THREE TREES

THREE TREES
The horse's pasture to the East...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A FOREST IN KANSAS

I love the language of trees. Each of the trees we live with, out here on our little preserve, has it's own language, it's own voice. There are the trees I call the Mother Tree, with an imposing, indomitable presence and size. They're taller, trunks wide and gnarled, bark scared with the rubbing of deer antlers and bob cats scratching to sharpen their claws.

But the Mother Tree is never broken. She always stands tall, a few limbs lost to wind and ice, but that's another parent, Mother Nature, helping to trim her daughter's profile, to keep her straight and to provide room for the smaller trees who will, someday, dominate the forest floor.

There are cedar, an invasive non native tree, who grow in the open fields like weeds and love the edge of the forest. We usually clear the small ones from the fields, to keep the pastures open so the Prairie can grow without interference. But I have to admit I love their persistence. They start as a scrubby, pokey little ball of thorny green and tough little trunks. The winds bow them over but rarely break them. They're the perfect metaphor for the spirit of the people who live here. Nearly all of us came from somewhere else, from places on the other side of the world, except for the Native Americans. And even they have, over the eons, migrated from one part of the continent to another. And every single one of them tough and insistent, fierce and willful. 

There are the locust trees with their thorns, the last of the ancient trees that inhabited this part of the world when Wooly Mammoths walked the Earth. The thorns were so long they protected the trees from the Mammoths when they looked for something to eat at the end of the season, or a scratching post to help them shed a thick winter coat. These were the trees that survived tons of itchy animal seeking places to rub until the tree would fall to the ground. Again, survivors with a tough exterior and a sweet, inner heart.

And then there's the leggy elegance of the sweeping, white barked Sycamore. Their seed is a fuzzy, round ball that falls to the ground from a great height, sometimes hitting me in the head. It's eaten by some of the wildlife or sticks to the their coats, traveling through the forest and landing somewhere just right where they can reach higher than the surrounding trees, for the light.

When the winds blow, as they do almost everyday here in Kansas, you can hear them swaying, humming to the patterns of the wind in their deep, alto voices. Their roots run deep so they rarely fall, but when they do it is a long descent taking smaller trees with them and leaving an opening in the canopy for others to follow behind. The bark of the Sycamore curls off in large sheets, leaving their lovely skin for the forest floor or for artists who wander through looking for something to paint or draw on besides paper and canvas. 

I've always imagined the Sycamores as the dancers of the forest, long legged beauties who move with the wind as their orchestra, wild, large leaves fluttering and turning, catching the light. Their dance is slow, in four four time, elegant and on point.


We're a strange breed, we Kansans; a state of mostly Introverts happy to be left alone, the place in the middle where few people live, passed by on the highway or over when flying from one coast to the other. We're the so called blank in the middle. Most people think we're inhabited by nut cases with extremely conservative political and religious views. Not so. They're just the squeaky wheels who get the attention. Nearly every person I personally know is kind, generous to a fault, showing up to help without comment when a storm blows through and fences are ruined or barns blown down. They are there when a family has someone injured or ill, or someone is lost, bringing food and help without expecting a thank you.

We offer folks help with their ailing horses, giving them a ride to the hospital in Manhattan because we love our horses, cows and other animals who live out here. Most of the people I know are very creative, making do for generations to hold on to their land, adding something to the family home as the ancestors pass through.

We are musicians, artists, story tellers, farmers and cowboys (and girls!). And we all pass down home remedies to each other used to care for ourselves and our animals. And it isn't unusual to have the local large animal Vet to help without asking for pay, or to put off billing because they came from an agricultural community and understand that we live by the whims of the weather patterns and so does our income.

The forest, like our communities, is connected in a thousand, thousand ways too small to count or even notice unless you take the time to look and listen. There are lichens and moss, fungi and small wild flowers, tough prairie grasses and grasses that cover the forest floor. It's an interlocking system that is delicately balanced between the insects and spiders, birds, animals predator and prey, turtles, snakes, and frogs and countless other citizens. And all of them add to the music, the wind and trees groaning, humming, swaying and rustling, crickets chirping (our bringers of good luck) and frogs in chorus.

