I just published a novel!!!

Why yes.  Yes, I did.  If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, this — among other things, like moving halfway across the country, and reuniting with my parents and completely changing my notions of who I am — is what I’ve been up to:  I’ve finished and published a novel.

An entire novel.  Yes.  I did that.

It’s called “Triplicate,” and it’s about what some of you may have heard me refer to as “the splitting of the worlds” — and I’m very happy about how it’s come out.

Triplicate - A  Novel of the Splitting of the Worlds
Get Carol’s New Novel

So, now it’s up for sale, and I want you to get a copy — partly because I’m just excited about finishing an actual book, but mostly because I think you’ll find it entertaining and fascinating and it might just help you navigate this amazing time that we’re in, where we’re being challenged to actually make a conscious choice about what reality we want to create.

<<<That’s the cover over there.

The story includes thrills, chills, cherubic and reprehensible characters, humor, seriousness, and a nice, twisty tale of what it’s like to navigate three seemingly incompatible realities at once.

You can get it easily in a number of ways:

Way #1: (I’ll admit I’m prejudiced in this, as Way #1 results in me getting the biggest percentage of earnings from my book) — go to my online store and get a copy of the ebook in the format of your choice (PDF, Epub, Kindle, RTF or LRF) — you can do that here: Buy Triplicate at Carol’s Webstore — Get a Great Read and Put the Most Amount of Cash in Her Pocket

Way #2:  Buy the Ebook at Smashwords in your preferred format (this gives me less of the percentage, but if you go here, you can read the first few chapters for free before you purchase, and decide if you want to continue):  Buy the Triplicate Ebook at Smashwords

Way #3:  Buy the Book in print — an actual book that you can hold in your actual hands, and turn pages and everything!  — Buy a print version of Triplicate at Lulu.com

Okay — that’s all for now.  I’m gonna go drink an icy-cold beer, because I’ve been working for days and days to get this all ready, and now — woo-hoo!  I PUBLISHED A NOVEL!!!

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“And Beyond” — as promised (plus Friday Night Poetry Hour)

So, after ten days in Emporia with my parents, we embarked on the 25th to Wisconsin for a visit with Ashielah’s parents (before the weather gets to looking like real Winter).

After a week+ of temperatures in the 70s and 80s in Emporia, Kansas, the thermometer took a dive (in both KS and WI) — tonight, we are nestled up for a second night in the 20’s.  We bucked a head-wind all the way north, and arrived on Thursday night — but before I venture onward, a brief report of our ten days with Mom and Dad Steinel:

I did some wrestling with their cedar shrubs and overgrown hedges, Ashielah and I drove around the area a bit to feel/smell/sense some of the country around there where we might consider finding a house to rent, and in between times, we ate and visited and went out for ice cream more than once.  It was heaven to scoot around in tank top, shorts, and flip-flops after our unusually cool Summer in Port Townsend, and strange to sleep under just a sheet at night.

Ashielah discovered an organic farm about 20 minutes from Emporia, and we were treated to a grand tour of crops, free-range turkeys and broilers, orchards, etc., when we went out to get an organic chicken to make dinner for my folks.  Ramona (one of the farm-owners) even gave us a free dozen of their farm-fresh eggs — something they provide to all their first-time customers.  (I’m pretty sure they do this to get you ADDICTED to the eggs — which isn’t hard.) 🙂

Our initial visit with my parents (I’ll head back down to Emporia next week) gave me a much better view on what’s going on with my Mom’s health, and I had a renewed appreciation for the candor and sensible approach with which my parents talk to me about their aging, health, and what they want and need in that context.

I’ll take a moment to state something here that I’ve spoken to many of my friends:  If you’d told me ten years ago (or even five years ago) that I would feel genuinely called back to the Midwest to be of assistance to my parents, I would have probably told you you were crazy.

But I do feel that call, and being here feels exactly right at this moment.  Being at my parent’s house was very clarifying for me in terms of “how” I want to available for that support, and also brought up lots of questions about how I am manifesting the reality I want to experience.

