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.

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