Our small corner of the world is a reflection of who I wish all of us could be:connected, kind, offering space to others when the time is right, balanced and in sync with each other, dancing to our own rhythm with the wind and weather as our backdrop.

We have our share of poisonous spiders and ticks, nasty little blood suckers who hitch a ride hoping to bloat themselves on the accomplishments of others. And we have poison ivy, a pretty glossy plant that leaves a terrible itching, oozing rash when touched . But even the Rattle Snakes and Copperheads, Brown Recluse Spiders and poison oak has it's place here. Life would be pretty doggone dull if we didn't have problems to solve and grouchy, irritating or even dangerous citizens to keep us on our toes, to teach us how to solve a problem without denigrated another or throwing the much needed balance off.

Today my hat is off and the bow is made to the land, the forest and prairie, the quiet and peace. Today I am giving my love to Mother Nature, Kansas style, and telling her HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! And, today, I am saying thank you for all the time I've spent here. In geographical terms I am barely a blink, but I am a "blink" who has spent every sweet moment that I can observing, learning from and loving the place I call home.

Life is good! I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling at the way things go.

And if you're ever passing through I hope you'll stop by to have a cup of tea and, if you let me know you're coming, I'll make you some chocolate chip cookies too!

Love and Peace...


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

HERE'S TO THE CHANGES, or How I Got My Mojo Back (always a work in progress)

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." My Grandma used to say that to me. Course I was only seven or so. I couldn't see the world from her point of view. She had sixty years on me. She was walking, breathing history and I had no idea how important that was, none. She was born in the nineteenth century, saw the Wright Brothers fly and remembered the barn stormers, pilots who would fly from one small town to another, landing in corn fields and offering rides in their plane for a fee and, if you were pretty like my Grandmother, a free ride (something her parents were not happy about).

She lived through WW One , The Great Depression, WW Two. She grew up in a tiny farmstead house with five siblings and her parents and grandparents, all in two bedrooms and an outhouse. The house had no indoor plumbing. Filling a tub to take a bath was such an ordeal that baths were a once a week event with the Oldest having first privilege and on down to the baby. Ever hear the quote, " Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." ? Think about how murky the water would be after nine people used it. Kind of makes you appreciate a shower, doesn't it?


Everything changes and everything stays the same. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Static change, active change, long range, short range. Patterns repeat over and over, sometimes with longer intervals between but still, they repeat. And I've been thinking about those patterns, how they show up over and over in a family. History repeats itself too. We have a tendency to take three steps forward, four steps back when it comes to politics. And don't get me started on religion! 

The point is that it's up to us to make the change, each individual. No one will make it for us; not lovers or family, friends or colleagues. If you want things to be different, to stop the patterns that aren't working for you, YOU will have to make the effort, take the steps, rattle your own cage until you drop out the side, out of the comfort zone.

Now, obviously, I am talking to myself here. This is my own pep talk, my own accounting of the day's , the week's, the month's changes. If things aren't moving forward or even just bringing me a set of different results then I have to do some more digging to get myself there. I love my comfort zone, would much rather stay there, hide out, maybe eat some good chocolate, than venture out in to the wilds of the crazy, scary edge. 

When my Grandma talked to me about patterns and changes, it was all in the form of metaphor about sewing, quilting and tatting (a nearly lost art of making german lace). She was trying to get my uncoordinated little fingers to thread a needle, line up patterns or tie tiny knots in delicate, complicated circles. And when my skinny little fingers would get tangled up or I would poke my finger and, heaven forbid, bleed on the fabric, she would sigh, tighten her mouth, shake her head and help me start over. I would make the same mistake again (mostly because I wanted to go outside with Smokey, the big gray cat, and climb up to the old tree house and read some of the library books I had stocked up on, a definite distraction for me)  and she would take another breath, trying to keep her patience, and we would start over. She was all about commitment. That meant, in Grandma language, finish the lesson and earn the right to go waste time reading. (Thankfully my Mom encouraged reading, made it clear that reading a good book, learning from the story was never a waste of time) Sooner or later she would say, " The more things change, the more they stay the same." And then she would mutter something about being just like her sister, too small, too timid, someone it took the patience of a saint to teach. And then off we would go in to the scary, crazy edge lands of quilting where even the tiniest miscalculation would throw off the pattern. And the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint my Grandma!