It was clear that my parents were glad to have us there.  They were extremely welcoming and wonderful — and . . . having people at your house is stressful, even if it’s a happy stress.  Ashielah and I have been clear from the beginning that we don’t want to live with our parents.  I want to be near enough to help, but have my own space and give them their space, and as much as my folks have insisted that it’s fine for us to stay with them as long as we want to, my plan is to start looking for a place of our own very actively as soon as I get back to Emporia.

Which will probably be on the 31st or November 1 — a new development in our adventure is that I will probably be returning to Emporia while Ashielah and Sovereign stay on here with her folks in Wisconsin for a time (probably another month).

We’ve been talking and feeling through what’s next, and this feels right and ripe for both of us.

It will also be more easeful in many ways — easier for my folks to host one extra body in their house (instead of three) until I find a place for us somewhere in the area, giving A more one-on-one time with her folks (who we haven’t visited in person since 2007), and me more one-on-one time with my folks — plus, I’m sure the kitteh will be VERY glad not to be shoved in the car again next week.  The last hour on the 10 hour drive to Wisconsin was an auditory feast of feline complaints.  While I cannot claim to be completely fluent in Cat-ese, I’m pretty sure a lot of the sounds issuing from the rear of the van could be translated as:  “WHAT?!?!?!  WE JUST GOT SOMEWHERE AND YOU LET ME RUN AROUND OUTSIDE AND LAY IN THE SUN AND NOW WE AREIN THIS EFFINGVANAGAIN?!?!?!?!”

This will be the first long-ish separation Ashielah and I have had in our ten years together (we’ve never even slept apart for more than a couple of nights during that time), and we’ve been living and traveling in very tightly-compressed spaces for the past six months — we’re both excited and curious to see how it will feel to sense our own rhythms and tides in the absence of the other, and to have the adventure of communicating/connecting from afar as we share our individual experiences.

It’s interesting to me that the opportunity to do this so easefully is coming up now — when we are feeling such a strong urge to really find our true home-space and community (and after all the mobility of the last two years, believe me, we are feeling that urge).

One of the exercises that I often give couples when they are facing a major collective choice (like finding a new home, changing jobs, having a baby, etc.) is to have both of them go off by themselves and write/think/express to themselves the true desires of their hearts as individuals — and only then come back together to craft the collective choice — designing that choice to honor both the individual and the collective needs and desires.

Right now, we’ve manifested the perfect conditions in which to perform this exercise prior to finding our “true home” — with the bonus goodness that we will both get to re-connect with beloved family as we are doing it.

We have been talking, visiting, sharing meals, hanging out, and talking again, and we’re thinking that we may settle for the Winter somewhere between Emporia and Lawrence, Kansas.  One of the trickiest puzzles here has been obtaining the type of diet we’re used to and prefer:  nearly all organic and as local as possible.  Being nearer Lawrence has the advantage of easier access to a good local food coop, as well as a more “woo-woo-acclimated” community (there would probably be more people in the Lawrence area who would enjoy attending one of our Open Circles or an onsite class or reading).

Okay — so that catches you up on the logistics and the travel — now for the poetry:

Driving Iowa

The day passes
with the towns

The towns pass
with their white-painted names
standing proud from
green-painted tin

with arrows pointing

and mileage to

and population

pitiful or plentiful

Between the signs
the endless fields
and the barns
leaning impossibly
into grey abandonment
or standing crisply red
and upright

Between the signs
all the stories
my brain has chased
about the last town
we passed

how it came to be called
as it is

and who lives there

and why

Towns whose names
were probably
a seed of old country
planted in the new

a word mangled after
a white finger pointed
and pink tongue demanded
“What is that?”

a single man
too full of himself
to call it otherwise

Too late now

my mind has etched other notes
in the narrow spaces
between the white letters

in the wide miles
between the green signs

This town
is now an Italian dessert

This one
a video game

And in this one here —
all the stories
made by all the travelers
who have wondered
at the names as they whizzed past
are collected
by thick-armed Scandinavian women

and ground into bread for the children

who stand at the city limits
and watch the cars go by

Copyright 10/25/12  Carol L. Steinel

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Days 6, 7, and 8 . . . and Beyond

In answer to one commenter’s query:  Yes.  We have ARRIVED.

