Saturday, June 24, 2017

First morning

I have arrived at M's house.  The travel was easy. There was a bit of a tight transfer in Denver and I walked briskly from Gate 21 to 93. Upon arrival at the gate the attendant asked me where I had come from. Gate 21, Newark.

"I wondered whether you folks might make it, you did well,"

I sat on the plane for about 15 minutes and at one point heard the cargo door open.  "My luggage," I thought.

And yep, there were a few anxious moments in Albuquerque, but there it was.  I was in New Mexico with all of my belongings.

It was 100 degrees there.  Arriving on the outskirts of Santa Fe, it was much cooler and there was a wind.  This morning I write from the back deck and I have my overalls and a fleece on.

I take some supplements to help with the altitude change. I'm at 7000 feet.

Today we will gather the gear together and prepare to go to the mountain tomorrow.

It has been a long time since I packed for an outdoor trip and I am remembering my days as a YMCA camp counselor.  I do feel like I am returning to my roots, which is a good thing as that is what I am after.

This morning while waking up, my mind was in a reflective space.  Am I really going to review my whole life in the week ahead?  There's a part of me that cringes with that thought.  There are truly some parts that I'm not sure that I do want to remember.

I remind myself that with this reflection there will be clarity and there will be grieving and, hopefully releasing.

In this moment I am thinking that it is enough to feel and not draw conclusions for those feelings.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting Ready

 It feels like I'm ready for the weather.  Rainsuit.
 Over hooded fleece.
 Rainpants are okay over overalls.
Think that long johns will be fine under the overalls.

Need to find hat and gloves.  Assemble other things.  Journals.  Paints. Notebook.  Book.

Got parking reservations, e-ticket and printed, and arrangement for shuttle on the other side.

(Went to doctor today, eyes have troubles above 16,000 feet.  Good thing I'm only going 7500.)

I found a sunhat that I really like and I bought a insect screen to go over.  (I really do dislike bugs in my face.)

Getting ready to go on a vision quest.  Crazy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vision Quest

This time next week, I'll be one day into a four-day vision quest.  On a mesa at 7500 feet outside of Sante Fe, I will be hanging out.  Drinking water.  Journaliing, maybe.  Drawing, maybe.  Reading, maybe.  Becoming clear, hopefully.  Affirming a path forward, absolutely.

It makes me smile.  It feels like my old camp days.  On my own, a campsite, a simple life, a divine connection.

I need to concentrate, however, on some details.  Am I driving my car to the airport?  Have I arranged the shuttle from the Albuquerque to Sante Fe?  When am I'm going to "Alice's," our amazing outdoor sports store in Greeley, PA (go ahead, take a look how far off the beaten track that is!).  I need a rain suit.

I talk with M. about the details of the quest.

"What about animals?" I ask.  "Largest you'll probably see in a chipmunk.  Everything larger is up higher, where it is cooler and there is water."

"Great," I think to myself.  "What about bugs?"

"Ticks?"

"No. no gnats either.  Maybe black flies, and maybe deer flies.  I make peace with them when I arrive, and tell them this is my space."

"Does it work?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he said.  "And sometimes you have to become aggressive and go after them.  "Die, you bug, die!"

I moved on.  Reptiles?

"Lizards mostly.  A few snakes."

I asked.

"Some rattlers although they don't like people.  In all my time there, I've never seen one."

So it's a tarp, a ground cloth, a sleeping pad, four gallons of water, four days on the mountain.

M. tells me that by the third day I will start to feel lighter, both in the mind, but also in the body as my body starts to consume its own fat for fuel.

It takes the pressure off of my constant recognition that I would like to get rid of any excess fat. Today, I pat my tummy and thank it for feeding me next week.

I'd delighted to be home -- now with my three-year 1/2 time transition ministry on Long Island has ended.  I find it unbelievable that I get to live in this gorgeous river valley and do exactly what I am going to do.

With clarity from the mountain, of course.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Apples

For weeks I worried about the apple blossoms. March was warm. The trees budded early. Then it was cold. There was a light frost. And then another.

Husband Stephen assured me that the blossoms were in good shape. He had heard the buzzing of bees in the trees.

I hoped. I worried. I was surprised that the trees were blossoming for nearly two weeks.

I examined the lower branches of the tree that was highest in the yard. Closest to the shadow of the north-facing hill. And there, it is spotty. And there on some of the branches are apples.

Apples in the fall yield apple sauce, apple pie, dried apple slices. They increase our abundance.

The small forming fruits increase my feeling of well-being. They reassure me that the land and the ecology is not totally sick -- not totally unable to reproduce itself.

There is resilience in the old fruit trees. There is hope in the new orchard we are growing.

For today, it is enough. In today, there is always enough.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Coming through the side yard
Closer.

Closer yet.
Home.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Going out and coming back

There is a network of public walking paths all through Port Townsend, and this morning I take myself out for a bit of exploration.  None of the trails are marked and I deliberately take a turn off of the main trail that I know.  This path is much more windy then I imagined and I think that it leads me back to my original trail, in a large half circle.  I turn to the right wanting to make sure that my assumption is so.

Lucky for me, I am incorrect and I am thankful that I am careful to check out my assumptions.  I am on a path that is perpendicular to the original path, which I imagine cuts straight through.

I walk on the perpendicular path for some time and reach a crossroads.  Always making right turns I assume that I will end up where I began.  I walk much further than I think would lead me back to a crossroads and rather than push into my assumption, I retrace my steps.

I am happy for my prudence.  Soon I am reunited with my original path and I head home.

I remember being in Berkeley and continuing to walk in wider and wider circles.  I look forward to this new exploration through the woods and charting my progress on a map and learning where I am in relation to the sun.

I check out my mailbox and am delighted to see a label with my last name on it when I open it and look inside.  I note a Washington license plate on the car parked on the street and feel delight in my heart.

My surroundings are new, but my dreams are as old as the earth.  In this recognition and tensions of opposites, I, we are held.  Always.

A path through the woods

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 I am learning the lay of the land in Port Townsend, WA as I begin my 10-month ministerial internship at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Lucky for me my lovely apartment on the Quimper Pennisula is surrounded by hiking trails, and I have arrived in time for blackberry season.

So after settling in, and filling my refrigerator and pantry shelves with a generous trip to the Food Coop and to Trader Joes in Silverdale, I donned my jeans, garden shirt and gloves and walked to the patch Stephen and I had located several days before.

 The landscape is lush and the brambles intense. Blackberry picking in the Pacific Northwest is serious business and more than once I found myself totally caught up in my desire to reach the thumb-sized black jewels. Walking home, with a couple of quarts in my shoulder bag, I was sure that I had never picked many blackberries before, remembering with fondness the wild raspberries and blueberries I had gathered in the Upper Delaware.

But upon returning home and examining my scratches that dotted my knees, grabbing me through my thick jeans, a memory of scratches from my elementary school days broke through my consciousness. Our brains store our memories and it's lovely to be exploring this new place and remembering old ones too.