Saga of Othala, ch. XIX: Getting Ready

Snow… how does that make you feel?

If eye were to say so, it would be a plethora of assorted thoughts, philosophies, deep feels, and spiritual weather. The first thing that comes to mind is surrender. When snow covers the ground, the earthworks meet their natural termination. Sure, there is shoveling, and breaking the ice dams from edge of the homestead, warming the heart(h) and hall, but are not these the elemental chores of fire, water, and air? These strange airborne crystals, patterned and carved by the frost giants of distant high realms in some bizarre unrepeatable sacred geometry beyond the understanding of mere earth dwelling mortals. Their lifespan so tenuous, bound by the ambience of the entire cosmos, falling onto trails, and causing us to grow giant feet made of sinew and wooden hoops so we can traverse them in their abundance. Well, that is kind of mytho-poetical, and some would simply answer that snow is a ‘drag’, a ‘dread’, or some other encumbrance.

The white powder definitely slows down our progress. Looping back to surrender and sacrifice, all projects out of doors come to a halt, the moss no longer cut for the roof, the trails now indistinguishable from the surrounding staves of wood that hold it in. A good gardener would have all their winter storage veg out of the ground, lest they be frostbitten relics of a summers effort. Save for the garlic, and rye crop, and maybe some subarctic loving kale plants, the ‘garth’ or garden is barren and vulnerable. The mind starts to rest, as the hustle of fall jobs bottleneck into a few end of year chores. In my case; saving the barbecue and rustic wooden furniture from being buried, shedding and winterizing the motorcycle, blanketing the woodpiles with evergreen boughs, burming the sides of the house with boulders to prevent critters from entering underneath for free winter lodging, reinforcing the hall ceiling with beams and poles against excess snow-load, moving jars of preserves to below frost level in a neighbors cellar for storage, shutting down the solar system, and re-homing my tropical succulents and cacti for their continued care, meanwhile eye prepare for a southern migration.

In the darkening days, eye bolster the inner light, rekindle the soul with second fire, and welcome company from far and close. Eye start to wax nostalgic as the most extreme environmental changes flex their muscles, and alter the reality of all of us. The mind plays a movie of summer adventures had, road trips to places unknown, another birthday, another solstice, another harvest, and so many thanks givings. Eye think of Chaga harvesting, and how more beautiful the cardinals and blue jays look in their colored jackets set against pure white forests. Eye muse about if the food will last, how much wood eye will burn, and what animal visitors will grace the land of Othala this year. Eye look forward to change, to winter stews and sleeping in, to wearing the woolen shifts 24/7. Winter is the deep, dark, silent space of a dharmic life, but in this day and age it also means this snowbird is migrating south for the next adventure.

In India, eye sought to really feel what other travelers meant when they said India was the place of Love. Here eye did find love, new ways to love myself, novel ways to love change, infinite ways to love the people, and abundant ways to love the land. India was a land of extremes, still is, and eye will be back to continue where eye left off, next time with my beloved diva with me by my side. In Tanzania, eye went to have a human experience, to understand what it really meant to live, hand to mouth and in the most authenticated and consciously embodied way. By living real with hunter-gatherer tribes, offering karmic service to heal the land with permaculture projects, teaching children in a pre-school, and traversing epic swathes of safari land in nothing more than a tuk-tuk beside ancient beasts of Eden, eye felt that a real human immersion took place.

My next trip shall take my Empress and eye into her homeland of Tobago, the jungle rural folk of fish and fairness. We shall be arriving post monsoon season to set about constructing a homestead nestled in the rainforest, and if the ocean spirits are kind, maybe getting out on some salty swales to explore in the lower West Indies. But nothing is guaranteed, not even the building materials. Post Caribbean, eye intend to reach the mainland of Latin America, somehow, someway. Stepping foot first in Venezuela, or Colombia or some other port of land unknown to me, and little by little making my pilgrimage to the Amazonian jungles of Peru. Here eye intend to meet the plants in a whole new way, and that is all eye am willing to say for now.

