Look at the happy juniper! Miss Mama now requires supervised outside time due to her reverting to bird killing. It took me about three months to train her, a few years of good-girl not going after them and then an interloper cat about three days tops to show by example how she could Be instead. I take her out doors farther from the feed rocks and she's glad - so far - to just go on inspection tours together. It was about 20 degrees when I took the above pics - maybe quarter of 8 in the morning.
Yesterday morning - around 7:15. It felt imperative to step INTO the garden - all the way through the gate. To stand and feel the energy there. Remind myself how much of my own intentional YELLOW energy has gone into this space since last March. I saw clearly how the past season's 'human game trails' made throughout the season might solidify into a path more consciously made from what's there and how the plants move around the passageways.
grace names her young trees and I name the rocks the garden's earth offers. Every sacred space needs a dedicated male and female guardian pairing. These came from deep in the ground while J was digging the tomato patch. Lynne Margulis and Howard Zinn. LM was really deep in the ground and took J a sweaty hour to extract. They were undetectable beneath layers of vegetation during the growing season.
Am visualizing next April and early May ...
This morning the cat and I visited the scene of toppled prayers. I took some care and thought to rebuild: a more perfect union
and: finding stability enough to sustain a split foundation
A few hours later the cat wanted to go out again. This time we visited the stream
There's ice now as an ongoing feature. If you look at the water furthest away you can see how slow and thick it's becoming even within constant movement. This is SO different from two weeks ago when the stream rose far above the banks.
And then we went over to the frog pond and considered the holy union between then the juniper and the snowball viburnum. Also considered some winter pruning. So many plans, daydreams and necessary chores. A gardener is always inherently optimistic or at the very least willing to express hope in a few continuous seasons worth of growth.
(the Eye is still there at least to me... and i love how the sun is kind of heart shaped in the light distortion.)
Every once in awhile J and I recollect the afternoon he completed a previously slow-moving section of rock retaining wall repair. Back in March when we felt ourselves perpetually frustrated and certain we were being lied to or at the very least "handled" and soft-pedaled concerning the pandemic. I was surprised to see in this pic that we'd already put up two sides of the fence. It was a lot of high octane nervous YELLOW energy - I am what I prepare to become.
These plans are more quiet. Listening to what the garden itself might suggest. Listening especially to the sleeping beds of garlic and shallots. They remain covered. with a frosting of icy snow and their original two inches of mulch. In some places mulch remains. In others it doesn't. I worry what that will mean to plants left unprotected. But, realistically, the more I age the more important it will be to have developed colonies of hardy companions.
Mary's back where she belongs. It felt all wrong when she wasn't visible from the southern windows. Yesterday I fell due to neuro-overwhelm and news-related preoccupations. J is one hundred per cent plugged in and so a lot filters in as he follows me around filling me on a variety of provocative details. It's only fair. I've been doing it with him since the summer of 2015.
I keep thinking about what grace wrote: they stole Senator Warnock's day. Georgia's day, really. And yet it all still happened. Just like my crystalline happiness in the hours before I clocked in just in time to see the guy shouldering the confederate flag walking all around the place. Abrupt shift off consciousness doesn't begin to cover it, really. But still I came to everything from an unexpectedly gentle place. Even at the deeply internalized level it was definitely not what I would have expected of myself. I have stayed calm as I usually don't in the absence of Mind leading the way as it generally does.
Normally when my mind says I can't do that right now I panic really overtly. But this time I stayed calm and practical minded until yesterday afternoon. I had a purely physical emo-reaction - falling due to neuro-overwhelm and not fully inhabiting my body. It was a crash landing here in the studio. I tripped partially over my own two feet and also, due to the muscle memory of moving around a stack of magazines that's no longer there due to me worrying if I didn't get rid of it I might fall.
Here on the day after I'm far more in my body than I was! The good news is that it feels good to move and so far I'm not bothered too much by the fallout. Am achey in places that can be gently stretched with yoga. Also time to switch from ice to a hot shower. It's been helpful to move around outside - gently testing the edges of possible movement. And cold enough to keep inflammation in check!
next year's iris say hello. The iris essence I sent around came from very deep purple flowers. If you have it and find your yellow center wobbly or not as bright/grounded as you intend to be try working with this essence. Am guided to do it myself ...
Sunlight emerged so as to stay shortly after J and I spent the lunch hour roaming through the house rattling-out pockets of static energy, congealed emotional residue, and stray trails of darkness wherever we felt it to be.
