May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you, guide your way on "~Incredible String Band

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Miles to go before I sleep.....

We are back now in "civilization" after spending several weeks at a lovely and remote farm in Washington. We had a wonderful time harvesting the crops, learning about perma culture and helping take care of the animals. Getting in and out on the half mile long dirt road was a bit of an ordeal, but not nearly as nerve wracking as first crossing the small bridge in our 27, 000 pound bus. The farm was huge, many hundreds of acres with apple orchards, grapes and much more. There was an adorable little cabin built in the late 1800's on the property and we spent a good deal of time there when not working, visting with Nadine, the grandmother of our friend who owns the place. She is a wise and generous woman who Sage took to imediately. We were sad to move on but have plans to go back as we made many wonderful new friends and connected with old ones as well . A good time was had by all.

It's kind of sad as we meet so many wonderful people and have many adventures in our travels that I would love to write about, but I must draw the line somewhere. It is one thing for me to divulge my own thoughts, feelings and life online here, but I cannot expect everyone I know and meet to want to be part of our blog as well. So, out of respect for folks and their privacy I have a policy of not writing too much about or showing pictures of friends and relatives on the blog. That is , unless I have been given express permission to do so. Instead I try to keep it mostly about Moss, Sage and life from my own perspective. That of course means that only about 3/4 of the stuff I would like to write about actually gets in. You'll just have to use your imaginations as to what the rest of the stuff may be....

Anyway, we are now on a friends farm outside of Eugene Oregon, our old home town. I mentioned in a previous post that we were invited to move here and become part of the community they are creating. My friend, I will call her Meadow, is a midwife and her partner, Stone works with horses . They have a five year old girl and an eight year old boy. There is another lovely family here as well with a three year old daughter, Maya. All the children are now being home schooled, after being in a Waldorf school for several years.

We have given ourselves this month to feel out the vibe, and to see if it's right for us here. . .

The people are wonderful, we already knew that and our visions are in create a healing space and a self sustaining community of artists and musicians. A place to hold outdoor concerts and workshops.

The rain, which has not let up much since we have been here, does not bother me one bit. I am a rare bird in that I like the rain. In fact, I welcome it ! I love to get cozy with a cup of chai tea, and a book by the fire. Sometimes we will listen to the radio..Coast to Coast AM with George Noory or a radio drama. Often we will just sit and watch the fire and listen to the sound of the rain on the roof. Sage really seems to enjoy watching the fire as well, and I love the fact that she is staring at a fire rather than a t.v .

When we have had enough of being cozy there are lots of indoor gatherings around here this time of year . Sage has already been to three since we arrived two weeks ago. It is all very laid back with lots of other kids and babies, campfires and spontaneous live music. I was worried at first that it would all be to much for a barely five month old baby. Sage however takes it all in stride, smiling and cooing at everyone she meets. She really seems to enjoy just being held in our arms or the mei tai as we chat. Eventually she falls asleep and there is always a quiet, dark room nearby for her to lay down in.

So now we have the task of deciding if we will come back to live here for awhile. Although everything seems perfect, there are other things to consider. We need a place here to work our fiber business in the winter. Down south we can do it outside on the beach or at a campground. Here, we need an indoor place. One option that is becoming more and more attractive is to buy a small yurt and somehow attach it to the bus. That way we will also be able to pack it up and take it with us if we need to move. The other thing we need to sort out is, are we really ready to settle some place for any length of time ? On the other hand, it might be nice to travel about then have a home base to come back to. many options..

Anyway, for now we are just here and in the bus, on this beautiful land. We will be leaving a few days after Thanksgiving to head South. Moss's trial is on the 4th and we cannot miss that. We plan on visiting with his folks for the holidays then working in the area before making our way back here in January or February.

I am so intrested to see where all this leads..........

An old abandoned mill on the farm.

A fresh bowl of grapes from the farm

The resident geese.

Sage Evenstar.

An old cabin on the property.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The scary little bridge we had to cross on the way to the farm.

A view from the bridge.
A view into one of the rooms of the cabin.

Sage sleeping in one of the rooms in the cabin.

Sage and dad out for a walk.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lord I Was Born a Ramblin ( Wo ) Man......

We finally are headed north ! As I write this ( we have a new E.V.O.D card that allows us to access the net wherever there is cell coverage) we are driving north on the 101 to an organic permaculture farm in northern Washington, where through a mutual friend, we have found temporary work ! I will probably not t have regular net or cell phone access while there, (I will be able to go into town or use a land line to check eBay auctions though) so this will be my last post for a week or maybe more . It was quite difficult to get Moss's pre trial changed, but we did it after much back and forth phone calling to the lawyers. It is now set for December 5th instead of oct 17. That means we will have to drive back here in the next month or so, but for now we are northward bound !