Meanwhile in the Othala bunkhouse, life is great and challenging together. Less light in the evening and a waning solar gain means my evenings are humbly passed by candlelight, oil lamp or the flicker of a fireplace… kind of medieval, but not a bad prospect. In two months, the husker will be heading north again, hired by a good brother of the Wolfpack, who runs a sled kennel near Bathurst. Tradition will join the ranks for the second winter in a row, and this time shall be running full time, with a pack of nearly thirty arctic breed dogs. He will be right out home on the trail, with his Nordic k9 kindred. If he shows prowess on the tetagouche trails, he may be doing some further traveling to the Gaspe region of Quebec, for a forty mile competitive mush, and if that fares well, a 180-mile epic in the eastern bush. The whole thing races with excitement in my mind, and eye can easily imagine my agouti pup conquering the trails with a band of other furry savages.

On home turf, the Knowlesvillian commune morphs and comes to terms with new changes as well, as four members abandon their plots for alternative dwellings. Another family hunkers down in the roundhouse for their first communal winter, and the hardcore homesteaders stay and tend their fires, waiting until Thursday potlucks for their weekly download of social stratification. Not much happens here in the great hibernia, but still more than the average neighborhood on a good summer day, and that is saying a lot. Eye value and give gratitude for living in a community with strongly knotted relationships, engaging eventides, and the sacred night of lucky pots. At the nature school, my kids learned about Viking music, how to make a drinking horn, knit with bone needles in the Iron age way, play Viking hockey, what our ancestors though about the world. and some of the inventions they left behind. It has been an enriching curriculum and a gift of the ages to be the one at the front of the room. Eye am thankful for the ability to gather, to have physical, financial, and lifestyle support worth as great or greater than any insurance company or counselor can provide, and to keep my work within the village. In the third revolution of my maturation into this New Brunswick cabin dwelling experience, eye have always kept my occupations local, and mostly on the black side of the ledgers. Eye have become cultured like the sour dough and wild krauts that sit out for a long time.

Through opening myself to saying yes more often, and challenging my threshold for doing, eye have enjoyed a rich experience of physical work that has kept me healthy through the seasons, and inspired in the mornings to continue doing the greater works. Everything from sugarbushing on snowshoes for hundreds of hours in a Baltic winter, to carving mortises and tenons in great beams for a timber frame cabin, to blazing trails on the mighty Skedaddle ridge, to maximum fertility gardening in worship of the earthen feminine. Eye have done the diamond and the dirty work, teaching youth about the Norse worlds so far away, or cleaning out mold ridden barns overrun with pigeon guano and material clutter. Eye have enjoyed learning how to flesh a cow hide in winter snows, cultivate enormous mushrooms in wood-chips, raise a spiked cedar fence, stacked 27 cords of wood in a season, made ancient crafts with the future generation of artists, planted hundreds of trees and thousands of vegetables, made spartan shelters in the woods using only natural materials, and built some pretty cool spice shelves for my Iranian friends.

This was all monetized work, eye do understand this can arise from a place of privilege, and eye also believe that such privileges can be earned. However eye have done a heaping ton of hard living to meet the place where my evolving present meets my unfurling future, and make these magical gains in life to be more supported by its course. So whenever eye have a negative thought about the process, or a limiting belief that hinders my appreciation and acknowledgment of how good it is, eye can always return to the old saga of where eye came from, and how eye got here. For eye have suffered through the night on cold rainy city streets, and slept in the shelter bed of many a wandering man, and eye have raked through the bin to liberate some nair to expired bread for my humble grub, and eye am not ashamed of this. Eye have traveled the world with only so many possessions as one could carry on their back, and given my last coins to a beggar in Glasgow because his plight seemed greater than mine. Eye have done without, again and again and again, to feel what it was like to finally have, and how sweet the contrast of life can be. Eye lost myself in the chase, of fun, of sex, of illusory ideals and fantasized prospects, like a Neo-Siddhartha who sleeps in a tent. At this nexus point eye feel a little more rooted, and a little less free, but still altogether wild with a good heart and a strong spirate. Eye have transformed most vices into virtues, and traumas into healing journeys. From the core kernels of unfolding experience as a human BEING here and now, comes the medicine of the perennial truths.

Eye am leafing through a special book written by Eliot Cowan, on spiritual nature of plants as eye prime the mind for working more intimately with the flora of an old jungle. The island rain-forests of Tobago and Trinidad, and the vast archaic lungs of the earth in the Amazon from Colombia to Peru. Eye have no idea what to expect, though binge watching some documentaries has helped in putting my mind into another sphere. This will not be a typical trip as you know me, more of an expedition. Eye anticipate being on the epic Latin American rivers for some time, possibly on a boat, swaying in a hammock heading to some distant region of the Amazon. The journey pack is shaping up again and it’s always exciting to fill it again. The bare essentials and a few special things for a four month foray. Confronting needs. Cutting the surplus. Changing the scene. Toning the body to move from hibernal cold to tropical summer, then wet season and balmy equatorial hangouts.

