Homestead fit for A Viking

I like to ponder about what life would be like on the sea. Living as a full time ocean-farer, barely touching land except to trade, explore, stock provisions, and refit one’s boat after the damaging elements of wild nature take their toll on the wood, sails, and clinkers of the ship. In essence I like to keep this atavistic fantasy in practice through a more modern domestic expression that serves me now. I wouldn’t say the idea of life perpetually rock by the waves is in the back of my mind, nor in the front, but somewhere tucked away in the knotwork of careful ideas I have about alternate lifestyles, past, present or future? It exists in a kind of ginnungagap, a realm of fated potential, next to other crazed ideas of going barefoot into the jungles of Amazon and disappearing, surviving the rest of my life as a hunter gatherer somewhere in the plains Africa, or farming a mountain homestead with my beloved, traveling every winter to warmer climates like Malawi, Tobago or the Canary islands, while enriching our Kingdom/Queendom with the relics from our trades and travels. These are alternate realities steeped in varying degrees of practicality ranging from the possible to the far-fetched, and while not efficient to mull over at length, sometimes the small sips of mead can be sweet in moderation.

I prefer to live in such a way that all my possession could potentially be stevedored onto a ship, tied down with a bale of hemp rope, and confined onboard for the long voyage, just in case. Standing strong on the long-ship with my woman by my side, a hull full of preserves from land dwelling life, a fur bed, a tool chest, small stove, my motorcycle (the modern day Ehwaz) for when I did find land again, to roam and raid on two wheels. Keeping one’s material possession minimal is a pretty wise protocol I keep, not only for if such a prospect were to ever bear some weight and need to be done, but for the simple spartan truth that the fewer things we are attached to means a lighter life. I’ve walked far in the world to arrive where I currently am blissful to call my abode, and in my eyes it a homestead fit for a Viking. So this journal will be a dedication to my dwelling.

We’ve all come so far from the cave, to carry our creature comforts into new shelters, and set up altars of remembrance of what once was. Not all of these things we carry and hold onto however are useful, meaningful, or beautiful and most of it is just stuff. Objects and artefacts of the hoarding dragon within man, who collects, stores, hides and guards the mound he has accumulated. As the symbol of the Lyndwurm in one of the Norse folk tales tells of, a small worm that sits on gold, eventually grows into a beast with an insatiable appetite for more and is never satisfied or able let his guard down to truly enjoy what it already has.

So much potential is lost in the potent worlds of time expenditure, resource acquisition, experience making, connections, and opportunities, while so precious little energy is given over to deeply living, practicing frugality, slow culture, craftmanship, simple pleasures, and being over doing. An opulent man progresses quickly forward through life by bending and bowing any situation to his financial prowess, and his anxiety for a better future. While a man with wayward luck, and a will woven magic is able to see that in everything there is an art and density of meaning imbued in it’s creation. He is able to transform the minute by making of it an eternity, to infuse beauty into every face of his conscious creation. To uphold connections that outlive the span of his own lifetime, and to learn the true value of all things. I often humorously refer to myself as a solar-powered, dirt-worshipping, heathen peasant, and there is some symbolic juxtaposition to why I use this statement. In the reminder of the importance of the sun, and the power that can be harnessed from solar energy, not only in a technological way but in an ancient way primarily. Also in the recognition of ground, dirt, soil, the middle earth on which we depend on for everything as a human.

I indentify proudly as heathen because I choose to live in a part of the countryside characterized for heathlands, wildlands, forestlands, beyond the concretelands, marketlands, and civilized lands. It is outer heath which provides home to those preserving the old ways, and who think differently about what it means to be successful. Those living in liminal spaces and places beyond the inner wall of the city, the palace of the domesticated, and the sprawling populations of homegenous nothingness. The heathen bears the character of the countryside, meanwhile the peasant is mostly happy with his lot, and has learned how to work in tough situations, and manage his life with less input, material, mental or otherwise. He uses what he has in a myriad of inventive ways, and wastes almost nothing because he bears so little.

Long have I dwelled in days of yore in houses of stick and stone. Then sheltered as a youth by the toxic industrial materials of drywall, plaster, fiberglass, plastic, and plywood, even finding myself homeless on more than one occasion. Never truly finding comfort in any modern style habitation I traveled abroad and lived on farm steads, and with micro and macro communities for eight years, living in traditional shelters from all world cultures; lavvu, yurts, roundhouses, teepees, wigwams, cabins, tents, treehouses, boats, forest huts, barns, caves, temples and ashrams. Of them all, it is the longhall that has made me feel most like a King in my own home, and is the crux and beam style bedecked in wooden trunks, and staveposts that are the stuff that gets my heart. So many of the sagas were housed in these timbered halls of old, where the Allthing met and kinsman gathered to decide on law, feast joyfully, decide on travels, dance, sing and play wildly, and pass many a night by the long hearth in the middle of the hall.

It has all the elements I need to live a happy life while indoors. The hearth is not only the holder of the sacred fire, but also the heart of the home. The nine central pillars of the evergreen trees hold up a long and low roof where heat does not escape so easily from its chamber. Exposed to the elements are the beginnings of a living moss roof, a seasonal project informed by the seasons of growth and sustainable harvest times, that has its own schedule. Cloaked in raven black, arctic white, and runic red are the dressings of the longhall cabin. Indoors, collected are plants of far off exotic lands, deep jungles, dry deserts, and vast savannahs, growing well in the environment of the hall. Relics from the Scandinavian homelands, handcraft from Vinland and antiquaries of travels befitting each wall, post, shelf and window. An eclectic fusion of neo and primitive, vintage and modern. Woven basketry holds fruit, and bread, others for the forage and harvest of the forest and garden. Ringed barrels store up the winter root vegetables. Drinking horns welcome the visitor with good spirits. Wooden plates and bowls are filled with brothy stews and nourishing harvests. The seating of the hall thinks of those who will sit within, made by the tooling of two hands, wresting the branches of wild plants and saplings with lashing, and nail and clothed in pelts and wool. An oil lantern as lightkeeper of my earliest days in the hall without solar power is risen on a spike, as a reminder of long autumn days lit by the flame. A passive cold storage holds away dry herbs, mushrooms, flours, and calorie dense staple foods, because winter always comes. Tunics and trousers, woolen shifts and work pants, overcoats and leather vests find their place to hang, or be tucked into crates, each garment special and purposeful in their use. When tired, a large bed built of straw, wood, wool, and fur restores the might of the body and keeps me warm, with my last sight before sleep and the first I see when waking being the woman I love. What more could a man in his prime crave for? Another bed is drawn out for the husky to dream of winters sledding, feasting on meat, and northern forest life.

Now the frost cycles of hibernal seasons have ensued and I have moved my standing runestone indoors to protect it from the elements. Here it may live permanently or be stood again by the Vinland flag cairn next year. A new earth platform is being prepared for the Mongolian dwellings second life. This time using only natural materials gleaned from rock pits, sand quarries, farm fields, maritime forests and even from the stones themselves in the form of natural pigments. The grand designs shall remain somewhat secretive to preserve their integrity and magic, but the process so far is again a slow rendering of what it means to live artfully. Nothing is done in haste, everything within means and with a conscious terms of condition. With sustainability and design as a keystone objective in the process, informed by simple and traditional techniques of building, using natural and clean earth based materials.

I’m stacking up the last of the firewood for the next half year ahead, though I shall be sailing by air to new territory by yule month. There, with the Caribbean princess in her own homelands, we will model a tropical dwelling fit for habitation and if the Gods will have it, travel in the West Indies, exploring what those unique islands have to offer. The main focus will be on designing and befitting a house that is appropriate for a South American latitude, and will be optimal for living, year in year out, during the perpetual wet and dry seasons.

There are yet many moots and gatherings to be held in my own hall before that time though, and much to look forward to in the coming moons. Today marks the equinox and the dwindling power of Sunna to the might and main of Mani, the Moon usurps the sky and we hail the turning of the forces on Middle Earth. As human labors start to smoulder, and the halls of the mind take reign over daily life in its stead.

I have aligned myself with a nature school in a wyrdfully fated position of teaching. The gilded transmission of knowledge, informed to me by heritage, ancestral knowledge, academic study, the animist lifestyle, elder traditions and magic now find an outlet for those of the next generation as we meet on Wodens’days, and Thors’days for saga sharing, runic yoga, Norse European craft production, and historical download of the Vinland and Viking narratives in pre Christian Scandinavia. Last week we began the process of producing drinking horns, and this week are exploring the first aett of Runes. We have started a saga circle in crow camp for the wild child curriculum, reading the tale of Gudrid the Far-Traveler. This autumn we shall practice the craft of nalbinding, rune carving, skalding, and far more! Only Midgard is the limit!


Drinking Wode with Giants And Gods

Ragnar Redbeard said “Might is Right”, and it is for every warrior of kindred to mine down his being in the most scrupulous and ruthless of ways. Civil only in the methods of being a ‘good man’. In training, he is a maverick, a sorcerer, and a more than meets-the-eye magician. His field runners extend before him to raise his staveposts of legacy, while behind him are the ghosts of myth at his tutelage and in command. Above him is his raven banner, well salted from many a voyage gone a’viking. Relinquishing the experiences of numbing cold sobriety, his will is magnetic for the filings of power. Chasing a refinement of taste and mannerisms starkly his own, who worldly task is to sharpen, yet disguise his cutting edges so no one may suspect him of his keen craft. Existing from an abstract core, a unifying principle with the yoga of secret holds dominion on the way. A steadfast and folkish sensitivity for purpose and intent with the art of stalking the numinous. Poetry builds a stout bridge to deliver the soul back to the cave of lucid creation. Music stokes the hearer with inhabited feeling, and shows off the topography of unique places of thought. He is imbued with charm and charisma whose heart is like that of a pensive Lion ready and engorged with spirit. A harem of elemental energies clothe his every action. Pending indulgence, he is a master of speech craft, bending through into free-flow and the fierce grace of a tracker, a spirit herder, whose life is real, unedited and raw!

