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Two weeks away from home seems like a really long time, especially in August when almost everyday marks a celebration of a loved one’s birthday or anniversary.  Then there’s the garden where the roses and clematis are just starting to re-bloom. The cucumbers are ripening on the vine and becoming ready for pickling. In August there are lush, ripe vegetables calling out everyday to be picked and eaten. It’s so hard to step away from the beautiful sight of what you spend so much time nurturing and from what nourishes you.

On the other hand, two weeks is not nearly enough time away when you look up from the roses and sense the frenzy of fall chaos rapidly spinning towards you. Is there a way to put the brakes on the flow time?

Yes. Yes, there is. I have found the answer to the problem of time and I’m here now to share that wisdom with the world.

Here’s how to make time slow down to a crawl: schedule yourself a 12-hour bus ride.  Make it an overnight ride leaving at 8:30 p.m. and arriving at the destination at 8:30 a.m.

So that’s the answer.  You’re welcome.  I’ll now give the play-by-play of the experience in case you need to live it vicariously.  I can’t imagine why you would, but hey, it’s your life.

I had no idea how lucky I was the first 4 hours off the trip with all my leg room in the spacious aisle seat and with my silent, sleeping neighbors. Time nearly came to a complete standstill when I found myself on the layover at our first bus stop. To my left a small child bawled in his unsympathetic mother’s lap and to my right an adult woman bawled into her cell phone. Sandwiched in between this much human tragedy I began to question my own life decisions, as one does, at 1:08 a.m. in a Nashville bus station. The stereo sounds of misery abruptly ended a few moments later when a grown man wearing a Burger King crown walked by and belched; it was a sight and sound unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. The burp itself had a sustained reverb that went on for way longer than anything like that ever should and the deep bass notes echoed against the station’s cavern-like walls, floor, and ceiling.  It was so startling that everyone put their suffering on hold to take a moment of stunned silence.  To some degree, the King’s burp was a relief felt by all.

The next leg of the trip I had a window seat and my new found friend, Tall Tom the Talker, had the aisle.  When he wasn’t talking or asking questions, he was asleep and taking up all of his seat and 2/3 of mine. At least he smelled nice. Before this bus ride I had actually bragged to someone about my ability to sleep anywhere. Those words alternately haunted and entertained me as I sat squashed up against the bus wall shivering from the cold. I wiled away the hours staring at the candy wrappers and trash that bygone passengers had crammed into the metal grate below the tinted windows.

At 5:40 a.m. I found myself in Knoxville, where there was less crying and more mullets. One man’s mullet defied the “business in the front, party in the back”  rule.  His mullet’s party crashed rebelliously through the front door of his business. It featured two braided pigtails styled to cascade forward over his shoulders and down his chest nearly to his waist.  He completed his ensemble with a red t-shirt, cut-off blue jean shorts, rainbow socks, and red tennis shoes.

The time warp continued as I stood in line waiting to board the third bus past the time we were supposed to be departing.  On the last leg of the magic bus ride I watched the sun rise over the mountains of North Carolina.  Twelve hours is all that elapsed on that bus ride and there was a time change somewhere along the way so the trip was only 11 hours, technically. But I was awake and present in those 12 hours (yes, 12) and I’m here to tell you eternity was in the felt experience.

 

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Thinker on a Rock, Sculpture Garden in D.C.

 

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Somewhere in the bowels of D.C.

 

 

 

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South Main, Memphis, TN

 

 

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An Invasion at the Squirrel Nut Zippers Concert

 

 

 

 

 

Love itself describes its own perfect. Be speechless and listen.

–Rumi

hammock

One cat just leads to another.

–Ernest Hemingway

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Don’t we love to turn our little blue world upside down?

–Tori Amos

 

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Buried beneath warm blankets, in the quiet shifting shadows just before sunrise, there arises an urgent need to share…

Me: Ostriches look like they have a lot of pent up anger with no adequate means to express it.

Him: That’s what you’re thinking?

 

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They see me long before I become aware of being watched. They adjust to my movements silently and invisibly. Is it ignorance or arrogance to be so unaware? Perhaps neither.  They have the evolutionary advantage of having eyes on stalks.

kayaking

When I become still enough to notice my breath and feel my heartbeat I begin to detect an unsettling presence. I close my eyes and remind myself I am the one here in predator form. I open my eyes and see the trees covered with hundreds of eyes and legs and claws darting away from my gaze. Later I will learn the name of these creatures: mangrove tree crabs.  For now, we all settle back into stillness.

Deep within the mangrove a winged-thing shrieks. I gaze down at the water.  First, there’s only my rippled reflection and the clouds. Then beneath the surface a frightenly huge figure manifests itself. Surely this beast is a figment of my imagination. It’s as big as the kayak and gliding by close enough to touch.

“Um…there’s a giant sea monster coming up on your right,” I warn over my shoulder.

He doesn’t belive me. Doesn’t comment.  Doesn’t even look.

“Like the Lochness Monster…” I add.

Nothing.

“It’s huge.  Bigger than you. I hope it doesn’t turn your kayak over and eat you.” I really don’t know who I’m talking to at this point.

Maybe I imagined it.

I am the predator here, I affirm silently, though with a little less certainty.