A thread of early winter hikes and sojourning manifested after a brother made a special trip from north of Montreal to stay at my hall for six days. At Moose Mountain, we hiked through a sugarbush, and ate porcupine and turkey stew at the summit with an old English ale. Our fire would not light because the birch was soaking wet. Then we lost the husky and found him again later. With the Caribbean princess, we returned to Black Beach, without the dogs for a tread on the lighthouse trail, impressed with mosses and lichen of the richest green spectrum. A patch of Labrador tea near the lighthouse was a special treat to forage and we were greeted with a red gold sunset after the hiking loop at the black sand beach. Criss-crossing the trails Odell park the next morning through an old growth Hemlock forest with the hound at our behest, we were as youth among the elders, and the whole forest felt very Euro-nature-. At Hayes Falls on our route back to Knowlesville, eye spotted two Jenny’s (female turkeys) high in the canopy making their signature wood on wood rubbing sound from somewhere in their throat. They flew rather gracefully for such heavy birds aloft even the highest trees, and was one of the more memorable turkey encounters eye have had in these parts. Half of the falls was frozen, and on the snow mounded cliffside we scaled the walls to survey the torrent from above. Small pools on the crest looked liked ideal places to bathe in summer. Every night we ate like Kings, with plenty of wild meat, buff vegetables, giant squash, healing herbs, nutritious protein porridges, pots of skyr, forest ales, wild-crafted gin and Walkyrie mead. Always the best is saved for friends and it had been two years before such a knotting of threads has allowed us to meet again. Thank the Norns!

One culminating potluck at Othala for the :JER: brought out the gang, with some surprise guests, and the work began the moment they left the hall, to finalize any last minute chores, complete projects and courses, and winterize the homestead and workshop before these wings flock south again. Eye recently finished taking a course on Curanderismo, the art of healing with herbs. And a TEFL certification for teaching English as a foreign language, a milestone for me that has been three years in consideration and one month of careful study. Eye believe it will open a lot of doors while traveling with my partner in the wild and exotic world of the future, and help on a practical level for making a living from the home. Eye do not enjoy commuting to ‘work’, so this is at least one way to bring the work to my temple, and a way to connect with people from countries eye have only yet dreamed of.

Gradually my mind empties as the saga of a season comes to an end, and a new one emerges from the mulch. Eye look forward to eating fruit eye have never heard of, swimming in risky waters, seeing some of the island paradise from where my beloved hails, transforming dreams into real life experiences, sneaking up on animals of an exotic sort, meeting allies, tribals, citizens, nomads, hippies, artists, farmers, friends, musicians, kids, elders, making something epic of this fierce and fragile life, and sharing as much as eye can with those who are ready to receive it. I love my community, but to be honest, I am ready for some time away from it.

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!

᛬ᛞᚱᛁᚾᚲᛁᛜ᛫ᚹᛟᛞᛖ᛫ᚹᛁᚦ᛫ᚷᛟᚨᚾᛏᛊ᛫ᚨᚾᛞ᛫ᚷᛟᛞᛊ᛬

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!

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. 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.

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,

Note to Self: The Nomad’s Dilemma

Funny direction signpost stock photo. Image of direction ...

Since my apotheosis as a younger self, during a pivotal change in my life, at a time of roots up personal transformation and soul shifting. Eye experienced the first step on the path of the Hero’s journey. The necessitated sacrifice of all eye knew to be familiar and comfortable in exchange for a life of novelty. Eye was laid off from the union company eye worked for, broke contact with a long distance relationship eye had with a woman in London after she cheated on me, turned down a four year academia contract in Biology studies and left my basement apartment in the French province of Quebec, which eye shared with an immigrant from Turkey. Eye joined a guild of pagans and acclaimed my life to the wandering god Odin. Packing up a small cargo that eye could carry on my back. Eye became a solo traveler of this planet. Cutting the meat and fat off so many stories and experiences already logged along the journey on this very blog over nine years, to say that traveling became enmeshed in the cloth from which eye was woven would be a core truth to admit about myself. The traveler spirit was exuded with my pheromones and was the only way eye knew how to live.

