Monday, May 25, 2015

The Oldest Trees



We went for a walk in Lacamas Lake Park today. The weekend had been warm but overcast, and I spent a lot of it dealing with a cold and resultant lack of sleep from having to prop up, but once outside and walking in forest and meadow, I perked up.

All the different shades of May green were there. Fir trees, alders, oak, holly, and a carpet of ferns, wild berries and wildflowers spilled at their feet; green lake water smooth as glass, interrupted by colorful canoes tracing delicate wake lines on its mirror. Happy families having picnics at the feet of the lake. Birds everywhere.

Up the hill, where the Camas lilies bloom, the lilies were forming seed pods amid the stony ground and the moss. Oaks in various states of disarray and snags stood boasting their age among the living trees.

Snags

Bounty in barrenness
In summer sun’s gold,
Crone trees with hollow hearts
Reach out, embrace, enfold.
Surrounded by the living green
Of tree and fern and moss,
They stand, their lives given to
The care of creatures lost.

Woodpeckers send messages
Tapping on their bones,
Squirrels store food and scold the jays
In autumn wind’s moans.
Harvest moon and starlight cold
The perfect light for owls
For whom the soft hollows are
Luxurious feasting halls.

The spring wind will sing through them
When forest flowers grow,
New life they will shelter
In the time of melting snow.
And after the winter fells them,
Or when fire leaves its trace,
The living earth will comfort them
In her loving green embrace.

© 2008 Darcy J. Scholts

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Insanely eclectic, or was that the other way around?

Let me throw something at all two of my readers just for fun. This week happens to include the Jewish festival of Purim. Purim is about celebrating Queen Esther, a Jewish woman who married the King of Persia. The short short version of her story follows: She was "in the closet" about her Jewishness until one of the princes in the king's court began to persecute her people and order them killed. She ended up revealing her ethnic/religious "otherness" and wound up turning the tables on the prince, by revealing his plots. The appealing theme is defense of an alternative ethnicity and religion from government (royal) persecution. Purim is partly about reversal of the normal scheme of things, and as I understand it (again a short simplistic version), part of its celebration is feasting, revelry and pranks including costumes and taking on the role of opposites. Intersect my occupation as a contract provider for a local government whose dysfunctional leadership blurred the lines between church and state by insisting on placing "In God We Trust" prominently on the back wall of the council chamber where government business is done and pretending it's because it's the U.S. motto rather than the overt Christian/JudeoChristian God's presence in what is supposed to be a secular milieu. Add my partly Jewish lineage and my freewheeling eclectic Paganism along with my Christian practice in a convoluted timeline. Stir and you get a crazed woman with an urge to come out as a Pagan in response to establishment imposition of religious overtones which deliberately do not recognize religious and spiritual diversity, as inspired by a Jewish heroine from the Old Testament. Notice that said crazed woman has a multitude of spiritual threads woven into her soul in much the same way as the cartoon character Linus from "Peanuts" who is able to recite Scripture at will in class (back in the 60s strips) and then happily evangelize the undoubtedly Pagan Great Pumpkin! Have I managed to confuse everyone yet? Happy Purim, all...!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's 7 pm, the office heating system has been off for a while, and whenever I stay this long to combat the paper overflow and to do lists, I remember reading about a telegraph operator stubbornly sticking to her post during the 1899 Johnstown flood as the water roared through... I know images you see and things you read about in childhood stick to you, but seriously? I read very odd things as a child!!!
Greetings from Elfstone Chestnut Pussycat, While the humans are busy fussing over my big brother Acorn and giving him treats and pets (and hauling him back and forth in that box thing... I can smell vet!!), I am plotting about what to do to get them to remember sweet innocent starving moi. Appearances can be deceptive you know. So I'm well...rather stout.... but I haven't eaten people food in THIRTY WHOLE SECONDS... Oh, the cruelty... On the other hand I just can't grab their attention if that means they'll haul ME to the vet. Oh no. Quick, think clouded mind thoughts at the humans: You will not take Elfstone to the vet. There is no vet. You will feed me and fuss over me and go nowhere with me except into the kitchen. Human One can stop being vegetarian, too, by the way. That Will Not Do. No bacon for me in months....and Human Two gives more treats to Acorn ...that chicken, for example... she must have given Acorn an entire extra sliver! And while I'm at it Human Two really needs to be home more.. She's gone all the time! I have no clue what "supporting you in the lifestyle to which you are accustomed" is all about. I did get a mental image from her addled brain when she got home the other night. It involved a flood of paper everywhere in a cold room. So much paper you couldn't see what it was set on, let alone seeing to the bottom of it... Humans have no idea that we can see their thoughts. We just don't always understand what the fuss is all about; humans are such limited creatures! It's dark now. I must think at Human Two and pull her homewards... Love and purrs, Elfstone Chestnut Pussycat On the Prowl

