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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Strange Waters

Strange Waters

I've seen a high cairn kissed by holy wind
Seen a mirror pool cut by golden fins
Seen alleys where they hide the truth of cities
The mad whose blessing you must accept without pity  

I've stood in airports guarded glass and chrome
Walked rifled roads and landmined loam
Seen a forest in flames right down to the road
Burned in love till I've seen my heart explode

You've been leading me Beside strange waters

Across the concrete fields of man
Sun ray like a camera pans
Some will run and some will stand
Everything is bullshit but the open hand

You've been leading me Beside strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?

If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

You've been leading me Beside strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?

If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

Bruce Cockburn

I'm not sure why I'm posting a blog based on this song. I guess it's because it's both musically and lyrically SO evocative; brooding and yet somehow hopeful.
I think that's me lately: brooding and yet somehow hopeful.

We have dealt with so much since coming here and it has really tested me at times.
  • The move was punctuated by the fervently unhappy sound of felines and hills that threatened to stall our vehicle.
  • We lost one of our family members, our sweet Daphne cat, to the uncaring Highway 100.
  • Our big dog Penelope ended up being worse off than we thought and needed to have her leg removed to stop the cancer. I'm so glad she is well now.
  • We've had such tight times with money.
  • I've wrestled with my sense of identity and purpose and self-worth.
  • We are having to deal with a housemate that has a largely fictitious sense of reality. We are striving to make her come back and remove all her things.
  • We have sought and sought for places that allow people with pets to rent.
I was talking to Stephanie last night and wondering if this is what pioneers feel like?

Bruce recounts all the things he's seen and asks where his pastureland is, amidst the dark valleys. He wonders if he should loosen his grip, will he take flight? Will he be swept away?

I guess I wonder the same thing at times.

I recall a picture I saw online somewhere. Here, let me share it:

...well, I DO believe that.

Before this adventure, I knew that it was going to be an adventure and it's been that for sure.
I have to remember that adventures are by their very nature, often frightening things. The adventurer sets off after something and along the way is caused to suffer at times and break open. How else can the caterpillar emerge as the butterfly if it doesn't undergo this transformation?

I find myself wrung out and feeling spent at times and know only that if I don't keep treading water and/or swimming, then I will surely sink.
I will have none of that.

Sometimes I feel like I need to hold on tight to something...anything, to try and retain my sense of security at the uncertain times.
This reminds me of how fruitless it is to be grasping. Buddhists speak of not grasping, trying to hold onto ANYTHING because EVERYTHING is impermanent.

So, I see now why I gravitate toward this song right now. I am amazed and in awe of all the things I have seen and experienced thus far in my life; all the things that have led me to where I am right now.
I see myself grasping and trying to hold on in this flurry of circumstances and I ask myself, if I loose my grip, will I take flight?

Isn't that what I want...to emerge from my constraining chrysalis, spread my wings, loose my grip and take flight?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I want to share this amazing music with you guys. I met Miranda Rondeau when she performed a beautiful song for us on her 18" snared frame drum as a part of the opening ceremony of the Gaia Festival, a labor of love that my dear friend Kris and I partnered on back in 2007 & 2008. Miranda is a gentle, quiet and compassionate woman who transforms into a sumptuous, grounded, flowing and powerfully decisive Goddess when she picks up her frame drum and finds her voice. I remember sharing our stories of how we found the frame drum that weekend in California. We both were inspired by the same woman, Layne Redmond, to begin learning and working with the frame drum. Miranda had taken one of Layne's workshops some years earlier and I took Layne's "Bee Priestess Frame Drum Training" at the Kripalu Institute- and both of our worlds were opened. Miranda, of course, has excelled from a student to a teacher. I'm still learning. Enjoy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Life: It Gets in the Way.

Life has been moving faster than I can keep up with lately. I'm being pulled, pushed, scrunched and squished into making decisions and just plan "dealing" with stuff because of massive deadlines and emergent issues. As of my last post, we had lost our housing with no viable alternative with an exit date in our current place of November 1st; and had just dealt with the immediate and necessary amputation of our dog's leg to save her life.

Fast forward a week. If you could see my life fast forwarded in Guy-Ritchie-esque mode right now, you would see something like this: chop! ouch! tears... scary haunted house! ooooh nice house but too expensive... batten down hatches for Hurricane Sandy... tears... oh, that was a big bust (for us)... asshole landlord didn't like cats... tears... housemates now an option! perfect house! infection... crazy dreams... tears... TODAY.

So, basically, we found a house, lost the house, found another (really haunted) house, decided we'd rather live in our car than have to live in that house, found another house that was the perfect fit, but when we went to put a deposit down on the house the landlord acted like a total dick and professed his absolute loathing hatred of cats (we have 3) so we were back to square one. All this with ONE day to go.

Luckily, a wonderful woman reached out and extended the offer to rent a lovely condo unit in a community called Prickly Mountain. It's a community full of crazy houses designed by crazier people. Perfect. It's expensive, so we're sharing it with two friends. I'm sure that at some point I'll share more on the experience, but so far we've all gotten along and have discussed boundaries and responsibilities. It wasn't something I envisioned, sharing a home with people I don't feel comfortable walking around naked in front of, but hey- at least it's not haunted!

Penelope is bouncing back pretty quickly. She went from being depressed and not eating to jumping up when she hears food being dished out and wants to sit smack dab in our laps again. She has a surface infection that hopefully will go away with antibiotics and frequent ice packs, but other than that our grrrl's life expectancy has increased from 3 painful months to possible multiple pain-free years.

I keep meaning to write more about my experience of living here in the Mad River Valley, but life keeps getting in the way. Maybe that's what I need to write about. Maybe the name of this blog should be "Life: It Gets in the Way." It's not that I didn't realize that being a tourist in a place is very different from living in that area, but a part of me thought I'd have more time to actually enjoy the amazingly beautiful land and community we're surrounded by. I do have some photos and experiences that I will share more on as things settle down. I don't want this blog to serve as a venting tool only.

The one thing this week that has really touched me and made me realize that we're all in this together- that we are not alone- is the amazing generosity of the friends, family and friends of friends and family who have given to Penny's vet bills fund. I didn't expect such an outpouring of heartfelt generosity from people! Someone I don't even know gave a huge gift! And some friends that I absolutely know have no money gave what they felt they could afford. That touched me more than I can articulate in a blog post right now. If I could give a huge hug to each one of you that's contributed, re-posted on your Facebook pages, forwarded emails, called, stopped by the house, I would. Maybe one day. But for now, you'll have to take my virtual love.