no system (deb_0_rah) wrote,
no system
deb_0_rah

Said this on FB the other day :

"I guess the main point is that it actually took me forever
to feel at home by the ocean, and today I realized that it
will always be my home, and in a way always has been,
because the Earth is my home, and there is no better gift
I possibly could have been given right now..."


For the first time as a writer I am overwhelmed by how much I have to say about something, and legitimately challenged by the task of capturing it. Here's the first half-mile of this marathon...





I was born on magic Earth, in San Francisco,
a stones throw from the coast, but from the age of 7
I grew up on magic Earth, in the foothills of Mt. Hood,
in the Columbia River Gorge, a sacred land since ancient
times, a gathering place, a land of dinosaurlike emerald
jagged slopes and sharp angles, elegantly dressed in the
finest conifers, ferns and waterfalls, but underneath,
clearly a very rude and savage chunk of planet.

And in this place, the Seasons progressed like the verses of an old Sunday hymn. Temperature, moisture, pressure, colors and light, how much snow on the mountain, what color the fuzzy catepillars. The Seasons defined the day-to-day realities of existing. Part, well at least part of your identity has to be surrendered to fall in step with Earth's whims, predictable whims. Transitions are easily absorbed and executed. There are no questions about how to adapt. No questions about how to be. You know in your heart that you are at the mercy of the Seasons, wicked and benevolent, stunning and fragile and cruel and generous. You can take, but you must cede your losses, and be grateful just to dance this deadly dance in this not-so-ancient land, cut a mere 10,000 years ago in a prehistoric geological cataclysm, still punched out, unsmoothed, a scaffold of new cliffs with a frosting of healthy farms, rolling up into fingers and knuckles, straight into the body of the volcano, bushy with a metropolis of skyscraper fir trees, and somewhat ravaged by logging, although well concealed. I wasn't aware of logging until late into my teen years. This was before Google Earth. I only knew what I saw. And my growing-up world was a sacred temperate rainforest on magic Earth, the land of the Deer, the rabbit, the coyote, the frog, the raccoon, the hawk, the owl, the friendly snake, the ferns, the lichen, the moss, the mosquito, the Trillium, the Doug Fir, the holly and the hemlock, and of course the waterfalls and the river. Here I was influenced, shaped, raised within and by the lovely, brutal world of Seasons.

Summers gaped and dripped on, moment by moment, golden scorch and black streaks of green needles in the shade. The crunch of brush under footsteps, entire lives lived outside, every day outside from dawn til dusk, and dusk can stretch on until 10:45pm in July. Many encounters with holy owls in this eternal purple. If you are quiet you will often be able to see fat healthy deer babies looking like a postcard then suddenly acting hilariously stupid. Glorious mamas of every species, a billion shades of green, a hundred kinds of shit, and glittering gold swarms of fairies drifting over creek pools, whole ecosystems breathing, heaving. Altars of fern fronds, bleeding hearts, Queen Anne's Lace, and wild daffodils. Never a moment of silence. Every bird and bug and beast had a moment to announce their self-actualization and this was one loud mountain. Summer nights were the loudest. I would climb out onto the roof after dark, under the blazing splatter of the galaxy, and listen to the soothing, screaming melodies of  cricket symphonies, the punctuated staccato percussion of the owls and wild dogs, and the rumbling digeridoo of the united voice of frog society, rising and falling, singing the song of the stars unto the Earth, singing the song of the Earth unto the stars.

Then, a transition to the richness and traditions of the changing colors, the moisture drains away, the warmth drains away, but the shift of our focus, individually and as a collective, is warmer. The abundance of the harvest, and then in a startling instant, like the crash of a cymbal, Fall. The desolation and darkness of the shedding, the bareness, the rains, and the first frosts. The animals begin to disappear. The stuff you have spent most of your time caring about is all gone. You viscerally know that it's gone forever. It feels awful every time, like breaking up, when everyday life moves indoors.

Our Winters were of course defined by the snow. Snow at 1,000 feet in the mountains is an act of God, normal business operations impossible, no arguing, no way around it. Adapt, there is nothing before this and there is nothing after this, there is only adaptation. Nothing else. Some years, less snow permitted less adaptations to lifestyle and personality, but more snow was the usual program and demanded total acknowledgement from us in every aspect of our identities. The contraction of Winter was felt literally in the claustrophobia of layers and layers of heavy clothes, the jumble of bodies in front of a fireplace, weeks spent in close quarters with people from whom I was used to having some distance from. But the discomfort of Winter was taken in stride, accepted as the law and obeyed, because the beauty and magic of Winter and snow, especially as a child, especially as a way of life, was my very favorite expression of divine Mother Earth, the time I felt closest to her, the most in line with her loving, embracing, muddy red vibrations- in the crisp, razor sharp, lake-smooth, hushed, softly blinding, silent pause of ice and snow. Cakes of chalky snow suffocating the fir trees' overweight autumn arms and snapping off entire limbs, logs, under the weight of God's law. School was cancelled. No church. No TV. Hot water for showers and cooking, but no electricals. Everything in the refrigerator and freezer was taken outside and nestled in the snow. Entire weeks out of every year, I would wake up on the floor in my sleeping bag between the christmas tree, the fireplace, and my sisters- when we were used to having personal space in our own electrically heated rooms- and then I would step out of doors, brushing snowflakes off my bathrobe, to fetch the milk for my cereal.

It is still so cold and wet for so long that the difference is actually quite subtle, but the visciousness of winter recedes from a roar to a growl and it really is hard to notice, unless you are really looking for it, you might miss the moment that the ice begins to melt. There is a long transition of melting, and then there is a hush before the warmth returns, and Spring explodes like a bag of marbles dumped out on a wooden table, loud, random, directionless and omnidirectional, embarrassingly messy, impossible to follow or explain. The giddy, vomiting explosion of life, the infinite variety of expressions of everything, from precious disgusting slugs to mutant wildflowers, from teeny tiny bird eggs to the paw tracks in the soft soggy ground. The color we have no acknowledgement for in English other than to say it's the organic neon shade of green that only appears deep within a green plant, or on the tips, the newest newborn glowing green of divine leaf expression fresh from God, the green breath of Gaia. That color is everywhere in the first few weeks of Spring, like a cartoon on in the background, and it supercharges the entire world with the vibrations of Spring, carrying those messages direct from cosmic source. This just in! There would be these Spring lightning storms and I would have flashing instantaneous visions of bear cubs being born nearby, slimy veined placentas, colts being born in barns.
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