HOUSELIFE DAY #6: THE LIVING ROOM CHRONICLES

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😋HOUSELIFE DAY #6: THE LIVING ROOM CHRONICLES

Dear Diary,

I made my peace with the floor. Finally. Afterall, it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a solid, flat surface to walk on. As I walk through the house I rarely trip on roots and am rarely scanning the scene for rocks or creatures. Who can argue with that?

Though at what cost? I ask myself.

After a few days, I realized that the crumbs and carrot tops I tossed on the floor haven’t been eaten or composted in any way. I sweep them up.

So far nothing living is communicating up through my feet. I either have extraordinarily dumb feet or this floor is not the living earth.

Furthermore, I fear that the natural rolling landscape that typically lends itself to the muscular flexibility of my feet and legs is now reduced to such uniform flatness, that now my body is slowly deteriorating.

I haven’t quite yet made my peace with the walls and ceiling, though.

I admit, there’s something to be said for a solid roof, trustworthily keeping the rain out, especially in Humboldt County. And hanging posters is a lot easier on a wall than on a salmonberry bush.

It’s just…it’s also a little harder to see through walls and I can’t help but have the sensation that my psychic and sense walls are also being subtly sewn up.

I now have a place to store Ryan’s belt, but search the heavens of the ceiling in vain for Orion’s Belt, and the full moon which was the largest super moon of 2020. I look towards the east out the win-doe and find an ecosystem of houses, wires, concrete, and towers as a landscape. Little barking dogs and gas powdered leaf blowers provide a charming soundscape.

Honestly, most of the time I don’t know if it’s raining or not, or what is on the tip of the tongue of the day, because I am bereft of the subtle cues and the geological gossip the fresh air ally brings to my skin and to my lungs.

Houselife Day 4: The Bathroom Chronicles

😜Houselife Day 4: The
Bathroom Chronicles

Dear diary,

I broke down and did something I haven’t done in more than two years: I bought soap. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but hey, everybody does it right? I bet some people reading this have even used several types of soap in the past year. I won’t judge you.

Not just soap, but soap with oats and lemon in it. And it was sublime! My nose immediately commenced an affair. I was tempted to eat it or make cookies out of it. But I was saving it for something special. I had looked for some soap with sand and honeysuckle and bits of cedar bark broken into it, but the store only had 108 varieties. I asked the clerk, but he just snorted loudly, turned around and walked away. Fortunately, he had a mask on.

Contrary to received opinion, soap isn’t that necessary, either for washing bodies or dishes. For years, I’d done just fine with good ol’ fashion wild water from creek, river, or ocean. I smelled like a forest king—I swear all the best nymphs loved it. Imagine mugwort meeting forest duff mixed with the scent of dawn (of sunrise fame, not the detergent).

For dishes, water alone as well, sometimes adding sand and on occasion, plant-derived saponins like from soaproot bulbs. But is it sanitary, you ask? Well, it worked for me and wildlife, and I never got sick. Until I started coming to town.

I only had one dis-ease, and that was the result of being born human.

At any rate, the reason I mention the soap is that it played a pivotal role in an experience that I think I will remember for the rest of my life. First, I should describe the room this happened in. It is small with two large white bowls and an empty closet. The closet contains nothing at all except one of the silver sticks like the one in the kit-chen, only this one was high up and fat on the end like a burl of a redwood. Like the kitchen device, it too leaked hot water when I adjusted the levers on either side.

Oh it felt delicious on my hands and arms. So delicious in fact that I found myself doing something wholly spontaneous, and so delightful…I removed every last layer of clothing and stood under this glorious hot indoor rainstorm!! For 3 hours.

All the while, the cold rainstorm outside pitter-pattered on the side of the room (I was told the see-through square holes in the walls were called ‘win-does’)

I sighed as the hot water poured over me and melted me…I won’t say more here because I know some people still deny innocent pleasures (to themselves and others), but suffice it to say there was moaning and chanting and suds and release. I was a new man!

