5 week trip, days 16-17: seeds, gardens, community . . .

I always imagine that if I ever do return to painting — which I did briefly for about a year after husband Jeff died — I would love to do a series on seeds. Each painting the glory of a single seed, up close and personal, its kinetic energy of aliveness pregnant with promise.

Here’s a photographer doing the same thing. Thanks, Brie, for noticing it!

Seeing Seeds Photo Essay: Plant Photography at its Finest

Who’s to say that nature isn’t intensely, provocatively, extravagently creative? Who’s to say that she doesn’t continuously demonstrate for us so very much more than we are capable of imagining? And yet, who’s to say that we are not part of nature, and thus of her creative process? What an honor, to feel one’s own being as a consciously aware node inside the immensely mysterious complexity of the living universe!

I spoke with another old crone friend by phone yesterday, after many years. She tells me she just retired a year and a half ago, from a work life where, as she put it, “You know, I was always in survival mode.” Yes, I would say that’s true.

“And it’s working, it’s working!” she continues. “I don’t have much money, but it’s working.” So happy for her.

An artist by nature, Laury now leads a life of quiet contemplation, with a tiny garden, and creating one piece of art daily in a journal, pieces that she calls “portraits of the psyche.” Unfortunately, at this point, she wants to keep them private. But she did promise to email me one or two. So grateful!

We present on Hildegard’s World View at a downtown Seattle church hall this evening. Three of us, showing slides and talking freely, invoking in the audience something of how each of us have been variously infected by her astonishing capacity to fearlessly and continuously express the unitary love of the universe in myriads of ways — music, healing, horticulture, visions with commentary, theology, counseling and preaching to pope and prince and peasant. Nothing was too big or too small to command her precise, unwavering attention.

I’m currently staying with brother-in-law John Cowan in north Seattle, where he has created a beautiful contemplative garden inside the high wooden fences that separate properties from one another in this part of the world. Of course, I always imagine ripping out the fences! Or at least putting gates from one to the other, so that neighbors can move freely within the beauty of each other’s expressions. Ahhh, let’s take it further. Imagine one specializing in chickens, another in fruit trees, yet another in annual vegetables, on and on, with shared tools and winding paths between and plenty of enclosed little spaces for personal and companionate contemplation. Who’s to say that we won’t finally see the benefits of community? Who’s to say that we won’t, at last, let down our guards, and join together for security?

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Best Definition of Permaculture ever! — A REVOLUTION DISGUISED AS ORGANIC GARDENING

— from the title to this piece about Bill Mollison, who, along with David Holmgren, co-founded what we now know as “permaculture.” Mollison passed away on September 24, 2016.

The Conversation: A Revolution Disguised as Organic Gardening

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By the way, if you live in the northwest, note that this year’s permaculture convergence is coming right up, on October 7-9, near Port Townsend, WA, with mushroom man Paul Stamets as one of its featured presenters.

(Check out my recent posts written from the 2016 NAPC (North America Permaculture Convergence.)

Northwest Permaculture Convergence, 2016

Here’s a great example:

 

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5 week trip, day 15: Sister Kris and Matt, Alki Beach, and — grrr — Siri’s aversion to the West Seattle Bridge

Damn! Forgot to take a pic of Kris and Matt in West Seattle, though I did take in their fabulous view . . .

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We ate dinner together and then I looked at both their lives in terms of the near-30-year astrological cycles of Saturn before retiring by the usual Kreilkamp time of about 8:30 p.m.! Did that with brother John and Jeannie as well. With my crone friend Claudia, I spent some time introducing her to a complicated new astrological technique, as she too, speaks this ancient symbolic language, and, I keep telling her, could set up as an astrological consultant if she weren’t so busy at their Kronos store.

It’s interesting how, during this incredible time when transit Saturn continues to square Neptune, so that forms (Saturn) of all kinds morph and dissolve into the flow (Neptune), some of the “presentations” I was planning (Saturn) to give on this trip have also been dissolving, in lieu of personal astrology, instead! However, brother-in-law John Cowan and I and others are now in final prep phase for one of the presentations, Hildegard, set for this Friday evening in downtown Seattle. Plus, two others, next week, as I begin to spiral east. More on those later.

