Wednesday, April 29, 2009

plenty of rain to sustain

The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe. -

--Joanna Macy

Forgive me for my whiny as of late complaining posts...truly, I have no reason to complain. I've got a roof over my head, my health and beautiful, beautiful surroundings- including the best friends and children a person could ever hope for. A love of life and the love of my life- this is more than enough for anyone, and it doesn't take a ding dong like me long to figure that out, though sometimes tractors, ancient tractors- get me down because it is a must have tool that I need to keep this place running. Sometimes when things get beyond my expertise and fail me, I guess I get to thinking somehow I have failed. But the whole picture looks like this:

When things break down, I don't have to.

When times get tough, so can I.

When something needs to be done, I can do it- thank goodness I have the capacity of mind to know what I have to do- and can and will do.

When time gets out of hand and runs out, I will not.

When my knees get sore and tired, I will not- I do my best work sometimes upon my knees...praying, pleading, changing oil, getting under the problem and of course, always the one sure thing- gardening.

When people do not react to me with loving kindness, I will anyway.

When the world seems against me, I will be willing to back up a bit and get out of the way. It's way is not my way- never has been, I'll let it pass.

And please, when I get to whining- just tell me to shut up. It serves no purpose to bring others down too.

Four walls and a roof does suffice. (Especially when those four walls are surrounded by trees and flowers and plenty of rain to sustain.)

Oh yes and certainly so...when our hearts are broken, perhaps it is because they only need to break open, the break is not the final assault, it is a beginning in an opening for more, always more.

I have not been out mushrooming again, grass is getting almost too high for the mower, my farm is presenting more problems for me to heed before the actual sale. Every time the contractor shows up, he seems to say-"the price has gone up on everything."

And I wonder how long my funds will last, will it be enough, can I keep rolling and plugging away, can I truly sell all that is, all I've known, all that I have worked so hard for...and the answer is an affirmative-YES.

Had to break open a bit to see the big, enormous, scary, terrifying, great, mysterious, fascinating, enduring picture. After all, that's what true wonders do...never cease.

Can I get an amen?!

Take care-

Monday, April 27, 2009

slow to burn, quick to ignite

Actually, the sign should say- Manure Combusts.

Let me explain...

I've used this pic before, but it is so apt for today's post. Manure happens- yes indeed it does and I have the utmost respect today for it's... shall we say, ignitive personality. Sunday found me full of excitement for more mushrooms and sunshine and hanging the laundry out on the line and getting all that done by noon so I could shower up and head to the local winery with some friends for some hillside dancing, laughing and making merry. After that, I was to go fishing at a friends house on the lake in the evening, with a quiet meal.

As I was making my rounds on the farm, inspecting all the beautiful buds, feeding the flocks and generally just enjoying the moment with the strong breeze picking up- I noticed smoke columns coming from the back of the farm. What the heck?! Flip flop footed, I made my way as quickly as I could to the source of the mysterious flare up. The composted manure piles were ablaze! There in the first mound was an ever glowing flame coming from a crater in the middle. Without thinking, and this became painfully obvious within a few minutes- I crawled to the top of the pile, and fell through like I was in quick sand. Only then did I realize what fire dancers must come to acknowledge on their walks of faith across hot coals- my feet were burning! How I leapt out of there, flew up and out actually- is a mystery to me still, both of my flip flops came off, or were melted off actually. I ended up on my rear end, out in the grass exclaiming- "OH God!" With just one tiny injury to one tiny toe- the inside of the compost was molten like a good fired charcoal bed. I'd say I was merely cooked medium rare- but my shoes were definitely well done. And, the breeze was picking up- the weather man was forecasting 40 mile an hour winds. Oh brother! Oh bother! Oh manure happens all to often when least expected!

I called local farmer Richard, who has horses along with spontaneous combustive manure piles, I'd heard him tell of flare ups in the intense heat of the summer. "What do I do Richard?!" "To be on the safe side, you're going to have to soak those piles down or call the volunteer fire department." "Oh, I couldn't do that, it's Sunday- I don't want to bother anybody." "Then get on it girl, with these winds, you could have some problems..."

