Monday, May 14, 2018

Kings and Dirt


 I love dirt
        And dirt don't hurt,
        Only if there's stickers in it.

Ian Ray
5 years

I read this week that ancient people had a word for the living, breathing, sentient Earth, and her name is "Gaia". She feels, she evolves, she regenerates, she suffers and she speaks.  I have always known this about her. It soothes and grounds me to walk barefoot on her, to put my skin against hers; to remove the barriers that disconnect. 

You knew this too, Ian....didn't you?  You reveled in dirt and were happiest when you were elbow-deep in the stuff, because you KNEW that is where the magic things are. It was your kingdom and you the KING. Lift a rock, dig a few inches, and life found you.  

Found you it always did, in all its wriggling, scurrying, colorful, mysterious forms.....centipede, scorpion, grub.....fossil, rock, leaf....the living cells of our living Mother. You knew you couldn't expect them to find you, you had to look for them. You liked the smell of dirt, the patterns and shapes and colors of it. You would even taste it as a little boy.
When you were 7, and we had to dig a deep hole in our yard to bury sweet Bailey dog. When he was covered and prayers were said, you laid across the warm soil, arms stretched  in a little boy's embrace and cried into the arms of Gaia....cried and held her as she held you. Grief and longing spilled from you into her.  Each time you found a dead creature, or we lost a pet, your small man hands dug a hole tenderly gave her back to you.  My deep boy, I think you might know a little more her workings and her realm than many do. Her rhythms and ways came naturally and you recognized the patterns and the ways of her. Like your Grandma Kaufhold,  you found God in her. 

My young King of the dirt. Prince of lizards, grubs, and earth worms.   

But it is not always neat and tidy being a King. You're not measured by goodness, kindness, or overall stellar behavior, it seems.  You were just a little more powerful, like 220 volts instead of 110? Kind of like Thor or Hera or the Hulk; pounding and "hulking" your way through this place.....I saw that in you....not a peaceable fact a thunderbolt of a person.

Knocking over chairs
Capturing hearts
Demanding attention.....
Rescuing maidens
Loving Dogs
Oh....loving those dogs

But never quite fitting in; never quite getting this deal of living with people who insist on wearing shoes. Grabbing up experiences, bossing people around (after all,  you ARE the King for Christ sake, people are supposed to obey...) Acting and living beyond the world's rules. No interest in fitting in (except a deep desire to be loved for who you are)

Middle finger to the the absurdity of law

Born to rule, an advanced soul, a King.....from the royalty of dirt......Tossed or placed, or choosing to come down here and be a bull in a china closet every minute you were here. Born to stand apart, how incredibly frustrating and remarkably made you are, Biggun.

"El Rey" indeed. Named Ian which is Scots-Irish for "John", like the two eccentrics in the Bible, one standing apart, eating locus and honey and heralding the coming of Christ until his head gets lopped off...and the other a mystic, a lover of light and gentle companion.... "My beloved one" of Christ.

I don't know why you were sent here....was it an experiment? You lived among people and did find your Earth family.

They "got" you and knew you to be unique. They describe you to me as different and irreplaceable.....they miss you Biggun.... yet they all say how frustrating, infuriating, and impossible you could be. The few people who got you are so dear to me. We remember your reign and your kingly ways, and your feet of clay. We remember your royal ego and temper, too. You could not suffer fools.

Maybe it wasn't ego after all, but the 220-volted spirit that Kings seem to have. We saw that, our little tribe of Gaia.  When I sink my hands into to deep, rich, life-giving body of the Mother, I feel you there. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018


God's voice has softened below even a whisper, to a tiny inaudible hum. I wonder Why god doesn't speak louder during dark times? Why does He become so still? He is like that coldest moment, just before dawn when I have been sleeping in a tent or on the bow of a boat with nothing between me and the world but a frosted breath and a blanket, the moment every creature of the wild knows each day. That coldest moment, do you know it?

Just a vague sense of light about to come, easily mistakable as the morning, but it is not. Everything at full stop and it is the last moments of deepest sleep for the daytime creatures: the birds, the bugs, deer, rabbits, humans. Even the wind has ceased. You can hear your own heart and breath but nothing else. So cold and still...

But not like death.

No, death is not what I feel in this cold place, I feel that hush just before an inhale when the lungs are empty and I have to want to draw air back in-but just not yet. Every breath is a choice, I empty my lungs and decide whether I want to have another go at it. It is that pause. That is what God is like right now. Full stop...and only memory tells me that there is still life, waiting for God to enlist another inhale from my body; for the sun to rise and the world to open up crusty eyes and want to look for breakfast.

