Monday 18 July 2005 1:36 PM
Here are some more photos.
Friday 15 July 2005 9 PM
It’s so beautiful here. I keep saying to myself as I travel and spend time in these amazing forests and by lakes and rivers and mountains, I just want to BE these places, not be IN them.
My ashes can happily be scattered over this mountain by this lake.
This whole journey has been, in part, about mortality, mine and that of others. Life makes it impossible to avoid death, and so for me working through all these feelings about deaths of people and animals and places I love, and my own death whenever that happens, it’s all so woven through my experiences.
Friday 15 July 2005 8:32 PM
What a place. Lasky and I went for a walk, it was hot and sunny. We saw a large black bear, he was in our path so we just turned around and went back, no problem. Then it got cloudy and cold. I mean cold. I got out a hat and almost got out gloves, and ended up taking a nap under blankets.
An Indian family is down here at the campground. They came, made a fire and started fishing about 3 hours ago. No fish yet. Apparently, according to a guy I met who owns a lodge nearby, the water is 5 degrees colder than usual because of all the rain. One of the guys from the family next-door told me the lake is way high for this time of year. So, no fish so far. All that’s left fishing now are the Grandmother and one of the women, the others have packed it in.
Tomorrow we’ll head to the other campground on the lake, the one I originally intended to go to. We came to this one first last night so I stopped here but on the other side of the lake, further south, there is another campground. I think that’s closer to the Elder’s gathering too.
P.S. I received an email from a complete stranger in Edmonton who's been reading the blog, thanks for emailing!
Friday 15 July, 2005 12:06 PM
Today is the 30th anniversary of my father’s death.
We are at Chilko Lake in BC. If you go to a map of BC and find Kamloops, go west and north till you see Lake William, then follow Rt 20 to Tatla Lake and then head south and east a little and you’ll see Chilko Lake. It was a good 30 miles of gravel road through the bush to get here, but it is a Provincial Park. There are about 6 camping spots.
This place is so magnificent, words fail me, so see the photos.
Luckily I found a great high speed wifi spot in the town of 100 Mile House so I can upload this stuff pretty soon after I write this, when I am on my way back to the Slocan Valley area sometime around the 18th or 19th of July.
There is some magic at work here that is in process. I found this spot on the map a number of days ago when I was wondering where to go next. I was probably in Wells Gray. I saw this and it attracted me at once, but it really is WAY out there and I am concerned about gas money etc. so I put it in as a “maybe” thinking deep down, yes yes yes!
So I did end up choosing to comehere. I found the place where on the map there is a road that leads to Chilko Lake. I knew, somehow, that this wasn’t going to be so easy to find, that there was a key to opening this gate, and I figured it would be a person. So I asked some people that looked like locals at Bull Canyon Provincial Park if they knew how to get to Chilko Lake. The guy was unsrure, the woman said “Oh yeah keep going on 20 and you’ll see the signs.” So I did that...no signs. I told myself when I came to Redestone I would turn back and see what I may have missed, and as I approached Redstone I saw a guy hitchiking back the way I’d come from, an Indian guy. This is deep in Indian land now, on the Redstone Reserve. So I pulled over, cleared room on the front seat (moved the cat and a ton of stuff to the back) turned around and headed back, and picked the guy up. He opened the door and asked me where I was going and I said “Well maybe you can help me with that.” I explained where I wanted to go and he told me he’d tell me the way to get there. He was headed back to Lake William and I could drop him off when we came to my turn off.
Grant is his name. We talked and got around to why I am traveling, and our mutual work of caring for the earth. Grant was out mushroom picking making $6 per pound of morels. He told me I can meet him in a couple of days and do some picking if I want to make some money. I may do that. He is from here and has lived his whole life here. he told m e he didn’t know there were other people in other places who wanted to help the earth. So I told him about the Free Witch Camp, and he immediately said he wanted to go, he would bring moose and fish to share. He got back to giving me directions to Chilko Lake and he told me that the Elders are gathering near there this weekend, and that I should go there and say he sent me if I see their sign, he thinks it’s this weekend anyway. I told him maybe that explained why I felt drawn there, to be aroudn that energy. We had a nice connection. I dropped him off. He gavce me a phone number where I can reach him and left it that I may come in a couple of days to mushroom, or not. I also wroite down info for him about FWC, so hopefully he’ll come.
That all felt fortuitous, but the riddle wasnot fully solved yet, the lock only partially turned. I took the road he showed me and somehow ended up back on the highway...so i asked a guy running on the gravel road how to get to Chilko Lake and he told me a whole fifferent way, go back to the main road, go to tatla Lake, take this road, etc. and since I was starting to get low on gas I thought it best to follow this course of action so I did. At the gas station there were these kids playing outside as their Mom paid inside and one little boy around 8 or 9 saw Chloe in the window of the truck and said “Chloe.” I heard that and asked him, “Did you just call her Chloe?” and he said that “Yes, our cat at home looks just like that and her name is Chloe.” So I told him that this cat is named Chloe and he kind of tripped on that, then his Mom came out and heard the discussion and there was a moment, she and I had eye contact and the synchronicity of the moment was acknowledged from the other side of the gas pumps. It made me smile and really gave me a jolt. OK, this is definitely the right direction.
I drove and ddrove, and drove and drove, and drove, over gravel and dirt roads, having turned at Tatla Lake (where the highway had become a gravel road anyway by this point) aqnd I just kept going. I followed some roads which were visible on the map and whichh turne do ut toi be vaguely accurate! There was eventually signage pointing to Chilko Lake. That whole drive from the gas station to Chilko Lake was about 3 hours going 40 mph. There was another sign which I saw twice along the way. It was triangular, pointing, and had drawn on it it black and red was a face which could have been a fish or a bird...or both. This is the Elders sign! It pointed to Chilko Lake too. More driving, 15 km or so and I get to a crossroad...the Elder’s sign points to the left, tjhe sign to the park goes straight. What to do? Do I just drive in and say Grant sent me? Do I go to the park first and approach in a day or so and feel it out? I have to say I felt afraid. I didn’t want to barge into something I hadn’t been invited to. I definitely look like a white guy. I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I also felt invited by a number of signs over a period of time. I decided to go to the park, set up camp, have dinner, spend the night, and see what the morrow would bring. That brings us to here and now, sitting by this lake at the foot of a glacier and in a mountain bowl. Oh one mnore thing about last night. I let the critters out, set up the camper as usual, and Chloe disappears. She is not to be heard or seen. It was getting dark, so 11 or so, and I made dinner, but no Chloe. I went out and looked for her very quietly...it was an absolutely still and silent night, the other campers having retired and the lake still as can be, not an ounce of wind. No Chloe. So I went to bed. I lay there for a while missing the cat and working through her having been eaten if that was what it turned out to be. I know shewas beeing stalked by ther lynx in Slocan and I saw two hungry foxes yesterday driving out of Green Lake, so there are plenty of predators around. I saw two bald eagles yesterday.
OK so here we are, I slept late...the campground is all but deserted and it’s sunny and cool. Time to go out into this land and feel it, arrive, but must eat first. Enjoy the photos! The magic continues!
Tuesday 12 July 2005 12:03 PM
A rainy day. I’m relaxingin the camper which is comfy and dry. I’m watching a DVD even, “Little Big Man.” Great film. Very sad.
I am on this idyllic journey, in this very quiet peaceful place, processing my life, my personal grief, learning from people and mostly from places. And there is violence occurring now, as I write this and as you read it, in many parts of the world. Violence in the name of money and power, perpetrated by truly insane people, murder and mayhem. As Dustin Hoffman says in the movie, the world is just too ridiculous to live in.
So the task before me, before each of us and all of us in our own ways, is to proceed with participating in life, with contributing where and what one can, to do no harm or as little as possible, and to do all this knowing that the world is a mess, it's too big for any one of us to tackle alone, we will probably none of us live to make the degree of difference we mean to, nor see things change in the ways we would like as much as we'd want to. Terrible things will continue to happen sometimes close to home, and still we must find ways to go on.
Living on earth as a human is the same as having chronic pain. You have your good days and your not so good days, and your bad days. Sometimes you can tune out the pain, sometimes you can experience it without as much unpleasantness as others, but it's always there waiting for you and you have to find ways to make life good and meaningful in spite of the chronic pain, or it's not worth it. If you are a person with any awareness, you are aware of the suffering at the hands of humans which is happening daily around the globe. That is the chronic pain of which I speak now. We are all connected to it in many ways and it affects us all, all of the time, whether we're conscious of it or not. It is this awareness which, if acted upon, could transform life on earth. If fewer and fewer people found it acceptable that humans are doing all this violence, perhaps we'd find more and more ways to stop it?
Monday 11 July 2005 5:24 PM
Interesting day. Odd day. I slept till 9 or so in the morning, got out of Wells Gray around 10:30 and headed south to the town of Clearwater. Gassed up, did some internet (checked in on my class, paid a credit card so I could use it until my next pay check on the 21st), and decided to head towards the sunny patch in the sky which meant...go west! So I am now in Green Lake Provincial Park just south of Lone Butte, BC. I’m pretty much way out there in wild country, but you’d be amazed at the amount of logging one sees the results of; mountains that are in various stages of coming back from clearcutting, new clearcuts, and logging trucks carrying big trees. Logging is one of the main industries in these parts. They keep growing trees and harvesting trees and planting more trees, but they seem to monocrop often in the replanting, or at least that’s how a lot of these mountains look to me.
Anyway, why was the day interesting and odd? Because I had absolutely no idea which direction to go in. I considered staying in Wells Gray but we were running out of food. Once stocked up for the next few days worth (no fresh veggies, bummer, all California produce in the stores here near the farming belt of BC!) the options were of course endless. I considered going north to Jasper, but it felt like backtracking, back into the Rockies. I consiodered heading for the Pacific but that’s a very long way and gas is expensive, and my funds are dwindling. I found myself interested in a little lake town called Chilco Lake in Ts’yl-os Provincial Park. That also looked like a haul and very remote, but it called to me so I wanted to head in that direction, west into the sun. I found a little place on the way, Green Lake Provincial Park just south of Lone Butte, BC. And there really is one single lone Butte as you enter the town, not very tall, but it’s there.
We’re camped near Green Lake itself. It’s flatter here, more serene and less dramatic than the mountains where I’ve been. It feels kind of like a relief, or a sigh of relaxation.
As I drive I look around and ask myself, could I live here? What would it be like? What would I do? How much would it cost to buy something? Would any op fmy friends actually come in on it? It goes on like that over and over.
So now we are here. The camper is set up, the critters are situated, and I’ll make dinner soon. Today was the junkiest food day I’ve had in a while. All I had was a peach, an apple fritter, and a p b & j sandwich. Hmmm. I be needin’ some greens soon!
Thursday 7 July 2005 6:41 PM
I’m sitting in the camper as dinner cooks...pasta, what else?...in the parking lot at Nakusp Hot Springs. I spent the morning doing laundry and internet stuff and then headed for the hot springs. I’ve been in once...maybe another dip later on?
So here’s what I’m on about now. I’d like to be part of forming a group of people to buy some land in the Slocan Valley or surrounds. I’d like to get it paid for up front, no mortgages, so that it is legally owned outright. It looks to me like one should expect to pay anywhere from $2000 an acre to $10,000 an acre depending on location, services, existing structures, etc. So I open this search by pledging $15,000 Canadian towards the land purchase. I’d like to raise $150,000 Canadian. For Americans that means my initial $15K Canadian is equal to $12,000 US. Not bad eh? Anyone interested? Email me.