The livestock well out by the old barn should be full of water (it was-25 feet full) I should have enough hoses to reach the fire from the well (I did, barely) I should be able to use my jet pump if I can get electricity out that far with electrical cords (again, barely making the stretch- the cords sufficed.) I should be able to prime the pump and kick this whole operation in gear(well, that was fun...cussing like a farmer does when faced with inoperable piece of junk machines!) Sure enough though, with tweaking and cussing, praying and begging- I did get the system up and running. And stayed with it all day, all day while the farmer across the way- now, this part does not make good sense to me- decided on a 40 mile an hour day- to disc his fields. The dirt storm (as acres of top soil left his fields) gave my day out in the sun extra grit for me to chew on, and wipe from my eyes, and make a mad dash to the house closing all the windows so the acres of dirt wouldn't end up on my freshly painted everything. Pardon me, but isn't a bit inconsiderate to your neighbors to create a dust storm with wind speeds of that magnitude? (Rain is forecast for here all week, it couldn't be to dry out the top layers, besides- they left on the wind.) Can someone explain why it's so important to plow on the windiest days, or for that matter, disperse Anhydrous on your fields on those windiest days? See, I just don't get that logic, don't they want to keep their soil and the vast amounts of money spent on those chemicals on their own fields? I for one do not like to digest, come into contact with, drink from my well wondering what the hell kind of chemical cocktail I might be consuming.

Anyway- it took all day and the entire contents of that livestock well to put the blaze out. It took my lily white shoulders from albino to lobster red before I realized that the field burnings I attended to 4 weeks ago had been slowly building, burning in the middle of the compost piles to ignite to the outside. So- RD, you were right- I should have knocked those out with the utmost certainty then. (Thought I had, no smoke for some time- I got in there like you instructed and dug and raked until I could safely press my hands through, no heat, no burn.) I guess what little burn there was left by the field burning kept the core of one of those piles alive...and just waiting for a day like yesterday to become a burning ring of fire.

The tractor is another story for another day- it's probably good that I didn't fix her completely. After the tire change and thermostat repair, hydraulic fluid change, hose replacing, charging battery, getting her all fired up and purring like an old 60 year old tractor should, it is just as well that I didn't get the hydraulics to kick in properly. I would have been real hard to live with if I had actually accomplished lift. (But I will, come hell or high water- I'll get that tractor to function properly or I'll...hire someone to fix her, I've had it up to here with non-complying machinery, course I shouldn't expect too much from the old girl. She and I both have had alot of wear and tear as of late...

Oh I am so getting out to the woods today, out of my way and into the wild. If I don't...I may develop finger lock mode in saluting, mad at the world or maybe just me- sometimes I expect too much I guess. Or perhaps, I am as stubborn as an old flame clear down in the middle of a composted pile of manure- slow to burn though quick to ignite with the right conditions.

Thanks for giving a darn, laughing, smiling and wishing me well on my mushrooming...take care!

Friday, April 17, 2009

the little marvels of mysterious wonder

Grumble, grumble, grrrrr, grrrr.....does anything work out like it is suppose to?! Darn tractor( still cute but still broke down) , darn truck- thermostat went out of it. Mustang that I rarely drive, sits in the shed all pretty like- flat tire, dead battery when I finally do decide to take it out for a spring fling. Disgruntled customers, IRS, heartless bastard attorneys, oops...kind of sorry for saying that, but not really...

I mean truly- what's a good hearted woman to do but grow gray hair and grin & bear it?!

Ahhhh, you had to know this was coming. What is the surest way to bring me around, make me jump with ecstasy and dance for joy??!! The mother of all best things in the world- the little marvels of mysterious wonder have arrived!!!

First mushroom of 2009- in the bag.

Pretty good camouflage and the old gray mare, she ain't what she use to see!

Small mess and bag of stinging nettle for a good blood elixir.

(Go here for more of my mushroom lingo and terminology...)

Ahhhh...sitting by the pond and wonderin' what I was all keyed up about.

Wandering back to the farm under the big evening sky of April in Illinois.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anything less than love

Good morning, how have you all been?! A little fattened up by your Easter banquet? My Easter four letter holi*- day presented a different kind of celebration- ribs and kite flying, bubbles off the deck floating on the wind, out over a lake.
Beautiful day with beautiful friends.
I did not attend the four walled kind of church, spending most of my time out under the big sky cathedral. The hymn that was fixed in my mind most of the day was "Unclouded Day"- good old time music.

The February nursery garden supplied fresh radishes and delectable greens, the bright yet sprightly still chives- ended up in a vinaigrette made for sharing.
I gathered a bouquet of yellow tulips and budding branches from the apple tree, mixed in some walking stick willow stems and delivered it all there to the house on the lake in an old blue Ball jar.(The flowers, not the salad...oh my.) The old green Ford carried me and the flowers to the place of laughter and guitars, hammocks made for two- a virtual love palace. One of those places that you are made to feel welcome by the hugs and smiles of the inhabitants, as if you'd been there before... A few there had never shared a meal with the fellow across the table from them, and yet...eating with your fingers, barbecue dripping off your face didn't seem odd or out of order, just made the grins more abundant.