You can kind of see where this is leading, can't you? Patterns were being set as she tried to teach me. She was setting the stage to show me how to be patient with a child, with a new student, with myself. And, because she was always laughing when it unraveled anyway, and sometimes it was her mistake too, she showed me how to learn and laugh to keep myself calm when the mistake was made. Then she would show me how to unravel back to where it happened and left me to try again = perseverance. 

While we worked she talked to me about color, texture, weight and density of the fabric and thread. She talked to me about how to think through a complicated tatting pattern before the tiny threads were set out and held in place with nob headed pins and tiny bobbins. It really was the perfect physical, visual example of the math and science my Mom was teaching to me. There were two different approaches and each supported the other. It's one of those ever repeating patterns I was unaware of until I was much older and had children and then grandchildren of my own. And the first time I heard myself say, " The more things change, the more they stay the same." was embarrassing, and then one of those forehead slapping epiphanies. I was repeating my Mother and Grandmother's lessons while teaching my sons, and later my grandson. 

It's like the water on the pond, the bathwater that gets progressively hazier; if I don't throw a big enough rock in to make a big wave, splash some of the water over the crazy, scary edge, I am going to throw myself out with the bathwater. Getting lost in the murk is not the idea. Hitching a free ride or even one that I pay for in the barnstormer's plane IS the idea. 

Here's to the takers of chance, the cannon ball jumpers and the mess makers. And here's to me, the vintage hippy chic who still loves puddle jumping and my own version of knot tying (with leads and reins, funny colored orange sticks and homemade obstacles) and the laughter and deep breath before I grab the bars hard enough to rattle them. Here's to the tumble and recovery, the spilled paint and still ponds waiting for the day to begin.

Life is good and I am, ever yours, Nancy, head back and laughing! Here's to Changes who are big enough to make a difference.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

THE GREAT FROG HUNT or Terraforming Ness Style

Rain! And frogs, thousands of frogs of all types. Under the doors, through the tiny holes torn through the screens by our determined barn cats and under the ancient foundations of our converted barn\house. And with the frogs comes the GREAT FROG HUNT.

The frogs follow the ants, ancient visitors who leave trails through my violated kitchen. Over the years I've learned to put everything in to jars with tight lids, in the refrigerator, or sitting in bowls of water. The water works until the wiley little devils figure out how to build a bridge with their bodies to get to their objective, usually the open bowl of food for my cats. (Cats have their own timeline, eat on a schedule that suits them. One never tells a cat what to do!)

We have our own little ecology going on here, inside our ancient rehabbed barn of a house. The dogs follow the cats who are fascinated with the frogs. The frogs are there for the ants, the ants come to visit every Spring to get away from the soggy ground and to find the floating bowl of cat food and the candy canes I forgot were in the back of the pantry. (Which, of course, makes the horses part of it since peppermint candy canes are in the "horse crack" category.) You might call it terraforming Ness Style. Not the way most people live but then we're not exactly traditional either. 

There's a bizarre split in my personality; the Designer Chic who has been published in two Conde Nast publications, winning awards for interior design, jurying shows, owning the largest design center and art gallery in Lawrence, and the Fading Hippy Artist who runs around in the middle of the night taking pictures of frogs, laughing at the places they take Apple and fascinated with lines of ants crawling through the kitchen. I kind of think I favor the Hippy Artist this year. She is ever so much more interesting, more liable to laugh at the uncontrollable events in my life. And, I promise you, ants and frogs are like cats. They have their own schedules, live in a time frame foreign to humans and dominate with numbers. 

We'd had two days of rain, lovely nonstop Spring rains. The frogs choruses were so loud they made the windows rattle. We live on a Preserve. Field Biologists come out just to study the phenomena that our frogs are. In an ailing world where animal populations are falling, we stand out. Living here is a gift and I never forget to say Thank You for it. 

