Saturday, January 05, 2008

School of the Seasons or How's Your Plan B?

It's Saturday and we're both here at home looking at our To Do Lists. There are large storms running all along the California and Oregon coasts bringing high winds, heavy rains and more lots more snow our way. Our contractor, Wally, arrived early this morning. We weren't sure we'd see him today, as he's been helping out the flood victims in the small town of Veronia who found themselves underwater just before Christmas. He's just helped a family of five get back into their home, and he did it all for free. Nice guy.

Wally greeted our dog (who likes to think his vigilant guard work here is appreciated by the right sorts of people i.e. those who, like Wally, come with dog cookies in hand). At 8 am, he went to work downstairs. He was soon back in my kitchen again with a concerned look on his face. It seems that a outdoor drain pipe system that funnels water from our roof and gutters and down the hill, away from the house, and into the canyon creek below is blocked up somewhere in it's midpoint, where we can't see it or clear it without a plumbing snake. The ground near our house is now saturated and the under storage area, which is really no more than a large open space with dirt and support beams, has turned into an small underground lake, about a foot deep. Wally was going to turn that unused area into a nice little basement for us. He will now have to move from putting in a floor today to pumping out four feet of water. Ah...Plan B. I know it well. The older you get, the better you get at Plan B . And Plan C. And so on.

The good news? The stuff we had stored down there (much of it belonging to two good friends who are traveling the world together on a two year tour) is all in plastic bins. So while we moved these out, Wally and his nephew have gone back down the mountain to get a suction pump and that plumbing snake. When they get back, my husband and I will suit up to help them move pipes outside and change the flow of water in order to keep it away from our foundations before the next big storm comes down on our heads. As I write this, it's started to snow. Well, well. Good thing I have those boots.

Whenever I face change - and I'm doing so now on several fronts, both physical and emotional - I ask myself: What do I want to create in my life? With that question in mind, I recently spend several days thinking about my project lists. When faced with one of the left turns life offers, I do more then just think about it. I meditate, write about it, draw, dream and just plain talk with people I trust while I'm looking for answers. Spend enough time on a question and it becomes a trance dance where we circle closer and closer to the fire till we can see the truth that fits our life. As we all know, there's never one truth. There's just the truth we can see right now. Which is why it's always good to have Plan B.

Of course, another way to get to that same place is to make a list what I don't want. Often as not that could be a list of some things I brought in to my life in years previous. Ah, well. We live and learn. One thing we learn to do as we age is to discard what no longer works. There is where the idea of "bless and release" comes in very handy.

Whatever the answer might be this year, I need to think about what time and space really mean to me in order to bring my vision into being. It helps to know how active, thoughtful people address this issue. One person who writes a great deal about this subject is Waverly Fitzgerald. I've been reading Waverly's newsletter for a while now. Her writing always brings me home to earth, which is where I get my strength. As a gardener, I think it's grand for anyone to want to grow tall and flower. We all want our dreams to bear fruit. At the same time, it's vital to have good solid, roots to give us strength and balance. Roots are our foundations, our values and our core strengths; the things that help us withstand wind force and floods. A practice that includes a daily awareness will give us the kind of centered, informed perception otherwise known as life wisdom, the kind of wisdom closely related both to the Root Chakra and Gaia. My practice and study has always been about "getting to the root of it all", which is why I read Waverly and writers like her.

I've got her book Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm for Life on my book list for this year. Those who are new to her work might also want to check out her School of the Seasons website and classes. It is an interfaith site with deep Earthwise values. She has a calendar to offer, as well. While my favorite calendar remains We Moon, I enjoy Waverly's work, and I will definitely consider using her Natural Planning Journal this year, as well.

Overall, my goal this year is to make space and time in my life for more thought and creativity. I mean that quite literally. I'm reorganizing my home office space as we speak, for just this reason. And I'm clearing the board in other areas, as well, including some of the services I have offered to the Earthwise community since 1999. I consider change to be an ongoing and necessary upgrade to my spiritual practice, one that involves moving to a deeper, more natural rhythm. As a Pagan woman this is a familiar part of my path, but there's always something new for me to learn. After so many years in the salt mines of Silicon Valley, I'm more than ready to let go of stress. (I said that several years ago and it took some time for my good friends to stop laughing. They soon found out finally meant it.) During that mental trance dance I mentioned earlier, I moved a comfy chair, a desk lamp and a good, sturdy table into my heart space. I can see now that I need to shore up the foundations and resist adding more stress to my life or I could soon have a flood in there. It's hard for us Doers not to do, and just Be, but I'd learning.

Now that these hectic, civil holidays are over, I find myself looking forward to the dark days ahead as a time of rest and contemplation, with a little creativity, thrown in for good measure. A cat on the lap is optional to this process, but most useful, nonetheless. And it never hurts to lay in extra supplies for the storms ahead. Living up here, I've learned the value of things like water pumps, candles and snow boots. I'm learning more and more to embrace change. School of the seasons, indeed.

Hoping this finds you well and happy,


Photo: One of my favorite creatures, the bobcat

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