Meanwhile, this morning I planned to walk on Alki Beach in West Seattle before returning to North Seattle via I-5, where brother-in-law John lives. Kris instructed me before she left for work at 7 AM: “turn right on Aurora “— hmmm, or did she say Avalon?? — “down the long hill, winding around, just continue on, underneath the West Seattle Bridge, on out to the Alki Beach trail.” So I did that, and yes, it was Avalon, as I found out when there was no Aurora before the road that led to the bridge.

Okay, Ann, relax. No need to worry about directions. That goof was relatively minor.

Well, yes, but perhaps you will understand more when I present you with the problem I had with this venture from brother John and Jeannie’s condo in Magnolia to West Seattle and its ferry to Vashon during the last two days — both going west on that bridge and returning east, by the way. And the first weirdness happened less than one minute after I had noticed that I was beginning to feel comfortable with my newly-won ability to use Siri for directions in a big, complicated city.

Yep, Siri led me off-track, just prior to taking the bridge, down into the bowels of the Seattle docks instead; and then, the next day, coming back from Vashon and wanting to go into West Seattle to be with sister Kris, Siri led me onto the bridge instead — and I-5 N — at rush hour . . . adding one full hour to my trip to sister Kris’s house in West Seattle, while I crawled slowly north up I-5 to a turn that would take me back to I-5 south and finally onto the West Seattle bridge again. Breathe, Ann!

So yes, I have had a problem, two problems in fact, back to back, with Siri. And it’s funny how they happened just as I was feeling smug about my newly won ability to use Siri to find my way. . .

Anyway, it’s done now, and most likely the problem was that I didn’t give instructions precisely enough, so that Siri got “confused,” even though she didn’t say that. And you know, I was just beginning to get comfortable with AI, and all else that “she” represents (geez, that means that every road is mapped, indeed, every single inch up down and up all those roads in my car and every other moving vehicle, both identified and tracked; as well as changing “current traffic conditions”; geez, that means there really is no way to get away from total surveillance: it’s already a done deal), when oops! here we go, Siri leads me completely off-track. And not only that. I couldn’t figure out how to stop her from continuing to direct me, insistently, in the wrong direction to the wrong location, even when I had turned the phone off  while trying to wing it and find my way using common-sense, instead. Which I did. And got there okay (luckily, I have been to Kris’s house before), but the experience, the double-experience I should say, with Siri, did give me pause.

In any case, here’s some photos from my 4-mile Alki Beach walk, which was wondrous, 8:15 AM to 9:30 AM today.

See the docks? Where I was stranded by Siri? (Sticking up at weird angles across the way.)

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Seagulls, plus one sandpiper, checking out the effluvia from a polluted? rivulet going into the ocean . . . I do wonder how much life is no longer present in the warming water. And have read a recent viral report that “100% of west coast orca babies no longer survive to one year.” Google that phrase. You might discover that the same thing has been said for at least five years. True?

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Looking towards Vashon (I think).

Meanwhile, you can get this sweet little place (a Certified Wildlife Habitat), squatting amidst new multistory developments facing the beach that feature unlived-in looking rental units, for a cool $750,000.

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Finally, after four miles, I arrive where I started.

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5 wk trip, day 13-14: from brother John’s house in Magnolia to Vashon Island, with crone Claudia and daughter Eugenie

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I spent a day with brother John and his wife Jeannie at their beautiful condo with a view of the sound and a walk in Discovery Park (550 acres!, with old growth forest and many trails: an old military base), and fabulous dinner — and then, yesterday, headed by ferry —

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From the mainland, Mt. Shasta rising like a ghost . . .

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Vashon Island, about 20 minutes west of West Seattle.

to Vashon for an overnight visit with my dear old crone friend Claudia, with whom I have been “processing” emotional, mental, dreamtime, and spiritual “stuff” since the mid-1980s.

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I would say that of all the crones, it is Claudia who has most “influenced” me, in that what she “brings to the table” is so extraordinarily rich and full that I have a hard time being around her for all that long without being driven to exhaustion. Not because she sucks up energy, but because the richness she brings feels almost overwhelming to this relatively facile, superficial (compared to her!) woman. So, hats off to you, dear soul! Truth to tell, without Claudia’s presence in my life, I doubt I could have “worked through” my own strict, stern, ideological father-stuff. Until I met her, it had dominated my life; in her presence, the much vaster inner child in me felt supremely validated.

Here she is, in her wonderful store, Kronos, widely understood by those who live here as a part of the heart of Vashon Island. (Sorry, no website!) Though mostly clothes show up in this photo, the store contains an incredible variety of material objects, all picked with the quirky and discriminating eye of either Claudia or her equally talented daughter, Eugenie. For over 20 years they have run this unusual, many-layered store together — Eugenie: “It’s an experiment that never ended” – a very unusual arrangement in contemporary America. This too, is widely admired.

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Meanwhile, at home a few miles inland, in their very limited spare time, they are carving out a permaculture wonderland on 2.5 acres, with another 2.5 acres of woodlands behind. Really an extraordinary place, with lots of stories to tell, including a young deer whom they befriended, who played with their old cat, and who would come directly to the window to say hello.

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Here’s Eugenie, looking like she just walked out of a medieval abbey . . .

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And here’s the two of them standing in one of the gardens in which Eugenie personally added enough soil to level the land before even beginning the garden itself. Lots of fruit and vegetables intersperse with whatever else wants to grow there.

with-daughter  Their outside seating area reminds me of European village life . . .

seating-areaTheir home is equally quirky; notice the nude statue on left as you enter. I remember that statue from their home in San Francisco, back in the early ’80s, when I would go there as an astrologer, stay in their spacious apartment in the Castro, and read astrological charts for Claudia’s friends, many of them gay men, who were then, as a subculture, recently stunned into quiescence by the new phenomenon  called AIDS.

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When I showed this post to Claudia and Eugenie they looked at this picture, and Eugenie wondered: should we turn the nude statue around? Claudia: “No. I like her that way. She’s looking inside, with two of my paintings.”

Oops! Almost forgot their young intact male poodle, Perseus, who rules with a merry, fun-loving, bounding presence, and, Claudia says, “. . . changes the weather. Because in his presence, everybody’s always laughing.”

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5 wk trip, day 11: Portland to Seattle, Hillary and the Crones

So! I’m in Seattle, after travel north from Portland and two very full days with both old friend Clarissa Smith and a first meeting in person with a long-time exopermaculture reader, Colleen Conifer. And now, this Friday morning, I’ve just been on the phone with another old friend, Claudia Kimball, whom I will see overnight Monday on Vashon. She and I got to talking about these extraordinary female friends I have been staying overnight with on my way north from the Bay Area — Julia, Carol, Clarissa, Colleen — all but one of age to be fully-fledged as a crone, by the way — and by the way again, I happen to compose this blogpost precisely during the annual Crones Counsel, held this year in Denver, Colorado, a counsel that I personally instigated, way back in 1992 as an outgrowth of Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging, which itself lasted from 1989 through 2001.

I mention “crone” here decidedly, because all these women I’ve been with certainly act like crones! No longer in need of an “identity project,” no longer worried about what anybody else thinks, or thinks of them, all eating their own shadows and fully unfolding their original selves beyond the tight little ball of ego: all fully developed, with immensely alive presences, and guess what? — all with exceedingly diverse and vociferous views about Hillary Clinton: who she really is, whether she’s evil or good, and if evil, why and how.

I find each woman’s strong, considered, and nuanced view of Hillary Clinton both stimulating and thought-provoking. And I was telling all this to Claudia, who, I then discover, has yet another strong, provocative view entirely different from all the others. So amazing! Not to know what’s going on in the geopolitical world, having no idea, really, what’s real what’s not, who’s lying who’s not, what kinds of sleight-of-hand are used to keep the sheep asleep, just how much things are photoshopped, etc etc. We really have no idea! And yet we want to think we do! At least we want to think we understand who Hillary really is, this first woman to seriously reach for the U.S. presidency.

Yep, even us crones, who frankly, to my mind, should know better! Should know that each and every person on earth is a unique universe unto him or herself with a wounded history or herstory that most likely goes some way to understand their present being and behavior; that they — we —  all matter, and intersect, and furthermore, that they — we — are all held (protected?) within the subtle, powerful, and immense embrace of the Neptune in Pisces atmosphere (2011-2026) that this year includes the dissolving of (Saturn) laws and forms, whether institutional, psychological, social, or cultural. In this context, “good and evil” also keep on swirling into each other, fusing and reconvening into yet new polarities that swish away in the very next second.

Meanwhile, for me, what I focus on is equanimity. And I know these extraordinary crones I’m talking with do too. And yet it’s hard, so hard! How can one not desire to have a strong, unyielding “opinion” in today’s crazy world? Some fixed point within which to stand inside the devouring abyss? An “opinion” which then, tends to get dashed, scattered, smashed to smithereens the very next second?

And yet, I do think we need to pay particular attention to Carol Rosin’s point of view. Because she has moved in circles of power world wide, and she was present at the original meeting decades ago during which the overall strategy was laid out of how proceed with totally nefarious plans while distracting the public with conflicting disinformation to confuse and befuddle. And, BTW, according to Carol, that includes both the whole question of “good” vs. “evil” ETs, as well as so-called “Secret Space Wars.”

So here I am, sitting alone at brother-in-law John’s kitchen table in Seattle, trying to make good clear sense of . . . of what? What’s real? If you recall, transit Saturn at 10° Sagittarius is exactly square transit Neptune at 10° Pisces during this storied time; so it really is impossible to tell. Forms, frames, plans — all seem to continuously dissolve in the heaving sea of the collective unconscious of this nation whose barely bottled up inner rage is unleashing through not just nasty polarizing language and judgments of all kinds, but worse, into what seem to be constant multiple shootings — in malls, on streets, from police, towards police — all blowback from the U.S. Empire’s inflicting of the same on the entire world.

And yet, and yet.

Yesterday, on my way up to Seattle, I had just parked my car at a rest stop on I-5. Given that I’m mostly in a state of perpetual joyousness, despite what’s going on, perhaps even because of what’s going on, a state of love that flows in from the universe, fills my heart and overflows continually into my surroundings, I then happened to be stopped on the way to the bathroom by a middle-aged man who said to me, with a look of wonder on his face, “You look happy!

I laughed, and responded, “Yes, I’m chronically happy!

I wish now that we had paused, stopped to talk. But I was caught up in what happens at these rest stops, complete and utter separation between car drivers and passengers, each preoccupied with holding their urine and/or poop until they can finally let go into the toilet. Yep, that was me! That man who stopped me in my tracks was on his way back to his car. I’m grateful that he sensed my aura, and reached out to join me in brief communion.

Let’s face it, though we don’t really know what’s going on in the (multidimensionally) “larger” sense, what nefarious plans are or are not in motion to take us all down in one way or another and/or what guides, visible or invisible, are shepherding us all to either “armageddon” or “ascension” or both, what we do have is the possibility of presence with each and every beautiful being we encounter along the way. That what is real is you, and me, and our conversation, our communion, no matter how brief or provocative. That this, at least, is REAL.

A few more photos of the old growth forest follow. Clarissa and her pup Louie, only a few miles from her house in North Portland. We walked there again yesterday, before I took off for Seattle.

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Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures the evening before with Colleen, so our wonderful rapport and the few hours we spent together, walking, talking, and eating Thai food will have to remain in memory without visual aids. And what a talk it was! We explored one rabbit hole after another, and agreed, in the end, just like the rest of us seasoned crones do, that it’s our encounters with each other, our full personal relationships with family, friends, and strangers, no matter how enduring or evanescent, that are authentic, so very very precious, — for we recognize each one as a tiny, potent node in the mutual creation of a new/old regenerative culture of connectedness, arising from the ashes of the old.