Something woke me up, not unusual for me. I am experienced insomniac. I sleep less than most people so being up when others sleep is a normal pastime for me. I was being careful not to turn on lights or make noise. John needs his sleep. But walking down the hallway was more of an adventure than I expected it to be. A frog, leaping from one perch to another, decided I was a reasonable mid point. It landed on my forehead and I landed on one of the cats when I jumped. Apple ran in to save the hissing, screeching cat ( a reasonable response since I was standing on her tail ) while I jumped in to the wall doing my own imitation of a hissing, screeching cat! John was no longer asleep. He was now standing in the hallway with his baseball bat in hand, ready to defend my honor from the poor hapless frog who was smashed against my forehead, the screeching, hissing cat, the barking dog and me, going in to my best Chi Akido stance and letting out a power shout.

When I flicked on the lights, there were frogs everywhere! I ran for my camera, the dog ran for the cat, John stood there trying to get his bearings and I took pictures. It was past two in the morning and I was laughing so hard I couldn't see to get the shots. John put the bat away and tried to go back to bed (he's used to my middle of the night wanderings) but there were a few logistical issues because there were frogs in the bed. So while he, in his quiet, accepting Zen way, walked outside with handfuls of frogs and sheets to shake off, I kept shooting. There were lines of ants on the counters, frogs sitting there picking them off, frogs on the walls, furniture and going in and out of the screens I had left open for the cool, Spring breezes. 

Apple and the cats were on THE HUNT and so were the frogs and ants. Oh yeah. We live a primitive life style out here on the Prairies. 

I love Spring! It turns around so quickly here, sometimes in days. Things are blooming after the rains, ants and frogs are on their yearly trek through the middle of our house and life is good!

I am so glad we chose a small life, a simple life. I wouldn't trade our frog and ant nights for big houses and fine design even if the choice was there. 

I am, ever yours, Nancy, head back and laughing at the way things go.  

PS> Had to tell you. Stoney had a major breakthrough yesterday. He allowed me to brush all the way down his back legs and to clean his sheath, while grooming him. And he was so relaxed he stood there eating hay while I did it! HUGE! (Told you it was a balance, that horses somehow always become part of the equation. )


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BEST HOME MADE DOG AND CAT FOOD EVER! No, really....

It's Dog Food Day, always a favorite around here. Apple and Miniver love it when I make their food. They guard the kitchen and the stove top with true enthusiasm, leaving pools of slobber around the base of the stove. Time is suspended in a lovely haze of chicken, vegetables and fruit, brown rice and garlic (really does help to keep ticks and fleas away. Haven't used chemicals on any of my dogs for years.) I've been using this recipe for years, and years, and years ... more than thirty. It's kept my various dogs and cats happy for all of that time with lovely, long life spans and no pests. 

With that in mind I thought I would share it with anyone who wanders by my BLOG. I'm a vegetarian but my carnivorous friends aren't. I say a little prayer to thank the chicken "Gods" for their gift and on we go (Yes, I am a gently fading Hippy.).

This makes enough for two large dogs and three small barn cats. They also get Taste of the Wild kibble and as many mice as they care to catch. I mix the home made food with the kibble about half and half. Lasts for about three weeks, give or take.

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

A large canning pot. I use one of those enameled canning pots, the one with a dark blue background and white spots.

Six or seven 64 oz plastic containers. I reuse Nancy's Organic Yogurt containers. 

A blender or food processor to grind the bones.

A slotted stainless steel spoon .

A day at home. Please do NOT go off and leave a huge pot of boiling anything on the stove top.

INGREDIENTS:

Two whole chickens. Make sure you check inside for small plastic bags of hearts, kidneys, etc. Add those too. (Variations on a theme; a small turkey, two salmon)

Two two pound bags of whole grain brown rice.

Two or three sweet potatoes, chopped.

Two or three carrots, chopped.

A cup or so of sweet peas.

A cup or so of cut green beans.

A cup or so of corn.

1\4 to 1\2 cup EACH of cranberries and blueberries (I use all dried fruits)

Three or four finely chopped cloves of garlic.