Understandably some people may be thinking...huh? Why would I buy land in British Columbia with Baruch? Well, it is amazingly gorgeous, and with some real work by a group of not too many it is quite feasible to get a small settlement going, combining year-round folks with seasonal folks, and get a nice little permaculture community established. Especially since there are like minded people around so there is room for cooperation. So, think about it, come visit me here this winter if I end up here this winter, which is as yet not 100% decided.
Here are some enticements. I’ve been eating local cherries for the last two weeks. Big, black, firm, juicy, local cherries. Not all organic, but still really good. Also apricots, nectarines, peaches, all local, all wonderful. There is a lot of good local food.
The sky is always amazing, day or night, rain or shine and I am sure snow as well. It’s dramatic, colorful, active and invigorating.
There is wildlife like you wouldn’t believe. Often, all over, many many kinds of animals.
Anyway, if you’re interested or even just curious, drop me a line.
P.S. I succesfully initiated and led a similar venture in Vermont 16 years ago, a group of friends creating a neighborhood. I see this as very different but, I know these things can work.
Tuesday 5 July 2005 2:53 PM
I’m preparing to leave Little Slocan in two days time. I’ve emptied the Yome, turned the camper back into out sleeping space, and reorganized the camper so it’ll feel a tad less cluttered; always seeing what item can be stored with something else to save on space. Tomorrow, with the help of J & L, I’ll put the camper back on the truck, take down the Yome and stow it, and be ready for an early start Thursday morning.
Once I realized it was time to go, everything started to feel like things were falling into place. I had a great time last night staying up with the moonless starry sky. Wow! That was affirming beyond description. Packing up today has felt great. I’m sure the rest willgo well, and we’ll get on the road and have three weeks more of glorious British Columbia before heading to Seattle to visit, and on to Oregon for camp.
I’m very seriously considering wintering here. I’m hoping that at least one, or even two or three, friends would come out for a visit at some point during the winter. That would be really great, hint hint friends. If I knew I was going to have a visitor or two it’d go a long way towards making the winter here more conceivable.
I’ve just fallen in love with the land so much here over the last nearly four weeks in Slocan. I think wintering here would force me to get stronger physically, certainly be peaceful and beautiful, and if the fuel situation can be handled right, if I’m warm and dry and can cook and relax, sounds like a nice way to spend a few months, eh? We’ll see how things pan out.
I was noticing, when I went to write this entry, that I have not updated my blog page for some time, so readers, when you get to this, will have a lot of new material which is all in my past now, and certainly by the time I get this entry posted.
Sunday 3 July 2005 6:26 PM
Funny how things happen. J and L just came to me and said “How about $200 to stay the rest of the month, no obligations (referring to work)?” and I said “Well you put a fire unde rme and now I feel like I’m ready to hit the road for a few weeks of travel before heading to Oregon, and I’d like to give you $100 because you need it, I have it, and I will have been here a month on Thursday.” So that is agreed upon. I will pack up this week and head out early Thursday morning, in time for dark moon in a new place.
Sunday 3 July 2005 12:57 PM
The possibility of me departing this property sooner than planned has arisen. My presence, and the way I’ve been conducting myself (relaxing a lot, not working a lot, lots of just being, reading, writing, etc.) is bringing up resentment for J here, who is doing hard physical work most days, preparing for winter, working on the place etc. I’m just up the hill here chillin’. So J came to me and explained that he’s having a hard time with this. I understand. They are invested here in a way that I am not, and they are acting accordingly, as am I, and it isn’t feeling good for him. They are under a certain amount of financial pressure, immigration pressure, etc.
We talked and I asked if there was anything I could do to make it work till the end of July. J and L will discuss this together and getback to me. I offered to pay some cash, or to take on a bit more work. I’d be fine with some kind of arrangement whereby they feel genuinely assisted by my presence. I also realize that J has to deal with his resentment issue. I’ve been in his position so I understand. My buttons didn’t get pushed. Jamie expressed concern about where would I go but I assured him that he didn’t need to takew that on, and that I would be fine, which is true.
I await further discussion. We left this on a very positive note. If it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I did a tarot reading which was very positive, very much continued embracing of change and movement and letting in all the love that is flowing in my direction. I also looked at the map and if I were to head out in 4 or 5 days, I’d have 3 weeks to do some more camping, probably north of Okanagan, and then head to Seattle. I’d go ahead and buy tires now, and then head out for some more remote provincial park areas.
Now, all this having been said, J and I continued to discuss their offer for me to stay here over the winter. I have been looking into places to winter and have received some generous invitations. Three months on the road, spring and into summer; now we will see what time and change, and my mind and heart, choose as the direction for the autumn and winter seasons.
Motivated by the possibility of moving on, and the excitement of that, I took a few photos.
Tuesday 28 June 2005 1:59 PM
I’m in the middle of a wave of grief. It’s washing through me, over me, carrying me. It’s inexorable. I have no choice but to experience it. This isn’t a new experience for me, but it is the first time I’ve felt this way and been homeless. I don’t feel HOMELESS but I do feel the lack of place to hang my hat, no conditions, and a circle of friends nearby. I sure took those things for granted in Vermont. The unconditional home, well the bank held the paper on the house so it wasn’t really unconditional, but there was no one living there whose temper or concepts dictated any part of my life. Well there were roomates. OK OK so I’m just grieving for something I never really had. I’m sure I’ve done that before! It’s good to still be able to laugh at myself.
So my thoughts have turned greatly to...where will I go for the winter?? I have a potential offer here but I think I’d regret the solitude and harsh winter conditions. I emailed a bunch of west coast friends seeking their thoughts, ideas, connections. As much as I’d prefer to be out of the US, maybe that’s just not meant to be? Or maybe Mexico would be a good place? I’m sure I’ll find out. Right now though, not knowing (not my favorite position) is just something to be with.
I spent the last two days reading, sleeping, dreaming, feeling. The dreams were strong. Of all the work I’ve done, radio really calls out to me the most right now. Time to make a Z Files podcast I think! I would like to be working at a small radio station again. So, anyone with contacts...give me a holler!
Sunday 26 June 2005 10:38 AM
I’m feeling more settled here. Now, outside the yome, there is a fire pit. I spend evenings around the fire listening, thinking, feeling, watching the sky. I regularly hear the snort of deer close by in the woods. No close bear encounters...yet? I’d gladly forego such an experience.
The camper is on pallets so it’s safe to use it off truck. I finally hooked up the water tank in there, so there is a small working sink with a simple grey water system under the sink outlet; a plasticv container filled with wood chips, tilted at an angle to allow treated water to overflow when the thing becomes full. L also suggested adding another plastic container under this one, also with wood chips, to give the water one more bit of “treatment” before it’s released into the ground. I learned to make grey water system at EAT but didn’t think too much about it after that. Now I see how simple this is, it seems silly to NOT do it.
The fire in the evening is important to me. Not only for warmth (evenings have been cool lately) and as a bug repellent (barely, the bugs here are tenacious!) but as a focus for magical perception. being around a fire, feeding it, stirring it, creates space for my psychic witch sense. It’s a great way to let out and listen to other personae. Sometimes the mutterings of one’s own various selves hold clarity and truth. Try it. be sure you have privacy or very accepting people around, because this kind of exploration can sound and look more than a little nuts, but it's great to listen to the inner dialogue "made real." I find that it helps me to listen more clearly to what is outside of me.
Today it’s bright and sunny with nary a cloud in the sky. It’ll be hot. Maybe big rain will come, although it doesn’t feel that way to me right now.
I’ve been gradually venturing out, doing things like going to town. I usually meet people when I go places. I’d like to meet some more people for actual hanging out. It’s a very raw life here in some ways so people are pretty busy with their projects, but people seem to be into country community, farmer’s markets, etc. There's a lot of music around, especially in Nelson. I'll be heading out to some of that sometime soon.
One thing I continue to notice is how people will talk about the way the USA is running Canada and taking natural resources, but there is not much visible resistance to it. I am thinking that may change soon as the USA becomes more aggressive towards Canada. In Alberta people have supported the Conservatives who are in total cahoots with the USA. Now that the USA is putting the screws to Albertan business i.e. the BSE scam the FDA is running on the Alberta cattle industry, people are starting to think twice. In BC, with it's Liberal government, there is a huge amount of lumber being logged and shipped to the USA. There is abundant hydro-electric power here but they sell a lot of it to the USA and then buy coal generated electricity from Alberta. How nuts is that? From what I can tell, in Canada, the NDP is the party to support. They seem to have a more realistic environmental perspective and their ecocomic ideas would do some good in terms of restoring Canadian sovereignty which has been usurped by the USA.
Friday 24 June, 2005 12:39 PM
I received an email from a friend who just retired from the federal government in DC after many years. This person said that the repeal of the 22nd Amendment is a quid pro quo, which would allow the Democrats to run Clinton. The other side is that the Republicans would be allowed to run Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since the elections are currently being rigged in favor of the Republicans, this is a terrible deal for the Democrats to make, besides the fact that it has no integrity whatsoever. How corrupt American politics is.
Tuesday 21 June, 2005 12:36 PM
It’s the second hot sunny day in a row, completely glorious. I did some weeding in the garden, finished a great book, and have been just taking it easy. The book is “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” by Kent Nerburn. I highly reccomend it. This book speaks very much to something I’ve touched on in this blog but which has been with me for this whole trip across this Canada. The native people, the ones the whites have been exterminating for 500 years, are the ones whose relationship with this earth is the solution to “the problem” of the insanity that now rules the world. I am not talking about people adopting so-called Native Spirituality, I’m talking about people connecting with the land where they are, learning to perceive her aliveness, to acknowledge it, to care about it, to act accordingly. Anyway, read the book!
Yesterday I went to Nelson for the second time, by myself this time. I did all my errands, checked out the town some, had a few little conversations including one with a hitchiker on the way to town. Young guy, mid 20’s maybe, a nonemployment person who seems tolive on following his senses. He's lived here for 20 years. He was a great person to ask questions about the politics, communities, etc. He told me some local folklore about the magic og the valley which resonated with me 100%. I definitely want to live a bunch of life around here. So, friends, come visit BC and consider moving here. We could add a nice flavor to the area, and maybe live peacefully in the ways that will allow us to sustain life. There are parcels of land, and houses in the small towns, which can be "bought," you know how that whole concept is...but it's there and going fast. Anyone want to go in on a homestead with me?
Things feel more relaxed here at the homestead too. The day after I arrived the caretaker of the property, who is in very poor health, dropped a tree on the brand new garden fence, which put J and the caretaker into 9 days of tense standoff. That’s some of the tension that I was picking up on which made me feel less comfortable here. That issue, the tree in the garden, has evolved and there has been rapprochement, so things are much more chill.
I am definitely considering the idea of wintering here while J & L return to the US for 4 or 5 months. It’s feasible logistically, and would be really nice. We’re all thinking about how that could work and will discuss it at some point. I know if I do spend the winter here I’d sure love visits from friends, hint hint.
It’s dramatic, the switch from heavy fog and constant rain to this hot drying air and cloudless blue sky.
Happy Solstice! May these days of balance at the top of the year teach and heal and bring us into more balance with each other and with all of life.
Monday, 20 June 2005 1:31:13 PM
As many of us have predicted, the Republicans in the US have moved to repeal the 22nd Ammendment to the Constitution. That’s the law that limits presidents to two terms. They want to continue to appoint Bush, a man who has never been legitimately elected to the office and whose dishonesty, greed, and bloodthirstiness are unprececdented in an American President.
