Some Reflections on the Current Historical Moment

Two interesting, way larger than usual, perspectives to ponder:

Sleeping Dragon Awakens: Chinese Alternative to American Mayhem 




Re: this election, see Katherine Austin Fitts, a newly won Trump supporter:

My son, Colin Cudmore of the Garden Tower Project, told me at lunch today that I need to watch Trump’s “Gettysburg Address.” Will do.

My friend Ted, at Oakwood Center, tells me to watch Michael Moore in Trumpland. Said I’ll be surprised. Can’t seem to figure out how to purchase it, however . . .

Meanwhile, one thing I do know. I will NOT vote for Hillary Clinton, a guardian Athena archetype, but without wisdom. I’m stunned and surprised that women gravitate to her just because she has a vagina and breasts. Think for yourselves, women! Do you want more and more and more endless war? Do you want the Military Industrial Complex to continue to ruin earth and earthlings in the name of “national security”? Do you want a certified New World Order globalist who demonizes Putin and Russia?

Colin and I agree. If Trump does not win (and no doubt polls are rigged), then we are in a pre-revolutionary moment. The long-suppressed national cultural shadow has been activated. Can we fractious Americans learn — and quickly — how to consciously and non-violently work with erupting energies? Stay tuned.

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SNL, Tom Hanks: On Race and Class in the U.S. Presidential Selection Season

This political sketch captures the corrosive poison of both race and class and worms beneath to common ground. I notice it has gone viral in the past few days. As well it should. Bingo. A tiny, brilliant vignette.

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VIDEO: The Unitary World View of Hildegard of Bingen


Early last summer, I was asked by young composer, harpist, singer, and choir director Megan Biner, at the Oakwood Center in Selma, Indiana to research and prepare a presentation on the world-view of Hildegard Von Bingen for a Hildegard Festival that Megan had planned for late July. This I did, spending six weeks or so with a number of secondary sources, as well as numerous letters this remarkable 12th century Benedictine abbess, mystic, healer, philosopher, and author wrote to peasants, princes, and popes. I came away astonished and entranced, as does anyone who spends any time at all with the prodigious trail she has left from eight centuries ago.

At the Festival itself, both presenters and participants ended up asking themselves, stirred into passionate intensity: “How can I become more like Hildegard?”

Hildegard Festival: “Let us become the Hildegards of our time.” 

When I told my brother-in-law John Cowan about the Indiana event, he immediately decided to put on a Hildegard Festival on in Seattle. This single decision on his part spawned a continuing trail of synchronicities, with John and I both stunned at how Hildegard herself seems to be taking the lead in both making sure that this event comes to pass, and telling us how she wants it presented!

Meanwhile, in late September I gave a truncated version of my original Selma presentation to a group in Seattle as a sort of preview or trailer, to the main event, planned for early 2017.

5 week trip, day 18: HILDEGARD!

Afterwards, that group of about 20 people spent over an hour in an intense, provocative, and receptive group discussion of the meaning and message of Hildegard for our times.

In the group were many, including an elder nun, who are truly steeped in Hildegard studies — unlike myself, a rank amateur. So I “pulled a Hildegard,” began the presentation by telling the audience that I didn’t know what I was doing, since I had only recently begun to research her. (She was known to begin her admonitory missives to powerful men in high places by saying that she was “but a poor little woman.”) But I did give at least one version of Hildegard’s unusual life, and the images presented brought something of her full force to the screen for us to ponder.

A few weeks earlier, Mitch Mattraw, one of my long-term readers, was told by fellow blogger Laura Bruno that I was going to be in Seattle, where he lives. He contacted me, and said that he would be willing to videotape the event! John and I liked the result so much that we asked him and his video production company, Cab Fare Productions, to collaborate with us for the upcoming Festival.

Besides myself, in this 33-minute video, three others have parts to play. I asked each of them to send me short biographies. Sue and Memmi are long-time Hildegard researchers. John is the producer who got the Hildegard ball rolling in Seattle.


