The Legend of the Black Lightening Bolts

If I try to be extraordinary this morning, chances are, I will not get anything written.  So in the name of sharing my life and my mind with you, I am going to put my extraordinariness under cover, and three-two-one DO THIS!!!  But first, I am going to put on my ridiculous, dazzling lightening bolt earrings… because they have magical powers, and I want to see how they effect my writing.  I know that seems a bit contradictory… to be undercover, with gigantic, black, sparkly lightening bolts sprouting from my ears… I can’t argue with that.   I guess I’m not committed to being ordinary… I just wanna git-er-done… and my time is very limited.  Serena is nearing the four month alive mark, and gone are the days when she’d wake up, and act like a breastfeeding blob of dough in my lap.  Now she wants to commune with me, and fervently prepare for the not so distant day when she shall own the World!!! (And thank GOD for that… because it is past due time for this world to be owned by a Tiny Beaming Buddha with an incessant God-drunk grin.)

I think the earrings are working.  My Ma (and of course Serena) and I went into Town a couple of weeks ago, (yes, living way out in the woods, as we do, “going into Town” is a “Thing”… which still tickles me, being a Bay Area native.  Most of my adult life, I’ve been able to step out my door and be instantly transported to the BEST cafes, yoga studios, restaurants, dance classes and general rambunctious swirls of grandiose human doing-ness.) Where was I?  Ah yes, we went into Town, and I wanted to get something(s) new to wear, because the few clothes I have, probably predate the dinosaurs, and even with my innate, bohemian je-ne-sais-quoi, which by some stroke of magic, allows me to appear a bit flashy and enchanting, I was (and still am) seriously sinking in the domain of fashion.

I had high hopes for “Solstice”, the vintage, costume and chic used clothing shoppe in Town… but mostly my daintily cloud-brushing hopes sunk like a crippled submarine.  It’s just not the same, shopping with a needy three month old strapped to you, and a body to testify that it really has not been that long since she burst triumphantly into this world.  I got two tank tops.  I couldn’t try them on, because by the time I found them, Serena had fallen asleep in her ergo pouch, and there was no way I was gonna disturb her, so my beneficent ma took a wild woman gamble and bought them for me just in case they were awesome.  They were.  Praise the Lord.  And that is not even what I set out to tell you.  But you might as well know that I am well initiated as a mom, and my life is no longer my own.  And this somehow tickles me.

But the particularly loose moral of this story, is that up by the register, there were these over-the-top ridiculous black lightening bolt earrings on display.  And they honestly got all up in my business.  They wouldn’t leave me alone!  I’m pretty sure they were whispering promises of rockstardom and world domination, oh-so-softly in my ear.  My eyes turned into swirling spirals, and I heard strange, secret music flooding my ears.  I looked at the price tag, and they were twenty bucks.  Actually nineteen ninety-nine to be artistically precise.  No WAY was I gonna shell out such an obscene amount of money… even in the name of rockstar world domination… I have been a heavyweight champion miser since Serena arrived.  My life has revolved around paying my rent and utilities, not looking fabulous and having frivolous fun of yester yore.

All that unsatisfying shopping (and breastfeeding) worked up an appetite though, so we moseyed over to a cute little cafe down the street, which to my delight had outdoor seating!  I got a turkey sammy (came with a pickle and thick, ridged potato chips) and a spicy chai.  My Ma got a Mad Hatter looking slice of cake and a bowl of soup.  Being a short-order joint, they sent us away with the cake and chai, and gave us a number for our “savories”.  My Ma made mention of having to wait to eat her cake till after soup.  With glitter black lightening speed, I informed her that this was not the case!  She could indeed eat her cake FIRST.  Apparently, this was delightful news to her, because like the Queen of England on anonymous holiday, she dove right in!  And like the Queen of England’s privileged, croquet prodigy progeny, I ate most of the perfectly bitter, buttery chocolate frosting layer.  I love that about my Ma… she is so endlessly giving to her babies… No matter how giant and self reliant we become.

But alas, none of that mattered so much in the grand scheme.  I mean of ALL the unwritten stories that sleep like mythical beasts inside the fortress of my mind, body and soul, why was I compelled to tell THAT one???   I think mostly because I liked the part about giving my mama permission to eat her cake first.  I really do find myself endearing for having such frivolous, whimsical priorities.

