weeds” so, I’m guessing, they won’t grow on the Interstate.  Uh.  If that isn’t a deep hole I don’t know what is.) The leap into the 21st century continues and I only cried once.  So I’m proud of myself, continuing to assume that my learning curve will be a curve and not a sheer drop off a cliff.  Photography, for example, how to actually get the pictures somewhere else than the phone….my oh my.  But, hope springs eternal.  In other news: The Dog did something strange and had to be rushed to the Vet a week ago, an untimely bank account draining, equanimity squashing ordeal.  However, he appears to have been restored to vim and vigor from Whatever Happened (see?) and once again I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The xrays revealed that he has an absolutely splendid trachea and spine, so there was that as well.  His Legend Continues of course.  He had to be sedated and when he woke up and came out to the waiting room? He bounded out with a huge grin, trotted briskly over to the reception counter, stood up and put his paws down as if to say, hey! I’m here! Where are the treats? Drinks for everybody!  The staff continued to tell the tale of it later in the week when I went in for…well, more treats…and they pointed to me and said, you should see HER dog!  In other good news all the seeds I planted germinated….still waiting on the culinary herbs but it may already be too hot for them.  The Partner has done a stellar job of clearing grasses and mixing soils and transplanting tiny tomato seedlings.  The beans are in, soon to be followed by winter and summer squash, melons and cucumbers.

The continuing sense of deep unease and doubt is something I’m trying to experience calmly, in order to deal with it without screaming.  Admittedly life here is a matter of continual touch and go, new gnarly things rear their heads constantly, and we watch our opportunities to adequately support ourselves dwindle.  Most of this has to do with things that are entirely beyond our control, and the only influence we have is in how we think about these things and each moment as it happens.  Given that there is so much beauty and reward here even amidst the challenges, it’s pretty disorienting. It’s a strange business working on equilibrium and basic happiness in view of the fact that everything dies and is reborn, over and over, and we really don’t have much clarity about that for the most part.  Nor are there really any reliable guidebooks, other than those containing what is often referred to as “perennial wisdom”.  It takes some time to absorb that perennial wisdom, let’s just say.  I’m wondering how to get it to work at the checkout stand in the grocery store, for example.  As in, why NO.  That total is NOT OK.  How about a whole lot less?

In the end it probably comes down to good housekeeping.  Not only can you not take it with you, you shouldn’t lug it to the departure gate either.  Nothing stays the same, even when the architecture and firmament are recognizable.  This is actually a good thing, and leads me to my personal big question, which is: why why why why why is there all this fear?  All the acting out, selfishness, war, unfairness in the world….has a substrate of fear.  So really.  What are we so afraid of?  Even in the worst circumstances peace can be found, the moving river of whatever this is moves, you take the next step into the what is, if we’re honest, always unknown.  But it isn’t necessarily BAD.  In fact, it’s often really good.  Nothing to fear. Maybe that’s what’s been happening.

Blessings and thanks!

 

retrospect

For me, Gentle Reader, retrospect is something that often involves at least some level of eye-watering horror.

Leaving aside the grisly truth because, well, why?, we’ll just examine my relationship with CAKE.

I’ve had pound cake on the brain for a while.  Since it’s made in a standard size loaf pan (although needing to replace some bread pans has lead me to realize that finding even something like a standard size bread pan is akin to the holy grail now- they’re either ENORMOUS or TINY) it seemed perfect, given my prior history of dyslexia regarding cake pan size.  Not realizing that I should, er, measure the cake pan for proper size? I embarked at one point on making a Lady Baltimore cake for a friend’s birthday.  My pans were too big and I wound up making double the cake, cutting the tiny layers in half, and making more of a Lady Baltimore torte.  The fact that everyone wanted that cake over and over was good, of course, but once the Partner clued me in to the mystery of Different Sizes of Cake Pans, it also made me glad I’d kept my mouth shut about the roundabout way the cake was made, instead looking down and smiling modestly and saying thank you and no, I’m not a master chef, stopping before I blabbed the awful truth about having to bake the whole thing twice and sweat bullets while cutting it up.

So, as I say.  Pound cake.  This particular recipe, with the rather sinister name of SIMPLE POUND CAKE (in retrospect a First Clue) promised a dense cake, leavened as it is only with eggs.  I will digress a bit only to add that the Partner has been noticing of late that his bread is rising in an unusual, ballistic way.

We see our heroine mixing said cake, following instructions exactly (which honestly I often don’t except with cake because it’s chemistry, after all and, explosions…..), feeling rather proud of the lovely thing as it went into the pre-measured correct size pan and pre-heated oven.  I pulled out all the stops, in short.