I’ll give you a quick run-down of our last three days on the road, and you can see a brief photo-log here (be sure to scroll down, as Picasa seems to dislike my photos), then I’ll talk a bit about what’s happened since we arrived in the village of Emporia, KS last Monday.

Our breakdown at the lake did, indeed, turn out to be our only car difficulty (yay!), and Day Six was an amazing trek southward toward the Canyonlands.  Driving out of Ogden, Utah, we were greeted by the kind of rainstorm you rarely see in the Pacific Northwest — rain in pints, then quarts, then gallons, then buckets, then barrels — the wind-shield wipers barely capable of keeping up, even though they slap-slapped as fast as they could go.

The sky stayed low and cloudy when the rain let up, and we came through a pass that glowed with colors I’d never seen in the desert before — it was like driving through a Maxfield Parrish painting, but with the amazing color spread over the landscape instead of the sky.

Lightning crackled in the distance as we drove toward Green River, Utah, and I stopped at a windy side-road to do a session for a client, standing beside the van with the enormous sky changing overhead.  We stayed that night in a motel again, not wanting to brave a tent setup in the rain.

The little motel had a sump-pump that they were moving from drain to drain in their parking lot — it was THAT kind of rain — and a small family of feral cats that the manager fed outside her door.  This last thing gave our kitteh a lot of entertainment, as she sat snug inside the room and, no doubt, contemplated whether it is better to be fed and coddled but to endure the slings and arrows of cat carriers and long, forced travel in the car, or to go hungry, but run free, as a proper cat ought.

Day Seven found us heading east and south again, through Moab and the heart of a landscape that seems to defy the camera’s lens.  Oh, I took some pictures of it, but the photographs are pitiful things in comparison to the actual place — each turn in the road brought a new wonder to gawk at, a new palette to absorb, a fresh set of nooks and crannies that beckoned seductively, even as I knew that I had an intended destination for the end of the day.   Ashielah and I drooled over these possible explorations and promised ourselves that we will be back sooner than later.

We reached Durango in the early afternoon, and stopped at a local landmark which we’d been viewing since last Winter via a local “weathercam” to snap a picture of our travel-tousled selves and “Mr. Rosales” (the stuffed monkey that my friend LoRo insisted must come along for the ride back to Kansas).  Here . . . I think this is a case where one picture really does equal a thousand words:

That day, we explored a bit of Durango (and were slightly bemused when we stopped at a small park to try to get a better internet connection and looked up to see that we were parked under a “DEAD END” sign . . . hmmmmmm), then the nearby town of Bayfield, and finally pulled into a late afternoon camping spot that was WAY too close to the highway, and experienced our first night in the tent with temperatures under 30 degrees.  We slept very comfy and cozy, but I will confess that rising out of our sleeping bag/comforter nest the next morning was a bit challenging.

Day Seven, we stopped in Pagosa Springs for pastry and coffee, and continued east over Wolf Creek Pass to the Great Sand Dunes National Park (check out the pics linked in the first paragraph), where we camped again (this night, it got down to 26 degrees — again, we were cozy and comfy in bed, but the tent was frost-limned when we got up next morning).

At Great Sand Dunes, I nursed a hesitant fire for some hours in the darkness, marveled at the stars, and we had our one and only kitty-escape act the following morning, when Sovereign made a run for it when a tent zipper was opened for an instant.  At 8800 feet, I was already feeling a bit out of breath, and her escape gave me an adrenal rush that meant that I didn’t need caffeine that morning — I was imagining us, still there three days later, waiting for her to get hungry enough to come back to the tent — but thankfully, she allowed herself to be “caught” with relative ease, and we watched her like hawks the rest of the way.

Day Eight was our longest drive of the trip — ten hours from Sand Dunes to Emporia, Kansas, where we’ve been since 10/16.  We pulled in after midnight, and were grateful that the cat seemed to sense immediately that we were, in some way, “home” — or at least settled for a time.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about what’s transpired since we arrived here.  We definitely have the sense that the journey is ongoing, and my experience of ease with not knowing what’s next in any specific way is incredibly liberating.