Sue Kraemer, PhD, is a scientist, educator, master gardener, and musician.  Sue has been studying Saint Hildegard and other Christian mystics for many years. She is currently focused on Hildegard’s healing methods and their relevance to our modern health care system.

Marimbaist and Multimedia Artist, Memmi Ochi, D.M.A, was always attracted to the calm and serene nature of Gregorian chants, which led her to Hildegard von Bingen, and she began researching Hildegard’s music as a part of her graduate work.  After learning about the possibility that Hildegard had colored-hearing synesthesia, which Dr. Ochi also has, her research and interest in Hildegard became more personal.  In addition to studying Gregorian chant, She has been to St. Hildegard Abby in Eibingen, Germany and experienced singing the Hildegardian chant with the sisters.  Dr. Ochi continues to explore the magical intersection across time with Hildegard’s and her music.

John Cowan is a environmental scientist by training and a cosmic hermeticist rooted in our beingness in the world. John’s work has taken a dramatic turn following the death of his beloved wife Mary and now he works fully to help people liberate themselves from the bondage of unprocessed grief and loss. His journey with Hildegard began over 15 years ago when he and his wife first heard her music and read her letters.  She continues to be a force in his life and has been the spirit and wisdom that is driving the upcoming Hildegard Festival.


Hildegard of Bingen Festival – We plan to hold a Hildegard Festival in Seattle early in 2017.  Join us for a three-day event dedicated to an amazing and multifaceted 12th century woman. This German mystic of the Rhine was a Benedictine abbess and founder known for her visions, musical and dramatic creativity, love for creation, her medicine and healing arts, her poetry, visionary prophecy, and feminine articulation of her God experience. Round dances are among the oldest forms of movement to music; they symbolize the cycles of life and the vibrating cosmos as dancers move around a center and in their movements weave threads of life. Come dance with us and celebrate the life of this acclaimed mystic, through her music, writing and poetry. Taste some of her wholesome recipes which we will have on hand to share!

If you are interested in participating and/or planning this herstoric Seattle event, please confirm by sending an email to: And tell him that you would like to join the closed facebook group, the main form of communication for those planning the Seattle Hildegard Festival.


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Another adventure in forging relationships: the pallet delivery man

This morning I enjoyed another adventure similar to yesterday’s, at the post office with the mysterious box. Again, another “stranger” and I forged an authentic human relationship inside the money matrix where both these men act inside roles defined only by their functions.

How often do we even notice, much less enjoy an exchange with, a person whose “job” is to “serve” us in one capacity or another?

My focus on forging real “relationships” — of all kinds, with all species, all dimensions — is both intentional and deepening. THIS is permaculture. Permanent culture. Let us endeavor to consciously counteract the creeping anonymity and isolation that our reality-simulating “devices” have so insidiously managed to further separate us, from our own bodies and hearts and souls, from each other, from this beautiful earth, and from the cosmos! Let us remember to stay right here, right now, both within ourselves and with others, centering ourselves in fully embodied physical/emotional/mental/spiritual aliveness!

Today’s adventure began with a phone call, early this morning. From a big box store, I hear the polite voice of the delivery driver with the pallet of wood chips for the Overhill wood stove. The call came as scheduled. I was glad he called before I took puppy Shadow on his morning walk, because I wanted to talk with him first.

“Hey,” I said, “would there be any way I could persuade you to actually back up my driveway to deposit the pallet, rather than putting it on the edge of the property? Could I give you five bucks for the extra trouble?” Well, he said, he could do it if he could get traction all the way. Oh no problem, I told him. I asked him if he knew where Overhill was. I have the address, he said. “Well,” I responded, “it’s the one just past the garden at the corner of DeKist. It’s not like the other houses in the neighborhood, you’ll like it!”

(Now what impelled me to say that? Not sure. But it did feel like we were really communicating, and I have learned, over these 73 years, to trust my intuition.)

He laughed.