So, regarding showers, I am a convert. (As opposed to a convict. Of all the laws I willfully and joyfully break, I have been convicted of none. Though I freely admit, I am many types of -vert, including an intro-, per-, -ebrate; and I also enjoy obverting and subverting. You might say it’s a diversion of mine 😜)

Mirror, mirror on the wall. A giant mirror hung above the white silver-sticked bowl. I’m no stranger to reflections. Pools, puddles, rivers, and lakes have their moments of remarkable clarity and with them arrives reflections of not only me, but madrones, mountains, moons, and more. Polly Dome Lake in the Touloumne high country was perhaps the most perfect mirror I’ve ever met. We are still friends to this day. Whether I’ll be as close with this mirror remains to be seen. 😜

Sure, over the past couple years, I’d taken a good hard and soft look at myself—but only from the inside. Which requires a whole different set of mirrors. And less flat than this one. (In fact, flatness seemed a persistent theme in this house and most indoor territories I’ve visited, subject of a different entry)

I just haven’t really looked at the front of my head in physical form in a coon’s age and wasn’t prepared for the startling image peering back at me:

The eyes were the color of spruce bark and barn owl down, all asparkle, and as chock full of wonder and mystery as a tree canopy full of ravens or a mountain meadow full of English daisies and lupine or the roofless sky full of suns.

God, I was gorgeous! I only mean that objectively. Sure, it was no autumn sunset or waterfall surrounded by boulders with green-mossed shoulders, but that face was a work of magnificent earthly art. It made me happy to think so many human and non-human people were able to be gifted its appearance. No wonder those beautiful beasts kept….well, that’s for another time.

Now I must report something that may sound indelicate to some ears. Nature calls in many ways: birds and bees, and a morning ritual I like to refer to as recycling. Does a bear shit in the woods? Why yes, and so do humans.

But here was this large white bowl with water in it, like some granite basin I’ve seen hollowed out in the middle of the cosumnes river. So I sat. And sat. At first, I felt weird, with no ferns or salmonberry brambles for privacy or intimate company, and had a little difficulty relaxing. But soon I realized it was no different, really, and began to really enjoy the ritual like usual.

Really be with it. Flow.

By now I’d learned that silver equals water stick or a way to control the water stick so with a flick of the wrist a loud rush of water poured in and swept it away deeper into the bowl.

Now, I have no idea where it went. I just hoped it wasn’t into the living room of Alayna, the resident below. Fences make good neighbors, someone told me, but shitting in their house makes for bad ones.

At any rate, it turned out it went ‘away’ and I had nothing to worry about. ‘Away’ was some place people kept mentioning, both with regard to bathroom visits as well as lots of other things. I hope to visit it someday.

In the meantime, I will happily explore these various realms within the indoors. Like most labyrinths, there’s only a rough map of the place, and full of both danger and happy surprises. Nothing risked, nothing gained. It’s not my first rodeo, so I was confident I’d come out the other side, not without some scrapes and bruises, but perhaps even stronger and more whole than ever before. What an adventure!

HOUSELIFE DAY 1: THE KITCHEN CHRONICLES

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😋#Houselife Day 1: The Kitchen Chronicles

Dear diary,

It is the first day living in a house after more than 2 1/2 years living houseless. A short-term 1 month experiment. I know living inside can be extremely dangerous, but you know me, I’ll try almost anything once.

I have installed some of my food items and spices on two slabs sticking out horizontally from the wall. They appear to be made of a tree-like material, though the roots, branches, bark are nowhere to be seen. It has been very useful in organizing my stock.

Also in the room there is a large white box with doors. Inside the air is cold like winter or like the microclimate in the shade of a large oak tree, except light is emitted from a sun-like bulb, the size of a soaproot. But the little sun is cold, not hot like fire. I’ve decided to put some of my forage inside as an experiment. If it turns out to be evil and devour it, I’ll have to stick to the old ways.

Finally, there is a silver stick extending over a white box elevated a few feet off the ground (which is covered with a very strange substance, no leaf litter, and completely flat!!). At first I thought the silver branch was for hanging my hat on. But then I turned the little levers to either side and found water just pouring out!! (My hat got soaked). When I pull the right lever, hot water streams out. How is that even possible?! The creek and river never do that, except in very few and isolated instances. I have to admit, I do like it.