I think I’m getting the hang of this “Adventure” thing.

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Day 3, 4, and *ahem* 5

Day three of our journey found us continuing to marvel at the Columbia River Gorge, then wandering into the long, open roads of extreme eastern Oregon.  Much as I had a desire to cross a second State line that day, we took mercy on the cat (and ourselves) and stopped in Baker City, Oregon that night.

This might be a good time to talk about traveling with a cat.

Our resident Vole Killer is a wonderful beast.  In many respects, she has some dog-like qualities — she follows Ashielah around the garden/grounds, pines for her (and from reports, sometimes for me) when she heads off to the library, rolls in deer poop — she even tolerates walking on a leash fairly well — however, despite these canine-like characteristics, let’s just say this: I strongly doubt she will be riding with tongue-lolling-head-out-the-window joy in an automobile at any point in the near future.

She has calmed somewhat over the days, and grown less complaintive (not a real word) about being sequestered in tent or carrier, but the vocalizations while driving on day three were . . . challenging for us all.

So it was that we splurged on a very cheap pet-friendly motel that night, to give her some room to run and us, a respite from the cold nights in that area (when we stopped and checked with a local resident at a beautiful – but high – mountain campground, she told us it had been 22 degrees the night before).

Day Four found us headed into Idaho, passing a factory that blew huge smoke-rings into the sky (no lie), and touching up against the Snake River from time to time.  A stop in Boise at the ginormous Food Coop (found only by thwarting Google Maps directions, thank you very much) had me checked out by a woman who asked about our trip when I offered my PT Coop card for a discount.

“Kansas, eh? Where in Kansas? I lived there.”

“Emporia,” I replied.  “Where did you live?”

“Lindsborg.”

My jaw dropped.  “Get. Out.  That’s where my mom grew up!”

“Is she Swedish?” the clerk asked.

“Well, duh.”

These little synchronicities have followed us all along the way.  Just moments ago, I met a man from Sequim (45 miles from PT, for those of you non-northwesterners) in the parking lot.

At the end of Day 4, we pulled into Walcott Lake State Park near Rupert, Idaho.  The Camp Host had apparently retired for the season, so we were without firewood.  I scouted around the various camp and picnic sites for partial or left-behind wood, and was gifted wood by a lovely couple who were camped at a site near us in their RV (they were there with their parents, whose RV sat next door).

So we cozied by the fire in the chilly night air, slept warm as toast in the tent, and were up and ready to roll the morning of day five.

Ah yes, Day Five.

Having loaded up the van, packed the cat in the carrier until we could get her transferred to the relative freedom of wandering the back of the van (Ashielah usually refers to “Freeing the Kraken” each time the carrier is opened), and prepared my travel mug with hot tea, I went to start the van and . . . . nothing.

I fiddled and tried this and that, called my hometown mechanic for advice, got a jump from the lovely fire-wood-giving neighbors, and tapped on the starter motor for a while.

Nothing.

So, I started calling around for a rolling mechanic or the cheapest towing company.

I had maybe forty-five seconds of “Oh Shit” — but the truth was, we were in a lovely place, had plenty to eat and drink, and this, too, felt part of the adventure.

No rolling mechanic, so Beulah the Van was toted into Burley, Idaho for repair.  $330 later (not exactly in our travel budget, but there it is), we were rolling by 5 pm, and arrived last night in Ogden, Utah.  I’m typing to you from there at the moment.

Here’s the thing:  The exact nature of this breakdown is clearly metaphoric — it actually had nothing to do with the hard driving we’d been doing, or the weather, or anything else — it was a problem with the ignition switch itself — we had power, the engine was fine, we just couldn’t get started.

Ashielah and I have been pondering what it means to be given a new key to get started.  Now, we have two keys — one to access the vehicle, and another to start the engine — an apt metaphor for how we work together — she as a “container,” and me as a “driver.”

