I’d want comfort food

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This Starbucks is always so trashy.  I literally mean the tables always have crumbs and sticky, dried liquid on them and often straw wrappers or napkins are littered about on the floor or at least on a minimum of one counter or tabletop, too.  It is the one local to me and I rarely come here except for when my instinct, like tonight, says so.  Tonight when I walked in there was only one other customer and all the grody empty places to sit.  That’s when I realized, oh this is why I’m never here.

In Laguna Beach it would frequently get that way, too, but only after the certain times a day that the rush of tourists coming off Main beach needed their afternoon caffeine.  The employees there were always so good about getting it all cleaned up and put back together.  It was one of my two regular spots to write and be alone without loneliness.  I miss it, Laguna Beach, my lifestyle there, my independence, the so many places to go and simply be.  I think of it daily, lately.

Today it was stormy since noon. I felt drowsy, emotional, in need of rest.  I took a nap after work before therapy and knew before I even got to my therapist’s that when we were done I’d want comfort food.  I drove immediately to The Farmer’s Wife when we finished up for fresh fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy even though the mug outside hung thick as wet flour air.

I didn’t have my wallet.  Thankfully I figured this out before ordering.

In my car I called my mom to see if she felt like meeting me for comfort food.  She said, your dad just called and asked me the same.

So she got my wallet for me, and we all met at the country place that used to be Jody’s a while.  I sat across from my dad, my nose still stuffed from at least 8 or 10 tissues full of snot leak specific to him.

Life is surreal, its own weird storm.   Its own odd, ubiquitous light shining out of its clouds of grey.  Words, this is my co-created prayer to you–of you–of thanks for no matter the place, always yielding your own kind of quiet grace.

 

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And translates several feet around him

The madness up in me, a growl on the inside of my skin ready to be let loose on the kids looking at magazines behind me in the big box store.  Coffee shop visit after therapy, and so grateful I am for the routine.  Clouds dreamy and fast changing all week.

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In July once I was pregnant, the father nothing more than a boy in too big for him skin.  That is a myth of me like a linen kerchief in back of a closet in abandoned house on a field somewhere, full with wild flowers and green hills.  Clouds fat and white and inviting as pillows in the sky.  Linen delicate, the barely there stains for reasons you cannot know cause tenderness in your heart when you touch them. My vacation is here, it is July again and I did not go to Brasil.

The man in the corner talks to himself.   It is off-putting in a way that is brooding and translates several feet around him as a palpable radius of danger.  In Laguna the street kids were chummy, and the two homeless folks with the most flamboyant single-sided conversations were people who also chatted regularly with me.  We were on first name basis.

I am thinking about Laguna a lot lately, about the importance of having a room of one’s own.  A desk comes, and I spend the first day of my second week off from work crafting poems and parceling words.  The bookshelf built into the wall is now full on the top shelf with novels I will read and complete, each one a piece of fruit meant to slake a thirst that also makes me feel clear and clean.  The fan drones sleepy and content and I am delivered to a peace I may have known only in childhood.  An empty ease, with space enough to hold promise. There is so much, there once was anyhow–to still to be felt into, plucked from the air.

In therapy I finally bring up Kevin and the boys from the beach, and near the end mention in an off hand way that Kukta just died the other week. I am wow’d still that there is nothing there, no bruises left or felt.  Just the facts, another one dead.  Same ol myth.  She reminds me the goal is for thoughts and feelings to align. I just want to get here, to write.  To trust myself unto my rhythm, to take my time.

Scars are scars I tell myself, and can go for years with the tissue numb, just under thumb.  Other times there is meltiness, stain.   There is gasping for air and the feeling you may choke.  I never know what I am going to know until it is time.  So I write poems.  In one I remind myself: the axiom what you resist persists means that to resist is to deny.

I know.