And now for the steak and potatoes of this momentous literary masterpiece.  My best dear friend Anitra, fresh off the plane from India, had joined us at the cafe, and after lunch (which was cut short by a rare and extreme, latte curdling wailing session by Serena– I think she was overwhelmed by the excessive stimulus of Town…) we set off together for a little “friendsie time”, and my Ma was left to entertain herself, which is very natural and delicious for her, since not only is she independent by nature, but she also had a purse brimming with cash on this almost warm and sometimes sunny, waxing spring-ish day.

At two thirty, when we converged back at Faith (my valiant, silver station wagon), she delightedly displayed an assortment of “things” she had acquired while we were apart.  I feel like a shmoo for not memorizing all of them… I DO remember a bright orange hat she had gifted herself, “for gardening”.  And of course I remember the little brown bag she handed me, which I immediately ravaged and discovered the illustrious, coveted lighting bolts!!  I immediately put them on, and assessed our communion in the visor mirror… I was amazed to discover, that immense and exaggerated as they were, they somehow achieved an acute sense of rightness on me.  And in that moment, my life changed.

I’m serious.  I transformed from a blah-zay, frugal, single mother dressed in ancient rags, to a SUPER HERO(INE) with undetermined, yet unmistakable magical powers.  I’m still trying to attune to what they ARE… But when I wear my “bolts”, I feel giant and invincible and wealthy!!!  I am a force to be reckoned with.

Yesterday, I wore them as I made quiches for the first time in my life, to be sold at Master’s Market… and when the savory egg pies emerged from the oven, one of them still had some goop.  I panicked, because I was afraid that if I cooked it longer, the egg matter would turn tough.  Eggs are really such delicate, touchy creatures, who demand attentive kid gloves and ample tenderness.  I decided to bake it a bit longer… I hope it worked out.  I am still shaking in my weather-beaten, fur-lined pink ugg boots, to be honest.  But I will testify, that the only way I survived that risky wrassle with mortality and imperative customer satisfaction, was wearing these said heavily enchanted earrings.

…And come to think of it, they are probably the reason that little Serenie-doodle is asleep in my lap right now, and I am able to finish this essential tale of my existence.  Speaking of my existence… I’m not sure that I’m exactly “afraid of death”… but lately, I’ve been acutely aware that I might be pretty bummed when the “Athena Grace movie” is over.  I mean, yeah, yeah, eternal souls and all that erudite, spiritually enlightened jazz… but still… whoever this is, who is currently donning the ingenious costume, fondly known as “Athena Grace LMNOP”, is gonna slip out of it one of these days… and even though this indwelling, fabulous shimmer of Eternity will continue on (and on and on and on and on and…), the “Athena Grace movie” will be over.  And I’m sad for this… Because I love being Athena Grace.  She’s such a bold, quirky and lovable heroine.  How could my soul POSSIBLY top this one???

I guess it’s possible.

EVERYTHING is possible in God’s dream.

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Bird Magic

Welcome to another gloriously imperfect moment in the life and times of Athena Grace!  Make yourself at home, and rejoice that you can not hear the hideous cacophony of a sea of barking dawgies.  (Calling them “dawgies” actually softened my tense, stressed insides for a few moments.)  For the most part, they haven’t been getting to me as much as they COULD… but tonight it hurts.  Probably because I have not been in the ocean today.  The ocean has become my lover.  It’s official.  I should change my relationship status on facebook right away! …NOT!  But honestly~ when I am merged with the ocean, I am making love.  I feel wholer than whole.  I feel entirely at peace.  Bliss is no longer just a trendy word.  (Jesus, bliss is such a trendy word!  I never realized that before… but as I typed it, I felt compelled to stand up and cry out, “Hallelujah!”)  Oh, well, I guess it’s good to spend a day apart from ones lover every once in a squeaky freak show.