Santa Barbara is lovely and has been nice to us but it was so time to leave. I can always tell when it is time to really move on because a place starts to look and feel different, sort of empty feeling and desolate . This is however different from actually wanting to leave and feeling as though it is time to leave. We can want to leave a place badly, but if it is not really time to leave then it becomes quite difficult. I have seen this time and time again in my travels over the years. Some towns have a particularly strong hold, New Orleans is one of them. The other reason I know it is really time to leave is the steady stream of visitors throughout the day and being unable to take a walk on the beach without running into someone I know. Don't get me wrong, we love meeting people but it can get tiring when all I want is a little privacy.

Living in such a high profile home tends to attract a lot of attention. People see our bus and make all sorts of assumptions about us. They often identify us, correctly, as free spirited, caring and open minded people. Certainly, like everyone we have our many flaws, but we do strive for this ideal. Because of this, unlike folks in a conventional RV, we regularly attract a LOT of people, of all backgrounds who come looking for healing and someone to talk to. We don't mind this at all and are happy to listen and give and receive energy to a person when we can, but it can sometimes be scary and a bit difficult to read someones real intentions and allow them into our home. We often have trouble defining our personnel boundaries and knowing where to draw the line. Now, with a baby things are even more complicated as we want her home to be a safe and healthy place. It just seems that sometimes the rules that apply to those who live in brick and mortar houses are different than those that apply to rolling homes. This is understandable, to a certain extent and is part of why I love travel, but it can be complicated at times.

For example, this week we were sitting in the bus reading when there was a knock at the door and a voice called out

" Spare a little time for an old Vietnam vet ? " followed by, " Permission to board ?" in a very military sounding voice.

I went to the doorway to see a weathered looking bearded, grey haired man wearing a faded black cap with the words "Vietnam vet" on it and a huge back pack. He was a bit dirty and smelled of whisky, but my heart went out to him. These kinds of situations can be difficult as it requires one to make a character judgment of a person in the space of a few seconds. So far we have never been wrong, but there is always that possibility. When I was younger and hitchhiking around the country by myself I got a lot of practice in this art form. When someone pulls over and offers a ride, you have about twenty seconds to asses the person and make the right decision. I rely a lot on my gut instinct and intuition.

Moss and I looked at each other and shrugged,I turned back to the fellow and told him,

"O.k, but leave your pack outside "

He put his pack down and hobbled into the bus, sitting down on the bench, thanking us repeatedly. We then began over an hour long conversation consisting of him crying hysterically and reliving, in vivid detail , story after story of his time in nam. He showed us bullet holes, where he was damaged by agent orange and cried bitter tears for his brother William, killed in combat. This was a broken man and my heart went out to him. The intensity of his emotion was frightening and we did not know what else to do so we just listened, which I think was all he wanted anyway. At one point I reached out and grabbed his hand and he seemed to appreciate this. When he was finished we offered him some food, which he ate then thanked us and went on his way.

This is just one example of an often repeated scenario, with a varying cast of characters, all with stories to tell, some sad, some happy, some rich, some poor, all just wanting to share.

Anyway, Sage is doing well and seems to enjoy traveling, though this will be her first long trip. We are trying to provide a sort of stability in our day to day rituals to counter the constant stream of new places and people that she encounters. I think she is adjusting well. I took a series of photos of her, my favorite to date, showing the first time on her belly and having "floor time".

I have included them below.....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Song to a Seagull.......

Today was such a beautiful windy day ! The kind of wind that shakes the bus and bends the trees ! I adore windy days. There is something magical about wind that seems to transform any ordinary day into one of mystery and wonder. I went out to the beach for a walk while Moss stayed back at the bus with Sage. They are both sick..runny noses, coughing. Poor girl, this is her first cold and she is teething as well.

I wore my mohair poncho, as I always do on windy days. It's warm and cozy and flaps around behind me like a cape or wings as I walk. I had a great time on the beach alone reflecting on all the recent and wonderful changes in my life. I also took the opportunity to study some bird species I was unfamiliar with and take some photos. I saw a few dead birds out there which was sad. I wonder if it's from all the pollution in the storm run off pond where the sea birds hang out.

On a sad note..early this morning while driving from our night time sleeping spot to our daytime hang out spot, I saw a dead sea gull in the road. He was recently killed, just a few hours maybe. Such a beautiful bird he was, so clean and white and healthy looking. He lay on his back, wings spread out behind him like an angel and head turned to one side. In some morbid way he looked quite beautiful. If it wasn't for the small trickle of bright red blood coming from the side of his beak, one might wonder if he was still alive.