 

A surprise for you coming

 

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On the banks of the French Broad in the hills outside Ashville the reception is terrible and whole days will go by without you even noticing this if you’re there for the national forests like me.  I went there in the Spring, when the river is brown and so high with winter melt the first site of rushing white caps evokes a natural awe, close enough to terror it quickens the breath.  I made my peace quick, in part because the churning reminded me of frothy chocolate milk.  That and the old growths there, the sleepy yawn of stretched out lazy Appalachian afternoons had captured my heart.  I paused at every new violet, every fairy white cap that made the sandy banks there as winter would.  I gathered them, enchanted, blessed them, heard the giggles of the sweetly fresh Spring breath tinkle as fae bells in the wind.  By the time I was home I had an entire wild-crafted blend.  And I find myself surprised, today, to look back on the pictures, and remember I used my 35 mm to document it all.

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The prophetic way, I find myself thinking, I used to use w o r d s to see into the underbelly of life. Seeing the pictures today it’s easy to understand why my heart yearn answered Go South…when leaving the beach I ask my soul where my whimsy felt led.  It was such a long time is all I can think, such a long time for a solo drive. In truth, I made the home-haul in one afternoon and settled in to the Palm Tree Inn just as the sun was setting a fierce yellow in my sideview mirror. I was south of the tunnel-bridge that puts you onto the peninsula where I live by just an hour when I stopped there, delighted by my road instincts that sat like a round cushion in my heart, all apple cheeked and taunting there’s a surprise for you coming, right at dusk.  Sure enough, the Palm Tree Inn was sitting there on the right…I breezed passed it and felt my instinct a shaft like quick under the hair wind go hold on~and glanced back and thought, could it be?

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My god, the Palm Tree Inn, where I stayed in 2011 when I last took off to live on the road.  The wandering trip of seven months that left me off eventually to burrow into Laguna Canyon–my first and only unto my own tiny little hobbit home.  That first night, a $40 motel room an hour off the peninsula, which back then to me was still its own mostly foreign land.

I turned back, got a Dairy Queen hot dog some oj and called it a night. The rooms had gone up $20. Fucking internet and social media making commerce out of e v e r y t h i n g.  And that, maybe, is the surprise I came here for now.  To remind myself, remember?

Go south, huh?

The words are priceless.  Freedom of soul the only real gold~

It is too early to tell

For some reason I like it here, Big Bookstore have to travel through several miles of concrete sprawl to get to and it is hot today, July hot in May, mug wall choke dust in the throat.  I don’t mean to and won’t complain.  It was so cold for so long I’ll take anything that doesn’t jangle my bones or prick my fingers with the tiny stars.  Just with July hot in May the heat fumes are surface stuck and release on impact of rubber to tar.  So traffic feels a long time extra and your destination not totally worth it when you arrive.

But here I am, came to write~came to blog.  Something I can do, one of the only things there is, just for me.  For no one else to feel the fever dissipate up and dissolve off the muscles behind my collar bones.  For me no one else knows about.  For me to see me, or to not, or in this case, admit I don’t know what I am looking for at all.

I leave therapy less certain than when I arrived but feeling better anyway.  No, there’s no reason to dredge it up, but in the middle of last night still there was childhood anxious and afraid ringing its hands.  Twisty gut and heart pound.  I want to blame it on Brasil but know that Brasil is not the cause, is more the cure.  Ten years of avoidance, insecure attachment looks ambivalent as hell when you’re doing the dance~

Or sexy as hell, and the boring premature let down orgasms that come with that lame same ol same ol pretend there’s more to it than that nonsense.  Time waste. That’s what I have to show for 10 years?  I smile and even my therapist agrees, the ambivalent defense at once also mechanism of my own vision. Enough so that I also built–no man could stop me–my dream come true~

And that’s what scares the shit out of me now.  If you were here would you pathologize it?  Is this my own self sabotage?

It’s true I am so fuckn ready 

to cut and run.

Chugging along concrete stop starts too much traffic for even switching lanes.  Feels right, feels exactly like exactly where I’m at.  No more time to waste.  Go, and don’t look back.  Only this, this one singular precious life~ 

And in the imaginal space the image is wayyy up, cliffside, upon the precipice, on the edge somehow, again?  Beholding the all the all the all there is to see.  Way down happy valley below, a place I have come to in journey before, soulscape of him and me.

Of what could be my whole new world?  It is too early to tell.

this doesn’t change a thing

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Writing to write feels good, thankful for this.  My little outlets, little corners of privacy all my own.  Back of an alcove used to be a cave some time ago I must’ve lived a thousand years back, my herbs drying in the eaves beneath twig rafters of private shelter built into back of an earthen dome.  I told vern i will put a garden in your back and by the end of the summer you will believe in fairies too.  We stood for ten minutes not talking much just mesmerized by the magic hour light in the tall pines.  Me part gnomey hedge witch part tinker bell who lives just up from you on hobbit lane~

I am so tired.  I love a man who lives 3000 miles away.  I didn’t think I loved him and pushed him away for three weeks actually telling him for us it was done.  He said when I did it this doesn’t change a thing.  I couldn’t not think I’d made a mistake so finally i reached back out and then i guess it was four or five days after that, right in the middle of the day not thinking at all about him, actually sitting w a friend, right there in the middle of nothing related I realized I loved him.  It was just all through my body every doubt and uncertainty gone.  I did not hesitate to tell him.  It is the first man I have loved in 10 years other than Josh.  He loves me too and it is weird for us if I have to guess, for me for sure and him too, to know what to do.  He said come to me. It is good timing to love him and not be able to go to him, it being tax time and getting my papers right as I can with my non-profit.  I throw myself into the days I don’t hear from him and have to pretend in my heart it doesn’t matter and boy do I get my numbers and dry paper shit     D O N E.  It feels good, feels somehow life giving, to switch lanes like that and be able to come back knowing I don’t have to hide or defend my feelings or figure them out, just be and back burner us for a bit, til we find each other again, and it rolls ever on.

He will come to me later I know this, but family is his priority now and in the meantime he has time to finish school.  I respect both of these things.  I do not know if he will come to stay.  I think the fact I love him is important enough to consider compromising how to make it work because in 10 years love does not happen easy, not if you’re busy living, and getting after life how I do.

It is good to have days off, next week I’ll travel down the Shenandoah on that Appalachian line that is back bone of the east and home to me.  I love that part of the country and more am eager for where I’ll land when I’m done, even though those mountains, the smokies–other side of them driving in frenzy zig zag is what got me feeling the tug w e s s s t across all of Tennessee…that was 2011, how I drove and drove and left the smokies behind and that dirt at the edge of the Mississippi river timeless and liquid and immobile and me running hard driving hard not knowing where i’d sleep that night, the dirt in the orange of the dirty dirty terrible mug of the Tennessee sky.  My brother and his lady were just married and lived there in nashville, they’d just moved before I’d left to go on the road, and I wanted to go stay awhile with him, stay and love his wife, really love her before I left and she was first pregnant at that time, too.  We talked about me staying there with them, this was before they broke up of course and the heart slaughter that so often equates d   i   v   o   r    c  e, and sometimes i wish more than i know that i’d had that chance, by the time i was home it was too late, they were done but didn’t know it yet but you could feel it to be with them, and it was hard to see over or through the walls between us all by then, too

So somehow maybe i knew all that even back then and i ran, and fast as i could i went until it was big, past nebraska and arkansas i ran, with heat stroke from running through both, until finally it was texas big

The sky i mean, which the first time you see it that bigness is like a taste of the sky, if you could i’m saying–like taste the sky–it tastes like the lightest hint of sweet sweet lightest cream, but a big pie slice of it, that taste, because it’s everywhere, all you see

I miss things and the way they used to be, and also, this is the sacred center of mist dream, the part where what was is no longer and what is yet is still yet to be

Vern takes me to town to drop my clothes off at the thrift store.  It’s in a part of downtown where magic still runs down the boards, it showed up for half a beat, i thought to film it, i’d only film it and send it to him i thought further, which i didn’t want to do, then it was gone.  Instead in the thrift store the synchronicity is stronger than any I’ve had, and I know I must quiet myself, I must pray.

