You know those paintings in the caves of Lascaux, France, that were pictured in your history book? The one's with the running bulls and deer and horses?
As a child I remember being fascinated by them, just as I was by the tombs of the Egyptian rulers and the ruined cities of the Mayans. Trying to imagine life before us, this current incarnation of humanity that we are, one could literally feel one's mind expanding, grappling with a notion too big and ancient for its small understanding.
Now I'm the first to admit I own many beautiful frocks, (perhaps one too many) but this is the fairest of them all.
It's like all my childhood dreams of prairies and Nangijala and every other mythical horse country rolled into one happy, sunny garment! It literally is like wearing a painting, or as the case may be, the wall of a cave, smeared expertly with minerals and moving shadows from the firepit.
I waited for a very special occasion to bust it out and yesterday's even certainly was special: two of our friends are having a baby and the mother to be invited us (my mother and I) to a women's circle to celebrate and share. It was a beautiful sunny day in her sisters garden and most all of the wonderful women I know here were there, a treat for my mama to get to be a part of.
One of our friends invited all women who are not mothering children into the circle, to call respect to the fact that that being a mother is not the only act of mothering. We mother each other, our gardens, our animals, and hopefully this planet too. As I may have stated before, our community is very momma-centric, which can sometimes be hard if you're not one, something people don't often take into account and so it was nice to hear this acknowledged and share this love with these mothers and grandmothers and unborn and born babies.
Those words got me thinking about this poster we have hanging on the wall at home, and how important it is to see us all as part of a community, not just the people in our immediate presence. I'm glad I am connected to you ladies this way, an electric circle of women.
Laughter and tears and soon a new baby to meet, life is good. Hope it is so in your corner of this beautiful Earth.
I was going to write odds and ends, but nothing ever ends, only takes different paths. With my mom here and more projects in full swing I'm finding myself a little short on time, and dare I say it; inspiration. I've been wearing more jeans, reading less, and listening to less music and suffering from a mild case of internet fatigue for a while now, so I feel like I don't have many interesting things to post. However, you have indicated before, that you're not averse to hearing about the mundane particulars of my life so here goes another post of "what I did these days". Bear with me now.
As a mother's day gift C. and I bought ourselves and our mamas a kayaking trip. It was a kind of a revelation, exciting and much fun, though I feel sorry for the dear friend who had to guide us. Certainly I feel more comfortable in our little kayak now, and look forward to combing new shores on these Salish Seas.
My kombucha is done and now I have another mushroom to make more kombucha with. If you're interested in getting started on brewing (which you should be if you drink it at all, it's so expensive) the internets is a brimming with information. All you need is some tea, sugar and a scoby. Does anyone have any recipes/experiences/stories anything buchy-related to share? I personally like this one from the amazing fungiperfecti (hubby is a Stamets fanboy), though it ultimately comes out against a steady habit.
My friend Kristiina told me that I had made it as one of those people illustrations to her friend's thesis on rooftop gardens in Tampere Finland. The friend had sourced all the images from foreign sites, so man was Kristiina surprised to see lil' old me wearing this dress. Probably frolicking in my rooftop garden. I do remember that fame is fickle food on a shifting plate...
It can't be as cool as my own earthen plot though...
We're off to see the Dovekins at our local. Happy Friday all!
I wish I had a scanner so that I could post some awesome shots of my mama from way-back-when she was a young agitating hippie chick, a single momma living in a cold water flat, in the basement of an old wooden house on the hill.
Better than pictures though, is that my mom is here with us in our wee house! And so is C.'s mom! It was a very motherful Mother's Day for our family. My mom's gonna stay a whole month to really get a sense of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and this Island that is our home. She has already been introduced to our extended Island family and friends, our local haunts and local delicacies. I think she's having a darn good time.
We took off for the airport and Seattle on Tuesday, and then after we picked her up on rainy Sea-Tac, made our way to Kingston, where my mother-in-law lives. But more about that later.
Because, when I got home, guess what was in the giant mailbox waiting for me? That's right a massively wonderful package from Heather of Moonshine Junkyard, a fellow book and frock lover, and one of my many favorite California girls!
Included were: a book that she offered on her blog (have you ever known this girl not to jump on a free book recommended by an awesome person?), a beautiful corduroy top from the 70s (which solicited a lot of comments from folks at work), a 70s quilted jacket likes of which I've been lusting after, and the most darling little dress, not to mention a wee wonderful letter from Heather, that pretty much made my day.
Look at the gorgeous packaging!
Here I am in my new top and new Minnetonkas, thrifted from VV on the mainland.
Also in the zoo of the new: 70s sunnies from a yard sale for a dollar.
Thank you Heather, you made my already wonderful day even more so. (And got our mamas remembering on 70s maternity wear ;)
More of goodies selected by Heather soon, or you could just check out her vintage shop.
As a general rule I am rather suspicious of people who don't read books, and even more so of people who don't read fiction.
