Week 6

Wednesday, August 19th

I have been camping in Larrabee State Park 10 miles south of Bellingham since Sunday, having come down from quite a Mt Baker National Park high. Access to showers again is nice, along with internet and cell (when I come into town). Though I have been working some along the way of the gypsy tour, California has definitely caught up with me this week! After a lull in the energy/utility regulatory action, the public utility commission has in a few days issued long-time coming proposed case decisions. Working with CA-attorneys Hayley and Elise, I read these things and try and sort out progress, setbacks, and stalemates – and concoct draft comments. So, in other words, back to work on the gypsy tour! I am finding ways to be creative and focused in campgrounds, coffee houses, and parking lots.

Larrabee State Park nestled between road way and train track, is also bay side in (again) a mossy ferny forest. Chuckanut Drive runs about 10 miles parallel the Samish Bay – part of the larger bay system throughout this region. I can get a good 20 – 25 miles in on my road bike both directions Chuckanut Drive, with lots of dappled shade and over the top elegant bay views. South end of my ride I sometimes turnaround here at the “Zen Cooperative Living”. First time there I thought I had found a meditation community. Big green “red cross” marks the spot for Washington marijuana dispensaries.

106 Zen living

I went to the Bellingham Center for Spiritual Living Sunday and fell in love with the minister and congregation (my sister church in Reno). Yesterday I fell in love with hair stylist Kristen. Two major touch stones – what else do I need? Per Ester “Abraham” Hicks, my grid is filling in!

First wall mural here downtown Bellingham: City of Subdued Excitement!

103 Subdued Excitment107 MURAL

I am backtracking on the gypsy tour to Friday evening, July 31st. I have been wanting to describe a sensory experience that I started to write about, but held back as weak and incomplete after reading Diane Ackerman “A Natural History of the Senses” , p. 18: “One of the real tests of writers, especially poets, is how well do they write about smells. If they can’t describe the scent of the sanctity in a church, can you trust them to describe the suburbs of the heart?”

Camping in the North Bend – Snoqualmie Falls area, country road bike riding, possibly the most powerful of all Tennessee smells came back to me — the luscious mix of green pasture grasses topped with grazing cow manure.

My Mitchell grandparents had 100 acres in the far eastern corner of Tennessee from “the top of the ridge to the middle of the creek”. Small scale, self-sustaining, do “everything” to live and grow family. Tobacco was the cash crop; hard woods in the hills for fences, haying for beef and dairy cattle in the fall and winter months, a few head of beef cattle in the hills and hollers for family meat and market cash, chickens for family eggs, “dress money”, and an occasional fryer, two or three vegetable gardens (summer and fall), hand milling of wheat, canning and preserving, sewing, herbs and healing treatments. No more than a dozen milk cows — milked morning and evening — every day. Milk cows otherwise turned out to pasture, creating that smell of the luscious mix of green pasture grasses topped with grazing mill-cow manure. (“Milk”not “dairy” — this is Tennessee please!)

Grasses so green that green is not a color but a smell–fresh and crisp like celery, full of photosynthesis chlorophyll – almost minty, somewhat astringent, acrid even – calling to be chewed and spit out.

Cow manure – large patties in layers of stages of drying and decomposition — aged patties breaking open like large flakey muffins. In open fields, the smell is musky and resinous – blending and melding — giving depth and body — grounding, ground, earth, soil, to sunlight, growth, green.

The smell resonates in my root chakra, grass and manure intertwine and weave and wind up through my core, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, to crown chakra. Heaven and earth are joined, heaven and earth.

My grandfather sits in his porch chair after the evening milk, elbows on knees, hands clasped, rocking and humming: “Humm, humm”, pitch up and down. “Humm, humm”, rock forward and back. “Humm, humm; humm, humm”.


Saturday August 22nd

Made it through quite a bit of California work last week without it “killing me” — that is, just the logistics of back and forth campground to town for internet and cell, keeping computer charged up via campsite — coffee shops and pizza parlors. Not my usual work style. So very good for me to go beyond comfort zones and figure it out! Make work, well, work, from Bellingham, WA.

Got out and around all over Bellingham yesterday hybrid biking. So fun to be in a community that I can cruise-bike one end to the other and bisect across, have a bite to eat, all in a few hours. I am staying a few nights in Roy at my Spring 2016 new Bellingham home. Met Carole and Ruth at the Center Spiritual Living last Sunday and had an instant connection. They have been together for 30 + years, living not in town but up out a bit on close to an acre, called “Homestead”. Modest / small country home, a few old sheds, Ruth’s sculptor studio, and the Butterfly House. That’s Ruth holding the big piece of tree cut shaped like an angel that she found being thrown out / away. That’s Carole holding a couple do garden “tools” a la Ruth.

115 Ruth 3111 Carole

112 Ruth Studio

The vegetable garden caught / stole / has my heart. Of course things just grow here, but I on / here/at this plot of God’s earth, I feel, relate, commune with / to / through the soil, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, all of it, already in much of the way Ruth and Carole do. I’ve found a little Tennessee heart here in Bellingham and I am happy. Now I can let go of my 530 Chicken Court “paradise”.

So the Butterfly House is to be mine to live in when in Bellingham — a place to come and go from — a new touch point, grounding, here in the Pacific Northwest, a place to call home. About the size of 3 Roys now, it will be about a third again bigger after a pretty simple expansion that will in part connect the butterfly house with a back shed. All close to the main house kitchen and bath that I share with Carole and Ruth. I’ll have a sink and hot plate in my back shed, closet there too, wood stove lower level butterfly house, electricity. That’s about it — pretty country. “Homestead” has -the smells and textures of country — worn, somewhat wild. I guess that’s the way I feel also. I like this living with one foot outside. The change will do me good.

113 Butterfly house

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