And my life, dear god my precious life, I will go wonder over and wander a minute, silent and quiet and seeing what I can see

and when I return I will do more work, because when it is that you hit a stride in life where what you love is what you do it is not work it is showing up each day to see what life paints out there on the artist’s line.  And I will travel more, and i am eager to see what that means, where i will go

That said I have a finish line I am determined to hit. Sometimes it is ribbony and wistful, waving in the wind.

And sometimes like now I can’t see where it is.  So I’ll travel on and trust instead in what’s to come?

Year 42

It’s ancestor season, and now that Beth’s gone my life is settling into the kind of re-translation that only happens when those closest to your soul can be with, and witness, all of you.  In this I am so blessed.

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We woke up last Monday tummies still full from Thrasher’s and Dumser’s my head just full of salt.  The final week of second seeeaasunnn did not disappoint and I was mesmerized by the Timing of Beth’s arrival with the peak week of October sun.  It was new moon that day, we went to the community garden, and sure enough basil and late bloom lavender coming in.  Besides the thyme that is the centerpiece in my garden, I couldn’t have two other herbs that are closer familiars so for them, untended, to be so fertile under the final harvest cycle’s moon…

Again.  The dizzy way my heart is touched by the smallest blessings, and in these walking tiny miracles, I place all Faith.

It has been a year of horrible fuckery and I am not in the least talking about culturally.  The fertility moon that kicks off growing season I got to lead the ritual of marriage in a sacred Los Angeles oak grove for the single sister in my life that tends the darkest depths with breadth and width the same scope as me.  Later that night full moon dreamy white on the valley center of fields of flowers and trees, while at their wedding reception, I got the text from my A.M.Y. that her brother had odeed.   It was 10 days after Gretchen, my recovery mentor of 14 years, the women literally responsible for keeping me responsible to the woman I am and continue to become, had died. With these back to back losses so close to the heart of my own very personal walking resurrection…Honestly I don’t remember anything until July, the new moon prior to first harvest, when I tapped out and went back to earth for a week.  To remember how to breathe.

Beth knew my Gretchen very well.  Was in fact a mentor of sorts to her.  Today on facebook–Beth also is an avid devotee of FB, which re-opened my heart in a way I didn’t expect to beauty of that platform, the gift of 2018 and having a 10 year documentary of my own life, and the life of like everyone I have ever freakin loved and cared about–right there in digital form–anyway digression aside today on FB there was a picture of me at the white wolf sanctuary where she Gretchen spent so very much of her time.

This I found while the ancestor candle burns on my alter, giving so very much love and thanks to her.  Her memory, her legacy.  My deepest honor.

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White wolf pic.  Wolf medicine is teacher.  The wolf pin forgetful gave me, on the medicine bag my A.M.Y. made me years ago.  Reminds me always–since my awakening to the women’s work came in the form of Women Who Run With Wolves–that God blessed me to serve the world with this good work, at least my little corner of it.  How I actively work each day to make and remake it because if you were given a gift the best way to say thanks is by using it as much as you can.  How none of it would have happened, all those years of only trusting my inner guide as my light towards the women’s work, without Gretchen.  Always:  keep going.

One of the axioms of the women’s wisdom way is cycles of 7.  Seven years ago right now I was living in my car in Norcal, just starting my California Adventure.  About to total that car, on the phone with Gretchen, driving up the 101 in the season’s first rain. Spinning out and getting knocked out, coming to in oncoming traffic. It was how Mama California initiated me in.  Forced me to give up everything with which I’d came.