The Ebbs, Floes & Tides of Luck on Grand Manan: An Atypical Island Vacation

Strong are the nesting tendencies for home after vacations and migrations abroad, and as such are the feelings after visiting small island territories, even those close to home. For to travel by sea is to leave behind the familiar microcosm of one planetary reality, and exchange it for another. Even, as was proven in my last foray to one of the maritime isles off the Fundy coast called Grand Manan. A foggy, fishy, formidable place of forlorn folk, and fantastic fables… Here’s one to snag your hook that was almost too big to reel in, even for a well salted Viking seafarer as myself.

The plan was to saddle up on a hybrid trail and street bike, bedded down with cargo for two keen riders, enough food and tack for three nights and four days, cooking equipment, camping essentials (hammock included), a jump kit and tool pouch in case of engine problems, two way radios, some good eventide literature, personal hygeine bundle, some woolens, and our cameras for some island touring extraordinaire. This would be the first time Mufassa floated the ocean waves, and while Grand Manan is not as epic in size as some of the Atlantic Scandinavian isles that are close to my heart, I was needless to say erupting with excitation for new lands.

This story is about Luck. Luck is a phenomenon and a concept that I have been musing about for over a decade with intensity. I even nearly changed my name to an old Icelandic word for ‘luck’ once upon a time, in an effort to marry my fate with a more ‘lucky’ life. But what it actually means is not one dimensional or inherently positive as it is proferred to be. In the mind of my Norse-Germanic ancestors Luck was more like a physics, or law of the universe, while it had the power to be linked to a single human life, a clan, tribe or even an entire lineage. Luck was not always personalized but dynamically affected even non animate things, such as tools, stones, places, weather patterns, magic procedures, or romances. Luck was and is one of the least understood forces of nature in our modern world, and while it has been a subject of deep study and conscious intention to live in tune with my own luck for my whole adult life, I am often thrown overboard into the vast chaotic waters in order to truly appreciate the wildness of its ways. All this allegorically riddled by ocean metaphors of course. By swimming in the free and often violent waves, untethered to the constants of a routine existence and losing the oars of my own ship, we are brought to the place where luck really dwells. I am humbled then to climb back onto the boat, return to land and tell this tale.

Roped in with the Caribbean princess for the journey, we launched out of Fredericton in a haze of mist which turned to pelting rain en route to Blacks Harbor. A perspicacious Bear in a corn field uprighted himself to stare down the strange beast breaking his peaceful afternoon. We cut inland towards Oromocto Lake road in an effort to save time, and catch the three-thirty ferry off the mainland. A missed turn in Blissville had us prowling down rabbit roads trying to save grace and retrace our original map, but only funneled us further into the bush, eventually landing us on a slick red clay and gravel trail called Rusty road which even the KLR did not appreciate. The legendary cargo we packed had accentuated the subtle imbalances of driving in second gear, then first, until alas we were crawling along with feet out to catch any sudden slides. We opted to backtrack to the main St. John highway which was at least paved and fast, and dismissed the idea of reaching the mid-day ferry, instead stopping halfway for hot chai and a brief escape from the downpour, with our riding suits soaked and our hands pale and numb.

After regrouping spirits and recalibrating our route, we fired up for the second leg of what was supposed to be a ninety minute one way trip, now into our third hour in the saddle. The sheepy woolens came out of the pack already, and we stayed relatively warm, pressed together on the bike until reaching the port and where we were the last ones to embark the ship. I am flooded with sincere gratitude for my darling riding pillion. As the words empty from my mind and into the narrative of now a mere reflection of what was. Her courage and willingness to engage my desire for these wild trips, to accept the rather unorthodox being that I am, and her patience for unexpected and often uncomfortable circumstances is rarely found in a woman, and could take a man sail from many shores to find one so good.

One of the boatman engaged our fancy for motorcycle travel, showing us pictures on his phone from a recent venture with his wife to the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. He struck a chord of familiar territory, with a fresh dose of nostalgic memories from these Gaelic wonderlands. Yet it somehow felt like an age ago when those memories were laid down, and that brought me a perspective depth of thought in recollecting the saga of our summer. From the bay window of the upper ship we devoured steaming haddock and poutine, while witnessing a pod of porpoises cast their compass northwards in the evening gloom. We massaged each others feet underneath the dinner table and saved hope for being able to hike a few trails this weekend. The cold ride had through the fog and wind had already loaded our joints with stress. At least it did for my cranky bones, and that made me feel like an arthritic old man, but at least I didn’t have a wooden peg leg.

Rumbling off the ferry we cut the island in half on a winding run to Dark Harbor, where Grand Manan’s bulk of Dulse is harvested. We had been informed of a free campsite with views of the wharf, and intended to investigate its verity on two wheels. Anicka commented that the boats along shore reminded her of those from Trinidad and Tobago. Rigged with the same outboard motor and painted in various pastels, salt worn and wave wracked as they were. After a police cruiser left the scene, we coasted along on the sands of low tide around a spit of land to where some herring weirs were set up. Tumbled shacks of grey board spilled back into ocean flotsam, weathered homefronts with their fifth coat of paint added an antiquity to the place, and the corpses of inumerable sea crabs, quahogs, clams and oysters were spilled on the mud flats dropped by fattened gulls. We reached a cabin with its obilgatory buoys on the banisters, paddles on the porch and a plaquard that read Outlaw I, presumably the name of the dwelling. We snooped around for signs of life, thinking maybe we could roost the night in the bunkie, but found not a soul, only the antique faces of so much salt worn wood, and crooning gulls. Opting instead to head back up the hill in the foggy gloom, a half moon sand lot next to dock road offered a carpet of bleach tanned grass for our one man (& one woman) tent. The ground was bumpy, but dry and free of rocks so it was reckoned good enough, but we were without water. After pitching the tent and unpacking the saddlebags, we went on an after hours bumble, backtracking the road to find a stream or small falls that might offer flowing h20 for our parched thirst.

In the dark it was almost impossible to discern what we clean, and what may be tainted from upstream pollution. Some of the water had a film over it, and as we now crested into a new moon phase, no lunar light shon ‘pon the oceans, rivers nor brooks of the land, and we decided not to risk it. So we returned to our nylon seaside shanty and called on the night spirits to grant us good nigh and sweet slumber.

Am arose with cool clouds above preceeding a forecast of balmy island warmth. The prospects were good for a tour of the island, and some foot hopping on the red trail. Mufassa seemed to have had snuffed out its headlamp overnight, but fortunately we did not intend to drive in the nocturnal hours again. Rounding a turn with a fully loaded bike with our coordinates set for Ingall’s head, a massive dumper careened around the corner in our path and only in the last moment swerved out into its own lane. Suddenly I was back in India with giant lorries driving head on towards you, and felt rather anxious of what lay around each ensuing bend in the road. We slithered on at a lower clip and rounded another curve when the bike tire drifted across the center and fishtailed through the turn. It was like in the cartoons when the hapless character hits a pile of banana peels in the road, and swerves out of control. I yanked the bike off into the gravel bar at the side, and we dismounted to check the bike. My heartbeat had revved up, but we were now parked and going nowhere fast. A flat had grounded us under heavy cargo, and we still needed to make up twelve kilometers, and it was Saturday on an island, after tourist season. We would be lucky to find someone to fix the bike, or an open garage for parts. Not off to a grand start on Grand Manan.

We hobbled along like a lame horse, rather than a proud Lion to the oceanside nexus of Ingall’s Head, where we found a grocery store and a petrol station but no signs of where we could pump the tire. We were in fact travelers from away in our own province, and I have found that the surefire method of “asking the locals” what to do is usually a good protocol so we played the tourist card and were indubitably assisted by a gentleman on his way to somewhere who pointed us onwards to the next auto shop. There we found Wayne, and Trey who were just about to load a seacan onto a trailer. He insisted that he “usually does not work Saturdays” but did not want to leave us stranded and agreed to give the bike a once over. They figured it was the stem valve, though the tyre had ‘tubeless’ stamped on the rubber. We supposed it may have been one of those tubed tubeless tyres, eh… He pumped us up to 60psi, and said we would last a few hours until they returned. They were headed to Dark Harbor too, and I thought to warn them of nails, and possibly bananas in the road.

We stopped for tea at a wharf, and when we resumed our ride we were already flat. Yet again we trundled the bike down the eastern coast of the island to Anchorage Bay and it felt as though we were riding over train ties. A happy reprieve from the ride was the tranquilized setting of Anchorage beach, with its two migratory bird ponds that filtered into the great sea through brackish sounds. Rustic campsites with pergolas and raised fire grills betwixt the wetland ponds and ocean bar promised a sanguine and incognito place to pitch a tent and swing a hammock, and we did just that.

Some chubby rabbits hopped around the family picnic park, evidently content with their piece of the good life. They bummed food from the throng of visitors who easily gave up snacks of strawberry and lettuce, and welcomed new arrivals by running to your feet, as if to bow before their Guru. I fed a bearded brown bunny blackberries from my bare hands, and enjoyed the youthful experience that provided.

