Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Our little dog died during the night. Her name was Ava. We do not know the cause of her sudden death, possibly a poisonous bite. We tried everything to save her but she went quickly.

Yesterday she woke up with the exuberant energy of a girl on Christmas morning.  She played with the other larger dogs without fear. Although she was small, she thought she was big. For this reason we loved her, her confidence in the friendliness of the world gave her a  large and joyful presence.

Dogs can easily reveal things about us. How do we face the day? How easily do we go with the flow of what life brings us? They effortly teach us  to accept what it is to be fundamentally happy or just to simply be. A dog does not try to be beautiful, or intelligent or rich. A dog is simply happy to be in the present moment. Her only focus is what is in front of her nose, not in the past or in the future. She assumes that the world is generous and that everyone loves her. And why not!

When we choose to love, we do not know the whole story. We hope for more joy than sadness but there is always both. One must love bravely and when there is suffering pay it with gratitude. We do not have our little friend by our side but her love-lesson is always with us.

I want to be like Ava - small on the outside, big on the inside, eagerly ready to love again and again.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The ark...the inside story

I've been wondering about Noah's ark. It occurs to me that our home is an ark
of sorts during the tropical storms of the rainy seasons - Wally's ark! We head for the house when it rains. The dogs make a bee line, anxious to have an excuse to be inside. Even the varmints: mice, termites, ants and scorpions escape the wet wheedling their way inside. When there is a storm everything looks for shelter. Inside, we huddle together watching the light strobe, bracing for the thunder, feeling its rumble, listening to the wind and rain pound the windows and roof. Inside it is still and we wait. We sense the wild, destructive force of nature. Who knows how the storm will play?

God told Noah to bring all the animals into the ark - the opposites, male, female, wild, tame, clean, unclean, crawling, flying - and once inside they are locked in together. The differences between one human to another, between people and animals, between kinds of animals are mind boggling. So the ark becomes the place where humans and animals must do the messy work of living together.

It's not a children's story, and it's more than a story about a flood. It's a metaphor about living in relationships. That's the pattern I'm seeing in everything lately, that's why ecology feels so important. Learning to live locked in with differences, learning acceptance, being willing to change for the sake of's a veritable laboratory of relationships! 

Forgiveness will be necessary to make the connections. Fr. Richard Rohr says, "Forgiveness is the only way to free ourselves from the entrapment of the past. Nothing new happens without it."  He thinks that the first forgiveness we experience is to forgive reality itself for not meeting our needs. There are some things that can't be reconciled. We will have to find a way to live with them. It will mean holding together that gathering of contraries. Again, connection, the Divine Mystery that holds all things together - call it ark ecology. 

What happens in the ark doesn't stay in the ark. It seeds the earth.

Kind of interesting when you think about it: the ark was built to save the world. Maybe the work of living together with what is inside the ark, the relationships, is the real story of salvation.

after the ark, a rainbow...

Saturday, August 5, 2017


The first thing I managed to do after summer school was fall down the stairs. I bonked my head, back and elbow hard enough to be a gimp for a week. Not the form of rest I had in mind...

So much for my plans. Life happens and Who's to say that's not part of The Plan. I'm hinting of God of course. It seems that's the usual meeting place, when there's no control and no help in sight...."uh, hello, God (Higher Power, Universe, Life Force)  uh, it's me, uh, ...down here."

It doesn't have to be an accident. I hear it from all my friends, the insistent changes that come with aging.  The old bod doesn't get up and go like it used to. The cumulative effect of not enough exercise, or flossing, too many cocktails of diet coke and ibuprofen finally undercut the temple of God.  Or like yesterday, when the power was out for 10 hours and the temperature and humidity were 100 and big ants were cutting a highway from the ground to the 3rd story veranda where me and the dogs were panting and praying for a respite. We would have settled for a breeze but the wonder of those ants distracted us!

Seems like everyone I know is going through some version of unwelcome change.

Our society hasn't prepared us well for change or for the third part of age. We're being sold youth as the highest aim of desire. What an upside-down world! Please, let's be counter-culture!

As our bodies soften, why can't we accept that as a good thing? Years ago, a man that worked for me said that his sensation of being loved was getting smothered in big flabby arms and breasts because that's the way his mom, aunts and grandmothers were built. Our bodies are not ourselves. Our bodies are sacred to those who love us, to children, dogs and lovers, in ways we never think about because we see ourselves only with our own eyes -  and not just ourselves, but everything else too. We see the world as we see it, not as it truly is in it's magnificent, glorious LARGENESS.

