Tuesday, July 27, 2010


More than enough real life is happening here in the forrest.  My need to get to the blog to describe it is ebbing.  Summer seems to be filling me with acceptance for the life that is mine.  The clotheslines are filled with routine washings, a tub full of pillow cases and night clothes is soaking in fresh water as I plunk away at the keys here.  We have a kitchen table inside our outdoor kitchen ... the first table we've had in years.  It's a treasure we've not had place to put.  How fine an experience it is to sit at it with tea and tablet.

Our routines are hard work, or time-consuming.  When I am able to keep it simple and let what I am doing be good enough, the work is exactly right.  The awarenesses are many, and calming the urge to fix the discomfort of some of those awarenesses just make the work difficult, and conflicted.  Without blogging as often, I live the awareness and am faced with choice:  fix it too soon and I have to sit with the premature mend and start again.  It's a journey, a process.  I meet my impatience and my irritation and finally wear out my control-button to the point of acceptance. 

My ankle break is wrapped in an ACE bandage that has been soaking to de-stink it from microbial doo-daa junk for weeks.  I can use it now with some precaution.  I wrap and ice the ankle to keep the injury calmed, keep it as stable as I can and then accept ... it's as good as I can do for now. 

The VardoForTwo is a gem.  We live from it and it continues to teach me lessons small and grand.  Change takes time, it is hard work and today I accept that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What now my love?

Summer sky fills the view from Computer Station #9 here in the Langley Library.  JOTS is curled into the old beach towel in her porch bed-box on the vardo, Pete is off to Everett and I enjoy another hour at the boards.  Staying in the moment to experience time now, the needs that will come when summer turns to winter can be put on 'pause' and fear is calmed if not replaced with prayers of gratitude.  "Thank God!" for the now I imagined was possible.  Faith needs a respite from the planning, so that is what happened this morning.  As I woke from sleep, still tagged with the remnants of the dreams I thought of a new writing project that could be very fun to cobble together.  Those unedited inspirations are always fun to entertain and like those prayers of gratitude the unedited first thoughts that are free from fear are such precious things.  The writing project has something to do with creating a kind of guide that Nomads such as Pete, JOTS and I would pass along to those who might take up this sort of road -- less traveled, yet as the world spins, might become part of the collective imaginings. 

A year ago Julie Genser creator of the blog and internet community PLANET THRIVE did a interview with us.  The link is here.  That link and onversation we had with Julie continues to be a truthful foundation.  The interview also includes a very useful addition link to another of our blogs that is a place where others thinking of building a mobile safe haven might find practice questions to ask and answer BEFORE striking out on the venture.  The interview is where we began, and now there are things to add.  When I heard my brother describe my life to an old friend as "she's nomadic" a chill washed through me.  It's still difficult to describe ... the feeling.  That writing project comes from my brother's description both because of how he said it, and more importantly because of who he is.  We have long history and the past has etched itself into our lives with common and uncommon threads.

What now my lovely life?  How can we share the journey in yet another fashion that could aid another Nomad?  We shall see said the blind-one.  We shall see.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CLOTHES PINS and the journey back to innocence

We are living our second summer from our wheelie home VardoForTwo.  Together Pete and I have learned, and continue to learn what it takes to make "home."  For those who have followed the journey, the process of building a chemically-safe haven filled this blog for many months.  My other blogs, Sam and Sally, Makua O'o and the fairy tale Woodcrafting helped me sort through the tangle and jumble to make some sense of the losses/dead-ends and challenges.  Blogs sprouted to satisfy my writing calls and for that time because I had the help of my Ruby the laptop and access to the internet I did write and write and write.  The blog world was a godsend and I used that world to explain and interact with others who are and were unsure of the affects of environmental triggers on the reality of life as they'd known it. 

Now I live with a different sort of writer's deadline, working at the local public library for 59 minutes at a time, I prioritize my hour and decide how to spend it.  Do I search?  Do I write?  Can I do both?  Sometimes the answers are No. Yes. No.  Other mornings, I Search a little to get answers I need then move to my write something here mode.  So, the third answer is Yes.  I have 41 minutes left here at my favorite window computer seat.  And with some luck I will be able to spread the thoughts I came with onto to post:  Stages of growth and the journey back to innocence.  Working backwards from now, 'INNOCENCE'  is the first stage --- the beginning in a soul's journey, as in the innocence of babes, there is only the joy of possibility and the openness of all possibile good.  The runes have influenced me with their oracular insights.  I pulled the rune of Innocence yesterday and how light that insight felt to me.  Light, as in it's been a long-time since I've felt innocent.  Ahhhh, the sensation.  I took time as I fondled the stone in my hand, first the right and then the left-hand, and recalled other times when I did feel that innoncence.  A time of clothes-pinned tents hung from the clothes-line in my neighbor's yard came.  Aunty Lilly embraced my innocence, and fed it with her view of life.  Under sheets and blankets strung from those clothes-lines, I felt freed up from the heaviness than stewed in my own home just the other side of the hedge.  How long back was that?  Fifty and more years yet there there were.

The journey in VardoForTwo has included clothespins at many, many stops along our nomadic way.  That childhood innocence did bubble up within me when I needed to create safe-sense while we slept many places in our car.  Clothespins and curtains, like the tents created by Aunty Lilly in that old backyard, were the basics for transforming a nomad's car into a home for the night.  Clothespin ( bag full of them) are part of our early day essentials today.  We use them to peg laundry that is wet from a simple wash, and use them to peg bedding or clothes that must be washed and washed and hung with Nature's cycle for months or years to ready them for a safe-wear.  If you were to peek into the vardo you're likely to see the wooden clothespin clicked somewhere ... just because, or just in case.

A year ago, we finished building and investing in a dream of faith:  most of the money we had we used to build a stainless steel interior walled, white oak exterior, milk-painted single axle trailer home that is used mostly for sleeping.  We had many other needs to address a year ago, and yet the priority of safe sleeping place was met.  We are grateful every night and every morning to be inside VardoForTwo.  That dream built with hard work and faith is now the foundation for building the rest of our life on the Planet.  Once a safe wheelie home like ours is built, the challenges of growth from the kernel of goodness show up.  Rebuilding a life at any age includes being with the flow of Nature's stages of death and rebirth.  Without compost, a new seed will grow differently and at the other extreme, will die, to become part of the compost for another seed another opportunity. 

Today, mid-July, 2010 we are learning to live on our different resources of income and community-exchange.  A monthly social security check gives us money enough to pay a regular rent.  The rest of that check needs supplementation and resourcefully creative approaches.  Pete's diverse talents for work work are being tapped.  He is Pete the Tinker and the Care-giver and the whatever else needs to do sort of guy in town.  Together we talk through the ways we can make what we have into what we need.  We drive the vehicles less, and are working on a plan to create that sheltered kitchen and living space for the winter that we know we need.  The exact nature of that shelter is in the hands of Faith, and our footwork sometimes needs to include a bit of standing still while all the facts come to where we are.

That journey back to innoncence has seemed impossibly inaccessible for many moons.  Driving with Crisis will do that to a soul, and it must be part of the process of denying that something has died that keeps innocence at bay.  Whidbey Island and the friends who rent space to us as vardo dwellers offers us space to tap into innocence again.  It takes practice to feel innocence and that's the truth.  With a little imagination, I see how a clothespin might be just the tool to hold me to the moment of new beginnings.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Munching on the day

The library is filled with young voices, the corner just beyond my right eye entertains a gaggle of pre-schoolers dressed in summer garb and the excitement of fresh life.  In a lifetime so long ago, these young sprouts were my world and my first experience with life as a teacher.  Life continues to teach and teach and teach.