 

 

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5 week trip, day 9: Portland, Clarissa, the primacy of the body, happy trails, and community

Yesterday’s five hour drive to Portland went off exactly as planned (unlike the day before), and I arrived to the south of Portland about 3 p.m. Then, and I kid you not, it took me another hour to get to old friend Clarissa Smith’s house in North Portland. What? Portland is now like Seattle? Yes. According to Clarissa, two summers ago houses in her working class neighborhood were in such hot demand by Bay Area people that they would get 30 offers and sell for $100K over the asking price. This summer the demand slackened somewhat, so that houses would get, say, 6 offers and sell for only $50K over asking price. Which of course, means that renters have their rents jacked up or they are forced out, as gentrification takes over Portland.

On the way up, the effects of longstanding drought are very visible in the forests and bare yellow fields. On an early walk uphill yesterday I noticed that lots of folks in Ashland have converted to native perennials —

img_4011On my walk with Clarissa yesterday afternoon through her neighborhood, I was astounded by the number of neighbors she knows personally, all up and down her street and nearby streets. Portland is a very friendly town, despite the hustle and bustle. It took us a long time to do that walk, given that we had conversations with all of them. Fun.

Then, last night, a drunken orgy with wine and astrology, as I showed Clarissa and her goddaughter Renee, a budding astrologer and movement artist who runs the beautiful website embodiedastrology.com, a technique developed by astrologer Pamela Crane in England that connects four different charts of the same person: tropical, sidereal, helio and draconic. I’ve been experimenting with this four-chart approach myself, and had also showed it to Julia the evening before.

This morning I took a walk with Clarissa and her golden doodle Louie on a loop trail in a nearby old growth forest. Nobody there but us. An astonishing place in the middle of a big city. Forgot to take their picture, so this will have to do, from facebook: Clarissa at work (which she is now) at Jade Acupuncture, her business downtown — she is both an acupuncturist and a western and Chinese herbalist.

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When we both lived in Jackson, we used to walk canyon trails uphill in the Tetons, Clarissa pointing out medicinal plants along the way. I remember glorious days when we would hit the trailhead in very early morning, and not descend until late afternoon. And, though now decades older (she is ten years younger than me), we both still practice what I call “physical culture,” requiring of ourselves two hours of physical exercise of some kind or another every single day. Both of us have always recognized that the body is primary.

Most people my age, 73, or even her age, nearly 63, do not live this way. Which becomes more and more unfortunate, as we age.

Much of our talk was about community. Living somehow in community as we get older, and yet recognizing the lack of flexibility that makes most older people unable to break increasingly intractable habits. I’ve found that, for myself, living with younger people is VERY GOOD FOR ME. That I’m much more flexible in all ways than I was five years ago, when I began to invite other people to live with me in my home. Especially love millennials, in their 20s. So terrific!

Later today, I meet, for the first time, with a long-term exopermaculture reader. (The two of us were going to meet, for the first time, with yet another long-term reader, but she was suddenly called away due to  serious illness in her family — something more and more of us are and will be working with, again, as we grow older). I imagine my meeting with Colleen will bring to four the number of extraordinary women I have been spending short intense times with on my journey north from the Bay Area — Julia, Carol, Clarissa, and Colleen. To Seattle tomorrow, where I will “settle in” — at different people’s homes, coupled with several presentations — for the next ten days.

Best of all, between 10 AM and 4 PM today I am ALONE. Plan to pick up that beautiful new Starhawk book again, NOW.

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5 week trip, day 8: Mercury retrograde story, Orca info, Carol Rosin visit

Yesterday, I traveled from Fairfax to Ashland. Via I-5? No. Didn’t even occur to me. I had been on Highway 101 for days, going back and forth from Ukiah (my motel) to Hopland (NAPC convergence), and then had backtracked on the same road to be with Julia Jackson in Fairfax overnight before going to be with Carol Rosin in Ashland.

