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!


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