Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

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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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!

 

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!

the dog with no sense of time

Whenever I ‘m in the kitchen,  I can usually time pretty precisely just when I’ll hear the patter of ever bigger paws, rising from whatever reclining position He and They may have been in, trotting around to INSPECT.  Looking, licking his lips, and pretty much saying, I don’t care what it is, I want some and when will it be ready?  Not yet, is my general response. Unless it’s coffee or something and then he gets told it’s Not For Dogs.  He’s getting better, in that he usually only comes back once more to assess just HOW MUCH LONGER????!!?? and I remind myself, every time, that this Dog does not know how to cook and thus has no idea about anything other than that stuff he likes comes from this area and he….must…..patrol…..not…..miss…..anyofit…..so he’s engaged and curious. Yes.  Good things!

I also try to cultivate in myself his for the most part consistent joy in things that are pretty much always the same and he greets with OH BOY! MY FAVORITE! YIPPEE!…notwithstanding the times he has to be Very Parliamentary and look just a tiny bit like a dog George Clooney, with his paws crossed in front of him.  Ball, stummy rub, cooking shows where they’re making hummus (a favorite), the morning routine, the afternoon routine, the evening routine, checking out the kitchen, switching seats on the couch, the morning kiss, hippopotami, the paw hold when he gets hiccups….everything, in short.  Except baths which he has recently developed an aversion to- he either retreats to his bed, snoring ostentatiously, or most recently, tries to fake us into letting him outside right before he’s to be put into the soapy drink.  He loves baths, actually, and closes his eyes in bliss as the Partner soaps him up, rinses him,  helps him out of the tub and whatnot.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, which may or may not be a good thing.  The being in the now is the joy thing with him.  It’s all good to him, for the most part.  He doesn’t have a lot of preconceived notions or opinions although he does have some ever lessening remaining trauma from his challenging early weeks.  Really, he doesn’t have fear or trepidation either.  He just assumes, correctly as it happens, that everyone is going to like him.  So far, he’s been right except for two times which is an average one might profitably take to Vegas.  Clearly, there’s something to the way in which he assesses things.

The thinking struggle I’ve been engaged in, however, ranges farther afield from NOW and covers the knottier topic of knowing who to listen to.  The Dog ignores us at times but for the most part, KNOWS he benefits from listening to us.  Would that I had that kind of clarity myself, let’s just say.  I try to take his happy appraisal as a model and implement it in my own day.  It was going really well for a while. But as usual my ongoing issue of listening to the wrong station at the wrong time reared its head.  I realized that I had almost lost faith in myself.  I put too much emphasis on what I was hearing, in essence, without keeping the housekeeping detail in action.

I think about faith a lot.  I am not religious but I do have faith.  This faith tells me that love is the truth, do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the rule.  Hard as hell, but true and rule, nonetheless. While most of the things our cultures deems “wrong” appear on reflection to be nothing more than exertion of social control and an extension of the separation between us and everything else that seems to have happened about 5000 years ago, the things that really ARE wrong get no attention and it is quite common to hear people, in a variety of settings, say that there is no right and wrong.  But, there is.  It is wrong to hurt people or condone it when others do it. (Even though we hurt people all the time just by being alive; we step on bugs unwittingly, our housing tracts kill animals, everything our society is based on just about causes some harm. So already we’ve got cognitive dissonance up the wazoo.) It is wrong to damage the earth. It is, in fact, wrong to think that you are better than anyone else- or than any animal, plant, rock, or body of water, on some level, as well.  In a way the discourse about there being no right or wrong has morphed into an acceptance of awful behavior as long as you agree with it yourself. It’s almost a bit doctrinal, when you listen to religious people talk about the world now- and with SEVEN “god channels” on the tv here, it’s unavoidable. The religious texts, it seems, tell you so.  Yes, there ARE a million ways to stack dishes after you wash them, a million ways to clip your fingernails, all those things we so often let drive us bananas- tuneless humming, et al.  None of those things are wrong although they are often cast as so.  But I happen to think it is wrong to discriminate against people or situations or things simply because you want it all to be more like YOU. It’s wrong to make others suffer because you refuse to do the proper thing in a situation.  It is wrong to accept shoddy thinking and behavior as accepted and installed wisdom just because it benefits you, or so you think.  Given that we are all one, we have some responsibility to each other not to be total idiots. Even though, of course, THAT HAPPENS.

Is it about considering the source? I wonder.  Real Source is, after all, ineffable.  We get glimmers and hints and outright blatant messages but it is still all so much bigger than we are, as we get carried along with the cosmic parade.  Current source, not so much.  In fact one of the main things to be said about it now is that it constantly contradicts itself.  (Which may be better than say in the mid-20th century when essentially untruth was the message for the most part)  Researching a simple thing like is dog saliva a good thing for dog owies gives you a zillion answers that all refute each other. Information pretty much equals propaganda unless you’re the type to spend a lot of time in the real or metaphorical library.  Perhaps it is more about the fact that since we don’t know, it really is better to greet each moment with the joy it deserves rather than trying to figure out how to get it to do or be something other than what it is.  Which we don’t know anyway.  The information we REALLY need is, for the most part, available to us, right there in front of us.  It’s a question of who we listen to- who tells us what we’re seeing.  And that person we listen to should really be US- as long as we are willing to put in the work every day, pay attention, learn how to truly think for ourselves, greet the day with joy, and hope for the best.  Then it kind of doesn’t matter, or at least not as much, who’s talking because you can listen, think, trust YOUR source, and make better decisions.