I don't know much anymore. My faith and understanding of life has been rattled so badly I don't know where I will land, but I am sure of this. I don't think God is mean. God is love, or something very near it....Maybe God can only be fueled by Love. Maybe we are the respiratory system of a living God. He may require us as we require Him?

In my current still, chilly twilight I can still sense a soft of love of some sort still there-I feel it in the love I have for Chris, Kenzie and Hudson. He is starting to smile and coo....Oh Lord, that stirs in me the desire to breath again, just for a moment.I feel it in Mariana's soft tears, texts from Jenny and Marion, the colored ribbons you send me almost daily in a sunset, moth, or eerie cry of a hawk.

And in the memories of how well you and I loved each other. No one who loved as well as you could be anywhere but bathed in love, and I believe you are. As my rainbow interpretation told are "Luminous awareness and Bliss", and that is the gift you have always given your Momma.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Good Morning Sweet Son,

This morning at Dorothy's I woke up happy- read for a long time about the history of the exploration of the Devil's river and I felt a deep urge to kayak. For the first time since you left  I felt a desire for something. I could almost imagine life again, maybe bigger and more bold, like my grief for you is making me want to jump off a cliff (figuratively speaking) and fly. Am I too old to live large? Is this a flash-in-the-pan kind of feeling  like has happened to me before?

I went outside with our dogs and binocs  to watch the dawn on the lake, and I sat at the water's edge and coots were about....they were 200 yards away in the cat tail rushes, feeding and moving about on the glass-still water. A singular coot began to move toward where I sat in a very deliberate way, straight at me.

 I mean, straight at me at a rapid clip, making a wake, if you can imagine it.

 He moved to within 40 feet of me and hesitated, came closer, then waited as a friend joined him, and they both came in to within 20 feet. Even with our two dogs pacing the bank, these wild birds just keep coming closer. Coots do not do this, they are NOT ducks, begging for a cracker. I raised my arms to the heavens, opened my heart and welcomed the notion that it was, again, YOU.

I have been told you are always around me. Sometimes I feel you-as I did the moment the coot came towards me. I smiled, hesitated and then welcomed the moment and it felt good. I have been told that these thing will happen-they are NOT accident, in fact they are "anything but" accident. My heart welcomes and embraces them but my mind resists. I have also been told you are excited  to communicate with me in this way. Well, ok.

Now, logically I think there must be science and some logic involved. So you are now "luminous awareness and bliss", pure love, pure energy devoid of any human negatives. You can move here and there-not confined to our laws of physics. God, how beautiful that must feel to someone who yearned for freedom from limits as much as you did? I am wondering about my many Ian occurrences..spectacular sunsets and sunrises? Animals that move close to me? electric  anomalies? Wind bursts?

If you move freely, maybe you can influence an animal's behavior in subtle ways. Buzzards already kettling  could be "shooed" closer to where I ran the other morning, like a feather you can blow and make it float a bit higher? That coot had no reason to approach me at all-none-did you murmur into his little bird brain and make him more curious of me? Could you still his fear of my dogs and urge him closer? Can you push a cloud?

Does your love for me remain?

Does it act as a force of energy that you can wield?

Does my love draw you in when I get quiet and listen or feel you?

Is this what remains as a our only bridge?

I can never touch you as my grief keeps telling me, day by day, minute by minute, second buy second. It obscures my journey to understand and keep my mind open to the bridge that you and I can still have. I feel this morning that I am trying to learn to suspend my longing for you...the bitter and constant MISSING YOU so that I can touch you in this new way.

Thank you for trying to pull me into this new world of loving without physically touching. I am not very good at it yet., but I am going to try, Ian.

You know, since the moment I first became your Momma, you have been a special challenge. You demanded more patience, more energy, more understanding, more open-mindedness than I had ever needed before. You and I had kinship and I was your champion and and touch-stone. I feel bad for many things, but NOT for loving you so damned much, because maybe our fierce love for each other was the the training for the time that is now before us.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Good Morning Bright One,

Thank you for the lovely sunsets lately (I almost said SONSETS, haha); yesterday's popcorn cloud sunrise, the random doe with a red collar, kettling turkey vultures, and daily serenading of our red shouldered hawks that have taken post around the house.Thank you for sending Mariana sunsets too, and for teasing Eugene with random windshield wiper salutes and electronic door tricks. Thank you most especially for our sweet Michaela, the best gift you ever gave me.

Thank you for speaking through my wind chimes and for the squirrel posing on the head of my gargoyle.

Tiny, random moments when I feel you, baby. It is not enough (are you surprised). I want more and I am going to keep asking for more, but thank you anyway.

I read a little in my bible this morning for the first time since you left, and stumbled across one of my favorite verse from Psalms 34:18:

"When someone is huring or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in and revives her of her pain."