However, no birds or beetles or caterpillars have appeared. Not a single deer, fox, or bobcat has commuted through the room. No green neighbor lives in this room. So weird!! And when I look up it’s just plain flat white, no clouds, no stars, no breeze. It make me a little lonely.

But Nothing terrible has happened, and I’ll continue to monitor the environment (both outer and inner) and report back. It is National Burrito Day, so a celebration may be in order later. You know, as an experiment. But first: popcorn with nutritional yeast and coconut oil🍿

Descent Into the Great Sea (Rainbow Home #7)

whale2Miramar, She Who Mirrors the Sea, Translator of the Many Songs, resurfaced, smiling and nodding her head, an affirmation of my new-found knowledge.

“I was the HeartSeer all along!” I exclaimed, still high and shocked from seeing my face.

Suddenly I realized that some part of me knew the whole time. Why it took me a hunt for a fire dragon in a cave and crazy journey to the Edge of the West and nearly drowning while swimming out to find a cryptic mermaid to “find out”, I don’t know.

“Always the last to know,” I said, shaking my head.

“Does the full moon ask why it wasn’t whole last week? Does summer arrive mourning winter? The big hard sun and the great sea dissolves all and calls forth new things when they are ready. Everything arrives on time,” Miramar said.

And I knew that I was now ready to descend into the Great Sea. The Obsidian Key was down there somewhere.

“Follow me. I can take you as far as the Sei. He will take you further and faster than I am able to. You will not be able to understand WhaleSong, but I will translate for you.

She applied a gooey kelp bandage to my heel, wrapping it with a seaweed cord, stopping the bleeding. Then she put her spiral shell to her lips, took a deep breath and blew hard. The conch emitted a sound so high-pitched that I had to cover my ears.

I grabbed hold of her waist and we launched towards the open sea. The sun began to sink into the horizon, the sky turning lavender, pink, and orange. After several hours of swimming through the waves, a long and very loud squeal reverberated through the water, like the groan and creak of the sea itself. A giant body emerged ahead of us, bigger than any creature I have ever seen in my life–fins as large as walls, a mouth as large as building.

Miramar translated. He says, “The time as come for you to grow your sea lungs and dive down deep.”

Another raspy ocean shriek, like the sound of steel stretching.

Miramar continued to tell me what the giant was saying: “Grow your ocean ears and bend the ear of your heart closely. Listen for the echoes of sublime bass notes resonating through the fibers of your being.”

I merely floated before this beast called Sei, absorbing the message.

“League by league settle into the soul-tide quiet depths of true voice.”

“Step away from the noise of the middle world and keep falling until you reach the mariana trench of your true self.”

“There you will find the Obsidian Key on Gold Ring, the key to your Rainbow Home. It was thrown into the Great Sea many moons ago, not by the Evil Dwarf King, nor by his henchmen. No, it was you who tossed it aside. Out of fear, out of pain, you abandoned your own home.”

“Further down is a mystery where no one goes, yet from which all emerges.

“To enter, you must leave all behind. You have seen your true face in the water, but now you must leave even that behind, going alone into the trench without image or name.”

“Quieter and quieter yet, the deepest voice emerges, Unborn and Unknown.”

“Perhaps it one voice, perhaps it is none at all. It is not for me to say. Even the Great Sea does not know.”

“Are you ready to risk yourself in deep waters?”

“I am here,” I said.

With that, the mouth of the giant beast called Sei opened. The force of the water rushed in, dragging me into itself.

The last thing I saw was the dark cave of its stomach. Then pure blackness.

With a huge splash of its tale, the beast plunged – with the HeartSeer inside – into the depths and disappeared.

The HeartSeer at the Edge of Always (Rainbow Home #6)

GCI-13-mermaid-silouette-weGasp! I awoke with a gulp of air the size of my lungs. Above me an endless blue sky. Below me, hardness.

Solid ground!

I was either safe on land, or else on the bottom of the afterlife.

