Many dreamers dreaming dreams!

I don’t remember my life before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, I do. Glimpses of this house or that puppy. Snapshots of my family. But not life as an American. Or life as anything other than a Boardman.

I’ve been sitting, these last few days, in the shadow of a tree and pondering the impact of this man on my life.

Actually, I’ve been sitting under a picture of a tree which is mostly still a sketch and, oddly, a revelation.

My nails are splattered in brown paint and the dogs are beginning to grasp the notion that they need to stay out from under my feet while I paint.

I am still learning.

My Intentional Creativity friends and I are painting trees of life.

Well, we’re painting lots of things but this seems to be where I am just now.

One day, back in December, the notion came to me that my tree would want to be a Banyan tree.

An enormous tree like the ones where I grew up in Florida, systems of branches and roots and trunks, communities of breathing life.

I visited a few of those trees in Key West and they kept whispering to me.

Kelly and I took some pictures. Mine were mostly roots.

Roots that reminded me of the ancient wisdom of elephants.

Then, we came home.

The time to paint came closer and closer, and the Banyan tree kept tugging at me.

Then, I found out why.

In the online newsletter, Aeon, Jonardon Ganeri, a contemporary philosopher whose work draws on a variety of  traditions to construct new positions in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology, writes that:

…knowledge should be pictured as a banyan tree, in which a multiplicity of aerial roots sustains a centerless organic system. The tree of knowledge has a plurality of roots, and structures of knowledge are multiply grounded in the earth: the body of knowledge is a single organic whole, no part of which is more or less dispensable than any other.

Dr. King is one of those roots in my Banyan tree. Justice. Equality. Community.

His tree had many roots, as well.

The prophet Isaiah. Abraham Lincoln. A dream of what hadn’t been yet but could be.

And his tree is growing still.

Bernie Sanders, perhaps.

We need all the dreamers we can get!

For today, though, I’m sitting with my tree and recalling a wise old friend named Puddleglum who had a pretty big dream of his own. Taking his leave from the Queen of the underworld to search for Narnia, along with his young friends, the Marsh-wiggle said this:

…All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think, but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say (C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair in The Chronicles of Narnia).

Many dreamers dreaming dreams. Justice. Equality. Community. Hope. Love.  All of them feeding the branches and leaves still to come.

I suspect Dr. King would approve. Our four-footed Luther does, too!

 

 

Danger!

I cut my left thumb last week.

It turns out that chopping kale stems can be dangerous.

I was instantly transformed from chef-y mode to nurse mode, grateful for the paper towels hanging just above the chopping block and the fact that Bill was actually home, slaving away in the basement.

Good news… a sharp chef’s knife and organic, washed kale stems.

Other news… lots of blood. About half an hour of pressure and elevation before I could even find out what, exactly, was cut.

Then some more good news… it was a good, clean, straight cut which would be easy to hold in place with some tension.

And the really good news… I could fix this, even one-handed. I wasn’t going to the ER anyway.

After a whole house search for bandage options, I washed it well, dried it all over again, and went to taping. (Bill peeled the Band-aids, which is hard with one hand.)

I won’t lie. It hurt.

The bigger issue was the need to keep it taped and dry for at least 48 hours.

Bill was despatched to the local purveyor of just about everything for more Band-aids and a box of disposable gloves.

The biggest challenge has been dog food of the raw meat variety.

Did I mention that it hurt?

Somewhere along the line I realized I might, just maybe, be over-protecting it a wee bit.

Rather like the time I was in fifth grade and tore all the ligaments and tendons in my ankle during gym class.

Back in those days, the casts were big and plaster and heavy. I learned to walk by swinging my foot out and around in a half circle to take a step.

It took about a month after the cast came off for me to find my regular gait again.

This time, it’s typing. Fortunately, my left thumb is one I can kind of do without but my whole rhythm is off-balance.

My hair is clean, though! In this moment, I’m choosing to celebrate that.

My thumb is clean and dry again.

I’m still not ready for chopping onions, but I am healing.

And reminded of a quote from The West Wing.

After Leo had his first heart attack, and was on the road to better, his nurse told him one day that, “Part of healing is going on.”

Wow, does that feel true!

Going on takes courage and some hope that what was once true will not always be so.

Sometimes it just takes Band-aids. Sometimes it takes some more help. Sometimes it takes a lot of help.

Clean and dry is generally good.

So is the (metaphorical?) wonder of clean hair!

For now, I’m going to be looking more closely at places where I might be being called to go on.

You could join me…

 

 

Frozen, inside and out!

It’s been an adventurous week in real food land!

First, there was the issue of a big chef’s knife, a handful of organic kale stems, and my left thumb. It wasn’t pretty!

Things are healing well, though the “keep it dry” bit is getting old. I’m grateful for my nurse years and a good, clean cut. Also, lots of Flexible Fabric Bandaids and Bill who ran to fetch them.