Pete is off island for the day, back in Everett creating a new look to the small patch of lawn where once we parked the VardoForTwo.  Today he will lay in some sod to make a comfy place for feet and paws.  The summer sun will make his work the sort he enjoys, those old muscles fill with energy-memory of how to do those tasks.  I have been to the beach for a morning walk at low-tide, but first JOTS and I spent the earlier hours quietly muching on the beauty of a summer morning in the forrest.  The cathedral ceiling forrest kitchen serves us fully.  The old table toted hether and yond is now raised so we are no longer bent to use the hotplate.  Pete's sink works perfectly with a tiny drip from the reclaimed faucet, I am able to fill a bowl, kettle or sink with running water.  This morning, the warmth of the summer sun called me to the wonderful wee deck on the other side of the futon.  New gifts are out on the deck thanks to our island friends:  a set of colorful pottery in the hues of Tuscany invite us to sit.  A large square platter that will fill will pasta some summer evening, a tall vase at least a foot and a half tall waits for something to come, and a narrow trough of a dish long enough for a loaf of crunchy bread are the trio of raffle ticket rewards thanks to the Transition Whidbey potluck we were at earlier this week.  While we wait for the pasta, flowers and crunchy bread to fill the Tuscan crockery, we have gifts of the oracle doing the serving-up.  Our first set of runes (the stones not the cards) came to us yesterday.  Ralph Blum has passed sets of the rune stones on to our friend Eileen, and she in turn passed The Runes of Healing on to us.  If food is medicine for the physical body, the runes are the direction finders for the body, mind and soul.  We have runes facing up from the large square platter, and a bag of runes and the book The Runes of Healing stand-ins for that crunchy bread yet to come.

Soon after Pete came to give me a kiss and tell me he was off for Everett, I pulled myself from the futon and walked to the deck to munch on the day beginning with moments to call on the divine for inspiration.  I sat with the gifts on that deck and in the early hour of this day did pull four runes.  From memory, they were WISDOM, GUILT, DENIAL, SURRENDER.  Today is all.  It is what I own just for the moment.  No doubt there is the old guilt that weighs too heavy, and with the brightness of summer sun the secrets come un-covered.  Will all be well tomorrow, next month, this winter?  Wisdom says 'Surrender.'  What a menu for munching on the day.  Thank you.

How have the runes offered you a menu for the day?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Slow-downs, set-backs

Hina in the early stages of a Crescent topped the hemlock just outside the vardo front door.  Marked as she was there in the sky with the tip of the evergreen as compass line, I watched in between morning chores to become aware of how quickly time passes.  Between morning toast and morning wash, Hina was gone from view hidden somewhere behind the treeline on her progress from East to West. 

Time in the forrest is always a different kind of progress.  Now that the sun has come to warm us up, light makes a difference.  The slow-down of energy because the elongated Spring wished to extend the muted light changed a couple days ago.  The 'Ole Cycle just complete with July 4th just passed was a cycle of review and recognition:  we are not yet ready to take on the enterprise of building another structure.  The idea of an 8x16 kitchen-gathering-shower space is not practical for us now ... maybe, later.  The madrona seedling did indeed present us with the issue of "entitlement" once again.  Fortunately, the gods have made that lesson clearer to us.  Just because we could build doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.  Smaller steps forward ... micro-steps are necessary first.  The process of a reassembled life means the spiritual footwork and the practical/material work already happening needs to be checked and double-checked.  Pete and I both recognize how the story/stories we have told about our journey with Multiple Chemical Sensitivites is changing.  Envirnomental Illness and the choices we make to heal without adding to the injury means with each opportunity we have to feel safe, we must also be conscious of the attitudes/choices/energy we carry about with us to evolve, stay put, or back-up.  The slow-downs and set-backs to our progress is good for us humbling us and providing material for a better foundation especially in our relationships with self and others.

We are slowing putting our experience as nomads into practice where 'I no mad at you, and you no mad at me.'  Friends and family relationships have changed as Pete and I learn to face the dark sides of our destiny, both our individual destiny and the one we share.  Vilifying others leads to resentment and that is a heavy load to carry under any circumstance.  Life from the tiny VardoForTwo can't really afford the cost of resentment.  Worse than the collection of road wear and daily toil that shows up as dust mites and pollens, resentment weighs heavy on the immune system and that can really slow an old dear down at the most inconvenient times.