So, by the time I heard the deep rumbling roar of a gigantic engine, we were already primed for connection. He came in a HUGE conveyance, way bigger than needed to haul one little pallet. There was nothing else on the trailer. But the trailer itself was so damn huge, I couldn’t believe he could turn to back up into the driveway.

I walked out to greet him. Said, doubtfully, “It’s not possible, eh?” And he said, “Oh yes, I can do it.” We stood in the driveway while I told him where I wanted the pallet to land, ending with “We live in a third world country, where we bribe each other for favors!” — and handed him the $5 bill. He touched my arm, laughed again, pocketed the money, and said, “Well I’d certainly agree with the first part!”

He then proceeded to disconnect the engine of the truck from the gigantic trailer, drive to a nearby driveway, turn around, drive past the trailer, then reverse gear, edge up to the back of the trailer where the pallet sat, push the forklift out, pick up the pallet and back up into the driveway with the pallet, on now a much shortened truck. Bingo. Mission accomplished.

Though it did take about 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes more than it would have taken had he just unloaded the pallet at the edge of the front yard. Fifteen minutes “on company time,” during which we made a short, but intensely real and fun connection, created an exchange within the underground economy inside the matrix that defines his job description, got creative with how to get those pellets closer to their eventual destination (the basement), and made us both feel good, empowered, and ready to start the day. Hallelujah!

Here are two photos. By this time he had already disconnected the engine from the humungous trailer, turned the engine around, and edged up to the back of the trailer.



Both Brie and Dan have already volunteered to start carrying bags. I told them to wait until tomorrow evening, at our weekly community dinner, for which I am the lead and will roast a big chicken, when will ask all those present to please pick up two or more bags of pellets and taken them into the basement. That should do it!

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Green Acres Village Updates . . .

I just added three new posts to



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Halloween Mystery: Right box, wrong contents. Huh?

As we move into the season when “the veil between the worlds thins and dissolves” (Halloween), I am presented with a mystery. It all began during that Five Week Spiral Journey. I was by that time four weeks into the journey, traveling in a car I had rented at the SF airport and was about to release at the Hailey airport. In order to do so I wanted to send home stuff accumulated since the NAPC (North America Permaculture Convergence), all of it littering the back seat, newly purchased books, several new books that had been gifted to me, two new Lodoe music CDs that I bought from Joan in Helena, important papers and notes from the NAPC for further networking; plus, summer clothes I no longer needed now that summer was over — shorts, tops, pants, and two expensive tunics.

So I took the box that had held the newly picked apples that the deer had munched in Lander and that would get eaten by me and my sibs during our upcoming reunion in Sun Valley, and refilled it with all this stuff to send home ahead of my own flight. Marty put it on their kitchen counter, thoroughly sealed it with tape, including the typewritten address page that sister Kath had printed out. Then we all drove down to the Hailey post office on our way to drop off the car at the airport. The box cost $47 to send. Ye gods! I almost didn’t send it. But I sure didn’t want to lug it to the airport. If only I had left out the clothes and DVDs, I could have sent it “book rate.” Oh well!

I give you all these boring details because of what happened next . . .

I arrived home on the 19th. The box arrived on the 20th. I let it sit on the porch until the 22nd, when I wanted to get in there and find the Lodoe CDs to listen to as I practiced yoga, chi kung and tai chi.

I snapped the white bands around the box. Weird. I don’t remember the P.O. putting bands around the package. . . Slit open the tape and printed page on the top —


and opened the box.




Bewildered, I looked through the box. All the way through to the bottom. Mostly old, musty paperback novels and travel books from some old person’s shelf, someone who had recently died, being shipped to a relative. That’s what it felt like. Plus two fairly new books on “grief.” All worthless, really, except for sentimental value. That was my immediate impression.


I looked again at the box. It’s the right box! I remembered crossing out the letters “Berk” (for Berkenfield, the box from their garage in Lander) on the side of the box.


