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The last weeks have been a whirlwind of magic and adventure.  I can hardly believe the wonder and joy.  I made new friends, talked with the plants, prayed for the water, built a labyrinth, met a ghost or two, reconnected with old friends and introduced them to Dan as well, saw Indiana family, gathered all our son Tom’s belongings to move them for him, and traveled about 3565 miles in all [600 miles from Alex-Rainy Lake-Alex + 725 to Indy + 360 to Dancing Rabbit + 800 to Denver + 100 around town finding furniture and visiting friends + 980 back to Alex].  Whew!!  So here’s the current update.

Magic

I was honored to be a part of a group of women who spent a week together on Mallard Island (part of the Review Islands) for a proposal to the Oberholtzer Foundation. http://eober.org/  We had a lovely time and I will likely share more on this later but for now I just want to share on a small piece of it.  I was housed in the “Ober” House, the home where Earnest Oberholtzer used to stay when he was on the island.  I spent quite a few moments on the hill alongside the house as it was a nice overlook of the West end of the island.  I’m still feeling quite a draw to the work going on in Cannon Ball, ND so I often find myself sitting in prayer facing to the West of late.  Each time I would walk through this area, I would be struck by the pile of rocks lying in the grass.  It looked almost like a labyrinth; mostly completed but without a clear path.  After walking past the strewn rocks on the hill for a couple days, one afternoon the pull became so great that I had to bring them into order.  Only a few rocks had to be moved and, once they were arranged, I had a lovely spiral labyrinth with an inward widddershins (counterclockwise) walk, a small inner circle for meditation, and a deosil (clockwise) walk out.  The threshold of the spiral is marked by a small rock with a crack through it, like a portal into the Earth.  I walked the spiral and had a great connection to it but the real magic happened the next day.

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Anne (one of our elders on the trip) asked for a photo of me at the labyrinth (which I don’t think we ever actually took!) and we made our way to the area.  Patty had a gong and when Anne heard the spiral had not yet been blessed, we decided to baptize it.  We also smudged and gonged it on a wonderful organic ceremony that kept developing.  Along with Lavonne, we sang at its center and again outside as Deborah and Marti both walked the spiral.  I ended up drumming the spiral to life the next morning with Heidi and Kathleen.  So I feel this spiral labyrinth has been given lots of love and power.

I had a wonderful experience walking it the morning we left the island.  I entered the Spiral walking off Fear and then sat for some time at its center.  I sent prayers to the Water Protectors at Cannon Ball and I asked for a good outcome in DC; if not an injunction, then something that would give us the strength to keep standing strong for the water.  As I said this prayer, I heard an Eagle call and turned to the East (toward DC) where I saw the majestic bird land in a tall snag on Hawk Island.  It was amazing seeing him lower himself gracefully into the top of the dead tree.  I felt like it was a sign that good things would come from DC.  Then I turned back to the West, occasionally looking back at him.  Eventually he was gone and I finished my prayers.  I stood walking out of the spiral in Love and when I got to the entrance, I stopped to thank the Spiral.  As I thanked the Spiral three times, the Eagle flew across my vision along the West side of the island flying toward the North and Crow Island.  I didn’t see him pass between the islands to my right but figured he’d flown down toward the water.  I stood a moment more and then threw my arms into the air thanking Creator for all I had been given.  At this moment, an Eagle soared from behind the tall White Pine to my right.  His wings were spread wide and, just behind, a second Eagle soared as well.  It was the most amazing thing to watch them fly through the sky banking to the West and then North as they went together.  I thanked Creator two more times as I stood in tears with the magnificent experience.  I felt I had been given a great mission while here on Mallard and these Eagles let me know that I am not alone; I will be flying with my friends as we move forward together.

There was much magical time on our Retreat and I look forward to seeing the work that results from this beginning spent together in such a spirited and inspiring place. Already we have some wonderful poems and songs.

