Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beautiful People

I am the first to admit that life is hectic.  Things are moving so fast that often we do not have time to think, or appreciate things for what they are.  The girls have been busy ... they dance a combined 22 hours a week normally and then, when they are involved in something special, they dance more.  For the last few weeks, at least one of them has had class or practice six of the seven nights of the week.  It culminated this weekend with their performances in "Christmas on Broadway" at the City Theater.

Friday was the dress rehearsal.  Wendy and I sat in the audience watching the performance.  It promised to be fantastic.  Of course, there were a few people missing ... sick or otherwise committed.  Regardless, it was beautiful ... the whole scene, the singers, the dancers, the theater itself.  The little girls appeared on stage with Julia Furtado, Miss Maine in the current Miss America pageant.  She is a very nice young woman and gave each girl and autographed picture.

Saturday, the day of the first show, Wendy and I got dressed up.  I don't really like dressing up.  I am more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, but I couldn't get away with that with Wendy in a little black dress.  We got to the theater only to have to turn around to get a costume.  Still, we got back in time to take our seats and settle in for a few minutes before the show started.

Each of us, over the course of the show, took our turns getting teary eyed.  I am the first to admit to being a sap.  Those extremely beautiful moments filled each of us to overflowing.  Of course, we laughed at ourselves, which only enhanced the emotions.  Several number stood out ... a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria, our girls dancing so gracefully, and performances of the following songs, Like Mother Mary and Hard Candy Christmas.  The videos are just for you to hear the tunes.  Live and in person they were stunning ... the setting, the mood, the harmonies, the costumes.

One would think, after having seen the show a half dozen times, the novelty and emotion impact would lesson, but every performance is different.  The impact builds.  Sunday was a repeat performance on our parts.  Filled with the raw power and beauty of each song, we took our turns laughing at each others flowing tears.  Of course, we are biased.  The stars in our eyes were these three beautiful, intelligent, graceful girls.  For me, Wendy was a star of the show, too.  It was wonderful to have time together sharing such exquisite, poignant moments.  So, here are my fours star performers.

Sunday, we also attended an annual Solstice celebration at the Maine Audubon Society.  The shamans performed an Ayni Despacho ceremony.  The ceremony was rounded out with a storyteller telling a legend about the InnukSuk.  The night, again, was magical ... the lights, the mood, the humor.  Our good friends were there for the first time ... perhaps, receiving what I hope to be a good dose of love, perspective and support in the process.

This weekend showed me that I am surrounded by beauty.  There is so much that goes un-noticed most of the time in our hustle.  Yes, my weekend was busy.  And no, I did not get to spend enough time out in Nature.  But, even while cutting down a neighbor's tree for both firewood and a Christmas tree, I was reminded, by a sweet little mouse, that we are fortunate.  We have the support, abundance, and beauty we need to satisfy our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  My MooseBoots path is certainly full of these things.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Small Steps Forward

This weekend, Wendy and I had a bunch of stuff to do around the house.  Of course, as you know, I've been busy and lamenting the slow down of travel on my MooseBoots path.  The biggest thing on the list was to burn all of the scrap wood in the backyard (insurance guys don't like that kind of stuff).  I thought about trying to light the fire with a bow drill, but we were on a tight schedule because the girls needed to be picked up within 2.5 hours.  In spite of the "need to get it done quickly", I chose to add in a bit of practice.

I have, much to Wendy's dismay, a lot of "bits of nature" laying around the house ... milkweed stalks, birch blanks for spoons and bowls, Jerusalem artichoke stalks, grass ropes, etc.  Among my "treasures" is a bunch of birch polypore that I had picked to make medicinal tea.  I have tried it, but still have a bunch laying around.  I broke a piece off of a large chunk and lit it with a match.  Of course, polypore does not really burn with a flame ... it smolders.  I ran around the house excitedly (it is almost Christmas, so I can) showing Wendy the smoldering  fungus.  She, not so enthusiastically, pointed out that it stinks.  I guess that is a matter of opinion.