This, then reminded me of another favorite line I need to track down:

"Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for one moment escape God's attention."

I found that one in a tiny devotional given to me after the divorce when you were 5 years old. Seed planted, it made me reach to God, take you guys to church, and latch onto God, like a baby at the breast. Jan Booth says you were a little scholar in sunday school (who knew?) and that you loved to sing hymns and color maps of the Holy land. You were her favorite, and she gave you a pocket cross that I recently found in a tiny raku goblet made by your Aunt Jeanne that I kept my Holy oil in so that I could anoint you in your sleep. The yarn of these connections keep winding through my mind like colored ribbons. Yes, colored ribbons indeed, that daily lead me out of the darkness of each long day.

What's up with God? His voice has softened below even a whisper, to a tiny, almost inaudible hum. I wonder why God doesn't speak louder during dark times? Why does He become so still? He is like that coldest moment, just before dawn; you know it, right? Just a vague sense of light, easily mistakable as the moon. Everything has stopped and is in the last moments of deepest sleep- bugs, birds, deer, rabbits, humans and even the wind do not move. You can hear your own heart beating and your breath. So cold, and still, but not lifeless.

Death is not what I feel then. I feel that hush just before an inhale when the lungs are empty and I have to really want to bring some air into them again....but not just yet. There is a pause. God is quiet too in the winding down of the moment. Everything appears at "FULL STOP" and only memory and hope tells me that there is still life.

It is where I am now, in the twilight waiting for God to make me inhale again, for the sun to rise, and the world and all creatures in it to open up crusty eyes and look for breakfast.

I don't know much anymore. My faith and understandings of life have been shaken and rattled so fiercely that don't know up from down.I am only sure of this and I cannot even tell you why.

God is not mean.

God is love, or something very near it.

Maybe God is fueled by love?

So in my current chilly twilight I do sense a soft love of some sort still there-I feel it in the love I have for Chris, Kenzie and Hudson, my darling little man. He is just about to start smiling and cooing...proof enough that life is not ending. Oh Lord, thank you. I feel it in Mariana's tears, worried texts from Jenny Pearson and Marion, the post card you send me at sunset that send me charging out of my house and into my neighbor's yard for a look, and the memories of our love.

You and I loved each other well.No one who loved as well as you could be anywhere but bathed in love. I believe you are. If we have a collective unconscious; if everything we have seen and felt and experienced becomes a tapestry that cloaks us and prepares us for days ahead, then I think you here in full color. 


Your Momma

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why do I love rocks

The first time I lost my luggage was  when I was 15 years old in 1972 coming home from Knoxville, Tennessee. Lost luggage guy asked me what was in my bags. I said, "rocks." Because even as a skinny teenager I had discovered them. They were my preferred souvenir when I went on trips; or they found themselves in my coat pockets on chilly winter nights. Gritty groups of them began to be placed in oddly organized piles around my house as mementos of great days outside in strange places.

 Growing up in the Hill Country of Texas, limestone and flint were the main finds, so when I started traveling I was fascinated to discovered granite, tumbled smooth and uniform like exquisite creations....never had seen anyone like these beauties. Completely sculpted by icy-cold rivers coming out of the Smokey mountains. Easter egg colors and shapes. 

A river will not tolerate angles on a rock. Round is what she wants.

I got older. I went further. I began the odd habit of packing lighter to make room for my rocks. Dirty socks and fuzzy pajama pants were the nest of my treasures. Unfortunate baggage handlers probably wondered why the weight of my bags slid from side to side. Seattle, Alaska, Florida, Wyoming, and Montana. 

Sometimes the heart-stopping beauty of some new place would prompt me to look down at the ground and pick up a reminder of what I was so lucky to see. Like a love note, like a little kiss from God. I don't remember so much of life from day to day, but when I look at these rocks, I remember exactly where they came from. I remember the temperature, the time of day, and the feeling I had in my own heart.

Life is so noisy and cluttered. I get busy and forget to pay attention to the thumping heart of God that is everywhere to be heard.

I forget. I wish I didn't, but I do.

Still, when I am on a trip, and I am being more attentive, I am back in church and the rocks that I gather are my hymnal, my cross, my little Holy icon. They always cause me to remember exactly how crazy and wonderful this Earth is; how timeless and impossibly intricate is each creation. Calcite veins running through granite orbs; bits of gneiss floating in volcanic ash; flint pearls within limestone....all of them more beautiful than I can ever describe and all completely unique.

So this is my thought. The world is an  ancient old girl, breathing slowly and imperceptibly for ages untold; her back arching into mountains and stretching into planes; worn smooth by water and ice and time, then pulling apart as the center of her rumbles and shakes. Maybe the rocks that litter beaches, rivers, trails and valleys are the little offerings from Her. 