Do what you can to defeat this move by the Republicans, and to expose the fascism of the USA. Speak out. Talk about it with your friends, family, and co-workers. Don’t allow yourself to be complaisant. The stakes are too high.
Saturday 18 June, 2005
It’s a lovely grey rainy day here in Slocan Valley, BC. I’ve been here for 9 days and it’s rained for 6 of them. I’m beginning to think...hmm, maybe I need to be somewhere sunnier!
I finally moved into the Yome yesterday. There is no sense waiting for things to dry out here so...while it was a little damp I slept well eventually. I like the Yome, I just haven’t found the right situation yet so it hasn’t become really home yet.
My desire to not be in the US is strong, and yet, I don’t know where I’m going to live. I can only do this “on the road” thing for so long. I like it but...there’s a but, you know? Mexico is sunny and the Yome would do great on a platform of some sort there. If there were a little eco-village to go to where I could set up, have some space, and my friends were around, that’d be great.
Today is the first day of the trip that I’m really feeling a desire to be at home. I think no sunshine is affecting me, and I’m in someone else’s home who, I come to learn, isn’t really looking to create community, which is what I thought was going on here. J & L’s vision is fairly undeveloped, and while it was put out to me as permaculture community, it’s clear that J wants to be here with L and be left alone. That’s cool, and it’s different from what I thought was happening here. I plan to stay here through June, see how July shapes up in terms of the rainy season ending, and either stick around for some sun or head out to...somewhere else. Ahhh, the rain has stopped for the moment.
Thursday 16 June 10:53 AM
It’s a week since I came here. In that time I’ve worked with J & L bringing in firewood, did some repair on a garden fence which had a tree dropped on it, hiked up the land once in the rain to see the two creeks, and been living with these two other people; meals, going to town, working, all together. It’s been a while since I lived with people in this kind of a set-up. I like it. I am happier now too that the yome is up and I’ll be in there soon. I’ve also taken the camper off the truck so that living space is now it’s own separate place, up next to the bus. There’s a bus here which has been converted into a really neat living space, complete with wooden interior, nice windows etc., and a funky added on front space. The whole thing needs work. It’s not livable right now but close to it.
Today is the second sunny day in a row! The yome is up and in process...putting it on a pallet platform, which will make it a dryer place to be, something I have learned is veryimportant here.
Last night I dreamt thet I saw a bright flash in the sky and knew that San Francisco had just gone up in a nuclear explosion. Then I was there...or near there, finding people, finding a safe place to be, knowing that we were all dying. Then, in the dream, I dreamt that I saw the place of the dead, and who should I see there but Greg Packan, his body all straightened out, looking as happy as can be. He was in a red convertible Mustang, sitting on the rolled back roof, feet in the back seat. I looked for Madelin but woke up back in SF before I could find her, but I knew she was there. Back in SF I knew somehow that I needed all my magical tools as I proceeded into whatever was coming next. Then I woke up.
To all my friends in the US who are looking for a beautiful place to be where you can live simply and honor life, this area of BC is definitely such a place. It’s not an easy place. There are a lot of places where you won’t have electricity or telephone, nor cable TV...but honestly, I find that life is better without all that stuff. Instead of going to the office to earn money to buy wood, we cut the wood. Instead of going to work to buy telecommunications products, we do Internet in town 2 or 3 times a week, cell phone calls when in town (Slocan, a 20 minute drive, 1000 people), and one can watch a DVD or video on either the generator powered TV in the house or the solar powered computer I’m working on right now.
There is a garden. L planted it and made the plant choices. I’d like to make a few additions, we’re all still feeling out how this third person contributes, but I’d like to get some bush beans going and some rabini, and possibly some garlic. Everything is permaculture; sheet mulched garden, simple wood chip and gravel grey-water systems, outhouses which will become composters eventually I imagine, lots of reuse of items in nifty ways. Next year there will be a chicken house with chickens, the roof of which will be shingled with cut open and flattened out aseptic liquid containers, J’s idea.
BC has a lot of water and the US is already siphoning it off to feed LA and such places. There is activism here, and if I end up spending more time here I’d like to learn more about that. It seems to be one of many important places for Canada to stand up to the US.
The Canadian paper this Monday had a story that Canadians find Bush as scary and dangerous as Bin Laden. I wonder if that made it into any US papers? People here regard Bush as an illegal tyrant. It’s pretty straight up based on the people I’ve met anyway. Apparently there is a very small border crossing not too far from here, due south of course, but east a ways of the bigger border crossings. The US has built a four lane highway right up to the border there. It’s a one lane highway on the Canadian side. Hmm, what might that big ass highway be intended for? Moving large amounts of vehicles, machines, people...you get the picture.
Sunday 12 June 11:09 AM
It’s been a rainy morning. So far mornings have been clear with rainy afternoons, so we thought we’d get up early and work in the sun till the rains came. Hah! The joke’s on us. It’s been raining all morning. Maybe it’ll clear up for the afternoon? I’d like to get the yome up soon.
This place is so beautiful. It’s green and lush. There’s lots of life; bears, cougar, lynx, birds, moose, deer, tons of green life including tons of medicine and wild food. L & J have been learning the plants, including mushrooms. There’s a morel patch to investigate at some point.
I feel good on this land. The feeling reminds me of when I fell in love with Vermont. This place is so far from human stuff. No power lines or phones. No phone signal even. One rarely hears vehicles, and then usually it’s logging trucks (not on weekends!) at a distance.
Clearly there is a lot to do here in terms of creating sustainable habitat for humans. This goes way beyond growing and preserving food. Luckily there is abundant water, but staying warm is an issue, especially in winter but also in summer. We’ve had fires in the woodstove since I’ve been here to dry off from being soaked in the rain. That happened twice on Friday.
I’m up to the work of this place, I think. I haven’t done much yet since it’s been raining so much but there is work to do in the garden, wood to get in, the yome to set up and make home in. There are also projects like fixing the water reservoir, getting the food preservation trip going once there is food to preserve, widening the road in one section right near where I am currently living in the camper, and the list goes on I’m sure. I don’t know the place, and haven’t been part of visioning what’s going to happen here so I’m just stepping into something that’s in process, L & J’s process so far. So far we’ve agreed that I can stay for an unspecified “while.” We’ve been discussing the possibility of me wintering here while they are in CA working, finishing up their residency stuff for Canada. That’s very a attractive idea as long as certain details are worked out like, enough wood, food stores, etc. This would be a 3 to 5 month period, mid October to mid February or March. I’d especially like it if I could have a visitor or two during that period, hint hint to my friends.
There are many aspects of this place that remind me of what I was trying to do in Vermont, but was not succesful at. Gardens, places for people to build little living spaces, a greenhouse (and they have a second one which has not been put up yet), lots of wood that’s already down to cut up and use, and trees which need to come down and will provide more fuel. There is also the drama of the land; mountains, cliffs, creeks, a glacier one can see from here, and so on. It’s really fabulous here.
So, the future is not clear but there are glimpses of possibilities showing themselves, which is very exciting. I would like to find a good chiropractor nearby.
Friday 10 June 2005 8:15 AM
This place is amazing. I arrived yesterday afternoon, easy to find after asking directions in Slocan. Slocan’s a small town, pretty sweet, and everyone knows where everyone lives so it was easy to get directions to this land.
135 acres of beauty in the Kootenay’s. Water, lush woods, birds, clear areas, and the friends have fixed up the octagonal “shed” to live in until they build their cob house.
Driving south to Slocan yesterday I was falling in love with the area. Incredible views of glaciers, lakes, rivers, very reminiscent of Vermont actually only bigger. It’s like at the end of the Narnia books when they go “further in” and everything is just what they were used to in life only bigger and more real. That’s how it feels here.
J and L, who live here, were sweetly welcoming. We walked and talked for a while. They showed me a good place for the yome, hopefully to be put up today after cutting the grass on the site. There is so much here I won’t even try to write about it yet since I just got here and have much to learn of the place, but suffice to say...WOW!
We made dinner together and talked some more, shared some fantasies of community. They have already done so much work here cleaning up messes left by the former occupants, I am impressed.
I can definitely imagine being here for a while. J and L have a really good sense of what they’re doing, and are relaxing into being out of the US as I am. I think they’re visions of community and workshops and all kinds of good stuff can really happen here.
I’ll take some photos and post them sometime in the next week. Internet access is available on three different days in Slocan for 2 hours at a time, next window is tomorrow.
Thursday 9 June 2005 11:21 AM
Laundry day in Nakusp. I’m sitting outside the laundromat/gas station/car wash/convenience store here in downtown Nakusp. There’s not a lot visible but the bulletin board inside has ads for potters, dog trainers, cabins for rent, wood for sale, etc. just like any little town.
The clouds are hovering around peaks and moving through the valleys. It’s bright but cloudy, not raining today.
Everytime I come out of a mountain place and see the human-constructed places I find myself a little tenser, I don’t like it. I don’t want to be a total hermit, I like being with people especially when we can connect in some real way, but the human settlements are so ugly most of the time. I’m sure that’s a theme throughout this blog.
Or is it just me? Am I just such an intolerant sonofabitch that anything which doesn’t meet my standards or criteria is subject to my dislike? I believe I’ve become less extreme in this way as I’ve gotten older and had more experiences, but that is still part of my personality for sure.
Today we’ll go through Slocan where our friends are. I received a phone message from them yesterday inviting me to show up any time, directions to be emailed on Saturday. Well, that’s the day after tomorrow. I may bop around ‘till then, visit some more hot springs, and/or look for them around Slocan.
Wednesday 8 June 2005 5:43 PM
Lasky and I hiked up to the source of the hot spring this morning. Through rainforest, past the waterfall, surrounded by lush wet life, we found the ruins of the old pools and the place where the water comes out of the ground. There is a pipe there to capture much of the water but the natural spring has been left so you can see the hot sulphuric water pouring out of the hill. This water which has come from deep inside the earth where it hit a vein of heat form the core of the planet. The water is vaporized into steam, creating enough pressure to force the vapors up through cracks in the body of the earth, up through this mountain, vapor cooling as it goes, eventually condensing back to liquid, still driven to the surface where the pressure is released, hot water emerging from the ground. There’re some interesting algaes in the hot pool...and I do mean HOT. Too hot to put your hand in.
I’m reading, for the second time, Starhawk's most recent book “Earth Path.” The first time I just read it through but now I’ve been working with it, going for walks or hikes or sitting quietly contemplating the material. If you’re looking for something to assist you in experiencing Gaia as a unified whole life form, read this book. I have been, especially, finding new larger awareness of water and air. My experience of sensing the elements continues to change, deepen, become more visceral and less intellectual, as I visit these wonderfully alive places. For instance yesterday (which seems like weeks ago) when we crossed the Columbia River, I brought my awareness to the water in my body, and felt it floating on the water of the river. That’s a very different feeling from the way I experience awareness of the water in my body when I’m soaking in the sulphurous hot water. These are the kinds of things worth experiencing, but not easy to write about. I think sometimes there are things to be felt, not talked about.
Something to talk about...I need tires! The truck, more of a goat than a mare, came with four tires that had 20k,000 miles on them. I’ve put another 8k on, so I think we have a few months to go at best. I figure it’s going to cost around $225 a tire. That’s nearly a two-week paycheck for my work teaching online. Ouch. Anyone interested in helping with the tire fund, email me. I hope to make a purchase at Canadian Tire sometime in July.