I took the ember outside to light the fire.  It was glowing very slightly but a few breathes showed that it was very much alive.  Skill 1 - carry fire from one place to another - CHECK.  It would have easily burned for 30 minutes, but a larger portion would keep going for hours.  This is an important piece of wisdom, if one would be moving from site to site, rather than trying to light a fire from scratch.  It would be even more important in a situation where it had been raining and things were damp (like your bow drill hearth and spindle).

I looked around the back yard searching for something with which to make a tinder bundle.  I spied a few corn stalks that had no been pulled from the garden bed.  I stripped some leaves off of one an fashioned a tinder bundle.  I have never before used corn leaves for a tinder bundle, but figured it was worth a try.  They were a bit damp from the frost melting off of them, too.  I blew my breathe into the bundle ... slowly the smoke started to billow from the tiny package.  I had seen someone on YouTube, video linked below, whirl the bundle around in his outstretched arm rather than blowing it.  So, I tried it ... it worked amazingly well.  The bundle got very hot in my hand.  Then, I few quick breathes and ... voila ... flames.  Skill 2 - make a tinder bundle and create a fire from a coal - CHECK.

Of course, in my haste, I fell prey to one of the classic survival mishaps ... do not expend all of the effort to make a fire until you have all of the materials on hand.  If you do, you make create a coal, or fire, only to watch it go out because you were not quick enough gathering the rest of the material for the fire.  In survival situations, it is important to be as efficient as you can in everything.  So, I spent a few minuted running around picking up dead sticks, more corn stalks, and other material for the fire.  Luckily for me, the polypore was still smoldering.  I retrieved it, wrapped it in more corn leaves, and began the process anew.  The flaming tinder bundle was then placed in the somewhat damp tee pee.  Slowly, the little flame grew from a single match sized flame to engulf the whole tee pee.  Skill 3 - built a fire and light it with the flaming tinder bundle - CHECK.

Sadly, that seemed like the end of my play.  I spent the next 2 hours piling on scrap wood, raking, and generally cleaning up the yard.  I must admit that it was nice just to be outside for those few hours, even only ion the back yard.  I doused the flames, came into the house, and changed my clothes just in time to run out to get the girls.  I commented several times, with a stupid grin (no doubt), that I smelled like smoke.  I love the smell of wood smoke ... for me it is soothing and calming.

Later, I did the unthinkable ...gasp... I continued working on a project that had been on hold ... I poured off the Japanese knotweed tincture into dropper bottles.  I have been asked about Lyme disease several times over the past month.  Interestingly, I made think tincture, ahead of all of that, because I felt like I needed to start applying these skills.  I also wanted the experience of creating medicine ... tinctures ... before I needed to do so.  Since then, I have taken a group, including my Shamanic Teachers, my mother, my family, and some of our nature group friends, out to harvest more.  It turns out that there are several of cases of Lyme that have occurred.  I also purchased "Healing Lyme" because it occurred to me that I was recommending it based on a recommendation from a trusted friend, but no first hand knowledge of its contents.  I have not gotten very far into it ... I had to finish up a few other books that I have been reading.

It turns out, I guess, that even when things seem so frantic, there IS time to inject some of the desired growth and learning.  I am eager to continue making medicines, helping people heal, and learn more survival skills.  As a matter of fact, I recently purchased a copy of Brewing Sacred and Healing Beers.  It looks like an interesting study of indigenous recipes for healing tonics.  A quick skim showed that I had already made one of the recipes by instinct.  Of course, I will also be making non-alcoholic medicines, using home made apple cider vinegar, for those who can not, for one reason or another, use those that are alcohol based.

I am blessed to be on this path, following the MooseBoots trail.  I continue to be amazed at the little synchronicities that occur, things I learn that become relevant, things that I make that are needed shortly after, opportunities to continue to grow and learn, opportunities to make a real difference in a genuine way.  As always, I am grateful for this journey and the abundance that Nature offers.  I simply hope to use these gifts wisely, to make a positive difference in the world, to help people heal or continue their journey beyond this dream, and to help other learn about and respect this bountiful, generous Earth.