Another runner up of a reason why I might be extra sensitive to the domesticated beasts yowling outside my winder is that time has been so saggy and loose today like a god-awful pair of nasty, crotch stained pants with a stretched out elastic waist, hanging on a smelly, packed rack in some thrift store.  Pants that you would not wear if somebody paid you… or you might if somebody paid you… depending on how much and how motivated you are by moo-la-la… I digress…Stretchy pants time~ living today has been like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole.  It just keeps spilling down, down, down, down… Shrug.  I kinda like it.  Sorta.  I kinda like everything these days…

Life is so spankin’ good here that who cares if there’s a few crunchy, stupid moments… really!  Today while I was loafing around (God, I dig that expression… I picture myself as a fresh baked loaf of honey whole wheat bread who incessantly shleps around on saggy couches.)

I just took a blogging intermission and went in the kitchen to fix myself a massive glass of black juice… I’m cleansing my digestive tract, drinking this stuff called “intestinal drawing formula”.  Strange that something so black is sposta be good for me… but that’s neither here nor there… The moral of the story is that while in the kitchen, I swirled around with my housemate, Catherine for some highly quality moments and now I feel eighty eight percent less imperfect about the current general climate of reality.  Catherine said that she too experienced time to be thrift store, stretched out elastic waist pants today! (she didn’t mention if hers were stained or not…)  Did you?!

After talking with Catherine, I feel steeped in enchantment.  I feel like I’m dripping with magic.  I saw more cardinals this morning!  It was pouring rain and they were splashing in the flooded rain gutters in the eves above my bedroom window.  I could just see their red tails and fluffy butts as they flitted joyously in their make-shift bathtub!  Then they flew into a nearby tree so that I could admire the fullness of their profound, regal beauty.  Golly, they stun me!  I watched one of the male cardinals chase his duller colored brown wife around in the tree.  They were so playful!  She would sit still and quiet, waiting for him to come after her and then she would quickly dart to another branch. (I’ve played that game many times!)  I dig a bird who knows how to have some good old fashioned fun with her hubby!  Usually I’m not so into just watching nature like a T.V. set… Unflattering truth be told, I’d rather get lost in all my deep, “important” thoughts.  I feel like I “should” be able to just sit around and watch plants grow and junk like that.  I guess I’m getting better at it.  But I was entirely captivated my magical bird spirits.  They have visited me in so many dreams, that the respective worlds of my night time dreams and my day dreams got feverishly smeared today.

This happened again in the afternoon, when I was walking home from the Healthy Hut (the over-priced, phone booth sized, local health food store) and the post office (yup, that was my big outing for the day!)  There’s a macaw named Merlin whose cage is right up against the sidewalk.  Lately, macaws have been showing up in my dreams a ton!  Today as I was passing Merlin, he called out to me, “Hello!”  I stopped in my tracks.

“Hello,” I replied.  He sidled his way over to the edge of his cage, getting as close to me as possible.  Since macaws have been flying so close to the surface of my boundless psyche, I figured I’d take this opportunity to get more intimate with him.  I felt awkward, standing there with Merlin.  I’m not very adept at relating with birds.  When I was a kid, I stuck my finger in a green parrot’s cage and he bit half of my fingernail off.  Blood gushed out.  I was traumatized.  I told this to Merlin and he listened intently.  I heard parrots are highly telepathic, so I felt like a dork talking to him out loud in English… But he seemed more than happy to humor me.  I told him all that was on my mind.  He stood close and stretched his wings, revealing an immaculate rainbow of feathers to me (minus purple).  I studied his complex, divinely intelligent beauty in a state of transfixed awe.  I gazed right into his piercing bird eye.  Though it was nowhere near warm or human, his overall presence was disarming.  As I reflect on the experience now, I feel my heart spread wide and waft with sweetness.

Strange magic.  Birds… Somehow these vibrant birds are helping me turn my dreams inside out.  They are helping me loosen my false, white knuckled grip on “reality”.  The Dream, Itself is shaking me awake.  I like it.  A lot.

Amen.

Moonlit Unicorns in Desert’s Breath

Alright, alright, I’m going to come out of the blasted closet.  It’s hot in here and hella stuffy.  And besides, I’ve heard that the world outside is kinda amazing…

I was born in Reno.  I don’t often tell people this.  I identify myself as a bay area native… I have lived there since the age of two.  And to me, Reno, Nevada seems kinda trashy for the likes of a sophisticated, bohemian lady such as yours truly.  Not only was I BORN in “the biggest little city”, but I spent [too] many a childhood summer under wide, dry, vast Nevada skies.