In case anyone’s wondering how I’m managing financially, so far so good. I am paid every other week for teaching online, coming to around $550 US to “take home” each month. I started with $3000 in savings and am down to $1000. Most of that money has been spent on gasoline. When I’m not driving I spend less. The week I spent in Golden, not buying gas, I spent around $90 on food, $15 or so on internet access, and that’s it. So when I’m not on the move, I can live on what I’m earning. I guess I’ll have to stop driving soon or find a way to bring in more money. Hmmm.
Dinner time. Lasky is barking at me from the ground in front of the door to the camper.
Tomorrow we head out. I heard from the friends near Nelson. I'll either head there or visit some more hot springs.
Tuesday 7 June 2005 7:02 PM
Hot springs number two, Nakusp Hot Springs, a dozen or so km into the mountain from the main road. We’re parked in a camping lot next to a river which is just rushing and as loud as can be. It’s great. The hot springs are sulphur, not chlorine. Instead of the 70’s soft rock music at Canyon, we have zenlike flute music. There are hummingbird feeders which are very active. The fog is about 50 feet above us as we sit in the pool. It’s very nice. I’ve been in once, and will go in again before sleep tonight.
This place is thanks to speaking briefly with an older guy at Canyon in the lockeroom. I asked if he knew where the original hot spring was and he told me about Nakusp which, it turns out, is on my way. Nice drive down the Columbia River, and a ferry ride across - no fee - and to here. Tomorrow I will hike in and see the old hot spring.
The forests here are so lush and green, and yet knowing that water is being sucked out of BC and sent to the US for western cities is really appalling. I had a great breakfast in Revelstoke. The woman who was in the dining room of the hotel was very welcoming. The dining room was empty. I just needed eggs and the other two places I’d been had said no breakfast after 11, it was 11:02. So this woman looks like my great grandmather Yanka. She sets me up with coffee and food and we talk. We covered a lot of ground. She’s a very interesting person. Anyhow she and another guy at another table (who wants to buy one of her houses) and I are talkingn and when we got to the part abpout the water being shipped to the US they had not heard that before. I’m glad to say they were both concerned to hear about it. I need to learn more about it myself.
So the forests are so lush and green and I sure hope they are allowed to stay that way.
I saw a baby bear roadkill on the side of the road today. From the size of it, it had to be a few weeks old. That was sad. I did my thing I do with roadkill where I find their spirit if it’s still around and nudge it off to play with the others. Sometimes they’re still there, like today, all confused. The baby bear was crying for it’s mother so I sent it off to the mothers. An interesting woman taught me about roadkill spirits. That’s another story.
Monday 6 June 2005 5:12 PM Pacific Time
Today has been very rainy. It started early in the morning, when the light was starting around 3 or so (yup, dark by 11:30, light by 3:30, and we’re not even that far north!) and continued even as we drove west, stopping around the time we got here to the hot springs place. I was watching the mountains enshrouded in clouds as we drove through Glacier National Park, the clouds showing the air currents in their movement. Yesterday down in the valley by the creek I watched a cloud in the sunlight some distance north of me as it dropped rain over the mountainside there, the sunlight shining through, as if the cloud was purposely dropping a load of rain in an agreed upon spot, and then recapturing some of the moisture through evaporation as the cloud moved on into the next valley. The cloud performed it’s ancient task with such grace.
We crossed into the Pacific time zone today. We’re near Revelstoke, BC at Canyon Hot Springs. It’s a place of contradictions. The foggy mountains, with snowy valleys, are beautiful to see and to watch from the pool. The hot water is wonderful to soak in. It comes out of the ground heated by a geothermal vent somewhere nearby. It is then chlorinated and shunted into a halfsize pool, with a full sized pool nearby combining hot and cold water for a cooler experience. There is a campground here, in the mountains, beautiful forest, but the highway is audible and nonstop, with occasional trains, and most of the campers here are large RVs. So, while I have been in the pool twice and will go again before we head out, I think by tomorrow I will have had enough of the human aspects of this place.
Being in the pool with 10 or so other people, mostly middle aged or older, is interesting. People stick to their friends or whoever they came with. I smiled at some people and laughed with them a little, but not much came of it. I sense my own and other people’s body consciousness, being in bathing suits in a small pool with people one doesn’t know, most of us not young beautiful things as the culture tells us we should be. I’m feeling pretty good about my own body right now. I hurt a lot less. I’m stronger from the various walks and carrying of stuff I’ve been doing. I don’t get out of breath on hills like I was doing a few months ago. My legs don’t go into spasm either, as they did staying at Todd’s in East Fairfield and walking up a hill there. I've also lost some of the winter weight which I gain in Vermont every year. That all feels good, and the hot soak gave me an opportunity to really work with my spine some, get things loosened up and feeling better.
I haven’t heard from the folks near Nelson yet so I am going to take my time getting there, though really it’s a day’s drive if that.
I did a dark moon ritual last evening...although it was light until 11, it was evening. I cut hair, to let go of the past and as an offering for the earth in that place, in the creek actually. I planted seeds of community, gardening, low-key living with other pagans or permies or just generally sympatico folks. So mote it be.
Saturday 4 June 2005 8:15 PM
I spent some of today cleaning out the truck, reorganizing the camper, emptying out and disassembling the yome. I didn’t finish that last bit. Tomorrow I’ll take down the frame and roof, but everything else is now stowed in the truck.
I saw that the camper has slid to one side of the bed of the truck. It’s only about 4 inches but I want to get it centered before heading out. It can’t be good for the truck to carry a lopsided load. So tomorrow I will park on an angle and see if I can move the camper over some, finish taking the yome down, pack up and be ready to go. Monday I have an oil change scheduled in Golden, and we can head out after that,or spend onemore night here. I’ll play it by ear. Monday night is darkmoon. I’d like to do some dark moon work so it might be good to do that here...or on my way. I’ll know.
I’ve found myself engaged in dialogue about my choice not to stay here longer. I just feel it’s not the right place for me to be, but can’t really say why. Then the helicopters go over (3 or 4 times a day, low) or the big trucks go by on the road and I think...this isn’t the quiet place I was hoping for. Soo I do feel affirmed in moving on but it’s odd. It does highlight my situation of having no actual home base, which has it’s uncomfortable aspects.
It sure is beautiful here. Lasky and I walked down the creek into this huge valley. It’s high desert except it’s forested and there’s water, but it feels so much like the desert to me in other ways. And the huge mountains with their snowy valleys and cloudy peaks are powerful and offer great strength.
I’m hoping that my next stop feels like a good place to be for at least a few weeks. It’d be great to be on land with people, working, chillin’, enjoying the summer.
Friday 3 June 2005 10:49 AM
Driving into Golden to post these logs, send email, etc. coming from the beauty of the woods and mountains, and seeing the uglyness of the fast food motel gasoline purveying strip, it’s a shock to the senses. It’s really ugly. You could have all the same businesses there and have it be part of the environment instead of plastic glaring colors. It’s so disappointing. We’re really mucking it up.
On another note, I think I won’t stay here as long as planned. I’m wanting to be with people, to feel welcomed, to enjoy more feeling of tribe. I’m by myself here, and the guy whose land I am camping on was willing to have me there but indicated no interest in connecting if he comes up, so it isn’t as welcoming a space as I’ve encountered elsewhere. it doesn’t feel quite right. So, I am checking with people I knoiw elsewhere in B.C. to see if I can move up my visit to sooner than July.
P.S. I am breaking in my very comfortable custom made hiking boots by Charles Van Gorkom. Check him out at his web site.
Thursday 2 June 2005 3:45 PM
The forest has told me, every forest needs it’s heart to be left alone, it’s heart and it’s surrounds. There should be a place in every forest where no humans go ever. Let the humans harvest and manage the outer half, but let the inner half, the core, be left alone. In return we get all we cna take from the outer half, if managed correctly, and the forest will be our ally. The part of each of us that is a forest would then make us more whole as humans. I get it like never before. If we protect the forests the forests will, in turn, protect us. If we don’t protect the forests, we are doomed.
See Blog Pix III
Monday 30 May, 2005 4:05 PM
Today has been spent finishing the Yome. (Check blog pix for photos)
We arrived in Golden, B.C. yesterday around 4:30 in the afternoon. We’re staying on land about 20 miles from Golden, “owned” by a cousin-in-law. He has built a couple of cabins on 80 acres. I’ve set up camp in the bush about 300 yards from his cabin, and about 500 yards from the road. The cabin is northwest of the yome, and the road is south east of the yome. That should give you some idea of how I’m situated. Also, there is a beautiful creek running between the cabin and where I’m camped.
We were shown the way here by a friend of cuz-in-law’s who met me in Golden and drove out here with me following. He showed me where I was to camp and headed to work. I was more than a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to carry everything into the site in the bush, but I figured it out and all went smoothly. I dropped the yome materials off at the side of the road, down in the ditch a bit, then borrowed a wheelbarrow from the shed here and hand trucked stuff from the roadside to the yome site. Yome materials includes 30 wooden pieces which form the structure of the yome, the roof, side, all the floor stuff I had in a sack (blankets, groundcloth, etc), tools. I got all that in to the site. I then made a ceremony, offering smoke to the directions and setting intentions for being in that place.
I spent the next 3 hours or so assembling the yome frame with roof. I wanted to get that much done before calling it a day, so that the next morning I’d be able to finish up and move in, which is exactly what I’ve done. It’s now mid-afternoon. The sun is hot and it won’t be dark here for another 7 hours. I’ve moved into the yome, made a bed there, brought in altar stuff and lots of cloths for the floor, some water bottles, etc. I also washed some cloths int he creek and hung them to dry, and washed myself in the creek (COLD mountain water which is whitish, white silt all around, good to drink I was told).
I had a few more thoughts for this blog yesterday while driving which I’d like to share. I called Eric Koval who I knew would be on the air in The Point where I used to DJ. It was great to connect with him, to share about how different the emotional climate is out of the US. While we were talking one thing became very clear to me. It’s not a new idea at all, but it presented itself succinctly so...gasoline costs more than 2 times in Canada what it costs in the US. This is true the world around, that gasoline is significantly more costly than it is in the US. There is one reason for that. The US is willing to kill for it, and willing to sacrifice soldiers in that endeavor. So for all the folks in the US, when you go to the tank, know that the price (which probably seems high to you right now) is artificially low for the simple reason that people have died for it. It’s like cocaine. Any cocaine anyone uses...someone died so that cocaine could make it to it’s user.
I’ll be putting a couple of songs up on The Zeichner Files soon; songs which have touched me as I travel. Listen for Buffy Sainte-Marie and others.
P.S. I will be going into town once or twice a week at the most while I’m here. Look for new blog entries on Tuesdays.
Sunday 29 May, 2005 7:58 AM
It’s a beautiful sunny morning in Edmonton. We arrived back yesterday after a few days at Peace River, which is so placid and beautiful. We visited a friend’s family cattle ranch and guest ranch. The place is so beautiful, and the people are also. The land is open and not fucked up by people. They farm naturally, no chemicals. They raise their cattle without hormones or antibiotics. I even ate a steak! My first beef in decades. That’s intense food. I enjoyed it and wouldn’t eat it often, but my body sure absorbed the protein.
Off to the Rockies today!
Being with Canadians and discussing the politics of the world, especially the role of the US, it becomes even clearer to me that Americans are just drowning in lies from the media and the government. Drowning.
Canadians have more sense of personal authority. I know that’s a generalization but it works. There isn’t the same sense of constant danger and fear that exists in the US. Kids are actually allowed to go out and play without having to be watched every second. Yes there are social problems like poverty, racism, sexism, etc., and it’s not a utopia, but the differences are real and quite noticeable.
