Archive | August 8, 2013

Garden magic

One of my favourite things to do if I have nothing planned on a Saturday or Sunday morning is to lie out of sight on the front room couch and listen to the children passing by.

We have made a yard suited to us filled with magical beings and the kids see it for what it is. I’m sure a lot of adults in the neighborhood think our yard is tacky or weird but we did it for a reason.

When I was little we had a magical Great Uncle named Uncle Winn and he loved us kids so much and he and my Great Aunt couldn’t have children for some reason so he spent his love on us. He had a gnome with a wheel barrow that he convinced us was moving when we weren’t looking and all of us tried so hard to see him move. He’d convinced my mom and her brother one Christmas Eve that they could here Santa’s reindeer’s bells and my mom swore they had heard them.

For me, he was magic personified and not just because he was a Master Mason of the highest degree but because he saw life as magical. One evening he took me out into the yard to see 3 magic things. He showed me Sputnik crossing the sky at twilight and was patient enough to wait until the half blind kid could find it in the sky, Then he took mw to see a hummingbird’s nest with three tiny eggs in it and if that weren’t enough to throw me over the moon with joy, he took me to meet the great horned owl that sat in a huge pine up the mountain in his back yard. I’ll never forget looking in the eyes of that great solemn wise old being. I’ve cherished that memory for my whole life and he totally coloured how I look at the world.

When we lived in the Valley when I was first going to school, I walked to and from school and there was one yard I had to pass by every day that would make me happy no matter how much I had been bullied that day. An old lady had covered a tree in hanging plastic birds and her yard had all kinds of animals under the big deodar and it was my magic place I never told any one about. When we moved to Glendale I again walked to school by a yard that had cement deer and a series of fish ponds and a big tortoise and birds hung in the trees and it became my magic place to walk by every morning. So when we moved here after my dad died my sister and I decided to make our yard a magic place for us and for the kids in the neighborhood.

We have more than 15 gnomes out of the yard and our fantasy is that this is a retirement center for garden gnomes so none of them has a work implement. We decided that after discovering the first three gnomes we bought quite by accident, carried a bell, a book and a candle. So our gnomes are swinging and teeter-tottering being layabouts. We do have two that are racing rabbits and ladybugs and in honour of my great uncle, the biggest gnome is pushing a wheel barrow but he isn’t working, he’s gardening.

We also have tea light holders of all sorts, a lot of rabbits, a giant acorn, a toad house that is shaped like a pumpkin and various dragonflies and some witches scattered through the tiny yard.

I love to lie on the couch and listen to the steady stream of little kids that are brought to the yard by their nanas and their dad, strangely, very few moms for some reason. One little girl has to say good morning or hello to each gnome she sees. One little girl convinced her little brother that the gnomes changed position every day which led my sister and I to regularly go out after dark and conduct the great gnome move just for her. This morning a little one told their dad that there was dragon poop on the sidewalk. I think it’d beneath where the raven likes to sit in the sycamore.

I love that we have created a place that little kids find as magical as the yards I loved as a kid and that I still find yards today full of magic.


Optimism v Pessimism v Realism

I was born a determined pessimist. I had to learn to be more optimistic. Now I’m a realist who can dream. I had good reason to be pessimistic when I was kid. By rights, I shouldn’t have even been born and this wasn’t helped by events while I was growing up. My mom took DES and had German measles before I was born which lead to being born blind in one eye. She was also RH negative to my positive and I was a twin, my other half was stillborn. So I had a fairly rough start getting to the planet. I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was 9. It took them a while to decide it wasn’t “growing pains”.

That doesn’t take into account that I was being physically abused at home by a parent that couldn’t control his rage. And I was molested/raped by the man next door when I went there to be safe.

Some of my earliest memories are fantasizing getting away and committing suicide. Every car ride brought up thoughts of “How much will it hurt if I open the door on the freeway?” “How much will it hurt if I throw myself down the stairs?” “Will anyone even try to stop me?” Even after I had surgery on my eyes I still had those thoughts and my solution was just to stop eating nearly everything. This led to more fun visits to the doctor while they tried all kinds of medical solutions to make me eat. No one ever asked me what I wanted or what was wrong.

I hated life. I had almost no friends and I didn’t want any after the bullying I was also getting at school.

Nothing really changed until I got my first camp job up in Idyllwild. I was out of the house. I was away from absolutely everyone who had ever known me so I decided to make a new me and since the camp was year round on weekends. When it wasn’t summer I could be away from home during the year when I wasn’t at college or at work.

I had applied in secret to the job at the YWCA camp and interviewed without telling my parents. I took the bus to the YW so they didn’t know and one night while my dad was screaming at me that, no one would ever want to hire me and that I was worthless, the phone rang. It was the camp director from the Y wanting to know if I could start that weekend. I said yes and walked into the living room and told my dad he was wrong because someone just had and I was leaving. One of the best moments of my life!

Everything changed. No one knew I had been handicapped. No one knew that I didn’t eat. No one knew I was a pessimist. No one knew me at all. So I changed. I learned there were things to live for. I learned that every day didn’t have to be lived in fear of getting hit or having something demeaning said to me or being told I was worthless. I found out I had worth to myself and other people. I learned what I liked to do for fun.

I loved working at camps because they gave me myself. They gave me the name I go by when not in the family. It gave me the ability to live. To find out I was gay. To find out I could be valued as an artist or a musician. To find out other people liked me for who I was. To find the spirituality that I found in nature was a real thing. That the things my grandparents tried to teach me when I spent the summers with them about nature were the things I valued and my touchstone.

So working at camp is something I value beyond measure. It was a long process and when I broke up with a lover I was with for 4 years I did try to commit suicide again and landed myself with a wonderful therapist. That had some side effects. There are people in my life that will never forgive me or trust me for that and that was 25 years ago. But I have learned to be more on the optimistic side because pessimism can really hurt me. I try to see the joy in life. I try to have innocence in my heart. But I also know that if I ever have a terminal disease (other than life itself) I might depart this life on my own terms, but never as a reaction to what someone else is doing in my life. It’s my life!

Today’s reading


The Archer

The dawn of a new adventure, folded in the web of universal potential, waits for you to string the bow of your imagination and loose the arrows of creativity. This is a time to be bold and commit to the hunting of new life and a better relationship with the world as well as the fulfilment of wholesome ambition.

Take a moment to gather your tools and steady your state of mind. Take careful stock of what you want to achieve, why and how you will go about it. Then harness your potential by filling your quiver with all the talents, knowledge and cunning you possess and string the `bow of burning gold’ with the `arrows of desire’.

Take a deep breath and be calm. It is time to let your soul take flight.

This card is to do with having a clear sense of direction. If The Ancestor leads you on to your path, The Archer teaches you how to walk that path with independence, determination and focused skill. This card links to the Spring Equinox; a time to put the past behind you, to look to the future. It is the skill of The Archer that unifies the duality of intended and actual aim.