What did I do? I got back on 101 and went north. Assuming I would be driving straight north to Ashland. And for awhile, 101 does travel north, that’s what I had been doing for days; however, soon after Ukiah, it starts to angle northwest, I guess it does that, because it sure took me to the ocean, at Eureka. In Eureka, I wondered why I was seeing the ocean, and not Mt. Shasta. Where was Mt. Shasta? But it STILL did not occur to me that I was on the wrong road.

A bit further on, I decided to take a break and tramp to a beach. A few photos:

img_4002 img_3991 img_3998 img_3999Notice the lines of chcm trails above . . . I’d been watching this formation bleed and fuse all afternoon after literally one whole week in Hopland with not a single chem trail in the sky.

After I returned to the car I decided to use Siri on my iphone for the very first time, saying to her, after Julia’s instruction on how to do it, “get me to XXX Street, Ashland Oregon.” (X’s are for privacy). And she did! Started to instruct me right then. A feeling of calm and security settled into me right then and there. Aha! I would be taken care of. No more problem messing with trying to find somebody’s house in a strange town after a long day driving.

Highway 101 was becoming narrower and narrower, slowing way down, as work crews fixed one lane and put us all into the single other one. But I figured, not much more, I should be there in maybe an hour.

About 20 minutes later, I happened to glance to glance at the iphone face. And saw that Siri said I still had 2 hours and 43 minutes to go. WHAT?

Utter shock and dismay. It finally started to dawn on me. I HAVE TAKEN THE WRONG ROAD. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON I5. DUH!

So I was faced with with going on winding, tiny Rt 199 west to east through northern California blending into southern Oregon, which led to I-5, on which I would have to travel south to Ashland for nearly 40 miles . . .

And I was faced with the fact that I had not bothered to check in for the larger context of my automatic decision to get back on 101 and head north. Had I done so, I would have saved three hours of time.

Mercury turns to go direct today/tomorrow. Hopefully, I will have learned to always, always, put whatever decision path I am making into a larger, relevant context.

Meanwhile, the next morning, Carol is reading to me out loud from an updated Scientific American report on some of the known consequences of Fukushima:  west coast Orca babies have now 100% mortality rate; the Orcas have stopped singing, since none of their babies stay alive a full year; and the Orca matriarchs are also dying off, due to the collapse of the oceanic food chain.

Even so, we keep on, grinning. We keep on as warriors for peace, despite everything, despite the penchant of our species to completely destroy whatever we touch.

I asked Carol’s husband Jon Cypher to take a picture of the two of us with her unnamed porcelain goddess, she who graces their living room like a beacon of tranquility in this sea of despair that we appear to be heading into, whether or not we know it, whether or not we care.

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5 wk trip, day 7: with Julie, in Fairfax, CA

Before I turn my car to go north, I had to go south to catch up with old friend Julia, who, this morning, is still sleeping on the floor. She gave me her bed. True friendship!

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Early morning, Fairfax, California.

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Julia’s house sits on a steep hillside.

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Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed take-out food from Good Earth, which bills itself as “Marin’s independent organic and natural foods grocer. Since 1969!”(Julia tells me that Whole Foods modeled its ambiance on this grocery store. )

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And then, of course, we delved into multiple realities, as usual. I miss her presence in Bloomington, only four doors down from me, where, starting in 2004 she and I and others originally began to drum up interest in reconnecting our Green Acres neighborhood.

Julia also treated me to a session with essential oils, instructing me how to choose the oils that would go into my special vial. Here’s the list, chosen from what my nose was telling me:

For the base: cacao 12 drops, balsam 6 drops, mushroom 2 drops

For the middle (heart): jasmine 10 drops, rose ten drops

For the top (head): bergamot 20 drops.

SWOON!

And, we watched an extraordinary performance by a friend of hers, who Julia originally met in a sound healing class. Well worth 15 minutes of my time. Among other wonders, the dance demonstrates dimensional morphing, and the slow transmutation of human feeling.

We’re off to breakfast and then I’m headed to Ashland, and another old friend, Carol Rosin.