NO MORE than a tsp of pink sea salt. (they need the minerals more than the salt)

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

Clean your chickens and put them in the big canning pot. Cover them with water up to the bottom of the indented rim, about 4\5's full. Bring to a boil, turn it down and simmer for three or four hours. You want the meat falling off the bones. The broth will be nice and greasy. Be sure to put the lid on, venting only a bit.

Fish out the bones. Use your slotted spoon for this. Put them in the blender or food processor with some extra water. Grind the bones until they are a thin gruel, add back to the chicken and broth. 

Add your veggies, fruits, etc including ALL of the rice. Add enough water to bring it back up to at least 4\5's full. The rice will expand to fill the pot. Keep it simmering for at least 30 minutes. Turn it off and leave it alone for several hours, two or three. The rice will finish cooking on it's own. Stir it several times, about every fifteen minutes, for the simmer the rice etc phase (so three of four times, just to distribute everything evenly)  

Store in your containers, putting several in the freezer. Be ready to dish up some of the still warm, fresh food. They've been guarding it all day and keeping Evil Ninja Bad guys and the NSA away, maybe even a few wild bears and such. 

We've been saving about $75 or more per month doing this. I use as many organic ingredients as I can find but I leave that part up to you.

I promise you will have happy, healthy dogs and cats lined up to eat, sometimes the neighbor's dogs and cats too!

Quick funny story : when we moved out here fourteen years ago and I made this recipe in our new place for the first time, my dogs (The Three Amigos, Gypsy, Neumann and Joe) all came streaming through the doors, wreaking from the new found joys of pond water and deer poop along with three of the neighbor's dogs who must have smelled it cooking from across the road! It was a dog party.

All six lined up very politely, even my territorial Gypsy, and waited for their plates of home made food. I gave the recipe to my neighbors so my dogs could return with reciprocal visits. So fair warning. If you cook with open windows, expect visitors.

Given to all of you with LOVE!

Hope your dogs and cats enjoy this as much as mine do.

PS> You can also add scrambled eggs, as many as you like, at the end like and egg drop soup. Eggs are very easy to digest and an excellent food source for your dogs and cats.

I am, ever yours, Nancy, laughing at the way things go! PEACE...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK! or How I Rocked The Day Away...

Woke up singing this this morning. Don't know what it is about today but I feel GREAT! I am having so much fun with my life. I love every single hard, funny, fussy, crusty, dingy, dirty, scary, challenging, amazing moment of it ... ALL OF IT! 

I am sixty four today. I love that number! 64 ... sixty four ... six tens and four ones ... 100 - 36. All body parts work, check! Still have my hair, check! Still in love, check! Electricity is on and the water is running, check! And I still don't need eye glasses, hearing aids and can run with a horse in the field, check, check, CHECK! I am so stoked and have no idea why. Just woke up feeling grand. And even better I can still wear my twenty year old favorite pair of jeans. WOOHOO! 

When I hit sixty I woke up and thought, " Oh nooooo. I am on the downhill side now. Poor me, poor me. Whine, whine, whine..." It's the only number I've ever freaked out about. The next day I got up and everything was just like it was the day before I turned sixty. Sun came up. Chores needed to be done, stories written, paintings painted, horses played with, dinners made. And here I am four years later singing one of my favorite Beatles songs, living, laughing, making mistakes, changing tires and cleaning toilets. LIFE IS GOOD!

And here I sit having my own party, eating an amazing lemon square my neighbors made for us, one new tire to replace the blown out one on my also vintage truck, new Karen Rolf 30 Foot rope to play with the horses today, sky is grey and rain is coming and I am laughing at the way things go, again! I'm in a video mood, chocolate ice cream mood, laugh out loud at the stupid stuff mood BECAUSE I CAN. Good enough reason for me.

No news today. The bad stuff is outside the door, down the drive, down the gravel road away from me. I am going to celebrate by throwing wild flower seeds, two pounds of them, in my gardens, fields and all up and down the road. I am painting the world with flowers to celebrate life! I am putting gigantic bubbles of happiness out there, sending huge waves of good energy for hope, love, peace, and connection. I am a vibrating live wire here and I crackle with love!


Oh yeeeaaahhh. The Sixties are alive and kicking, rocking and rolling. Groovy.

