Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent in the slow-living lane...

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. I love this season especially in Mexico because as the weeks approach Christmas you see the church interior blossom as in a time-delayed photography. The anticipation of Christmas builds slowly until finally on Christmas morning the altar is a full-blown manger scene with everything you can imagine including chickens, ducks, geese, goats, dogs, stragglers, ragamuffins, Christmas trees, flashing lights, kings, angels and Jesus - all the ordinary everyday things along-side the extra-ordinary.

Advent is about waiting. Not the kind of waiting that makes you tired and anxious to race to nowhere, frantic to control, consume. Advent-waiting is paying attention while developing a taste for the heavenly in each little thing that makes a present of itself - the present moment, the only place to savor the fullness of life.

I like carrying this happy anticipation in me; it is like being pregnant. I don't know what tomorrow brings but it is for my perfection, God alive and at work in me. I am be-coming as I go and what I will be I don't know. It will be a surprise when I get there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Color magnet....

Sow rick-rack, get more rick-rack!

A new friend, Carolina, who is a Huichol Indian made me a traditional Huichol skirt and blouse. The skirt is turquoise and the blouse is red and there are circles of rick-rack in blue, green and yellow around the skirt and blouse. It is a BIG dose of color. I can't wear it without swirling and curtsying and smiling! Huichol art is rich in psychedelic color and imagery because the use of peyote is part of their religion. Everything they make from their personal clothing, jewelry, weaving and the things they make to sell are an expression of their religion. All of their art is sacred art. Their designs show an innocence and simplicity in their view of nature and the world. It's unabashedly innocent too which is refreshing in contrast to the world of art which force-feeds us ugly things that only the cool find cool. Better to BE art un-self-consciously, to celebrate plants and animals and friendship in primary colors. I'm telling you, color is speaking to me!

Zany zesty zigzag

Remember rick-rack? The trim that your mom sewed on curtains and aprons and around the hem of your little-girl dresses? Well, I'm crazy for it.

I've been changed by living in Mexico where colorful embellishment is without restraint, in fact it is celebrated all the way to the grave where the cemeteries are filled with brightly painted monuments and plastic flowers.

I recently found a cache of rick-rack in every color under the sun. I bought 2 meters of every color and proceeded to sew rings of zigzaggy color around all my skirts. I started looking for other things that could use more colorful rick-rack: pillows, place-mats, Wally's overalls, a collar for's a good thing I ran out or Wally would have had to take it away from me. Like candy to a kid - I couldn't get enough!

This celebration of color is a way of life in Mexico where everything everywhere is vivid-isimo. But for me it has more to do with the state of mind I've come to. I'm joy-full of the ordinary, everyday kinds of joys; small rick-rack.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Learning from a chick...

So many times when working in nature I stumble over something that speaks to me on a soul-level. One of the benefits of working alone is that the job at hand has your full attention and simultaneously you have your thoughts. The work shows me things and engages me and sometimes there's a memorable conversation.

It happened the other day. Wally brought in a tiny cottonball chick that was looking very droopy. The mother hen is very young and not experienced in raising little ones. We had noticed that sometimes she's rough or negligent. This little peeper looked like it was left out in the cold.

I was hurrying through my chores so I could get out the door early to pick up the neighbor's dogs and open the doors of the vet clinic. I have nursed many a chick and there's no way to do it in a hurry. They need to be warm and have a little beak-full of water every few minutes. If you think they will get better by themselves they usually don't. It's that live, warm contact that makes the difference. I thought, "It's just a chick - I don't have time to take care of more" and then I didn't like myself. In that moment I changed - I decided instead to put my whole heart into caring for it and let the rest of what needed to be done just carry me on my way. So I made a soft little diaper from the sleeve of a t-shirt, lined it with a paper napkin, folded it around the chick and slipped the little bundle between my breasts. It was just the right fit, the little chick could breathe and was softly snuggled and I could keep a careful eye on it. It made little trills to let me know it was happy.

I worked in the clinic checking in the first rush of dogs and cats that morning and no one noticed my little patient. Wally and I came home and the little chick made a nest in Wally's chest hairs slowly making it's way under his beard. Our dog Lucy has always wanted a chick of her own and she lay between Wally's legs scooting up his stomach keeping close proximity to our peeper. Wally can cheep really well and he cheeped away at the peeper and Lucy. Though he had many things to do too, he chick-sat while I prepared lunch. Some twenty minutes later the little peeper became very still, closed its eyes and suddenly died. We were surprised! We were confident that he was getting stronger.

I'm glad we gave it a good ending. I'm glad for me too. I'm glad that I had the extra moment to re-choose to be tender. We can choose to do anything with our hearts engaged but it means slowing down, turning off the excuse-reasoning and opening into the mystery to make contact and attend to what is needed now. Life is not a problem to be solved. Every dimension of life, its gains and its losses, are opportunities that brings us closer to being more alive. It is a blessing waiting to be celebrated.

That's what the peeper told me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy people- happy dogs...

Today was the final day of our spay and neuter clinic. We treated 95 dogs and cats these last 4 days! That's nearly 200 animals in 8 days. These were a few of our "clients".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dog tired...

This week was extra busy because in addition to my daily farm chores I volunteered at a spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats in San Blas. We have a problem in Mexico with too many uncared for animals on the streets so the gringo community got together to provide free veterinarian clinics. We raise the money to pay for vets and meds, receive training and volunteer. It's all done through an organization called PEACE here in Mexico. This was the third clinic held in our area. You may have seen some photos on our blog from the clinic in Aticama last March. This week in San Blas we treated 77 dogs and cats and next week we have a 4-day clinic in Aticama. These clinics build a bridge between North American and Mexican relations as well as improving the lives of animals. It's a lot of work and a lot of fun. At the end of the day I was dog-tired!

Our six dogs, all rescued, missed the usual routine of following me around the house and farm. They were so glad to have me home all day and I told them what lucky dogs they are! Amaranth