Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1891) ❤
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1891) ❤
The New York Times posted an interactive page for Pride Month, asking readers to self-identify with ten words or less. Many of the answers are quite clever, and the article does ask “What labels do you choose for yourself?” – for example:
I read several of the replies, most include some statement about being a member of the LGBTQ community (as I am), and some sort of interest-based tagline (‘cinephile’, ‘fitness-motivated’).
When I think about Pride Month and Identity, I do feel pride in my community. I’m however neither proud nor not-proud of my sexuality, my gender identity, etc. What I’m truly proud of, if anything, is the spiritual growth that has come from living authentically. I’m proud that I found the courage, that I didn’t allow others to define me. Everything else is window-dressing for the main event, living as the person you are, not the one society expects you to be.
I went back to the form and filled out my ten words or less, and I found just the right words to answer the question, ‘who am I?’.
Luna agrees. 😀 ❤
I sat in an avacado kitchen of decades past
A brilliant Pacific sunset framed behind her
Her aura angelic and pure, kindness and compassion
Hair silver, never seen in that kitchen
A wrong note in an otherwise perfect performance
‘Mom, you can’t be here,’ my dream self told her
“I know, Susan’, she replied. ‘Just know – you don’t have
to do anything about those people.’
Pausing in deep reflection on the many possibilities
Hidden in her words, unable to select one
I finally replied, ‘No, you’re right. I really don’t.’
‘I love you, Mom’
‘I love you, Susan.’
photos by Eliza ❤
Some will die in hot pursuit
And fiery auto crashes
Some will die in hot pursuit
While sifting through my ashes
Some will fall in love with life
And drink it from a fountain
That is pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the mountain
– Butthole Surfers, Pepper
I realized again this morning, while listening to that song, that’s me. I fell in love with life, I drink if from a fountain, pouring like an avalanche coming down a mountain. It shows in everything I do, in the boundless energy the universe provides me to live this one beautiful and precious life.
People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.
– Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul
Do you love life? I mean, do you really, really, really love life? Do you drink it from a fountain, like an avalanche pouring down a mountain?
Eliza and Luna, loving life ❤
Or, do you only love life when you get what you want from it? It’s relatively easy to say you love life, when you just got that promotion at work, or a new house or car, or someone loves you deeply. What if someone runs into that new car on the way home? What about when our many expectations are not being met? Can you still be happy and love life?
If the answer is ‘no’, then your love and happiness with life are conditional. More troubling, if you goal is to be happy, they’re conditional upon the actions of others and events pretty much completely outside of your control. Other people have a persistent habit of doing things that we don’t expect, and no matter how much we try to influence others (or even manipulate them, in the more extreme case). You cannot control what they will say or do.
Bayocean Spit in Tillamook, OR
If the answer is ‘yes’, then your happiness is unconditional. You don’t need others to meet your expectations to be happy. You don’t need reality to match your preconceptions to be happy. Choose to be happy. Choose unconditional happiness. Escape the tyranny of mind and its multitude of preferences, expectations, and choose to love your precious, beautiful life, dancing on the big blue ball, hurtling through space.
It’s your choice, no one else’s. Namaste, beautiful beings!
The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.
– Michael Singer
Luna totally gets this
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
– Mary Oliver
Luna approves of Dalles Mountain Ranch ❤
The Balsamroot and Lupine blooming together, so beautiful!
Kelley and I had the most beautiful, wonderful day walking on the big blue ball ❤ . Mt. Hood in the distance.
By the time I was ten years old, my parents fled the rapidly expanding suburbs of Beaverton, Oregon, moving to the remote hilly forests of Mason Hill, outside North Plains, Oregon. Our new family home sat on twenty-plus acres of forest, also abutting hundreds of acres of ‘Government Land’, a full section (640 acres) of forest managed by the BLM. The nearest store of any type was seven miles away, the West Union General Store. Our nearest neighbor was a working farm.Honestly, it was heaven.
I didn’t see it at ten, but it was the best place to grow up in. My Mom, seemingly always a step ahead of things, counteracted the impending boredom of her ex-burbian kids in various ways. In my case, she got me a perfect energetic match, an Australian Shepard and Border Collie mix puppy. I named my bundle of joy ‘Lucy’, the perfect bookend to our wandering orange tomcat, Charlie.Lucy at six years old in North Plains, OR ❤
I built a pen in my downstairs bedroom out of two-by-fours and plywood, put an old green wool blanket in it. I watched my new companion grow and grow, a bundle full of energy and love. For Lucy, everything was a game, every day a chance to roam and chase squirrels in the forest. We explored, she and I, for the joy of it, cementing my lifelong love of forests, nature, and dogs. She slept on my bed at night, chased me on my bike, and protected us from all enemies, real or imagined. She taught me unconditional love.
