The Dreamer

It rained heavily last night for the first time in many weeks.  I slept a deep sleep, caught in the sticky web of a dream reality.  I was witness and player in a story in evolution.  Aspects of my day, and layers of my life, colluded to weave an intricate tale that questioned, who is where and what is real?

And what are you trying to tell me?

As in all good mysteries, clues were revealed, heroes intervened, and the main character had to grow or perish. I wasn’t the only witness, there were “watchers.” The less than benevolent crowd assembled in steep ascending layers. A shiny puppeteer commanded from the top, his diaphanous body swaying and snapping like a sail out of trim in a high wind.  I saw his head tilt back in a soundless cackle and I shuttered. I stepped back behind my own eyes and hoped for a more comfortable reality as the story began.


We were seated in chairs, no talking, no movement. It was hard to stay alert, or even awake. Through heavy lidded eyes I could see a jam-packed room filled with red folding chairs shaped like car seats.  I was in one of them.  The people seemed to go away slowly over an indeterminate time. The room got smaller, the numbers dwindled, but the small space between us never altered.

Devoid of much stimulation or reason to be mentally “present,” I wandered. I became aware that others existed outside of this space. Traveling outside my physical form, I checked in on my Mother. We had planned a family dinner, and she was supposed to come. I got the message through sensation that she was sick, very sick, with an “illness.” She was physically weak, but trying very hard to communicate with me through a sort of telepathy.  The images were like single pieces of a puzzle, each with a word attached. Unable to transmit the whole story, she hoped the pieces were enough. Trying my best to remember each image, we began with ILLNESS.

I was concentrating on this task when something called me back. Returning my attention to my own body, I realized I was in a very strange state. I was only occasionally conscious. “Maybe it is not just the sender that is struggling, the receiver is weakened as well,” I thought.  I understood then that there were overseers watching us in this room.  One did nothing to attract attention.  This would bring removal.  No one saw this, but it happened.  I awoke one dark time to realize, but not acknowledge, that Sulu, the character from Star Trek was sitting next to me. The dream world, being the subconscious “free-for-all” that it is, had determined that this character had what I needed, to do whatever it was that I came to do in this very strange place. I returned to my quest to understand what my Mother was trying so hard to tell me.


The word spit out into the air like a chicken bone caught in my throat. RENNET is a part of cheese. She showed me images of cheese making that would elicit this word in my mind. A remarkable feat because I didn’t know that I knew that word. I didn’t know that “animal” rennet is extracted from the bellies of very young, slaughtered calfs, lambs and goats. Dreams images are like that: opportunistic.  I began to repeat the word like a mantra of remembering. RENNET RENNET RENNET!

Rennet is a combination of different enzymes that help mammals digest milk. Each animal produces a different type of rennet, therefore specific types are used for certain cheeses, such as kid goat rennet to make goat’s cheese and lamb rennet for sheep’s cheese. It is usually only extracted from the stomachs of young animals, as rennet in older animals contains little or no rennin.

My neighbor Sulu was working on something next door. His mind was busy and loud.  I could hear him easily.

“My wife is next to me on the other side, she can’t hear me. Something is happening here.”

The room remained mostly dark, no movement, no sound. Our numbers were down to about 50 people, a quarter of our original size. Shaking off my stupor, dangling on the cliff of unconsciousness, I listened to his thoughts. I was hearing the voice of George Takei, the omniscient reciter/narrator in Pacific Overtures, a production I had seen a while back.  It was his voice that I heard imparting the history of Japanese coercion by western concerns, giving voice to  those standing in front of the cannon. He had my attention.

Sulu was talking fast, as if in hurry to impart all he could. My mind was spinning like an old 33 vinyl record on a player set to 16, a very ponderous speed.  This alignment allowed me to hear the messages from a place not so far away where I believed my mother sat, unable to move.   I had to leave her to hear him, and that was difficult.

I realized then that there were only a few of us left. A door opened in the back of the room where we were, I focused hard to stay present. Sulu was pushing the nearly inert form of his wife through a doorway and reaching back to pull me through too. An image crashed through mind, a thousand birds in a building like this. BIRDS, I heard as we slipped out through the door.


We were outside the building, in the world again. It was dark and cool. We were standing on real dirt, drinking in real air. The cool breeze on my face held a thousand elements. The sounds of wind, leaves, crickets, crashed over me and I was awake for a moment.  I could feel the bottom of my feet. My hands began to twitch. I saw a wooden six panel door standing ajar across the grassy alleyway.  We went for the opening and Sulu and wife disappeared into the darkness.

I heard voices then, very close. Stepping behind the door, I was careful to make no sound with my feet or breath.  The boots sounded heavy even in the greasy earth outside.  They dropped something on a broken table leaning by the door and it rattled like a hundred screws in a box.  These were the first voices I had heard in a long time. I didn’t really understand the words but in my mind, I saw a picture of a large bird. “BIRD, BIRD!”

It seemed important to stay alert but it was so hard. Did I imagine that these images of birds of prey swirled in the minds of the heavy-footed beings on the other side of the door?  A raptor like an Owl or Osprey, Hawk or Eagle with talons extended in flight flashed across my mind. I realized I was the prey and I froze.

They had been gone a long while before I moved.  I stepped back to look through the crack at the door jam.  I saw the box of “hardware” they had left on a table outside the door. Small blue balls connected in pairs with small links of tiny chain.


I pushed the door closed, closing the hasp on the inside silently.  Clumps of dirt moved out of the way. The half circle of evidence of change was thankfully on my side of the door. I moved deeper into the darkness of this new room. As my eyes adjusted I realized there were two small cots a few feet apart, each with blankets and a pillow. Sulu stood smiling offer me a cot with the graciousness of a host at a Japanese Ryokan. Had it been days? Or much longer since I had laid down on a bed. I was unconscious again almost immediately.

I felt my Father then.  He didn’t have the same type of capacity for communication.  His eyes were closed and it was hard for him to maintain contact. I could see his face, but his thoughts were thready and faint when they reached me. “Through the Father” I heard. I thought I understood this, but instead of a religious icon, I saw the spiral used to represent the trail of DNA as we understand it now. A green snake traveling downward through the cosmos, “through the Father.” GENETICS! I heard.


I repeated the word and I heard voices cheering.  I saw a scene from the Apollo 13 movie buttressed with my personal experience of a tour through the control room at Kennedy Space Center. Was there a NASA-esque control room somewhere monitoring these ethereal communiques? The thought was comforting and unsettling. The witness part of me wondered, “What is at stake here?”

Mom was back “on my radar” and apparently feeling better. It would still be a while before I came to wonder how someone who has no physical body comes to have a “ILLNESS.” It is all just “grist for the mill” isn’t it? Quickly, more pictures came.  I saw ocean, a rocky coast, a cow and her calf in a field, the small church on the edge of Kennebunkport. MAINE! Got it Mom, MAINE


When my eyes opened, Sulu was watching me from his cot. He reached out as if to shake my hand, we could just touch. His hand crushed mine at first, he backed off to a more appropriate grasp, then ratcheted up by small increments until the desired effect was achieved. Silently, he told me his wife wasn’t here anymore. I thought about my husband, wondering where he was in this story? Sulu’s eyes changed, with all the body tension and intensity of the Star Trek helmsman he whispered, out loud this time, “We need to go, now!” And just like that we were done with that place.

We were outside then, walking on a path through a temporary encampment of khaki tents and dusty vehicles. We were three: Sulu, myself and another man holding silence, and a tense reserve of quiet authority. We strode quickly through an environment that changed every few moments from dusty open desert, to thick Palm and bamboo forest.  I walked just behind the tall thin man with a 2-week beard, whispering in his right ear when I could keep up with his long legs.  Sulu, easily trotting on the left, corroborated my story, adding his own details.

This newcomer took in the story we told with worried thoughtful skepticism. The plot said he was my husband, but not in this life. I didn’t know this man, he was from a different place, and a different story. I understood he was a scientist.  Our story made him uncomfortable, very, very uncomfortable for reasons that weren’t yet ready to bubble up into his neocortex.

I heard the morning sounds of my home.  The beep of the coffee pot, the dove in the gutter over the open window of my bedroom, all familiar and comforting.  Keeping my eyes shut I backed up, retracing my steps into recent memory. I tracked the path back to the place where the story had ended. Sulu smiled and waved, a swing of a cape, his image faded and he was gone.  The tall thin man was standing in a group of white coated serious minds, unclear if he wanted to remember or forget.  I got out of bed for a pen and paper, and reached for my laptop instead.

