Dress Up and Stay Home

We are here, now. In accepting, embracing even, our place, creates home. Yet, we are also not content. We are constrained like the partially thriving plants of my container garden. We can grow here, yes. We do. We have. We also have dreams, and there is something within us that knows what is true, what is possible and it stretches toward that like a seed in the dark. We have searched and we have not found. So we are sending out our smoke signals, putting notes in bottles and tossing them to sea, tying wee scrolls on the legs of birds, whispering to the wind our desire.

We have also put an ad on craigslist. Pass it on.

Today is very Wednesday-ish and I am in the midst of 8 million things. In mid process, I can only report back on the immediate. Much of that immediacy is quite brilliant though, so I offer some of the strands currently in the loom. Let’s weave them together.

This past weekend, I was delighted to find a package stuffed to the brim with anticipation awaiting me at the door. All the way from Avalon, filled with thought and love and care from Princess Milla. She’s been a busy bee nurturing her friends from afar, no small feat since I know she is courageously on a healing journey of her own. Sweet, wise, warm friend…thank you.

I could almost hear the chuckles when I opened this jar of sourdough starter. Last year there were many unsuccessful attempts to make a starter and then even more baking failures. I had assumed it was the starter itself, so when I woke up Milla’s dough with food and water, and witnessed its enthusiastic response, I thought we were in business.

But then it took two days for the two rising cycles and despite following directions to the T, at the end of it all, it still turned into a brick.

WTF sourdough?!? What. The. F**k. Help me friends, what am I doing?

But never mind that! Look at what else!

Frocks! For mama and Fern.

Plant medicine from the majestic nettle. (Seriously girl, how freaking adorable are you? Look at that stamp.)

From one lover of secret locks to another, she wonders what these ornate keys could be for. Luckily, she also included a magical steampunk compass, that only works when it wants to….which will be when I am in the Right Place at the Right Time, with secret locks to which I hold the key.

Books that give me the sense that I Am Known. I have started Gary Snyder and am blown away that we are meeting just now. His first essay takes place in the Shasta Bioregion, my home, my known place. “Rich in acorn, deer, salmon and flicker feathers…”. Oh land that I love so well, how is it that I can’t go back to you? Will there be a second bonding in a new place? A mid-life rebirth, a hearth that will be first love for my daughter?

We look for it, and find re-memberance every day. We collect rocks, stick, stones in our longing for them under our feet.

Hat and shirt from the package of love. Ready for a walk in Buena Vista Park.

“The heart of a place is the home, and the heart of the home is the hearth. All tentative explorations go outward from there…” 

Radish spring greens are up.

“You hear histories of the people who are your neighbors and tales involving rocks, streams, mountains, and trees that are all within your sight…The childhood landscape is learned on foot, and a map is inscribed in the mind–trails and pathways and groves—the mean dog, the cranky old man’s house, the pasture with a bull in it–going out wider and farther.”

“Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.”

“A contemporary Haida elder was asked by a young woman anthropologist (who was impressed by her coherence, presence, and dignity), ‘What can I do for self respect?’. And the elder replied,

‘Dress up and stay home.’

The home, of course, is as large as you make it.”

(Randomly spotted on a bench in the park. Hello Universe, I see what you did there.)

Happy Wednesday!


9 thoughts on “Dress Up and Stay Home

  1. Milla’s so cool.

    Speaking of cool, Gary Snyder? That particular book of essays was the first thing by him I’d ever read and I fell in love with him, his mind, and his principles. Recently, I listened to a thirty-minute long interview from him (for school. I wish I could link you to it, but I only had access through the university’s site) and it was one of those experiences where I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. There were so many moments where he verbalized things I felt but hadn’t yet brought into being with words.

    I’ve been wondering recently about what happens when you want something so badly that you somehow make it happen. Is that even possible? Maybe the Universe hears your internal cries, or maybe just your sheer force of will makes something favorable occur. I have a feeling that your family will get its wish, Mary. From what I have gleaned here, you’re too beautiful and deserving NOT to.

    When I was sitting by the wood stove earlier in the evening, wondering if our pot of chili inside was almost finished, or if I should turn it, I suddenly thought of you and your Craigslist ad. I wished that I could magically transport you here and you could cuddle the dogs, have a walk amongst the new flowers, and then share some chili and a baked potato with me. But then that wish dissolved with the thought that it could never happen, and I began instead wishing the same thing for you. That is, wood stoves with good food cooking inside. Fields to traverse and flowers for Fern to pick. Sweet barn cats to snake around your ankles and tickle your toes with their whiskers. Deer, and lots and lots of birds and trees and all those simple and natural things your heart desires.