I looked around – a tiny rock island that sloped gently up towards a ridge. I rolled over onto the green, orange, brown, and yellow lichen-covered surface, exhausted, water-logged, and with a deep throb in my left foot.

Suddenly I remembered being hooked and grabbed my heel–blood oozed from a quarter-sized wound. The water slapped the bottom of the rock with monotonous rhythm. But above that I heard humming.

Getting my bearings, I hobbled my way up the slope and peered over the other side.

And then I saw her. A woman lingered at the base of the rock in the shallow water, soaking in the sun.

Jet black hair hung down to her waist, and glistened in the noon-day sun. Her bottom half, partly submerged, reflected iridescent turquiose, blues, greens, and purples, from tiny overlapping fish scales. She was twisting in the water, seeming to rather enjoy it.

She was dark-skinned and bare from the waist up and held a large spiral shell up to her mouth, the source of the sound that had pulled me to the Edge of the West and had lured me out to sea.

I sat entranced for who knows how long, charmed by her beauty and movement and melody.

Something about her told me I did not need to worry about being lured to my death. I saw, or rather felt, a shining, beyond the brightness of the sun on her skin and scales. I worked up the courage to say something.

“Hi. I don’t mean to startle you.” What do you say to such a creature?

“Hallo two-legged,” she answered, smiling. “You didn’t startle me, I saw you swimming for the past 4 hours.”

Her voice rang like pure water, flowed like liquid sunshine.

“I have been seeking you for many moons. I was beginning to think the HeartSeer was a figment of my imagination. ”

“No, the HeartSeer is not your imagination. But I am not HeartSeer. My name is Miramar, she Who Mirrors the Sea, Ambassador of Oshun and Translator of the Many Songs.”

My heart simultaneously lept and sunk. I finally arrived at the Edge of the West, I finally venture out into the ocean, nearly drowned, met a stunning creature of unparalled beauty and liquid voice–but she’s not the who I’m looking for!

“You almost drowned out there,” she said, stating the obvious. Even though she had put the shell down, it felt like I could still hear its murmur.

“I almost feel like I did drown,” I said, “All this is just too strange to believe. Did you save me?”

“We have a saying in the Great Sea, only he who has hooked himself can unhook himself,” she said.

“I didn’t hook myself. Those sea plants grabbed me and a fisherman’s net…”

“As you say.”

“But, you did. You saved me. You brought me to this rock?”

“I merely guided a floating Two-Legged on the edge of the death to shore. The end of your own struggling saved you.”

“Thank you, thank you!” I came closer. “I am in your debt. I’ve come who knows how far from the Redwood Forest of the East to the Edge of the West to find someone called the HeartSeer. I’m looking for my Rainbow Home. Can you tell me anything about it, or about the Obsidian Key on the Golden Ring at the bottom of the Great Sea?”

“Why you be searching for all these items? We have a saying in the Great Sea, ‘Stop chasing, starting creating.’ I think perhaps you could save yourself a long and difficult trip,” she said with a splash with her tail.”I know only of the Great Sea, which is my home. And have not heard of what you seek. What is a Rainbow Home? Do you live in the sky, with the winged-ones? Is not the whole world your home?” She gestured to the ocean, as if that made any sense.”

She continued, “What is a key?”

“That’s a lot to answer. A key is for the lock that was put on the Rainbow Home,” I answered.

“What is a lock?”

“It’s a…a…thing that…without which, you can’t open a door.”

“What’s a door?”

“It is an…an entrance, umm…a threshold….that can be open or closed,” I could see that this could take a while. “I would be more than happy to explain all of it to you, I just want to know if you can tell me where to find the HeartSeer. from which I am to discover a clue to the whole thing. Some villagers seem to think the HeartSeer is a mermaid. You are a mermaid, aren’t you? You must be the HeartSeer!”

“Why have you misplaced this Rainbow Home? And if it is so important, why put something on it that requires another thing in which to enter or open?”

An interrogation-I didn’t know how to answer. “I lost it long ago. But it is where I want to live now. It is my true abode. My village is suffering from a curse, and I want to make medicine to lift the curse.”