It made me so sad to see him like that, cut down in his prime. He was an adult herring gull , and judging by the beautiful condition of his feathers, had probably recently finished a molt. Perhaps it was his first adult molt, as herring gulls retain their brownish feathers for several years before growing the typical white and grey ones.

We stopped the bus and Moss went out to move him from the middle of the street to a patch of shrubs on the side of the road . We frequently do this for animals we see that have been killed in the road. We do this for a few reasons... one because neither of us can stand to see such beautiful creatures rotting on asphalt, instead of earth, and two because it keeps the crows and other scavengers from being hit while attempting to feed.

There are a lot birds around here, especially on the beach where we park. There are a few juvie gulls and a flock of pigeons that we have become acquainted with as well as many other species of gulls and salt water birds of which I am unfamiliar. Every day the pigeons are there to greet our big green bus as we pull up. I throw them bread, bird seed and whatever we have that's healthy. A few times I had Palomino with me on my lap and it was interesting watching their reaction. I think they trust me more now because they saw another pigeon being friendly with me and now they don't venture far from the bus during the day.

Seeing that sea gull and my walk on the beach today reminded me of one of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs, Song to a Seagull.......

Song To a Seagull

Fly silly seabird

No dreams can possess you

No voices can blame you

For sun on your wings

My gentle relations

Have names they must call me

For loving the freedom

Of all flying things

My dreams with the seagulls fly

Out of reach out of cry

I came to the city

And lived like old crusoe

On an island of noise

In a cobblestone sea

And the beaches were concrete

And the stars paid a light bill

And the blossoms hung false

On their store window trees

My dreams with the seagulls fly

Out of reach out of cry

Out of the city

And down to the seaside

To sun on my shoulders

And wind in my hair

But sandcastles crumble

And hunger is human

And humans are hungry

For worlds they cant share

My dreams with the seagulls fly

Out of reach out of cry

I call to a seagull

Who dives to the waters

And catches his silver-fineDinner alone

Crying where are the footprints

That danced on these beaches

And the hands that cast wishes

That sunk like a stone

My dreams with the seagulls fly

Out of reach out of cry.................

Some of the regulars gathered in front of the bus. The view from the pop out window.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Business Plans and an Epiphany......

Before I begin this latest update, I wanted to mention that I have added a photo archives on the left panel. Here you can view most of the photos contained in this blog, including a chronological order of bus construction and a separate folder for travel photos. I will be adding more regularly as we go along...

We are still in Santa Barbara and probably will be in and around the area for awhile, or at least until Moss's legal stuff is resolved. The other day we got to listen to Dennis Kucinich speaking down by the pier. He is, as most of you know, a possible candidate in the presidential race, and one of my all time favorites. Last time he ran on the green party ticket. It was so refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is. He will certainly have my vote if he ends up a candidate.

Anyway, I do enjoy this area but it seems we have been trying to head north for so long, and each time we are delayed. On the bright side it feels sooo good to be back in our home again ! There are a few good paid initiatives that Moss has been working on and that has been wonderful for our cash flow, although we are trying to wean ourselves off petitioning and onto more creative ventures. These initiatives will be going until possibly December which will give us lots of time to save up money to invest in our fledgling business's and to live off.

There are a few things we have been tossing around, but so far the best ideas seem to be a combination of eBay sales, felt boots and a travelling puppet show. The felt boots have been coming along quite nicely and we have recently sold three more pairs ! We are still perfecting and fine tuning them and I hope soon we can offer them on our site here. In addition to the boots we have also been selling the herb kratom on eBay and doing well with that, picking up lots of regular customers and bringing in hundred or so a week. This is great, but our cost of living is higher now since our old engine was destroyed and with it the veggie oil system as well. Until we get that up and running we have to pay for bio diesel, which is more expensive and harder to find, though there is a place here in Santa Barbara. The new veggie system, when we finish it, will be way more efficient and operate on three tanks, two for the veggie and one for the diesel.

The other thing we are working on is a travelling puppet show. For the past year I have been experimenting with turning my felted dolls into puppets. That's the easy part . The hard part is coming up with good stories. Ultimately we hope to have a mix of stories, some political, some educational, and some fairy tales for children as well as psychedelic ones for adults. Some shows will be specifically for street busking and some geared more to schools, libraries and museums.

Moss, who has extensive theatre training and experience ( a BA in theatre and one in audio engineering) , will be doing the audio and probably most of the puppetry. He has been dabbling in puppetry since he was a young child, even doing paid shows at country clubs and dinner theatres! His sister, Holly has a degree in puppetry and lots of professional experience (she taught him how to move them well) to lend. We are very excited about all this and will update everyone on our progress as we go along, though it may take a year or longer to develop.

Warning..I am about to launch into another deep, poetic and sappy soliloquy about my beloved daughter, get used to it......

