I Ain’t A-Marching Any More

I tweeted from the acupuncture table yesterday. Which I realize sounds dippy beyond belief, but there it is. To spin out this granola theme even farther, it started from meditation class. We had a substitute teacher who really rocked, and it was a rainy day, so only two of us showed up. We ended up experimenting with different practices and having a really cool discussion in between, and I left in a state of mind that led in the end to the germ of the next song I’ll be writing.

In particular, this quote from the text we’re using is the catalyst:

“Agitated, restless feelings are like muddy water, which becomes still and transparently clear when left to stand. As our emotional reaction naturally subsides, mind and body become peaceful and balanced.”
        —Hidden Mind of Freedom – Tarthang Tulku
       
I had a few hours till my acupuncture appointment, I guess it was my mystical spa day. So I stopped off at the kitchen before I left the institute and made myself a cup of ginger tea to take with and walked down through the UC Berkeley campus. It was raining still, and I took my time. I wanted to see trees, and the campus delivered. I found a little redwood grove next to one of the creeks and practiced a bit on the songs I’ve been learning lately. Since all I have is a voice and a drum, things have to be changed to fill in where the instruments would go. And trees make a great audience. I owe the grove a good cleaning, the Mother always aims me at the trash that needs to go, but I’ll come back next week with a plastic bag…

The acupuncture table is a great place to let stuff come to me. I kinda have to lie there and not move much for close on an hour, with swimmy music on. And that meditation session was still working on me, as well as the music. One of the songs I’m working on at the moment is Great Big Sea’s version of Over the Hills and Far Away. There are so many versions of that song and they updated that for the Afghan War. I’m of two minds about that. It’s good, and the soldiers deserve a good modern version, but I kept thinking about that muddy water. And the booted feet stirring the dust, clouds of it till we couldn’t see the way back to peace.

The dust raised by the booted feet of those who march to war must settle before we can see to set our feet once more on the path to peace.

And so it goes on. There must be an end. I need to rewrite that song. Our brave sons and daughters are needed. They have to have a future where they don’t have to kill each other, and they’re the ones who have to make it. I’m the idiot who has to stand on the hill and make the song that shows my vision of the way. So the chorus is rough still, but as it is now, goes:

O’er the hills and o’er the fern
Our sons and daughters will return
All soldiers coming home to stay
Over the hills and far away

Verses to come.

May it be so.

Cycles

I’m reading a book called The Resilient Gardener. It’s about gardening, but far more than that, it’s about living on a changing planet. I want badly to own it as I’ll refer to it for years, but we are stony broke-oh at the moment, so I got it out of the library. When it gets cheap I’ll pick up a copy. And so it fits into the subject it covers, and ties into my life.

I have all I need. It’s all a cycle, really. We don’t have money right now, but we are rich in so many ways. Stuff is only one part of this, but really, we have the stuff we need. I can’t buy this book, but I’ve bought so many other books over the last few years that I have scads of stuff to read. And I have access to so many good libraries. San Francisco Main Library is only the easiest to access of these. I can get into the stacks at UC Berkeley, which gives me wealth indeed! I can’t check books out, but I spent a lovely evening recently waiting for Whitewolffe to get out of KPFA radio in their Celtic Studies collection. Really, the hardest part of leaving my job at UCB was losing my checkout privileges.

The book reminded me of cycles, and how many ways we are connected to nature. She was talking about haying, and how making hay while the sun shines calls on the interdependence of a community. In my life, scavenging is a part of that same concept. Haying and scavenging come from the same root, so to speak. Whether it’s something lying on the street, or a post on Freecycle, you have to jump when the offer is made by the Universe. Lately, the garden work parties in berkeley and the urban garden that will shortly be taking my chickens are also tying me into community. Making things do, waiting for the Universe to fill what I consider an order placed at the Cosmic Burger King are things I have always done. Lately, it feels as if the world is catching up to me. Instead of a weirdo who saves string, I am suddenly fashionable. Frugal. Sustainable.

I am a terrible gardener. That’s one of the reasons I picked this book up. Whitewolffe, luckily, is much better. She hears living things and knows how to respond to their needs. Plants and animals under her care flourish. Me, I’m a tinkerer and a planner. I can set the project up, and even keep things alive, but my role is to keep the place running. She makes it thrive.

Last weekend we potted plants. I went to the store and came back with a tomato and a basil plant. Which pretty much exhausts my knowledge of companion planting… We were supposed to have someone from Freecycle come over and take an oregano cutting off our hands. She didn’t show, but Whitewolffe potted it anyway. I’d put it in a glass on the windowsill a couple months back and it rooted. Lots of things we do that to do that there. This is the second oregano plant we’ll give away, we also have mint from a bunch I put up there and forgot to make tea from. I also wanted to see if I could start some seeds, and some mung beans. I started sprouting them recently, figuring that that kind of micro crop is perfect for our micro homestead. They’re also delicious, and hey, if we have sprouts, can we grow beans this summer? They’re doing well, and considering that I potted them, this is pretty cool.

Hope we can get the chickens out of the yard before all these plants need to go outside. Again, cycles must be heeded, and managed. Between the two of us, we’ll do all right.