Then, just in case you wondered what local farmers are doing when it’s freezing cold in Georgia, ’tis the season for deliveries.

On Tuesday, we got a fabulous batch of dog food from our friend, Chad, as well as some gorgeous beef bones for the two-footed people.

Wednesday brought our long-awaited “pig parts” delivery from my buddy, Greg, along with a reminder that it’s not easy being a family farmer.

Weather issues and truck issues have postponed this delivery for a couple of weeks.

The delivery, itself, was a bit of a surprise! In fact, it was a reminder that being a serious local foodie isn’t always easy either.

(Vegan, vegetarian, and drive-up window friends may wish to skip down a bit. **)

My two favorite kinds of bone broth to make are chicken/turkey and pork. Really!

Chicken and turkey are fairly easy to procure. We roast chickens from our friends at Pine Street Market so often that we have a fairy endless supply of bones, along with great sources for pasture raised, heritage breed turkeys from Greg plus feet and necks from Greg, Chad and the big DeKalb farmers market. (Don’t knock the feet!)

Pork is a different issue. Humanely pasture raised hogs take longer to mature than the factory farmed, grain fed variety. They’re ready when they’re ready which, traditionally, is when it’s cold.

Finding humane USDA processors who will deal with small, family farmers is another challenge and some of them involve wandering a couple of states away and back in the middle of a snow storm.

We’ve been out of pork broth for a couple of months now, so I was ecstatic when my delivery arrived.

Until I saw it.

Let’s just say, for the sake of those who may be new to local food, that the processor apparently didn’t think I was serious when I asked him to split some large chunks in half.

**I did the only obvious thing and pulled on my oven mitts to rearrange a couple of freezers while I hatched up a plan.

I literally couldn’t have put a toothpick in either of my freezers which is both a challenge and, clearly, a blessing.

Several emails and phone calls later, I got the help I needed. Also lots of freezer paper and zippy bags! There are now manageable chunks in my freezer, as well as some more thawing in the fridge. Tomorrow is pork broth day.

In this moment, I am warmed, not only by anticipation of really good soup, but by a community of people who care about delicious, healthy, humane food that’s good for our environment, our economy, and our kids. And, if you’re looking for a place to get involved, bone broth is a great place to start!

Click here to find my e-book, Let’s Boil Bones… with recipes for most eating plans, and watch for the paperback, coming soon.

And put a few pots of herbs in a sunny window. Spring will come!

I owe you, Rusty!

 

 

 

 

 

2018 : My Year of Beginner’s Mind

Recently, some of my creative friends who hang out in the Planet SARK atmosphere got me thinking. What, they wondered, was my “word” for 2018?

If you’ve known me a while you won’t be too surprised to find out that my “word” is actually two words. But it’s only one idea so I decided it counts because it feels so true.

Beginner’s Mind. 

The first time I recall this notion knocking on my brain was at a Qigong retreat, five years or so ago. It was kind of a radical notion for me, that showing up not knowing could be a good thing.

I’ve done a lot of not knowing since then. Blogs, social media, electronic publishing, species appropriate food, and a rather more challenging than usual rescue dog.

My latest venture is, perhaps, the farthest afield for me.

I’m learning to paint! More specifically, I’m learning the process of intentional creativity which is both ancient and really new to me.

First, in case you’re new around here, let me be clear. I am not “the artistic” kid. A maternal pronouncement which I grew up believing must have been carved on the flip side of the 10 Commandments.

The process of following a call to actually pick up a paintbrush and create something more artistic than really great wood work was a huge deal for me. And it’s happening!

One of the things I’m working on at the moment is a Tree of Life painting. It’s all very primal and mythical in the most true kind of way.

Well, in theory. In actuality, it’s a couple of really rough sketches and several layers of background work.

But, I know where I’m going.

Sort of.

The first thing my tree decided, after the initial background layers, was that she prefered a landscape orientation to the portrait one that seemed more tree-like to me.

In the midst of not knowing, I went back to my source and watched the next video step of the process, even though I wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I learned a major miracle for fixing things that aren’t working! (Thank you, Shiloh Sophia McCloud!!!) It has a lot to do with using the negative space, which I wouldn’t have thought of but changes many things.

Then the dream arrived. An actual dream.

Tree of Life. Tree of Knowledge. Banyan trees. Many trunks and roots.

Philosophy. Quantum physics. Community. The things that connect us, one to the other.

A whole new world, rather like the one through the back of the wardrobe C. S. Lewis made famous.

And a realization. Not new, so much as deeper.

It’s all energy.

From the clean, sustainable broth simmering on my stove that warms me even hours before dinner will be ready, to the message of the Tree of Life, it’s all energy.

Energy which cannot be created or destroyed, but which can only be transformed.

Transformed, in our world, through intention.

Intention, I hope, in this New Year, for good.

Good for me and mine. Good for you and yours. Good for us, in the sense that there are no others.

Which sounds a lot like fixing things in the negative space!

And may be an even bigger story…