 

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5 wk trip, day 5, NAPC: Starhawk remark, mushroom dreams, NuMundo, personal humblings, Peace Altar, and old cars with trees growing through them

It’s done. After two more very full days in 100° temps, young and old meeting, greeting, hugging, speaking, announcing, debating, joking around, downloading detailed info, interacting emotionally, mentally and spiritually with hundreds of other very full souls who are doing righteous work for themselves, communities and the planet — it’s no wonder we feel satisfied! No wonder we’re all over each other when we do meet up and realize just how wide-spread our permacultural and other regenerative practices are becoming, and especially, how we’re now making enormous headway in thickening the underground miceellial fabric in which all our various nodes are embedded.

Speaking of which, yesterday, after my Green Acres presentation — more on that in a minute — I sat for awhile on shady grass with a group that was deeply ensconced in talking about fungi, it’s habits, especially sexual, and what I now call “identity diffusing.” Forget male/female polarity! The nucleus of one spore might actually fuse with the nucleas of another, and/or one nucleus will leave and travel elsewhere, depending on the job that needs to be done in delivering nutrients to plants. Furthermore, fungi DNA gets really hoary and confusing, making utter nonsense of our human habit of trying like hell to classify the natural world into tidy pre-set categories.

Keep in mind that I was hearing all this while lying on my side exhausted, as a kind of murmuring, with audience, including myself, astonished, despite my somnolence. So I will definitely need to pursue this “identity diffusion” understanding when I get home, because it may be that fungi is my new Teacher.

My own presentation, after five days of being asked over and over again to join as a speaker in one forum after another — speaking for five minutes, three minutes, one minute, depending — was like a joke that the universe pulled on me. Here I had spent three weeks of my precious time preparing for a slide show that details the Evolution of Green Acres from neighborhood into village, and in fact, went to the organizers several times over the first few days of the convergence with a request for a space dark enough to show the slides. And they did try to give me what I wanted, though difficult, since all the presentations were in the daytime, outside!

Anyway, so that very morning, yesterday, I realized that I should just forget about doing a slide show, since it would be so faintly visible, and just wing it. After all, I’m good at winging it, it’s mostly what I do. The slide show was a way of imposing discipline on this otherwise unruly Sagittarius. So I marched back up to the organizers table and told them that. Okay. Done.

Since many many people had come up to me after I had spoken during these various forums earlier, and asked about my presentation, when and where, I figured I’d have a good audience. Since I had engaged in heart-to-heart talks with young and old on many levels, all of us realizing so profoundly that everybody on earth is lonely, hungry for community, I figured we’d have a good time in that hour assigned specifically to the Green Acres experiment.

And guess what? Only six people showed up — and none of them were people who had asked about it earlier! I was astonished. Kept expecting at least some of them to show up . . . Finally I figured the universe was playing a joke on me; it was at that point that my own need for control, once again, flew out yet another window. First I had finally let go  of presenting the slide show here, then I had to descend to a deeper level of my own ego, to let go of my relative importance at this convergence. Big time learnings. But the seven of us present DID have a great hour together. And all in all, there are plenty of folks here in northern California who know now about our village-building experience in Bloomington, Indiana. Some of them might even visit.

And by the way, I signed us up with NuMundo.

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Check out this website. An extraordinary effort by young techies to further the movement by actually mapping on-the-ground permaculture and other regenerative projects world-wide. Here I am with David Casey, the founder, having just spent 15 minutes with him putting Green Acres Village onto the map.

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Then, prior to lying around with mushroom dreams, I wandered over to the Main Stage, where a forum with Starhawk and others was in progress on the impacts of Climate Change, and the relevance of permaculture and other regenenrative practices. This was during their Q&A.  But of course, part of the conversation must have had to do with Climate Change Denial, and how to mitigate that! I say this to give you the presumed context for a remark of the man directly in front of me, who raised his hand, and said, and I quote him exactly:

“What if it IS a hoax, and we build a better world for nothing?” 

Of course, this remark elicited both shock and hilarity.

Then, without missing a beat, and with a wry little smile, Starhawk responded:

“We can always wreck it again.” 