Adventure

The day I arrived home from the Retreat, I took a short nap and then we headed out for the trip to gather son Tom’s belongings and deliver them to him in Denver.  We had an uneventful trip to Indy – mostly through the night so not a lot to see.  Arriving in West Lafayette, we stopped for breakfast before picking up the U-Haul trailer and heading to Les & Carol’s to sleep for a few hours.  After a short nap, we packed the truck with Tom’s stuff (futon, drafting table and a few boxes) and headed to Indy.  Gram had a garage full of Celia’s things (the girlfriend) and then, even more boxes of Tom’s in the basement.  It was a LOT of stuff for a couple 20-somethings.  We managed to pack it all in trailer and truck (except the Legos… so Papaw still has a piece of the Boy at his place).  We were able to meet Steph for dinner at El Palenque – best Mexican in Noblesville!  If you’re anywhere near there, stop.  It’s wonderful food made and served by really friendly people.  https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-palenque-noblesville?hrid=UwPq_I-efD8AB-ADnGOV-g

Dan and I headed out the next morning for Dancing Rabbit.  If you’re new to the blog, I stayed at DR 2 years ago for their 3-week visitor program and fell in love with the people and the place.  I believe if it wasn’t so hot, I might have applied for membership.  But it’s a very accountable EcoVillage and I’m not sure I could have downsized quite enough to make it work.  I’m just still carrying too much baggage.  We also had the Harn under development and had made enough progress that I was feeling its pull to settle there already.  Plus, did I mention it’s really hot at DR??  [Two more years it took, but I’m hoping to be up to the Harn full time before winter.  Anyway, back to DR.]

Dan had been reading the DR blog (http://www.dancingrabbit.org/marchhare/) for a long time prior to my visit.  We felt like we almost knew the people having read so much in their weekly updates.  Ever since I went and actually DID meet the people, I’ve felt like family and I KNEW I wanted to get Danny there to introduce him.  With Tom getting a job in Denver, DR was right on the way so a perfect opportunity to have Dan meet my Rabbit friends.

The trip was familiar through much of Illinois but we did get some adventure as we stopped to see some barges coming through the lock at the Iowa State Line (Keokuk).

We were only in Iowa for a heartbeat and then were back in Missouri.  Before we knew it, we had arrived (though for a moment as we closed in on Rutledge, MO, Dan was concerned as the GPS gal told him to turn onto State Hwy Y as we were in the middle of a bridge… when we waited until we’d crossed to the other side, there was only a cutaway dirt road that looked more like a farmer’s driveway than a State Highway).  We made it, and though we were a bit early for check-in, Alline called to us through the screen door and we began our visit.

Dan had a lovely time and really enjoyed putting faces and personalities with so many of the people he’s read about over the years.  We spent an evening with the Critters who fed us well and good both that evening and the next day for lunch.  Both meals prepared by Katherine were full of fresh, homegrown food.  Delicious potato soup and kale salad (Nik’s contribution) along with tortillas.  Lunch the next day was improved with an addition of cheese quesadillas and a glorious slaw with cabbage, kohlrabi, and carrot.  So much good food was appreciated as we’d spent the morning processing birds; 4 chickens and 4 ducks.  I was grateful to have a chance to make a small contribution to the Critters once again.  And it remains true: You can pluck a duck forever.  I feel there is something quite special being so close to providing your own meat.  It makes the food all the more precious.  And knowing the good life these birds have had makes it all the more peaceful.

We spent our second evening with friends Lucas and Brooke.  Lucas is building a much bigger labyrinth than mine and I got to see the beginnings of it.  We all talked about our futures that evening as we’re all looking toward some new possibilities coming our way.  It was so good to see my old Visitor Co (gender neutral pronoun) and catch up.  Lucas is the kind of guy that is so full of enthusiasm and smiles, you just can’t help but make him your little brother.  I am quite proud of the good work he’s doing for veterans and I look forward to seeing what he does next.  You can follow him here:   https://thehomefrontfight.wordpress.com/

Dan and I both got a chance to swim in the Pond – one of my favorite things to do at DR.  And I highly recommend staying at the Milkweed Mercantile, or The Merc as it’s known locally.  Our room was spacious and pristine with lovely water bottles and cups on each side of the bed made from wine bottles – I just loved them!   We had a lovely breakfast Tuesday morning prepared by Brent – stuffed French toast, eggs, and bacon!  And when Alline heard we were leaving early the next morning, she packed us up a breakfast for the road.  Fantastic hard boiled eggs, peach and blueberry muffins, GF breakfast bars and pork sticks.  We ate all the way to Denver!

