Archive | December 2, 2014

Blessings from the sky

This morning I had the joy of walking to the bus in the rain and no, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m a native Los Angelean. Rain is so rare and precious to Californians, particularly now in the midst of a severe drought. Rain is magic.

As I started the walk it wasn’t raining but within 100 steps, the quiet set in and I knew it was coming and it started. Have you ever noticed the hush that happens in the world before a gentle rain starts? It’s like the world stops before and it’s concentrating.

Then the first big drops fell, slowly at first and the sounds came back. The mocking bird and the raven became quiet and the rain on the leaves of the trees got louder and louder as it fell faster and faster. I had to stop under one and pull my baseball cap out and my waterproof fleece out and put in on, all the while listening to the random beat of the rain on leaves and pavement. And yes, I was pretty well soaked by the time I got to the Orange Line. I didn’t mind, I was soaked in the sweet elixir of the Goddess. Rare precious drops of water falling to the ground to nourish the plants and animals. Blessings from heaven quite literally.

I was sad though when I got to work. They have almost finished replacing our 12.5 acres of land around our building with xerographic planting which is supposed save 10 million gallons of water this year alone but when it rained before we had tons of earthworms everywhere. Earthworms are an indicator species of soil health. I saw not one single earthworm this morning. Not one. It made me wonder what they had to done to the earth as they were allegedly helping it. I hope they come back soon. They’ve replaced the grass with mostly Californian and Australian native species.

Here’s to the joy of rain falling on the earth and all who dwell on it in a parched land!

I suppose if you live somewhere like Seattle you think I’m crazy but rain here where it is so rare is a miraculous and blessed event as long as you don’t drive in it which is why I took the bus.

Everywhere people asked me why I didn’t have an umbrella, I don’t own or want one. I like how it feels and as my mother used to point on when we were kids, I’m not made of sugar.

And yes, stopping under the tree in the rain is an act of bravery on my part. I’ve been struck by lightning and I know that is somewhere I do not want to be for a long. But this morning, I used the blessing of a friendly Golden Rain tree for about a minute. And thanked the Goddess for rain.

Now if I could just keep my glasses from steaming up…

Review: The Tales of BunniHoTep by Mary Beth Robb

Thank you, Thank you, thank you!

Darswords

The Tales of BunniHoTepThe Tales of BunniHoTep by Mary Beth Robb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Remember Peter Rabbit and the other Beatrix Potter bunnies? Did you just smile like I did as you thought of them? This book will do the same for you. Sure, they are children’s stories to introduce morals and some of the gods and goddesses of the Pagan worlds. But I read these every night. It was nice to bring that sweet, peacefulness only a bunny goddess could bring.

I would have loved to have these stories to share with my kids when they were small. What a great way to initiate conversation about world history and religious history. To show that other philosophies have something to live by. How being kind and helping others is not just a Christian belief, but one that goes back to BC days.

Kindle Unlimited is a great way to read…

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The Lesbian Bar of “The Lord is With You All…” by Marie Cartier

puerto rico-marie cartierWhile attending the recent National Women’s Studies Conference this past month, I had a unique and –yes—a religious experience.

I was staying with a friend who (luckily for me) owns a home in Puerto Rico. I saw more of Puerto Rico in four days then I believe many might see on a two week vacation! I saw the ocean, swam in the ocean, walked all over Old San Juan with its blue streets, gambled and danced salsa at the famous Hotel San Juan, ate amazing food (especially at my friend’s sister’s restaurant Mom and Dad’s Café) —and of course went to the conference.

And I went to an “old school” lesbian bar. A bar where women loving women gather who were diverse in age—ranging from women in their twenties to women in their fifties and sixties.

My friend said this is the best lesbian bar in Puerto Rico. I…

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Dave Bidini attacks Joni Mitchell…why…?

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

Dave Bidini’s critique of Joni Mitchell seems smilingly petulant in a way that is way too familiar…and reminds us that maybe generational differences make us too readily divisible….

Joni Mitchell (image courtesy Wikipedia)

A recent essay reprinted from The National Post at Crooks and Liars by Canadian indie rocker/writer Dave Bidini (most well known for his work with The Rheostatics) takes folk-rock-jazz icon Joni Mitchell to task for being “difficult.” Bidini’s chief complaints seem to be that Mitchell is critical of another icon (John Lennon), is troubled that her fans don’t always “get” her songs, and struggles with having grown old and fragile in health.

What Bidini believes (or at least gives the impression he believes) is that Joni Mitchell doesn’t have the right to be cranky about her struggle to achieve her artistic goals in spite of the bias against her as a woman artist, her…

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Bjorn the Bear’s Winter Dream – a Yule story

Once upon time there was a small bear named Bjorn. Bjorn was born in a far northern forest up where it was very, very cold in winter. Bjorn had been born in the dead of winter with his brother and sister, Berta and Esben. They spent that first winter cuddled close to their mama and as they got older she started to tell them stories about the outside world.