The picture on Google today is Maria Felix on her 104th birthday


The dream was done with me.  It joined the world of collective thought quietly, drifting as dust on running rainwater going who knows where?

“The future Dream Society will be the fifth techno-economic system in which humans have lived. The first – the Hunter-Gatherer Society – gave way to Agricultural Society about 10,000 years ago. Agricultural Society began yielding to a third system – Industrial Society – about 1750, when steam engines began appearing in England. About 1950, a fourth system – the Information Society – began to take shape, but it now appears that the Information Society will not last more than a few decades longer before yielding to a society focused on dreams, adventure, spirituality, and feelings.”    Rolf Jensen,

Article from The Futurist, Vol. 30, No. 3, May-June 1996

Peeking Behind the Gossamer Curtain

Three years ago on this day, on a silent clear night in northern New York, we stood quietly around the suddenly still body of our amazing Mother. She died there in the wee hours, in a gentle handoff from the physical folk to the ethereal extended family. It seemed to me then that she somehow exhaled herself into the next realm. Her arrival was planned, practiced and practical; her fragile body was beginning to deteriorate. Once she could no longer walk in the woods or kayak the edges of water, it was time to move out.

Her Spirit died into the next world while the moon was overhead. Her earthly remains left her 14th story “tree house” for the last time in the mid-afternoon of that same day. Lovingly tended by her daughters, just as our Grandmothers would have done, she appeared little changed.  It seemed she was just finding her new abilities, illuminated, but just so much happier. Dressed in her favorite gown, itself a shiny beige veteran of two grandchildren’s weddings, with warm socks, she held tightly curled fern fronds and flowers from a Spring that hadn’t yet arrived.  She had gone on: “To my next adventure.”

It was our job as children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, neighbors and friends to wave good-bye, preferably smiling. If you couldn’t muster that, no worries, she was going anyway. In her last gaze I think she saw all, understood all, felt all, everything that everyone did was all- O.K. in her book. Had she been alive, she would have taken just the tiniest nibble from those ferns, …just because they were so beautiful.


Fern Carol Martell 2010

“I am ready for my next adventure”

These were the words she used to explain why she was ready to die, and why she would go willingly. I believe she was still smiling when her “earth skin” was slipped into the plain pine box of her own choosing. It was Amish plain pine, freshly sanded and unfinished. By necessity it stood overnight in a funeral home surrounded by gilded guilt and the heavy décor of regretful sadness.

Her casket; if you would call it that, stood proud and simple. Had she still been there she would have remarked about the grain of the wood, caressed it with her hand, her long arthritic fingers seeking the lifeforce, reminiscent of ET’s heart touching scene. Wood grains were a passion with her! She would have found the rough place I remember seeing. That sticky knot that made me wonder if this pine box was still planks when she died?

I remember we opened the dark shades in the “room of sadness.” We opened the top of her box to tuck in bits of memory; tiny flowers and the secret missives from her favorite fans. I recall a flash of future déjà Vu that I would recall that exact moment in the future, which is today.

“My Angels Were Here”

My Mom was unusual in that she welcomed death into her life with curiosity, anticipation and a smile. While others may choose to clutch and cling to their life with the last drug and surgery, she opened the door to the next life with intention. She made her path clear of medical interventions, she asked for comfort and respect, and not much else.

She entertained the angels of transit into the next life quite regularly. She left notes to this effect, found later tucked into “must read” books and under cushions that we would move, “after.” I imagine she offered her visitors a keen interest in the subject of afterlife, and a cup of herbal tea. They seemed to stop in frequently, in her dreams, and at the edge of sleep; appearing from behind what she described as “gossamer curtains.” Those words always accompanied by a graceful arm movement that denoted her feeling the fabric and a subtle sense of the sound of bells.

They came to gently welcome her to her new existence, we mused. It was not unusual in the months before she passed to see her eyes shine in anticipation for her path, and in compassion for ours, as it was revealed. She kept it mostly to herself except when my path crossed theirs at her front door and the mystical mist still lingered about her.

Three years later I have grown skin back over the wound of loss. This is not a victim place, it is the work of grieving. Grief is love that echoes back at us when its target can’t be found. It takes a bit of time before we can scratch out the old address for our loved ones and forward our thoughts to:

Mom, Your Next Adventure, Somewhere in the Ethers, 87503

Now I can look at her transformation with appropriate joy. I can appreciate what a renegade she was; a consummate explorer in the unknown realms. Or did she know exactly where she was going because she had already been there?