It was very hard to leave but I did take some Fox Holler (Critter Collective) eggs and a duck for our trip.  I will cherish the small pieces of time and the hugs I got from Althea and Arthur.  And I will be buoyed by the big smiles and hugs of welcome from all my old and new friends.  Did I mention I met Eco Loren?!?  A gal (who I had friended on FB having no idea she lived at DR) and I spent an hour chatting in the Merc with new friends David and Mary and, as I was leaving, she handed me a small paper with her FB name.  I was immediately chirping, “YOU’RE Eco Loren???”  It was another lovely bit of synchronicity.  we have decided we are Wonder Twins with awesome powers for good.  It was super fun.

We drove the Nebraska route to Denver Wednesday morning and found it just slightly less boring than Kansas. 🙂  There is so much flat prairie!  A lot of corn and not many trees.  But driving into Colorado was beautiful as the hills started rising from the ground.  We saw a lot of cattle but less of the CAFO lots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_animal_feeding_operation) than we’d seen in Nebraska.  [I will note that leaving Saturday evening brought quite the smelly travels all through Colorado and Nebraska – there are LOTS of cows there.]

Soon we were in Westminster and hugging our son Tom.  He’d arranged to have his neighbors Tom and Liz (a co-worker and his wife that live just downstairs from Tom in the apartment complex) help us with unloading and we got everything into Tom’s apartment in record time.  Though exhausted, we put together the futons and made beds and even unpacked some boxes before crashing for the evening.  The apartment is lovely and spacious.

The next morning Tom went to work and Dan and I headed out to look for thrift stores in hopes of finding some furniture for the apartment.  We were amazed at the number of stores!!  There are like a dozen ARC stores in the Denver area (which we love because they have good stuff cheap but also because they are helping developmentally disabled people have meaningful work) along with many others.  We probably hit 15 stores on our travels but found no good furniture.  We got ice cube trays, pans, glasses, hangers, and some little things.  And we had lunch with good friend Ella (also a Visitor Co from my time at DR) where we shared fascinating conversation.  My favorite idea is the amoeba theory and I note it here simply to remember to think on it more.  Perhaps I will write an upcoming blog on the idea…

That evening was Board Game Night at another of Tom’s co-worker’s homes.  Chris provided fun and an opportunity to pet a couple cats!!  Goliath was a giant who came down with his mom to get a bite to eat but the beauty was Gozer, a long-haired orange kitty who is old enough to just lay and let you pet her.  She’s soft as down.  We played Pandemic The Cure – a fun dice version of a game we love – and Flip City, new to all four of us playing and super fun.  We got to meet a few more of Tom’s work partners and they are all terrific.  I feel much better leaving him here in Colorado knowing he’s got such good people around him.  It’s still a month until Celia gets here but I know he’ll be fine.

Friday Dad and I stayed home for the most part cooking and doing laundry like a couple of 50’s Housewives.  It was nice to spend time organizing the kitchen and making food for our Boy.  I made him roast duck, potatoes, and carrots for lunch and then a big pot of duck soup from the remainders.  He’s got a big bunch of soup for lunches this week and a couple small containers in the freezer for later.  That night we met up with Sami and Jeff and had AMAZING pizza at Beau Jo’s.  You have GOT to try this stuff.  I had never heard of eating pizza crust with honey but that is the thing here.  We had a 5# Motherlode Mountain Pie and a GF Hipster – both were superb.  http://www.beaujos.com/pizza-locations/denver-university-hills/ It was so good to spend time with these two and to also meet their wonderful dog Finn. Best dog ever.

Saturday offered an opportunity for Tom and I to do some thrift store shopping and did we score big time!  We found the TRU Hospice Resale Shop (http://www.trucare.org/boulder-thrift-store/) having a 50% off day and we got two huge sections of furniture with shelves and cabinets for $100.  Tom also bought some new chests from the Sears Outlet – both in black – which he and Dad picked up later that day. We found a couple little finds like a light for his desk and some placemats.  His place feels much more settled now and he has room for more unpacking.  I had a little nap while Tom went to work this evening.  His schedule is quite interesting in that they have core hours of 10-4:30 they need to be on-site for but the remaining hours are done as they see fit.  So there were several folks in the office Saturday evening!  [Tom also was in the office Sunday.  Guess he’s loving it!  So much for the stories of “lazy” Millennials.]  We had duck soup when he returned and Dan and I prepared to leave.

It’s sad leaving him again – always seems to make me cry when I have to say goodbye.  But I am super proud of his start into life after college.  I think he’s in a good place with good people and I know he’s happy as a clam.  And him being happy is the most important thing to me, even if he’s half the country away.  He’s definitely picked a great place to visit!!

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