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obliquely perhaps…

Those who know me know that I am in thrall to the magic of my childhood world. Oh! Those days of jugglers and troubadors, of bonfires and street faires, creative colorful humans engaging in playful countercultural experimentation!
When I moved North in 1979, it was into a grey world covered in rain, not a rainbow banner to be found anywhere, I used to lament, lament! my perceived loss, but what I didn’t realize that the times had changed as well as my personal geography, and that the gypsy fortune tellers had packed up their caravans and receded- that the flames had died down to coals carefully packed into beds of moss and tucked into caches to wait out the Reagan years and all those bindles and bindles of cocaine…
My heart was such a cache. I could feel the presence of Wildness within it, but I was waiting all the while for some collective breath to blow those embers back into a living flame.
How wonderful not to be waiting anymore.
How wonderful to contain the story and the means to tell it.
How wonderful to know the Trick of seeing into the grey, and past it to the lightning flashes of color that are not separate from it….

Humans are waking up and that fire is burning again. I’m the proof.

The Faeries are back!

alice's patchy pants

fortunes told 1.

On my recent trip to Santa Barbara I unearthed this photo from my dad’s collection. My mother, with my childhood gypsy fortune teller, circa 1969-ish.
Given that I was in my childhood home and therefore imbued with a certain visceral sense of recollection, I was deeply moved by this. It embodies a bit of the atmosphere that I grew up in. So much magic, so much possibility!

I started mulling over what kind of alchemy do I want to do in my life; it used to seem clear, and yet these days, as my level of contentment grows, I don’t feel much need to manipulate the world to suit my ends. Hmmm. What came to mind, strangely enough perhaps, was the idea (not for the first time, but with a new urgency) of making striped sweaters, seamless, rugged, country, hippie even. Is this a manifestation of some “earth magic?” I think so.
So I started this:
magic stripes

But today, I am working on the endless sideways knitted border of the pi shawl.

pishawl

Almost done.

There seems to be no end to the fear. In my sweetest moments, when all is as it should be, I am somehow able to absorb and transmute that fear into a planar element, into part of the whole, but if I am not consciously in focus or blindsided by some Natural High, the Shadow is there, a razor’s edge. I can only hope to maintain awareness of its presence, and will the blood to flow clear and bright.

wasps nest in my living space

wasp’s nest in my living space

Recently one of my teachers came to mind, a travelling poet who came to my class when I was 9, to teach us youngsters about a vital tool for creating magic in our lives, metaphor.
beloved metaphor! Without you life would be so three dimensional!
My Alice, in her reading and writing over the years has struggled with a certain longing. “It isn’t enough to know dragons are there behind the mist; I want to see them!” Having wrestled for most of my life with this very same yen, and only recently come to peace with it, I can commiserate, but my only words can be, “Dreaming is as real as waking life.” For the most part these words have fallen flat to her young and very literal sensibilities.
Then remembering John Cann, the poetry man, and the art I produced in his classroom, I had a thought:
Simile is posing as something else, whereas metaphor really is the thing. It only requires one’s own personal alchemy to enact the transformation.
I explained this to Alice, and she finally got it. I could see understanding and acceptance in her eyes. “I just have to figure out how to do the Alchemy.”

wild feather people