I figured there must have been some mix-up. That somehow the box split open, and so did another box, and somebody along the line didn’t put the stuff back in the correct boxes. If so, I thought, the post office is going to hear, not just from me, but from whoever else didn’t get the right contents in their box.

I told my sister. She and Marty wondered if instead it might be a scam operating somewhere in the post office. Hmmm. Maybe so! Maybe I’m a “crime victim”! She reminded me that Marty had sealed the box thoroughly before leaving home. (I had forgotten that detail until she mentioned it.)

After opening the box I had opened the file that held all my receipts for the five-week trip and actually did manage to find the P.O. receipt for the box! So I had the all important tracking number. YES!


I called the national post office number, talked to an old woman there (with a quavering voice, rather like Diane Rehm on NPR), and she too was astonished that I had received the right box but with the wrong contents. She had never heard of such a thing! I told her I couldn’t remember whether we had sealed the box before we arrived at the P.O. She and I reasoned that it must not have been sealed; even so, we tried, and failed, to imagine what might have happened to cause such a complete mix-up.

Marty and Kath, pursuing the scam hypothesis, wondered if maybe the price on the package ($47!) alerted someone in the postal system somewhere along the way that the contents were supposedly worth a lot, like maybe it was some kind of electronics in there? And that’s why it was “stolen,” if indeed it was stolen?

I gave Kath the tracking number. She would go to go to the Hailey P.O. Monday morning. I told her I would take the box to the Bloomington P.O. on Monday and speak to somebody there.

Which I did. This morning, when they opened, 8:30 A.M. sharp.


And was referred to a very sweet clerk, Mike, who told me, after hearing the whole story, that he thought he knows what happened, and that he didn’t see how it could be a scam inside the postal system.

“I’ve worked in those operations. Everything goes very fast on conveyer belts. Sometimes the packages collide, and heavy ones break apart. I think that’s what happened here; the bottom of the box burst open (the printing label and tape on top were intact when the box arrived), and somebody thought he was doing the right thing by putting the contents back in the box. Two boxes must have split open, and whoever it was switched the contents of the boxes by mistake.”

I ask: “So that means that somebody else, somewhere, is going to be calling the post office saying they got a delivery, the right box but the wrong stuff?”

“Yes. Hopefully. And what gave me the clue was those white straps. That’s what they do when a box splits. Somebody’s job is to sit there all day long, putting fasteners around boxes that have split open. I’ve seen that, having worked in those operations.”

He asked me to write down a list of what was in the box. I did my best. Basically I had just shoved books (new, old, gifted, purchased, and borrowed) and papers and CDs from the rental car back seat into the box, plus summer clothes (and expensive tunics no longer needed) for filler.

He showed me the “USPS Tracking Intranet” —


showing where the box had been all along on its way to Bloomington. Hmmm. It looks like whatever happened to the box did so in Denver, where there’s an “Event” noted: “Container Close.” Reading across the same line I see “Input Method”: “Container Generated.” That’s before it got to Cincinnati. Many days passed en route.

Before I close this extended story, let me tell you that, believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to my post office experience. Because it would, once again, offer me an “opportunity for relationship.” Just as I had been excited to have to go down to the police station a few months ago, when one of our new neighborhood signs was stolen. I had a great conversation with a policeman then, and likewise here.

It turns out that many years ago Mike had been our mail delivery man for awhile. He remembered the address, 134 North Overhill, though he’d never met me. Well now he has! We talked about the old books in the box. He says he also has some seemingly worthless old books, fairy tales from the 19th century, I think he said. In fact, they’re in his postal locker!

When we were done, he offered to take the box back to the car for me and let me take his picture.


I told him that if we don’t hear about another box with my stuff in it (he says the investigation will take a few days), then I will donate the contents of this box to him, as he might treasure some of these old books, too.

All of which just goes to prove my point, that “We think we’re here on Earth to move stuff around; but actually that’s just an excuse for relationships.” 

