“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
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.
What they didn’t say was that Mocha is no ordinary cat, not by any means.
Never have I seen a kitten jump so high, or run so fast. Never have I encountered such a keen intellect in a cat his age. He is only three months old but reads at a sixth grade level.
He is witty and charming but has a bit of a temper. And whatever you do, don’t trust him with your marbles as he is bound to steal them and put them in your shoes for you to discover later.
I don’t know who his mother was exactly. The adoption agency won’t tell me. I have a feeling she was born of noble blood and so was Mocha by the size of his ego and of his bank account. I didn’t know that kittens came with their own stock portfolio’s but apparently this one does. Once we took him home he immediately got on the phone and called his broker and then his accountant. I didn’t know cats had accountants.
I have a feeling that Mocha is money obsessed and it’s not good for him. He is a bit artificial and frankly snobby with the other cats that have come by and welcomed him to the neighborhood.
And he keeps buying things! Like fancy pet furniture and cases of canned Mackerel. I don’t know where to put it all.
He goes down everyday to Starbucks and gets himself the Vente size Java Chip at Starbucks, he loves it there. And they love him! They have named a drink after him, just shows how persuasive he is!
In fact he is paying me to write this fascinating and favorable post about him. Money does talk and since I am temporarily unemployed the money comes in handy. So watch for more stories about his antics. Maybe next time we can find out how he got such a silly name.
Adventures in Mocha
The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.
The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top
The voice of the universe is everywhere. In the trees. In stars. In the air. In my heart. In my hair. Within.”
I listen to the wind move through the trees tickling leaves along the way. I hear the loneliness in them, the smallness of them. The universe is made of these. Bits and parts of somethings that make a whole.
We are one together. A breathing being is the universe. I witness its breath in the clouds. I feel the beat of it’s heart in the river. I touch its profoundness in the soft moss under my feet.
I feel so alive in this one very moment; I take in the million joys that spill over like a wave. It fills my valleys and makes them green again.
The voice of the universe speaks to me. Not in words but pure emotion. It speaks to me in brilliant birdsong and in the roar of the sea. It whispers in the Sunday breeze, knocking down fence posts to make me listen.
Once in a while the universe sends something so absolutely exquisite I can’t help but pause in splendid wonder. Once in a while can be everyday if I let it…
This is a scene from the upcoming musical remake of the Science Fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It features an all-star all cat cast and is directed by and stars my famous feline Mario. I know what you are thinking: How can a cat direct a movie? I thought that myself at first but when he explained to me that he had attended “directoring school” in one of his previous nine lives and that he was, and I quote, “Golden” I felt he may be onto something. I mean he isn’t famous for nothing.
I had the impression from him that this would be easy but it has been anything but easy. Cats never do what you want them to do, even the so called “professionals”. They are demanding and picky. The cast members would send me out for tuna sandwiches and almost every single time they were dissatisfied with the quality of the fish and would meow mercilessly until I returned to the restaurant and demanded better. Half the delis in town thought I was a nut.
These actor types, what prima donnas…and the director himself you ask? What a hot head. He was driven by some sort of vision but what that vision was, I had no idea.
Mario had no sympathy for me and no time. Whenever I tried to talk any reason with him he would suddenly get up from his easy chair and utter in his heavily accented husky voice: “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore, goodbye” and sashay out.
The power has gone to his head I tell you. ( He’s gone quite mad you know)
Mario would stay up late at night practicing his dance moves and sing old bawdy sailor tunes from his past life as a ship’s cat. My goodness, those songs can get raunchy. The neighbors complained. The police have been out several times due to the loud music and the gang of mewing groupie cats that sit outside on the front lawn at all hours stupefied on what I think was very potent catnip.
Seriously I had my doubts. I mean the whole thing was filmed in our backyard and most of the sets were imaginary. I was never allowed back there during filming. I would go to the side gate and leave the tuna sandwiches. I had no idea…but it just goes to show why my Mario is as famous as he is…
The advance reviews have been “stellar”. I don’t get it, but the critics loved it. I hear it is a “tour de farce” and a “cinematicmeowsterpiece”. I can’t believe it but my cat’s movie will premier at the Canne Film Festival.
It’s just goes to show that you never know and don’t doubt the dreamer until you see the fruition of a dream.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnett
The sky is bright. The day is new and I am out in the neglected garden, busy as a bee, foolhardily attempting to resurrect order into chaos. I feel wonderful out here in the fresh air and sunshine. It is a spectacular Saturday. I have the whole day ahead to do whatever I want and this is what I want.
I miss it out here and from the looks of it it misses me. It is a cornucopia of green things vying for space and light. I liken this tangled mess to my mind and life in general; bursting with wild, colorful and impatient things…lush, exuberant and messy. Tending the soil has given me metaphor upon metaphor upon on which to reflect and the act of gardening itself allows my mind to meander down strange and unusual and often very creative paths.
I am more of a scientist really than an oranmentalist. I like crazy wild. I shy away from the straight line. I will allow a mysterious plant to grow, just to see what it turns out to be. Most of the time it turns out to be just a common weed but once in a while serendipity will shine on me with something new and wonderful. Life is like that I think too.
It is labor intensive here. I set all this up when I had oodles of time on my hands. I didn’t have to do much at work and life came pretty easy. My garden, my sanctuary as I called it, was my respite from the world, a world I was very much afraid of. It was here I started this blog and the blogger Strawberryindigo was born. In a little converted garage we call the studio I typed and typed and purged my heart out.