“Aghh! A curse?!! I have heard of such things. The Landed-Ones tell such tales. We have not curses in the Great Sea.”

“Yes, we are afflicted with many things, often of our own devising.”

“I am ignorant of such things, but it sounds serious,” she said.

“And I too am ignorant of the ways of the Great Sea. I live among trees and soil and mountains and…”

“Trees! Such mysterious Earth-Footed Ones. Mountains!” She chimed, splashing as she did a hip roll-up on the rocks. “I have longed to visit mountains of the Waterless Abode, having only seen them from afar. They are like giant waterless islands. They are the end of the known world, the Edge of the East.”

I laughed. And couldn’t help be enamored with her way of seeing as well as her beauty.

“I’m sorry for finding that funny. It is not waterless. We have lakes and rivers and waterfalls and rain and ponds….And the mountains are not the edge of the world. There are whole lands over the hills. In fact, I come from a place that is entirely flat many leagues beyond the mountains, full of fields and wide open skies. Not unlike your sky here,” I said, then added, “But I guess islands are like underwater mountains.”

“What are fields?”

“I guess you would say, fields is earth where we grow our food.”

“But how do you live without the Great Sea?”

“I…umm…don’t know…But I could show you. I will take you to the mountains! I can tell you all about them. And fields. And trees,” I was excited at the prospect. For the moment, I forgot all about the pain in my foot and the hunger in my belly. “I am in your service. I will…”

“Alas, I cannot leave the Great Sea,” she interjected. “But maybe you can bring them here?” Her eyes widened with hope. I could almost fall for her in that moment.

“I see your heart’s desire. I will find a way.”

—–

“Aha!” Miramar lighted up, as if coming into some great idea. “I know where be the HeartSeer. Not very far. Come.”

“You know the HeartSeer? Why didn’t you say so!” I said exasperated only momentarily, being overcome with anticipation.

“Come closer.”

Then I remembered: The gifts!! My heart sunk. I forgot the gifts I was to bring as an offering to the HeartSeer. I felt as much embarassment as regret.

“I forgot the gifts,” I admitted to her. “The 7th Born, I mean the Bunny..er, I mean somebody I met in the forest, said I would need to bring gifts: a gift unmade, a gift unbought, a gift unplayed, a gift uncaught. But I don’t know what all that means. I didn’t know what to bring. And what I had with me I lost swimming out there….”

She was only smiling. “I must go now. Be here tomorrow at dawn and I will accept your gifts to offer to the HeartSeer.”

“But I told you, I don’t have any gifts. I can’t…”

But just like that, Miramar disappeared beneathe the water.

And there I was, alone on a rock miles out at sea, under a setting sun, without my gear. Without food. Without my Sea Staff. Without gifts. Without a clue.
________

Only from extreme exhaustion from the day’s events was able to sleep through the night, though it was cold and windy. Dawn on the sea is quite a different experience than dawn anywere else. It comes earlier and comes on slowly, like a creeping consciousness, a progression of slightly larger breaths.

When the orb of the sun was fully above the horizon, Miramar appeared from below.

“Good morning! It’s so refreshing to be able to say good morning to someone, as most of the Great Sea community does not go by night and day in the way of you landed folks.”

“Good morning.”

“Do you have the gifts? I am eager to show you the one you seek.”

“If you are eager, I am doubly so! But I have been here all night, I have no gifts. How could I possibly get gifts? You just disappeared without…”

“hmmppph…” With that she splashed me with a whip of her fish tail. “You must reach deeper into those pockets of yours, Two-Legged. Meet me at dawn tomorrow.” And disappeared once again.

I was stunned. What am I doing here? How can I possibly please this Ambassador of the Great Sea. Could I trust her?

I spent the day alternating between exploring the perimeter of the little island, sleeping, tending to my foot wound, trying to hunt little crabs and fish, and fighting the urge to swim back to shore. I could see the lighthouse at the village. Warmth, people, food, all of which seemed as strong as the siren song that pulled me out here to begin with.

Once again dawn arrived. My gut hurt from eating only uncooked molluscs and dried seaweed in the last three days. I felt delirious and was worried that I began to not be worried.