In March I’ll complete my 7th 7 year cycle.  Year 42 will complete. I am living, actively, my best life ever right now.  I look around, my world.  My Tribe.  Lord mama my Tribe.  How deep.  How real, true.   How sure and sound.  Guess what? Being human includes an awful, awful lot of fuckery.  It just does.  White wolf medicine.  Medicine of faith, and unconditional love.  The medicine of teaching, which is just being open with how you live.

Choosing this, day after day.  Faith so often is very simple.  I think of my mom.  The ring she gave me on my first year sober anniversary.  With the feet.  Bc, feet don’t fail me now.  Feet don’t fail me now.

Just keep going.

No matter what~

 

That is the meaning of Love

Srsly, two ads to skip through on YouTube?  And blog platforms selling space to third parties on your own site.  I think back to living on the road 2004. Brown sign road trip dropping out in the high elevations outside the Flatirons, west outta Boulder, Colorado.  We didn’t have internet phones then no one did.  We got around North America–south across Canada in the midwest, down Baja, Mex, in the south south west–all with a map.  And much instinct.  We learned about the metal tenseness at the base of the neck, that blinging pulse in the temples as signs:  DO NOT. GO. HERE.  NO.

This is when I discovered how good it is to be your bare self out there, how and why to lose your cleanliness to Nature.  How important this is. Power of fire against body that’s being made fresh by running snow water and from sleeping beneath stars. I was ten days at least up there bathing from tupperware tubs and cooking on the grill or propane burner or in live flame, and before that, there’s a river out of Fort Collins I swam in daily, and few showers between all this.  Sounds gross maybe to you but I am telling you, this part’s key.

It is Wednesday when I start this post, early morning.  I wake up to an unexpected cancellation and the space of S P A C E, ol Catfish got Van Morrison calling me you know, all sorts of Irish mist on the air and random internet radio or youtube music to match.  Tich nat hahn finds me, then, same flow.  It is right, aligned with the living heart that’s living its way out through me.  Now it is Monday and I will delete most of what I wrote Wed and Fri too.  Or not delete, just, file.  I am grateful I am writing this much again. I have soo freakn much cooking now under the surface, lots of hot coals baby and how coals what keeps the fire burnin all night long. And it’s been a while for me since the pitch of all that is pinned in place by the W o r d s and ohhh, the sea…

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado, at a campground called Kelly Dohl is where I learned of the relationship to the W O R D S and nature, I dropped out and learned to speak e a r t h You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship you have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change your life. Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, that the Earth is only the environment. That is a dualistic way of seeing…  Tich Naht Hanh

After TNH and Van Morrison and catfish who run the same songs often, well then I found a pic from my homeward journey across Gateway 50, 2015.  Little two lane that runs from Sacramento to the Atlantic.  I grew up eyeing the sign in my little beach town that says Sacramento, CA 3073.  So for sure I drove it home when the winds picked up there in Laguna Canyon and told me to go.  Which is not the same story as this.

I went back to my sacred space today! and guess what no one was there! Haven’t been there all summer blughhh.  Except four did come ambling down with this awful telephoto lens camera and all the all the all the tourists showing up like this, these days.  But I heardfelt them coming then sensed at the birds and eel grasses thick as rope and slick got away and hid among the tidewaters where they could not see and then they, like most, decided ah nothing to see here and ambled off back from where they came.

I cannot believe how fast the summer went. I lost time, a bunch of it, after Gretchen and Joey though.  That just only now feels like it’s making some sorta space and sense in my heart, to be honest.  Like the sweet burn of breath when I am alone and confront September, the grey tones and blue green grey of only in Maryland in this certain place shade of blue green grey.

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route 50 east, Colorado, 2015

On my way across 50 in 2015 coming home I had a spiritual experience again in Colorado, this time at the Continental Divide. On that trip, knee high in snow, standing among the fourteener’s I had this pristine reckoning with how much, how quickly, can change.  Then the next day how I watched the terrain slowly, steadily flatten out, and surely, I was east.  

I knew because I know her speak.

So to breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it, realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Not to cut the tree not to pollute the water, that is not enough. We need a real awakening, enlightenment, to change our way of thinking and seeing things. When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born. That is the meaning of love, to be at one.  Tich Naht Hanh

 

Anyway I’m grateful for my soul tribe

Husband came to town. He stayed with me the first night even though the festival gave him a room for the weekend.  It was grey and partly rainy during the day then just gray and thick when he got here and by then night had, too.  We went to the island and bonfired and in the middle of singing Dylan–which cmon really when was the last time you sang Dylan around a bonfire so wholesome you know?  The mosquitos bit a sudden certain way, and the wind changed and I knew it would storm.  Get up we gotta go I said and by the time we were in the truck big droplets of rain were on the windshield.

From there on it’s sorta been Hurricane? Which is…tense.

In the morning I sewed a button on his shirt.  We made shmry jokes about proper husband wife roles.  After talking binary breakdowns and being severed from the earth’s one soul standing on our feet in the kitchen drinking coffee and honey tea for over an hour.  Wife showed up about an hour after that.

Mostly I am thinking today about love, and lovers, and I have had dear dear friends who are also long term lovers, and separate from that, long term friends, too, friends, I can look back on over the years and say wow, all this time…  And oh my god I don’t fail to fall more and more in love with these people, sometimes or maybe especially when I am not at all expecting it.

I’ve had some power times this year with a number of these soul fam people.  And how it always surprises me, those red hearts falling out of the sky over their heads into my heart, shoot blasting out of my heart, too, back at them into their hearts, but also back past their own heads, zipping red and pink gold glitter across the sky.  And the little round fireball of explosion of them this sets off in my own heart all over again for me to carry around of them.  Too.

Anyway by now we’re all at the folk fest which has many tents and is big in a small, charming way. We dance and experience music across the globe and different acts from around the state.  Husband is made for emceeing and he ought to host husband night back home in the city in one of his spots.  For real.  Repping his people it’d be right.  We eat and walk and yes dance more, me and wife, and mostly laugh a lot and I talk my big tripped out rambles at her which is part of what we do and then like, my Hank Williams side showed up and it’s all blue grey twilight out and so did the rain, too, then, show back up.  So we were on the way out,  listening to the Treme gospel brass band twirling our umbrellas, and I felt so zany and high all the way back to the tall pines.  We shmrrd on the couch and ate more food and then I kept falling asleep while I was eating, too.

Then yesterday was yesterday nymphs on the windy wild island but that is for us, not here, because like I said. W I L D and

I so wonder what this storm will bring.

Anyway I’m grateful for my soul tribe~

me an wife

Here’s wife and me.  When we were younger.

what i’m listening to rn put a light on generationals

September Love Song for My Elder Who’s Gone.

Like, no one ever said it would be this hard.  Grief.  Grieving.

Grieving  is one thing.

Living life an entirely other.

Here’s a weird thing.  The neurosis of writing.  Every time I take to the words again after it’s been a while I hear my haters.  My imaginary haters!!  HAA!  How funny is that?? Like they don’t even have faces for god sakes just like, outlines in thick black like a cartoon drawing of gray globs around my heart.  But those drawings sprocket rain and whispers above my head several inches if I am too still for too long once I start to write.  A spot there above my head and one in my heart that both fill with loud dark noise.

September blue so good it’s bad for how it breaks my heart.  Or rubs me funny where old heartbreaks left their permanent mark.  Meaning ok, so.  Besides being different, entirely, grief and living sometimes are the exact same.  September the sparkled blue of a draped naked sky, sky hanging there odd oneness of only itself. Gahhh September at the sea.  It takes my breath.

After the last sabbath this year I will close down Wild Women Wisdom because I’ll be teaching.  I am up to write in the late part of nearing dawn night, because the owl was hooting and it is first time barn owl’s been out my window since before it grew hot and so I sat and felt into the tall trees out the screen, felt into the sky vast night.   On Saturday after dusk in the garden cutting herbs we heard screech owl for the first time too, and immediately I made my friend a rosemary crown and we called that magic down.

Usually owl puts me to sleep but as can happen other times her insights flooded me and the words came on, and tomorrow is Beautiful Friday which is likecreative Red Tent day and so, here I sit.  I would like to write on this platform more and hope to, too, since my other site is almost done.

I was leaving the convention center Tuesday night thinking about Fish Powell and Boardwalk Elvis two very different but equally iconic elders in beach city.  They both died this year, Mayor Powell just last week.  I was at the convention center because that’s where people in recovery go in September.  Next thing I knew I was driving the loop in the tall pines because I needed to cry and the hush sound in the tall pines of insects and muffled stars is the first full stillness I ever knew and it still and always provides me at nighttime that same soothe.  Anyway I needed to cry because I missed Gretchen so dang bad but it took til all the way til I got home sitting in the driveway with the sunroof open in my car, engine turned off, for them to come.  Just the star breath that the pine needles breathe and my tears which hurt but felt like peace.

Because in her absence I just can so, so see who she helped me create.

I cried when Boardwalk Elvis died, too.  Just a bit, because it wrenched.  It wrenched in my heart because I know what it means when icons die.  EXPECT MUCH CHANGE.

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Boardwalk Elvis receives the key to the city, a week before his passing in June.  Image I saved from the Coast Dispatch, sorry don’t know which photographer to credit

 

September, beach city where I first fell in love with death. In that way that love and obsession get mixed up as the same.  I wrote about this once.   The first September I ever lived here clean, I couldn’t help it, I had to write about 1995 and eating spaghetti downtown at one of the carny’s I met working on the Pier.

She was a crackhead and that premonition gut chill I had after dinner and the thick throated back of the neck sweat I felt around drugs for the very first time.  The charm of quaking blue, those ten million different shades of sea and sky September days that fool you into looking past the wisp steel grey warnings that slip in side by side.  Winter’s sneaky tells.  It was the first September ice grey day and the first time I ever remember salt turning on me, too.  The distinct brine that always made me a little high.  How that inlet brine on a cold sky when humidity suddenly drops away will turn to sulphur and make you feel a little sick.

September you Fool.

And also, how nice it is.  I mean how bittersweet but real, so joy-ringed at the edges I am to see you.

My goofy heart.   Gratitude’s a funny sage.

Don’t waste a day of this, I so often used to think when I’d get off the phone with her.  I’ll never not hear-feel her voice in that certain special way in my heart. Somehow Gretchen always made me feel so powerfully equipped to live the best out of each day I get to be alive in life.

Anyway, I mean it, September. It’s good to see you.  Sky’s the limit’s a September medicine, too.   It’s damn good to have that back, because it’s true.

 

images this week, where i live

Sometimes that means listening to someone else’s problems. Amy’s Five Things.

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“My Amy” or “A.M.Y.”, and me, OCMD, 2015

My Amy.  Who routes me ever back to me.  Who taught me to walk Honesty, and Begin Within…

and most of all, Begin, Again.

Just so I’d have something, anything, to give away to her that made some sense.

That could soothe the crazed hairiness of both our ever chattering brains.

Amy lived underneath me on Wash Ave, when I was still in college in Chestertown.

The first time we met she wanted my number because I shared in a meet-in about how I’d gotten a card in the mail from myself that day.   That little anecdote, according to her, suggested to her that just maybe she wanted, as is said in those recovery rooms, “what I had.”

Only other young sober person back then.  The ordinary miracle? Life moved her in, crying ass baby, barking ass dog, right there into that spot I lived at on Wash Ave, just underneath me.