And then suddenly there’s another monster beside my kayak – its body seems to go on forever.

“Sea monster!” I exclaim.

And a few seconds later it’s under him.  With genuine fear in his voice, “Oh shit! What the-”

There is a moment of smug satisfaction on my part before my powers of deduction finally kick in and I gleefully announce, “AaaiiEEEE! It’s a manatee!!”

Oct 2014 Ocean Springs 001

 

Before leaving shore we were instructed, “When you get to the island, just do whatever comes naturally.”

For me, these words triggered an automatic response of anxiety:

Ok, so ‘act natural.’ What does that mean? Ohmygod! What am I gonna do?! I don’t know how to be natural on command…

With that thought came a hyper-awareness of everything I was doing. The simple act of standing upright became a test of memory.  Is this how I stand? What is my face doing? Is this natural? Then suddenly I was responding to people in a British accent because even my mouth had grown confused about how it normally worked.

By the time I set foot on the island I was functioning as a parody of myself. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Nature, in the form of hunger, to rectify the situation.  For awhile El-D and I walked side-by-side feeding the emaciated mosquitos as I unwrapped a sandwich to feed myself.

We had all brought different types of baggage to the island. I’m not sure where we thought we were going needing that much stuff.  Along the way we came to a tree that was strung with the possessions of those who had passed before us.  El-D and I paused here to marvel at what was left behind and to add our own unnecessary things to the collection.  We each left carrying only what was deemed absolutely necessary: for him, his guitar and phone; for me, my yoga mat and phone.

We wound up on the other side of the island. I picked up a shell and was suprised and mildly horrified to find it housed a creature.  I found another shell and discovered someone living in it too.  El-D picked up a third shell.  Larger than the other two,  it contained yet another being. He brought it over to me and then knocked on its shell.  A little guy popped out – all hairy legs with eyes on stalks. The three of us spent a moment looking at each other in awkward silence.

Then I remembered my phone and I decided to take the little hermit’s picture.  But before I could, he ducked back in his shell as if to say, “I don’t think so Paparazzi.”

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El-D handed me the creature and walked down to the water’s edge to sit with his guitar and do what comes naturally:  compose the soundtrack of our lives.

Meanwhile, I took the hermit to my mat so we could chat for a bit. We are kindred spirits, this hermit crab and me.  I put him in the sand and began tracing runes around him. Eventually he came out of his shell to co-create.

And soon we were all just being who we are without having to think about it at all.  The video below is the love song and scenes from Dear Island,

 

 

 

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament…
That’d be very hard to say.
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done.

–Peter Mayer

full of awesome

earth, sea, sky & guy

 

 

fallen butterfly on the altar

fallen butterfly on the altar

 

sunshine & shadow play in the meadow

sunshine & shadow play in the meadow

 

the old bridge

the old bridge

 

This is the first time in the four-year history of My Little Spacebook that I’ve gone over a month between posts.  There’s so much to report!

In August El-D and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.

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El-D & Lunar in the Pirate Phase of our Youth

 

We have seen each other through many faces, phases, places and lives…not to mention various hats and corsets. Whether leaving for the house for dinner or the grocery store, we continue to ask each other “Who are you going as tonight?” There’s Country Gentleman and Woodland Fairy, Monday Night Bowler and YoginiTini, Mickey Mouse Man and Bag Lady, The Professor and Mary Ann.  The odd pairings seem to be endless.  It’s great fun.

Also in August, I turned 40.   My wonderful family made it the best birthday ever!  The party was dubbed “The Redneck Shindig” and featured Slip’N Slides, Italian cream cake, a million baby crickets, and family members trying to one-up each other’s tales about the fires I’ve started in their homes and wrecks I’ve had in their cars.  Good times. Thank you, dear family, for loving me in spite of the havoc I have wrecked in your lives.  I love you and your terrible singing and zany presence.

Forty is fabulous!

Forty is fabulous!

 

One of the highlights in September was a six-hour kayaking trip on the Wolf River. Things were going great until I rounded the bend to enter Ghost River. At that very instant Nature got all up in my business. Plant life reached out to caress me in a creepy-uncle sort of way and two big spiders – one fat and hairy and one little-bodied with long skittering legs – leaped simultaneously and aggressively into my kayak.

Before I go on, I want you to know I can appreciate spiders when they spin their string art and sit around calmly eating less superior bugs. In fact, I appreciate them so much I take pictures and wax poetic about them (see Centered Scribe Spinning, Spinning ) I can even appreciate momma spiders when I disturb their peace with my weed pulling and they take off running with their egg sac full of future spiders.

a mama carrying her silver orb

See? I know this spider and her progeny. We coexist peacefully on the farm!

 

However, when spiders jump in my tiny kayak and proceed to run AT ME despite my flailing paddle and panicked shrieks, I will fight them until death.  It was a long, hard battle – and I had doubts about who would paddle or skitter away the victor as the kayak tilted precariously this way and that. After all that, I thought I was done with kayaking for awhile.

Ghost River

Wolf River

 

So it was a bit of a surprise last week when I found myself back in a kayak, this time in the bayou, on a soul journey with nine strangers. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how that happened and what it was all about.  I’ll let you know when the pieces come together…

Altar on Deer Island

Altar on Deer Island

 

 

 

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