Soon Miramar surfaced, eyes wide and full of light in expectation. I could see a brightness shining in her. But I could also see a darkness shining in her. The shape of her wound, behind her ribcage, a shadow shining like a rainbow ray, tender sacred wound. And I could see that it was beautiful and it was painful. It was the source of her shell magic, her song, her melody, her smile, her light.

It didn’t make sense, but that is what I saw.

I loved her–in a way I have never loved a person.

But in that moment, I knew that I could never take her to the mountains. Nor could I bring the trees to her. I knew what I had to do.

I stripped naked, stretched out both my arms with fists faceup, and opened them.

“I bring you my gifts: in this hand is Trust, a gift unplayed and unbought, and this hand an Open Heart, a gift unmade and uncaught.”

Miramar merely smiled and motioned me to come closer, then swam over below the sharp drop-off. Wearily, I inched up the rocks until I was at the very edge, and pulled my body up and looked over. Several feet below she re-appeared.

“They are but one gift called Acceptance. And hey are beyond beautiful. Now, watch where I’m going.”

Her gaze pierced mine, a gaze nearly too much to handle.

“Look closely, for When I disappear, the HeartSeer will appear.”

And with a splash she melted under the water.

When the the ripples settled, the surface became clear as a mirror. Looking over the edge, an image began to form.

A man reflected back at me.

I was looking at an image of myself.

 

At the Edge of the West (Rainbow Home #3)

IMG_4973I’ve arrived at the Edge of the West. The Great Sea is gorgeous beyond words. It beckons.

And I must say, travel by Fire Dragon is much more dignified than Greyhound, even if it is in the grips of razor sharp talons. (What I learned en route from the dragon about its wound and the transformation and other things is its own tale, forthcoming)

I’ve asked around among the villagers here for the HeartSeer, who supposedly has a clue on how to recover The Obsidian Key on the Golden Ring at the bottom of the sea that will unlock the door to the Rainbow Home.

Most don’t know anything about it. Some think I am saying Arts Ear and direct me to the craft shop. A handful of people give me definite answers, though all conflicting.

The HeartSeer is, alternatively: A wise (or dangerous) magician who lives up on the hill at the edge of town, living off grasshoppers and peering into the hearts of the unsuspecting, either to steal or heal their souls or to tell their fate.

Or she’s a sorceress who lives in the forest, juggling fire and flying through the air.

Or he’s a drunken homeless man who whistles incessantly.

Or she’s a mermaid that lives among dolphins, alternatively tempting men to untimely deaths with her siren song or helping ships navigate uncharted territories.

Or a pirate. Or a prince.

Having given up on the wisdom of the locals, I was tempted to just head out on the sea now, unaided by some fantastical creature. Perhaps the HeartSeer is yet another flight of fancy, or some other misinterpretation of what the 7th Born had told me.

Besides, there’s the matter of the required gifts. 7th-Born said I would need 4 gifts: 1 unmade, 1 unsung, 1 unplayed, 1 unstrung.

Having no idea what the hell that means, I decided to check in with two merchants along the boardwalk. Neither had anything like that, nor had heard anything like it. The second one told me to get lost.

I said, “Working on it.”

But he didn’t get it.

I could, more easily, rent a boat, some supplies and scuba equipment. I am a certified scuba diver. Yet the furthest I’ve dove is maybe 100 feet. And that was in clear (and warm) Caribbean waters.

But the Bunnies had said it was no doubt sunken to the very depth of the sea, drifting into the trench that stories of the western lands say split the Great Sea in two at unfathomable depths.

What was I thinking!? I’ll drown within minutes.

No, I’m going to walk the shore and hang with the seagulls and sea lions. If I’m lucky, I’ll catch a glimpse of dolphins. If I’m really lucky, I’ll see a whale surface beside them.

If I’m really, REALLY lucky, I’ll figure out how to find the HeartSeer. If such a thing exists. At this point, I’m skeptical.

Though what 7th-Born had told HAS come to pass, in a manner of speaking.

For now, I’ll be listening to the sea.

Ebb and flow.

The waves keep coming.