Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm off to work with wood today, cut up portions of "dead" yet standing trees (in my book, living via the decomposing process), being moved toward the next incarnation via our involvement.

Splitting, stacking, bending, breathing the woodsy scent keeps me well, twice warmed and humbled by the awesome structure of the once mighty giant moving onto another level.

In an attitude of appreciation, the maul severs cleanly.

In a lesser frame of mind, the work seems almost to pick a fight and often wins.

Call me crazy.
I have lived a rather monastic lifestyle for many years in the heart of wild open country. Away from modern culture but always a student, I've learned to watch and listen to the landscape, a grand teacher.

The mirroring, echoing, synchronous delights that give a snapshot of the moment, informs our senses, and indeed winks occasionally in a pre-cognizant manner, is, and has always been available. Sadly, our two legged, upright "thin-slicing" species is rather rusty and cut off from the source. As moderns we experience the planet and all of it's systems predominantly as backdrop.

Too preoccupied with human business generally to work through personal growth, it's often left avoided until a crisis or a long steady decline demands attention be paid.

Working with Hospice clients, being open to how others have experienced their lives and prepare for death, is a privilege I recommend for everyone.

We can learn so much about life from each others stories and observations. Today, elders are left holding vast experiential knowledge with limited ways to pass it on. Once again, we cut ourselves off at the roots.

The evolution of soul is a timeless pursuit. But what else do we really have time for?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taking A Wednesday Posistion

Days are short. It's the end of October in the middle portion of the Northern Hemisphere, election year '08. The fall of change has been hard on this nation used to so much, hungry beyond satisfaction.

A fevered ring echos throughout the land. Many people feel it from within pressing out and certainly from beyond pressing in. A sort of frenzied desperation effecting every level of their lives causing them to behave in ways less than how they would if things were different.

When I step outside my door this dark, wet morning, a silenced hush is weighing more heavily than even the mighty hemlock and spruce can bear. Darkness has swallowed all visible detail but for the faint tracing of tree forms. Tremendous drops of snowy tonnage crash from the trees as a one or two degree rise cause the deep accumulation to slip from the branches above.

And all is as it is this perfect morning.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Sweet Nothings Blush

Home. I find myself in a near state of vertigo as four legged Steve Mason and I walk through the upstream cloud layers. This drenched landscape, thickened with early winter, settled and muted watercolor rinse, holds me with vibrant familiarity. I'm walking through the outdoors version of a deeply cherished love affair, tremulous to the core with the buzz of germination.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cabaret Of the Stars

I'm hearing the last of summer. The crickets slow their symphonic blend and range for a cooler dance. Sliver of a maid high above, veils and twirls, pale with abstinence and sure knowledge of her lovers dive toward the abyss. Irridescent shot to the side pocket in the southern sky graces me far below with a wink. I double step my own complicated backyard jig drumming with heels to hard pack, breathing freely.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tidal Surge

A funny approach to participating in this election is to go out and talk to Raven.
I suppose, but my feathered pal has never steered me wrong.

Little things: asked how to word a cardboard campaign poster to hang in my mother's front window. How to state our support for Obama and Biden in the presidential race for the White House that rings on a different note. An idea that works with our need for accountability.
How about the pull of gravity between the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. Original, renewable, reliable, predictable. Mix in the variability of weather and you've got a tremendous force.

Ride With The Tide. Not like floatsam and jetsam. Like Noah, or Starbuck, or Raven. Steady the course. Vigilance on deck. Mind the weather. Sound Captain. Able crew. Mind the tide for one hell of a ride. And remain clever enough to see beyond what's known. Plan past your own generation.

Raven rode out the flood, stole the sun, and figured out how to pester the man who sat on the tides and kept the world submerged. Raven hassled after him everyday, pestering, prodding, diligently, getting the old man off his duff until it became his new habit. Soon the very old dim one was able to move twice each day allowing the waters to rise and fall, providing more for all, sharing the wealth from the sea. Old Duff now felt it had been this way always. New habits learned. We all need them.

The gathering of energy that's accumulating throughout our nation, the COUNTER BALANCE to the greedy misuse of our resources and shaky presence in the world, stands a chance of coming into full play with this election. Even if you don't have money to contribute to the effort we can all share our hope for a healthier future with people who see things differently then we do. On the ferry, in the grocery store, at the post office, after school.

Every one's tired of the sinking ship, bailing rats, and eel infested waters.
We can turn this thing towards shore, make repairs, maybe even start a little subsistence garden market to employ the kids and grandparents.
The vote for Obama is continuing to gain momentum. Let's keep it moving.