Whatever the case, from my current position of safety and observation I can ask:

Where is it written that death must be faced with fear and pain, angst and anguish? At the end of a life, one could choose acceptance. I believe there is another paradigm that exists in parallel to the no hope “Grim Reaper” cheat death scenario. I want to take the Angel option; beautiful beings providing whatever you need for a sweet transition “Into your next adventure.”

Loving conductors, great music and sweet peace? Interested? Ask them.

I think my Mother works there, her name is Gloria.

Not Pegasus, but not too shabby

I have this day had the opportunity to spend 10 hours in meditation. Airport meditation that is, which is a horse of a different color. The view from the window was extraordinary in its complexity. ATL is the busiest airport in the nation. The “hive” mind is alive and well here, cooperation reigns supreme on this tarmack. This is my photo essay of the day. It is said that in meditation there is a place where reality drops away and we become aware of the sacred forms. I am aware that I am yet 2 hours away from my chariot heading west into the sunset.













Call in the Valkyries

womaninwavesFor two days it had been blue grey drizzle, punctuated by periodic deluges that slapped at the windows, sending the dogs under the table. The unexpected monsoon shook loose the dead leaves from my live oak and washed them across the lawn into rusty mounds. My potted tomatoes split across their plump half ripe bellies, unable to refuse more water than they could hold.

Without appointments on these days, this discerning being chose to “hole” up at home. I donned socks, curled in a chair, and attended to my extraordinarily patient paperwork. I created dreams of a tidy weather tight home in the North; smugly green and beautiful in it’s efficiency. Our home would be steadfast beacon of comfortable living with minimal planetary impact.

I am allowed the luxury of imagined living in “other places” by virtue of my big brain human-being status. This, and the prevailing postulate of my species: Humans have the right to dominate over all other life forms. This philosophy allows great latitude in our dealings with all other nonhuman cohabitants of the planet, and it’s so convenient! Omnipotence feels great as long as one hums loud enough to drown out everything but ourselves.

do·min·ion noun

sovereignty; control.

“man’s attempt to establish dominion over nature”


“at the time the Spartans had dominion over Athens”         (

It was still early, we found only two cars at the beach lot. A deserted beach was surprising on this bright morning in February, at the apex of the Southern Emigration season. It was snowing heavArthur Rackhamily for the second day in the Northern tundra. On this day in southwestern Florida, the sky was an exquisitely clear robin’s egg blue. The southeast winds pushed hard across the face of the Gulf. The waveforms pulsed endlessly, rhythmic heartbeats of a restless goddess radiating throughout her domain. Amphitrite doesn’t miss anything in this; her personal providence. It may be frozen someplace else, but the blood is flowing here, pounding really; pounding in our ears.

I felt it, even before I saw the refuse. I felt the moan under the waves and the scream in the wind. The water was milky, churned up and opaque. The wind didn’t create this howl; the wind was mourning the losses.

Offshore the sand dredger stood anchored above their next prey. Working day and night for weeks, they had plunged the impossibly huge mouth of the vacuum into the belly of the Gulf. Grabbing all, suffocating all, moving the sand with the empathy of a Giant’s foot on an anthill. It was pumped up to plump up the pricey beachfront that had of late, looked wan and gangly. The hanging roots of the beach grass lay exposed to the sun. The dune barely stood; sliced open by wave and wind.

Seize-The-Despoiler-Rescue-The-Gold-Help-Us-Help-Us-Woe-Woe,-Illustration-From-The-Rhinegold-And-The-Valkyrie,-1910The expensive condos at the legal edge of the dune are winter home to beings with ownership sensibilities and the “wherewithal” to protect their investment. The privilege of living close to a barrier beach had not taught them to see. These condo folk have “dominion,” and a pretty short life span. What chance do a millions mollusks and a some unconscious crustaceans have in the face of such obvious entitlement?

As long as “gravity” holds out on this planet, sand and water will ebb and flow, swirl and sway. They are in perpetual dance; forever and for all time. It’s a perpetual call and response with these two, the mediums of elemental architects.

