“The richness of a moment comes when it’s both full and empty at the same time. The truth is, we live simultaneously in time and timelessness.” ~ Ram Dass
Where does reality leave off and imagination take over? Does it matter?
All at once the light of overcast day turns to fog as we step between the two tall pines and descend into into darkening wood.
I proceed with an uncharacteristic reverence, my steps slow and deliberate.
The air is damp. Tufts of fogginess elongate, curving and curling between the trees trunks like an asp lending an air of mystery to the atmosphere. Although I am inside a natural area that’s inside a large park, I could be anywhere.
There is a sense of timeless here, of ancientness. I can smell it. The pine needles, the mud, the old leaves, the moss. Ancestral memories encoded in my DNA have been awakened. I feel oddly at home, every twist and turn takes me deeper and deeper in.
My usual gleefulness is gone, replaced by a watchfulness. Where my causal romp through the woods has become more than causal. I notice my steady breaths and I notice the birds are quiet. It seems as everything is at a standstill, but me.
It’s as though I am walking through a dream. The haze grows murkier with every step, my footing has been lost in the fog. The path twists and turns and suddenly I find I have lost the path altogether. The mossy floor feels like soft clouds and I imagine I am high in the sky feeling the cool fresh air. I feel so relaxed and at ease , I am compelled to sleep…
Then I spy glossy black wings in the corner of my mind’s eye and hear the cawing of the crows… …suddenly I’m back on the ground slipping in the mud, catching myself in dreamland and jolting myself awake. Better watch my step…haha.
All photos taken by me on The Wildwood Trail in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon.
“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” ~ John Muir
There is a certain loveliness in nothingness, in unencumbered stillness, in silent empty space. In this absence of something there is a void that aches to be filled. Therein lies potential and that potential is infinite.
At least I tell myself this as I sit at the back door watching the trees dance in the wind. It is early morning and I am in the process of appreciating some idle time.
I still wake up at 4:45 a.m. A feat that has taken this once proud night owl years of cultivation to achieve and I will get as much down time as I can get even if it is in the early morning. Nothing lasts forever and this extra time will not.
In order to appreciate this time that I have seized for myself in an act of desperation, I must engage myself in the art of doing nothing.
My last job was in itself a culture of stress. I worked in a very busy call center in the public safety sector. There was high expectations and a rigid adherence to numerous and various state laws and regulations that required me to make statements that made callers confused and upset, this made customer service difficult at best. My days were timed to the tenth of a second, over one minute late and you have an “occurrence” and points were given, points that added up very fast for some and there was/ is a high turnover rate. I did well though. My calls were listened to and graded. I was thought of as smart and competent , I took direction well and after a while I did start to sound like the others: A caller once told me I sounded like a robot.
I almost cried then.
There was a reason why I wasn’t the only one who had constant migraines there.
I felt I was drowning, gasping for air. I felt desperate. An anger rose up in me that was not me at all. This started to effect my relationships with my husband and family. I felt sick to my stomach and my energy was zapped. I felt like a zombie just trying to get to the next day, to the weekend where I would try to cram as much living as I could in 2 days.
I bet my former coworkers would have been surprised to know that I am on the Autism Spectrum, I have masked it pretty well my whole life but that takes its physical and emotional toll on me and that job was not the best for someone with sensory issues, it may be one of the worst. 47 hour weeks of this for nearly two years did me in and burned me out. The job that gave me and my family health insurance made me sick.
Before I gave my notice I obtained a part time temporary gig in retail. It pays the bills, just almost. In the two months I have been there I have been much happier and healthier. I am getting myself back.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu
Nothing gives birth to creation.
It provides the empty space for something to occur. Nothing is an empty cup waiting to be filled, it is up to us to fill it.
The only real commodity is time. We are selling hours of our lives for money. Money we need to survive. Most of us have no control over this and have to spend much of our lifetime devoted to that task.
There is no time for nothing. There is no blank canvas on which to create and on which to write the narrative of our lives. Some fortunate people have jobs that them happy, that happiness is reflected in their work and everyone around them can share in this happiness. They are excited to get up and start working for the day. I want to be one of those people.
I believe that I can contribute to society in a greater way than I am now, I should say in a better way. Whether I am baking bread, selling jewelry in a store or writing something that makes people laugh or cry or think.
This rat is so very tired of the race.