Deep in their den she told them about tall trees they would see and deep, cold lakes and about the high mountains around the place they lived. He heard about the salmon that swam in the rivers in spring and about the rabbits and squirrels that lived near the den. His mom told them where they could find a honey tree and where the best back scratching trees were.

When spring came there were no more stories, Mama led them out into a world of wonder. To the bears eyes the world was born anew just for them. The snow was gone and the water ran clear. Mama taught them to hunt and to fish. She taught them how to hide in plain sight as they grew. She taught them to stay away from people. People had guns and guns hurt bears.

They grew quickly ambling along in the forest and the summer passed in beautiful days of deep burning blue skies and sunlit days in their northern forest. As the days got shorter Mama showed them where the best blackberry bushes were and the cubs stuffed themselves fat. They got so sticky Mama had to dunk them all in the spring and in late fall they went back to their den to sleep. This year, when they woke up in their long sleep Mama would tell them about a tree that she had seen one winter not far from their lair. She had woken in up on Solstice night and had felt the need to walk in the quiet of the forest. It had been silent except for the owls and she had seen a bright light.

Mama bear followed the light across the forest and watched it land in a little pine trees branches. The tree had stood there bearing the star in its branches and had lit up their forest. It was so beautiful. The bear had gone back to her den to sleep after the lovely sight and had never managed to wake up again on Solstice Night. The cubs bothered her the rest of winter for that story. It became their favourite winter story and Bjorn began to have a dream. He wanted to stay awake and see the tree and the star but that winter was deep and cold and the bears slept most of the winter and didn’t come out until the next spring.

The bear cubs were bigger that year and Mama spent most of the summer teaching them how to be on their own. That fall they would have to make their own dens for the first time. She taught them how much they needed to eat to store enough fat to make it through the winter. She taught them how to make it cozy and she taught them how to stay away from other bigger bears. Soon it came to be fall and the cubs split up for the first and last time. Each of them choosing a different direction to go and seek a place to make their own and all the time he was choosing and making his own den, Bjorn day dreamed. He was going to find some way to wake up and see the tree and star.

He kept trying to figure out a way to wake himself up. His mother had told him that just wasn’t possible, that if he was meant to see it he would wake up in exactly the right time to see it, otherwise it just wasn’t meant to be. She had supposed that it was something most bears would ever see once in a life time and then only if they were very, very lucky. She didn’t even know if it happened every year or if it had happened only once. She had never heard anybody else in the forest ever talk about it.

Bjorn swore he would be that lucky bear! He would wake up on Winter Solstice and he would see that star and his friend, the tree. He wanted to know what that special night was like. He wanted it with all his heart and he kept whispering to himself as he lay down for his winter nap to “Remember to wake up! Remember to wake up!”

He extremely disappointed to wake up and it was almost spring. It was different in a den by yourself with no brother and sister and no mama to tell you tales. He had slept the winter away and missed it. He was horribly disappointed and fell back asleep until spring had truly arrived.

This went on for several years and Bjorn had decided it just was a dream his mom had dreamed and maybe he should just give it up. Bears belonged in dens in the winter sleeping not roaming around in the cold and dark forest.

Bjorn was making his den again one fall and he remembered the story but just shook his great black head. No point in wishing, he would just sleep anyway and tucked himself into his lair but this year was different.

One cold, cold clear night Bjorn woke up. At first he was disoriented. What had woken him up? And then he heard it. He could hear a faint chiming and see a bit of light filtering in the entrance to his den. “Could it be? Could it really truly be?”

Bjorn shot out of his den and pushed the heavy snow way from his den and stood up. The light was coming from the north but not very far away at all! He started to move quickly through the snow. He saw other animals around him, a small herd of elk. Snow hares that should have been asleep were lolloping through the snow. White owls that flew silently over head hooting softly. “Come, come celebrate with usssss”

And they came. They came to a tree that was standing all alone in a field of deep snow. In the tree’s branches a star hung nestled at the top and shedding star dust all around. The snow sparkled and shone all around. The animals crept closer and closer and soon it seemed every kind of animal was there and on this night it felt like they were all friends. A deep peace hung over the forest and the only thing that could be heard was a soft chiming from the star.

Bjorn had never felt this way before. No hunger, no need to hunt, just a need to be with other creatures and to maybe, just maybe have friends and be at peace. He looked at the other animals. They seemed to be feeling the same thing as they sat in large circles around that tree absorbing the blessing of the tree and the star and Bjorn thought to himself, “Sometimes having a dream come true is better than any dream.”

He sat in the snow and a small hare snuggled up to him and then a squirrel. A great deer lay down near by and an owl sat in the rack of his antlers. For this night there was peace in the forest and the blessing of a star from far away and a lonely little tree that was his friend.

***This follows yesterday’s “Lonely Little Star” and is available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354728417&sr=8-1&pi=SL75