Sage is doing well and growing so fast ! Everyone always says how alert she is for a three and a half month old. Since we both have had very little experience with babies, or even children, we both assumed that's just how babies are, but people keep telling us that is not really so.

It seems I spend a good deal of time just gazing at her, dreaming of all the things I want to share with her and teach her. I realize we do not have the money that many other families have, so my aim is to fill her life with so much love, magic, beauty and poetry that she will grow up completely unaware that we were a "poor" family. It will only be when she is older that she will suddenly realize that her family was poor. As I dream so many things for her it is hard not to lose myself completely in her. At the same time though, I now understand that to a certain extent it is part of being a mom. However I also think that it is important to keep a part of myself for me. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how so many women seem to forget that. It is also, I have recently realized, the secret to allying my sadness of her growing up. The love one feels for their child is so encompassing that it threatens to swallow you up. One can become so identified as a mom that as the child grows and needs you less and less, it can feel as though you are withering away. Eventually when they move away there is great pain and sadness as the role of mom is diminished.

The inevitable question at this time becomes, "If I am not a full time mom, then who am I ? "

This is even more so for younger moms who have not had the chance to really find out who they are and explore their world. I have had 18 adult years to do so and so it is easier for me to recognize this as it happens. The answer, I am discovering, is to continue to pursue your passions and to follow your bliss, whenever possible, so that when your baby grows up and leaves, you have something left for yourself.......

Sage and I hanging out. The rocker in the picture is a folding antique one I got on ebay for 30 bucks ! Comes in handy for nursing Sage to sleep, yet takes up very little room.

Sage and I..

Our house plants enjoying a sunbath...

Palm trees and sun..need I say more ?

Dennis Kucinich telling it like it is.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We are finally back online with a new, or at least refurbished computer, thanks to Moss's brilliance ! He found a computer on eBay for 200 bucks with a 10 gig hard drive, bought it and replaced the smaller hard drive with our bigger 30 gig hard drive.. He then went on to replace the screens and wifi cards, figuring it all out as he went along.

As of this writing we are in Santa Barbara, after spending two weeks house sitting and visiting with our friends Jackie and Frank in the Valley. While there we took the time to get some much needed work done on the bus. In the back,above the bench/bathtub combo, a shelf was added for Sages clothes and diapers. Then we added a cabinet at the foot of the bed for our clothes and moved the bookshelf from the foot of the bed to above our heads. We also took the bottom of the birds cages and created storage areas. Some time ago we noticed that the birds never venture to the bottom of the their cages and hence that is wasted space. We now have a great place for recycling, trash and various other things. Lastly we took the ugly black windows on the outside ( spray painted black because they are blocked on the inside by walls) and painted them green to match the bus. SOOO much better looking ! Now all we have left to do is install our water system, which we have all the parts for, including the Paloma on demand hot water heater, a 70 gallon fresh water tank and a 40 gallon grey water tank. What we don not have is the money to have the tanks welded under the bus.

In addition to the work on the bus we also spent a good deal of time last week calling around looking for a lawyer to take our civil case against the "unnamed store" and "unnamed police Dept". This is in regards to Moss's false imprisonment last month. Every lawyer that we met with was willing to take the case on contingency. They all said it is not a big money case by any means, but it is the principal that interests them. All agreed Moss's civil rights were clearly violated and that he was very much allowed by law to be there. This, according to the lawyers is a clear cut case of false imprisonment and there is no doubt we would win in court. They are so sure that they will take the case on contingency. We went to court on Sept 17 to plead and a public defender was appointed for the criminal case, as we can not afford a lawyer for that part.The public defender seemed clueless and the only reason he did anything was because we suggested it. Moss of course pleaded not guilty but surprisingly the DA still wants to go ahead and prosecute. Everyone was sure he would not go forward. That's fine because it just makes our case better in the end.We go in again on oct 17th for the pre trial and according to our lawyer the judge will likely throw it out. After that we begin the civil trial. If for some reason the judge decides to let it go on and the DA goes forward then we have a full blown trial on our hands and we get to subpoena the store video surveillance, call our witness and have all kinds of fun !

If we do win we don't expect to receive large amounts of money by most standards, maybe 15,000 after lawyer expenses and such. Of course, that will help us tremendously, but it is, as our lawyer stated, the principal as well. Moss spent 24 hours in jail, was extremely disrespected and forced to post 5,000 dollars for his freedom. All for absolutely no legal, justifiable reason. Surely that is worth some compensation.

All of this means our plans to head to Oregon in October are delayed for and indefinite period of time. It looks like we will spending more time in Santa Barbara, which isn't to bad. We found a new place to park near some gorgeous botanical gardens. Sage has been enjoying looking at the flowers and trees. I noticed she is very visual, preferring intricate patterns and bold colors. From the time she was two weeks old I noticed her staring intently at the art on the walls and smiling. She does that in the bus also where the walls are much closer and adorned with artwork. Perhaps she will grow up to be an artist ?