And so I sit here at the back door, feeding a few squirrels that have gathered. My mind has time to reflect, my writing voice is coming back, the one that has lain dormant for a few years. I hear it speaking in whispers, I can barely hear but I am listening.
It is early morning in mid winter. I type not knowing what to write but knowing that I should write. So here I am trying not to disturb the cat on my lap and attempting to ignore the hunger growling in my stomach.
Coffee would be good but again that would require me to get up and disturb the cat, this not disturbing the cat thing is not going so well. Too bad the cat just won’t volunteer to make coffee but that would be ridiculous; no one makes it strong enough for me, not even my cat who my daughter named Mocha after my coffee addiction.
Doesn’t that look absolutely delectable?
Now visions of hot dark strong coffee with very liberal doses of cream flood my mind…
Who brought the donuts up? I have no donuts at home. I have a fondness for donuts, just glazed usually or sometimes an apple fritter is nice. Jelly filled is not my thing, too unpredictable, could explode on you at any time.
“Weird donuts near me”
There is a donut place in the city where I live. It has mediocre donuts but outstanding marketing. It sells “interesting”donuts and has set itself up as a tourist destination. This place has acquired long lines of vacation people with time on their hands and money to spend. These people then proceed to walk around town cumbered by these tell tale pink boxes of donuts, I can’t help but laugh
I googled : “weird donuts near me” I got the place. I won’t name it here.
Bad donuts are just that. Bad. And although mediocre donuts are okay, good donuts are better but not so easy to find when you really need them. I am reminded of late night forays to convenience stores jonesing for a cruller or just a simple sugar ring only to be greeted by an old jelly-filled brown lump that sits alone under a half- warmish lightbulb snarling at you when you open the case.
Simple is good. Fresh is wonderful. Quality ingredients, consistency. No bright colors or anything oozing out. No sprinkles, no gimmicks; although I love bacon don’t put it on my donut.
Of course I am romanticizing it all but I do love a good donut. I love bakeries in general. ask anyone who really knows me and they will tell you. I am in love with that smell , that delicious aroma that emanates from them. It makes me sooooooo happy!!
I have a dream about owning a bakery someday. I am used to getting up early anyway. I used to call business owners in a previous job and I noticed that owners of bakeries seemed to be the happiest. And so in the interest of science and my growling stomach I googled the best donuts in the world. I got a list showing the best donuts in the US and much to my surprise and delight I found the number two to be in my city of Portland!
And we know where that is leading….
And so I will report back and let you all know how it goes…
There has been some backlash to a recent complaint made by the newest member of our apartment dwellers association. The complaint was regarding the sweet but pungent smell of marijuana that has at times lingered around our community and the wide availability of said and I may note legal marijuana products in our city of Potland, I mean Portland.
This has made “the mean looking guy upstairs” enemy number one in certain circles and a protest protesting the persecution and harassment of natural medicine enthusiasts, patients and supporters will be held today in the amphitheater.
I will be selling my homemade brownies to the participants to make some extra cash, stop by and pick some up while they last.
It began peacefully enough but when the protesters starting shouting “Free the Weed!”, “Free the Weed!” the amphitheater became swamped with crazed people looking for the free weed. FREE WEED!!
At first I was afraid. I was petrified as the crowd swelled to massive size! Quick thinking saved the day. I told them the marijuana was in the brownies and they cleaned me out of all 5 dozen in an instant, most of them tipped and handsomely too as stoned people are known to do. I walked away from the maddening but happy crowd with a few bucks to buy me some new kicks.
**Seriously, marijuana can be medicine and its consumption, medical and recreational is legal where I live and becoming legal in more and more places. Below are links to some interesting sites regarding the subject. **
“I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have ‘no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.’
They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works…
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”
Aug. 8, 2013, “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed,” CNN.com
The air is fresh and chill. The wind blows tiny droplets of rain onto my face. I close my eyes and it feels like I am flying but the honking of geese above me remind me that I am not. I am walking, and walking on a muddy trail at that. My eyes quickly scan the ground and I scamper up a rocky hill like a little mountain goat.