I also noticed that I was kind of relieved to have a roadside breakdown behind us — it’s one of the things you can wonder-about/dread when traveling, and now it’s happened and it wasn’t excruciating at all — everything got taken care of and our travel schedule has changed, and all of that is just fine.

I kept thinking about how I would probably have reacted (and yes, it would have been a reaction) to all this ten (or even five) years ago.  I think I would have felt frightened and angst-y, but this time, I could barely register it as an annoyance.

Yes, the presentation of the bill did have some andrenaline-producing effects, but in point of fact, it was no more impactful than a cup of strong coffee, and I found myself alert and ready when it was time to drive again.

So we begin Day Six in Ogden, and will be departing in another hour or so for more points unknown.

We think that part of the learning in the breakdown was that we had been rushing to “get there.”  This experience led us to just “be here” — as there was nowhere else to be.  Which is true all the time, really.

Think of us driving along today to the tune of Kitty Opera, and if you’ve ever thought of making a donation here at the blog, this would be a great time.   You can help us pay for that “new key” — or perhaps some earplugs.  😉

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Day One and Day Two On The Road

My friend Jonathan Ward told me, when we were moving last May:  “When you’re moving, everything takes three times longer than you think it will.”

That’s proven true at so many levels.  We “planned” to depart Washington State in May — we’re doing it in October.  Last month, the packing I thought would take a week or so — took four.  Yesterday, I actually thought we’d be up and on the road by 10 am at the latest — with all the last-minute details, we rolled out at about 1:30 pm.

Tonight, though, I’m finding I’m not in resistance to this trip taking longer than I thought it might — I’m typing this at a campsite by the Columbia River, with a balmy-turning-crisp night breeze ruffling the trees above me, having driven through a landscape that is astounding at any time of year, but which is especially astounding right now.

In the late-afternoon today, we passed rocks and waterfalls and mosses and trees, all resting in the amber-red hands of early Autumn.  Last night, we slept under huge trees that reached so high above us that Ashielah had to tell me “Look up there at that broken one” and I had to stretch my neck back and back to see — not the top of it — but where the top used to start.

I’m trying to remember to take photographs (and I’ll post some tomorrow, if the internet connection is as good at our next campground as it is here), but the truth is, I wish I had a camera in my eyes — that I could simply go “blink-blink” and send the images to my beloved friends with just a thought.

I suppose, though, that a truly crafty writer does that anyway — transmits what they are seeing and experiencing through their words.  Generation upon generation of authors have penned their “blink-blink” moments to us, and we have thrilled to perceive what they perceived.

So, here — I’ll do my best, and offer a poem:

CLOSE-ENOUGH BY

On this last day only
there is a sadness

it rests in my chest

a drawing and a hunger

tipped into awareness
by this intended meeting

I stand with this man
in the market

this man who came
early in my time here
and stayed on

I recognized him
the first time I saw him

It wasn’t
“Oh, there you are!”

It was
“Oh yes . . . you.”

I think:
I might not see him again.

and realize:
This has been true every day
we’ve known each other.

The sadness is not a fear of loss.

It is a knowing

about proximity
and random sightings
and bumpings-into

I walk away from our hug
with my heart hungering
to have all the things I treasure
close-enough by

copyright C. Steinel — 10/8/2012

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Nothing Like Change!

Carol here:  Well, friends — our adventure continues — this time with new twists that I in no way anticipated, but which I am finding stimulating, rather than stressful.

Last month, I had news from my parents about some health challenges that they are dealing with, and I felt strongly called to be nearer them — perhaps for a longish-visit, perhaps for more time than that —  we are choosing to “go and see/feel/sense” how it is for us there.

It’s kind of interesting — just last month, I wrote a piece for the new blog “Flyover Feminism” — all about how I “went away” from Kansas in the 70’s — and here I am being called to that place; a perfect example of all the “clearing old stuff” I’ve been seeing in myself and all my clients lately.  (You can read my piece here:  The Feminist of Oz.)

