Sunday, August 21, 2016

A very good year for apples


The biggest of our  Gravenstein apples 12-and-a-half inches around the middle.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Gathering at "the prairie front"

Yesterday South Whidbey Tilth & Slow Food Whidbey Island hosted the 2016 Sustainability Farm-To-Table Potluck "Celebrating Water and the Sturgeon Moon."

The program for the event states, "Water is a mutable element symbolizing unity and collaboration. Water connects us all and is within us all. This party is a collaboration of our community and an opportunity to express gratitude. Please take a dipper and pour water into the bowl--our collective fount"

There was plenty of good food, and speeches of gratitude recognizing the history of South Whibey Tilth's stewardship of the land, and Slow Food Whidbey Island's more recent presence. The evening was a collaboration between these two non-profit groups, a first time partnership.
"We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst, for providing strength and nurturing life for all beings. We know its power in many forms--waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans, snow and ice. We are grateful that the waters are still here and meeting their responsibility to the rest of Creation. Can we agree that water is important to our lives and bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to the Water? Now our minds are one." - The OnandagaThanksgiving Address, an invocation of gratitude
Among the 2016 highlights of South Whidbey Tilth's evolution is the hiring of Angie Hart (pictured above) intern and market and community garden coordinator. Angie is the first intern at South Whidbey Tilth in 13 years said Tilth's President, Prescott.

 The warm late summer afternoon turned into a beautiful time for gathering around tables to chat, and be with this place whose name in First People of this island's language -- Lushootseed -- means "the prairie front." 
Among the many donations for the raffle culminating the potluck were vases filled with Whidbey dahlias grown by Sherrie Wendt. 
That's Pete sitting for a change. He'd filled his bowl more than once, was between doings, and through the lens of my camera I saw him looking out at what makes his many efforts at this prairie front among his personal priorities.


As I reflect upon the events, and interactions I experienced last evening it is with a blurr that pieces of my memory remind me ... "Leave room, in fact, give attention to the borders of this human experience." In the border time I pin together the experience at the prairie front with a podcast entitled "And still the waters rise: Take the red pill or go home: Holistic & Indigenous ways of knowing with Dr. Manulani Meyer."

Among the ideas I heard Manu acknowledge with gratitude is the power and mentoring quality that comes from the names of place. Within the ancient names are the power. I take the reminder to heart, and end with this close.

Mahalo piha 'The prairie front'
Thank you so much, this land of the prairie front.
Amama. Ua noa.
Now the prayer is lifted.

Hover over the photo of Angie Hart and read another invocation of gratitude from the Onandaga.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"... You make the way by walking it"

Caminante, no hay camino.el camino se hace por andar.
Wayfarer, there is no way, you make the way by walking it.-Antonio Machado


Yesterday we left the vardo early, boarded the ferry and before 10 o'clock stood at the counter to order breakfast at The Sisters. We were in Everett. This restaurant has been around for as long as I remember this town. One of the sisters took our order. I asked for a vegetarian omelet without cheese. "Would you like avocado instead?" "Sure," that sounded good. "Have you been here before?" the Sister asked us. "Yea, I've been coming here for a long time, off and on." She said, "I try to remember the customers who have been coming for a long time. I forget though. Then I remember a face of some guy and think, 'Wow he's been coming for a long time.' Pete ordered something he never heard of before. It was interesting. The pesto was good. Over the meal we talked about things, spent a bunch of money and literally rode through a thick layer of early fog to get there. The season is shifting. Some things change. Some things stay the same.

We are in transition. Not yet gone. Still here. Not fully here. But here anyway.

The meal was not as good as we both remember they used to be. Maybe they were always this way. The coffee was the worse brew I'd tasted in a very long time.
The avocado as cheese replacement, was miraculous, creamy, delicious.
The shortbread was buttery.

The Sno-Isle Food Coop was our next stop. It's right next door to The Sisters. This place has also been around for awhile, and been through many transformations. When we were wedged between the big homes overlooking the Port of Everett, we shopped here. Still smallish, but stocked with organic and often fresh produce and product off the shelves that we enjoyed, the idea and the operational philosophy of a coop suits us. "Not for profit, owned by the community and particular about products."

Our final stop before returning to Whidbey Island was in Mukilteo. Pete had a bag of our Gravenstein apples for our old friend, Doug. He's another of those been around a long timers in our lives. It was this friend and his wife who had their fingers in setting the glue to Pete and my romance of origin. That was 1994. Doug was out making sales calls for The Beacon, doing what he's been doing for decades. We missed him, left the apples and had a short cellphone chat while we rode the ferry back to Clinton.

All these bits and pieces of a day don't seem like much, no big deals, no particular dramas. Nonetheless, the scene is changing the corners and shelves are stirring dust, and we keep walking. In a few hours the Sturgeon (Full) Moon will turn her lights on. Satori Harris writes about the energy of this Aquarius Moon that most of us (in America) will wake to tomorrow morning. (The moon is full at just after 2:00 am Pacific Daylight Time.) I was comforted and tickled when I heard her conclusion. I like the idea of naming the emotions Kevin or Lillian.
  • "... Feeling vulnerable is a natural progression in growth. Keep good boundaries to protect yourself and others, but don’t close off or close down. All those feelings are there for a reason. If you need a distraction from your vulnerability, try naming your emotions. I mean label, like timid or fearful, not Kevin or Lillian – that’s just silly."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Life is chaos, accidental, as much as ordered

Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

A writing ramble ... 