J had his deer horn rattle and I brought these two cherished sisters to work independently and sometimes both together. The calabash/cowrie shell rattle is incredibly loud. Energy was dispersed. Particles stuck together every which way likewise dispersed. At times I sensed them changing form and kept thinking of Pam Gregory's ongoing reminder: Less Particle, More Wave.
Being the child of Summer that I am this is one of my happiest days of the year.
I've been alerted that Jim Morrison is not showing up again in the post below this one. It's just not the same without him - at ALL - so here's a look at the long fairly typical New England driveway at the house with the huge Black Lives Matter sign out by the road. Week before last I noticed they've added a Peace Flag with a very colorful background. A flashy relative of our more traditional rainbow Pace flag.
I was nervous about taking this picture same as last time but equally determined. I heard a very big sounding dog bark behind me and met a very wonderful - and quite enormous - white dog. I tried to find the breed online by searching on 'big white dogs'. The only pic I found of the one I saw did NOT have a breed name to accompany it. But that particular pup of the same unknown type was evidently named Annabelle.
The dog I actually met was friendly, covered with dry plant debris, and joyously - but perhaps not intentionally - unaccompanied. I got in my car promptly rather than lingering.
Drove on this road twice on Wednesday because the first time I couldn't find the apple pie add-on we'd ordered. It was difficult to accept so I checked everything four times to no avail. When I got home I emailed to see if she'd prefer to give us credit or have me write and mail a new check in the corrected amount. Seems her husband was helping out and put out our pie with the wrong name. Back I went to get it. We had two other pies but 'somehow' (side-eye at the person who declared it a somehow type of situation...) they were both more than half eaten by Wednesday mid-morning following our traditional family pre-Thanksgiving Pie Breakfast.
Both books above have been highly recommended multiple times. These two will be day time reading books during the 4-5 hours in the morning/noontime when my brain's all the way fired but not yet needing extra kindling every couple of hours. I need this 3-5 times a week to keep me grounded word-wise beyond fictionland as I'm writing it. One of my covid-based introspections as the third wave hits relates to how I went into the whole thing last winter with this base-line necessity mentality: gather ONLY what you only-need at a subsistence level. To the point where my first round shopping purchases were almond powder, garlic, ginger root, and compostable bowls. Period. Scaling upwards a ponderous increment at a time was a little mean streets in application for my personality's resiliency factor but then I got into this thing of loosening up in other ways but actively seeing how long I could go without buying any books.
Any time I got a recommendation or just saw something that interested me I'd grab something unread and read it instead. This kept me happy until spring. At that point I stacked up all the books I hadn't yet read in the house and here in the studio. This makes it sound a lot more like fictionland where this character - Trevor - has an undeniably serious Book Problem. Here in real life the overflow was and now remains containable. It's evolved and amplified sufficiently since this time last year. Currently I have 8 unread books in the studio - 5 of which are large scale art books of a sort best read and studied over time so that's what I've been doing with them for a few years now at the drip-drop super slow level.
Otherwise there are probably 20 unread novels and non-fiction books scattered throughout the house itself. I stocked up once I realized THERE IS NO PLAN and thus here I am prepared to live in the kind of cancerian always-home cocoon that I used to work hard to have the kind of retirement where that was my own tiny little personalized plan 85% of the time. It's just a 'way different cancerian mood swingalong kind of a thing when it's enforced and everything that's hanging in the balance is constantly making itself known.
For years I would justify this kind of recurring stash build-up as prep for a book reading emergency. I mean I've relied on some form of this excuse for periodic book gathering since I was in jr. high and had my first job. At a library. Where all the other nerd-girls who worked there spent all their money not earmarked for their bank accounts on books same as I did.
Being me I began to - what else - organize people around a central community building agenda. We bought different books so we could swap them around and each read more, more, more.
Books, is all I'm saying. books.
Since I finally have my brainwave/reading chops all the way back* I'm also planning to read two novels between now and winter socking-in enough that I'll need to read about gardens and nature full time. Rabih Alameddine is a strong fave novelist and this particular book knocked me out when I read it as a new release library book. Never have I more needed to read some kinda trickster-based word tincture than right now. Whatever this next perilous window of time may be like this book will 'work' at the drop-down personal level.
Okay - now for the post's dose of weirdness. I've had exactly two dreams so far in my life that involved a fictional character. One was about a month ago. A character named Ella appeared to suggest I read Mira Jacob's novel. She said it would give me real insight into her family of origin's oeuvre and thus who she is beyond her various purposes in the story. At the time I was struggling to actualize her to the point of readerly compassion rather than simply: Okay I immediately see what she's about. Except maybe you don't - perhaps not at all - unless I articulate additional fictional facts about her. People read for all kinds of reasons.