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Three roads

I got to thinking when a Facebook friend posted something about Glastonbury today. (Thinking on a weekend? A Dangerous Prospect, no?) And finally I think I have something to say on this blog, which has been struggling for lack of nurture and direction.

My Other Half of twenty years, who hails from England, and I went to England for my first ever adventure there last year. I had always felt there was something mythical about it, something otherworldly, and not having had the opportunity to travel there before made that feeling more intense. I recall thinking toward England, or possibly the mystical/magical part of England which exists partially in real time and space and partially...not. I was in "approach" mode in the lead up to the trip. Similar to approaching a throne, or a judge. Respectfully asking permission to enter in my thoughts.

Of course, even my thick-headed idealism is tempered with reality, so it wasn't all stars in my eyes. In fact, I was somewhat startled to find that when we headed for Glastonbury, a sacred place I had heard many things about years before, I was battening down to focus on the physical. It was beautiful; warm and sunny (we were told they hadn't had real summer for years and it was in the mid 80s F) and warm enough that it threw a lot of cool-weather Brits into a state of confusion.

The first day we were there, we sat in the outdoor part of a downtown restaurant, looking around, feeling the hardness of the chairs and listening to the clink of glasses and the conversation, looking up at blue sky and around at bricks and weathered windowpanes and aging side doors, and enjoying the flowers and trees in planters and along walls. To my surprise, one of the waitresses turned out to be from close to my hometown, and had also lived in the U.S. state I live in now. It got me thinking about how many people wind up going to places such as Glastonbury. It is a place for pilgrims, a magical place, with divine energy infused through it. So, why was I barricading? I who am in love with the divine energy which flows through places like this? It seemed to be a reaction that kicked in automatically, without my being able to first grasp why.

My home state and hometown proved to be the key. It is one of the oldest places in the United States, tri-cultural and in an intensely magical land, although its climate is completely different from Glastonbury's. Divine energy lives in and all around it. It is arid, high desert, surrounded by mountains which enthrone the Goddess. "The Land of Enchantment", they call it. Its wildlife, apple orchards and concentrated rainstorms are made more precious by the precarious hold they exert in the desert. Sky is everywhere. A deep Catholic spirituality infuses everything,even the mundane, or Protestant, or New Age, with even deeper Native spirituality as an underpinning. It may have been this energy, oddly enough, that opened me to the land of enchantment that is England. I have not yet been to Ireland but I have felt similar longings for it dating from Back Then.

But I knew fear there, back "home", an intense predatory and dark energy manifesting itself in all-too-routine ways: stalkers, criminals, users, and "ordinary" people. It's one big reason I don't call it home any more. Looking back, it could have been stirred up by all the energy of Light surrounding the place, if it is true that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Why would this principle of physics not apply to the spiritual?)

Being what some would call an "oversensitive" and socially inept teenager opened me to both aspects. I crossed a magical threshold with the energy of adolescence before I could figure out what it was. And in the mix, Tolkien happened along with my already entrenched habit of reading everything myth-and-folkore I could get my paws on, while I struggled with grownup debates over good and evil and their neverending battles. And there in a battered paperback, now falling apart but still with me, was Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories". Voila! Tolkien, a Catholic with pervasive Christian themes in his work in a Pagan environment, suddenly flings aside the dark/light polarity by citing the Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer as an alternative. He talks of the Road to Heaven, the Road to Hell....and the Road to Faerie. And it's pretty obvious what he is drawn to.

Anyway, back at the Glastonbury restaurant, I blurted out "this place vibes like home." And I remembered a visit by The Intrepid Other Half, a sensitive herself, where she got blasted by that creepy energy because it was lurking there and she hadn't seen it coming. So I became aware that this could be why I was partially shut down. It could have been that part of my higher self moving to protect me till I became more aware.