BWAHAHA haha ha ha! I love you guys. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you come back again. 

I am, ever yours, Nancy, rocking' and a rollin', rocking and a realing Barbara Anne. I'm ridin' and slidin', whirling and twirling, laughing until I hiccup and dancing till it hurts. LIFE IS SO DAMN GOOD!


Monday, April 13, 2015

CIRCLES AND PATTERNS, Here There And Back Again...and Again

When I was little I loved being me. Best part was that I didn't know any different. I was Nancy and I was pretty sure the World started when I came in to it. 

The sky with all of those lovely colors was there because I love colors. Made sense it was there to make me happy. 

The Sun was there because it kept me warm and the rain was there because I loved to run through puddles, especially in my Sunday best shoes, and because I really, really loved thunderstorms. The bigger and louder the storms the better. 

Life was there because I was there. Never occurred to me that there was anything called History, that my parents and grandparents may have had lives before me. They were, I was and that was just enough, just right, just perfect.

And then I went to school. It was a huge, to me, building full of other little "me's" who thought the same way. It was a startling revelation and a bit disappointing too. Turns out I wasn't the only little girl or the only Nancy. There were other Nancy's. They had my name! I was not amused. 

I went home after that first day and pronounced that I was done with school. I had learned all that I needed to learn there. I was ready for the world at large. Of course my parents, the teachers and all of the other adults (who I thought came in to being for me!) had other ideas. 

It was my first introduction to the idea that I was not necessarily the center. 

I tried on different ideas of who I might be, some of which got me in to trouble. When I burped the alphabet,  I paid my first visit to the Principal's office. The teacher had asked if any of us knew our alphabet. I raised my hand. And when she asked me to recite it I did, just the way my Grandpa had taught me to. Technically I did exactly what she requested. Unofficially I was now the Class Clown and a Hero. I completely cracked everyone up, even the teacher who struggled with not laughing. 

Score! Now I was smart and funny. I was one of the smallest kids in my class and I knew how to swallow air and burp the alphabet! UP until then I was not easily noticed, had a tendency to recede in to the surroundings while I watched, with complete surprise, all of those other "me's" as they jockeyed for position in a classroom with too many kids in to small a space. There were so many of us!

And that firm belief that everything centered around me began to change. The World was bigger than I thought, too big really. And there were people to be weary of. They were not kind, did not have my safety or interests in mind. And sometimes they hurt me and other people. 

And sometimes they were kind, loving and for no reason except they were just that, kind and loving, empathetic. And they began to show me that it was OK to be my own kind of person. They gave me paint, paper, crayons and pencils, scissors and tape and glue and encouragement. There were teachers along the way who said, " Good. That was well done. Keep going. You can do this. " And when the follow the rules people came along there was always someone who laughed at my jokes, asked for one of my pictures, loved it when I read to them with made up voices. And even when I was afraid and by myself later I could still hear those voices telling me, " You can do this!"

And somewhere along the way it occurred to me that it wasn't me it was all about. And it was me. And it wasn't. And it was...and wasn't...was...wasn't and was. 

And here I am, Nancy in the middle, always seeing both sides and then having to choose because not choosing means standing still. Stagnant has never worked well for me. And making some choices hurts so I end up back at ME. Patterns and Circles repeat and here I am, an older ME but still in the middle and fascinated with where this all takes me.

Today I found a TEDx about this place I'm in, what I'm trying to do, how to do it well and be true to ME and still be kind, willing, and was...wasn't...was...wasn't.


She's spot on about all of it. Worth the 26 minutes to watch...

Friday, April 10, 2015

INTUITION; SIX OF SIX ESSAYS, or How I Say goodbye ... and Hello

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. More than anything else, this new century demands new thinking: We must change our materially based analyses of the world around us to include broader, more multidimensional perspectives.” 

Albert Einstein


I have a very close friend who is dying. She's my age, in her early sixties. I guess people I know will begin to make their exits now. She seems to be one of the bigger than life people, one that I thought might outlast all of us. But there also seems to be a pattern to the world that has it's own itinerary, it's own timeframe. 

