Thursday, April 28, 2016


We are in Cottonwood, Arizona for the first time in almost a year. When we left Taos it was snowing, by the time we reached Albuquerque the sun was shining and in Sedona, it had become summer. We were so overdue for our Cottonwood medicine that it seemed unreal, like finding oneself in heaven.  This is an alternate reality for us, one that we seem to need for balance. 

Here in Cottonwood, the leaves are full on the trees and only the aged mesquite on the other side of our friend Carol’s wall is still unleafed. Every year it waits till mid-May to come out, which is already summer here in central Arizona. I imagine spring will have sprung when we get back to Taos. Four days of rain alternating with snow left the earth well prepared for greening.  I think of my garden when I’m away.  The plants are always in my heart when I’m not at home. The outside of my home is possibly more important than the inside, even though there is not enough space for a significant vegetable garden.

We buy all of our food at the supermarket. That is far from the way I grew up. It is hard to believe that my reality has changed so drastically and I barely noticed it happening, always believing each change was temporary.  When I was young, meaning the time between three and twenty-nine, we always had a vegetable garden along with fruit trees and flowers. It was as normal as clothes in the closet. The home I shared with my parents was on almost half an acre of what was recently farmland.
PQ in Merlin's chair Sedona

The life of my childhood now seems from another era; surely more than one lifetime. However, I can still smell the damp earth; feel the harsh sun that made weeding torture and the soft joy of sitting under the apple tree with a book as I supervised the water flowing down each row of strawberries.  I almost remember the depth of the rows, spacing of the seeds and number of days in the earth each vegetable species needed to sprout. It is so ingrained that it only recently occurred to me that many people have no exposure to this life style.   

We lived on the edge of the city and our neighbors also had gardens. We had chickens early on, and some folks had rabbits. The people at the end of the block had several goats. My parents both had a rural beginning, thus gardens and chickens were expected, and four legged livestock was a recent memory. For a while, I had a pony and later a horse. I would come home from school and immediately go to my horse to ride for miles around the countryside. I couldn’t imagine a life worth living without some wildness to explore.  The availability of non-human creatures and plants saved my otherwise unhappy life.  I was completely miserable in both school and church, as well as with my dreary depressed parents, but I could put bad experiences aside when I was on a horse or even shoveling manure. Yes, that’s right, I would much rather shovel manure than be in school.  I know now that my school was the absolute bottom of the system and the teachers and administrators that couldn’t get into the good schools fell down the system’s laundry shoot into ours. It all seemed a completely futile use of precious time and to survive I learned not to feel anything. I am still peeling off layers of emotional armor. 

Cut into squares and chopped into bits and bytes, our lives are taken apart, analyzed, and redirected into commercial functions. To survive, we need to conceptualize differently, organically rather than mechanistically. The form of thought is not separate from the outcome it is the outcome. Science has taught us that we are mechanisms within a mechanistic system, and yet it is the other way around. Machines mimic the functions of nature. Do you really want to be a robot?

It is easy to see the absurdity of many social values but the engine of exploitation is running away with us and no one seems to know how to get off. The Apostle Paul said to the young apostle Timothy in 1, Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It was a problem 2000 years ago and now it dominates our relationship with our planet and its natural systems as well as our unnatural systems. Yet, it will end because we live in a limited space within the infinite, and if we develop the technology to move our insanity to Mars, it will be with the limited resources of Earth onto severely limited resources. Yet, there is a good side to limit. Nothing could exist without limits, you have to have a canvas of a certain size to paint a picture or there is no place to begin or end. 

Feeling is the key to meaning. Very simple, isn’t it? However, this is another reality hiding in plain sight.  Nothing is more organic than feeling and I’m naturally suspicious of the word “organic” being used to sell things that don’t feed the body with heart. All good things should taste good to the heart or they are false and are in danger of creating addiction rather than satisfaction. I believe that is why our relationship with our animals reaches into us so deeply. There is nothing false there and if there is, it comes from our side of the relationship.
Being a Tourist: Tlaquepaque this afternoon.

Guilt is no substitute for love. There are so many good causes out in the world. Usually they appeal to our outrage and guilt and in a smaller amount to compassion. The same is true of politics except that politics also feeds on fear. If humans were motivated from love and compassion, guilt and all forms of self-righteous anger would be obsolete. Surely, the release and cultivation of the heart chakra is the next stage of evolution. If we don’t get there we won’t survive.

 This mini-vacation in Cottonwood/Sedona certainly soothed our bodies and hearts. Not complicated just the joy of green leaves, red earth, lizards and birds. Intelligent feeling is what keeps life flowing. By feeling, I’m not thinking emotion but the ability to absorb and identify with the processes of life. The kind of thing a garden can teach us, if we want to know.