Meanwhile, back at the cabin, we told our lovely host and hostess that we intended to move along (probably in November) — in discussing what was best for everyone, they let us know that it would probably be better for them if we were to vacate the cabin at the end of September, so we are moving into action on that immediately.

This entire process has been an amazing experience — we are culling out our extra possessions even further, and living in this simple and small space has been a wonderful experiential demonstration of what things I actually use every day, and what things I only need or want occasional access to.   I’m the kind of learner who does best with hands-on education, so I’ve been very grateful for this luxurious time to really find out what I need and what I don’t by actually living with and without certain things — I’ve learned volumes about what I hang onto out of a sense of lack, and what I hold in a true sense of treasuring.

Now that we are back in motion in a new way, I expect we’ll be updating here more often.  Be sure to subscribe to get notices of our posts — one thing I know we’ll be doing is posting announcements about some possessions that we will be moving along.  For example, we are selling our 14″ Crystal Singing Bowl (I love it, but it’s both BIG and HEAVY, and while it’s full of very magical history, it feels time to move it along).  If you are interested, we’re putting a price of $175 on it.  Email or call me.

That’s all for now — talk to you soon.

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Deep Breathing and Long/Short Times

OK — nearly . . . what?  Six weeks since the last post?  It seems both longer and shorter than that, and much has transpired.

Current Location:  Still at the Little Cabin in the Big Woods south of Port Townsend.

Apparently, the Pacific NW is not finished with us yet.

I just did a really sweet Open Circle in Blaine, WA last weekend, and it looks like we might schedule another for that area before we leave the NW.

About a week after my last post, the Colorado wildfires broke out — since it was likely that we’d be camping/trekking our way across the country, we chose to stay put through July, rather than wander into a heat wave and smoke zone.

Then, our hosts here inquired whether we’d like to stay long term (they enjoy having us here, and we enjoy them, too), so we pointed our minds toward at least the end of July or mid-August.   Our sense now is that we will be here a couple more months at least (Sept/Oct) — we’re moving to a short-term rental situation with them, which feels perfect for the moment.

It just doesn’t look like what we’d “planned.”

Honestly, I have to chuckle at that “planning” now — as if a time like this (so chock full of daily transformation and evolution) can be strategized in the way I used to attempt to lay my life out.

I think that their offer of a possibly-permanent situation came along to shake us out of that planning, and bring me right back to the “Here I Am/Here We Be” that is at the heart of this adventure.

I’ve been deepening into a sense of calm and avid curiosity on this journey, and as I’ve continued to downsize/off-gas possessions, I’m unpacking a lot of internal stuff, too — taking out old assumptions and motivations and examining them to see which ones are still important to me, which ones I may want to keep for archival purposes, and which ones have become the solid, must-have tools of my daily life.

In other words:  All of this feels perfect.

One of the most interesting examinations I’ve been doing has to do with the very concept of “adventure” — when we left the little house on Lincoln Street in Port Townsend, we had a definite sense of moving forward into something that was unknown.  Far from being scared (even though several friends labeled me as “brave” for doing this), I simply felt excited and curious about what might unfold.

When the possibility of remaining here in a long-term way opened up, I was fascinated to watch my own process.  Some internal mental voice seemed to immediately hold that possibility as not being “on the adventure.”

This same voice seemed simultaneously judgmental about this and slightly relieved, wanting to just get down to the business of “settling in.”   Ah, my mind — always so complex!  Always so busy!

So it is that Ashielah and I have been playing with the notion of remaining on our adventure in a perpetual fashion, regardless of where we are or what we are doing — talking about what keeps us present, and what tends to distract us from presence.

It’s very rich ground for me, to examine the things that I think I need to feel “at home” as opposed to the things that I actually need to feel at home.

Still, as delightful as this place is, and as perfect as it is for us at this moment, I don’t have a sense that this is where we will remain long-term.

I think it is serving perfectly — as my decompression chamber from decades of strategizing a “planned” life to living a present life.

That is quite a departure from the status quo programming about how one “should” create a life; after all, I was trained from childhood to believe that it was of utter importance to know where I was going and, perhaps more importantly, how I was going to get there.