I've been to see her. purposely left my phone, computer, camera at home although what I really wanted to do was to be there to take candid shots of our afternoon. I knew it was our last girlfriend day, something we haven't done in too many years. I wanted to capture it, give it to her children as a gift. But that would have been invasive, a wrong step to take. No matter what part of your life you are in, honoring people's choices is important. 

We laughed, cried, and I listened quietly while she gossiped. We had tea, or I did. She wasn't feeling much like she wanted to eat or drink. And she sang me a song with her deep, alto voice, a gift to say goodbye. We promised to get together again this week but I left it to her to call. She hasn't. sometimes at the end you just sort of want to be quiet, to hunker down in a safe place so you can leave with as much of your dignity as possible in tact. 

The rest of this essay is for her. My gift. We're both story tellers so she will read it if she gets to it, or read it later from that after place. Either way it's my gift to her. 


Intuition. Sixth sense. Inner voice. Third eye. Clairaudience. Clairvoyance. Clairsentience. Psychic. The list goes on and on. Is it real? Is it our imagination? My personal opinion is that all of us are born with an inner voice, a sixth sense. Our education system, peer pressure and western culture do not support the idea of abilities that have no logical explanation. But we all retain the sixth sense. It's an innate part of our make up. We are also social creatures who need a group to survive the first years of our lives, so we bow to our cultural inhibitions and "learn" that our Sixth Sense does not exist.

It could be that it is the last remaining animal part of ourselves that uses the other, more recognized, five senses to collate information we pick up from our surroundings. I think it's more than that. In fact, it's the spiritual, the energy connection that holds the universe we recognize as home, together.

  1. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect.


Religion is an inherent part of our makeup. We all seek some kind of need to express a set of spiritual beliefs. Even atheists are passionate in the resistance to that need which is, ironically, exactly that spiritual connection. In the end an atheist will exclaim, " Oh God, please help me!" Or even just " Help me!" All of us, at some time in our lives, call on what we can not see, hear, smell, touch or taste. 

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.[1] The word intuition comes from Latin verb intueri which is usually translated as to look inside or to contemplate.[2] Intuition is thus often conceived as a kind of inner perception, sometimes regarded as real lucidity or understanding. Cases of intuition are of a great diversity; however, processes by which they happen typically remain mostly unknown to the thinker, as opposed to the view of rational thinking.
Intuition provides views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot in every case empirically verify or rationally justify. For this reason, it has been not only a subject of study in psychology, but also a topic of interest in various religions and esoteric domains, as well as a common subject of writings. The right brain is popularly associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic or generally creative abilities. Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery.
The previous two paragraphs are the definition of intuition copied and quoted from Wikipedia. Read the last sentence in the second paragraph. " Scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery." It is the center of our ability to think creatively. 
Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including meteorologysociologyphysicsengineeringeconomicsbiology, andphilosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.[1] This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.[2] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.[3][4] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. The theory was summarized by Edward Lorenz as follows.
Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.
The above is an abbreviated definition of Chaos Theory in higher forms of mathematics. Makes your eyes cross when you read it, doesn't it? The Zen of Chaos Theory is in the sentence, " ... The deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable." In other words, the more you work at predicting the outcome, the further you recede from that possibility. 

In Quantum Physics, scientists work at the sub atomic levels. It is the study of the space between the spaces. 

The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract. A mathematical function, the wavefunction, provides information about the probability amplitude of position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle. 
This is one short section from the extremely dense definition of Quantum Physics from Wikipedia. The first sentence makes it clear that everything being studied in this piece of the field of physics is ABSTRACT. It is adjacent to Chaos Theory.
Western science and mathematics are now in the process of proving that spirituality, religion ( the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. Ideas about the relationship between science and religion.) and the unknown, unseen, do exist.

Again, ironic. We need to prove that which we can not prove although the math proves that it does exist. 
Do I rely on my intuition? Yes, and when I don't listen I always end up with more problems to solve, issues that 

were unnecessary to deal with. Have I had events that had no " rational" explanation that I can prove happen to me? Yes. Proving what I believe is irrelevant though. Physicists, mathematicians, engineers, all of the most pragmatic people of our society have done that for me in terms that surpass my vocabulary.
I am an intuitive, an empath. I am psychic.  But then, so are you. 

