The mycology of kindred

This one of those mornings where the sun is bright behind the fog, and the people spread out are extending their feelers in response. I took my cat Tiki Neale out around the side of the building on a bright yellow leash this morning, so he could sniff out all the smells in the fog. There were huge portobello style mushrooms blooming in the loamy bark, which didn’t excite him nearly as much as the possibility of slipping through the gap beneath the fence.

But those mushrooms reminded me of the vast network of spores lingering dormant in the soil, invisible until the conditions change and then springing forth in great abundance, popping up everywhere –

And in my mother’s wild garden, the root system from a maple stump hosted a great colony of fungi this fall. She was delighted, and spent hours out in the woods uncovering the old grown bones of a tree. Far off in the city, I like to think of her kneeling as the sun filters through the trees, with her hands in the dirt, communing beyond words in texture and smell.

There’s a page of notes from a book on Biophilia posted in Pages with some illuminating quotes, and Dale the neocappadocian sent along a poem in response to the I See a Darkness posting. Please scroll down to the comments to find it: and whether you like thinking of yourself as a mushroom or not, imagine the fecund possibilities.

Earth Ascending

From the whole to the part,
The whole is in the part;
Every part is holy.

For all you fans of nested holarchy out there, please check out this revolutionary old book by Jose Arguelles, first published 20+ years ago by Shambala press and reissued recently by Bear & Co. It is a book of maps and information, spanning a global perspective on just what DNA, the I Ching, and Resonant Field Theory have in common, anyways… There’s a little something to tickle everybody’s particular suspicions about the interrelatedness of everything, and while it takes a while to grok it, the implications begin to sink in immediately.
I’ve compiled some cliff notes – WoW style – from the introductory essays, for the page in the corner. Please to check it out. You’ll find working definitions of geomancy, holonomics, and a host of names and possibilities to spur you to fantastic leaps of understanding.
Have fun!

home again home again lickity jig

Rain rain glorious sea level rain. It can be hard to keep track of me sometimes, what with all the driving up and down the west coast. This month I journeyed into parts further south with old friends Joel and Charlie. The three of us are collaborating on a book of the Peruvian experience, which I hope will be the bookend to our various travel guides – and a distilled extrapolation of our time under the southern cross. (Please sing along with the Crosby Stills Nash and Young song here) The elevation in the Andes made all experiences just a bit more intense, I’m sure.

I brought Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez with me during the trip. It was an invaluable mirror and a source of great amusement. The appendix in that book is Steinbecks attempt to exorcise Ed Rickett’s ghost. Please find it at a library near you, it features some of the best writing about a person that I’ve ever read.

So I’m still a bit with one foot in each world, and the sifting and sorting back into western civ in the midst of the holiday buildup will be a further exercise in bridging realities. For now, suffice to say that we spent thanksgiving on a small boat breaking down in the middle of Lago Titicaca, using the floorboards as paddles and having the time of our lives. So many things I am grateful for – mostly that the adventure continues, and that there are people to share it with and lots of love to greet me on the return home.
thanks for filling out your parts in the story.

private grace paradox

Portland put on the early-fall-ritz in michelle’s front yard yesterday. The mimosa tree trailed its feathery fingers back and forth overhead and the gnats hovered in the intersection like self-propelled dust motes showing off in the sun. It was a very simple moment and I experienced it as grace, coming by for a visit.
We’ve been out of favor lately, grace and I – not sharing the simple together but showing up for all the other momentous meetings and then standing by. Watching and waiting and putting aside the intricate layers in a pile, my hope is to catch up to myself later. This is a consequence I am finding, of spreading energy thin. Grace may have a different system; be working with a more immediate synthesis. I’ll catch up in an eon or two.

But Oh Hello – the possibility of a private moment with the universal –

I was wrapped in a blanket on the grass, doing heart yoga behind the hedge. There were bicyclists eveywhere – one fellow with a heavy gut and a bike bell that dinged indiscriminitely, he let out a satisfying belch as he passed my shade-dappled corner. Perfect, round, complete.
And a call from somewhere nearby in the neighborhood: “Help me. I’m locked in the bathroom!” This roused me a bit from my graceful reverie – Which bathroom? Where?
No response – not all cries for help must be answered by those that hear them – the grace for me was full in this same moment of ordinary terror for someone else. Irreconcilable? no, paradoxical? yes.
grace is private, I think.

anniversaries not adversaries

What is it with time? Today, friday August 12 2005, is Day 18 on the Mayan calendar, a GAP day named Yellow Reflection Road. It is also the day that my friend Tim was born, 30 years ago. He died on February 13, six months ago tomorrow. So today I’ve been singing the songs he loved and shared with me, and remembering fondly the way we spent his birthday last summer: up in a treehouse with our friend Caryn, reading poems. He shared his mythology with us, his mystery with the sea. Then we let a lost dog walk us through the neighborhood. You learn someone when you go along on their birthday. A walk is different when the dog is deciding.

i began the poetica page on this site tonight. I’ll keep feeding this repository with complementary poetry as we go along here, and for this day, 2 offerings:
not a wilderness – one about penguins and grief that i wrote down today, and XV.returning home – a snippet from a long piece that i began in the wake of a trip down to california while Tim was getting ready to complete his journey.