The hummingbird outside the window made a sharp B-line, right-hand turn in front of me ... my signal to say A hui hou for now.  Hope your burdens are light wherever you are, and if not light, the dark is okay too.  Watch for the moon, she's there.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Malama Aina ... the living practice of Caring

I was out for a lovely walk through the forrest using the driveway and lane that are the main courseways from VardoForTwo.  JOTS was not to be found, so my walk was a solitary one.  The day was warmer than usual so wearing the linen shift instead of long pants and long sleeves was a different sort of ocassion.  The gravel drive way winds rather than traverse in a straight line and on foot each step from the cleared place where cars park takes a walker into the depths of forrest within minutes.  The clearing of trees on my left contrasts to the heavy woods on the right.  In the winter, the low sun will be mostly hidden on the right of the driving way as the tree tops are very high.  We have considered the possibility of moving our living pod of a vardo to the clearing, yet the needs we have (to be within electrical connection) make that move a multiple step process that we cannot afford now.  For the while, the place where we have positioned our vardo life gives us a degreee of access and comfort that we count as blessings and necessity ... so we nest where we are.

The walk was pleasant, and with the brace around my ankle, the exercise did body and soul a good measure of good.  I discovered neighbors who live tucked down the lane, and a development of homes is really not far from our covey of woods.  The development is far enough away to give us the protection from household laundry products and wood smoke though and that is another for the blessings count.  On my way back I hauled the empty garbage can with my left hand and felt good being able to do the simple task that benefits the four of us who live regularly here in the wooden human habitats.  Eileen was working in her gardens when I came home, and called to me.  I joined her at the pond-side and we sat and chatted about the this and thats of our real lives, and shared the dreams and visions of women who have been on the Earth for a while.  The subject of Care woven throughout our chat.  The subject coming to the pond-side from all sorts of angles, and as happens when partnerships are created when space for the Divine is welcomed, there was such shares of disclosure and trust.  I am often surprised upon reflection at the depth and breath of these kinds of sharing ... like the writing I do, sometimes, I don't know where the thoughts come from. 

I offered Eileen the Hawaiian concept, a definition plus, of "Malama" to describe Caring.  Sometimes English is too straight a language for one whose predisposition is to wander to a solution.  Like the gently, yet definitely winding driving and walking path, language such as Hawaiian (lyrical rather than literal) describe with broad views.  "Malama" is the Hawaiian word for Caring, and it begins with recognizing that "I" must start with has always been before I add what I might want/need to bring.  Years ago, when I living and working on the island of Maui, I listened to an elder describing how "Malama Aina" (caring for that which feeds you) applies to contemporary human.  In essence he said, "Live only on the white part of the postage stamp.  Care for the center/do not disturb it for that center will feed you into the future."  I have never forgotten what Sam said, and with each ocassion I have to practice that in my real life, I try to stay on the white part of the stamp.  A light foot-print might describe that same practice.  Malama is more than thinking or philosophizing about right-action.  Malama is acting, adjusting, attending and making course-correction regularly and over the long-term. 

Pete and I have begun the process of stepping through the idea that we need a shelter and warm place in addition to the gem of a haven-home VardoForTwo.  Winter will come and that is a given.  Our experience with winter without a shelter and warm place for the other needs of a semi-nomadic couple like us teaches us to prepare to be 'in the flow.'  I end this session at Computer Station #9 with the challenge we have to create that shelter and warm place without affecting the life of a seedling Madrona that lives where that place could be built.  The link that follows discusses the risks to moving the Madrona ... the beautiful Arbutus the shiny who we love and respect for their service to Earth.  What will be do?  More will be revealed as we attempt to maintain our commitment to live only on the white space of that postage stamp.