On another note, to the person who made the (unpublished), nasty comment regarding my spelling and their hope that we were not planning to home school sage, thank you... It is true my spelling in the previous post was horrid ! I am actually an adequate speller. That post was written in a hurried manner and when I am doing rough drafts I misspell a lot of things then go back and fix it all later. At that time I had forgotten to do that. So thank you for bringing it to my attention, but I do think there was a kinder way to word it than the way you did. And to answer your question, yes, we do plan to home school.... :)

The bird cages with new closets underneath for storage.

Shelf for Sages clothes and diapers.

Book shelf above bed and Sage sleeping peacefully..

New closet above bed.

Bus windows now painted green.

Friday, August 24, 2007

To Everything There Is a Season...

It is amazing how having a baby brings out the kindness in everybody. Moss and I have received so many congatulatory emails and even gifts from folks we never met . One such gift came from a sweet woman named Lori. Despite recovering from surgery she took the time to quilt a baby blanket, and crochet another blanket as well as booties and a hat for Sage. How very sweet ! They are gorgeous and so appreciated. What a nice story to be able to tell Sage. How someone she never even met loved her enough to hand make all those beautiful things for her.

Another wonderful hand made gift came from my very own mamma ! She hand made a gorgeous patchwork blanket for Sage. In addition to that she passed on to her a cloth doll that HER mom made for her when she was little. How wonderful for Sage to have a doll that was made by her great grandma for her grandma.

This week has been crazy hectic, and finally after nearly a week straight of preperation we are ready to leave here. As I write this update we are just minutes from leaving. I am so grateful we were allowed this space to nest and give birth. We have been very busy packing this week and it is with a bit of bitter sweetness that I go about disasembling my birth alter and taking down the carefully placed pictures that only a few short weeks ago I put up. I am reminded of the day I gave birth in that room, now almost three months ago exactly, though it seems like just yesterday. I replay the events over and over again in my mind , relishing every deatil. The smell of lavendar oil, the way the sunlight filtred through the curtains at the momment of birth, Moss's strong and loving support all forever etched in my mind. I remember too the beautiful air of excitement and energy that seemed tro envelope the house and everyone in it , in the days leading up to her birth. In the days after I recall the special, magickal other worldliness the three of us existed in as we got aquanited.

I have been so enjoying watching her grow these past few months, all her little milestones. Every day I hold her tight and as I look at her my heart fills with such love but at the same time a deep sadness knowing that she is already three months old.I mourned her newborn stage, I mourned her one month and two month stage, and now her three month stage. I suspect it will be this way for the rest of our life together. As much as I delight in her growth I also realize that every step she takes, with my love and encouragement, is a step futher from mamma. I am struck by the irony that I want so much to hold on to her, yet it is my job to guide her towards independance in a selfless and loving way. In the end I reaize that I cannot hold on to her, for she is not really mine to hold. She is her own person and all I can do is love her unconditionally and cherish every single momment.

What a profound lesson in true love and detachment mothering is, the ultimate bhakti yoga .......

The blanket made by blog reader Lori. Thanks Lori !

The blanket made by my mama. Thanks Ma !

This doll was made by my grandma for my mom.. Thanks Gram !

Sage all straped in and ready for her first adventure !

And away we go....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Computer Down....

Just a quick note to let you all know that Moss, Sage ,myself and the flock are all alive and well. We have received a few emails inquiring about our well being and asking why I have not posted in a few weeks. There are a few reasons....

The most important being that Casper, that mischevious goffins cockatoo of ours has suceeded in chewing through the computer cord which in turn shorted out the computer and fried the motherboard ! This has resulted in us being temporarily computerless as we scrape together some funds for a new computer. At present I am on a borrowed computer ( borrowed as in for a few minutes to write this update). We hope to have a new or rather, refurbished computer within the next the next week.

Long time readers of this blog may have noticed that my posts do tend to be rather infrequent, although I try to post at least once a month. My philosophy of blogging emphasises quality over quantity. Instead of countless entries filled with meaningless dribble about what I had for breakfast or what movie I watched last night, I prefer instead to wait until I feel really inspired and have something to say. There seems to be a necesary waiting time between each post to allow myself to sufficently fill up with inspiration, before I once again purge myself for all the world to read here on this blog.

Anyway, Moss and I have finally fixed our solar electric system and are currently packing the bus in preperation for our maiden voyage as a new family. Our plans, if you can call them that, are to "go north", eventually ending up in Oregon at some point to visit with some dear friends, introduce them to Sage and check out an intentional communitry as a potential homebase for us. How nice would be to have a place to settle for a few months out of the year !