Power - for about the fifth time - will be my next morning read. Mo recommended Stasiland in comments somewhere and I've just started it as my evenings on the couch read.
have I mentioned loving books?
*We're two weeks away from the fourth anniversary of my brain injury. Spent a great deal of mental/emotional time during the first two and a half years coming to terms with the fact that I might not be able to read anywhere close to my former level.
I was going to post these pics morning before last when I took them but then I temporarily set aside my sense of humor in order to do some emotional housecleaning. There was an expressed need for me to introduce myself to 5-7 new blog readers. I said to the person who defined the need "how? what's the image context?" They told me to just show up as myself 'preferably unfiltered.' I chose to go first thing in the morning literal with that cue - while also getting a gleam in my eye because I thought this might be fun for my own version of an All of US (tm grace) if I threw in a couple of [bad. i know that. it's kind of the point...] deliberate imitations as well.
This is me spitting in the eye of the devil, so to speak, by imitating The Look our planet's most unfit miscreant gets on its face whenever our country's sole reliable voice of science is permitted to speak and it doesn't like what it's hearing.
Here I focused on soul-less down-dropped eyes but I have the wrong eyebrows and failed entirely to get the arrogant terminally malnourished-in-every-way inverted V of a mouth while declaring we'd all be rockin' by July.
it was SO EMPOWERING to do this rather than stewing about the context and innumerable results for just that block of time it took to handle my thoughts and feelings in this other kind of way.
It is once again cold and rainy. The images are three days old when it was warm enough to lie flat on the cement pool skirt with Mama. Took about a dozen pics from that angle. Above there's a pair of circling Turkey Buzzards. Was a little bit uhhhhh over the one on the left coming out as a kind of reverse aquamarine colored negative.
The flaming red maple is the tree that beckoned me to prepare an essence in the early spring. The towering honey locust on the far right was a stripling volunteer most inconveniently located. I discovered it in very late fall. I saw the leafless branching pattern and hoped it was an Elderberry. Now there is a second offspring honey locust growing in a less inconvenient spot.
yesterday I received a gift of what can only be called liminal proportions. It's the re-issue printing of the Emily Dickinson tarot deck from Factory Hollow Press. The deck is amazing in so many ways before it's even considered as a divination tool.
The deck is a collaborative effort of five women artists.
The rest of this post will focus on Halie Theoharides' interpretation of the major arcana. She worked from an insect palette.
the Emily quote below the card from a different deck* is a perfect match, imo, for the card backing artwork and the very dreamy way it feels to shuffle this deck. (*correlating to the traditional High Priestess card - the above is from the Greenwood Tarot deck). The Dickinson deck includes a card with just those words, as glimpsed above. Am considering putting it in the deck as a kind of wild card but maybe not until I see how I'm nudged to concretely relate to and with this deck.
On my creativity blog I mentioned writing fathers and also my sense of an entire tribe of writing mothers. I would see Emily as the reigning matriarch of that tribe although I never thought of it concretely until just now. I certainly think about her when I'm out wandering in our little field, the front lawn and house dooryards because it's the same landscape, essentially, that she knew. The same species of plants I love, nurture, and gather are framed on the wall of her house in the form of exemplar reconstructions of her original herbarium.
It's a beautiful morning to be outside but I'm waiting another hour or so to let more dew evaporate. It's going to be a big harvesting day in my efforts to get as much done as I can before the tomatoes rule my days, dreams, and nightmares. I know it's coming. Every evening when we go out to see how the day's been for the garden J looks at the wealth of steadily growing and ripening tomatoes and turns his head so I won't see his silent laugh.
In this interim morning off to loaf and laugh in my studio I also searched out a few images of Celeste in the field. Love the one above. It's very hard for a calico cat to be truly stealth in this kind of landscape but she let her wild & determined personality carry her along in its place.
This is kind of a weird choice but it's also perfect because J's campchair is in nearly the same spot as her memorial statue. Also because she's showing her affection while gnawing on the hem of his shorts. She loved doing this but only with J.
23 years is a long time for a cat.
she loved her place in our family and was determined to keep it.
and she has.
I was conscious of my own determination to hold fast to our bond. Cutting it was difficult. But as she left more fully in that moment I felt her telling me a summer would come when I'd find her everywhere.