Rubber tramping back into Ingall’s head town provided something else entirely, a mission with many errs. 20km/h proved to be my max speed on the now completely deflated tube. I reached the brother of the mechanic’s house, a chap named Lawrence, and he attempted to get me back on the road with his compressed air pump, but to no avail. The stem valve had burst right through the wall of the tube, and would not hold a breath of air. Instead he backed up his M.G. Fisheries truck into the ditch to load the bike, but there was still a good foot of clearance to reach the pickup deck. With the help of his son in the back of the truck, we were able to deadlift the 650 pound beast with loaded saddlebags, and full tank of fuel onto the vehicle. I feel confident we each lifted a share of 800 pounds against earth’s gravity, and with that we were off to the garage.

It would be until Monday when the two wheeler could be fixed, and not until the evening ferry off the island, this was beginning to feel like a movie. In the meanwhile we had our nest at Anchorage bay, a fireplace and pergola, and a hammock in the trees for wave watching, shade snoozing, or just generally living the good life, so we decided to stoke up on the sweet stuff of life. By evenfall we had walked a leg of the red trail, sat in a bird hide to watch Kingfishers seduce each other, foraged blackberries, beach combed for seafood morsels, swam naked at low tide on a secluded arm of sand, cooked a curry, and did things that only hippies in love do on summer vacations.

Without our own chariot, we relied on our magical thumbs for transport, and met some lively and interesting folks on our forays to Swallow tail lighthouse. There was Walter who owned the pizzeria and post office, both of them in a heritage brick building near the wharf who tipped us on a trail in North head that lead to an abandoned campsite where one can sleep to the swooning songs of whales in the night. There was an elder of Manan who owned the dollar store, that told us some interesting history of the island, peppered with inspiring stories and the local download, but ultimately iterated with the ‘slow death’ of the township in his eyes. We learned about the bunnies of Anchorage Park, how they got there in the first place and how to best bypass the park authorities when wild camping. Anicka met a Jamaican over the phone when we were looking for places to eat, and casting our net over the eastern shore for anywhere decent that was still open for business.

At the tail of a good trail south of Anchorage we found a boulder beach in a secret cove, and sat within the swaying kelp forest as Mermaid and Merman. Then while foraging for clams, we bumped into a friend who had just collect a basket of wampums and quahogs, and was headed back to catch the ferry, so he offered us his bounty, for which we were indebted and grateful. A legendary chain of Canadian Geese flew in V-pattern above us, spanning out over what seemed like a kilometer of airspace. The land breathed in a peace of its own, as its exhale softened our collective consciousness. The ebbs, flows, currents, winds, and migrations all seemed to show off an exuberant dynamism about them, so alive, so real, such a reminder of presence and place. In those moments of lucidity, we truly lived here, and now.

But the then and later was soon to come, and we would be leaving with our flying Lion one way or another. Forty minutes before the sunset ferry return to Blacks Harbor we received the call that the motorbike was ready. Our location was in North Head, but our gear was hidden in the grass at our Anchorage haven. So another of Lawrence’s sons was summoned to come and find us, and usher us back to our camp to collect our bundle and amscray as fast as possible back to the garage to reload the saddles with the gear. Unfortunately a few major components of the bike refit were left by the waywardside and we were without head light, or back brakes. This harrowing realization came when a routine deceleration for a signaling car turned into a make or break situation. Oncoming traffic in the left hand lane made the one in front of us come to a complete standstill, while the motorbike cruised at 70km/hour with only a front brake to bring us slowly to a halt over 100 meters. I was nearly forced to slither between the oncoming and advancing traffic in a daredevil move as the front brakes alone offered little power to grind slowly and softly to a reasonable distance from the car we followed behind. We did coast to a stop with barely enough room from the car in front of us, and a massive amount of relief for not hitting it. The remaining cruise around the bay went smoothly enough, and as we neutraled the bike down onto the loading ramp of the ferry. as the chains were just being drawn across the hull of the boat, and the motors started to blend the sea around it. We were the last on the ferry, by some feat of miracle. Our flying machine has redeemed itself we thought…

We napped and meditated on the ferry and came out the other side into the gloom of fog and mist. Our pack was becoming loose on the chassis which did not balance well and threatened to fall of the bike, the head light refused to shine, and we lacked stopped power so would have to take the country roads and keep it at sixty to avoid collision with and trundling beast spooked by our roaring chariot. Our route went through Utopia, which we did not even notice in the dark of night, only a centennial road of pure blackness, no center line, no hyrdo electic lines, no rails, no reflectors, or even signs, it felt as if driving through a space loop, with almost no feature to the edge of the road except the bristly spruce silhouettes.

After over an hour of driving in the twilight zone, the most piercing, banshee wailing, screaming bird sounds started to sound, and it was coming from beneath my seat. The alarm system was somehow triggered by the balance of the bike. I tried killing the ignition, putting it on the kickstand, restarting it, switching gears, but nothing worked to silence the cacophany, so I threw off my helmet in a rather annoyed response, and at the same moment a large tree crashed in the forest behind us. We went to work unknotting all the straps and buckles of our saddlebags, rolling out the wrench bundle and spotlighting the dusken motorcycle maintenance with the phone light. Then came the side panels and the leather seat to take off, hoping that we would not lose the bolts in the ditch or scattered on the road as we set them down. One car stopped heading in the opposite direction and offered to call someone back to help, but we figured we could fedangle something to work for us, and did not want to attract more attention than we needed to. In the absence of moonlight to shine down, we still managed with the artificial light to find the fusebox, which held a spare 10A light fuse that gave us back our high beam, and I manually disarmed the deafening alarm by pulling and replugging it at the terminal. The alarm going off turned out to actually be a blessing, because we now rode on with illumination, a more balanced saddle kit, more space on the pillion seat, and without the nightmarish alarm siren invading the night.

At Fredericton junction we hit gravel dunes piled in the center of the road and had to crawl at 40km/hr past this stretch of dreaded construction. Rarely was I happier to reach the urban environs on a two wheeler than when we finally reached New Maryland. Before long we at last idled in the driveway where it all started and it felt surreal to be back. Stepping into a house, greeting the cat, cooking some comfort food, taking a hot shower, and sleeping in a large cozy bed, the contrast of realities was stark and very agreeable. We had meditated on Anchorage beach that same morning and had projected of vision of this very thing happened, returning to the nest, after a rather perilous journey of adventure, daring, risk, and reward in the unknown territory far from home, like all good trips abroad.

All in Good Time

I want to invoke a pause of narrative and draw attention to something relevant to homesteading which is near and dear to my heart. It is the art of living well, and what that has meant for me in my later ages. Taking into consideration my conditioned bias of bedding down in a good nest for the last two years, living well has meant living slower, with more intention and attention. It’s not a new trend downloaded from social media or a movement of slow-lifestylers, but actually an ancient way of living in tune with a more natural rhythm that informs and affects everything we do and how we do it, so long as we are keeping the being part of human equally in balance.

Musing with a friend the other day, featured in the last journal, we contrasted the changing scenery of his traveling modalities with my own semi-sedentary saga. Within this we unpacked how novelty as an agent for shaping and changing the soul with its constant array of modifications has power and potency to make you or break you. One can become the fruits of his actions, or can be swallowed up by the intensity of it all and lose oneself in the dizzying reality of all the things left undone. There are always beautiful panoramic photos of other countries in every international airport, a long beaded string of festivals, concerts, workshops, events, and parties to attend that never end if you keep on moving. While traveling, the eternal stream of novelty can be overwhelming, and actually nourish the ‘FOMO’, feeling of missing out.

Especially for those tuned into social media networks, those of which are crutched upon as vices, and addicted to like drugs. They cater the user to contrast their normal ordinary lives with the high points of others, often leading one to believe their own existence is less interesting. This is compounded by the subscription and following of countless other carefully crafted, yet anonymous profiles that seem to present a lifestyle of constant satisfaction, perfect happiness, ease, and utter uniqueness that you don’t have. A kaleidoscope of vicarious experiences seen from behind the screen soon urges one to rush out and have similar outstanding experiences, breeding a certain kid of competition that typically quickens the need for new-ness with the increase of boredom and decrease of satisfaction for the immediate experience. The hunger is never sated, and one is left with a taste of the world that is alike to fast food, rather than a gourmet, home cooked, slowly prepared organic feast for the senses, that lingers with satisfaction long after it’s gone. Every aspect of culture has been moving at a faster pace; technology, social life, dating, eating, travel, consuming, spending. People are ready to go to Mars before forming connections with the planet we live on! Some folks change their lovers or partners every month, or every week! A social media influencer can have more fans and followers than the Emperor of Rome, and not know 99.9% of them! The never ending conveyor of products, tech, and merchandise reaches those who never know its source, and have no moral and meaningful relationship to those things.

I would like to advocate that this may not be as such a good idea as it seems. That sometimes life is far more sweet to travel as does the turtle or the snail, bearing its home on it’s back. To quit scrolling, and swiping through potential mates on your phone, and building an organic love life with some One to weather the time you have together and the real challenges and potent wealth that comes from from learning to speak the love language with another being. I encourage taking a whole day to ‘do nothing’, then a whole week, then a month. This is possible even for you, and is accessible to all. Feel more, see more, listen and hear more. How does this dramatically alter your experience of living?

Cabin life soothes the soul. Doing without many of the contrived needs of modern society, I have learned in my short time here to slow down. When my body gives off the pheromones of an honest days work in the midsummer sun and needs to be cleansed, it takes time to heat the water over a flame for an outdoor shower. My creative projects acquire a life of their own as they come to fruition, slowly with time. As does my nest, and its accoutrements. It took me 9 weeks to save enough for a motorbike, a winters work in the wood-shop to bring home a new cook-stove, dinners on that stove can take hours from start to finish and I assure you they taste better than any food you can buy. Conversations in the long-hall can span for days and nights, and days again, as one thought unravels very long yarns in the mind. I walk locally whenever possible, and feel more grounded from it. By living slow I am able to hear the call to action of reciprocity with the land, with seed, with brothers and sisters human and non human. My memory of life steeps with a richness from the stuff it is made from.