Form + energy /time=natural forms

We walked amidst deep piles of small shells, small mountains of amorphic sponges drying in the wind, a sea cucumber, even a dead raccoon lay eyeless and rolling at the edge of the angry waves. A red sand dollar just recently alive in a nearby aquatic suburb lay drawn and quartered across the sand. The red color suggested the color of blood. Insinuating, if only in my soul; what if this was a human body? What if we were ripped from our comfy chairs and supermarket parking lots and sprayed out into the universe for some “higher purpose?” Suddenly this clear windy day at the edge of the sea became an apocalypse.


On this day, life at the edge of the sea was about domination, disrespect and death. This wasn’t a hunt for lunch, protection of young, or survival. What gives us the right to destroy so much?

Call for the Valkyries, there be heroes here. Although not human ones. Valkyries are the mythic women who carry swords they never use, who chose the heroes that will die in the man-made battles, women who scoop up those that will live forever. They are the place where good and evil are not clearly distinguishable, they are the same.

Bring them to Valhalla; it’s not safe here

All artwork by Arthur Rackham (

 All artwork by Arthur Rackham Images from
Born 19 September 1867
LewishamKent, England
Died 6 September 1939 (aged 71)
LimpsfieldSurrey, England
Nationality English
Known for Children’s literature

Singing the Solstice Blues

Solstice 2014

We chased the sunset; flying due west across the Southern United States at sunset on the Solstice of 2014. This final day of descent into darkness in the Northern Hemisphere has always been notable to me. In the last few years Solstice prayers and hopes have been etched on heart and they played out their mysteries in the months that followed. It isn’t the darkness that catches my attention. It is the echo of rituals past when people and the earth sang together, danced together in mutual care and respect.

Solstice is an intractable physical event; like puberty or menopause, birth and death. An astrological alignment of sun and earth described in light and shadow expressing constants floating in a sea of other potential outcomes. All this drama played out right here in our own intimate corner of the universe. These behemoth players dance the archetypes of sacred interrelationships on a planetary stage of constant change. For the early watchers, when survival was more primordial, the daily sunset was mortality, the sunrise a prayer of gratitude.

The Solstice is the shortest day, the least light, the final exhale of this solar year. Seems worth a few moments of contemplation amidst digital distractions of pre Christmas cheer. Our 21st century world is not a jazzy hologram or fantastical computer generated image, but a living breathing entity. We the humans, are here, because there is a “here.” All that happens in the physical realm is “that” which allows us a life in the physical. We are all part of this beautiful planet earth and one of her children. It would seem reasonable to listen to “Mom” now and then, give a hand up to those in need, and say thanks once in a while for our ride on this fantastic space ship.

I was reminded this year to mark the darkest day by an explorer in the realms of plant devas. An in-training Anam cara of the apple tree has reminded those of us who listen of the olde practice of wassailing. A sweet and chilly practice of going to the trees that feed us in summer to give encouragement in their hardest and darkest days. The grace of warm breath amongst chilly trees, human voices singing out support, grateful hearts banishing dark spirits who would bruise and maim the creators of food and fruit. Marking miracles makes sense.
Attend the last breath
makes the next breath feel so sweet.

Ghost Crabs and other Fables

Great Blue Heron

You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.  Henry David Thoreau

Early every morning barring serious thunderstorm or domestic demands we go to the Beach. This routine is simple and soothing, wait for the first light, drink some coffee, brush teeth, don bathing suits and go. Some ancient ritual marking the miracle of each day calls us to the edge of sand and water. Empty in mind and belly we seek communion and supplication with “the Shehe” that inhabits saltwater, wind and sand. Beaches are sacred ground, where all worlds mingle, earth and sky, life and death, dreams and despair. These polarities are nothing new or unique, it is just so much chowder in the Pot. Ask the empty Conchs, the turtle eggs, the faster fish, the stealthy Ghost Crabs. The living and the dead, real and imagined mingle freely here, and without apology. Each a foundation and food for the “other.”

Humans come to fish, to soak, to walk, to see, to rest. When we come to the beach we are home. We come to wash away pain, to heal brokenness, to find joy in living and in being alive, to accept death as inevitable, to see the magic in an earthly manifestation; no matter how difficult this assignment may be, on this day or any other.

The sea is the beginning and the end, always and forever.