Isn’t it the truth? Imagine looking down on Earth from the top of a cloud. All these human figures scurrying around. What are they doing? Handling, exchanging stuff, all day long. But behind that little “stuff” drama, are the ensouled beings we encounter during the time we are “movin’ stuff around.” And how we work with each one determines the quality of our daily lives. Do we have fun? Do we consider each new encounter an opportunity for authentic connection, for dissolving the veil between the worlds? If so, we’re likely to feel fulfilled and in love all day and all night long.

Thank you, Mike.




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Nobel Prizes, Shadow Work, and the Pure Promise of Creation

Have you noticed? What used to “count” no longer does? Bob Dylan’s refusal to even acknowledge his “Nobel Prize” in literature is the latest testimony to humanity’s explosive wake up to the pretentious and/or corrupt nature of the matrix veils that, thanks to the internet, we now cheerfully rip apart and expose like the film projections of the Wizard of Oz. Remember that? The Wizard had Dorothy and her friends bamboozled, until her little dog Toto surprised him from behind.

Toto feels uncannily similar to my dog Shadow.

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-9-44-26-am And wouldn’t you know, what I emphasize in life, more than anything, is shadow work. Jungian work. Work to make the unconscious conscious. Work that brings the darkness to light, by encouraging the subtle awareness of the inner witness, that underlying silent calm dispassionate presence that acknowledges and honors each usually nasty “projection” onto another as it emerges from the deep, and then takes that projection back, integrates it within a fuller, deeper comprehension of self. In this way, we both expose and unify our conflicts and contradictions. As Walt Whitman put it, “Do I contradict myself? Well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes!”  Thus my favorite definition of a crone: “She who eats her own shadow.”

Dylan’s seemingly contemptuous attitude towards that which most people still revere is not new. Doris Lessing, who gifted crones of my generation way back in the ’60s with our “bible,” The Golden Notebook (1962) and then continued on with “The Four-Gated City” (1969) and other remarkable and prescient cultural penetrations, had this to say when she received her Nobel Prize in Literature back in 2007 (listen to the end; hilarious final remark). She did not attend her award ceremony, due to “illness.”

Once we begin to see through the veils, we cannot go back. Which accounts for our initial difficulty in being brave enough to move close enough to actually see. Who wants to rip apart all that has been holding us in place our entire lifetimes — and for thousands of years? Who wants to take off the tight little conceptual helmets that limit our thinking our imagination our love?

“It’s simply not possible! My identity will be destroyed!”

Yes, your “identity.” Your “identity project.” Your “resume.” What you have painstakingly built up over a lifetime to bamboozle other people, to make them think that you are something! “Yes, I am something!” We say to the mirror in a quavering tone, trying to get ourselves to believe it. Or maybe, we hear back, “You are something else!” as my mother used to say about me. “Who do you think you are?” I hear her admonish, scared, no doubt, about what might happen to me if others found out.

Well guess what, Mom, nothing happened!

I’ve lived outside the matrix for nearly five decades. I not only survive, I thrive. Follow me and others who have seen through 3-D bullshit to a multidimensional universe, one in which we all survive, and thrive, together, beyond the prison of “belief,” each one a highly individual unique self gifting to all the others who we really are — all of our beautiful passion and intense focus, funneled into highly specific talents and skills galore. Each of us, leading the way home — to our full selves. As Mom used to also say, “It takes all kinds.”

Can you imagine the abundance, the vitality, if everyone did that? If only 5% did that? Can you imagine the contagion? How this sorry world would explode with joy and laughter and relief?

It’s not just “peace” that we’re after. That’s too passive-sounding, namby-pamby, righteous. We’re after total, full on, kick-ass celebration of the ongoing miracle of our own and others’ aliveness, endless creation, pulsing through us in waves, larger and larger, a nuclear tsunami of love and light igniting our re-membrance to this magnificent planet and through her, to the mysterious cosmos as a whole.

We are the universe, breathing! In each breath we take, let us sense the vastness moving through, expanding, contracting, conscious, aware, prescient, and applauding.