I’m aware of my American-ness. We tend to stick out. People can tell one is from the US by the obvious tension in our bodies, and the fact that (as I hear from people and experience myself) most folks from the US walk around with a sense of fear, an expectation of authoritarian intervention. I also feel my american-ness fading a bit. My Canadian’s getting better all the time, hey?
I see a cop on the highway and I have a knee-jerk reaction to slow down (though I can’t speed in my truck). I see maybe 1 cop on the road here where in the US I’d see 6 or 7. There is much less police presence.
There is a very significant Native presence in Canada, pretty much everywhere, while in the US the Native presence barely exists except in a few places.
I’m very much enjoying all these differences.
Oh one more thing before I sign off. Folks in the US don’t realize, most likely, that the US is in the process of screwing Canada in a number of ways including taking fresh water from Canada in huge amounts. The water table is dropping here, noticeably. Canada holds 1/4 of the earth’s fresh water. It must be allowed to stay here! This land will become a desert if the water is sent away, and it’s being sent to places that are already desert, like LA and Arizona and such. Dear reader please do what you can to conserve water and be active about stopping the US and corporations (all the same under fascism as we have now) from ripping off Canada.
Americans are drowning in lies put forth by the media and the government.
Tuesday 24 May, 2005 9:47 PM
Tomorrow we’re heading to Peace River where a friend’s family has a cattle ranch. We’ll be there for a few days then back on Friday then off to the Rockies on Saturday!
Sunday 22 May, 2005 9:38 AM
It’s a quiet morning in Edmonton, quiet for the city anyway. Sitting outside I heard birds, cars, light breeze. If this city weren’t here I’d be in the plains, with birds and breezes and the land.
Whirlpool Lake holds a community, part of the greater community of life. So too this city holds a community of life. The city is a large interconnected collection of ecosystems just as the lake is. The woman I’m staying with works in a shelter for sex workers, providing a safe place for them to rest during the day before heading out to the street again at night. There’s a complex ecology including the humans involved, law enforcement, drugs, viruses, etc. Currently the ecosystem I’m speaking of also includes at least one murderer, as there have been 24 sex workers killed here in Edmonton over the last 8 years.
There’s way more to all this than I know or can speak about, but being here I have some awareness. Sleeping in the camper parked on the grass next to the house, I was able to hear some of the nighttime activity in the street. It was a slow night according to my friend, less activity than one might encounter on most nights, but there was one posse of teenagers I overheard a few times as they made their way around the block and back. I heard both male and female voices laughing, talking, as they walked.
I expect to be in the Edmonton area until the end of the week. Then...off into the Rocky Mountains! I plan to spend June there in peace and quiet.
I am fortunate to have contacts with witches here who have offered to put me up, given me the name of a really good body-worker, stuff like that. Tomorrow there will be a pot luck community dinner and full moon gathering. Tomorrow is also my Mom’s birthday, she’d be 77.
The city feels like a more tricky place to find space to camp then the woods or the plains. There’s some kind of irony, that I can park almost anywhere in the wilderness but in the human settlement there are rules about where one can and cannot park, and some places are probably safer than others. I do find the woods and plains more inviting.
Riding with friends to dinner last night I did see some of the city, mainly the nice area with stores and cafés and such. There is a university here so there are lots of young people. I’m sure I’ll go down to that part of town at some point and just hang out, pick up the vibes, see what it’s like, get to a bookstore. My natural reticence to do such things gives way more easily as I get older, as I feel more curious about the herd than overwhelmed by it. Geez what a few days in the woods can do for a person!
Friday 20 May, 2005 8:29 PM Mountain Time
Leaving that quiet and realness, returning to the human world, is a notable experience.
When I walk in the woods my silent instruction/request of my energy field is “minimum impact, maximum awareness” which allows me to get closer to the animals, to see much more. I found that the same thing works with the aura of the truck. As we drove out of Riding early this morning, I gave that instruction/request to our collective aura and what I found was that the animals we saw while driving did not run or scatter as they usually do. They observed us driving past, but without much reaction.
The truck makes noise, so I play music, which can also be noise. The other cars make noise. It’s all so busy and mechanical and doesn’t really feel good.
The quiet draws me into the place. I get to feel how we are part of each other. I fall in love with the place. Whirlpool lake. I shed tears when we left. I saw the goose family early this morning out for their swim.
I want to live in the woods. The way I lived in Vermont was not it. I want to really live in the woods, with very simple stuff. I wondered if it’d be difficult for me. I love it. I could easily stay. This vision will come to pass too.
The quiet, and then the lack of it, shows me how crazy overstimulated I am most of the time, when I’m not in the woods. I stopped for gas. I chatted with the guy in the store. he’s about my age. He just moved from the city to the country and is very glad. Of course we discussed politics some, and how the Bush people are probably fucking with the Canadian government, wanting the Liberal Coalition to fall so Steven Harper can get in; an untra conservative Bush wannabe. He just wants to give Bush the keyts to the store, sell Canada out to the US. That would be awful. One thing I am seeing for sure, the Canadian wilderness, of which I have seen but edges and a few parks, must be preserved for the sake of the planet. There has got to be a place left with these forests, lakes and rivers. Global warming is already killing off many arctic species and will likely reduce or eliminate the tundra. That’s bad enough. But this place must not be all dug up and harvested and industrialized and populated by humans. That would be obscene.
I highly recommend that everyone get at least a day this summer of being where there aRre no human contrivances, no power lines, no machines, no human noise, and just listen to the earth for a while. I can think of no greater gift to give oneself.
Thursday 19 May, 2005 8:43 PM
I spent the day listening to the wonderful space you can hear when there are no machine sounds, no human sounds, at all. I heard lots of different kinds of birds, and saw many too. I heard wind, water, the dog, the cat, and myself. I was by myself here for most of the day with only two exceptions. An elderly couple came to have cookies and coffee sometime during my mid afternoon nap (it was hot here!) and a middle aged mountain biker came by at early evening.
I think human beings receive a kind of nourishment from wild birdsong that can be received through no other means. To really stop and listen to the many songs goin on at once in a place like this, it’s such a diversity of sounds.
There were times when I heard a bird and it sounded like a computer or cell phone, startling me. It made me think that those machine sounds have been made to, in some way, synthesize bird calls. It also made me think to ask people, imagine how your world would change if there were no more birds.
I’ve been watching a goose family. I think they’re geese. Mom, Dad, 6 goslings. I watched them out for their late morning swim and just now their bedtime swim. Now they are on the bank under one of the parents’ wing, the other standing guard.
I feel more and more of a pull to stay each time I am about to leave one of these forest woodland times. Tomorrow I head for Edmonton. I think, if I can, I’d like to do the drive in a day...just go through Saskatoon and hit Edmonton in the evening. Since there doesn’t seem to be any interest in the workshops I offered to put on, my stay there may be shorter than previously planned, which would be OK. I want to get into the Rockies and make camp and settle in for a bit, set up the yome, and get into some longer times of this silence and peacefulness. It is truly balm for my soul. My fingers are crossed that the place I hope to camp for a month will be available but if it isn’t I’m sure I’ll find somewhere in Banf or Jasper Parks. I just want to stop driving and settle into a place for a bit, hike around, get to know it, establish a routine of sitting in a couple of different remote spots. I need to remember to get a bird book and a scat book and a track book before I make camp.
There was just a Mama Moose and her foal here...Lasky scared them away barking. Rats. I did get to see them though. The baby was small...a little bigger than Lasky...had to have been born very recently!
Wednesday 18 May, 2005 9:25 PM
I am at Whirlpool Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. It’s a tent only campground, no campers. I am in the parking lot. No one else is here at all. There is no electricity except for what’s in this camper. I’m sure I’m the only human for miles.
It is so still and quiet, except for the many different bird calls that come through the mist. The light is diffuse. The trails are out of Faerie. We’ve seen different water birds nesting, flying away from us, the lumbering human (learning to walk more quietly, slowly) and the panting dog who occasionally stops perfectly still, listening.
Monday 16 May, 2005 8:03 PM Central Time Zone
We’re in Whiteshell Provincial Park in eastern Maintoba. I drove up into the park, up a dirt road, up and in away from everything, to a place where there is a large outcropping of relatively smooth flattish ledge. There is some pine and lots of lichens on the stone. We parked on a fairly level spot. It’s beautiful, very quiet, big clear sky, sun heading down. It’ll set around 9:45 or 10ish.
Lasky and I went for a walk to check the area out and found about 300 meters away a set of two power lines running through the land directly east west. They’re not the big high voltage steel towers. It’s wooden pole structures, fairly simple, with one big line apiece. About a hundred meters north of the power lines it is all woods. I am parked south of them. In that area there is all this exposed rock ledge, but woods on the far side so I wonder, is all this rock bare because of the power lines? Is the field it gives off killing everything, or was it cleared this far to put them in, or is this outcropping natural? It makes me wonder. I’m a little over the hill and at the distance I stated above, so I am not directly under the power lines. But, what happened here??
Other point of interest. Yesterday morning when preparing to leave White Lake I met a guy, Michael, who was camping in the park, just his tent and himself, no vehicle. We struck up a conversation and he told me he is walking from Toronto to Vancouver. He had a recurring dream about it over a period of months and so he is doing it. I liked him, he has wonderful blue eyes and a great smile. We chatted some about politics, which we agreed on, and he asked for a ride to the road, which I gave him. Talking with him and seeing what he’s doing I had to laugh at myself for my posting in this blog the previous day about how good I’m doing at reducing my footprint. This guy’s footprint really is his footprint! I respect that a lot. He seems to be a pretty gentle spirit, following his heart path. If you seem him on the road, tell him hey! He was doing about 40 km a day and left White River Provincial Park in western Ontario on Sunday morning, May 15.
The earth up here where there is not a lot of human intervention is so amazing. There are all these lakes and rivers. The terrain is hilly...not big hills but gnarled old hills worn down from glaciers and millenia of forest cycles. I’ve seen areas that had been recently burned; that was just outside of Thunder Bay. There are billboards all over reminding people to be careful about forest fires. Also billboards saying “Woman abuse is a crime” which is good but also means it’s an issue, which is sad.
Back to this site...I got to be naked outside for a while...yipppee! It feels so good just to be out in the light. I did some yoga on the rocks. I hope they’re not radioactive.
So I’ve become this stout middle aged guy in a camper who gets naked out in the forest and sits around with his dog and cat. I have to laugh. There is such a charicature I’m building in my minds eye, it’s a hoot. Dear reader, too much information?
Saturday 14 May 2005 11:19 AM (posted from the parking lot of the Comfort Inn, Kenora, Ontario, Monday 16 May, 2005)
I’m driving north west on Highway 17 out of Sault St. Marie towards Thunder Bay. I’ll probably camp sowhere around White River tonight.
I haven’t been writing about the land much because sensing the earth directly is such an immediate experience, I haven’t felt called to write about it but I do now.
It is so beautiful here! Every day I am blown away over and over by what I see, smell, feel. So much earth without human contrivances or buildings. I am looking at the road as I drive so I am relating to what’s NOT the road from this “passing through” vantage point, which is pretty limited. When we stop and walk, or places we camp, then it’s even more contact with the earth.
Driving through, though, has it’s own beautiful aspect; watching the land change, seeing valleys spread out before you as you descend a hill; following rivers and lakes.
I’m so glad I made the decision to make these changes in my life.
I was talking with the folks who run the KOA where I slept last night (I joined KOA! Whodathunkit??) and they are full time RVrs. They sold everything. The woman and I spoke the most and laughed about how great it felt to get rid of the house full of stuff. They are part of somethign called Escapees, all RVrs who meet up in various places. She told me they spent $5 on accomodations between January and March. I definitely want to learn the ways of this tribe.
