Running of the Wild Horses

Today I dreamed  about a head of a dog, offered as a gift on my birthday, 6 months from now. Because I refused it, the head then turned to a bear. Suddenly I was here, where the Bear that is a dog, rests just there at the end of the bed.
It was an offering in a language that I understand in my bones, while my head denies, and my heart prepares for battle. Without thought to its meaning, I pushed away this unwanted package, not from disgust or fear. It was rational reaction to the memories that tore across the rolling hills of my mind scape, out of my past, on fast wild horses. These injuries to heart and spirit are those that require this denial.
Or do they?
Is this true? 
Once wounded one must never tread here again….. Really?
Is scar tissue reason enough to turn away from the Mystery of life possibilities and potentials?
When the giant wave knocks us down, and we eat sand, should we never look at the ocean again?
Black wild horses (5)
All this effort to survive,
just to be…
Are the big dreams of our lives riding on the backs of the Wild Horses?  Herded off into our personal and national mythology  because they took up too much space and couldn’t be controlled?
Questions to wonder about on the last days of 2013

Heart’s Home


Florida to New Mexico in a snapshot;

First day: Tallahassee, Old style, dog loving La Quinta. Second story, the outside room confused the dogs. Of course they didn’t like it, it was a catwalk! He ate oysters, cheese grits, and she had Fried green tomatoes.

Next day: Hattiesburg Mississippi, site of important Civil Rights events the summer of 1964.  Almost 50 years ago hatred lived here. He found Crescent City Grill so I could have a great salad in a place where the greens are still green, and of course… more oysters.  It was not a great room.  I found myself eye to eye with a monster in the bathroom, another in the night, and a third in the morning.  All that time sitting under palm trees in Florida and never a big bug, but in Mississippi, they came to us.

On our way to Shreveport LA we saw a road worker in striped pants laying in the road, hurt or worse, surrounded by his armed Sheriff guards. The scene brought a chill to the bone.

Day three: Mesquite TX; a part of Dallas, 40 BBQ places in a small radius! We found a great one, ate BBQ ribs and baked potatoes with snippets of Jurassic Park 3. Gnawing on big bones and watching that carnage didn’t quite feel Kosher to me. We finished up with Patrick Stewart waltzing through the “Christmas Carol.” Is there anyone; actor or cartoon that hasn’t had “at” that fable?

It was a three hour trip out of Dallas via flooded highways and local streets. There were fire engines and ambulances on the roads, racing to reach the results of poor judgement. I discovered a new driving trick for torrential rain; turn on your flashers. The drivers feel mortal for a moment and slow down.

We came out of the storm in Abilene. For hundreds of flat, cotton growing miles, we marveled at the skies.  Not much happening on the ground in West Texas, but the skies are amazing.

Which brings us to Hobbs, NM tonight. So many miles! Good local food from land and sea; a tonic for the body. For the soul, an ongoing story called Dangerous Old Woman from my hero Dr. Clarissa Estes.  The radio in 5 states played the same 6 Christmas songs, all spouting “be of good cheer” and, “we’ll all be together.”  No wonder so many people struggle in this season with all this enforced cheeriness.

We watched the 2013 winter solstice sunset from the Hobbs LaQ hot tub. I have been thinking about last year’s solstice. I walked the Labyrinth at a church in Santa Fe. Three times into the center and back out until I went home at midnight.  A labyrinth is a trip into your psyche, a trail into your own unconscious. It was memorable because the intentions sent out there, played out in the coming months.

Tomorrow- through Roswell up the backside of Manzanos to I 40, through the canyon formerly our daily commute, and on to the “Breaking Bad” lands of Albuquerque. There are little and big hearts to tumble into this Christmastime in New Mexico.

For so many people this is a very hard time.  For all of us, our worlds are a changed place from last solstice; last Christmas. It’s a time to be happy, to be sad, to take in what has changed and honor it, honor what is here and be happy.

Two Christmases ago, my father was dying.  Last Christmas, I decorated for Christmas with my Mom. We adorned her apartment with her favorite pinecone lights and set out our childhood angels. It was wonderful. I hadn’t been with her at this time of year for a long time.  She died two months later. Those lights are in our storage space waiting for the time they will be joyfully put out again. This year I will take it all in, because I know next year will be different.  Love what you have today.

Thanks for reading, thanks for being part of our adventure, our lives and our shared human heart. Blessings on us all!!