There have been some high profile or otherwise widely discussed strange events over the past year or so at Glastonbury which would make anyone pause. From the political to the criminal, from vandalism to theft to unexplained or illogical human choices, the shadow is showing.

Maybe the third road is the way through ....

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hello from the iPhone!

I have emerged from my silence long enough to figure out how to load Blogger onto my iPhone. This is great: now I can decide not to post via an additional gadget!  Ah, the virtues of chosen silence. This mind you is not a comment on anyone else's choice to blog.  I just don 't want to clutter the cyberastral with inane drivel...

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Eleventh Hour

Tangled, torn humans / in all these notes, I once wrote, haunted by deep grief and watching over the lives in the piles of paper in the silent office late at night. It was absence that drove me to write then, and which still does. My life calling cloaks my reaction to absence, and fills me with plenty to distract. I am trained to silence: do not break client confidences, never discuss things which would identify a person to the outside world, not even things which are known publicly. Twenty-five years and two generations of other people's burdens; I carry these like a pack animal, where no one else can. I see a second generation, juvenile offenders (or victims) whose parents I knew as juvenile clients.

Mostly, it is easy to keep quiet: sometimes people interested in a tale will ask, and sometimes I polish a funny anecdote and plop it cheerfully before them. But get into the reality of the struggles and heartbreak and yes, stupidity, of real people's real lives in my world, and the more usual reaction is flight. Before I am halfway through a story, they don't want to know. Sometimes it's because the empath in them wakes up, and they don't want that. Other people think "crime" and "child protection" and recoil from the concept of Dealing With Those People.

Herself, a compassionate woman who takes on a lot by virtue of being a school bus driver for special needs children (which can mean kids with autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and "behavior problems"), was channel surfing tonight, and after only a few minutes she shut off a program following the life of a Native American woman dealing with separation, family struggles with alcoholism,child custody issues and all the cultural baggage thrown at her by our world of privilege. She couldn't watch. Welcome to my world, I said. I carry the weight of what I blurted out was "six of these, every DAY." And I reach for more, in what is apparently a hope that my caring can accomplish SOMETHING to make their lives easier, but my little piece seems so insignificant compared to the overwhelming crush of everything these humans are dealing with -- some things like poverty, depression, family turmoil, that it seems nothing can fix.

Pushing paper? Being the pilot who helps navigate people through the treacherous and frightening waters of criminal and child abuse or neglect-related court? Damage control when I didn't cause the problems and there are so few resources to fix some of them?

I consider a client, barely fifteen, and pregnant. Mom's doubletalk on what to do keeps me up at night. Father a former juvenile client, in prison. I can tell these new children who their parent's juvenile probation officers were. New client has substance abuse and mental health issues, issues with abandonment, and got mixed up with what The System calls "Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking." So do we punish her for holding drugs some john gave her, because she cannot maintain in "the real world" and parents are unable or unwilling to get her long term care instead of being locked up? How long is long enough? Six weeks? Six months? How about the seventeen-year-old who shares a battered pair of $2 reading glasses with his mother every time they come to court, because they have no money to go to a doctor or to buy glasses? What do we do with the arrogant just-thirteen-year old who steals a credit card from Mom and won't go to school or respect her, whose dad trained him not to respect women? Or the mentally challenged teen who goes on a dramatic crime spree but can't read or understand how court works after he is arrested? How to cope with parents who spend months attacking each other(often with good reason) instead of working out a plan for their child? Or the kid who hits court as a teen, whose father you last saw in a casket after a suicide at the same age?

It is a darn good way to focus so much on other people's heartbreaks that my own seem insignificant by comparison. Grief? Just get too busy for it to catch me. Drown in coffee or too many nighttime snacks. Do laundry. Crack jokes. (How can I be a superhero if my cape and tights are at the bottom of the clothes hamper?) Let other people see this? Heavens, no. Why would they possibly be interested? Take it all to the Divine? Great idea. There's a thought. Just do it in secret, which was also drilled into me as a youngster in Sunday School. And wonder if it will be taken as "all very well but does that really DO anything to help? or just give the person with the spiritual practice the illusion of having Done Something so they can pat themselves on the back?"

I would hate to be God. It would be way too frustrating. I already want to Fix It All as it is. And I would want to share. Who does God share it all with? Who on earth or in the heavenly spheres could do all that listening?