Fast forwarding the movie to when ‘rona canceled the world and eye learned to stay in one place, while integrating the nomad archetype with the King in his home. Leaving India to find solace and life in slow motion at my cabin in the forest was by far the wisest move eye undertook and it lit a new fyre for living my truth. With an authentic relationship to place and space, eye settled my land and built the systems that would support me and future family for many years to come. Instead of carrying a backpack and learning foreign languages, eye carried water and chopped wood, healed in solitude from so many years on the road, and thrived in the community setting. Eye grew gardens fished the rivers of my home-place, foraged the woods to bring food to my fork, and relied greatly on a more sustainable cycle of existence, and it all felt rather copacetic. Eye rode my motorcycle to the head of hiking trails and swimming holes, and would disappear from my routine life for an afternoon to play in the untamed. Eye adopted a husky, named him Tradition and ran in the hills and fjords of my eastern territory with my new best friend. Eye felt full from a meal of seven years of continual travels and was happy to move in smaller circles for awhile.

Yet eventually my Lion’s hunger would grow again and the reminders of the world at large would scratch at my fur and flaunt in front of me, begging to be chased, like a Lioness in heat. Eventually eye no longer lay in the sun and let the wind blow in my mane. Eye wanted to pursue again. Run down the heart of a raw beast and sink my teeth in. There was still so much eye wanted to feel, and see, and do. Eye had not yet taken the trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Ulaan Batar. The outback of Australia and Uluru was still unknown to me. Eye had never looked at the plants in the Amazon and got lost on some shamanic journey in the rainforest. The Balkans, the Spice Islands and the vast amount of Asia was still foreign, and eye had not even stayed in an igloo with the Inuit, eating penguin or seal. Afrika too was still a blank space on my world map, eye had never been on safari to see the great herds of animals on the Serengeti or spoken Swahili, Lugandan or faced dangers in the Congo. Eye had not yet a wife or children and my dog could join my friend’s sled pack for the winter, while in my absence the home affairs could be attended to by trusted neighbors. So eye hustled some last minute work, sold my car, preserved my food for the season ahead and my impending return, and closed my cabin door with a blessing to Thor & Frigg, then left my small maritime village with an open itinerary before me. Eye was returning to the Motherland, this man needed to see and feel where we all came from.

Canada’s ship was sinking fast in light of new ‘rona measures that would not allow travel internationally or even provincially with being doubly injected with the new experimental drugs from the hierarchical bastards of the toxic pharmacopeia companies. South Africa and Tanzania would be my dry ground from the submerging vessel, and eye would set foot first in Cape Town, then in Zanzibar on the coast of the Indian ocean. The African diaspora so far is known and logged in saga form on my other transmissional blog: fromthemotherlandwithlove.wordpress.com , and as of this diary eye look out at the landscape of the remaining twenty-one days in mother Africa, before my return to Maple Leaf Nation.

We are still Heathen

A woman stoops to identify a plant, and runs it through her collective memory of ancestral herbal knowledge and womanly wisdom before pinching off an extension of its leaves and chews it into a poultice before rubbing it onto a small wound on her leg, one of many times she has met with this medicine. She is a provider of an entire apothecary of healing herbs and local flora for the village. Her spiral garden climbs skywards with each stone placed, to host a culinary array of kitchen plants, meanwhile jars of tree elixirs, steeping floral honey, root tinctures, and tonics macerate in mason jars on every shelf, cabinet and table and floor surface. She knows the plants intimately, and lives to transform them in various ways for the benefit of her community, and her self. She pumps water by hand into jugs and carries them to her garden to water the asparagus, strawberries and garlic growing there, then to the chickens, and her two cats

A man wakes early and rolls out a cork mat over dewy grass in a young orchard, and greets the sun with a yoga practice. His body is free, as the natural movement of his muscles bring him into form with the divine. The solar light on his face fills him with vitamins, and joy. Naked skin to the wind and heat, no resistance to the elements. He carries heavy wood through the forest to build structures at his homestead, which will shelter his alaskan dog and future animals, and make trails through an acre of Acadian trees. For dinner, he steeps a soup of wild mushrooms cooked in the fat of wild boar, and raw milk. He gleans what he needs from his community, wild meats, herbs, eggs, dairy, while abundant wild ingredients and some farm fresh berries make their way into jars and containers for pickling, cidering, freezing, and storing.