Gypsy Diaries


We are headed West today, and yesterday, and tomorrow, and the next day. Leaving, if for a while. the palm trees, beach walks, squirrel habitats called campsites, and tiny little homes called RVs.  We have packed our ancient sleigh (2004 Toyota Highlander V-6 for those that need to know) with small amounts of each season’s clothes, electronics, dog food and good cheer. I can see out the back window this time, clearly we are traveling lighter.
In the road hours I have been considering our last weeks.  For anyone that imagines that traveling with two large dogs and providing the “cone of silence” to a working partner is some kind of relaxing vacation, think again.  It has provided some soul growth.  I am just not as peaceful a person as I once believed.
Our last neighbor heard my rumblings of discontent as we were packing to leave Minerva in storage. Campsite walls are nonexistent, and sharp words travel faster. There really is an unlimited amount of ways to bruise oneself in a space this small.
 Our campsite neighbor at site 27, and his 70ish wife, decked out in a big grin and a Santa hat, were heading home to their actual house, 60 miles away. She secured the trailer door, as he loaded his dog and chairs into his pick up. He asked me, “Having fun yet?”  Trying to be gracious to an elder, over the din of Bear and Mac barking at the 300th squirrel attack that morning, while not dropping clean laundry as I tripped over Bear’s leash and dumped the water dish….again. I said, “I have fun scheduled for this afternoon, but now it’s just all the moving!” He stopped for a moment, gave me a truly guileless smile and said, “This life is really all moving, isn’t it?  We are really just a bunch of Gypsys, that’s what we are and that’s why we do it.”
 Actually, I think “we do it” for a variety of reasons.  Not the least of which is to hear Truth from strangers who the smile and wave, and drive permanently out of our lives leaving us to digest a profound observation about ourselves. Well drop a pinecone on my head! Why would anyone live in an RV if they didn’t like to MOVE.  Ah… the sweet smell of perspective, bless you our hog hunting friend. So, Thought I might do some public processing on our last 6 weeks as nomads.
Best moments:
Nokomis drum circle with our children and grandchildren.
Realizing that as the temperature dropped in New Mexico, we had no pipes there anymore.
Heavy rain on the roof and being dry, happening at the same time.
Hearing Bear give an authentic New Mexican, Full Moon howl in answer to a Florida hound dog across the park.
Doing laundry outside, doing everything outside.
Glass bottom boat at Silver Springs; seeing 20 year old water.  It takes that long to filter through the limestone. Watching it gush without pause into incredibly clear 30 ft deep pools.
 Worst moments:
Being called away from Thanksgiving Dinner because Mac had bolted from the Dog caregiver, and was lost in acres of Florida underbrush.
Having to leave East children to see West children.
Feeling mad at my dogs, for being…dogs
 Seems there is more under the Best side. In our “regular” world time, I have plans for many delicious activities like baths, letting the dogs out, and being alone!  We will see how wonderful they are when they are easy and available.  We will see how hard it is to sleep where I can’t see the trees. It’s hard to beat hearing owls in the night, and finding an owl pellet under the tree in the morning.  We will see…..

Rituals of Steelhenge

ChartresLabyrinth We are presently staying in an official “Mobile Home Park” for snowbirds south of Sarasota, Florida. We usually stick to the forests, but those opportunities are slim to non-existent in the coming months. Hence, we set out to take a walk on the “mild” side to see if this more available venue was survivable with our pack. As we have a penchant for the privacy of perimeters, I hadn’t often ventured into the center of this community. Walking our dogs can set off a chorus of canines, our dog Bear turns into something from “Call of the Wild,” so we keep to the edges.

I came to Middle Earth today to wash and dry, and rub elbows with the locals from Ontario, Michigan and all points North. I soon realized I was sitting on the Axis Mundi of this Vagabond village. Two hundred or so sites are arranged in three concentric circles, dissected by an equidistant cross; a veritable Stonehenge of aluminum and fiberglass. I should have recognized the power inherent in this design, and the significance of the season. Early December marks the apex of Snowbirds migration here in SW Florida. I was unsuspecting witness to some of this flock’s winter nesting rituals.

At the center of this community lies a present day altar of sorts; two recycling containers and a huge trash compactor. Strangely enough, the latter had Mayan-esque sensibilities, as one had to ascend 5 steps, and raise the lid to reach the maw of the insatiable daemon. As in a scene from a sacrificial ceremony, each member of the community found themselves there daily, supplications in hand. I soon realized there was more at work here. As we all know, offerings are given with the expectation of reciprocity and this divinity didn’t disappoint. As I acclimated, I was able to see the pile of castoffs for what it is, the font of Sacred Stuff. It formed before my eyes.

Commencing with a TV cart, circa 1980 the altar was in place and the ceremony began in earnest. Some objects were proudly displayed, even arranged, like flowers at a funeral. “I don’t want it, but look how great it is!” Others were furtively dropped off, or casually tossed to the pile on the way to the compactor. Residents arrived instantly as called in by the pheromone of Free. It rolled like this: I leave “it” sitting conspicuously next to the trash. You come by on your bicycle, golf cart, or dog walk, and take it home. “Home,” being a vehicle with very limited floor space, and a yard smaller than motorcycle parking space. “It” could be just about anything that could have arrived by car, truck or 50 foot personal caravan. That possibility makes the plunder possible. Having been carried here, or been stored here over the summer, does not guarantee survival or retention. RVs are not built for excess, some days I’m not sure what they are built for, but that’s another post.

From my observation point, it was clear that these cardboard cartons standing open were a siren’s call, a “come hither” to pedestrians and car passengers alike. “It, ”might be a box of faux crystal glassware, seemingly a poor choice for moving mansions, one broken, one whole beach chair,( I’m curious about that story), two dusty wreaths adorned with beach finds and a tube TV with the positive message, “great pictur” taped to the front. Nothing unusual here, except for the quantity of joy and even avarice generated in passersby. From comments overheard in the laundry, I wouldn’t find it surprising to find some spouses out there on the pile.

I of course am not one of these people; I am merely waiting for my clothes to dry nearby. I only know the contents of the boxes because I found some trash in my car that needed to be discarded immediately and the boxes were on my path. I am actually not even old enough to be here in this Florida RV park, I have just thrown them off with my very light hair, white hair actually.

To add color, the box of glassware has been claimed. It has indeed passed right by my car window with its new owner, a 70 something lady with florid skin, who carried on a conversation with the box as she passed “If I can just get you home without breaking it…..” My point precisely. A gentle man on a bicycle has just stopped by to donate some nice latticework to the mix. I think I will donate my backpack beach chair to this alter. It’s a good, if bulky backpack, but a lousy beach chair, someone will LOVE it!