This week was full of excitement for us ,LOL..... Moss was in front of a store that will herefore go unamed (due to a pending lawsuit ), gathering signatures for a california initiative, and the store called the police. This lead to him being arrested for refusal to leave and tresspassing . He refused to leave because it is his constitutional right to gather signatures on state initiatives any place that is open to the public. This is interperted by the court to mean in front of any store that is in a shopping plaza connected by a sidewalk to surroundng stores. Moss sat in jail for a day until I was able to bail him out. The good news is we now are looking for a lawyer, and already spoke to one who believes we have a very good case against the store ( although he does not take civil cases anymore ) and can sue them for violating Moss's civil rights. A friend of ours who was petitioning in Washington at this same store and arrested for it, recently received a large compensation . The thing is, Moss tried to tell them, he wanted anything BUT to get arrested . He kept telling them to call the city attorney. This usually works because the city attorney informs the ignorant officers of the little known law and we are released. He tried showing them the papers he had outlining the various court cases supporting this law, and still they did not listen. They never even read him his rights. Luckily there was a lady nearby who works for an attorney and saw the whole thing. In fact, she tried to explain to the officers the law also, but to know avail. As Moss was being put into the cop car she gave him her number and said she will testify.

He goes to court on Sept 17th at which point he will plead not guilty and we will proceed with the lawsuit. If all goes we'll be able to sue this obnoxious store BIGTIME.......

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moving Right Along....

Sage is now seven weeks old ! The time seems to be going so fast, and though barely two months old Moss and I look at her and think she looks so old, practically a toddler. Our lives seem to be slowly reforming themselves into some semblance of their previous incarnation. I say "some semblance" as things are the same, yet quite different. Sage's birth seems to have opened my heart in so many ways. I have more patience and love now for everyone I see. I look at people, even the hardened criminals and think, "that is someones baby !". I realize that in so many ways, we are all children...

This week we managed to get a seat belt installed in the bus, and hence Sages car seat, after of course, some initial problems. The seat we had would only face one way and would not work right on our bus seats. So, we had to go out and buy a "convertible car seat". That is a car seat that goes from infant to toddler (40 lbs). We can now turn the seat facing back as is recommended for an infant, without having to rip out and redesign the bench seat. The down side is it cost 90 $, the up side is now we have a safe seat for Sage that we can keep for a long time.

This week we also added another member to our family. Her name is Palomino and she is a very dear, very sweet, brain damaged pigeon who will be joining us and the rest of the flock on the bus. My friend Jackie, a fellow rehabber, took her in a few months ago, as a fledgling. She was found almost near dead following an attack by a hungry family of crows, which resulted in severe head trauma and a badly damaged eye. Jackie nursed her back to health over several weeks and I volunteered to give her a home. The sad thing is, because of her brain damage, she has never learned to eat on her own. Their is a high likely hood that she will need to be tube fed twice a day for the rest of her life. This is no problem for me though, tube feeding a pigeon is not a difficult thing and something I have done many, many times when I was actively running my wild bird center. She is such a sweet girl and I am so happy to have her with us. She also cannot fly well,( she flies backwards sort of and cannot go very far) despite the fact that her wings are in perfect working order. This is also due to her brain damage. Besides that she is healthy and happy, though one does get the impression that there is something not quite "right" about her. She loves to snuggle on laps and have her beak and head scratched. She is very handle able and I look forward to her being a sort of ambassador for pigeons everywhere.

Anyway, now that the car seat is in, we are just waiting on our new solar charge controller to arrive from our good friends at the Mobile Homestead ( I highly reccomned these guys for all sorts of great alternative energy RV products), before we can leave. Our old one broke some time ago, leaving us with no electricity. This one , The Solar Boost 2000 is supposed to ultra efficient, to the point where it is like adding an extra panel.

The plan is still to head to Santa Barbara for a time where we will sell my sculptures and the new felt boots Moss and I have been working on. We are very excited about the boots and have been saving up money to start a business making them. I love making my felted doll sculptures, but they take so long and each one must be an individual work of art. The boots are great because we can have just a few styles, we can both make them, and they are the same every time. Moss is doing quite a bit of the boot making and is becoming quite the cobbler. He felts them, lays out the wool and shapes them. I am responsible for making the soles and surface design. We both dye the wool. When we get the first three display models done I will be posting pics and taking orders if anyone is interested.

I have some other excellent news as well. Some dear friends of our from Oregon bought some land awhile back and have recently contacted us with an interest in setting up a small commune, or intentional community, on their land ! There is already another family there and lots of children. They offered us a space for our bus, and in return ask only that we participate in building projects, help in the garden and just be part of the community ! What a wonderful way for Sage to grow up ! These are long time friends of ours near a town where we lived for quite awhile, Eugene. So, we will be heading up there probably in fall to check it out.

