“I found in one of my rambles up the hills a real hermit, living in a lonesome spot, hard to get at, rocky,
the view fine, with a little patch of land two rods square. A man of youngish, middle age, city born
and raised, had been to school, had traveled in Europe and California. I first met him once or twice
on the road, and passed the time of day, with some small talk, then; the third time, he asked me to go
along a bit and rest in his hut (an almost unprecedented compliment, as I heard from others afterward).
He was of Quaker stock, I think; talked with ease and moderate freedom,
but did not unbosom his life, or story, or tragedy, or whatever it was.”
– Walt Whitman, Speciman Days
Radiators*, trees and escape to the country are on my mind. Yes, the latter two are definitely being triggered by my absorption in Specimen Days right now– but seeing as they are something of a constant with me, the emphasis is not that consequential.
By ‘escape to the country’ I mean the vision above where I am tucked away far from streetlights and the sounds of cars, a place where I can truly hear the hum of everything non-human made. Of course, given that I have created for myself a sanctuary smack dab in the middle of a small city that I am totally in love with— this recurring daydream makes me wonder: am I just stirring up another distraction? Am I doing that human thing where there’s no sinking in and being, but we are always pressing on to something else ‘out there’?
I don’t know. I’m guessing it is not one or the other but a swirl of both things: I long to live in unadulterated nature— as I did that year on the farm– and, I think right now, it’s the last thing I need to be thinking about.
But are you any good at that? Directing your thoughts where you want them to go versus where they decide to travel? If yes– give me some tips– it’s a daily practice for me to clear my head and keep a clean lens.
Also– while I am thinking of it– if you decide to pick up Specimen Days, be prepared for long passages about Walt’s direct experience of the horrors of the Civil War. On the one hand, it is incomprehensible the carnage, evil and destruction– the reminder of Andersonville alone sent me reeling– on the other, today we have every bit the same cruelty, genocide and insanity raging. In fact, across the globe it has never stopped so, is this just how it will always be? We are never to grow beyond this?
I know that sounds like I am fatalistic but the opposite is true. Maybe this hell has always been present just as heaven has always been present. That was what Joseph Campbell asked of his guru, right? If I say YES to life, I have to say yes to ALL of it— I don’t get to pick and choose. And the answer was, right. We don’t get to understand it. But I will say, even though I have long ago found this wormhole through the madness, I have to recalibrate every single time. And I am okay with that– the alternative would be that I am callous or immune– just shrugging it off like, oh yeah– destroying animals, the planet, torture, murder– that’s life. I’ll never feel that way– but I can say I don’t take a moment of grace, beauty, light, goodness or ease for granted.
And the vibration when I am in grace, ease, beauty and light is so exquisite that I want to be there all the time– hence my circling back to daydreams of finding a plot of land far away from it all where I can wander bare foot among the weeds and sit on my front stoop and gaze out across a fine view.
Meantime, I am here. Loving life. Meg just launched the Squam 2018 offerings and I think she did a spectacular job. Oddly enough, I am teaching at both but that’s because my dear friend Tif swept me up into her field of magical thinking and we have a couple of classes I am thrilled to be offering with her.
This past year, Tif has been one of the fairy godmothers to the Magic of Myth II online workshop I have been running (it ends this month, wowza)– and so, our emails over the months of shared ideas, reflections and inspirations have been tumbling out in all directions– an abondanza of spirit and light that we finally channeled into two one-day workshops. I don’t know quite what they will be like– since they will be shaped and influenced by the people who show up– but I do know for sure I can’t wait for the experience!
Plus, to be at Squam like a real person– hanging out and dawdling– not running it.
Yeah, kind of looking forward to that, too.
*Apparently, the very new boiler ( selling point when I bought this house) is a very undersized and also incorrectly plumbed/wired boiler for my radiators. Boo. So that’s getting addressed. And– I never shared photos of the 3rd floor bathroom that got put in last summer! (Probably because I still haven’t quite finished it but maybe taking photos will push me to get the last bits done, we shall see).
Oh, and speaking of homeowner joys– last night the brand-new backdoor screen door LOCKED and will not budge despite all efforts short of a stick of dynamite– so I need to go deal with that right now.
more soonest, xo