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“Five Week Spiral Journey 2016” now enjoys its own Page

I decided to collect all the posts from my recent five week spiral journey and place them on their own Page, with photos. I also wrote an Introduction. Here it is. If you want to vicariously surrender to my journey, go to Five Week Spiral Journey 2016, a total of 25 posts.


On September 13, I embarked upon a remarkable five week road trip in the U.S. west. The original prompt came from the fact that I was called to go to two places, 1) the five-day North America Permaculture Convergence in Hopland, Northern California, where I would give a presentation on the Evolution of Green Acres Permaculture Village and 2) one month later, a five-day sibling reunion with five siblings and their spouses in Idaho to commemorate the first-year anniversary following four years during which we endured the deaths of both our parents (in their mid-90s) and our sister Mary, who had been chronically ill, off and on, for four decades. The first event started September 14, and the second on October 13th. And, since I hate to fly more than necessary, I decided to fly to San Francisco, rent a car, and then relinquish the car at the start of the sibling reunion, in  Sun Valley.

This decision, to be gone for five whole weeks, as set by those two five-day events, felt both natural and totally impulsive, wild. What was I doing? This is CRAZY, I told myself, as I purchased two one-way plane tickets.

To make the decision more palatable to both my dutiful self and those to whom I feel responsible, i.e., in order to  “justify” such an extended trip, I decided to offer four different “presentations” along the way, each one featuring an aspect of my current work. Of the four, only three actually proved “popular.” I presented on the “Evolution of Green Acres Village” four times, on “Hildegard’s Unitary World View” twice, and held one “exopermacultural conversation” with two women. What may be my favorite “presentation,” an evening when a circle of intimates view and tell stories of about the baby picture that they chose to best represent their original nature, before being conditioned by culture (see, almost, but not quite happened, once, on Vashon Island.

Since the entire journey would be undertaken during the intensity of the Saturn/Neptune conjunction during Jupiter crossing, which I knew would tend to dissolve (Neptune) all sorts of big (Jupiter) plans (Saturn), I was not surprised. Rather, I looked forward to seeing myself as “a fool, falling into mystery.”

And, since the journey was also held during the current rare and intense deep background conjunction of discontented Eris and unpredictable, excitable Uranus in aggressive Aries, I was also not really surprised at the passionate intensity of each of my (usually overnight) encounters with others, many but not most old friends of crone age, plus one-to-one overnight discussions with several members of my own family who live in Seattle, prior to the official reunion in Idaho.

All in all, during the entire journey I literally felt cushioned, held, supported by the presence of hundreds of familiars, both visible and invisible. Utilizing the times when I would drive from place to place to “process” in silence the intensity of my most recent riveting experience with others, I centered myself daily through the usual daily practices of walking, yoga, chi kung and tai chi — and, on three occasions, attempted to climb three mountains!

The final 24 hours, when I faced a what should have been a “grueling” trip home (Sun Valley to Boise to Seattle to Detroit to Indianapolis to Bloomington), found me sailing through with ease and presence. This fact especially, surprised me. However, looking back, I can see that this may be one of the “lessons” of this trip, one I was guided to solidify by repeating the longer cycle of 35 days into 24 hours: to learn how to move deeply within in the present moment, and to remain there, no matter what — and no matter how intense the experience! I.e., “Be at ease with whatever is arising!” 

The idea that my five week journey was meant to create a spiral on the map felt crucial. I would begin in northern California, at a permaculture convergence, my most recent preoccupation, the one at the far end of my 73 years on this earth, and from there spiral north, then somewhat east, then slightly south, and finally curl tightly into the Wood River Valley of Idaho, where our family had spent many years decades ago,  and where I would meet for five days with most of my original eight siblings, once again dipping into the watery emotional womb of multiple interconnections with intimate others.

The sibling meeting just happened to coincide with the powerful October Full Moon which conjuncted the Eris/Uranus conjunction in Aries, a “nuclear moment,” if ever there was one. (See this AND this.)