At present we are still enjoying our time with Moss's folks, though eager to move on, which we will do, just as soon as the part we are waiting on arrives....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream....

I am standing on the beach, as the ocean rushes and swirls about my ankles. The waves are large and the waters are filled many hundreds of strange and unknown creatures. I am frightened . Looking to my left I notice my mother standing beside me, she looks so strong and confident, her back straight and her head held high. She is a portrait of poise and grace and she walks slowly to meet the rushing waves.

"Are you not frightened mother ? ", I ask, incredulous.

"what is there to be frightened of ? " , she responds, smiling sweetly.

"The waves are huge and the ocean is filled with so many unknown creatures ! " I respond.

"Nonsense", she says squeezing my hand gently, "there is nothing to fear. You just dive in, like this.."

With that she dove into the waves. I watch her twist and turn joyfully in the waters with ease. Suddenly, I lose all fear and with a running start I too dive into the water, letting the waves take me away, there is no resistance as I swim effortlessly along side her. Together we swim into the wide open ocean as the great mother envelopes us...

That is how my labor began June 9th at 7:00 am. I awoke with a contraction and running to the bathroom I noticed a good amount of blood on the TP. This is it , I say silently to myself, with a mixture of excitement and dread, this is the day !

Suddenly all my senses are heightened, I pause briefly, to savor the moment. Looking out the window at the sun filtering through tree leaves, I notice what a beautiful day it is. A male house finch sings softly from a nearby perch, a redtail hawk cries in the distance and a slight breeze blows gently through the open window, carrying with it the many smells of late spring and early summer... recently mowed grass, warm cedar chips, freshly blooming flowers . I notice, just outside the bathroom window on the ledge, the resident pigeons are nesting and the mama looks down on me from her place upon her nest. I will soon be a mother too, I think, as ours eyes meet .

A contraction draws my attention back to the immediate situation, I rise and walk excitedly back to the bedroom. Moss is just stirring from bed as I tell him, this beautiful day will be the day of our precious daughters birth ! He is excited, though sweetly nervous. Since the contractions are not real strong or regular at this point we take the time to clean up the room a little, prepare the birth pool and make sure all our supplies are in order. I then settle down to meditate, listen to my c.d's and relax.

Around 1:00 pm contractions are becoming a bit more regular and I am feeling some nausea. We decide to call our midwife Kari and give her a heads up, as well as our friend Jackie who will be providing labor support and photography. After a short conversation, everyone agrees that it would be best for them to make their way slowly over to our place.

Despite the fact that I am handling everything well, I am eager to get into the birthing pool. Moss fills the pool for me and after a half hour I get in. If this is it, I am gonna sail through labor, I think smugly as I lower myself down into the warm water. The relief is nearly instantaneous and seems to actually halt my contractions. I fear that maybe I got into the water too early and although I know this is probably not helping my labor along, I could not bring myself to get out. kari arrived a short time later and upon seeing me in the tub laughing and talking, decided to check me for dilation. After checking she announces I am 2 cm dilated.

Yikes..on hearing this my previous smug confidence disappears. Things are going to get a lot more intense...

Kari suggests I get out of the pool and walk around to get things going. I pace the hallway for a while and this really does seem to speed things up. Before long I am needing to lean on the stair railing during contractions. I keep this up for some time, until I can no longer bare the sound of my in laws arguing downstairs over 1940's actors and old tv shows, which although I find very amusing, was becoming distracting. We decide to move out to the bus to labor for awhile. It was here that things really started picking up as I began to lose all sense of time and really entered my own little world. At one point I stopped pacing to throw up, sit on the birth ball and moan through a contraction. Once again Moss was there for every contraction, rubbing my sacrum and offering me kind words of love and support.

At some point we move back into the house and on the bed, with Moss behind me, rubbing my back. My main coping method was to breathe slowly and deeply between contractions while concentrating on actively relaxing my bottom as completely as possible. When I felt a contraction coming on I would signal and Moss would rub my sacrum, as I vocalized using low and open throated tones.This helped incredibly. I read that there is a subconcious link between the vaginal canal and the throat. By keeping the throat loose and open with use of certain tones, the vaginal canal is relaxed, which in turn allows for an easier, less painful birth. I noticed the few times my voice began to rise to a kind of squeal, my pain intensified dramtically. As soon as I brought it down low things were much more manageable.

We stayed on the bed in this way for what seemed a very long time. At some point kari came in and asked if I wanted to be checked. Reluctantly I agreed. After checking kari announces I am 7 cm dilated ! I am both pleased and disappointed at this news. The good news is I am nearing transition and will soon have Sage in my arms ! The bad news is..I am nearing transition...