“We all have an inner voice, our personal whisper from the universe. All we have to do is listen -- feel and sense it with an open heart. Sometimes it whispers of intuition or precognition. Other times, it whispers an awareness, a remembrance from another plane. Dare to listen. Dare to hear with your heart.”
― C.J. HeckBits and Pieces: Short Stories from a Writer's Soul

Thursday, April 9, 2015

TOUCH, FIFTH IN A SERIES OF SIX ESSAYS ON OUR SENSES...or how I found my way in the beginning.

How many times a day do you run your hands over a surface to gain information? If you tried to count you would loose track before the end of the first hour. Our skin is the largest organ we have. It defines us from the moment we are born, in fact before we are born.

Although we begin to develop nerves in our skin at about eight weeks in the gestation cycle, we do not actually begin to feel until around 28 weeks. When I say our skin defines us, I'm not talking about color or texture. I mean that the sense of touch gives us constant feedback 24/7, around the clock. It tells us when we're hot, when we've injured ourself, absolute necessity to survival. It brings us pleasure, tells us when the wind blows or rain falls. The feedback we take from our sense of touch never stops unless we've been injured and the connection through our spine is severed.

We know where we are in the world because of our ability to touch. And, like the sense of smell, it connects directly to our earliest memories. I remember my Mom wrapping me up in warm towels, right out of the dryer. She'd lay me against her shoulder and rub my back while she hummed to me. The feel of her hands, the warm towel and even the vibration from her humming made me feel completely loved and cared for.


The feel of my cat tucked under my chin at night, my dog snugged up to my back, are so important to me that I still have a cat that sleeps in the bed with us. If she isn't there, I have a hard time relaxing enough to sleep. And I always have a dog, always. A good part of the joy of having a dog is when she drapes herself across my lap or my feet. I love the feel of her silky fur. And every time that I've outlived one of my dogs, my last memory is always of their fur. It's how I say goodbye until we meet again, by running my hands over them gently one more time.

Without the constant feed back we get from touch, from the beginning of our lives, we would slowly waste away. We are hard wired for that stimulation. Touch shows us how to navigate through a complicated world, tells us how to suckle at our Mother's breast and how to swallow. We learn how to hold things, how to walk and how not to run in to things and injure ourselves. We learn pleasure and pain, hot and cold, pressure and release from our skin. A baby that is left alone for extended periods of time, even when well fed, dry and protected, will waste away without the feeling of someone holding them, rocking them, rubbing and patting their back. We are social creatures who crave the company of others and touch is our first sense that tells us we are not alone.

There are enumerable articles about the therapeutic benefits of a hug. When you hug someone, energy is exchanged. If you hug long enough your hearts will begin to synchronize. One of the first things I do with people who've come out to meet a horse for the first time is to show them how to run their hand down the neck and withers of a horse. And I show them how to find the pulse of a horse's heart by placing their hand just behind the left front leg ( always warning them not to do this without taking time to know the horse first, to "ask" permission to touch in such a sensitive area). Standing quietly beside a horse, feeling the heat given off by their body, the silk of their coat and the strong, slow beat of their heart is always a wonder. It's the way you hug a horse, with your hands as you run them over their body with a slow, steady pressure.

Close your eyes and move through the world, using your sense of touch to navigate. Feel with your feet, tapping your toes in small circles around you. Reach out and find the walls, furniture, fabrics, surfaces around you. Can you accurately describe an object using just your hands? How tall is it, wide, how heavy? Is it alive, moving on it's own? Does it have feathers, fur, smooth, hard glass or porcelain surfaces? Where are you in the room ( no fair peeking!) ?

The next time you sit down to a meal, close your eyes and reach out instead. And when you bring the food to your mouth, stop to feel the texture of the food. Take the time to enjoy your heightened senses. Touch your world and see with your finger tips. Feel the food against your teeth and tongue. Even the plainest meal becomes a sensory delight when you take the time to enjoy the textures of chewing, the feel against your lips of the glass when you drink. Slow down. 

Reach out and touch your world.