See?  There’s one of the things I’m unpacking.  Taking out, piece by piece, and assessing — and this is something I’m discovering anew:  I think it is important to have a sense of where I want to go — but I’m no longer so convinced of the importance of the “how.”

When I get in the car with the intent to go to the library, or the gas station, or the charming little corner store that’s recently stolen my heart with its local produce and  grinning cashiers, I head down the little gravel road and get on the highway and come to a crossroads and make a choice about what errand I want to focus on first.

The truth is, though, that anything might happen on the way.  There might be a branch blown down over the road, or they might be repaving the highway, or a procession of jugglers might just then be making their way to a celebration at the charming corner store — you just never know.

These days, I’m quite content to take the branch as a sign that this isn’t the time to go to town, or that that big ledge in the cut pavement means that I’ll turn right instead of left, or to pull in behind the jugglers and crawl along at 5 mph and ask a couple of them to perch on the hood as I join their parade.

Because I’ve discovered that, once I set the “what,” the Universe usually has better, more creative, and infinitely more fun ways of offering up the “how.”

That’s what I’m doing, still here in the NW.

I’ve been aware for weeks that this blog is sitting here, waiting for me to update, and I see, now, how some of my old training contributed to a resistance to just sit down and let you know what we are doing now.  “How can I explain this?” kept rolling through my brain.

I can’t.

I can’t explain it, and I don’t want to explain it.  I want to share it with you.

Today, we had our first real Summer weather — eighty-some degrees of perfection — and if, as someone I bumped into recently is correct that “It’s hard to achieve escape velocity from Port Townsend,” — it’s especially hard to imagine moving along right now.

I will wait until I am called clearly to the next perfect place and time.  If you are the angel who is pointing me there, speak up clearly.  🙂

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Friday Night Poetry Hour

From Carol:  FNPH is a tradition I started on my very first blog (yes, I’ve had a lot of blogs) — but hey — TRADITION!

But before the poeming commences, a time/space/activity update:  We’re still in the same sweet Little Cabin in the Big Woods, sorting out our internal and external stuff.  Car fixing is mostly done, we’re going to sell/give away more external “stuff” before we leave, and the cat is still in Cat Heaven (body count for yesterday — one jumping mouse, one shrew, and a little tiny weasel — yes, really).

And now, the Friday Night Poem:

This Wood is full of creatures
that I do not see.
This grass, ruffled by the passage
of a million beings.

The Thrushes sing the evening away
into some distance I cannot measure,
and the light becomes blue,
flecked with black.

I keep thinking
if I sit still enough
I’ll know something
soon.

C. Steinel, 6/14/12

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Let me ‘splain . . . no, there is too much.

Let me sum up.

From Carol:  Each day is an adventure of massive proportion, as new surroundings bring me to awareness of old habits, now rendered irrelevant.  I’ll try to express a few of of the shifts I’m experiencing, even though they seem deeper than words, at times.

Community:  I’ve always wanted it, and now, I’m having it, but not in a form I would have ever imagined.  I haven’t found “my” house, but here I am sharing a beautiful place with others, basking in their generosity, and returning it as best I can.  We are finding exchanges that work and grow as we do.  One of the “give-back” things I’m doing is cleaning the cabin roofs here (mossy mossy) — and Beloved has made a beautiful Moss Garden of my leavings:

Our Moss Garden, flourishing in the wet weather on a small plate.  Six varieties.  Endless amazement.Organic Approaches to My Work/Plurk:  I’ve had these wonderful opportunities to play/work with others in ways that are more fluid than “SCHEDULE this!”  It’s a delight, and something I’ve often pondered over — how to manage more fluid use of time when others might have more rigid schedules than I.  I’m reaching a balance that I like.

Working With the AMAZING BEINGS!  In the few weeks since our move-out, I’ve worked with children, survivors, and people who want to GET ON WITH IT — all populations that I’ve known I am “meant” to work/play with.  I am creating the life I want in a way that seems seamless, easeful, and in a way that I’m feeling out, rather than thinking out.