Same day 1:30 PM
The north shore of Lake Superior is amazing. It reminds me of Nova Scotia actually, just that the water is calm right now. But you can see the horizon as you look south over the lake and it’s water as far as the eye can see. And mist. This is power country. You can feel it.
Yesterday I drove through some little town and there in bug white painted letters on a long iron railroad bridge it said “THIS IS INDIAN LAND.” It was powerful. And it is their country. I’m certainly a visitor and I imagine all the white people here must feel that to some extent, if they are at all conscious.
I can imagine spending a lifetime here, pre-road, pre-white people, and relating with this land and water and sky. Hard winters.
I’m thinking, as I drive, about change. I’m thinking about how so many of the people I know sincerely want to bring about good change in the world, and yet it’s such a challenge to accept change, so we can end up working against ourselves (and each other). The phrase that comes to mind is “Don’t think you’re going to change the world but keep your personal bubble all comfy and unchanged. If you want to change the world, change yourself!” I’m sure that’s not a completely original thought but I am feeling it and living it and it’s good.
This also brings to mind all the ways I keep my comfy bubble. This camper setup I’m living in is so comfortable for a tiny space. I sleep on a futon with my flannel sheets and down comforter. I have a refrigerator with food in it, books, DVDs, Internet if I can find it, etc. I am using less though. I went to refill my 20 lb. propane tank. I’ve been cooking and heating with it for a while now I figured...best to make sure it’s full. I’d used 4 lbs. of fuel so far. In my house in Vermont I went through over 1000 gallons a year. In this thing I might go through 50. I like that. Gasoline is another story. I am getting 16 to 18 mpg. and gas in Canada costs more than twice what it does in the US, and I am tyalking about after the currency conversion.
So my comfy bubble takes up less space than it used to, probably evens out in fuel consumption - more gas, less propane, no wood, no electricity from the grid - no I think it’s less than before. I think my energy footprint is less than it was in the house, even with the gasoline. Cool. The solar panel on the camper roof is great. It’s paid for, and it provides free electricity. I have yet to run out.
OK...back to driving.
Saturday 14 May 2005 9:19 AM
Between the books I’m reading, Presence, and The Essential Golden Dawn, what I’m experiencing as I travel, and what I’ve been observing and learning in the pagan community I am part of, I’m getting a glimpse of some part of the current human experience, and the evolution or development which can be/is/needs to be occuring. That is this. OK obviously we all know that we are munching up the earth’s resources, and that we’ve developed global political economic entities to distribute the resources (unevenly). We know that humans have been violent for a long time, and continue to be both on the small person scale and on the larger scale of wars. Etc. etc. OK. So what’s the problem with the humans that we keep doing all this and are approaching our own self destruction? It’s the thing about polarizing. Good bad, right wrong, gluttony starvation, peace war, love hate, etc. It’s the whole binary thinking mode which we’ve been in for a long time.
The spiritual practices I’ve been exposed to, from all over the world, from many belief systems, all share the value of silence, contemplation, mindfulness, in some for or other. Hinduism, Buddhism, Witchcraft, even the Abrahamic religions, all say that part of the spiritual path is learning to work with one’s own “stuff” and transform it, and be able to see beyond it to the common good.
So what’s the great revelation I want to share? I have come to believe that all humans, all parts of the herd, the great human organism, are engaged in an evolutionary process. Like physicist Ilya Prigogine describes in his “Theory of Dissipative Structures” the open system, humanity, is now so bombarded with stimulation, so close to overload, that we will either make a quantum evolutionary leap or we will not, in which case we will probably perish in large numbers within the next couple of decades.
Think about it. Whatever conflicts, disagreements, or mental chatter you have within yourself or between you and others, the work is to keep coming back to “...how can I make my life be about seeing past the personal crap to the systemic, and then respond to that creatively with compassion and honesty?”
Pissed at your boss? In a conflict with people you share community with? Having a disagreement with your partner? Furious with your government?
Adopt a systemic approach that doesn’t fuel the fire of drama by focusng on the faults of individuals, but instead promotes the ethic that all our decisions need to be good for all of us, not just for some of us, or we are harming all of us.
How do we do this? Sit and listen to the woods, or the cars, or the wind, or the birds, or the factory...the answer is in paying attention. The answer is in paying attention outside yourself, while still being aware of what’s going on inside yourself...and perceiving the difference between your internal activity, mental patterns, etc. and the outside world! That conversation you have in your head over and over with whoever you’re pissed at, or whoever you feel better than/worse than, etc (all that internal drama pattern that we don’t even necessarily notice!)...notice it...and notice that it is NOT the wind, the birds, the sounds of the rest of the world. Put it in a cubby and experience what’s outside of your patterns and see what happens.
All that being said, I know I am far from having perfected this practice. I’m working on it too, just like everyone else.
P.S. I am camped just north west of Sault St. Marie, Ontario, and am headed towards Thunder Bay today.
Saturday 7 May 2005 8:25 AM
There's a book I'd like to bring to your awareness. I'm just into the first third of it. It offers some very important concepts, information, and perceptual shifts. I think many of the people reading this would not only enjoy it but would experience some openings and shifts while reading it. This book is speaking directly to my engagement with the process of creating a viable sustainable future for humans and earth.
Presence Human Purpose and the Field of the Future
Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers
Published in 2004 by The Society for Organizational Learning
If you're ever in a situation where you are working with a group of people, another individual, or yourself, and you ever encounter challenges which seem to arise from your mental processes and/or that of others, this book will be useful to you.
If you do decide to read it, I'd love to hear from you about it. I'm interested in what people have to say after reading the book.Thanks to Shanna Ratner of Yellow Wood Associates for bringing this book to my attention.
Friday 6 May 2005 11:39 AM
OK, plans are slowly materializing. I am leaving here on Tuesday morning to head to Toronto and surrounds, hopefully to connect up with some friends there. If I don’t manage to see any of the folks I know I’ll just head west. I’ve got all of Ontario, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan and much of Alberta before Edmonton, so I can take my time or drive right through. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll end up in BC sooner than I’d thought. Maybe I’ll take some tangential drives way north. I have always felt drawn to the arctic, reading books about Inuit people. We’ll see! Gas prices will also be part of the decision making process. It’s priced by the liter in Canada and one ends up paying anywhere from $2.80 to $3.20 a gallon after converting back to US dollars.
The reality of not having a home to go to continues to settle on me in waves. It feels disconcerting, exciting, and like a question mark with a void after it, no answer. I miss having a garden to tend, though I can offer to tend gardens wherever I am. I emailed two different groups who are looking for members in their permie community. Both in the US, in the west. The folks in BC are in that same situation, and there are a couple of places in Arizona that look interesting. That’s 5 possible landing places, or at least places to look into, 4 in the US. Not being in the US is appealing. Perhaps, though, being in the US and participating in very real change is the way to go? It’s definitely a way to go. Lots to think about.
...and to not think too much about. We’ll see what unfolds that isn’t about planning or thinking.
Tuesday 3 May, 2005 1:08 PM
I’m back in Morin Heights, Quebec. I got here on Sunday evening. I’m just relaxing a bit and then heading west probably Monday or Tuesday.
I continue to work with the idea that whatever effort I put forth, even on my own behalf, is ultimately a contribution to that amorphous imaginary viable future. It works for me. It allows me to feel more joyful as I proceed.
If this were a dream, what would that mean? Hmm. Somewhere inside me, I seek a meaning to existance other than “it is so it is, for it’s own sake.” Not like, an answer to a question, but...with whatever spiritual or non corporeal (as we understand it) realities being whatever they are, if one incarnates as a human, it seems, within a recognizable flow, that the one incarnating does so with a trajectory, if nothing more than it’s direction at birth. What directions are the prevailing winds blowing? Psychology shows that this is about more than just nature or nurture, it is nature AND nurture interacting synergistically, along with whoever a person comes into the world as, so the uncertainty principle must apply. That’s why really nice people can have heinous kids, or really great people can come from abusive parents. Another perspective is to see the human herd as a mass of life, a morphogenetic field, which we differentiate into individual humans but is, in fact, one large organism. Humanity is a global organism. So from that perspective the trajectory and momentum of the species gives rise to the need for extraordinary awareness, events, actions, choices. In my dream we are all doing what we can to be clear channels for those extraordinary awarenesses to come through.
My whole life I’ve had this feeling, this sense, that I am supposed to come up with something big, something that makes a difference to a lot of people. Is it a piece of writing, a technique or practice of some sort? I don’t know. I keep putting out what I’m thinking and feeling and learning in hopes that, somewhere in all that, there is something that’ll make a difference.
So anyway, where was I going with all that...if this were a dream it’d be one heck of a dream!
I sure hope it warms up soon. It’s snowing here today. The camper is very good, that trip through eastern Canada was a great fine tuning period. It’s definitely not meant for subfreezing temperature living. It’s warm enough for sleep and all, but a lot of condensation forms on the inside of the camper, just like a tent in cold weather, and that makes for a damp experience; not great when it’s cold. I bet when it’s 70’s and 80’s...er, 20’s and 30’s C, it’ll be great in there for sleeping.
I’m looking forward to heading west from here. It’ll be great to see people I know, meet people I don’t know, see and feel the different land.
Friends, look for some new Podcasts this week. I just need to find a broadband site.
Sunday, 1 May 2005
I camped last night down a logging road just outside of Fredricton, New Brunswick. We got there as it was getting dark, and it was raining. I figured it being the weekend and so wet no one would be coming by the staging area so that’s where we stayed.
We left around 7 this morning. As I was driving, and the pain was kicking into my neck, arm, and back, I had a conversation with myself. It went something like this:
I have to acknowledge that this pain is the part of me that feels broken and doesn’t want to live. Not to acknowledge that part would be dishonest. OK, so I do feel that. It’s connected to so many things which have happened in my life, which have left scars. Well, if I keep focusing on those things, which I have a lot of feelings about, (endlessly!) then that’s what my life will reflect back to me. I don’t want that. I want to feel strong, to be looking forward and not back. I did a lot of good with people in my work in the past, but the value of it is not as much that individual people benefited from their time with me as it is that I contributed to people who will, in turn, contribute to the future through acts and deeds which contribute to other people so we can bring about this future of sustainability and justice we are all working for. Something to live for! The future. I can commit to that. I do. Deep breaths, tears, an opening, a reason to keep going! OK!
To me that looks like offering what I can to younger people especially, but just offering. I understand why Starhawk is so focused on working with the younger activists. They really are the ones who will carry all this forward. That made me think of the workshops I’m offering in Edmonton and the path at Free Witch Camp in August.
I can teach people how to sense energy, and how to work with that awareness in many ways including healing work and communication work especially. Given the opportunity to get into a flow I can teach that stuff ecstatically. In a teaching situation where I have to compete for time, my flow is interupted and I hate that. I hope FWC is going to feel like everyone is willing to share time, so support each other in bringing forth their best rather than competing for center stage.
My neck still hurts. My arm still hurts, but I feel glad to have something specific to be contributing to...a viable future!
Saturday, 30 April 2005 2:30 PM
This business of managing the masses, the human herd; it comes to mind over and over as I observe us and in teaching psychology. So much, if not all, of our psychological theory-based services are about managing people. It is done in the name of helping or making better or even just warehousing...
Thursday, 28 April 2005 5:52 PM
I am in Kejimkujik National Park, N.S. It’s pouring rain and chilly. We are actually in a legit campground. I even paid the self registration fee. Before official summer it’s on an honor system. Pretty cool. There are probably a dozen other campers here.