For dessert, read a delightful telling of Raven's tale linked in the title/ Tidal Surge

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alaskan Voices; A Palin Dissent posted for Columbus Day

The temperature has turned quite chilly. The national stage may be generating lots of energy but the chill is palpable. Maybe folks need to turn off their air conditioning for the season. Put on a sweater and stir up a little tea or cocoa for the neighbor who's hair turned greyer this month.
If it's feeling like life is beginning to slide downward, or has long been scraping your bottom, know you're alive and care to have things different. I'm of the mind that frustration, disappointment, indifference, anger, even despair are a healthy range of emotions. They produce a kind of dark heat, a low register setting. Keeps the muscles taught, the stomach tight and edge raw. They can also amp into a coldness that becomes lethal.

Early winter. Many Alaskans this time of year are cramming the last few pieces of fire wood into their sheds, packing the remaining jars for the pressure cooker, getting the kids back into a school routine and securing additional job sharing possibilities to cover costs. It's a major pain to be losing sleep over our lesser relative moving out onto the global platform.
The barracuda made landfall and is slithering in the grass out there.

But the human heart is a triple warmer, a primary engine that can't produce action in nuetral.
Our numbers are small. We don't weigh in much on the national scene. But a hearty cross section gathered in the Juneau capital Friday. Hearts are shifting toward speaking out.

It would be good to see other vocal Alaskans, hit the library computer, brave the internet and post your opinions while you still have a chance. Posted on this blog are some great websites wanting to know what rural and urban Alaska really feels. I'll be writing more for submissions as well and will be glad to pass on your thoughts. Drop me a line.
Read Nick Jans article in, posted late Thursday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ootheca / Renewal 8/008

I've been waking so early, this day cranky, again. And this morning, last of morning glory blue, so sweet that birds laugh over my carefully hung laundry. Yard cat from the alley stays while I hang.

Autumn crawlers are thinking they've found a winter place to lodge but are now swept from the empty cupboards. Time for those to find other lodgings. This I decide.

I've made tickets home to the valley of snow. Peaks there are so invigorating, life always returns to right. Challenges deem workable.

I find her hovering around sleep, tired from too many years, the vanilla light has squeezed between roof tops, soaking her repose. My heart and mind take snapshots. Marking exquisite moments. And I'm lighting fires.

Heard your voice as you read an other's poem this radio morning. You forgot, for those few moments, all the other pressing things. So did I. We both crawled close to find the gentle undercurrent encoded in the lines, spring loaded for connection.

A Promise to myself. To go back to script, pocket and commit to memory. Add motion, lend my need to sing, down next to the river, resplendent in the the way that some poetry is.

Then, bring these days into the score. Ootheca in verse.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Away From the Dock: Drift From a Non-Hockey Mom

I've been firmly committed to Obama's run for the Presidency since early'06. That's when our 16 year old daughter chirped up to announce that she had found who she would vote for in her first presidential election. It was the sound of complete conviction that requires any parent to sit up and take notice. "Really!?, Honey, Who?!" That winter, every night on the way home, she and I navigated the snowy highway as we listened to The Audacity Of Hope,

We've always kept our isolated lifestyle informed about the larger world through our library cards and great FM reception of community public radio, available exclusively on those long drives home. The news comes at us in timely, semi-digestible portions. Hannah, our final edition and youngest voter, born in 1989, cut her baby teeth during her first trips to town, as we all listened and grieved over the Exxon Valdez, one of her home state's and our nations more pivotal environmental disasters. Her brother Micah had just celebrated his 19th birthday when we caught radio wind of 9/11/01; somewhat bookend events in my thoughts. He left almost immediately for CUNY, graduated, and is now working toward documentary film making in N.Y. City. .

The best exposure to change and cultural shifts has been through our questioning, adventurous kids as they've gotten older. I guess that's every parental generation's best effort toward the audicity of hope. Give them the best you have to offer, introduce them to the world, then stand back and learn.

All three kids were fully involved with the drama and debate teams of their tiny, rural Alaskan high school. Their outstanding coaches from Haines High, well educated community volunteers and teachers, pushed hard. The teams generally ruled in the SE regional tournaments and always gave 'em hell from one of Alaska's smallest schools at the state tournament in Anchorage every year. They are of the kids that go on to do outstanding things. What ever they choose to do they're open to a larger world and fully equipped to navigate wisely. As a parent, You learn to listen when they say they know who they'll vote for two years hence, and why, and stand a bit taller cause they're thinking and caring toward the mess each generation takes on.

I've been in the lower 48, away from home now for several months. I'm semi stranded (on bad days), isolated in the middle of the city with my grand, old shut-in, Elder Ma. During this fractious time, my considerably amped up exposure to national and world affairs has been given additional depth via her tried and true periodicals, her sizable well read personal library, 83 years experience from a life conscientiously lived, the Internet, and XM radio. Except for humoring me by listening to last nights POTUS coverage of the VP debate, she stay's away from the last two. Her daily digestible in take of news would fit right in to her Alaskan family's style. It's just that in her eyes, Haines, Ak. even in the best of times, is way too much like the depression era of her childhood in the U.P., Calumet, Mich. Scrappy, subsistence oriented, economically poor, labor class families that lived proudly and took responsibility for change in the world. After graduating, she did the same thing I did with Kern county: bee-lined out, barely glancing back.

Since the end of August there's been a growing, queasy pit in my center. I'm quite aware of the obvious reasons for forgetting how to find air. I'm way more than just a time zone away. I've always lived a conspicuously chartreuse/ eggplant and rust colored lifestyle. Gardens, raising goats for milk. meat and compost, (also fine family members) fishing, trading for moose, deer, and mt. goat, keeping old stuff functioning with conservative use and making repairs. Our way of living would register so green in these southern regions that most people just lock down and question our sanity or look at what we do as something from "six-pack Joe's" reality TV shows.

At home in the Chilkat Valley, our homesteady choices smell somewhat like the very old guard. As undeclared, in many circles, we conjure distrust and present the challenge of either being from the Other Side and therefore some how suspect, or flat out wrong. It's assumed political cross dressing or guilt by association. Keeping a fairly low profile while volunteering across all boarders works best for me. I get to do for everyone and maybe, over time with a foundation of trust, influence a bit by proxy.
These are Cherokee Eastern Band skills attributed to my mother's paternal ancestors. The ones who stayed put in their Blue Ridge/ Smokey Mountain homes of 2000 years. Thousands of those horn schwaggled, militarily forced to march, Principal People on the Trail of Tears, and renegades, such as Tsali and his family, paid the ultimate price demanded by that era's white Mavericks. Our people went underground.

Having come of age just as an entire generation of promising US leadership was gunned down or shipped off for an older wrong war, I practiced political defiance as a teen here in Kern county. We were bold, resilient and generally a stones throw away either chucking or receiving. We mostly stood our ground and took chances on people. There were a lot of broken windows and family victims of early urban warfare in our demographically changing neighborhood.
I know, I know. I know. There I go again. Always backward looking.

Of late, my internal pressure cooker keeps registering dangerously in the red. There's been so much said about Alaska this month. Exposure directly attributable to another Alaskan girl away from home. In the span of a few short weeks, all things I detest most about my home's state politics, snowballed gregariously across the national landscape. Everything I abhor about our nation's politics and greedy aspects of Main Street and Wall Street American culture came barrelling out, with the 44 year old cheer leading mascot from my 35 year old adopted homefront. It's felt like the nightmare where I was the perpetrator of a barbarically, inhumane act upon another who turns out to be myself. Disturbing to a point of well blended agitation, recognize this: with the same 'ol, same 'ol, we are all being offered a wilderness smoothie laced with environmental and cultural anthrax.

But'cha know, this morning, I'm feeling somewhat better following last nights VP debate. Now, knowing that the governor's sheep clothing is falling away, I'm left pondering: if she appears more capable of holding her own, not such a backwoods bimbo, and having consciously chosen the glamorous seduction on board this hurricane, am I now released from my obligatory old school Alaskan survival code: "always try to help your neighbor out even if you can't stand the sight of each other?" Are the days of proverbial mixed potlucks for Sarah and I over?
Of course, if I run across she and the kids stranded along the highway, I'll do all I can to help. Or if Todd's boat or airplane goes down and I'm near by; in a heartbeat. And I'll leave my number if her kids ever need safe harbor, or a babysitter for the teen parents, one who'll listen to their young adult baggage and might offer a different perspective on life.

But politically speaking, from here forward, in this nation of nations, I'm hollering with a resounding Yop! No More! The Unaccountability and Creepy Deception Stops Here. Now.
With This Election, We Demand A Fresh Start.
I think that'll fit on a home grown yard sign, and I know how to replace a broken window or two if needed.