Things Are Flowing

D14C440D-5AA2-4F40-88D7-E434E5537362Thank you everybody who followed along during National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo18), as I wrote & shared snippets of #mywildnatureheartstory (soon-to-be a book ‘Vulnerable Mountain Heart’). It was a wild ride & I had a blast! It also really kicked me into gear getting my mountains of content organized. I think hanging out with rivers and creeks a lot helps everything flow better.

Vulnerable Mountain Heart is not a novel, but a mythopoetic story of my life and lessons, in particular over the last two years, as I transitioned from a non-aligned & unhealthy relationship, job, home, etc. to living an aligned life outside in the forest of the Nearby Faraway leaning into my powers and purpose, by way of soul descent & initiation during my summer vision quest, with plenty of adventure, stories of sacred wounds, self-abandonment, love affairs, and delicious poetry woven throughout!

I didn’t reach the 50,000 word count goal, (reached about half that), but more importantly I DID reach the goal of becoming clear about style, structure, and direction of it. I don’t know exactly what the final book will look like (these things have a life of their own), but I’m confident it will be beautiful, funny, and uplifting.

Through the next several months I’ll be jamming on it, getting it into shape. It’s one of my three winter writing projects, along with a new poetry collection called HEADWATERS & HEARTROCKS (aiming for release date of February 2019) and a semi-autobiographical mytho-poetic fantasy trilogy (for kids and adults) called THE RAINBOW 🌈 HOME CHRONICLES.

My non-writing projects include developing a Wild Nature Heart course curriculum, fleshing out the details of my 1-on-1 Nature-Based Soul Growth Coaching/Mentoring offering, and an Apprenticeship to Soulstice & Silence. More on these later. 😀🙏🦊💓🐢🐻🌈🦅🐛

(Photo: Canyon Creek, part of Trinity River watershed, Trinity Alps)

AT THE DAWN OF TIME

111B8BFC-EE21-4D35-A6B8-7E5D5AABCFB1National Writing Month DAY 30 (Final Day!!)
AT THE DAWN OF TIME
(Word Count: 1045)

In the distance looms Mt. Diablo. Not as shadow, but as guardian. Diablo–but that’s the colonizer word. The Chochenyo Ohlone call it Tuyshtak, which can mean ‘at the dawn of time.’ I learned this at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival from Vincent Medina, a local Muwekma Ohlone poet. He is a leader in reviving the traditional language, & now a co-owner of the new Ohlone Cafe in so-called Berkeley.

What a difference in meaning of those two words: Devil and Dawn.

Tuyshtak is the roof of the East Bay and I can view it from the roof of my home, which is a madrone- and oak-lined ridge above a canyon full of bay laurel, horsetails, flowering currants, poison oak (I call it guardian oak), & redwoods, after which the park is named.

Perhaps we should start calling it by its pre-colonial name. Perhaps all names should be decolonized as we re-sacralize the land. As we re-dream our relationsip to the world-than-human world out of which we emerge.

How ironic I find a deeper connection to the land and indigenous history & a deeper commitment to decolonizing work as I squat illegally on the land in a local public park.

But aren’t we all settlers?

I feel we’ve lost something. Perhaps on some level we all know we’ve lost something. I am dreaming into living/doing/being a new-old way. I want to re-member. I want to re-connect to those ancient pulses in our bloods & bones. I want to re-wild & re-set. I yearn for something real. I want to breathe in & out the Deep Be-Longing.

Something in me is dawning. I don’t pretend I’m living some ancient lifestyle, w/ my REI gear and solar Luci lights. But I find that the more I befriend the trees & water & birds here, the more I greet the dawn, the more I slow down & LISTEN, the more that beautiful dream flows out of me/through me & becomes the real thing—the thing that doesn’t lie, more real than the bad dream of this dominant/dominator culture.

Perhaps this is the beginning of what is meant by right belonging & right relationship–and I find there’s a depth and peace in it. I vow to keep listening. (Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

THE WOUND AND NOT THE STORY OF THE WOUND

desert2National Writing Month DAY 28: THE WOUND AND NOT THE STORY OF THE WOUND
(Word Count: 1435)

From that high place it appeared a lake, pinkish-white and round with promise—a beautiful mark on the land walled in by red rock and a giant sky.

It asserted itself on me, drew me like a fish fishing the man thrashing.

You’d think a part of me would know about mirages in the desert.

But I needed to touch the wound and not the story of the wound.

So I began the descent. With no dragons or wizards, no wise old ones or magic amulets. Only lizards and a relentless voice that carried my heart ahead of my legs.

My sole companions: Death and all my loves. In our work it is called a Death Lodge, a self-ceremony created to have those final conversations as if you really were dying.

