The world between two pines

A mystical magical foray through the foggy forest

“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.

 

~SBI
All photos taken by me on The Wildwood Trail in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. 

 

 

 

 

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The infinite loveliness of nothing

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

East bank of the Willamette River

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.

SBI

 

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“And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.”

Mary Oliver

Good donut, bad donut

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…

Yummmmm

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.

The Bad

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.

The Good

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.

mouthwatering…scrumptious…You donut know how much I love you!

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…

Nancy

related articles

Why do we love the smell of bread? UCD scientists find the answer. by The Irish Times

Fresh Quotes: The Moon and I

 

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…

 

-Nancy

***Here are some Moon quotes intended to inspire the lunatic in all of us. 

 

MOON Quotes

It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.

Galileo Galilei
 

There is a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it.

 
Credit: Public Domain

 

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

“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

 

Taking back my Mojo

 

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.

Nancy

aka

Strawberryindigo.

Taking back my Mojo. #Strawberryindigo

 

The Wisdom of the Universe in a Blade of Grass

All of the wisdoms of the universe are held within a single blade of grass. If you look carefully enough you can see this in your minds-eye.  We are afloat an infinite sea of vibrating strings. Everything we know and everything we don’t know. Everything we are and everything that is, was or will be, is connected–It is all part of we. And in that lie the wisdoms of the universe.

 

It has taken me most of my life to realize this something that I knew instinctively as a child but had dismissed or hidden from my conscious mind.

Ever listen to the silence between everything else?

When we grow to adulthood we leave behind our childish ways, we assimilate and integrate with society, many of the beliefs and instinctive truths we held dear as children are washed away with grown up ” rational” thought and much of our free thinking and creativity is lost at sea.

 

People look for answers, they have a need to convince their rational minds what the heart already knows. They flock to gurus and philosophers and there are no shortage of those who have all the “answers”. In actuality,  the best guru is a child who remembers the universal truths that are born inside every single one of us.

 

Lovely Pink Anemones from my mother’s garden.

I remember spending time in my mothers garden; lying in the grass, and the way the grass smelled and how the breeze gave me goosebumps. And how the trees swaying made shadows dance across my eyelids.  I remember watching the clouds pass by so effortlessly.  It seemed the moments lasted longer and I savored each one as it melted into the next.

I remember how connected I felt to everything in the universe and this was no big revelation to me.  I did not need to be taught this, I don’t think any of us need to be taught this.

I knew that everything within my vision;  from myself and my cat and the bird he was eyeing in the tree, to the ant and the worm and to the tree itself. I felt connected to the very soil I stood upon and to the sky over my head and every person and all life on this planet. I would see everyone as a friend.  And I thought this until I was about 4 or 5 and then something told me, I don’t know what, but something told me to put a lock on those ideas and stick them in the back of the closet where I would throw my old toys. There they would stay until my mid thirties, when I started to wake up again.

It was in those dark , still and silent nights when my mind could stay quiet enough to hear the whispers of my soul that I began to catch glimpses of the light. I learned the more that I listened the more I would hear. I also learned right off the bat that most of what I did hear at that time in my life was not good. My heart was sad and my soul was lost and lonely.

It is in reaching a bottom of sorts where I found the will to climb out. I quit a 20 year addiction to alcohol.  I returned to the grass and the trees and the tiny daisies in the lawn. I found my connection with nature was returning and I healed in the power of that wonderfulness.

Everything I have learned so far, through the words and actions of others, though raw experience and through the whispers of my very soul, have put me to where I am now and the realizations that continually dawn on me, leading me to believe that what is the most important is the intangible and that we are truly are intangible beings in a tangible world. And that what we seek is truly inside us.

This is just a beginning of sorts for me. A rebirth. A getting back to where I need to be. I have returned from an extended break from writing and blogging. I have much to write about. I am excited and happy to be back and to reconnect with some kindred souls ones I have met along the way and new ones as well.

~Nancy

 

 

Tiny wisdoms found here and there 

 

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

I’ve traveled all around the world to see the rivers and the mountains, and I’ve spent a lot of money. I have gone to great lengths, I have seen everything, but I forgot to see just outside my house a dewdrop on a little blade of grass, a dewdrop which reflects in its convexity the whole universe around you.
~Rabindranath Tagore

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
― Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I would say that there exists a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves-we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together, we are each other’s destiny.

Reality is expensive but dreams are free

 

 

Dreams live in the stratosphere high up in the clouds. They are free and are hanging around like low lying fruit just aching to be taken. They are seldom realistic but in reality real life is littered with unrealistic realities coming to fruition.

I have been listening to some Alan Watts talks, the one that’s been prominent in my mind is in which he proposes the “what if?”. What if one could compose 70 year lifespan into a night of dreaming? Dreaming dreams one could control; every night a different dream.  At first we would do all the things we ever wanted and then after we’d get bored with that–we’d go onto adventures, getting more risky and dangerous knowing it was all a dream after all. We would seek even greater thrills to the point that we’d make ourselves forget were even dreaming. We’d keep changing the odds and randomness until we arrive at the life we are living now.

This concept intrigues me, it seems so simple,  I can almost feel it just beyond the mind’s eye waiting out in plain sight for me to discover it. I have decided to run with this notion and become its fair-weather friend for as long as it serves me.

I have allowed the winds of fate to lead me around these last couple months. It has been an interesting ride, riddled with cute nuances, funny innuendos and interesting deja-vu.

 

After all we could be part of a cast of characters running rampant inside a shared lucid dream.

I have heard much conjecture on the subject in the worlds of science, philosophy and spirituality among others; what is reality anyway?

Some say nothing matters and reality is but a series of electrical impulses conjured by our brains.  Elon Musk and others, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, believe that there is a significant chance that our world is just an elaborate simulation created by an advanced civilization and that all we are our bits of data encoded on some giant quantum computer.

Some say we are pure spirit and we come from a far off place and will return there someday. I have attached myself to the idea that we are all just drops of water in a sea of infinite vibrations swirling over eddys and through currents.

These ideas however intangible are making more and more sense to me in the tangible world that seems so damn unreal. At this point I am ready to believe anything. And so I go on faith and hope and a certain expectation that things will turn out alright in the end. I found it’s better to go with the flow if you can,  but still keep an eye out for rocks.

Getting back to the lucid dreaming and the subjective reality. I have decided in true Aspie fashion to take the whole thing literally and just go with it.

Why not? I have tried the dour realistic reality for far too and in reality its a drag.

 

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

~Albert Einstein

 

I can imagine myself lying there dreaming about myself pounding away on this keyboard. I consider this current “dream”. The back door is open slightly letting the fresh air and light in. I can hear the sounds of birds and I am content, a purring cat to the right side of me and a cup of warm jasmine tea to my left. I have hope in my heart and love in my soul; ready to just pour out.

And I think: Hey this is not so bad…

(....Alan Watts laughs at me from the ugly couch at the far end of the room…)

 

Biding you all a good night or day or whatever it is where you are…

and have sweet dreams…

 ~Nancy

Art by Trash Riot

 

“Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” 
~Anaïs Nin

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“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”
― Shirley Jackson

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Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Elon Musk Thinks So.
Dreams–Cranberries
Dream a little dream of me-Mama Cass 
Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? (Scientificamerican.com)