A young family cooks a meal of organically grown food from their own patch of dirt, while their little daughter laughs with other company come for a visit. The sit closely together and embrace, smile, share sustenance, and catch up on the village happenings. The grace of welcome to unexpected visitors is a commonplace, and all are welcome.

Others gather at the community potluck beside a fire, at the dwelling of two women and their many animals. A horse, pony, goats, rabbits, quails, sheep, chickens, geese, cats and one dog live together here. Some of them will eventually fill the freezer, others are for companionship, or work, or hunting, or fur. They are equal members of the family, and share the space, as the village moots for a fine meal cooked by every homestead and laid out on the table for the communal feast.

They assemble in armies of labor, bearing shovels, mattocks, rakes, to dig water directing swales, plant berries, and shape the land in two hour workbees. Side by side they sweat and design, but not by toil or force, but an overarching sense of love for each other and for the land they occupy.

Sometimes the local swimming holes beckon a cold dip after a good days work, or some live music at the brewhouse brings them out of the village for a sense of adventure and socialization with other free beings. They sit for a talking circle and sort out some communal dynamics, after cleansing the space with plant smoke.

Their needs are met within the village, a tribe of every role; a midwife, a carpenter, a yoga instructor, a barber and shop keeper, animal rearers, a bladesmith, teachers permaculturalists, tree planters, carpenters, herbalists, artists, fathers, children, and elders to offer guidance. They have their own store, their own nature based school, a park, a mill for building materials, natural watersheds, hiking trails, a picnic area, and pastures for animals, an event space for their own entertainment and a communal well for newcomers. There are safe gathering spaces and open plots for the growth of crops.

They are fit, inspired, free and happy! Their best insurance policy is healthy community dynamics, and they are travelers of far away lands and nest close to the temples of home. Money is not abundant, but they are rich in spirit. Fulfillment comes not from consuming but from creation. They ask the greater questions of the world, and try endlessly to better themselves, and live more authentically in this world they have created, this paradigm ship they are sailing.

Why is this important, and why should you care? Because those who live this life today are considered dangerous. They are the new outlaws, existing beyond the rules, laws, mandates and persuasions of the government. They do not depend on the corporations, and institutions for their sense of well being, their education, and their survival needs. They are those water and dirt worshipping pagans, peaceful warriors and the part of the global village outside the great wall of civilization, the ones in the heathlands where life is wild, free, beautiful and real.

We are those Heathens, were then and are today…

Heathens build reliance on, and resilience with each other and for regenerating relationships with the resources that are naturally occurring in the land. In the things that can be gathered, foraged, fished and hunted, grown, cultivated and in what the Gods and Goddesses bestow on their lives. The gifts and boons of new children, abundant harvests, resilient primal health, novelty, rites of passage and meaningful work.

The folkmind of these people is cohesive, coherent, unified, and unpolluted by the current storyline that we should all live at a distance, artificially rendering our lives through the lens of the cult of safety. It is undetered from reaping the full enjoyment of communal lifestyle while courageously facing the challenges of a community on a local basis. They do not need more stuff, and they tiny homes are as good as any mansion, they are temples of knowledge, nourishment, healing, sustenance, satisfaction and wonder.

The very nature of these heathens is subversive to the modern paradigm of more control, because here the natural flow of life is embraced, it is self informing, we work for ourselves, create our own media, write our own stories, follow our own directions, aligned by the Great Spirit, the Old Gods, Pacha Mama, the Medicine Plants, our Elders and Strong Voices. We don’t need to fear our neighbors or feel shame for showing our faces in public. Through the ages we were told to censor our sexuality, our inner child, our genius, and our spirits. ‘Culture’ became a cult of tame, boring, mislead, domesticated individuals with no reign on their personal wildness, freedom, and agency in the world.

We the Heathens will continue to exist out here, no matter what the world looks like; when civilization goes into the New Abnormal, or the Brave New World of regimented, modified, controlled, and terrible mundanity of predictable existence, we will still be growing our food, building our homes, raising children and animals, eating and working together, and holding ceremonies for the simple things. Utopic, or just normal? I’ll see you out there.