I think about that now; how far I’ve come. They say where our heart lies there lies our treasure. Once my yard was my treasure. It was pristine, nary a weed or grass-blade out of place. I worked hours at a stretch, this is where I gained my satisfaction in life but it was lonely being so afraid of the world…
Through design and through fate via a series of sales related jobs has forced me out of my comfort zone again and again, so much it is a common occurrence. Once I gain mastery I go onto the next challenge. I am cultivating my garden. I am accepting myself as I am but weeding out what does not serve me to make room for the more beautiful things that do. Beautiful things we all can enjoy. I am cultivating friendships where I did not before and now my garden is not so lonely anymore.
My goal is to spread goodness and light in my own small way; planting seeds along my path. Some may not take root but others will, growing into something wonderful. I figure the more seeds I plant the more flowers that will grow…
…and so here I am pulling weeds thinking about this and there I spy a butterfly; a swallowtail. It is headed for the butterfly bush. I run and get my camera. It is kind enough to stick around for a few photos
I get excited at this sort of event , and yes seeing a butterfly is an event to me! I lay back in the grass. The breeze cools my sweaty brow. I am totally living in that moment and then as if on cue nature rewards me with a smallish flock of sweet little birds who make tiny hops around the branches of the tree next me, they make cute little chirpings the sort you’d expect from birds such as this.
I am happy…
I watch honeybees visit the white clover flowers in the grass. They carefully buzz from one to the next fast and efficiently. Their devotion to their task inspired me to leave this wild area in the grass, unmown and full of clover, the patch has grown since last year.
I am an avid bee watcher although I don’t have the time like I used to…
My mind drifts to the story I was reading earlier that queried if bees dream and then what do they dream about? The whole prospect of bees dreaming intrigues the hell out of me and the writer of the article states that bees when kept from sleeping (yes, bees sleep) tend to forget where all the good flowers are.
This makes a whole lot of sense. I think that we humans could learn a few things from our friends the bees:
A busy bee still finds time to dream. It is those wonderful dreams made into fruition by hard work that create beautiful gardens.
“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” ―David Foster Wallace
“I’m already crazy. I’m a fearless person. I think it creeps up on you. I don’t think it can be stopped. If my destiny is to lose my mind because of fame, then that’s my destiny. But my passion still means more than anything.” ~Lady Gaga
My famous cat Mario is beside himself. He fears his fame is fleeting and soon he’ll be forgotten. I was shocked. My cat never talks this way; he has been always a positive force, what happened to his great lion-like confidence?
Apparently he’d noticed his page-rankings were down. He had Googled himself multiple times over the past few weeks and had been disappointed by the results. I laughed and cited his numerous accomplishments, awards and medals.
In a light hissy tone he ranted on and on about link analysis algorithms and numerical weighting. He then he spewed out formulas and equations. Honestly I was lost there.
He complained that his new book “Napping for the Sophisticated” hasn’t been selling and that he’s sick of “playing some fool human’s pet in tawdry pet food commercials.”
Mario confided in me that his secret dream is to be the star of his own talk show. He wants to bring back the glamour and as he put it: “The Va va va voom of old downtown Burbank back into late night T.V. just like his idol Johnny Carson. He said he needed to “create a stir online to garner support and create a buzz”.
I offered to write a blog post about him and he laughed at me with disdain for suggesting such a thing. He brought up the fact that my readers are few, a devoted few( thanks guys) but a few nonetheless.
He said we need to hire a production team to make an overly dramatic and wildly expensive but tasteful You tube video about his napping habits. He showed me this pic of him I took last summer. He called it “golden” and asked how could anyone human or cat “resist this cuteness?”
He also wants a publicist “that knows what they’re doing” and a secretary to keep all his projects together for him. He demanded money to pay these “over-priced but well worth it professionals”.
He went so far as to suggest he could pull a wild stunt possibly involving himself and that other cat Spotsy who he calls White Fang in some sort of well-documented and digitally enhanced posturing incident where Mario wins a place atop all the furniture ( yeah right) while The Fang is delegated outside.
In a fit of hysteria he told the tale about the cat down the street who flushed the toilet all day long while his human servants were off “working”. Eventually he become so famous for this one simple act a news crew showed up and filmed him.
“He now has his own pilot coming out this fall on NBC.” Mario wailed in a mournful and pathetic mew.
Like I said, I had never seen Mario like this. My poor loving and faithful friend was reduced to a sad and desperate victim of that bitch goddess, fame.
Follow your bliss Mario, I said in no uncertain terms, he rolled his eyes knowing it was just me quoting Joseph Campbell again. There is a reason I do this. I brought up the fact that his true love is music, which it is and that if he diligently and deliberately pursued this love, all that he desired will come to him. As some of you may or may not know, Mario is a fabulous vocalist. He has the soul of Cat Stevens with all the pizzazz of a young Catty Purry. His lack of confidence holds him back, it’s something we share, that and pure laziness.
Your family loves you and that’s all that really matters Mario, I told him. Fame is supposed to be fleeting, love is not.
We spoke on throughout the afternoon. Mario entertained us with a medley of his favorite show tunes and we twittered away the rest of the day lost in a sweet and legal marijuana haze his musician friends contributed to the packed room of neighborhood cats and trippy neighborhood people. We drank tea and enjoyed the music and that is what it’s all about.
“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.” ~Tom Robbins
(UPDATE: Mario will soon be coming out with a new album. A bluesy reggae pop sound he’s been working on. I’ll keep you all posted)