Also, please check out the world peace calendar on the link to your right. I’m finding it to be a working synthesis of many systems – gregorian, mayan, tonal, numerology, astrology, ecology, runes, i ching, feng shui.
and quotes, like this one from Machiavelli:
“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old system and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one.”
Certain frustrations continue to ring true. In tribute to Tim I bring this up because perhaps what got to him most was this frustration. I bring this up also because it is not true across the board, and because the folks offering “adventure in the rebirth of a Cosmic Culture…come along!” do not seem to be bound by this perspective’s limitations.
I’m ready for the proverbial new paradigm. And it has to do with Time.

Alberta Street dreaming

My latest wonderful world has been Alberta Street, home to pirates and clowns and creatures of the earth who favor bicycles and body ink. For an incredible week I revisited an old dream and entertained the possibilities of Pieroska – an old grocery owned by “the mad russian” named Joe and his wife Elizabet who talked to me for an hour in broken sentences about her Hungarian mother’s legacy and how they cannot sell the building. Instead they’ve let it sit empty and ramshackle and we could see such potential in the high ceilings and storefront space. A church of sorts. The body arts, photography, catering events for last Thursday – a good dream, whole and intact, requiring hard work and willingness. And fallen through today, this dream, due to a lack of trust and uncomfortable mirrors. We retreat to our discomfort zones. How am I like an old multi-millionaire who sits on his wealth and shows up in dirty shirts with grime lines on his neck? Joe’s shithole building could have been beautiful under our ministrations, only he would have needed to let us work our magic, and he didn’t want to after all.
It was a passed dream, not the end of the world.
New places bring revisitings of old, you know? and if you’re me…more poems.
here’s about that:

[oh and in this state of passing
to become a standing wave
awake at rest In the moment]

sweet nostalgia
no more melancholy [because] the golden
past is still ringing
true in my ears. This dream
was a good one. So have been
the others.
I will drink toast after toast
around the head to good friends
sit on porch after porch
with my feet propped up, [laughing] & speculating
the possibilities
this is a golden spot, true –
[just as Eddie the collector, a mad poet exclaimed
as he wandered past the fig tree in the backyard
with the letters in the beds of blueberries
and nasturtiums.]
Erika’s List:
These are the letters I have
[robert’s] the wee cabin, the hammock and mound
of ferns.
This is where I came into this world
A fire divot and characters, all these famous people,
not yet
anonymous. Sitting around a scratch in the backyard
burning wooden letters salvaged
from the dumpster down the block.
Stehl & Kasey & Robert & Erika & I [choosing difficult]
Love is a goddamned magical thing.
And I came back to the world in fits and starts,
wrapped in a cloak on the front porch
writing poems and hooked on
breaking open my heart.

here’s another from that first fall in Bellingham:

Dissention Consciousness

What I know:
I am permeable. I take in
many things. There was a time
before now
when I believed that what I took
in would not harm me.

Sundrop behind the island
the mountains are outlined
in snow and dusk, the bay
is calm, the water glows
a bit pink and the birds rise
off it to circle the sky.

Shoreside, there is a smokestack
a herd of boats in harbor, boxcars
stopped on the train tracks.
I drink my hot chocolate
out of a styrofoam cup.

What it is still hard to believe:
This pink tinged bay is full
of mercury. The smoke from the stack
at Absorption Corp. creeps dank
in my lungs with the right wind.
I don’t know what is in
this hot chocolate either;
the plastic lid I keep raising
to my lips.

I am permeable. I reap the consequences.
I pin down the earth just like
everybody else.
I will be grateful anyways
for the joggers and the cigarette butts
and the dried up leaves. This day
is passing, another will follow.
I will drink it in and breathe it out,
let the implications move me
past remorse into a fierce
love for all of us
who are not safe,
who are not harmless.


harumph haurrah. let’s begin this blogging business, shall we? Thanks for tuning in. An ee cummings poem to start things off:


dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)

trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)

honor the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at this wedding)

never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for god likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)
ee cummings
This one came to me from Kathleen Downes at the Hellerwork training this spring. I will be posting notes on various workshop and adventure experiences from this spring, in glean-able form as follows. Thanks to all a’y’all who serve as motivation, [witting or no] to communicate some missives from the World of Wonders.