I remember sitting by the hearth for hours until my eyes closed, I remember the long hikes on short trails, pausing now and again to be introduced to the plants and herbal allies along the way. I remember reading aloud, and being read to. I remember entire mornings of bliss on the porch with a cup of coffee, and three birds. I remember waking, lost in a trance as I dove into the iris of my lovers eye. I remember writing you a letter over the course of many nights, traveling many hours to send it, and waiting graciously for yours to return, how sweet it was to touch the words as if they were you. I remember the cool naked swim on a bright warm day. I remember walking through the forest together without a need to speak, everything was already said. I remember the rituals for sun, moon, flora and fauna. Our time together woke me to the importance of honouring the land and to honour my ancestors who sowed the seeds. I honour the seeds who sowed my ancestors.

These are our treasures…

Saga of Othala, ch. XVII: Earth Knowledge & Sightings on Land

In the space of a minute, the enormity of life is weathering us back into source… spiraling back to the fetus of a beast, to bitter root and frail leaf, back to heavy bones in a sunken ship or food for eagles on the ether, our soul streaming skywards, or consumed with earth melding into mother once again. All experience here is temporal, ephemeral, finite, precious, gifted, sacred. There is no taboo, only changes of view, in the blue sky mind. What we have to hold is nil, save for temporary memories conjured up by mindful skill. Something about not remembering the way, it’s all here and now, these are the good old days…

The totems of Deer, Bear, and Raven have been strong presences in this man’s life since my last smoke signals out from the hall of Othala cabin to those faire folks reading me out there. The hunted horned one who sacrificed his life to feed another, has now his fetch transformed from skin and hide, to cured and tanned pelt. Smoked with the spirits of rock maple, birch, elder and amanita fungus over an A-frame bridge, surrounded by the red Runic wheel, freshly stained in ferric oxides of iron on stone. A ritual rug, or flying carpet is borne from the magicians will, a placeholder in the hall, facing west to the altar, and the setting sol. Fringed with winter white, and singed edges from the licking flames of a craftman’s fire, soft are the bristles now on the shirt of the deer.

Deepening into myth of real life, the deer thus mentioned traveled first by my motor-lion Mufassa from the greenhouse of my beloved where his skin was cured in safety, to the alder woods of my land. By way of back route and farm country, through the Appalachian foothills and Wolastuq river plains, I traveled with the precious cargo, rolled up and carried on the bike like an African parcel. The Whitetail Deer drifted across my path, and like the essence of the forest, vanished into the brush again. Closer to home on the treeline of a farm stead, a fully white Raven was being chased by three of his shadowy counterparts. This marking only the second occasion of this man witnessing an albino animal in the wild. The White Hart the first, in the Scottish highlands, a light stag in forever forests. I’m still sitting with the experience of the white Raven, and it’s symbolism. Why was it being chased off? And why did it remain limbed in the spruce as I walked beneath it after dismounting my bike to get a closer look?

In other worlds, I’m noticing mushrooms; garden giants, lobsters, and chanterelles, psilocybins, and Fly Agarics, Red Russulas, slime molds , wood ears and black witches butter, pine cone fungus and Scottish hats, little brown ones, and blue gilled ones. Take some for eating, some for learning, others leave to mind their business. Knowledge of being the life-web, like mycelium connections giving and receiving to all that lives and breathes, after communion with the golden teacher. Trips made inside and trips into culinary worlds of mycophagy. Consummation of Hypomyces lactifluorum, Stropharia rugosoannulata and Cantharellus cibarius in nutrient dense stews and stir frys, solar dried, and sauteed. A week of culinary mycological delight is spurned by subsistence forage.

The weekend offerings were stoked with other gathering missions in the lands of Nouveau Brunswick. A visit to an experimental farm to pilfer acorns from the squirrels, and scavenge butternuts neath the canopy of a Juglans cinerea tree. Not yet a harvest of sustenance for the wild food pantry, but these will be used for ulterior purposes as part of a 2 billion tree replanting project in our old old River valley.

A bumble in the countryside to a lesser known bank of the Shiktehawk opened a portal for some beautiful bridge deck fishing, and one of the last warm swims of the summer, before the cool nights drop the chill into the rivers. I was the hapless victim of a less than gentle nip from the jaws of a snapping turtle while walking with five toe shoes on the bouldered waterbed. Tradition, born runner as he is, bolted boundlessly and demonstrated his prowess swimming shore to shore with the unlimited energy I have witnessed in no dog.

Another animal has taken up free lodging under my homestead, this time some kind of Marmot, also known as; woodchuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistlepig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, red monk, land beaver, and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux. Apparently they build love nests in their burrows, and can lower their heart rate to four beats a minute in hibernation. Their masterful breath-work could teach the Tibetan monks a thing or two. I now muse in imagination on the intricate archaeological network of different burrows beneath my cabin. Everything from prickly porcupines, skunks and squirrels, rabbits and raccoons, mice and now marmots have excavated little plots of earth for their hollow havens, and set mazes of labyrinthine subterranean tunnels to provide homes for them and their descendants. Their time in the sun has been brief and they are excellent Houdini’s for disappearing. Their emotional reticence must be in part from the wild wolf dog that constantly prowls the land, I mean my lovable Alaskan husky, who is kind of socially awkward anyways.

This weekend, the Caribbean princess and I are riding to Grand Manan, loaded up on the motorcycle with gear and food for three nights and four days of exploration, fishing, hiking, biking, and the obligatory Viking raid on new lands. Mufassa the bike, will come on the ship with us. This will be our virgin island expedition on two wheels, and if this seaborne trip is anything of a primer for greater escapades in Tobago and south America, I will be lucky for it.

These are my sightings on land for now, I’ll have more from the sea when I come back!
Remember, everything is Everything!

Saga of Othala, ch. XVI: The Standing Stone, Skin of the Bear, and the Viking Sheep Funeral

Two years in the making, a Viking runestone is carved and raised at the land of Othala, by this fellow of the Rune Gild, under the guide of my great mentor and Scottish storyteller, master P.D. Brown.

In the first winter, the stone was meditated upon, studied for its strong points and for ease of carving with cold forged tools. In the second winter, a draft was made for the runic inscription in a journal and stenciled into the face with a graphite pencil. In the dawn of spring, chisel was hammered on slate over four weekends to rist the runes right. Then ferric iron oxide pigment was brought in from France, and stained over the course of four weekends. The prospective masterwork is the grand culmination nearly a decade of nomadic traveling and the finding of land and estate in the maritime of Vinland. The stone announces my settlement at Othala, seeking a wife and a tribe, after my last foray in Africa and long years gone a’Viking. Here I compose a poem about the rune stone process:

From slab of slate, forgotten in Urð

Wrested out by hands, its Wyrd is Rebirth

Two Winters air, seasoned Meditations

Of Runes to Rist, with intention and patience

Traced and carved, by Iron and Wood

For right Saga be told, destined by Skuld, told as it should

When last Stave was Stained, the Red Runes brought mirth

Raised in the hall of Othala, to hail this Man’s worth

The longhall has received a wayfarer from the southern lands of Kentucky recently. A man of stoic countenance, and sound resolve. After living in an ashram, and a national forest land for two years in the United States, he has flocked north, where he stayed at a farm in Maine, and crossed in Kanada for a visit to Othala. For two days, we stocked up on meaningful experiences, sharing out a workload infused with as much ceremony as labor. In the first day, we fleshed the fat from a male black bear that was gifted to me last autumn before my trip into Tanzania and South Africa. He hibernated in his soul skin inside my freezer for 10 months before finally thawing out. We used an ulu and a hunting knife to slim down the fat of the bear, which after being rendered, yielded nearly a liter of bear grease and a pound or two of black bear crackling for my dog. Tradition did not mind the extra hair and gristle in his primal energy snacks. This was my friends first time working with fresh hides, and the first with Black Bear energy. He expressed later that the experience was on the frontier of his comfort level, just enough to transcend the fear of turning away from the task, but well beyond any mundane task that could be extended from his service. For this reflection I felt extremely grateful, and I consider it important to provide the space and inspiration for those seeking the expansion of their own personal, and spiritual boundaries. To hold the role of the conscious instigator, the bridge builder our the guide through the non-ordinary experience of trying something new. We toiled with the bear, until the combined effects of the flies, the scent of the fat heating up in the scalding sun, and the soreness of the wrists arrested our progress and we could do no more. I had a cold shower on the moss, a nap in the cabin, and we regrouped around the fire for mead and meat. Later I built a frame and tanned White-tail deer in a solo effort, after traveling with the hide to Fredericton where I could access a greenhouse. Here it remains safe and dry away from bugs while it cures.

Day two brought some persistent drizzle, and grim skies so the bear needed be rolled up into a feed sack until the weather turned. Bear was ready for his tan, but the hide could not get wet. Instead we pitched and heaved shovelfuls of gravel into a circular pad for the future base of the Mongol-hut. This went handsomely well between the two of us, the slag of the sky keeping some of the pestiferous insects from our aura. A fellow of mine called up to ask me if I could provide a funeral for one of his sheep that died over the weekend. He was in Newfoundland and unable to do the service for this fallen ram. His specific request was for a Viking cremation ceremony rather than burial, which fell on open ears and a receptive spirit. Luckily my guest was still with me, so I brought him along for the experience. At the site, we brought the horned one out into a clearing where several felled trees waited as pyres for our Ram. I hoisted him onto my shoulders and set him in a tangle of tree roots, and piled straw around him. His body half in rigormortis was set in a stampeding position, as his spirit seemed to quicken from his physical vessel. With five gallons of fuel and three bales we set alight the gargantuan pile of deadwood with the sheep inside as the blaze grew into a raging burning beast. Saved were two blackened horns which were kept as memorandum of the event.

