Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cooks, goals, dreams and service ... a ramble!

" The very best of cooks are sorcerers, wizards, shamans and tricksters. They must be, for they are capable of powerful acts of transformation. All manner of life, mammal, aquatic, vegetable, seeds and nuts pass through their hands and are transformed by spells — some secret, some written in books annotated with splashes of grease and broth."-Midori Synder from "In Praise of the Cooks"

"Self-criticism is a dream-killer — as is isolation, even of the mental variety. Neptune in Pisces opposite the Virgo Sun urges more fluidity in creative contact with others; it’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all."

 "Declaring my intentions publicly seems to fortify my ability to complete them…or maybe it’s just the embarrassment of wimping out on my promises!" - Donna Cunningham

"Time and experiences stretch the makua o'o to see how resilient and adaptable she or he has become. As I age I am still challenged to make sense of reality and frame my experiences differently because I have changed and my understand of my culture has changed as well." - from "What is Makua O'o?"

Time is passing, summer, seemingly long and blissfully warm and dry, is changing to the damp and muting light of autumn. Harvest time. Our orchard has been abundant this year: beans, mache, tomatoes, a few peas and bags filled with tart Gravenstein apples. Pots of tart applesauce with sprinkles of cinnamon are now stored up in our freezer. Plump tiny green grapes are ripening on the vines that tangle themselves against the garage wall. And, our Welsummer chicks are now officially laying hens leaving us their first beautiful dark brown eggs in the straw. Gardens all over our neighborhood are providing feasts of good food to eat, and to cook up. I love to cook!

In the space of the tiny rooms that we call home, the steam of cooking regular meals turns the Quonset from writing space to cooking things for the belly space. The border between cooking up words and images and making applesauce a thin if not invisible divide. That thin separation can sometimes become a hurdle too large to jump when either my attitude or my inventory of spoons is low. "I'm jugglin' a lot of balls here!" I declare into the space. Pete has seen me juggle many, many balls and seen me too when the balls have turned me into mush. "It's what you do, honey." He replied. "It's what you have always done." He's right. The Leo (drama) genes of me love a drama, but it's also the tight relationship of Saturn (restraints and delays) in my personality (natal chart) that continually challenges me to accept the internal struggles are part of the 'assignment.'

Is that dense material to digest? Someone told me the other day that what I write is 'dense' ... Oh. Well, metaphorically that would account for some of the recipes I've experimented with. But, on other days, the cook will come up with delightful conjurings. It's a balance of things and what's what happens when you have cowlicks.

This summer began our fourth year of living in the woods; living in one place. We have invested in the belief that we can feel safe enough to stay. That is a big investment that happens incrementally. The history of trauma and diaspora eases with practice, faith, and choices that support a new kind of conversation. The belief that life and the dynamics involved with being with others could be different than traumatic asks a person to start from scratch on the one hand, but keep in mind the things that are working. Sticking with this summer, in this space, the goals I set have to do with pushing at the limits of my capacity. Like I said, "I am jugglin' a lot of balls." Here in the Quonset I'm writing the Medicine Cards crafted from the story "The Safety Pin Cafe." Stretching my brain cells and priming the pump of creative juices that project is progressing beautifully. There are challenges and I deal with them as they surface: oh my god! Right, I am still sensitive to inks ... how to manage that while believing the cards are still a great way to be of service to the Goddess of Creativity? What about the issue of collaborators who wear clothing laundered with chemicals? Conversations. They need to be different. Soften the ground of my being. And rest.

They are always there to give me something else, or someone else (my subconscious self) to play out a scene I might be too afraid to experience while 'awake.' I get messages and clues and fold them into the mix of things. Juggling becomes easier. I don't worry that I might drop a ball. Grace steps in. An email from my friend, fiber artist Pam Winstanley, who has taken the challenge to translate the symbols and metaphors for The Safety Pin Cafe came with the subject "magic." She is working on an art piece to depict the journey of Pale Wawae, the border witch. Her work began just as the lightning and thunder storm struck us here a couple days ago. She wrote to ask for my input on her work so far.

Hanging from the ceiling behind me is a print done by Rima Staines. The calligraphy was a gift from another friend given to me when I needed most to believe ... in magic. Rima's artistic hand wrote this (available on Rima's Etsy shop):

Because the greatest secrets
are always hidden
in the most unlikely
Those who don't believe in MAGIC
will never find it
[I]t’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all."– written by Amanda Painter

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