Today was a boon day. Driving out of Halifax, which all just seemed like another human city to me, I came upon St. Margaret’s Bay Chiropractic Centre. I’d seen their advert in the yellow pages last night but figured, I’ll just get treatment when I get back to Montreal. But there they were, and it looked like a very new facility...but no cars in the lot so I hoped they’d take me as a walk-in. They did. The Doctor was about to start his client day so he took me first. Very kind. He agreed that my back was pretty messed up. He adjusted first C5, then T8 then C1. Ahhhhh...relief. These were not big hefty crunches but gentle nimble manipulations. That treatment has stayed with me all day making the remaining 5 hours of driving much less painful. That also gives me hope! Thanks Dr. Kleinknecht!
I felt drawn to this place. I started seeing signs to here yesterday, way before Halifax. This is in Southern N.S. kind of up in the middle of the land mass. I may stay here another night if it warms up tomorrow. I’m hoping it does. This place will be great for Lasky and me to roam. Even Chloe to some extent. I imagine that she feels left out of the little adventures Lasky and I have without her, but I put her in the camper when we go for big walks. Little walks around the campsite she can come on too.
Back in the site near wherever the heck it was a few nights ago, we stayed for a day there. Chloe followed us to the little river and contemplated it for a while, then drank from it. It seemed, to me, that this changed her somehow. She had never been to a river before to my knowledge. The land in Bolton had the beaver pond but I doubt she ever went there. In my impression, she connected with something primeval when she drank from the river, because her bevahior changed subsequently. She was much quieter. Yesterday while driving she was silent all day, which she had never done before. Silent and relaxed in my lap as we drove. Usually she’s talking and moving around and not very settled. Today she was vocal, as usual.
I am coming to terms with being part of this giant herd of humans who are doing what we are doing. I drive through all this beauty, stopping occasionally, feeling inspired by it. I am traveling between some fairly remote outposts. Cape Breton Island is pretty remote. Much of Nova Scotia is, and I am just seeing a tiny bit. And yet the Comfort Inn at Dartmouth sure hit the spot last night. It’s kind of soulless, those hotels, but the shower is good. Sitting here in this tiny space with the rain coming down, slightly chilled, drinking hot cocoa, even in this kept campground, there is a greater feeling of life and mystery. The woods contain the unknown. The sounds, especially at night, are of many creatures going about their lives, being part of the forest. I realized a few days ago that I don’t want to be in the forest, I want to BE the forest. How peaceful...well depending on the forest. There is a lot of logging here, for sure.
I’ve found some great campsites but something I am learning is to ask for the site, and when approaching to ask the spot...are we welcome? When I forget to do that I take big long tangents and come up without a viable spot, sometimes having to do some very interesting reverse driving of that big rig.
I am laughing at myself about this blog. For someone who wanted time alone I sure have a lot to say!
Wednesday, 27 April 2005 9:10 PM
I am writing from the Comfort Inn in Dartmouth, N.S. room 226. The critters and I are holed up for a night of shower, real bed, and internet catchup. I have mixed feelings about paying for a room etc., but it sure was nice to go have dinner somewhere and be able to come back and stretch out and relax. I’ll be heading back west to Morin Heights in a day or so, and from there westward!
Time to crash.
Tuesday, 26 April 2005 12:20 PM
I’m somewhere around St. Anne in Nova Scotia. Yesterday we headed out early, drove through Cape Breton Island’s Highland Park. Wow...lots of amazing cold oceanic stuff to see. The wind whipping clouds of icy vapor across the surface of the water, seaward. Dramatic. We went up up up to where there was still a couple of feet of snow...all foggy and cold, clearly not the place to camp. Lots of nice trailheads though...great hiking I’m sure. So we kept going, down down down to the coastline.
My arm was hurting pretty much, so I started looking for a place to camp by noonish. I probably checked out 5 or 6. There were two I could have stayed in. One was a state park campground. It was open in that it was not locked, but no one was there, no services going on. This was at Ingonish Beach. The beach was amazing rounded granite stones, grey, pink, black. Some were 20 pounds, some were a few ounces; a whole beach of it. Lasky had fun negotiating that. The water was amazing in motion, slow, powerful, the water looks so clean here. Anyway I decided I didn't want to be looking at an empty campground, probably not a full one either for that matter, so we headed out. There was a very small side of the road spot that we could have stayed in but it was right by the road, not good for animals.
We camped up a hill around a corner down a hill near a river and a lake at a bend in the road. We camped around 4: 30 PM. I needed to rest so we checked out the site and then I crashed for a bit. It started to really rain. So it rained, I fed the animals, fed myself, and watched a movie.
At one point a white pickup truck with an orange light and a trailer went by and someone yelled something. i couldn’t make out what they said. I was mid-cooking, so I put everything down and kind of hurried out of the camper to see them...tripping on my way out over the bike rack. By the time I had gotten myself up, bruised knee, the truck was gone. I wondered what they’d said. I figured that either they’d just said hello, or said I couldn’t be there, or warned that the river was going to flood. I had a great scenario of the river rising as I slept in my camper, and being caught in it by morning. Not likely, but you never know. Or I was not supposed to stay there. Hmm. Would I have to move? That would suck...everything was all set up for the night but...OK. As I contemplated this the truck came back around.
There were two guys in the truck. It was starting to get dark, and was still raining. I went out again, less hurriedly, and greeted them. They were very friendly, a couple of electrical linemen. They praised my camper with humrous envy. I asked them if it was OK for me to be there and the driver said “You don’t have to ask.” That impressed me as particularly good and right.
I slept well...until noon! I guess I needed it. I feel like I am starting to pay back the sleep deficit I incurred starting five or six years ago. I feel like I am sloughing off a skin, a big heavy skin that’s been a good skin but I no longer need it. Now it’s just cumbersome and no longer fits.
Lasky and I just went for our second walk of the day. We’re going to sleep here tonight and head to Halifax tomorrow, probably stay just north of the city and then go in on Thursday to do business; check in with my class at JSC and find a chiropractor or other bodyworker.
I’d love a shower.
Sunday, 24 April, 2005 6: 43 local time
This has been a really nice day. I decided to stay put for the day, not drive, stay in the campsite another night. Good decision! I spent the day eating well, walking in beautiful places, relaxing with the animals. We had a few very nice hours on a quilt in the sun reading and napping. They stay right by my side and are as much staying safe as they are looking after me, I’m sure.
I had a breakthrough moment with my neck a little while ago. Finally the vertebrae lined up. I can feel the relief of it. It’s been a rough few days, sheesh! Touch wood.
I read a book called Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I laughed, I cried, it’s a beautiful book, well worth reading. It’s nice to know I can still read a book in an afternoon.
Tomorrow we’ll head deeper into Cape Breton Island, spend at least one more night, then head for Halifax. I will need to do an Internet run in the city, then on to Digby and the ferry to St. John and head back to nthe Montreal area. Really I could take two more weeks to do that but it’s a bit nippy wintry still up here and while I am not cold at night, camping in the cold is, well, camping in the cold. We’ll see what happens.
P.S. It rained last night...dry as a bone in here. While I really liked laying out on the ground today, and look forward to settling somewhere and setting up the yome for a while, it is nice to have this camper. It offers a lot of cool resources like homemade electricity from the solar panel, propane heat and cooking, a refrigerator which can run on the propane or the electricity, and it’s dry.
At one point late in the afternoon the wind changed. It came from due north, out on the water, and it had a smell I have never encountered before. Cold, spicey! It was a really wild almost grassy smell.
Latest fantasy...find a place, out west most likely, to take the camper off the truck and set up the yome, and have the camper be like a room off of the yome. I could live in that much space indefinitely, and would have all the comforts of home in a very scaled down version.
Saturday, 23 April, 2005 7: 13 local time
I’m camped out just north of Inverness, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s beautiful here. We’re in a cleared area just off the main road, which is a small road. Someone mows this area but it’s still late winter here, and the summer trade is yet to begin, so no one has been here lately.
If you look at the photos you’ll see ice on the St. Lawrence Seaway!
One really has the feeling of being far north here, the way the light is over the water which is to the north. It’s really beautiful here but raw, rough, carved by the glaciers, stunded by the wind and the cold. I imagine it’d be a hard life to pioneer here.
I am learning to manage the pain from my neck. I stop every couple of hours. Even sitting in the truck not moving is a rest for it. I get out, stretch, lie on the ground. I am taking all my homeopathic remedies and vitamins, and 222’s which are Canadian OTC drug; aspirin, caffeine, and codeine. I’m experimenting to see how the caffeine offsets the drowsy effects of the codeine, hoping the codeine will take edge off the nerve pain. I’m also considering taking the allopathic approach and having a nerve block.
People are friendly, but I haven’t had any meaningful interactions. Closest was the guy at the N.S. Visitors Center; very friendly and helpful. I decided that Cape Breton was my first destination while talking with him. The Cabot Trail. I will start driving it tomorrow, do some beach walking, make my way around the cape over the weekend I think.
A couple of things I’ve noticed. I miss my friends. Also, when my arm hurts, not having any roots or destination is way more scary and unsettling than when my arm isn’t hurting, like in the morning. One thing this experience is making clear is that I really just want to live among friends in a simple way. My body can’t handle a lot of stress. I need lots of relax time, and I like being in one place.
It’s been cloudy today so it isn’t very cold, and barely a breeze. I hope it’s not a wicked cold night. I have gone back about a month in time from Vermont in terms of the seasonal change. Brrr. Well maybe three weeks.
This morning I made tea. Last night I made a hot water bottle, and tonight I cooked chicken, all on the little two burner stove in the camper. I am easing into this. Cooking’s not difficult. Cleaning up’s not either. I don’t have the water tank filled so the sink isn’t in working order. I am debating whether to do that or take out the water tank and use space for more of my stowage. I can work with 3 or 4 gallon jugs which I refill. Hmm, considering.
Last night I camped in a clearing made by loggers, not recently used, just south of Miramichi, N.B. It was a great spot, dog and cat had room to explore, no road nearby. The moon is almost full and we are north so the nights are not so dark. We heard lots of birds and at one point a mother and pups; coyotes, or wolves or coy dogs. Probably coyotes.
Thursday, 21 April 2005 6:29 PM
I am in Trois Pistoles Quebec. I drove from 8:30 to about 5:30. My
neck is fucking killing me. I am in so much pain, it sucks. It’s
causing me to wonder about this driving plan.
By 1:00 I was hurtin’ bad. I promised myself I’d stop between 3 and 5. By 5 I was still an hour from a campground and I found myself at Trois Pistoles where there is a beautiful river, so I followed the river up the hill until I found a hiker’s turnoff. There is still snow here, and no tracks in it so I figured no hikers. I pulled off the road and up the trail a little ways. This part has been all gone through by big machines recently so I wasn’t doing any damage. I pulled in, set up, and am chilling out. I hurt so I’m lying down listening to the river.
I am still so hooked into western man reality...being in here instead of outside (Lasky and I did walk by the river for a while) doing this computer stuff. The pain thingmakes it much less tolerable t be uncomfortable sleeping. That’s the super priority. Get good sleep and the pain is a little better the next day for a while. Sleep badly and you start the next day right where you left off with the pain the night before.
There are some new photos on the pix page of the inside of the camper this evening.
It’s going to be a clear cold night. Good thing I can stay warm!