Why do I bother to confess this modest nuance of my personal history today?  Because these very words are tumbling forth from beautiful Reno.  And there is something about Reno that fits like a square peg in a square hole inside me whether I like it or not.  (At least in summer time… I don’t love all that frozen business as far as I can throw it…) As it turns out, this is becoming the summer of holy pilgrimages!  I have made a holy pilgrimage to Reno to ride unicorns!  My dear friend and beloved knight, Sir John has a gaggle of them and he’s been trying to get me up here to ride for months.  But I was too busy trying to hold my frenetic bay area life together.  Shrug.  Now that it’s falling apart, I have set myself free to wander and drink from the bottomless well of sacred images, textures, scents, feelings that lay in wait all over this miraculous planet, earth!  Three cheers for falling apart!  (At least in this moment… I imagine I’ll feel less enthused in moments to come…)

(Last night, I dreamed that a cardinal flew into my temple (massage/yoga/meditation room).  Cardinals are one of my favourite bird… I am stunned by their redness and their gurglish elation of a song!  Cardinals live in Hawaii (among other places) and I take it as an auspicious sign that Hawaii is one of my next destinations!  A cardinal flew into my temple!)

What do I love about Reno?  The dry heat.  The infinite sea of sweet-scented sage brush.  Being surrounded by endless chains of arid, shadowy mountain ranges who rest in a patient timeless meditation, their shy peaks kissing the sea of unbounded blue above.  It is six forty two am and already the world is flash flooded with vibrant light.  In the bay area, I usually only get to taste stingy bites of the sky at any given time.  It is always obstructed by buildings and ostentatious topography and the towering ambitions of those who live lives in perpetual high gear.  (Generally, making plans with a friend in the bay area requires planning at least two weeks out and then blocking out a sorry two hour slab of time at best.  Can you feel my disdain?  I could say a lot more on this topic, but I’d rather write about the enchantment of Reno right now…)

I am drinking all these images as one who has almost died of thirst without hardly noticing that she was wasting away… but every time I leave the bay area, I find dormant pieces of my soul.  They come alive and I remember more of the sacredness that beats my poetic heart.

We spent the day at Sierra Hot Springs, lounging like nobody’s business, luxuriating in warm water and decadent shade, expansive lullabies sung by towering pine trees and warm desert wind, bird songs and the expertly blended perfume composed of heat and dirt and pine.  I invited all the beauty to enter me and become a long term guest in the spacious world Inside.  It graciously accepted and flooded into the infinitude of cracks in me.  We arrived at Sir John’s home after dark.  The moon danced in taunting stillness, high in the foldless canapé of deepening indigo.  She was just over half full and her light was icy silver.  Her light was infectious and uncontainable.  Ever time I looked at Her she drenched me silly, while throwing a twisted, knowing smile my way.  Touché, lady luna, I bow to your spicy, understated splendor.

“Do you want to see my babies before you retire?”  Sir John asked.  I felt lazy and hot springed out and just wanted to flop into bed, but I mustered.  Were they *really* unicorns?  I guess as with all things, it’s in the eye of the beholder.  But if I had any doubt before I met them, now I am sure that it was unicorns that I encountered last night.  Sir John turned off his obtrusive beam of light and took me into the pen of his stallion, Rico.  My vision was all silhouettes, shadows and moonbeams!  Rico’s white body shimmered at the edges as it made ghostly love with the moon above.  I felt shy in the presence of this intimidating equine presence.  I reached out and pet his velveteen muzzle.  He exhaled a massive unicorn lung full of warm air and I became at once drunk on its simultaneously animal and vegetable sweetness.  I feel like I need to reiterate this point.  You MUST understand the potency of tasting unicorn exhale!  Unicorn exhale could heal the sick and resigned!  It transcended my finite self and wafted effortlessly into the eternal world of my soul in a single, slippery instant!  And then it was over… but I am still reverberating with the sting of enchantment.

Unicorns burning in the icy light of a half illuminated wily moon!   It does not get any finer than this.  May you bathe today in Grace-drenched, soul-quenching images!

Amen!