Saga of Othala, ch. XV: Noah’s Ark & the Black Beach

Ever since my homecoming from the Cape North lighthouse fiasco, at the Rainbow gathering, life has become steeped with smaller micro adventures throughout the province. A music festival in Oromocto I’ve been wrenching and toying with the motorcycle, optimizing it for long distance road warrior trips, it has since earned the alias of Mufassa, for once you ride it, you will know it is a roaring Lion. This man has been so lucky to be yoked with a dearly loved human with a heart as wide as the world, for all of these escapades into the greater territory of Home.

As I focus my gaze through natty dreadlocks, and tune my beast machine to new life, I regain the chassis with feral pride and haughty anticipation for it’s first run in the wild. Joined by a gorgeous Caribbean princess on the saddle, we roam through the back-lands of Carlton county for an bumble, and find Noah’s Ark by high afternoon for some munch, and a tea. The giant ship, set aground by some master carpenters is an impressive sight and albeit an ironic one amidst rolling potato fields, and sub-alpine forests. Serving as housing and a place to sup, the ark is worth setting aboard for those driving through Oakland, New Brunswick.

In the bed of the Shiktehawk river, a bowl of stones held the space for a cool mid day immersion in a natural pool, while I incline to compare the temperatures of these wild waters to the Coldstream, the Becaguimec and the Miramichi. Naturally, man’s best friend joins the fray for a frolick in these gushing baths and stirs up the silt of a good day gone better. I love to witness the wildness of my husky in his primal element as he chases avifauna and fuzzy rodentia into trees, and laps at the shore for a drink while his icy blue gazes scans the environment for prey, and intrusion. On one occasion he came too far down a mossy megalith in the middle of a torrent, and rather unceremoniously found himself plunging into the waterfall bounding for the nearest boulder at shore to pull his bedraggled body out of the tumult, lest he plummet over edge, and nearly did. He can be all the K9 of a dog, worthy of Gods, and then sometimes a klutz, bashing into the side of my cabin in pursuit of another four legged, or stumbling from cliffs, one paw forward too much. Tradition has made a friend with a miniature pincher that frequents the homestead, and puts up a good chase and a fine wrestle. Their choice past times are mincing marrow bones in their teeth on beds of straw laid out in the forest, boxing for prime attention rites, and stealing each others food.

Stashed inside the Fundy coast is a very special beach of charcoal black sand, near the salt marsh of Musquash Bay. Rising from a tangle of bladderwrack, kombu and dulse is a patchwork of pristine forest, lush with a hundred hues of greens full spectrum, expressed in moss and lichens. Feather, coral, reindeer, sphagnum, star, all mossy Jurassic predecessors to herbal life on earth. We stop incessantly on the trail to gaze at the fractal universe below our feet, in the rainbow burst of the sphagnum, the geometric symmetric perfection of the ferns, the ideal forest comforter of the feather moss carpets sprawling beyond eyes to see.

One would be spoiled for camping options, and walking barefooted over the spongy ancient landscape was a delicacy of rare experiences in this day and age. The beach itself reminded me of Iceland, and methinks it would feel even more dramatic in the frozen age of winter with snow toked conifers, and the giants of ocean sea ice on the blackened sands like sub-polar corpses.

One of the trails led to a lighthouse, crooning a lonely foghorn from an unmanned tower. Gone are the days of the light keeper, something I have always fantasized of doing. Though the lighthouse still seems to dig itself into the collective subconscious of the common folk, in almost a mytho-poetical way. They evoke old stories about mermaids, sea-beasts, lone hermits, and long nights lost in the mist with nothing to do but listen to the whales and seals somewhere out there… We did hike this path and were fortune enough to witness the dipping of a seal, while the sun sank into an occulted gray wash of ocean with brightly burnt waves. More than megalithic mountains, or impenetrable jungles, or vast deserts, it is the sea and its empty undulation of horizontal nothingness that intimidates me the most. Perhaps because unlike the former where people actually live within them, no one actually lives inside the sea. It inspires a primal dread, an intense awe and an epic beauty all together.

At the domicile, a concerted effort has been made towards initialing some new projects. A second go of the yurt platform has taken design, which shall remain secretive by the ways of its planning for now, but will assuredly be a more ‘colorful’ and robust stage for my Mongolian nomad’s homestead. After two years of spiritual work, and physical manifestation, I have also finally completed my first rune-stone, which now stands raised on the land of Othala, beside a cairn of rocks holding a Vinland flag. The birch pole which houses the flag is spiraled by a lush hops vine, both symbols of the botany which were found in Vineland during the first overland foray by the Vikings. Behind the flag is a pyramid tent, where travelers can come and stay to experience a traditionally informed and inspired lifestyle while contributing a reciprocal exchange of man or woman power toward the unceasing projects and cabin maintenance such a life requires.

A first forage of chanterelles were successfully dried in the sun for winter soup preservation. My hand picked tea wall purveys itself to the herb inclined connoisseur for its diverse tea drinking potentials, with jars of special blends that I consume regularly like my five mushroom and jungle beans coffee brew. Meanwhile the berries and sweet things of the land basically beg to be snatched from every bush, frozen, jammed, juiced, cooked, turned into fruit leather, and accentuate the fact that summer is indeed peaking. I’m drying some of the solarized fruit in the passive dryer as I write, and have a batch of frozen yogurt icing with blackcurrant, raspberry, mulberry and vanilla. If I am eating well in life, it’s always a sign of doing good.

Progress is underway with a couple hide tanning projects and designing the new yurt stage while I try to eke out time for spontaneous trips off the homestead for extra-curricular flights of fancy. I’m consciously observing how dreadfully slow internet has been hindering the research, connections and learning praxis of my own evolution here at the homestead, and suddenly Starlink does not seem like such a bad idea. With folks to stay in the Mongolian home in the not too distant future, I am finally coming around to the idea that taking advantage of the omnipresent signals that permeate the metaverse might be wise in leveling up this homestead experience. I feel lost if I can not study, research my craft, discover new music, connect in meaningful ways with my kinship, and authorize these publishings for those who continue to read them. Besides, I always though Musk was a genius in his own right and his inventions are pretty game changing. A solar powered Tesla cyber bike would be welcomed in my life, Elon if you are reading…

The waning of summer holds yet some forays, and first time experiences left to unfurl. Expect some new and unprecedented immersions into the orbits of Othala, some upgraded wisdom from the high seat of the longhall, and leveled up mythos from the realm of Appalachia.

The Rainbow Rite of Passage

Where a rainbow shines, it finds it’s source…

Little did this light bound nomad realize how a summertime pilgrimage to the Gaelic highlands of Cape Breton to rejoin the rainbow tribe could turn into much more than a conscious gathering and become a rite of passage in the raw heart of nature.

Setting forth from the hub of Fredericton, New Brunswick with sister Anicka, a rainbow virgin though well inclined to world travel and native to the paradise of Tobago. We were joined by our two k9’s, an Alaskan husky, and a miniature pincher, who made amiable mates after twelve straight hours of driving. A specially made dog hammock for the car provided suitable chill space for our friends as we migrated further east

As road signs turned to Gaelic, it signaled a transfer into new territory. This was the Nova Scotia my ancestors knew, a new Scotland. Wheeling through fisherman villages on the Cabot trail this was Cèilidh country, and around every dell and bray in the land unfurled an expanse of turf and surf. Growing up from the rusticated heathlands were the wooden, salt cured, pastel colored houses, and their denizens. The fellows of the country, as weathered as the stuff that builds their homes. Passing through Lake Ainslie and its associative village, a welcome sign read a population of 23. The numbers on their own plaques washed out by the sun and weather. I mischievously alternated the numbers on their hooks to read 32, then imagined how many times such an act had already been committed. Then I wondered instead if the population referred instead to coyotes, and moose, rather than the bipedal sapiens type.

The route through Scotia was long and flat, and necessitated a spontaneous highway pullover for a swim and cool down beneath one of the many river bridges. In New Glasgow, we found an Indian food truck and shared a spicy butter masala dinner before loading up again.For several hours puttering up the Cabot trail highlands road, the cars disappeared and we ventured alone in the darkness of a new moon night, stopping only to refill water for the dogs.

We reached Cape North at the tender hours of 2am, and started up a dirt path with only a number for a name. These kind of roads were always rough, and from my experience in commercial silviculture could carry on for hours, even days. Numbered roads now triggered an avoidant flight response in me, and I tried to stay away from the rabbit trails leading eons into the bush. The one in question eventually poured onto a junction called money point road, and from here it would peter out into nothingness. Reaching the point of no continuance on this money point trail, where a beaver pond arrested our progress of vehicle travel, we turned the car around in nothing less then a six point turn, drawing out geometric patterns in muddy tire tracks, and sat in silence contemplating our par for the course. We had made it to the inevitable welcome home camp of the gathering well enough, but were first to claim the terrain and were isolated in our celebration of the long foray over. Still yet we had four and a half kilometers to cover by foot, a tuft of moose hair on the trail and the absence of foot prints or tire tracks led me to think it would not be easy geography to traverse. Our canvas wagon was sacked up with the pyramid tent, down sleeping bag and heavy blankets, and a cork sleeping mat, rucksacks on our back and two dogs yanking us over the dark terrain and down a treacherous boulder slope, with sea level somewhere down in the dark void.