Have you noticed that in the process of cleaning up you stir much dust and create more chaos? Well, that is what's true for us, for me as I pull the little stacks of papers, savored old photographs and greeting cards off of shelves, down from their place of display or hidey-holes. The going is slow and the dust is thick. The heatwave that warms the Pacific Northwest makes it easy to set up a table outside and rifle through the collections of six years. Later this week a pal is coming to help as much for support, it is as I told her, "Good practice for me to accept offers TO help." But really, I am making progress; making way for what is yet not clear ... a destination as in the fog this morning, on a walk at Sunlight Beach. With faith the place is somewhere. I step slowly toward it.

The woods, these woods that are and have been home for us these six years are beautiful. How do you say good-bye to beauty and comfort like this? Not easily, yet, there are reasons and inclinations that say it must be done. "Castor and Pollux blow me to Bermuda." Thanks to the ever enduring salve of story, that cuss written by T.H. White into the dialogue between Merlin and the boy Wart (the future King Arthur) is giving my imagination free passes to mythic time. Mythic time where cleaning and dusting, packing and saying good-bye and dealing with the chaos of uncertain next steps leave me. In chaos's place messages fall like leaves. Neatly torn, not cut, rectangles of paper with pencil-written musings fall as I turn one of the many-hundred paged novel The Once and Future King. In between bouts of sorting, and tossing I retreat to the vardo and hoist myself atop the futon where a book, or two wait to be re-opened. Sweet haven is the story, a treat that adds no fats or calories, I am happy to inhale.


James Hillman wrote, in The Soul's Code "Accidental movements neither hinder nor advance the main project. Rather they reshape its forma, as if the course and the boat itself were restructured by the soul's responses to the events of life. There is a craft of growing down; it's the wisdom of watching things with an eye to their effects." Hillman builds on his thoughts about accidents, "the accident (abuse, ptsd, etc.) may never be integrated, but it may strengthen the integrity of the soul's form by adding to its perplexity, vulnerability, sensitivity, scar tissue." 

Those messages that fall like leaves so unexpectedly, this surprise is what I sit to describe. Putting this 'accident' into this blog gives me something, maybe as Hillman suggests an ingredient to strengthen the integrity of my soul. In this space of a Quonset Hut that has been my writing place these five years (we built it a year after we found this landing place), I do what a writer does. I write and pull the chaos and sadness into a clearing. Have I floated into a Ruth Ozeki novel? Like her characters in A Tale for the Time Being, the Japanese school girl's journal floats onto a Desolation Sound shore from somewhere in Japan. I find notes written by what appears to be a Japanese reader. I imagine she is a Japanese school-girl, too. The language is English as a second language. person. The messages: commentary on the story. An invisible personal book club meeting between sessions with dust and sadness. How accommodating are the Gods. 

Yesterday I wrote rap after a walk on the beach with Pete and a priest. Tonight I sit to acknowledge, and make notations. My spiritual practice is writing, communication with the Muse and the mystery fuels this soul of mine. Oh yes how wild and unpredictable is this life held together with safety pins. Yes, circling back to our pinned together life. Effective for short runs, and amazingly enduring when those simple tools are given their due respect. They work, they take little space and one pin is worth a thousand explanations. The safety pin effect of notes falling from a library book is working its magic on my chaos. I need a shower, and across the forest just a few steps, there is one. Hot water awaits me. Life is chaos as much as order. Castor and Pollux blow me to Bermuda. 


"The world is run as much by folly as by wisdom, as much by order as by chaos, but these accidents may still intend something interesting...The soul seeks to fit it into its form." - again from The Soul's Code by James Hillman 

Link here to a beautiful composition "Writing as a spiritual practice" from Terri Windling where she creates a hologram of words, images and soul food. Tucked into the photographs I found these words from a poem by Ursula K. LeGuin,
"I must learn to live drily. What to carry. What to leave. What to drink instead of water. What to wash the dust away with..." 

Hover over the beautiful art to learn its name and its creator. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Two Pirates and a Priest: Code for Revolution

If you use your dictionary
Find us below "OH SCARY"
Got sick from that cool lotion?
Claim you had no notion

We sail below the wires
Wilt from road spray, brains on fire
If we're lucky home awaits us
Safe to live another day

Give me a knuckle bump
A butt thump,
Two Pirates and a Priest
Walk the beach just out of reach

PPAAP
PPAAP
PPAAP
Rapp'n out a revolution










Thursday, August 4, 2016

Growing the story, seeking the next

We went on our first road trip in three years while the moon was moving into her New Moon holoku (phase) in the sign of Leo. The need to scout a new place to plug in our tiny home and safety pin style life is here. All the pieces shuffle slowly, as we do what can be done: clean and clear the space we occupy, heed the call to explore possibilities, keep ourselves open to magic in the everyday and, remember to ask permission and give thanks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Safety pin: definitions

1. A holy object that can be used for multiple purposes. These uses are: Putting things together, prying things out of things, eating with, fixing one's braces with, preparing food, an ear ring, nose ring, naval ring, a fashionable piece of metal that comes in handy, and many other things.
"Do you have a safety pin? I gotta hole in my shirt."
-Urban Dictionary A veritable cornucopia of streetwise lingo, posted and defined by its readers.
2. a metal pin that is used for attaching things and that has a point at one end and a cover at the other into which the pointed end fits
- Merriman-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
3. British Englishsafety pin safety pin is a bent metal pin used for fastening things together. The point of the pin has a cover so that when the pin is closed it cannot hurt anyone....trousers which were held together with safety pins.
4. "[Safety]Pins never unfit you. You can wear them your whole life." - Open House for butterflies, Ruth Krauss (author) Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

5. "A safety pin is both a tool and an effective metaphor for doing and believing there are small miracles to hold us together, the magic is common, practical, ever present, and versatile." - "About Us" The Safety Pin Cafe