Fiction as we know it now captures, in my humble opinion, something that is essentially human, a primordial need to tell tales, to explain the world into words. A true story is a precious thing, a made-up one pure magic. There are tales with atavistic resonance, forgettable ones, tales of power, stories one hates and stories one carries within forever; sentences that make your spine tingle and sutras you want to memorize. They can be given as gifts, passed on for generations, treasured and held and released.
Some of the most significant folks in my life have been lovers of books, who have gifted me with titles, physical objects, and unknown authors. One such person, a young world wonderer I was madly in love with, once gifted me with a copy of his favorite book The Dharma Bums.
Sceptical at first, I was not so much won over by Kerouac's haphazard writing style, than the character of Japhy Ryder, a Zen wonderer extraordinaire. Delighted to discover that he had a real-life equivalent in the poet Gary Snyder, whose works I soon began to devour. Over the years Snyder's poetry and essays, violent and gentle, in turns, changed something within me, or perhaps just helped me to discover something I had carried with me all along.
I discovered not only Zen Buddhism, but also a more seamless way to weave my being into this world, to try to be harmonious, less quarrel-some, and even happy.
In the great co-incidental way that things sometimes work, I was lugging both the Dharma Bums, as well as He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village in my bag today, whenone of my dearest book-nerd friends pointed out that it was the man's 80th birthday, this very day!
So here's looking at you, old Japhy Ryder, Han Shan of Cascadia. May your travels be interesting for many years to come. May your mind wonder freely. Thank you for all of your beautiful gifts. I will think of you in small towns, mountains and dusty roadsides. (And you too, sometimes, Shaun.)
Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout
Down valley a smoke haze Three days heat, after five days rain Pitch glows on the fir-cones Across rocks and meadows Swarms of new flies. I cannot remember things I once read A few friends, but they are in cities. Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup Looking down for miles Through high still air.
Whew, what a week. In the past seven or so days we have, in no particular order: made Finnish Mayday mead (sima), painted the bathroom, moved the chickens, cleaned the house from top to bottom, planted many more things in the garden, made our own Kombucha for the first time (thanks to the good farmer and friend Blake who donated us a Scoby), worked a four day week, saw some live music and celebrated Mayday. For starters.
In Finland Mayday, like most ancient pagan celebrations, is still celebrated, though in these modern days it's more of a festival of Bacchus than that of cleansing and fires. Some fertility is inevitably included though.
The modern Vappu, is also one of the remaining customs of the workers Unions, dating back all the way to the late 1800s. Mayday is also the international workers day, and during the 70s solidarity movement, the Mayday marches in Finland drew tens of thousands of participants. I have tons of cute picture of my infant self waving a balloon instead of the red flag on these happy-go-lucky hippie commie events.
In the older traditions Beltane eve is a night of magic, when the witches fly, and the veils between the worlds are the thinnest, just as they are on Samhain and the Solstices. It is considered bad luck to stay outside past midnight on the eves of these celebrations, although the more sinister connotations of pagan holidays were often brought in by the invading Christianity, which in many countries maintained the old celebrations under new guises.
Like many pagan festivals, Beltane too was celebrated with fire. During these celebrations household fires were usually extinguished and then rekindled from a ceremonial one. There were rites including leaping over fires, and baking ritual cakes over them, as well as smearing ash onto a piece, which then was drawn by a person who had to jump trough a fire, much like the king-making almond in Winter Solstice foods. According to our aforementioned farmer friend animals were walked trough bonfires to purify them.
On the coast of Finland Maypoles are the norm, with girls dressed in folk costumes, dancing and singing as they encircle it with ribbons. The maypole, as most of you probably gigglingly know, is a fertility symbol, around which maidens danced, dressing it in ribbons.
Often there was something to be captured on top of the May and Solstice poles, that young men would try to reach by climbing. Nowadays Maypoles are more of a children's thing. Folks in our community do one too, and it has been quite fun the two years I've gotten to be a part of it. The family that brought the Maypole tradition to the Island has a birthday around this time, and they've definitely got a system going for how the dancing is organized.
First you unravel last years weave. This takes quite a while. Then the music begins. Traditionally there are a number of intricate ways to dance, so that a pattern emerges in the ribbons. This too depends on the number of ribbons, dancers, the the dance itself. To achieve this pretty pattern you go over-under-over-under, with every other dancer twirling widdershins. Got that? Good. Here we go.
I wore this to the concert we went to on Beltane Eve. Thankfully we got home well before midnight. On Beltane day I had to work before the festivities, so I opted for something a little more stain-resistant.
Oh and now the moment you've all been waiting for: The Poster Giveaway! The luck of the draw fell on...drumroll please...Andrea and Pomegranates and Teeny! Whee! Yippee! The posters aren't out of the presses yet, but as soon as they are, you can look forward to receiving one, with some added bonus materials.
Now back to the momentous spring clean. Big hugs to all.