Living in the World, Seeing Humans, and Animals, and Trees, and Mosses, and Cabins as living beings.  I feel renewed to myself and to everything around me.

Reading back on that, it seems a wholly inadequate sum-up — but if you look at the Moss Garden — that reflects what I’m experiencing — complexity in small, working its way into the cracks in my being, finding the light, and the water.  Beautiful, and worth a closer look.

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The Taming of The Shrews

From Carol:

There’s a live shrew under the clothes-dryer.

At least there was this morning.  I assume that it’s still there, and still alive, where someone “accidentally” dropped it and let it run under the dryer, and then left it.

I wonder who that someone could be?

Could her name begin with S and end with Overeign?

This little cabin in the woods, as it turns out, is Cat Heaven.  There is an awesome abundance of shrews, moles, voles, field-mice, and a rodent I hadn’t actually seen until the other day, when Sovereign brought one near the house and released it intact — the Pacific Jumping Mouse (a beautiful creature that has a local children’s therapy center named after it — I had always just thought:  “Nice name for a kid’s program,” not “Oh yeah, I’ve seen those.”).

Our kitteh, who is active and middle-agish, always tried to be a hunter in town.  Turns out that being a blazing-white cat is not the best strategy for bird-hunting unless you live in the Tundra — but she tried, bless her heart, she tried.  We were glad she wasn’t all that great at hunting birds, because we like bird-watching and domestic cats are a serious threat to some endangered song-birds.

Here, though?  I’m beginning to think the rodents might be color-blind.

Since day two of our arrival here, she’s been logging a couple of shrews or voles per day, AND eating them to boot, then coming in and demanding a dish of regular food.  She’s turned into Jungle Kitty, and apparently, all this hunting stuff is hungry work and the calorie-offset for a tiny vole is negligible — but they’re SO MUCH FUN TO CATCH!!!

The man who owns the land we’re staying on is delighted.  The voles did some damage to his food garden last year, and are in need of thinning, in his view.  We’re not inclined to complain, either — and it’s very entertaining to see only the tips of her white ears poking out of the tall grass, then watch her leap like an Arctic Fox up and over the tips of the foliage, landing on her prey.

This bringing it into the house thing, though?  Yeah, that’s not gonna fly.

Today was the first, and we’ve already had a talk (or two) about this practice.

Right now, she’s sitting in the middle of the room, giving herself a thorough washing, the shrew is still under the dryer, and I’m thinking:  “When the house settles into sleeping quiet and the games begin again, please — PLEASE — don’t chase it over my face — that’s all I ask.”

ShrewsDay 2
I wrote the post above yesterday, and now, I’m glad I waited to put it up, as there are DEVELOPMENTS!

This afternoon, Sovereign determined that it would be best for all of us if she brought in a second shrew and released it in the kitchen, so that it could run under the refrigerator.  It seems clear that she must be running for office, with the slogan:  “A SHREW UNDER EVERY APPLIANCE!”

Note:  Still no sign of the shrew beneath the dryer, so I assumed it’s in cahoots with the campaign.

I was working on my book, so I got up temporarily for the kitchen excitement, and then went back to writing.

About an hour later, I see Sovereign skittering out of the laundry room, chasing a squeaking shrew, which now ran under the floor cushion that is Ashielah’s “office chair.”  Sovereign watched the cushion for a few minutes, and then asked to be let out (no doubt in search of more cooperative campaign staff).  I let her out, and then began talking to the shrew, assuring it that I wanted to help  — that I would catch it gently under this yogurt container and release it far, far away in the forest — I moved all the cushions and boxes and baskets and things around its last known location, but . . . nothing.

So now, there’s a shrew in the office.  I’m fairly certain that it is quite alive, and hopefully, not in my purse (which was on the floor during the kerfluffle).

(Nature Note: Shrews have very small voices.  I suppose this makes sense, since they are, themselves, very small beings, but still . . . very. small. voices.)

And now, because both politics and hunting are such hard work, the cat must be coddled and cared for:

Sovereign relaxes in the arms of her personal masseuse after a hard day on the campaign trail.

Vote Sovereign 2012!

 

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