Wednesday, 20 April 2005 11:07 AM
I was going to leave for the Maritimes today but I’ll go tomorrow. Today is grey and rainy. Lac Hughes is melting. I made a fire and sat. I feel pretty sad about what’s going on. The world seems poised for a new version of the Dark Ages, with Christian theocracy on the rise.
The Constitution Restoration Act is a terror of radical fundamentalist legislation being snuck through the US Congress. It would forbid courts from making any rulings contrary to fundamentalist Christian theology. Read about it right away! Work to defeat it. Contact your Congressional reps if you're in the US, and let your friends know about it ASAP.
There is now a new Pope in Rome, probably one of the most conservative in generations.
Here are some books I reccomend for immediate reading:
don't think of elephants! by George Lakoff
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (the film is also powerful)
A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
I find this all this dogmatic doctrinal fear and shame based “strict father” cultural engineering to be completely anththetical to what feels right and good and whole. Very fucked up in fact!
Monday, 18 April 2005 6:09 PM
Today I went into Montreal by myself to do a couple of errands. Cities are so weird. Way too many people crammed together. Even a nice city like Montreal is pretty intense. I am so used to being out in the boonies, I realize when I get out of the city that I wasn’t fully in my body.
I procured maps. I’mm heading east when I leave here in a couple of days, to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I want to watch the sun rise at the eastern most point before I head west. That’ll be beautiful.
The animals continue to surprise me by how much they are sticking around. They seem to both have some sense that the three of us are a pod. Lasky wanders with strangers walking down the road, always has probably always will so that can’t be allowed. She also, upon entering the camper, becomes extremely docile and subdued. Chloe stays close, goes out and comes back in, is very into the camper, amazing.
It’s looking like my time frame has evolved to being in the Edmonton area around the beginning of June.
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 2:32 PM
I am asking myself, now that I’m out of the United States do I feel safer? Do I feel less afraid? Am I freer to speak out my dissent? What illusions are involved with these questions and their possible answers?
Here is what I think is going on in the US. First one must realize that the beaurocracy has become so complex, that whatever administration is in power, we must assume they are accomplishing their aims through such a multitude of venues, it would be nearly impossible to be cognizant of them all. And we can also assume that beaurocracy will live up to it’s highest degree of incompetency on a regular basis.
The United States has been gradually taken over by the military indiustrial complex over the past five decades. After WWII, with the New Deal still fairly recent, the US became particularly split, with the “American Dream” on the one hand and reality on the other; racism, sexism, imperialism. Now we are living with the consequences of capitalism having taken over federalism. The corporations; morphing the whole time into conglomerates that control natural resources, food supplies, weapons, drugs and media all rolled up together; now that we have a First Family who are 100% creatures of the corporations, their entire lives intertwined with the corporate agenda, the final pieces of the fascist puzzle are in place.
The Bush’s are about as craven as people can be. They sell young (and sometimes not so young) people’s lives for oil in an illegal war, secretly answering to their Saudi masters, one of the financial entities to which they are beholden. On the other hand they sell the US to the big chemical companies, handing them the keys to the granaries in the form of allowing genetic manipulation of the food supply. They have sold the people including the children, to the pharmaceutical companies whose agenda to drug the populace fits nicely into the brainwashing provided by the corporate media which fits nicely into the militarization of society which is part of the fascist agenda. That all is just part of the picture.
These people are wholly evil in their intentions and their actions. George SR. the weapons dealer, Barbara the uber Mama calling the shots, George W. and Jeb the spokesmodels for the various corporate and ideological overlords, all of them obsessed with power, bloodlust, hidden under the cloak of fundamentalist religion, something which should be considered a diagnosable mental illness in my opinion.
I have been a psychotherapist for 25 years. I know wherof I speak. Fundamentalism isn’t the same thing as having a spiritual life and relationship with the divine. It’s based in a stage in early childhood development called the narcissistic stage. If a person isn’t properly nourished with healthy limits and encouragement to express themself at that age, if they don’t have an experience of bonding with an available caregiver, the personality that forms tends to be rigid, with fear as more of a driving force instead of the sense of safety that comes from healthy negotiation of the narcissistic stage. Read Wilhelm Reich’s “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” to learn more about this. It’s not only interesting, it’s important information for these times.
I don’t care if someone is Christian, Jewish, Islamic or Buddhist. Fundamentalism is dangerous. Fundamentalism’s natural expression is an obsessive fear and hate of that which does not fit into it’s very narrow rigid point of view, the lens of the obsession being doctrine and it’s enforcement. The Taliban are a great example, as are the Christian Fundamentalists in the US, who seek to force their view on the world.
What’s going to happen? How is all this going to play out? I’ve been saying to people that fascism has a cycle, and we haven’t even reached the peak of it yet. I hope I’m wrong. I hope that the people in the US rise up, demand legitimate elections, and put the crooked politicians and business leaders currently in charge all in prison for the rest of their lives. I hope this happens. I’m not holding my breath. I don’t see enough people being willing to risk speaking out, resisting, withdrawing their energetic support from the monster. I hear lots of people voicing dissent among their friends, but not publicly. I know people who refuse to shop at Wal-Mart and insist on eating organic non genetically modified foods, but that isn’t enough. The way to bring down a monster is to starve it. This monster, the corporate/government blend called fascism, feeds on the money of the people. That money is actually a symbol for the life energy of the people, since money is generated by human labor. So the food for the monster is you and me when we work, when we pay taxes, when we buy gasoline, when we buy anything made by slaves or oppressed workers anywhere, we are feeding the monster that is trying to eat the world.
I am feeding the monster buying gasoline for this trip, and buying corporate food. Hopefully I am feeding the monster less by having changed my living situation. Keeping this in mind it is my intention to spend time not just driving, but being in places for periods of time, using less.
Sunday, 10 April 2005 12:18 PM
I'm in Canada! Yay! I know the US is doing all it can to subsume Canada, but for now it's still a separate sovereign nation. Just to be in a different country feels refreshing. I look forward to experiencing the differences from Vermont and the US.
I will be 45 years old in a few days. Let's hope that this physical body is well for many more years.
Tuesday, 5 April 2005 10:10 PM
The last few days have been great for me. I had time alone to feel and grieve letting go of so much, time to rest, do some visiting and leave taking, errands, and going through/thinning out the stuff I packed in the camper. I have reduced it by about 20%. More will have to go before we head out on Saturday for Quebec.
A lot of people responded very positively to this blog, thank you! I have become one of those travelling people who records experiences and shares them with whomever wants to read them. That appeals to my awareness and identification with everything; Gaia, the living earth, and humanity ispart of Gaia, and each individual awareness part of the whole of common humanity. Somehow my sharing with others affirms my sense of being part of everything.
I put a rainbow peace sign on the camper today. It's small but meaningful. I don't feel like being super conspicuous, so the Impeach Bush sticker didn't feel right. I still have a couple hundred of those to give away.
I have been asking myself why I am taking this trip, what am I looking for, what do I expect to find...I'm looking for peace, inside myself and to share with others. I may be a fool, but then this is the Fool's Leap I am taking for sure so...why not?
I'm also looking to explore home, Earth, some more. I went for a walk down to the river this morning, beautiful sunny morning, and I felt so grateful to see the waters running free, even though I know there is some pollution in it, the river is just a wild thing, beautiful and alive. That gave me joy. That's my church. No wonder I'm a pagan. The Earth is home, not a house or a neighborhood or a town or a state or a country.
Friday, 1 April 2005 11:36 AM
Wow! I'm in a different place. I left Bolton yesterday and came to
East Fairfield, VT to stay for a week or so with friend Todd. Some
time to recuperate from the strenuous activity of the last few weeks
especially, cull through all the stuff I brought with me (reduce by
50%!), make some adjustments to the traveling kitchen, see some peple,
then head to Canada on or arund the 9th.
OK so...here go. Chloe the siamese cat and Lasky the samoyed dog are both with me. I'll post pics of them sometime in the future. They're both doing pretty well with all this change.
Part of what's on my mind, as I leave this place, Vermont, is...do I have something to say publicly? Do I have a message I can leave that would have some value to the people who'd see it? I sure have loved Vermont. It's the first place I ever really felt at home. It was a refuge for an unhappy teenager, a great learning place for a young adult, a place to practice a profession and offer service to the community, etc. I am also not happy to see how the corporate culture of exploitation leading to destruction and death is being welcomed into the state and promulgated by the Douglas administration. But I'll save the main diatribe for later.
So, that's my progress so far. Today I relax!
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 09:15 AM
Just back from our maiden voyage in the camper, whose name is shaping up as Cheval Vert, for now anyway. Lasky and I went to New Hampshire to visit and spent the night. Aside from a few tweaks in how things are stored, and warmer blankets, it went well! We'll be heading to Quebec for a visit around 4/7 or so.
Friday, 4 March 2005 09:45 PM
The house is sold. The truck is currently being set up with a camper...photos to come soon. The house is emptying out. The old truck is for sale. I plan to head out by the end of this month. I'm getting more and more excited with each day. Another adventure awaits!
Monday, 31 January 2005 09:45 PM
Plans continue to progress. As I write this there are two guys inspecting my house on behalf of the buyer. That's interesting...to have people poking around. If all goes well we will close the deal a week from today. If not...we'll see what happens! I ask for blessingfrom Ganesh, remove obstacles from this sale; and San Benito, rum and a dance for you, support this sale. So mote it be.
Wednesday, 5 January 2005 18:25 PM
Welcome to 2005 in the Roman calender. What will it bring? More violence and corruption from the folks “in charge,” no doubt. I want to contribute my energies to peace, love and truth, so that’s what I’m doing. The changes in my immediate circumstances will serve to put me in places at times to experience meeting people in a variety of situations. This is going to be great!
Driving around here, taking care of business, I see the pro-war propaganda, the nationalistic symbols on people’s vehicles, and it is pretty darn freaky.
Observing my reactions to all this, I'm finding that my desire to be confrontational is waning. That’s a relief I must say. I feel myself beginning to detach from this place that I’ve called home for over 30 years; claimed as home in an act of rebellion and survival as a teenager.
Monday, 27 December 2004 12:40 PM
Ain't it grand, the way life is always changing? I have been reducing my material possessions, which has been a lot of fun! It's not as difficult as one might think to reduce attachment to stuff. Or maybe it's that I am still attached but to less stuff, so the lesson on attachment is not complete. It will be...haha..no doubt.
The house is going to sell sometime in the next 60 days, and then I think I'll get a Vanagon Westphalia Syncro camper. If you see a great one for sale let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org Then I'm Canada bound. There are people who I am in community with strewn across Canada from Quebec to BC. Amazing how that happened, eh?
Friday, 10 December 2004 5:05 PM
True to the nature of the universe, change occurs constantly. Where I am now is...contemplating a step into the unknown. I don't know if I am moving away forever, going on a journey to return to Vermont eventually, or to travel for a bit then settle elsewhere. It's a bit disconcerting. I am a person who has pretty much always known what they wanted and where they were headed. I do like the yurt idea, in a small rural community of pagan permaculturists.
Selling the house is definitely a good idea for me, so I am hoping that'll happen soon and easily.
Tuesday, 30 November 2004 10:52 AM
It's looking like my first real stop on this trip will be northern Alberta, Canada where the Animyst Collective is gradually taking form. I'll be checking it out in March sometime, driving across Canada. New Zealand continues to be on the horizon, I'm still working on the paperwork for the visa.
Wednesday, 17 November 2004, 03:54 PM
This is my first entry. Today I have set things in motion which will take me to New Zealand with money in my pocket, a starting point, and no ties to anything anywhere. I'll be adding to this blog as time goes by.