Lucy stayed with Mom when I went off to college, having tea parties with my younger sister, and being our loving family companion. Lucy gave me her best wiggle-butt dance when I came home to visit, my childhood companion overcome with joy just to be with me again.
How bout that 70’s kitchen?
My parents divorced, sold the house and land, shortly after I left. Lucy lived a long time, passing at eighteen years old after living her twilight years with my Mom, back in Rock Creek now, in front of a wood stove at night.
The last few years as hiking has consumed so much of my focus, passion, and time. I’ve hiked a lot with other people’s dogs. Tristan, Bernie, and Luc here at Cooper Spur trail belong to my friend Vicky, they are such beautiful trail companions. Vicky has six Aussies now, an astounding feat I still can’t quite wrap my head around. One is a heck of a lot of work, they’re so energetic, they need a lot of exercise.
Aussie Wrangling at Cooper Spur, 2017 ❤ ❤ ❤
Bernie is not impressed with my Down Dog, Mt Hood at Tilly Jane
The Aussie bug bit hard. I started ghosting Facebook groups about Aussies. I took every opportunity to walk or hike with them. One fateful November morning, Vicky pointed out puppies available in Oregon at Whiterose Farms.
Tristan and Luke almost posing with me
There were two puppies available, a tri-color and a blue merle female. I looked at the photos and my heart grew another half size. I fell face-first, head over heels in love at first sight with the blue merle.Their mom, Cinnamon Toast, and their dad, Titan of Eaglecrest, were two of the most striking Aussies I’d ever seen.
Whiterose Cinnamon Toast, Love personified (dog-fied?) ❤
Titan of Eaglecrest, I mean, just wow. Prettier than me.
My partner, Kelley, wasn’t yet totally on board with upending our lives with a puppy. There was persuasion. There may have been tears. In the end, we drove down to see her, on a gray November day.We never stood a chance. She was so adorable, so filled with life and love. I filled out some paperwork, and we went home to prepare for her.
We’d planned on two weeks between seeing her and picking her up, but heart throb cut that down to one week. We headed back South to pick up Miss Whiterose Astrid Luna (Luna), dog crate now at home in my VW SUV, with a little apprehension. Kelley had not raised a puppy before, and it had been awhile for me.
Toast knew what was up, and she seemed a little resigned as Luna said her goodbyes to Mom and sister, and the farm that she had know since late September as home.
‘Be good to my little girl, hooman.’So much love ❤
As I look today at how completely Luna is embedded in our lives, it’s hard to imagine it’s only been four months since she arrived. Luna has been to the Oregon Coast, Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Hebo near Tillamook, on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, she’s been to places I never saw as a kid. I’ve carried her on snowshoes for miles, my pack now has the permanent allure of dog treats, extra water, and dog food bowls.
Luna loves snow
On Lamberson Spur trail with Luna ❤
Luna at Six Months, ~40 lbs now. She grew so fast!
The memories keep flooding back, as Luna does something in the same way as Lucy, or takes up a guard stance against sudden noises, gives big wet sloppy kisses. She’s so expressive, so loving, and so energetic! She’s such a goofball, everything has game potential. I’m told that I have my Mom voice back, too, somewhat on vacation since my adult children moved away.
Now, in the morning, or coming home from work, there’s that ritual again. Lucy would hear the bus and run up through the woods to meet me on my walk home. As she closed the distance, she’d drop into the dance. As all available energy was focused in one place, her butt would wiggle back and forth, as she danced the dance of joy and love. We’d run together the mile or so back down into the forest to the house.
Today, I dance the Wigglebutt Dance again, my heart singing a duet of love and joy with my soul, a new song of unconditional love, with Luna. Somewhere, over the Rainbow Bridge, I like to think Lucy sits, smiling, waiting for us, to dance again. That will really be quite something, our Wigglebutt Redux, as we all run off into the Sunset, together again, butts wiggling in tune to the universe.
“Ri ruv, ru, Ruzan” ❤