Mine took the form of a walking death lodge. We said the unspoken things that needed to find a purchase in the open air, so it could finally float on up and meet the sun.

“To far, too far.”

“No. Go the distance. This is what you came for.”

“This is foolish.”

“This is the end. This is the beginning.”

Which powers in me were having this debate?

I climbed down, sliding over sandstone, through shadows and old stories, found and gave forgiveness, empty of stomach but full of purpose.

It was too late to turn back now—I must touch the wound, not the story of the wound. I must find the gift inside its pain.

I arrived at noon, my thirst stretched out like dune devils as the sun hovered an inch from my forehead like a rune foretelling troubling things.

My feet found cracked mud—it was no lake. It was not pink, but white like a skeleton—dusty evidence of the gash.

The only water came from my face, forced by the startling realization: the stories, my god how much I’d wasted with stories of the wound, and not the wound itself.

I blessed it with the final tear. I blessed it!! Thank you sacred wound.

Dry and new, I turned towards the arduous ascent with a swollen tongue and a swollen heart.

And I ascended hand over fist with my companions: Death and all my loves, including myself.
(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)

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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

WILD HOUSE MEETING

0560E649-157E-4E43-BED0-70AAD23E52D8National Writing Month DAY 22:
WILD HOUSE MEETING
(Word Count: 789)

I held my first house meeting with my new roommates. The purpose was to get to know each other and discuss respective chores. In attendance: rabbit, deer, quail, fern, hawk, bay tree, redwood, madrone, spider, oak, snake, thistle, poison oak, wind, beetle, and walnut. Fox came late.

Absent: Owl, possum, raccoon. (being nocturnal, they have a tough time with morning meetings). I hope they’ll read the minutes.

Turns out moon was there the whole time, but I didn’t see her-she had her new moon coat on.

We opened with an ice breaker: What’s your favorite thing about autumn? And what’s the silliest thing you’ve done this year?

Decision by consensus: We will each be ourselves and allow the other to be themselves. This is by far the largest home I’ve lived in and by far the most housemates I’ve ever had. In fact, so many that I haven’t yet met them all. I hope to get to know them intimately in the coming months.
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

EVERYTHING ARRIVES ON TIME

50EF3733-27BE-4E1E-ADDF-696EF7789B6BNational Writing Month DAY 21:
EVERYTHING ARRIVES ON TIME
(Word Count: 980)

I stare at the beautiful thistle. “It’s the wrong season for this unfolding, this bright and painful apprenticeship to cracking and bursting forth,” I whisper heatedly in the blossom’s ear.

Because, damn, I could have used this purple body-heart wisdom when the harvest moon peaked over pine mountain high over strawberry fields last autumn, back in that simple season of music and fire, when she and I were young and in love.

And now? We haven’t really looked into each others’ eyes in months, and I’m dissolving inside. All I see is grey.

“Where were you when the caterpillar was wandering around in that big garden of our love eating the wrong things and stumbling over its entangled legs?

But the blossom answers, “Does the full moon ask why it wasn’t whole last week? Does the apricot tree complain of its flowering? Does summer arrive mourning winter?

Now, in the silence of summer’s eve the big hard sun calls forth new things, and I realize, perhaps everything arrives on time. Perhaps things crack in all the best ways. It’s a hard lesson, but perhaps the flowers know when best to bloom.

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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.

Ryan and Katie

#mywildnatureheartstory

THE TRUTH WANTS TO FORM A SYLLABLE INSIDE ME

D39F759B-1AAE-4815-A0FB-14DAF074067ETHE TRUTH WANTS TO FORM A SYLLABLE INSIDE
(Word Count: 956)

I’m stuck down in the canyon—and the truth wants to form a syllable inside me. It whispers my real name.

And I discover: I had abandoned myself. So many times. So many years. And it hurts. Everything hurts too much. Everything is on fire.

I am too thirsty. The fire says, die here or climb. It is not a koan. Die here or climb.
I think about what I should write in my journal should they find my body. But I think—If I abandon myself now once again, I will abandon everybody I claim to love. And I can’t love without taking myself into the big heart. So I begin.

My body moves up the mountain and I find there’s nothing pulling me up except one thought—I have too much love to lie down here under the big hard sun and give up. The way love finds me comes in the shape of hot desert heart rocks that appear as I climb my way out…hand over fist over hand over fist, claiming my life with everything that is still alive in me.

They are screaming my name with a strength beyond muscle, until I finally reach the rim of the world.

The desert and the mountain and the heart of the world have tattooed the shape of love in me and I know now with a vibrating certainty: I will never abandon myself again.
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory