What I’ve gleaned from living 15 years intentionally:

1. Seeds+water=LIFE!

2. Plants don’t necessarily thrive in the ultimate habitat

3. Killing animals is hard for some folks. Gardening is hard for others.  Therefore it seems community is necessary for ultimate happiness.

4. Resistance is futile: suffering is optional.  Let go of consumerist ways or be dragged.

5. Fulfillment lies in caring for the habitat around us, interacting with animals and plants daily, and cultivating the patience, awareness, and physical health to produce ones’ own sustenance.

6. Singing, dancing and other cathartic movement is necessary.

7. Kids love primitive life: explore this more, trust this.

8. Watching several seasons pass before building a home on a piece of land is a spiritual offering of sorts, to learn and notice “the neighbors” and respect microscopic boundaries. Sovereignity is not only craved by humans.

9. Fire is magic.

10. Our feet and hands deserve all the best treatment: start taking as much time to rub your feet as you do taking care of your teeth! And put your hands together to give thanks to them in their own sanctity.

Loving yourself comes first, but its often an obscured part of the growth process. I have found myself as i have loved others: the feeling that was nuturing the wild part of my friends and kin, encouraging the rambling, bushwacking adventures, spontaneous trips, vision quests. As ever, i was being a catalyst for going back to the land. My work as a seer has only just begun: for now I am ready to be seen. My hands demand work as my scholars brain does. There is balance, yet everyone must find their own and master it.

Tonight, I am delighted to be sharing poems from a trip to Penobscot Bay to harvest Rosa rugosa! Every growing season after frost I am a bit sad to be putting Earth to bed – this tradition of oceanside gathering is an indispensable heart medicine!

Shipyard rendezvous

Strolling Penobscot Bay

Windblown dusky mist

*

Tugboats on the wharf

Seagull eating starfish leg-

Only three left now!

*

Scarlet glow- October

Crossing east and returning over the bridge,

White feather flowing into harbor

Passagassawaukeag drifter

*

Beautiful surprise of your voice

sudden deep Timbre vibrating

So close, almost back-to-back

Running into one another.

*

Cold dawn

Autumnal fog

Evaporating in sunrays

Jubilant morning birdsong interrupted

While a rail-trail walker echoes her loud query

“You know what’s so horrible?!”

A one- sided conversation

Echoes on still estuary.

*

Spiny sea urchin

Kingfisher

Monarch butterfly.

Chestnut dreams

walking a seaswept glade

*

strawberry blossom at moose point

Watching lobsterman check traps

Cormorants diving in yellow, matted bladderwrack.

*

Geese skein flying east

Hike through meadow

Ringed with laurel and tall white pines:

second Basket of rosehips.

*

Timeless gift, cider,

Unforgettable crinkles around steely blue eyes

Mischievous you, asking

“Does it taste fresh?”

*

nervous, my green sweater flaps in the breeze

Halyards keeping time

Shipyard wondering

Later, nerves soothed

I wish to slip my arm around yours

But stop myself, shy.

*∆

                                                 Hawktalk Herb Sanctuary: Temple, Maine
                                                                                                 7 September 2020
    September on a homestead: when empty seed packets sit in depot, for mapping plantings later; cobwebs only just noticed after four months of life outdoors. When rain lacks the element of refreshment and instead, drives one to start a breakfast fire indoors for the first time since June, while the smell of lacto-fermenting foods under the marble countertop is  duly noted, its depth of odors prompting an imminent move to the cool darkness of the root cellar.
    Such is this Labor Day morning, fog drifting, birds coming out of hiding post-storm.
    The buckwheat harvest shall wait, but the disarray of dried herbs on the marble will finally be bottled and labeled, or in the case of the hops and lavender, made into “dreamy pillows”. Plantain seeds needing processed await new packets. Diminutive blood -red rosebuds cast their spell as i lament not picking another round of anise hyssop, and my beloved rocking chair urges me to get my sewing needle and start with the lavender. 
    New England in late summer, when boggy red maples are casting their namesake scarlet on the waters’ edge. Earlier than the others, they remind one to watch the turning, lush yellow leaves of quaking aspens, closely follow the elderberry, the rosehips, listen for the coyotes verve and owls rapport with the bats. And always, autumn signals a human need to watch the stars and gaze with a sense of wonder. Mars is so close to our Moon, I have recently been imbibing in the annual late summer tradition of after-dinner coffee on clear nights- to stay awake and watch Venus rise and tune my kids telescope toward Andromeda. I will always love astronomy, for fostering awe in myself and a sense of gratitude in feeling small.
     Dream big!  Cherish your roots!

    Here’s to the way life should be: celebrating four years of the good life in Maine

    The yurt self destructed in the October winds. I have been struggling since then for a sense of satisfaction or completion. But there is none, and I will continue musing on the Buddhist teaching of “having no perch.”

     

    Recently, I came to the realization that I must change this site’s name! For the past three summers I have spent growing roots on a mountaintop in Maine. For two summers I have moved stones and done masonry work, cut trees, and raised post and beam.

    The yurt is looking bare these days, save two beds and my sons pile of library books.  The garden surrounds it, while ferns are flourishing underneath the yurt platform.

    Now time is spent preparing for future life in an octagonal cordwood structure. Sixteen feet, not unlike the yurt, but complete with root cellar, entryway and a loft.

    And, the best part? A roof that will likely never blow off.

    After dryland runs, just after dawn, I find myself bowing to a certain dog, whose presence inspired me in that mornings’ run, beginning a flow of postures in reverence of this spirit. This morning, it was Siria, as her earnest workers’ face showed determination, grit and sass married to perfection, mellowed in her five years of age. Aurora, just a pup really, is admiring and emulating Siria, wanting to lead. But Buzz pulls ahead of Siria today while she led; he was in swing and should have been behind her, not pulling ahead. She was slowly choosing her path; he may have resented her cautious cat-like footing, dancing through gnarly roots along a twisted spine of mud ruts. I am never ceasing to be amazed by her awesomeness.

    In response to our good friend, Brent Sass, winning the Yukon Quest, and for his fate in the Iditarod:

    I believe in being bold

    In keeping on while naysayers surround you

    When excuses are petty and conditions try and ground you

    Too tired, too cold , too poor, too old, too young…

    I believe in following your heart Living fully to discover your own highest standard

    In choosing discipline.

    I believe in having courage to measure your self next to your heroes and staunch competitors

    Not only to be humbled but

    motivated

    inspired by love,

    not fear.

    be careful what you wish for

    the universe is willing every one to Believe in your self,

    trust in the possibility.

    I believe in unwelcome surprises being blessings in disguise

    In difficult people and situations being the best teachers.

    I believe not in emulating your mentors but finding your own path Forget about being a spectator, a wanna be Challenge yourself by choosing the trail that’s dark and full of chasms. “Who are we, not to shine?”* Second guessing is healthy, keeps one’s ego incheck Winners are found somewhere in the between Of sentimentality and using all you’ve got Whether it be a motley crew of sled dogs and a beat up Subaru Or a proven leader bought from a champion.and a new truck bought on credit. Don’t think about what you don’t have. I don’t mean to take the advice of those who live soft and have no courage to live their true desires, or admit them out loud. One-upping your role models isn’t about having a nicer house its about living with integrity, Working harder than those in the rat race yet feeling refreshed- knowing joy, Being an inspiration to others To keep dreaming and climbing, climbing, climbing… Like hunger is the best sauce, Discomfort is a friendly reminder that with ease comes dis-ease.

     

    * Marianne Williamson, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles”

    My mother graduated culinary school when I was about 13.  From that time on, it seemed like a logical career choice for me.  I love late nights, staying busy, I have the ease of being light on my feet and good with my hands, a photographic memory full of recipes.  Kitchenmates called me hell on wheels, and Dynamite twinkletoes.  I started as a waitress, got adopted by the cook on night shift, moved in with my best friend while she dropped out of college and got a job in their cafeteria, then moved up to special functions staff.  I helped prep food in several kitchens under the guise of a dishwasher, etc.  Always, in a pinch, I was switching over from washing the pizza pans, to prepping the dough, to making the pizzas.

    I was referred to a job by a community member who had declined the position of kitchen manager for a conference center.  It was a complicated arrangement, in Brattleboro,Vermont, hours away. The first workshop was a full weekend, thirty people plus staff.  It was for a “Wilderness School”, where young kids retreat into the woods with an elder.  The hardest thing I’d ever done: the only staff I had was obligatory volunteering from the workshop attendees, these were high maintenance adults with varied diets and high expectations, from a city kin to San Francisco when it comes to food.  I made shit for money and had to deal with a ludicrous budget.  And did I mention the kids were in the woods? I had to pack their meals to be carried while bushwacking.  Luckily I was not expected to deliver.

    Working there I realized there’s no justice in the world, and, that I’d rather be outside actually growing food.  The work is just as demanding, dirty, necessary, and underpaid, not to mention the lack of acknowledgement.  The hours of farming aren’t as kind to my night owl, but eventually I took up dogsledding to fill the void for an insomniacs’ need for an adrenaline rush, sometimes chaotic and frenetic to please my twinkletoes.  But, I still long for that beer after a shift, that Anthony Bourdain describes in the close to his book, Medium Rare: sitting down on the barstool after closing, wiping the sweat from your neck, sipping that cold cold beer.  What’s just as good? A hot cup of joe after a forty mile dogsled run, next to a hot woodstove.  Still, there’s nothing like serving your fellow man with a big helping of food that you’ve infused with love.

    Here’s to my mama, for letting me use her cast ironware, and showing me there is no one way to make a living.