BTW: I’ve begun to penetrate Starhawk’s gigantic new book, City of Refuge, as I prepare to make my way north, over a five day period, through Ernest Callenbach’s long-ago imagined “ecotopia,” — each afternoon and evening will find me deep in conversation with at least one extraordinary woman — to Seattle.

Here’s a final gifting from the convergence, our Peace Altar, made with bits and pieces of nature found on this land.

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And here’s a  final reminder from our NAPC land host, the Solar Living Institute: five or six old cars, adjacent Highway 101, with gigantic trees growing through them.

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Yep, “we can always wreck it again,” but then Nature always bats last.

 

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5 week trip, day 4: NAPC PHOTOS of permies, and their confluence

Yesterday, very hot. Today? Predicted 98°, with a 40-degree drop in temp at night. No humidity. I feel my skin drying into an old prune.

If day 3 was photos of the land, this day 4 will be photos of the people. You will notice that this convergence feels seamlessly intergenerational. Especially very young adult, and very old adult. the ’60s hippies meet the young, starry-eyed, grounded creatives on the playing fields of permaculture.

First, John Valenzuela, who fascinated all in attendance under the solar panels with his stories of wild edibles and their seeds.

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Afterwards, we hung around and looked at what was on the table.

after-seedBeautiful young souls . . .

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We put paper and plastic “trash” here, to “build a brick,” stuff into bottles, which will be used as fill for a cob bench to be built on Sunday.

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Earlier yesterday morning I sat for a heart-to-heart with another woman about my age who is attempting, with her husband, to integrate her adult children (and often, their friends, and for how long?) back onto their land. She is finding it difficult. The problem seems to be deciding what kind of invisible structures are necessary for all of them to feel productive, safe and free. Sound familiar?

During lunch, Starhawk spoke briefly about the value of place-based bioregional identification —

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— how the sessions would be organized, including reports from each at the end of the afternoon.

So, after washing dishes —

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and with a bit of “chaotic” milling around, looking for the person that held the sign that announced our own bioregion —

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— for me, the “Great Lakes” — we followed our facilitators to the place where we would meet, for two hours, and then reconvened at 4 p.m. in a shady spot on a lawn by the pond for reports. What follows are photos of people standing at the mike, each one talking for one minute, both about the bioregional breakout sessions, and other working group reports.

Notice the mix of young and old. All together now, here to “save the world,” or at least, to save ourselves and the places we stand upon from the isolation and lack of full aliveness experienced in mainstream culture.

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Towards the end, three young woman added a wonderful, call-and-response African  song to their short presentation, “Amma-o-e-ay,” — can’t remember what it means.

By the way, there are now three interesting IT platforms in development: 1) newmundo.org, which is mapping permaculture land projects in the U.S.; 2) don’t know the name, but it’s mapping permaculture teachers and courses, state by state in the U.S.,  and “Xpollinators” — can’t remember what this is for. Google it!

Afterwards, Michael Pilarski circled us up for a hilarious “permaculture” arousal song, with a heart-to-heart ritual beforehand, and lots of hugs afterwards.

That evening, I stayed only for the first speaker, an African, Bayo Akomalofe, who, to me, gave a gentle warning to permaculturists (as he says, he is not one, but he is peering in from the outside) — not to take ourselves too seriously, nor to think that we are the ones who will save the world. Remember, he said, the world is not here passively waiting for us to save her! She is not stable, she is not still, and besides, she is us! We are in her!

“The world is magical . . . We are not in the world so much as we are what the world is doing.”

From an old shaman mentor of his: “To name a color is to blind the eye.” Yes, think about that profound remark, what it means about language.

Furthermore, he said,” We need to notice that permaculture is not an independent practice. It’s not about being inclusive. It’s about being inconclusive.”

Yes. Let us continue to open our minds and hearts to whatever comes next without thinking that we know what we are doing. We don’t. We’re just here, responding with our full selves, just as the rocks and squirrels and clouds are doing. No difference. All being. All love.

 

 

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