The scene and the grueling trek turned comical when we met with a troupe of East Indians on the trail. From a hoisted shoulder, a large speaker amplified a track of Hindi rap, while others slung wood, and gear over their backs, or otherwise great packs of what one could assume were tenting materials. We later saw them sun napping into the mid hours of a beaming hot day, with an entire grills worth of meat on their charcoal fireplace. It was a classic sight, and they reminded just like the younger Indian crowd in Kerala; the excessive meat grilling over bbq, the loud music carried in the arms from place to place, the brand name gear and fashion, and the perplexing will to house nearly ten people into a four man tent.

Grateful for a plot of flat meadow to lay down our tired skeletons among the night irises, we slumbered long and deep, only the breaking of the waves and the balmy ambient temperatures rising inside the canvas pyramid tent ushered us out into the light of a very good day. A flagoon of seals dipped in the brisk waters below the sea cliffs, and sporadically dissapeared from sight. Our secret meadow was bedecked in summer flowers of pearly everlasting, hawkweed, strawberry, and long grasses resembling spider plants, and sage. There is almost nothing that sweetens the soul with more sublimity than emerging from one’s tent in a new place of the world, and taking the first breath of fresh air that wafts into your lungs as the rays of sun embrace your newly woken self.

Faintly in the distance we could see an island, which we later learned is called St. Paul’s, while in the immediate threshold of our environment sharp shaley rocks sliced up the salty seawater, and splashed it onto the pebble beach. We partook in a naked swim, and I am reminded of a scene from Into the Wild as I recall it, at will with the wrestling waves, absolutely free, on the edge of the continent and with nothing to do but be. The sea is a magical place, especially the shore, in that when one stands with their feet in the water of the lapping wave, behind them is every known reality of one’s life, while in front lies the behemoth of an infinite sea, unstructured, non willed and free of our species. All domestic routines, politics, schooling, relationships, wars, dramas, work, business, etc. happens on this land. It is bound with the expectations of a people to provide, to proffer, support, produce, progress, and preside a way of life that seems to make sense. At the sea’s edge, all of this is stripped away and scaled down. The sense that I am a visitor here, and do not need to be conditioned by the world but rather informed by them. On the shoreline, we get to decide how to continue, or perhaps how we start over again, as we turn and walk out of the sea, and onto dry land. We evolve in these edge spaces.

Letting the k9’s loose for a free ranging morning, we pulled the pyramid tent closer to the edge of the cliff, and built a fireplace with antique red bricks pilfered from the foundation of a dilapidated and ruined house. Before long I had the moka pot steaming up over an open flame, and some Jamaican robusta coffee beans brewing, and sat for a blissful caffeination overlooking the deep blue. The myriads of morning seals were the finest company in such a setting. After a breakfast munch, Anicka and I trailed the dogs through the meadow, pausing to see wildflowers, whimsical windswept conifer trees, and collect driftwood for our fire. On rising to a knoll in the land, my husky charged off and did not recall, but another furry mammal did emerge on the top of the bray. A panic driven white tail deer hurtled over the meadow at breakneck speed, and launched itself off the cliff onto the rocks below. Then as suave and swiftly as any deer I have seen, he pounced into the sea with a full body landing in the oncoming tide and began to swim out from shore, without looking back. We were stunned in situ and could barely believe the scene to not be something from a movie, yet we had witnessed it there in front of us in plain sober reality. Through all manner of hails, hollers, wails and welcome backs, the deer did not err on its seabound voyage to nowhere in particular but far from where any dog was dare swim in pursuit. After several minutes the deer was but a speck on the horizon, smaller than a buoy drifting aimlessly on the swell. The only thing to believe was that the deer would drown, or be caught by a seal, and then pulled down into its watery tomb. St. Pauls island was too far abreast and would take an hour to sail there under fair weather. Even the reindeer of Norway who annualy swim across the fjord to new pasture grounds I believe would brush up against their physical boundary here. For the rest of the day, the whitetail was strong on my mind, simply wondering if I would see it back on shore, drenched and exhausted but alive. Or imagining how strange it would be for the aquatic life to see a mammal swimming among them so far from land, and if it died what would become of it on the ocean floor.

When we slumbered that night, indifferent to the exspirited driftwood lying on the shore, a raging noreaster broke over the cape. Thunderous storms reigned with Viking winds pummeling our tent, threatening to shake loose our only tether to this final edge of land. We must have been only heavy enough with to keep such a catastrophe from happening. Even my brave warrior of a dog was keen to come inside to shelter with his human. The morning left no marks of the tumult, only the permanently twists stalks of the evergreens shaped by past storms, and a few rogue pieces of our belongings that had tumbled away which were easily reclaimed.

None of the other Rainbow family had comes down from the mount of Cape North, and we started to wonder if we were in the wrong meadow, the idea was preposterous because of our idyllic setting but stranger things have happened. We naievely brough little in the way of food preserves thinking others would come soon with the bulk, so we rationed a tin of food to break our fast and foraged the mini wild strawberries for a sweet supplement to boost our energy for the climb outwards and upwards. I would leave camp behind and just take what was needed for the night and go for a scouting mission to find the rest of the family. Anicka was slated to teach online the next morning, but we wanted to share some fish and chips before parting. The elevational ascent was on par with any of Anickas tropical mountain hikes, and there was something in the coastal foliage that also reminded me of mesic American rainforests, albeit somewhat imaginatively. We wanted to celebrate with a fresh coconut at the top of the hill which I broke over a stone, sadly the palm fruit had fermented in the summer heat and was not fit for eating. I tossed it into a beaver dam, and instead we salivated at the thought of deep fried haddock and a quaint bayside village to sup idly as happy, go lucky tourists in our own country.

We did find what we yearned for, in the village of Saint Margarets which boasted 400 humans in residence, a food bank and coop, a community cafe, a fishmonger, and classic motel lodging. The wharf patiently hosted the crab fishing boats and whale charters of all piers everywhere. Our battered haddock was the much desire protein and caloric boost we needed to feel the life seep back into our muscles after the intensity of our mountain levitation. Anicka had the idea to inquire about internet activity in the motel, to which these modern acoutrements could be meted out indubitably. So with this, we decided to move in to Saint Margarets Sunset Oasis for two more nights, at least this was what we thought.

Upon yoking the dogs for a morning jog to the cliffs after they spent the night in the car, I absent mindedly forgot to return the car key to my companion in travel, and brought them with me on the trail. During the saunter through the tall grasses to the plateau of the cliff, I lost the key in a place that would seem impossible to reclaim in. I had to break the news to my friend, and we suddenly found ourselves stranded in this village until we could muster a spare. By sheer luck, the manager of the motel had access to a metal detector which was promptly brought for the treasure hunt to which I combed and pried through every blade of grass retracing my steps in seekance of the prize. Unfortunately after two hours of tireless search, the only metal that the detector picked up were rich deposits of mineral in the earth itself.

Considering we all had weathered two years of lockdowns and shelter in place orders, our situation was not nearly so dire in perspective to the domestic struggles of the pandemic. Our horizon spread out in multicolored waves as sunset tucked in another village microcosm, and we managed handsome fare with a limited kitchen setup in the motel, after a local fisherman gifted us several pounds of fresh Halibut from his own hook. We made New York style bagels and cream cheese with our fresh fish and drank a local stout with our furry friends at our feet outside on the grass, giving our goodnights the the port town that held us at her own for a few more nights. We took walks to the pier, and picked mallows and wild roses from the ditches, and recieved a tour of the town by the old Lighthouse keeper.

The more remarkable truth unfurled when we were stopped by a local crab fisherman while out with the dogs. He had recognized our camp at Money Point near the lighthouse, where he checked his traps daily, and asked if we had walked down all the way. He seemed keenly interested in how we came to be here and what kept us, then commented about the coyotes and whether we had seen any day. It was this interjection in the conversation where I told him about our sea swimming deer. To which without a breath of incredulity told the rest of the story of this marine driven mammal, and how it ended up in the hull of a crab fishing boat after being spotted by two of his friends. Out there in the deeps, they yanked the antlered being out of the water, bedraggled and exhausted, far from land. This is how myths get started I thought. So the deer was jetted back to shore and heaved back onto terra firma, in less a vigorous state than before but very much alive and well with a story no other deer of Cape Breton could tell.

After three days, a new key came from Fredericton and another storm was brewing. By now some of my Quebecois kin had made it to the lighthouse to seed the gathering with a basic camp and tent village, so I was heading back to sea level for the next few weeks, while Anicka would segway back home. While this seemed like a swell idea at the time, the ensuing 24 hours was beyond anything I have experienced from mother nature in all my travels. In terms of her ferocity, she was a Lioness, in manner of archetype she was the Tempest, her mood was wicked and the spirits did not seem happy. The overcast and passive gloom quickly transformed into the violent doom of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was in the span of hiking down from the welcome home camp to sea level where my canvas pyramid stood as a beacon for the intrepid hill walker, that the weather morphed into something I only recognized from the Scottish highlands. The chaos was already in tow, and I saw bodies cloaked in wetsuits frantically staking their tents in winds that threated to whip the sea itself into foam. Others turtled under bushes for shelter inside their flooding shelters, a mother with two kids, another woman pregant of six months with a stoicity no less than that of a Norse Goddess. Prerogatives shifted in the madness of the unforgiving weather, as Elsa and I retreated down the coast to find any solid structure tha may shelter us all from the extreme winds and rain. The sea churned with such primal violence, only the seals and the whales could navigate such waters. Even the birds were having a hard time, launching up for their take off flight only to be forced out of the sky like a magnet and sent hurtling back down to earth. We found no adequate shelter, only the ruins of the lightkeeper house, and an open frame iron tower where the tower once stood.