I used to say, cynically, that “nuclear families explode.” Now I say that they can also evolve, transform into a surprising new creation. This we did. Over those five days. So grateful. My life — our lives — will never be the same.

I didn’t know how many blog posts, or of what kind, I would write on the five week journey, but I ended up blogging about my experiences and documenting them through photographs, a total of 25 posts. Here they are, in order: first, the original impulsive plan on August 4, then starting in September,  Day 1 through Day 35.

If you will notice, not just intense human encounters, and not just numerous uphill treks, but gardens, individual and community, plus magnificent western landscapes, filled my days. For if the hilly, intimate, soft, subtle woodland beauty of the southern Indiana midwest, where I now live, is that of solace, then the vast craggy, tough, wild desert beauty of the mountain west is that of vista. Being a craggy wild type myself, the subtle intimacy of InDiana helps to soften me.

First, the plan:

August 4:

Fiery New Moon/Mars in Sagittarius ignites spiral journey road trip

Then, the journey:

September 13:

Five Week Trip, Day One Photos: San Francisco Garden


MORE, much more!


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Re-entry, Green Acres Village: And wow! Creative chaos!

Lots went on here at home during the five weeks I was gone. (I will put near-daily posts from the spiral journey up on their own page soon, hopefully today.) Meanwhile, the new front yard hugelkultur sprouted, on its own, both radishes and turnip greens! Only on top; the sides don’t yet have enough dirt.


In fact, what dirt was there is busy being excavated by whatever crittera has moved in. (Hugelkultur beds tend to double as wildlife habitat). Notice the soil piled in front of this side view.


Meanwhile, podmates Dan and Arielle moved the compost to a new location, in the garden itself, from behind the Overhill house. Have yet to hear their reasoning, and wish I had been consulted, since the public garden gate is nearby! Oh well! Let go, Ann.


And meanwhile, we have a huge, long-planned capital improvement project going on, due for completion before January, when it will be needed to start seeds for spring. This is to convert the flimsy DeKist garage, where son Colin had temporarily shored up its leaning sides in order to start his Garden Tower Project five years ago, into a solidly constructed structure, the front half as our new, permanent winter greenhouse (south facing, and workable each year after the leaves are off the tree in front) — that’s Leah and Rebecca, tearing off roof shingles  —

roof-from-south-both-working roof-from-east-rebecca

— my job is picking up the downed shingles and throwing into a nearby dumpster.


Meanwhile, the back half of the garage has been transformed —


into a drying room for herbs in back and a bunk room in front for the stream of visitors, interns, woofers, and others magnetized by our continuing experiment in creating a working, land-based village in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Rebecca tells me that during my weeks away, two visitors came through, stayed several nights in the Overhill living room, and both worked hard with us on projects.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Dan is also obtaining huge crocks –


Can’t remember what he said this is, but it will be done in January.

and bottles —


— in pursuit of his passion: fermentation. (He gets crocks cheap, down in Evansville.)

“Green Acres Alchemy” — how does that sound for our new business? Value-added products produced from extra produce. We’re on our way.

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5 week trip, day 34-35: Final trek up, the apocalypse bunker, “the remnant,” 23-hour return

The afternoon of our final day together, sister Katherine and I decided to take a final long walk. (What else? We’ve all been walkers all our lives, some of us more than others, but not a one who doesn’t appreciate this way of moving through life).


And, once on a road, I looked up, and of course, saw another hill I would like to climb. Kath followed gamely for awhile, until the slippery soles of her sandals decided to turn her around. Here’s the view from part-way up, Kath the tiny dot in red below.


Further up, and the ski runs of  Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain come into view.

higher-bald-mountainThis was actually the first time during my five week trip that I actually managed to climb to the very top of the designated hill. But then, guess what? It wasn’t the top! Further tops loomed beyond.

view-from-top-higher-hillsA good lesson. No matter where I am, no matter what “goal” I have managed to reach, there are always more, “higher” ones.

