Monday, September 20, 2004


September 20, 2004

Talking on the couch with Gary recently, our dilemma resolved into clarity. We were going over our zillion life options, when suddenly we felt visited by wisdom. We began discussing the fact that, if left to our own devices, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Both of us did. Our problem was that logic and social normalcy didn’t apply to our preferred options. In every other way, the options we would choose fit our skills and choices and tastes perfectly.

We prefer to choose to build a small home on the land in the mountains, and live there half the year. Winter in the mountains isn’t too comfy. The other half of the year we can spend in New Zealand, as our hearts cry to do. There’s no explanation for our obsession with New Zealand, except that we both have it, so why ignore it.

So many pieces fell into place when we realized how deeply we’ve already made our choices. The ways and means seem to be there, to make both happen.

Now the last 6 months makes sense, that we’ve spent combing through every motive and desire in our entire beings. It’s been a necessary time of introspection and sifting. No stone has been left unturned, in our self-analyses. Now it all makes sense. We needed to know our options, and our real priorities. To choose a life of that unusual nature, we had to be crystal clear about what we want to do and why.

I feel brave and clean and clear. I’ve studied everything about myself that I could find, mind, emotions and soul, and can now make decisions based on true self-knowledge. It’s a form of maturity that has developed. Soul maturity, maybe.

So stand back, everybody, and watch us make it happen!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I love the Olympic Games. Rippling muscles glisten as human bodies honed to perfection display and defeat the limits of human capacity. My own body starts to feel fit and muscular and ready to burst into perfectly coordinated action, as I watch them.

Somewhere inside me is an athlete, the one that a major childhood injury has kept in embryonic state. I know I have what it takes to be an athlete, except for the physical capability. That one little factor. I can feel it in my psyche. Watching the athletes brings all that longing and drive and enthusiasm to the surface. I’m ready to soar, leap, fly! I’m half Greek, so it should be possible.

While the Olympics are on, I get to imagine the grand, supreme version of me that I might have become, if everything in my life had been totally different. It feels good to try on an athlete’s body, even if only mentally.

I could have been among the Olympians,
if everything had been different.
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Thursday, September 02, 2004


Who do you think is more deserving of a freshly picked ripe strawberry, right off the vine… me, or a slimy little slug?

If you were me, you’d say “Me”. If you were the Creator, you’d say “There is plenty for everyone, and we all need to eat. Why don’t you share.”

Yeah, yeah, you old omniscient know-it-all.

This dilemma presented itself to me this afternoon. I picked the most delectable red-ripe strawberry, with its little green hat intact, only to see a baby slug burrowed head first into the side of the berry.

At first I was upset. It stole my berry. Then I thought about what that slug must be experiencing at that moment. Buried head-first into the sweetest fruit in existence. Buried in sweet juice up to her waist. If she looks around her, and all she can see is shiny bright red walls of fresh living breathing strawberry. Inhaling fragrant wafts of berried air. I can’t blame a mollusk for that kind of sensual behavior.

I walked away, leaving her to her feast of the senses. Lucky little slug. The next day I went out looking for ripe berries, and noticed that she hadn’t finished that particular strawberry. It was still hanging on the vine. I turned it over, and there she still was, unmoving. It appears that my berry-rival died of delight in the midst of her feast!

Again, my first reaction was one of anger over deprivation. Jeez, if she was going to die, why couldn’t she leave the strawberry for me and go die under a leaf somewhere? Then again, I thought of what it must have been like for her as she expired. Full gorgeous immersion of the senses in ecstasy right up til the last moment. That slug was probably glowing with gratitude and delight and appreciation of all things good.

I can hardly imagine a better way to leave this world, than being immersed in appreciating every beauty it has to offer. I can hardly imagine a better way to live.

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The hardest part of leaving something, I believe, is the pulling away.