Now this lighthouse was not just any lighthouse, but in fact the very one that broadcast its final signals to the Titanic just before it sunk. The original lighthouse was in Newfoundland in “Cape Race”. It got moved to the tip of Cape Breton island, then it got moved to Ottawa for Canadian history.

So, to scion a story into a story, an interesting tale must be told. Late in the evening of April 14, 1912, just minutes before striking the fateful iceberg, the Titanic had been relaying passengers’ messages to Cape Race, but the nature of the wireless transmissions soon changed when the Titanic broadcast: “CQD CQD SOS Titanic Position 41.44 N 50.24 W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We struck an iceberg. Sinking.” Over the next several hours, Cape Race Marconi Station sent and received numerous messages as it helped coordinate the rescue operation and disseminated news of the tragedy. A marine radio station was active at Cape Race until 1965.” The iron tower was dismantled after a couple of years of disuse and shipped to Cape North, where it was used until 1978.

As for us, we had no ships, only nylon and canvas tents, but we still had the ground beneath us, and our collective wits to endure. After two hours, only the pyramid was left standing on its own legs, and it was becoming a muster for those who now had no structure to pass the night in. I surrendered the use of my tent to the mother to be, and a youth while instead opting to hike back up the mountain carrying weight and pass the night in a damp sleeping bag at the top. If I judged it right I could return in the morning for the other half of my gear, and sherpa things on the roundtrip for those with more pack than I, though it remained double as difficult carrying against gravity than scaling down with it. I had probably burned 10,000 calories trekking back up the mountain, which I feebly tried to replenish with whatever sustenance I could find in the communal tent at the top. A jar of apple sauce, some sunflower butter and a couple mini wheels of cheese. The husky and I cuddled in a drafty camp on a deflated air mattress and I dreamed of the sun.

One of the Rainbow sisters slept far worse than I did. I heard her rummaging around later at night after reaching the summit, and caught the odd beam of a headlamp as she wrestled with rippling tarps. Her voice pierced the sounds of the blowing gale, as she repeated she had found a suitable place to sleep. In the morning I found her under one of the collapsed tarps, lying on bags of lentils and flour as a mattress. Without dry socks, she wound covid masks around her feet to keep them warm, and yet her humor and nonchalant attitude about the whole experience was still in tact. I had half a pack of Marley coffee left which I brewed for three of us in the welcome home camp. Shukrey was a spiritually inclined gentleman with a proclivity for the Muslim ways and a love of Allah. In his heart, a generous brethren of the Rainbow tribe and a tower of strength in tough times. We bonded over our bitter dark brew, on an equally dark and biiter day. I made my resolution to scale back down to sea level one final time to collect the remaining gear, and help those at the bottom rise out of their suffering too.

The winds had not abated, and the troupe of those who were still on the meadow were packing up their tender belongings and leaving the coast to the seals. Together in a mule train of five people, one of them the 6-months pregnant woman carrying a backpack of food, we prodded slowly back to the peak, taking multiple breaks on the way. At one knoll of the trail I came to my knees and settled into a crouching rest until a sister from below reached my location. A conversation ensued that to me represents exactly what Rainbow gatherings stand for and the synchronistic connections that align from the right people in the right place.

She was a woman of her fifties, a seasoned moon dancer of over 20 years, and a sistren of Pacha Mama in her second home of Colombia. There she lived many a year, and communed with the plantas sagradas among her latin American kinship circle. Her hair was graying, and she was well evolved into her wise cronedom, and yet carried a youthful aura and innocent gaze. She told tales of her time in South America, how the people were, the language of the herbs and the heart, the nature of the Amazon forest life. Her medicine pouch was tied to her pack which she untied to showed me a clay vessel bearing her image, that was made for her by the community she knew in Colombia. Inside was Mambe, a tobacco paste made in much the same way syrup is brewed. It was thick and dark and she told me I could use some for good energy. First by smearing the pure tobacco paste over my back gums, and then packing in a spoonful of powdered coca leaf mixed with other energizing herbs which would carry through the bloodstream and stream through my limbs, offering me renewed vigor. I packed the bright green powder that resembled matcha in texture and scent, into the lower corner of my mouth and let my natural salivating actions dissolved the wad slowly into the mucosal membrane of my cheeks. The rest was swallowed, and tasted like a pu-erh green tea, or a bit like kratom. I felt immense graciousness to be with her in this moment, to have the plants on my side, to have made a connection with someone so experienced that could guide my efforts for a future south American pilgrimage. The remaining steps up the mountain did not feel so heavy or gravitational, and the skies lost their dark clouds to the power of the sun. Within minutes, blue skies filled the atmosphere and golden light poured down onto us with a freshening breeze filtering through the dwarf trees. Those who remained at the top applauded our final steps to the camp while my whole soul felt relieved of the endeavor, and happy to cast off a burden. The daughter of Papillon made rice cake sandwhiches stuffed with nut butter, and these were better than any royal feast.

The prospects were good for finding a lift as far as Moncton, and I was happy to be in a moving car again as we wound down out of the snakey roads of Cape North, en route to New Brunswick. The long drive was an opportunity to integrate and decide how this story would be told. To absorb the immersive experience with a full heart, and an open mind. As we passed each crenulated bay and fjord in the Cabot trail, I looked out at people living their lives, eating their picnic, living their lifes in fleeting glimpses from a stranger, and wondered what stories they were holding on to, where they were going, and what motivated them to do the things they do. I hoped it was worth telling, and somehow that seemed important.

Saga of Othala, ch. XIV: Right Relations

If it were not for the mosquitoes, black flies, no see-ems, and fire ants, I would be gardening naked. Thoughts through my feral mind, as my barefoot met with solar scorched fallow field on a solstitial day of cultivation. True, these micro beasts are just as much a part of the environment as the staghorned Moose, concspicous Whitetails, and foraging mama Bear, but alas I can not admire them, catch photos of them on my camera traps, sup kingly on their meats, or tan pelts from their hides. They feast on my essence, and spoil a perfectly good meditation, or yoga sequence, and are infinitely terrible when they make contact with the genital region. No wonder Adam and Eve had fig leaves, and tribals stitched loin clothes with kudu skins, it wasn’t for shame but for protection of the future race!

Bug season comes with a heaping mound of sweet experiences too, with a thick gravy of special moments so as to make all the heathland discomforts worthwhile. Flowers galore naked in their beauty, flashing their feminine forms to all nectar lovers of the animal paradise, human men of this species included. I love to get up close and personal with the passionate violet, a flirtacious peony, or the sepals and petals of an orchid in bloom, watching their colors shift with dappled sunlight, watching rainwater bead from their soft landing strips, and inhaling their natural cologne, as my own musk is left in their aura by exchange, sometimes consuming the flowers whole and tasting them slowly as they dissolve in my mouth. I wonder if one can be sustained by flowers alone? A Floratarian?

At the cabin, I sold my vintage bike to make room for a new chariot with some more horsepower and “getting around the world” vibe. The KLR 650 is made for those with long seeing gaze, and wild manes, and who don’t mind putting on the miles. It’s full of custom mods that make it sounds like a Lion that swallowed a volcano, and I dig that. It’s black as soot, with some gritty paint job that gives it a rough and beastly look to it. Each bike should be akin to his rider anyways. When I first saw it, I started thinking about how far it would take me, there is something satisfying about saddling an open air vehicle and knowing with confidence it can carry you to the ends of the continent and beyond.

She needed some love however, the tank was rusted, and required some old fashioned chemistry in old school ways. Vinegar and baking soda descaled the rust, cleansed it out of the tank and turned clear acetic acid into a red slurry filled with chips of the fungal rust resembling corn flakes. The vinegar changes the pH of the steel to acidic naturally, while the baking soda etches and neutralizes the tank metal closer to alkaline. A failed Por-15 sealing solution that resembles liquid silver, was a major disturbance to getting the horse out of the stable. I started calling it Poor-15, when this material did not adhere, and come out of the tank in pieces looking like parchment paper, and lava rock and porous rubber. Six days after the first attempt to cure the tank with the solution, I had it all picked out, using a barbeque fork, a birch branch, a crow bar, and a chain. It rained most of the time bringing further moisture into my workshop space, and making the dry priming of the tank even harder. In the end I was able to scrape out all the hardened solution inside with only a few minor dings to the tank and a few chips of paint knicked off the sides. Fortunately I have half a can of rugged black grit paint for touch ups later. The tank did eventually get a light bloom of the rust (a fungus caused by oxygenation of various metals), but apparently the new epoxy resin solution that has come to me will bond even tougher to a surface with some traction so I remain hopeful. In the meantime I tore down the carbeurators, deep cleaned inside and out and replaced all jets, fuel screws, emulsion tubes, pins and gaskets, and rebuilt the carb in an afternoon. Though these processes were carried out by my hands alone, I must give thanks to the fellow Kawasaki owners on youtube with far more mechanical inclination than I for making videos for just about everything I needed to know along with way. I still consider it a small miracle that such information can be liberated and shared, for free. After the rebuilt, a friend of mine linked it to his hybrid engine vehicle and we let it charge for half an hour while we sat around a pit fire. The beast did not turn over first try. I had forgotten to connect the throttle, so I drew on my bicycle experince connecting brake cables, and had them both back on without a challenge. After a charge, and a few good words, it roared to life, the beast liveth! I trotted down south Knowlesville road for a celebratory first run, then returned it to the stable for further tending and tuning.