Anything less than love would not have been welcome at that table, so without thinking, I acted accordingly.

"...Oh the land of cloudless days
Oh the land of an unclouded sky
Oh they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh they tell me of an unclouded day..."

written by Rev.J K Alwood
It felt like an uncluttered, light and breezy dry day- and yet, there were storm clouds all around, heavy with rain, though not an ounce of precipitation from me or the sky, hallelujah!
Take care-
(*holidays stink. This one was different though, and once again I find myself being ever so thankful...not once identifying with those devilish eggs ;)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Breaking Promises

This posting may just be what they mean by "getting jiggy with it." Well...maybe that's a stretch, but I know what I mean, (nervous laughter...)

I'm gonna take a shot and get real vulnerable with you, getting jiggy and all...I use to sing. I loved to sing. I was no Barbara Streisand, but by golly I'd get up on stage and do my best- what joy there was in those performances. Full of grace and anxiety, I'd sometimes fly. My guitar hero, Rod V- would do the best he could with a gal who kept the rhythm by clicking her teeth, I never did learn to read music, but I could feel it- always.

A few years back, I made a promise to the great big weirdo, aka God, aka Father, aka Love...

After my Beau made his too early exit to the sweet hereafter, I laid my guitar down, silenced myself with so many tears and swore if I didn't hear from somebody soon on his whereabouts, I'd never sing or play music again. I keep my promises. I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but by golly- about as stubborn as a fool can be, I get my back up and nobody or nothin' is going to turn me around. But, after the great yard fiasco there at grandma's (*see post in March) someBody opened my mouth sing, and there has been no turning back. Did I just make a pun? Anyway, it surprised the hell out of me, what flowed out- loud love.
So miss Jill there at the BluCat took out her guitar last week and I stumbled up to the microphone (zombie mode kind of sort of). There was nobody about and I sang, Up To the Mountain. No, I didn't sing- I waled. Every melody that's been bottled up inside of me came out, as if Aretha grabbed me by the bib straps and said, "Shut up girl and sing!"

So you know what this fool of fools is going to be doing this week, earnestly and honestly- with no clear answer to the all consuming question...I am singing again. OH, I tell you I'm scared as hell...but, if I don't get it out or let it out, well...something good and fine and ever so humble might just die in an invisible way. Those rare and beautiful moments that never live because fear holds it back...well, being a true wonder and all, I cannot contain that song of mine anymore.

Here's a few excerpts on the lyrical way I felt about non performance and grace dying silence.

Boxes of Tears

Lived with them until today
holding me back in such a way
that I had to touch them
open them
go through them-
boxes of tears

I tried to dwell with them
just like they were
in the way but not out of the way-
I couldn't do that
with your things

It did not kill me
as I thought it might-
only made me bleed, a trickle
from the scar left behind
that never truly heals
but cannot be bandaged

It was time to make the move
opening each box of tears
with trembling hands
what to do with your things now
who would treasure them
as I did

But you are not here to say
who gets what and which is best,
your guitars I'll keep
though they will remain
silent as you
for the rest of my life.

I Forgot the Words (excerpt)

...If I could, I would sing.

The players know their strings by heart
as harmony swirls around this foursome
like a whirlpool, if only I could swim with them
jump right in with both eyes closed, open my mouth
let the music flow like a fountain-
But there is an invisible hand
drawing my cheeks in, covering my mouth
holding my breath, my song-
The only beat I feel comes from my heart
pumping too much blood to my brain,
(don't try you'll cry
don't sing it will only bring trouble
keep the fear behind the grin)-

Banjo picker wondering when I'll come in-
again and again, the intro is played
and all I can offer is....

"I forgot the words."

And the music goes on and on
without me.

(copyright 2004 T.L. Starks)

See, I am as about afraid as anybody I suppose. This was a hard thing to reveal, to you, to me...and yet this sometimes silly blog is like a net. It catches all the things, the real stuff- sometimes without me even realizing; what deep inside has not been laid bare, or needs to be let go.... For that, for this- I am ever so thankful. The guitar thing is still out though, perhaps some day- I'll pick one up again...but, I don't think so. Makes me cry too hard, too long- that is one bridge I am not ready to cross yet.
Thanks, take care-