On hearing this I felt well within my rights to finally get into the birthing pool. I slip into the warm water with a huge sigh of relief and let my body float with my head resting against the side of the kiddie pool. Moss was right there, as he was throughout the entire labor, holding my hand and rubbing my back. This was the most intense part of my labor. The only way to deal with the intensity of what I was feeling was to completely surrender to it. I could not run away from the feeling, or stop it. I could only submit myself, body and mind to it, and keep telling myself to relax all my muscles. The Beatles were playing on the ipod,

"Turn off your mind relax and float down stream, this is not dyeing, this is not dyeing" ...

I had to smile at how perfect that mantra was. Gotta love those Beatles. I was then reminded of the dream that began my labor and visualized myself diving into the waves of contractions I was now feeling. I continued on in this way, laboring in the water for some time, riding the contractions like waves. They were coming hard and fast at this point, starting as an ache in my sides and quickly building to an extremely intense tightening across my lower belly and back, then gradually subsiding. At the peak of every contraction my hand would shoot out, almost involuntarily, grasping and clawing wildly at the air like a person drowning. I wanted to grab something, anything, and pull myself back. It felt as though I was sinking , being sucked down into the very earth herself by the force of my own body. Always a hand would quickly emerge from some where for me to hold, usually Moss's, but there were others as well. I noticed every time the sensations got to much to bare I would feel a rush of energy, followed by a feeling of ecstasy, which I figured was the much talked about endorphins, "the body's natural pain relief."

At some point my thoughts began to turn towards pushing, and just as I was thinking this I started to feel the urge. Thank Goddess, I thought with a renewed strength. I am so close to holding my baby !

These pushing contractions were distinctly different. I felt them throughout my entire body instead of just my lower back and belly. Every muscle in my body seemed to surge at once, causing me to bare down with very little effort on my part. I was doing nothing at this point, my body was in complete control and I was simply along for the ride. The Moody Blues, To Our Children's children, was playing on the ipod and faded in and out of my consciousness between contractions . At last the contractions seemed to slow a bit and I had a long and much appreciated rest. I draped my head over the side of the kiddie pool and breathed slowly, relaxing completely in preparation for the final act..

Before long I felt that intense aching again in my pelvis and lower back that signaled the start of another contraction. With this one however there was an added sensation as my pelvis seemed to separate, to my amazement. It felt like I was splitting in two as my body literally opened and became as a vortex for this new soul to enter the world. I realized this was the baby moving down lower into the birth canal . Oddly though, there was little pain at this point, in fact there were fleeting moments of what I might call, pleasure, followed by the very strange and some what alarming sensation of my body opening. Another rest, then a contraction, my entire body convulsing at once and baring down hard, then the "ring of fire", that intense burning as the head crowns. Excited voices drift in and out of my consciousness, the smell of lavender oil fills the air, time stands still, then silence as I go deep within myself searching for that last bit of strength to actively push the baby out.

The next thing I know there is a huge release of pressure and Holly, Moss's sister exclaims excitedly as Sage slips out into the water just in time to Moody Blues, Eyes Of a Child, playing on the ipod. I cannot see what is going on because I am turned around and draped over the side of the tub and and on my knees. Everyone is oohing and ahhing excitedly. I turn around, Moss lays Sage on my chest and our eyes meet for the first time. Breath taking....

"Hello beautiful daughter ! So wonderful to meet you !"

But wait, something is not quite right. There is concern in Kari's eyes as she tells me Sage is not breathing. Rub her back Kari tells us. Moss and I vigorously rub her back. Is she o.k I ask repeatedly ? Kari does not confirm that she is. The room goes quiet as we continue rubbing Sages back and kari suctions her nose. Finally after what seems like an eternity, the first cry, tiny at first, then louder.

We all breathe a collective sigh of relief as Sage lets out a healthy wail. She is wrapped in a warm bath towel and the two of us, still attached, are helped out of the tub and onto the bed, where we are joined by Moss. We cuddle for awhile and eventually Moss cuts the cord. Soon afterwards Sage begins nursing.

This was the most profound and beautiful experience of my life.

I am so pleased I chose to birth naturally and I cannot imagine doing it any other way. Yes, it was intense but never did I feel that I could not do it or that it was too much to handle. I actually found myself longing to re live my birth experience weeks later. In some strange way it actually felt good.... to feel the awesome power of my body, to be aware and conscious of this sacred event, to witness and honour the emergence of this new soul into the earth plane in such a deliberate manner. I simply cannot imagine a more peaceful and sacred way to welcome a child.

Sage Evenstar Ratafia was born on June 9th 2007 at 7:05 pm, weighing 7lbs 14 0z, and we couldn't be happier ...............