Look!  Look!  Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.  Albert Einstein

This being summerVbeach in a Florida winter beach town the beach is gloriously empty of people. It is a 3 minute trip in the sand lined and musty “beach car;” my immortal 2004 Toyota highlander. This relic of a different life, sporting New Mexico license, is packed with what most weekend beach revelers might feel essential; chairs and coolers, towels, umbrellas, noodles and sand toys. Through constant practice we have whittled the daily needs to mangy beach hat, bamboo mat and a single wacky noodle. We have several rainbow colors but there is a crusty favorite.

On this day, as everyday, there was magic. The familiar long legged Great Blue Heron; sultan of the fishing pier restrooms was entertaining today. Three heads turned. Size equals aristocracy in the bird world. These three giants feigned deep insult as we passed. They sized us up with a side-eye stare, the only choice really, with their eye placement. No fishing pole=no bait=no interest. Beak in the air, we were dismissed. Turning with their best slow motion “giant step” each hurried off in the Great Heron way, as if the air was molasses thick, a visual of a 78 record played on 33. The Great Blue heron and the Hummingbird must represent the entire Bird Time Continuum.

What compels human beings to stand in moving water, watch the clouds, and feel for the movement of the sea? The universal fraction of change: Movement + Element over Time sings a compelling chant to the bodies here at the edge of water. While one of us walks down the beach talking to fish and sky, another enters the warm water and begins the sacred water healing pipefishritual. Petitioning the sun, practicing unity with wave and wind, the salt water is substrate for the healing of bone and muscle finally relieved of their constant trial.

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  Kahlil Gibran

The clouds were in their most impressive “Thunder Being” arrangement over the western horizon. The sun rose behind the three tall slash pines on the edge of the beach. Their shade reached across the sand and far into the water. Down the beach, a familiar head bobbed on the small waves, far, far out on this very low tide. A nearly full moon reflected the blue sky in the west.

I was well into my Spirit cleaning, calf clenching speed walk down the empty beach. This practice is my own body-mind-spirit vehicle for mind clearing, family support, and personal expansion; whatever is up in my world. Cutting through my walking meditation, a leaping silver fish caught my eye. He leap once, twice, three times, giving new meaning to “walking on water.” I stood in the water, watching the fish take wing, witnessing the life and death dance of “feeding time.”

Many miles to the West, hovering near the tower of cloud, a huge ball of bright Magenta color was forming. As it grew larger and brighter, my mind went at it. Rainbow? Burning boat? Why only that color? Why only that direction? What does this mean!?  A round single color rainbow? Does anyone else see this?tallcloud

But there was no one else.

Thankfully when the not so wise Mind runs out of small individual human thoughts it gets quiet, shuts up, or shuts down. Then the really Big- “We are all connected” thoughts move in, albeit at the speed of a Great Blue Heron. If you wait for it, get quiet and breathe, they always show up.

I imagined that my family in the West was seeing this first color of sunrise. My thoughts were reaching out to children and grandchildren, Family and Friends. Even reaching family so far west from here that it is Far East, the mind warp of living on a sphere! Thoughts and prayers, making their way across the water and the miles, time and distance made meaningless. Love and light travel together is what the fish told me.

I watched that glow of color and connection, swaying with the waves until I realized I was buried in the sand with the coquinas. The gentle relentless movement of sand and water had pulled me back into earth with each wave. I was in halfway up to my knees.   Someday I won’t move my buried feet. I will stay and see if the sea can bury me completely feet first. But this is not that day. On this memorable day, I appreciate the grounding.


We could explain everything with water temperature, salinity, negative ions, and light refraction, everything except why we all feel so much better after being at the Beach!

Remember the Ghost Crab, small transparent sand crabs that don’t survive beaches with people, because people have big feet.

They were once described as an “occult, secretive alien from the ancient depths of the sea”. There are swarms of them at the beach now. Life is easy and hard, good and bad, dark and light: all at the same time. The real trick is to learn to love ALL of it. The best way I know to do that is to stand in sand up to your knees, let the waves get you wet, and marvel at the beauty of the sky.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. Frank Lloyd Wright

Florida in August is perfect…..


Florida in August is perfect…..if you are a lizard.

It is the outside air oozing in through an open door, thick and steamy, just this side of liquid.

It is the sun searing the innocence of transplanted leaves, or the unprepared skin of pale tourists. Both have left their genetic comfort zones. Both have grossly miscalculated the desiccating power of unlimited Prana.