I did know that. Of course I knew that. And, it’s good to be reminded.

So I  “came down off the mountain” and Kath and I continued on that road, dotted with the usual Sun Valley sprawling, splendiferous homes of the 1%. I don’t take pictures of such, as there are plenty in Real Estate magazines of the area. Multimillion dollar homes, of course. (Those that don’t mention the price, and where signs might say “principals only,” are the most expensive, “exclusive.”)

But then, this strange scene, which not only made me pause, but made me take a picture.


Yep, it looks like a bunker, to survive the apocalypse. You can’t see it, but there’s a phone by one of the doors. The other door could open for a vehicle. Further back on the hill, discrete little pipes stick up. Wonder how big the bunker is. What kind of guns do they stock and how many? How many people will fit into it? Who will they leave out of their family and friends? Who might try to storm it?

Kath and I started to go back. Decided to get off that ghoulish aspect of our current cultural dystopian imagination(?) and deal with another Sun Valley special: Kath’s Vuarnet sunglasses, which, she tells me, were all the rage back in the ’50s.


(I didn’t notice.) She got them from Amazon, and the guy shipped them from Israel! — and they cost I think she said, $200. “I ordered them, just trusted the seller!” She shakes her head, wondering how she dared. I shake my head too.  “What? That much??!”  “But they are worth much more!” she exclaimed. She then told me of going into one of the exclusive Sun Valley stores, and the clerk noticed her glasses, said he couldn’t get Vuarnets to sell anymore, and how did she get them?

At her urging, I tried the glasses on. They do lend the entire world a warm, honeyed glow.

That evening, the family “remnant” (down to six of us by this time) gathered for our final meal, an enormous feast of leftovers. As usual, we all flowed easily in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, and so on. We’re so attuned to each other on the level of dailiness, that we hardly even have to speak. The “work” just gets done. Easy and fun.


In the morning, I hitch a ride with John C. to the Boise airport in his rental car.


And that’s where the real story of this post begins. The one I want to tell. For what should have been a “grueling ordeal” was actually an amazing exercise in the value and implications of “remaining in the present moment.”

Here’s what should have been grueling:

I had booked my flight for 7 p.m., since when I made my travel arrangements, I knew I would be first hitching from Sun Valley to Boise with John (a three hour trip), but: he hadn’t yet made his flight plans. So, as not to inconvenience him, I made sure that my flight would be later than his.

But: in order to fly to Indy from Boise at that hour, and at a decent price, I would have to route through Seattle (go west to go east . . .) Then wait there for a flight to Detroit at 10:30 p.m. (the Red Eye flight), to arrive at 5:22 AM EDT, and wait for flight to Indy at 8:10 AM, to arrive at 9:30 A.M.

Even before we got to the airport I had separated the trip into eight segments in my mind, starting at 10 A.M. on that day and ending at 11 A.M. (with confusing time changes) the next day. Nearly 24 hours, approximately like this.

Drive to Boise, 3 hours.

Boise airport, 6 hours.

Seattle flight, 1.5 hours.

Seattle airport, 3 hours.

Detroit flight, 4 hours.

Detroit airport, 3 hours.

Indy flight, 1.5  hours.

Drive home, 1 hour.

In the olden days I would have despised this schedule, reached and remained in a state of fury and frustration throughout the entire ordeal.

But not this time. Instead, I appreciated the fullness inside each segment, and found myself in an extended “present moment” that lasted the length of that particular segment.

On my way home, I counted segments. Gee whiz, I’m already in segment 3, etc. Not only was the experience not grueling, it was actually fun, and decidedly instructive, especially when I realized, both during and afterwards, that despite garnering only maybe 1.5 hours of cat naps altogether during the entire process, I was not nearly as exhausted as I expected to be. Which makes me realize: what makes me exhausted is the tension I hold against the present moment. And further, makes me wonder: What would happen if I truly did move into and remain in the present moment, continuously. Would I even need to sleep?


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