Under my bare feet, I have felt the ground and the warmth of Pacha Mama. My hands, roughened, dried and calloused by the stacking of wood, the foraging of plants and the sowing of seed are balmed by resinous oils, and natural sebums of youthful age. When not in service to the duties of the land, animal or homestead, they work to turn the pages of saga rich literature, and timeless knowledge. On my bookstack, I currently have The Art of Fermentation, Sacred Plant Initiations, The Rune Poems, and a copy of the Rastafarian king Selassie ver. of the Bible. I’ve started two vinegars, one an infused tropical vinegar with banana peels and burnt orange skins, another with a vinegar grandma and masala chai spices. They sit bubbly on my tea shelf next to some other rose family and medicinal vinegars, as the herb walls becomes filled out with newly foraged and solar dried concoctions. In the meantime I’ve been restoring some old beehives, I need a Queen in more ways than one, and a Queen means workers serving her highness, and that means honey laden hexes, and honey yields Viking mead!

Every year I set intentions to experiment cooking and eating new wild foods, incorporating some into my ever expanding and diversifying diet, while others are munched and eaten in season but ultimately enjoyed ephemerally. Thus far the testament has been verified and I have been lucky enough to be in the right place and time to engage the terroir of some ofthese species little or unknown to me before. Whether enjoying them cooked artisanlly into a solo supper, prepared for a communal potluck, or snacked in situ. Early season brackenferns a.k.a. fiddlenecks, and which I like to think of as Eagle ferns because of their eagle talon like fern heads, were a nice treat side by side with asparagus, which had a muskier earth flavor that intuitively seemed good to pair with seafood. Violet flowers were blended with raw goat’s milk and heavy cream to make an unpasteurized healthy ice cream. I sample a few honeysuckle berries on a friends land, and have been adding Lovage and Valerian florets into egg recipes, stir frys, and potato mashes. I’ve yet to find thistles with enough heft in their stalks to try Thistle celery, of which all species are edible in their stalks when peeled, and their flower buds apparently yield an artichoke like heart before sending out their petals. Nettles have been therapy for some chronic arthritis in my hands which I take more advantage of in their urticating hairs left unpicked from root, with the caveat that their dark foresty green brews, an simmered leaves with miso have nourished me on wet tropical muggy days. A tincture of nettle helped after being stung by a wasp, and biten by a jumping spider, and counters the adrenal drain of coffee. I’ve switched to some decaf Marley roasts half the time. A spicy fish batter went over well with some dry roasted horsetail fronds, and their unique anatomy lent for a special eating experience. I’ve dined on a handful of latexy milkweed greens, and a garnishing of flowers though not so much to trigger any ill-fated butterfly effect. I believe they will still be hatching in profusion here in our no spray south Knowlesville and charting their route to Mexico in no time. Elsewise the wild oreganos, mints, and pineapple chamomile gleaned from weedy human designs made their way to the solar dryer, and stocked some jars for further plant communion through the all holy tisane ceremony.

Spring filtered through with some exciting moments, and some not so irie ones. A friend of mine and permaculture guru launched an orchard planting blitz on the maritime coast in Little Shemogue, where hundredss of fruit trees, berry borne shrubs, perennial flowers, nuts and medicinal herbs were married together in guilds, aligned with the four directions and concentric ring designs. Spawning the beginning of a larger vision for an intergenerational fruit and nut highway in the maritimes. I met some beautiful souls while rooting willow into burms, from which some precious connection have unfurled. From one who chooses consciously not to engage with social media, dating sites, or have an online presence beyond this journal, and lives in a village of 40 people with no car, meeting other high minded beings, with their heart resonating in more pure frequencies, and their actions matching their words is a treasure and a rare occurence. We are becoming an endangered species, and the tribe is scattered like seeds on the wind. I am pleased to have found a few good seeds in the bunch over my years of picking and choosing.

Other bonds met their natural fraying, and not so happy endings, which ultimately made way for deeper self sovereignty, and more pure levels of self-love. The dance does not last forever, and it is important to know when the love language is forced, and when it comes organically. I remain thankful to all those I have learned to love, and those who have co-conspired with me to step together and aportion a piece of this finite lifetime we have for the joys of being. I choose not to hold anything negative in burdensome weights on my soul. Some cooler nights have afforded a reason to sit presently with my woodstove, and “feel the feelings” so they may be absolved, and integrated, released, healed, or celebrated. This is all we can ever do, and there are no wasted hours.

A robust animal presence at Othala is being watched, I have my own nature documentaries here inna de yard. Blue Jays have been courting in strange crooning lyrics, a resident woodpecker chases standing timber for afternoon snacks, and a hummingbird woke me the other day while hovering an exhales distance from my face as I lay in bed on the other side of a bug screen. The moment later, a rather large garter snake slithered across my floor and attracted unruly attention from the Alaskan husky. I transported her outside to the pyramid tent, and she later returned to the cabin door, seeking passage in again. The wolves have also been at my door, of the arachnid kind, some goliaths of a spider hanging from gossamer webs, hiding in the racks of drying herbs, cornered in sills and tucked under boards of moist wood. Another smaller species lives in the glass of a spider plant vase, a fitting home methinks. Their webs have done a good job of catching all matter of flying insects, so I welcome them in this hall.

On the waning of the new moon, I shall be yoking the mechanic steed with a sister for an epic roadtrip to the Cape Breton highlands and a return to the Gaelic countryside for the 2nd Rainbow gathering this side of Oh, Canada. Last years circle was held in Indigenous Wabanaki territory while this year beckons us out to the sea, at the site of an abandoned lighthouse in Cape North. I look forward to taking my shoes off and leaving them off, swimming everyday in the salt, eating porridge when really hungry for it, sleeping when tired, letting the animal body be free of its fibers, and play in the world as if decades younger. These are the perfect places to commit oneself to such enjoyments, and I think it is not a matter of escapism but rather responsibility to allow yourself to be so free, to marvel at simple things in awe and wonder, to tell the weather with your skin, to share meals hand in hand with brother and sister, and sing for your food. We need to remember the sacredness of the fire that does not go out, the melodic forest hymns of songbirds speaking across the species, the absence of time and manmade geometry, to call a tent one’s temple, and drink live wild water from the burbling spring fountain of terra firma. This will be my fifth Rainbow gathering and 2nd in this country. During some nomadic travels, I found my way home to gatherings in Mexico, Wales, and Gotland, always emerging from the cocoon of love and peace a little wiser, more graceful, and with richer hue of spirit.

Simmer Down

As the summer heats up, the busy bee nature of the human hive becomes more frantic to accomplish the eternal chores of doing. So many dreams are taking flight, , projects being initiated, and fantasies left to roam like nomads far from home and reality. I and I am making keen awareness of how this squirrely industrious nature of getting things done can easily get out of proportion to living well and become very harmful to the i-tal vessel, emotional stability and spiritual well being of the individual. The grind put upon I-self is nothing more than an adopted paradigm from Babylon, manipulated onto the sovereign self that enforces the hustle as more important than simplicity. That suffering and survival be the only pride in one’s work, and struggle is the only means for thriving. But I believe this is a practice made with less attention to awareness, consciousness, and quality of living.

People are forgetting how to truly be, and not allowing themselves to fully inhabit their lives, even in my own community. So much talking about places they wish to see, things they are wanting to do, and ideas about the future, though only as wishes without the contentment of the here and now, and the gratitude of the process that moves us.The reasonings of the downpressed man or woman say, “there is no time for fun”, “there’s not enough money in the pocket”, “I have to do this, there is no other choice”, and just keep on working and doing more of the things until they burn out.

I overstand this because in the past I adopted this paradigm and believed it, followed it, and felt there was no other way. Some of this was inherited from my lineage and the conditioning upon I as a youth. Always poor growing up, and to this day living with very little. But I found a way to feel rich by doing without, in not having the need of more, in being free with unstructured time to do nothing and fully be. I know better that it is a myth to be a slave. I work as hard as anyone else, and have several engagements of different kinds, but there is a quality of attention and awareness in that work, and meaningful relationships built into the engagements that raises the vibration in the doing process, and helps it flow more easy and playful. I dedicate my works to Jah, when the burdens seem too great for one man, and keep on moving with an Irie mood, when life is needing me to show up and shine.

The mindset and the spiritual connection is the real boundary of what kind of life you can have, and how one helps I-self on their journey. He say, let I have this thing to make life better, and takes up the material things, builds a bigger house, fills it with the luxuries, puts investments in all the assets, domesticates the animals to act according to his will, then is burdened by them. The material things end up owning him, it all needs to be maintained and protected, there is never a satisfaction of the ownership, and he is always starving. This is the modern system of living, and it can even poison the countryman.

There is so much competition, but the competition is misguided, see. It is not in service to truth, wherein the best path or idea emerges from the collective output of the whole. Competition should hold the space for refinement of gifts and talents, and create awareness of shortcoming, without the intention to win. This only encourages cheating and anti-communal power dynamics.

Mostly there is the trouble of gratitude. Like most people do not wake up and give thanks for their morning brew, and be thankful to the dog that wants your attention. There is no praises for the warm fire, the bed, and the woman beside you. We miss so many opportunities of recognition for the systems in place that keep our routines functioning, like tools working as they should, vehicles to get us around quickly, an oven to cook the food for the plate, and a backyard for the privacy of life to happen. Unhappy is he who complains for a better life. Can you thank the wind for drying your clothes, and sleep on the ground and still be happy? Can you lay in a hammock for thirty minutes and take a nap on a busy day, and not regret doing more? Can you prepare a healthy dinner and share it among many, and count this among your blessings of being able to serve? I believe there is no higher need than service, even more so than self actualization. It is too late in the game to be placing I-self above all, we need to remember to give, slow down, and come back to life,

So do what you do, but do it with dedication, and in the spirit of service. Simmer down the heat of the hustle and bustle, and remember what you are working for.

Jah bless,