So far, having crawled out of the Hole of Seemingly Complete Across the Board Powerlessness of last month, I’m equilibrating myself one day at a time. Traversing the hills and valleys of taxes, delicate but crucial negotiations, County Inspectors, health insurance weirdness,  memories and current time attitudinal snafus, I’m Remembering that I CAN trust myself, so I’ve cooked, the usual fallback after breakdown.  Butternut squash/olive/white bean pizza (initially looked at askance, liked very much later), homemade green Thai curry (did not send myself the memo about the part where I decided I’d make all this stuff from scratch so there was a good half hour snipe hunt in the refrigerator for the non-existent jarred stuff)  soup with more of That Squash, homemade garam masala dusted over roast chicken for the luxury portion of the trip, and variations on our new old favorite, tetrazinni.   Not to mention the Achiote-on-the-brain extravaganza, more of which to come later. Since so much, including whether or not we have basic services or any income whatsoever, seems beyond my ability to effect OR affect, I’m finding that preparation of every successful dinner has a very salutary impact on my quivering brain.  Marx said that people do things like crafts and knitting and complex cooking I suppose as an antidote to alienation.  I think he was right about that.  As for what comes next? I’m trying to cultivate the Dog’s approach and see the good in it.  While reserving my right to bark and give a good nip if the good turns out not to be there.  And I think, Gentle Reader, you know what I mean.

Blessings and thanks!

in which feeling returns to the limbs

Yes, Gentle Reader, semblances of normality are peeking out from under the dog fur bunnies under the TV.

I have to say, Telemundo has helped, even though my Spanish is not always up to the task.  One weekend a couple of weeks ago they showed an entire Saturday of: The Mummy Returns, Snow White and The Huntsman, and Indiana Jones and the Cave of the Crystal Skulls (or whatever it was called).  Today we’re watching Salt, and I read this week’s New Yorker.  The section on Sixteen Writers on the Election is well worth your time.  I’m in love with Junot Diaz anyway but his piece is wonderful.  Highly recommended from the Rehab Wing here.

Otherwise daily life continues to remind me that Truth and Beauty are still with us.  On one day I saw a HUGE rabbit bound up our “driveway”, with four white paws and a very tall stature.  Then, I saw about 24 wild turkeys and a few feet up from them, a HUGE covey of quail.  They all seemed to be looking at me (especially the rabbit) and saying, hey! you can’t accomplish anything THIS way! Lighten up!

This lightening up was duly accomplished at the end of a long day of cooking.  Although the Partner and I both are unsympathetic to the Pilgrim version of Thanksgiving, I have managed over time to impress him with the fact that the FOOD is wonderful.  I usually bake whatever bread we’ll use in the stuffing the day before, and this time it was sourdough.  Quite the endeavor this bread, taking an entire day to proof and all.  I was really happy to see my now almost 25 year old starter is in tip top shape, too.  The bread gets baked in a dutch oven (Tartine recipe) which is, admittedly, heavy.  I had struggled with removing the whole shebang from the oven for the first loaf and the Partner said: I WILL DO THE NEXT ONE.  YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN.  I huffed a bit but at the time of doneness, I said, OK.  As I watched him, with one expert swell foop, remove the heavy pot from the oven and turn the hot loaf onto a rack, suddenly from the television came the William Tell Overture.  Somehow it all converged, how I’ve always thought I had to do everything myself, ‘specially since nobody else ever stepped up, and how ridiculous that is.  And how good the Partner is at so many of these things and what an excellent thing cooperation is.  It’s good to receive as well as give.  And it all struck me as supremely funny.  The crescendo of the music occurring at the precise moment loaf hit rack, for example.  I laughed so hard I cried and pretty soon we were ALL laughing, having our now mandatory group hug with the Dog.  See how easy.

Then came the actual day, and more cooking.  (Although simplified from the days of yore I can hardly imagine doing, but there it is. I used to even cook my own pumpkin for pie.  JEESH.) It all went easily, actually, and well.  The Dog ended his Thanksgiving by retiring to the couch (after his small bits of turkey meat and baked squash) and snoring.  Loudly.  And Longly.   He was exhausted, of course, by his day long patrol of the kitchen area and relentless are-we-there-yetting.

I felt, almost for the first time, a profound sense of Belonging.  My family is here, so now, in a way, I know where my house is.  I decided to let the happiness and joy from that inform whatever else it is that may come, whatever may require doing.  I still feel a huge pain in my heart but I also feel far more equal to the task of simply being a decent human being and standing for what is true, for beauty, for hope.  And for love.  Somehow I am not so afraid as I was.  I guess I can endorse a course of Telemundo action films and some turkey as restorative measures when all seems lost.

I leave you with some of what Junot Diaz wrote in the November 21, 2016 NEW YORKER.  I do believe that a non-violent person with a base in Nature and Creation can resonate with this and move forward with strength and capacity.  There are many ways to deal with darkness, after all.

“….For those of us who have been in the fight, the prospect of more fighting, after so cruel a setback, will seem impossible.  At moments like these, it is easy for even a matatana to feel that she can’t go on.  But I believe that, once the shock settles, faith and energy will return.  Because let’s be real: we always knew this shit wasn’t going to be easy.  Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit.  We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future- all will be consumed.  Those of us whose ancestors were owned and bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is, in part, our past.  And we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe.  Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same.  This is the joyous destiny of our people- to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone…..”

Blessings and thanks for reading, as always!