Her foot sounds on the stairs of that old farmhouse turned apartment building, chaos and pounding her way into my all the way at the top little attic pad.  I was 23?  24?  I’d hear her coming and pray the same quick prayer, every time:

Direct my thoughts and actions.  Help me be of service as you’d have me~ Said in my mind, said in a flash, right before she’d burst in.  Plug her baby monitor in.  Light up a smoke.  Sit down with me at the kitchen table where we’d light endless cigs.  Again and again.

Those were the days I could and did live on kale, black beans, apples.  Coffee and cigs. Brown rice and granola. $17 a month spending cash.

Amy said to me yesterday, “I just keep telling them ‘the five things.’”  We’re on the phone, I’m coming out of Cambridge, Gateway 50, heading east and ocean bound, home.  Returning from the city and Artscape, the street festival where I have memories which go back all the way back to being just knee-high.  I don’t know what five things she’s referring to, but she shares a memory of our early years, the Wash Ave days, back when her now college freshman daughter was 18 months old and her only kid, back when Amy and me were the only young, sober drunks in that whole town.

I am weepy with the fullness of this, with reflection, as my Amy explains the five things she daily tries to impart to the young girls she is mentoring.  The other reason I was over there, on the other, urban side of the Chesapeake, was to attend the bridal shower of another soul sister who used to sit around that same Wash Ave kitchen table with me all the way back then.  I will return to Chestertown in September this year to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  Her celebration Saturday was the most meaningful, traditional celebration of a bride-to-be I have ever attended.  A circle of heart felt laughter among women, strangers who knew each other or didn’t, connecting over the ways our common living-ness connected us, or didn’t.

Amy tells me the five things arose from one of those kitchen talks, and I am nodding before she’s even done explaining them, the good kinda salty body remembering.  A brimming, chesty nostalgia connecting me to Shaman Bob, who came as clear as if he were still alive and stood between me and my soul sister at her bridal shower on Saturday as she and I connected tearfully over her own memories of her own spiritual path, of when and how it all began back in Chestertown, all those years ago.  Shaman Bob, who will always be my first real spiritual mentor, who I continue to thank and connect to when I light those candles and pray my morning prayers, because he was the first to teach me that spirituality is about just that: Connecting.  To the sense, the experience, of infinite human spirit within.  To seeking to share that connection, to embody it, to It being something you can impart.

How it all comes down for me today to connecting to that when each new day comes on.  To beginning that connection, all over again.

After she is done explaining her five things, I can’t help it.  I have to tell her.

What those girls need, honey, is steadiness.  I’m not so sure it’s about what works or what doesn’t as everyone is different, I’d say it is about picking something that works, and committing to it.  I see Amy then in the same minds eye place as I saw Shaman Bob over the weekend.  I see her and it is almost two decades ago, she is barely 21, she is a child she is a mom, she is raising herself.  She is raising me.  She comes pummeling into my kitchen, Wash Ave hip jut so sharp it could take out an eye, cigarette already lit before the last ones out, talking, talking smoke and shit and stress and laughter until the smoke and all the words are run all the way out.

I tell her, that’s all I did.  You know these girls they just need steadiness where they’ve had none.  Something they can return to, it’s what I needed, you know?

I don’t say, it’s what Life gave us, to give each other~

Instead.  Yea just pick something that works, anything that does. Begin within, I am thinking. Be honest with yourself.

Begin again~

…And keep sticking to it, taking action.  A little bit of foot work that they can rely on, that’s what they need.

I see my own self, lighting a candle in the morning when I go to my meditation chair, my sacred space.  Thanking my ancestors, thinking of Bobby Ray. Thinking of staying the course.

You get what I mean?  I ask her.  Totally she says.  And I do love your five things, those are really good ones I add, and the energy changes, and I can sense that it’s nearing time to hang up.

Til the next time, then.  Amy’s Five Things:

  1. Read your literature
  2. Call your mentor
  3. Pray
  4. Go to a meeting
  5. Be of service (sometimes that means listening to someone else’s problems)

 

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