These trips have gotten me in great trail shape. I spend a good portion of my free time out here in the wildish trails around my home in Portland, Oregon. It is a necessary component of my life to get out in whatever nature I can get to. We have no car, by design , my husband and I. We walk, bike or take public transit which is pretty good here. We like this sort of life, this muddy trail kind of life. I am very fortunate to have found someone who likes this as much, or more than I do. We are best friends, pals and companions as well as a loving married couple. He encourages me to be me and he smiles and shakes his head in amusement as I run up and down hills and even sometimes climb into the trees to snap pics and talk to the animals, real and imaginary. This is great fun to us and we are lucky to live where we do. So in spite of the rain or maybe because of the rain we are here at one of our favorite spots.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a swampy, wetlands area smack daub in Portland, Oregon. Lots of birds live here especially ducks. I like to greet them as we pass by. We see lots of animals on our adventures. We have seen deer, beavers and nutria, possums and a plethora of birds especially the waterfowl. This is one of the places we go in all kinds of weather. Today it is super rainy and the trail is super muddy but we love this.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a city park of about 141 acres in southeast Portland, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in a floodplain along the east bank of the Willamette River near Sellwood, the park is known for attracting a wide variety of birds. Wikipedia
Errol Heights Natural area is cute in a boggy sort of way. This is a short walk but has become a favorite of ours since it is so close in the city. On our first visit we met a curious man who popped out of the bushes. He told us in breathless Kiwi accent about the 10 beaver dams there as he was running around trying to photograph all of them in order before the sun set.
One meets all sorts of interesting people in places like this.
The beavers are pretty shy but you can see evidence of them not just by the dams but but by the trees they are in the process of cutting. Many of the tree trucks are protected by wire netting but there is still ample wood available. The birds are typically out in full force here as it is a haven for waterfowl and songbirds. I love to just stop and listen to their beautiful music. Today the soundtrack is dominated by geese who fly overhead in their famous V formation. It is amazing a place like this exists in the middle of the city. We are lucky to live here.
There has been times in my life when it seemed the moon was my only friend. It seemed so lonely up there in the dark. And so it came to be that we’d keep each other company. If we seem well acquainted this is why.
Having romantic notions about the moon. I felt my soulmate, my kindred spirit, my best friend, a person I had yet to meet was out there looking at that same moon wondering about me too. The moon told me that love is timeless and to be patient, for love is that too. And so we’d have these little conversations wherein the moon reminded me just how small I am and how big and ancient the moon is compared to me. These talks tend to put things into perspective when I am as lucid as the moon which is only sometimes, most of the time I am a lunatic which is another story…
***Here are some Moon quotes intended to inspire the lunatic in all of us.
It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.
There is a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it.
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.” ― Tahereh Mafi
“Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born: – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.” ― e. e. cummings
Oh how I stumble and bumble, oh how clumsy I have become. Once I glided upon air like a bird in flight. Now I stagger across a concrete landscape like a glazed-over drunk in need a cup of strong coffee to wake me the hell up.
Once the thoughts flowed out like chocolate cake batter; smooth, concise, beautiful. Words would combine to make a confection of sorts, an image, an idea, a feeling that would be felt by the reader. It was a gift I possessed or at least I though I did once…
Being a loner who was good with words I felt at home with them and would be able to convey whatever I wanted, It was so natural, so easy. I took this for granted I knew no other way …now I struggle for the right words , the right combination of them. It is frustrating, there is much locked up behind me , behind the facade; the face(s) I show to the world. I ache to use words again how I used to, I ache to be able to walk along the beach and listen to the ocean, taking in everything in that moment and giving it back to the world…in words..in images…making art of life and inspiring others to do the same…
This is not what I do know and I don’t dare call myself a writer, writers write, I talk about writing. This makes me a talker.
So here I am writing my first post in a zillion years, Stumbling over every word. Pissed at myself for allowing the excuse of not having enough time to take away from myself one of the greatest pleasures I have ever known.
Although I have lost ground in skill and effectiveness and definitely in refinement I have gained a courage I did not know before. I’m not only able to grow a beautiful garden I am tough enough to protect it with my shovel and I will.
I have learned that one can stay too much in the middle and that my fear of offending someones effected my writing. It effected my creativity and it effected my effectiveness. While I could say something very nicely it did not make what I was saying very important. In that I have changed because I believe there are things we should stand up for in this crazy world. I am finished being afraid. I will speak my truth , how I see it and to hell with anyone who wants to attack me for it.
And with that I will bid my adieu for now, I think I have broken through, thanks for listening.