Offerings, for the giving of humble ole me.

Thanks, Mother Earth, for my rocks.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Poetry of Gold

How does gold get into the mountains?

It is a mysterious stuff, gold. So beautiful and pure, different from other elements; almost other-worldy. McPhee in Basin and Range talks of gold as if it were sentient, willful, conscious of herself:

"Gold loves itself: it resists combining with other wants to be free. When cool, it almost always is free....joining together, independent of all. At high temperatures it will agree to marry others to form compounds, such as chlorine in the Earth's interior." 

He reminds me of Lewis Thomas in Lives of the Cell describing relationships between symbiotic plants as lovers...

Gold chloride is water-soluble in the water that circulates in magma. It eventually dances to the surface of the Earth and cools. Gold, once again wanting to be free, breaks away a it cools in flakes and literally "falls out of the water", along with her companion, silica, breathing herself into quartz. The two are lifelong companions, they move into fissures in rock forming veins together.

The mystery and poetry of gold.

Monday, June 1, 2015

God As Hummingbird

I read the Bible. I also read Jacob Glass and have gotten into the custom of throwing Native American Animal Medicine Cards (shockingly similar to Tarot cards but calling on the symbolism of animals, as the native tribes viewed their godliness.) Today I pulled the Hummingbird card for the second time in about a week. I have come to see that when I pull the same card over and over it means something. God is really clearing Her throat loudly, tapping Her toe and maybe even waving Her arms at me....

Hummingbird awakens the flowers, regenerates, and passes around the love. She can fly in all directions, upside down, backwards, even hover in mid-air. She is different from the other birds. Hummingbird conjurs love and opens the heart...brings others together, and instinctively seeks beauty, but She flies away hastily from discord, ugliness, and harshness. If She is caged or imprisoned, she will die. To embrace Hummingbird medicine, we are called (as I was this morning) to drop judgement, avoid the nasties, and be renewed by living. I got that, it applies to where I am in my life right now, so much so, I felt a little "ping" as the puzzle piece fell into place.

 You only have to tell me twice, I get it....Thank you God.


So, I read John 2:12-20 The Temple story. When Jesus went into the Temple he saw animals milling about, being sold, money changers, people conducting business. It was noisy and messy and smelly and probably pretty fun and colorful. It was not evil or mayhem. These people were not gangsters or even republicans... They were not killing each other, raping women, beating anyone up. It was just people going about their daily life, trying to prosper, progress, create some product. Survive, for goodness sake! It is what we all do, everyday, almost all day long. We try to bargain and be productive under our own will. Isn't that the sum total of most of our days? when I am anxious or lost (which now is a daily occurance), I try to get organized in my life. I clean, finish projects...I get busy. It seems to is very filling like a big hamburger, yet it leaves an emptiness all around.

It is so empty and so full all at the same time.

Jesus was making a whip-lashing; temper-fit-throwing point of saying something more than just not to let the livestock shit in the church....and not because God wants purple curtains and a red velvet rope.....................


And by the way, a Temple is not only a marble structure built to worship the divine; it is also a place on either side of my eyes.


He might have been saying something a little more subtle...whip and all....saying that life is noisy and humans are so busy and lost and scared and ant-like in our daily routines. We just are such an noisy, busy tribe......maybe not with bad intentions.....but we get so loud that we cannot hear......saying that SOMEPLACES are SACRED and they need to be.....

Chorded off
Swept clean
Blessed and

They need to kept Holy.

Holy in the sense of open, clear, quiet, receptive, tender, serene, still, aware, expansive, limber, and ready.

                                                        A womb preparing for birth.

 Take off your shoes, said John the Baptist, we are all walking on Holy Ground, and this ground is between your temples.

Keeping a Holy state of mind invites the Hummingbird God to come; because she is a shy and elusive Little Girl. Her utterances are quiet and steady, like a hum, but terribly strong, energetic, and delicate. She is easily shooed away by the prattle of the human mind; by judgement, harshness, and most especially my own hysterical mind.

But God's humming wants to be heard. Wants to drink from me and pass the pollen on and regenerate the world.....

                                                   One hysterical woman at a time.

God wants to sip, spin, and hover all over us flowers and JESUS KNEW THAT. There are no exquisite Hummers at the Mall.
                                                   What a delicate, lovely God we have.

Jesus was trying to say (maybe) that the quiet presence of God may be easier to receive in a quiet, present mind, or in a quiet temple in a quiet place in the world. Mine is on my backporch, or pretty much any time I am outside looking up at the stars.

I want a quiet Temple, I want Hummingbird to come live with me. Jesus wants that for all of us.