  2. Hey if you are going to be in BV park, text me. We’ll be living near BV park a little while longer, probably 2 or 3 months, and i can walk with you guys if you desire company.
    As for your sourdough, i think i know what you are doing ‘wrong.’ 😉 Let’s talk on the phone….i can go over it with you and i can even join you for a bake if you want (while i am still unemployed!) at some point. Text me or call me and we can discuss or i can walk you through it. I want you to be successful and i know you can be!
    Lastly, great post, as usual….i first read Snyder on bioregionalism about 25 years ago. I met him once; the poet Philip Whalen was my zen teacher for a while and people like Snyder and Ginsburg and Anne Waldman used to visit the temple….sometimes when i was cleaning or something. 🙂 I saw him accept this year’s religion and arts award at the Amer Acad of Religion conf and he rattled on and on in an ‘everything is at least tangentially related’ manner, rather like an endless swtichback. He’s an old guy now – you should try to see him if he reads locally.
    You have inspired me to try to ‘dress up and stay home more.

  3. oh yes, first to Milla’s package, I just received one myself and cannot believe my eyes. i think i’ve worn something everyday. That woman is pure goodness and so intuitive. I looked at your CL…and it got me hypothetically searching here, totally amazed to find this 48Hectare plot of land and a little cabin for $300K for purchase http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/rural/auction-433527625.htm I know you aren’t moving here nor buying, but it’s cute huh! If I was renting out our place your listing would have my heart lady, i’m hoping for you, hoping you get a close semblance to what your family desire. I contemplated the quotes you have there, they are reassuring…and I most like the quote about childhood landscape being learnt on foot. We had to move from our first place by the beach when the house got too small for us to spin with our arms out…the big beach houses were too expensive. We decided to move back home. Steve grew up in the hills, and I grew up in the valley between them. Without knowing, as kids, both of us had wandered the same terrain, the same bushwalks, the same bikerides, the same rivers………and wanted some of that wildness for our babes. I understand your yearning. People generally move here to get away from suburbia and conformity, we moved here to come home.
    good luck friend

  4. wow. what a nice package. i’ve never heard of gary snyder. i’m so curious now. however, i was just given the daily coyote girl’s book, and i am pretty fixated. and then i was given a couple beautiful jewish books on grieving, so i’ve got a stack in front of me. but someday i want to read gary….. the prayer. it’s a lot of what i am thinking about these days. buffalo. it’s coming to me in the form of buffalo. lots and lots of buffalo coming to me. lovely magestic ones. i just need to pay attention. i am praying to pay attention.

  5. beautiful package for a beautiful woman. so glad you are embarking on gary snyder. i loved reading that book so much, and it felt very personal and real as a california girl.

    i LOVE your craigslist ad and indeed it is a powerful action to put a clear request into the universe. i remember so many unique living opportunities when i lived in sebastopol. i hope hope hope that one finds you guys!

  6. I’m sure I’ve said it many times, but you write such perfect words Mary. The first two paragraphs of this post just blew me away with their exactness and openness. They describe you and your feelings so well and your description of the loom of life, of offering a few strands, just wonderful. I love the quote about dressing up and staying home, because home can be the whole universe.
    I love your craiglist posting, if it was me who had something to offer (sadly I don’t) I would read that and know you were right. I mean your heart and soul just shine through!

  7. your perfect dwelling will come. and when it does you will understand why you had wait and realize it was worth it 😀 i love how you can express your thoughts so clearly. it is a gift i wish i had.

    you package from milla is awesome. of course! that hat on fern is seriously adorable!

  8. So much Milla magic buzzing about these days! We were each other’s first ever blog swaps you know. Probably almost 4 years ago now. I still get just as giddy whenever one of her packages shows up at the door! Also, that stamp on the nettles came to her by way of one of Santa Rosa’s finest thrift stores 😉 I love how she’s been using it.

    Gary Snyder has been on my list of writers I need to get to know better. From bits here and there, I can already tell that once I actually delve, like Sara, I’ll be head over heels.

    May the home of your dreams find you sooooooon!

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