It is the drama of turbulent clouds reaching into the Gulf for yet another cauldron of water to pour on summer stagnant swamplands. Monstrous storms move desert lifetimes of water in spontaneous torrents, rinsing and washing, rinsing and washing until every plant comes shiny and clean under a rainbow.

It is the whine of the Cicadas and the cacophony of tree frogs so loud that some days it is unclear if the sound exists inside or outside of my

There are Primal forces at work here in the near Tropics and they “strut their stuff” in August.

They bow to no one on these dense days.

These are the Titans, the soul of all life here on Earth:

Sun, Water and the Urge to live. And live they do, in bright colors and with leathery resiliency. The work of Earth will prevail here in Florida, despite our human hindrance and hampering, poisoning and pruning. Life will continue, although the prevalent form may be a lizard

or humans that act like lizards!

It’s all about Adaptation


Humans scurry to join the Outdoors in the early morning and nearly dark evening, leaving the bright days to pass in the electric oasis of central air conditioning. If you weren’t born to live here, better lay low until later.

The only living that goes on Outside at noon is carbathwindowried on by the professionals; Lizards, Bougainvillea, Palm trees and very hardy Landscapers.

We are the human versions of the sweating ice tea glass, go outside and unimagined amounts of water will begin to roll off your body. The weather calls the shots here, adapt your schedule or “fry.”

Palms, Palms, Palms: every size and every guise

Palms look the way they do because they have done their best to maximize a challenging assignment. Compare a Palm to a Peony and tell me who will be standing in this climate? Tropical sun, Biblical proportion deluges and circular winds of summer’s tumultuous thunderstorms have created the perfect survivor.

Palms can sport thick trunks of spikes and spears, shields studded with razor sharp points or spindly, spongy 60-foot stems holding a single mop of leaves. Somehow, they are all Palms. What they don’t share in shape they share in attitude.


Their magic is accommodation. They share leaves that bend, split, unfold, and shred as they dance the wind spirit. Leaves on branches that ride the top o’ the gale, always illustrating wind, never “bracing against.” No matter how fierce the blow, they flow in non-resistance. Palms win their survival by yielding; being one with what is present. No good to burn, and hard to get close to, these are tree survivors.

I give them full measure of respect and keep a good distance as they are also- full of

“those that shall remain nameless”…the “insect survivors.”

   Lizards Lizards and more Lizards

There are thousands of lizards in our yard this month, every color, every size and everywhere you look. From out of the ferns they leap; tiny “two inchers,” swinging on a leaf, to the full-grown Grand Poobahs.These behemoths challenge at eye level with a “come hither” throat swell and a raised eyebrow. This could suggest a great deal about the power of a positive self-image. They also remind us all that the human brain is built on this very same “reptilian brailizardn” substrate as well.

It’s all so familiar. The population of lizards surrounding the giant Live Oak suggests the machinery and mysteries of reproduction are in full swing out there.

Our chemical free yard has become a version of the “Whole Foods” olive bar for snakes, birds and any and all creatures that find a lizard tasty. A Red tailed hawk left a tail feather “Thank You” note on the driveway, as did the Blue Jay. The Rat snake was a surprise; he was so full he could hardly muster himself off the driveway. It’s not easy to be “prey.”

The Poobahs and their minions are particularly fond of the car that resides in the shade of that giant “Live Oak. Most will leap off tires and shimmy out of the front grill when the locks click open. There are some that won’t leave, be it territorial or recreational; they stand their ground. Maybe theyfeathers claim dominion over Fords?

They are tenacious despite their diminutive stature. Some of these cowboys have a penchant for riding on the hood, sticky toes spread, gripping the metal, face into the wind. Others, caught napping in the windshield wiper well, climb their way up despite gale force windshield winds, to glare at the driver, clearly irked at the unexpected journey. More than once I have pulled over and commanded them off. I can’t drive safely and watch for raised eyebrows and panicky looks when I have to stop fast. I do wonder how they know where to find the driver? I try not to envision the aftermath for one of these unexpected emigres marooned at the grocery store or the beach parking lot.

plumeriaI’m unclear if I will sign up for the next “August in Florida” Cotillion of sweat and swelter. I can dream and ponder on cooler realms for next August. For the present, seems a page out of the book of palms might serve:

Adapt, Modify, Accommodate.  The Quest?

Bloom where you’re planted.