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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hiking With Demons and Dr. Suess


Silver Lake 6/24/13

"On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face your problems
whatever they are."
-Dr. Suess







There were 4 adults varying in age and 4 dogs. It was slightly overcast, but not cold. 
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Hiking is a very individual activity. You can't fake your fitness level.  You must dig inside yourself and mentally prepare to concur the mountain waiting before you.  The lure of a mountain top lake with possible snow on the ground in June, drew me in.

"And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along, you'll start happening too."  -Dr. Suess




The weather changed from pouring rain to sun and back. The dogs found snow patches and they played like puppies. 

Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneaker may leak." -Dr. Suess


Where I am happiest is by wild water.



"You can get all hung up on a prickle-ly perch and your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a lurch."  -Dr.Suess

 
 .
 
"I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you. "- Dr. Suess
 
I find hiking somewhat annoying. So many metaphors and cliches about 
climbing mountains versus attempts to achieve in daily life. It becomes clear that the more you over analyze and create self doubt about your capabilities, the slower you become as you proceed up a mountain. As is also the case in daily living. While on the mountain, there is a window of opportunity to acknowledge personal patterns and let go of the mind games.  I see transparent personalities with those I share this time with. There are the "go getters", the "stop and see everythingers" the "my gear is the coolest" the"OMG what was that sounders" the "This plant/mushroom is edible munchers",etc.
When starting out; I secretly dread the up hill climb as my personal battle. 
I am a "coaster." I like to roll with the flow, hang on the side lines and watch the world go by. I fly down hill, always on the flip side of life. I take my time and lean on diplomacy as my method of dealing in this world. I dislike confrontation. Fact is, you can't get through our society without a little juicy confrontations. Because if you don't engage, someone will inevitably run right over you. This is bad on self-esteem. This is not a healthy way to be and has the potential to flat line life progress. My personal demon.
Needless to say, I prefer reaching the goal of mountain top,(not so much the work it demands) the celebratory pride of getting there and the descent.
 
 
And here a dog finds her spirit. 




"So be sure when you step,
step with care and great tact and remember
that life's a great balancing act.
And will you succeed?
Yes, you will indeed.
98 and three quarter percent
guaranteed!
Kid, you'll move mountains."
-Dr. Suess
 
Sir, you remain the earliest great teacher that a child (and adult) could have.


 Thank you, from my head to my shoe...


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Freaky Alien Garden, Trippin' with Sade and Saying Goodbye.

Spring has arrived here in NW Washington state!  As the sun stubbornly hides behind grey cloud for days on end, I have found strange alien-like life forms in flower blooms....


Yea, baby! 


And my new favorite....A blue poppy when the sky is blue.


P. Dog and I are about to head out on an adventure. And as we prepare for a 12 hour drive south to look for a new home, I think of Sade. The music has traveled with me through time, bringing  comfort in ways that I find hard to articulate.  Along for as many life travels as I can remember, and many of those times in deep solitude.  The place where I tend to lose focus.
Sade herself, like a member of my own family has always offered me a new prospective while effectively denying me the self-prescribed pill of black dog (or crow) that I tend to hardily swallow by the handfuls.  No, it's not like I feel I know her, but in some way I do feel appreciative just knowing she shares the planet I'm on...I imagine her life to be very different from mine. It's another reminder of how I think the "not knowing" may be better than reality.  But, sometimes I think it would be so cool to just sit down and have tea with her.  Even cooler if she would agree to go hiking in the forested Washington mountains with us.  Alas, she would probably be checking her watch for the next flight out of small town america.  (Maybe I'd have better luck with Sir David Attenborough for tea and a hike?)
As I pack my bags and some boxes, the rain begins.  I hear an owl calling across the field in the trees I helped plant so many years ago.  The quietness of the country side seems to pester me for the blues. The traditional style blues of which I have a nice collection. This time I bypass the urge and pop in the latest Sade CD to relax the tightening fibres of obsession over silly unimportant details. I laugh when I think of the crazy girl crush I had on the sax/guitar player, Stuart Matthewman back in the 80's. The couple of years of tenor saxophone classes I took to try to sound like him. In my rented living room where the neighbors must have been going crazy as I played one measure a million times...Over and over trying to figure out what notes they were. I did earn a seat in a jazz band....It's a good memory and I still have the sheet music.
Sade's outdoor concerts circa late 80's in California. Fantastic. I still have a program for the "Promise" tour in my treasure box.
Sade,
wherever you are and wherever you'll be, please think of us too sometimes.  The tiny specks on the map whom you'll never meet. You continue to live on in their hearts.....Wherever life takes them.


And so we say "Goodbye"


To the fields in which we played, the mountains we climbed, the waters we swam, (and one time nearly drowned), the grass we ate, the beautiful state of Washington.  Crazy, beautiful, cool and windy. Many memories, but new experiences await.  The pets don't know the move is coming.  P. has had so much fun here in her 4 years of life.  I'll do my best to take care of everyone going forward.
Southern Oregon and northern California await exploration. Will write more as inspiration and time allows.               "Can she tame the beast that is her fear?"  -Sade
Yours,
M.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Farmer Whisperer and a bird of a miracle.

I'm about to share a story with you.  A story captured with pictures.  I was at home alone when out of the corner of my eye, I saw the cat run by heading for the bathroom where he released his occasional mouse offerings. I knew he'd drop the item in the bathtub and it may be in various stages of consciousness.  So, I grabbed my trusty mouse container and prepared for possible live capture.  Only this time, it was not a mouse. It was a tiny and fragile hummingbird.  My heart sank to see it laying upside down and only shallowly breathing.  I removed the cat, closed the door, and opened the bathroom window.  I figured I'd give it some time to collect it's barings and hopefully fly out on it's own, if it was able to.  However, at first glance, the situation seemed hopeless to me. 

Then farmer C. arrived. I mentioned the event unfolding in the bathroom.  He disappeared from view and then I noticed C. sitting outside with the hummingbird held tenderly in hands.  Something quiet and peaceful about C.'s concentration and this little hummer.   

 
Something told me to keep watching. Something special was happening.
 
 
I suddenly realized that the contrasts in this scene were
inspiring me. The size of man vs. tiny bird. The roughness of the farmer's hands vs the fragility of this soft bird. The sacrifice of compassion vs the will to survive. 
 
 
 
I stood in my hidden spot, watched and waited....









And waited.
And watched.


Until I couldn't watch anymore.  I left and came back periodically to check on them.


It was almost as if C. was trying to heal and encourage the bird.  Giving it a safe and warm place to gather the confidence and allow the life it had before. 




A private whisper for bird
from man.











Then after about 20 minutes just after I took this picture


It buzzed off!  A miracle!
Overjoyed, I ran outside and told C. how I had been inside taking pictures all along and how fantastic I thought that the hummer flew off, when I noticed C. had tears in his eyes....
I didn't mention it again until a few days later.  I asked him what had occurred between him and the bird during that time.  He only said, "I was concerned." I knew he had been a black belt martial arts teacher years ago and asked him if that's where his concentration was learned.  "You could say that." He replied.  "Was it a male or female?  Do you know?"  I asked.  "It was a male."  Hmmm, I thought. Maybe he was so mysterious because it was some sort of male bonding thing?   I'll never know...