When we are in the mountains, on the land that we hope to live on, we are happy with everything. All decisions feel right. The road ahead seems clearly defined. Motives are good. Then, as we turn into the driveway of the house we love, doubt and anxiety return. How can we leave this nest we’ve woven and feathered? Neither of us travelers has lived anywhere as long a time as we’ve lived here, since childhood. Our personal life-energies are meshed into the walls.

The hard part is looking around at the home and garden we’ve built, and trying to imagine life without them. Trying to imagine someone else living here is strange. I talk with my clients at my wrought-iron table by the fragrant rose garden. Would new owners make as good use of the extraordinary beauty? Surely nobody could appreciate or care for things the way we have. From the vantage point of standing within our nest, leaving seems unimaginable, like cutting off an arm.

All it takes, though, is to drive away from the magnetic field around the place. As soon as we are beyond its pull, we can breathe freely again. Oh yes. A new home. That is clearly imaginable. A life with fewer anchors. That is what we are aiming for. Freedom to develop our new careers without worrying about how to pay the bills. Barring a sudden infusion of cash, this is the way to reach our goals. Oh yeah.

I feel stretched during this time of pulling away. The original idea had been to become free, not to get stuck in nostalgia. It will be a relief when someone buys the house. We can say a fond farewell to it, then walk away. I’m ready to get on with the next step of this journey.

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September 2004

Over the last two long weekends, we shared our al fresco breakfast hour with an assortment of friendly birds.

Some friends of ours, who live in a hand-built solar-powered off-the-grid home on 40 acres way up in the Rocky mountains, have been away. They asked us to house-sit their property, water the plants, and eat the copious crop of organic greens that is just ready to harvest from their circular straw-bale greenhouses.

(They stack straw bales waist high, and fill the center with rich soil. The vegetables planted there receive protection from the cold mountain winds but still get plenty of sun. The thermal mass of the straw radiates heat to the plants throughout the chilly nights. White porous gardening cloth thrown over the top of each circle helps to hold the heat in. It keeps the elks and deer out, too.)

On the deck is a waist-high platform birdfeeder. The morning rooster of the birdfeeder is a large blue Stellar Jay, who squawks until we fill it. Black oil sunflower seeds and millet is on the menu. After Jay jumps around and eats for awhile, the little nuthatches and titmice zoom down in fluttery groupings and squabble over the seed. There is ample room and mounds of seed, but a few of them fight for territory anyway.

When I refill the feeder later in the day, the little black headed flutterers (I’m not entirely sure which variety of bird is which) stand right there on the feeder. They don’t mind my gigantic presence. When Gypsy the dog sticks her wet snuffly nose right into the middle of the bird party, they get upset. It’s funny to hear the birds scolding Gypsy with the loudest peeps they can muster, while she tucks her tail down and sheepishly looks away. Somebody feathery is at the feeder all day long, with various groupings shifting and interweaving and taking turns.

At sundown the birds mysteriously disappear. Deer, elks and foxes begin to emerge silently. Coyotes make their presence known when the moon rises. Their primordial yipping howls wailing through the moonlit darkness, echoing off each hill in turn, invite shivers on my arms and back of my neck. I get the urge to run naked and barefoot through the forest like a wild animal myself, eating berries and hiding in the bushes. Fortunately, the nighttime temperature and the cactus dissuade me from succumbing to the call of the wild.

When we are up in the mountains, with no TV or radio or human neighbors, we are different. We are peaceful, loving people who move gracefully about our duties. At home, we are rushed, harried people who bump into one another on our way to or from the computer or garage or television or kitchen. I like the mountain version of us better. I would swear there is something in the air, down in the towns and cities, that revs up the irritability factor in people. Crowds and traffic and loud music and demanding customers don’t help the serenity factor either. I have read about microwaves from cell phones permeating the atmosphere and vibrating our cells and brains at an uncomfortable frequency. It’s possible, I suppose.

I wonder if our house will sell and we will be able to live farther away from civilization, as we dream. We can make a regular breakfast date with the birds, and schedule a monthly full-moon howl-a-thon with the coyotes. It’s possible, I suppose.

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