So. When I looked in after a few minutes to make sure the oven temperature was right, imagine my, yes, eye-watering horror, when I saw that the cake had become your basic little volcano and there was cake All. Over. The. Bottom. of. the. Oven.  It exploded a bit, in short.  There was smoke during the extra long baking period, for added value.  I found myself plummeting down into old, often travelled waters of “you just can’t do anything right, can you? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”.  After the allotted hour of baking passed and the thing was still wet in the middle I almost cried but thought, no.  We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting and we’re not giving up now.  We can use it for something.

After an extra half hour of baking, it was at long last time for The Reveal.  Not without incident, it involved a tricky bit of jaws of life type crust carving to get the pan off. Fortunately I’d already had the Lady Baltimore Tutorial.  At this point, the cake looked OK, if not like a “normal” pound cake.  The oven duly cleaned, dinner made and eaten, and cake cooled, it was time to face the music.

And? It was PERFECT.  I was stunned.  And then I realized what the cause of the eruption was.

EGGS, Gentle Reader.  We’ve been getting eggs from our neighbor and they are not, we know now, just any old eggs.  I made rellenos with them and the batter was almost radioactively yellow and puffy as a cloud. And since for some insane reason I made several the same night, also kept perfectly til the next day.  The bread, using these eggs, has risen crazily, driving the Partner to chew his nails.  Then, the exploding cake.

Aside from the issue of one’s ridiculous very important story intruding its lifelike Godzilla head into metaphorical sky scrapers for the most nonsensical reasons, and all that…..the important take away (aside from remembering never to despair too early!) from this episode is the nature of food now.  We’re often told that organic food is no different from food not grown organically.  And heavens to murgatroyd.  GMOs? No danger to public health there.  The fact that the US has a population of bloated, immunosuppressed, unhealthy people can’t have anything to do with what they eat.  Can it?

The fact that something as ubiquitous as a freaking egg can be so incredibly different because the chicken is fed organic food and allowed to toddle around (within reason of course given that we do live in predator world here) instead of being confined, just for starters, is totally mind boggling. We used to buy organic, free range eggs at the grocery store, but even they are far from these eggs on every level. If such an egg has such an effect on a little old cake? Think what it can do for your body.  It’s like a big shot of the perfect magic.  Who knew? Right? That Nature actually does NOT do the stupid stuff- doesn’t have to be fixed and controlled- and food as it IS, without manipulation or waterfalls of chemical interventions, is actually good for you.  Keeps you healthy for the most part.  Once again what you are “told” is not necessarily so. Food, as we say, for thought.  I’m quite sure that for the Partner and for me? The fact that we eat almost completely organically and locally (barring essentials like coffee, chocolate, vanilla…and pineapple), grow our own produce in the summer, and cook our own food daily is why we’re still alive.  This place we are is, to put it mildly, physically a ball buster, and even young people can look worn and “old”.   Without real, good food? Good luck getting through a day.  I mean, I’ve always been a bit fanatical about this stuff, always revered seeds and baked my own bread.  But this egg thing was a real revelation.  Leavening with rocket fuel, kind of.

I think, actually, that paying attention to what you eat and where you buy it may be the one most important thing you can do NOW, politically and personally.  We simply cannot allow the unthinking rush to “profit” to destroy us all.  Seeds are not being preserved, land is being killed by chemical overuse, and people are made ill by the poor nutrition mass produced food provides, along with the reactions the body has to the poisons used all around it. For example, there is in fact  evidence that gluten intolerance is really a reaction to the herbicides-  like roundup-  used on grain producing plants.  And then, supplementing their healthy meat byproduct and antibiotic diet, cattle get to eat this stuff too.  Is this really what you want? Don’t think so.  Connection with what is real has got to be re-established.  You gotta know where your food comes from and what’s in it.  To think otherwise is to be, as they say in baseball, badly fooled.

This relates to the War Against One’s Very Important Story, to me anyway, because it has to do with disrupting the patter, the voices inside, the propaganda we’re inundated by, and being in the here and now.  It means thinking for yourself and expanding your awareness of what’s important to a much bigger radius- in other words, to what other people feel and need and do.  It has to do with not listening to the familiar refrain, and with starting to actually plant your feet on the ground and look at the sky.   Where you will, if you are lucky, see birds and bees.  And if you can’t? You will see the road forward truly means being your brother’s, and sister’s, and fellow creatures’ keeper.  I don’t think there’s any other way, now.

The tale of How the Dog Got Blow Dried After His Bath for the First Time and Liked It, following the Miracle of Actually Finding the Blow Dryer which Saved the Day in and of Itself,  will be saved for another time….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!