Mimi is 16 - 112 dog years
This week I couldn't be productive, instead I was given the gift of being at home with my dogs on a scale that they crave. I used to think that ticks were a plague but now I see ticks as one-on-one time with each dog - connect as I dis-connect... ticks that is. Weird, heh? This small, humorous joy comes as joy often comes: in unexpected ways and places.

We need to slow down to experience the gratitude and wonder of being alive in this extraordinary world, to notice the minute and exquisite details in the ordinary. This is stuff that a retirement nest-egg can't give you.

I want to grow old together with my friends and savor these capstone years for what they are - a gift of age.

"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be..."


Friday, July 28, 2017

School's end, begin again...

Today was the final day of summer school. Our theme was Ecology and Me! The week was full-isimo! The children were good, enthusiastic and sweet. This evening we had an awards ceremony with 100 children and their families attending. My heart felt full looking out at those eager faces, feeling the newness of connections that could last for years.

Lizzy, our yoga teacher, taught us a hand signal in class that encapsulates the week's teaching perfectly. For each of your hands put your index finger and thumb together (connection), now touch the points to form two eyes and touch the remaining fingers tip to tip (together). Turn it upside down and you have a heart (love).

Ecology is about how organisms are connected and it also deals with their environment. Isn't that the pattern of everything? Our micro and macro world is relational no matter the species. Another way to think about this symbolic gesture is see the world with the eyes of your heart and be amazed at the endless unfolding of connections. Maybe one day science will discover that all things are held together and have their very being and evolution by an invisible force. 

We could call that love.

For Love of the World
by Charlotte Tall Mountain

For the love of a tree
she went out on a limb.

For the love of the sea
she rocked the boat.

For the love of the earth
she dug deeper.

For the love of community,
she mended fences.

For the love of the stars,
she let her light shine.

For the love of spirit,
she nurtured her soul.

For the love of a good time,
she sowed seeds of happiness.

For the love of the goddess,
she drew down the moon.

For the love of nature,
she made compost.

For the love of a good meal,
she gave thanks.

For the love of family,
she reconciled differences.

For the love of creativity,
she entertained new possibilities.

For the love of her enemies,
she suspended judgement.

For the love of her self,
she acknowledged her worth.

And the world was richer for her.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ecologia y yo!!!

There is a tradition here that the rainy season begins on June 24th. It's connected to a legend that the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado prayed for rain on June 24, 1540, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and after his prayers, it rained.
And so it was this year.  The rain began steadily and gently after dark. During the rainy season we have rain and thunder nearly every night until November.
Our farm is on the hill behind the smoke 

The morning after, the veranda was wet with what looked like coffee. That has never happened before but then we have never had an asphalt plant in our village. A renovation of the plaza and a new road along the coast is the new busy-ness overwhelming our town. A gray cloud of smoke hovers over the asphalt plant alongside the river and meanders up the valley to the foothills where our farm is, causing the air to reek of asphalt and tint the rain black.

I think it's driving the mosquitoes up the hills to our place too.

The dogs have forgotten what rain is after 7 months of dry days and nights. They are loathe to get their feet wet, clumping up on the porch in front of the fan. I'm hoping the rain will kill off the ticks which seem particularly bad this year. Recently, I noticed that there are tiny spiders around with shiny, blood-red balloon bodies, their webs dangling mummified ticks. I've decided to receive them as allies and accept their part in the balancing act on Slow Living Farm.

The plants respond gratefully to the rain, brightening, baptized and washed from months of dust. It is an eye-feast of greens. The datura I thought was a goner begins again as a young upstart. The twiggy poinsettia from Christmas is flush with new green leaves veined in red.

Prior to the rain, la chicharras, our cicadas, sing the rainsong. It is one of the sure sounds of the season. The frogs sing too and in the evening they come to the windows of the office to feed on insects. They sleep during the day under pillows and in pottery on the veranda. Walking at night with the flashlight, I am overwhelmed by the dense insect-life in the air, on the ground, in the trees - the night is vibrating with humming, buzzing, clicking and clacking.
The view into the orchard below is a strobing lightshow of fireflies.

Silent, with one eye open to the frogs and mice, a large boa rests wrapped in the bars of our window grill.

A young rooster has found his voice. His crow is the first 5 notes from the old sitcom "Get Smart". I hear it all day long as a playful tease, get smart!

Wally and I are are witnesses to the complex balance of our ecosystem on the farm. It's a relational world, one thing linked to another. In tropical Mexico it's more vivid and apparent than any place I've ever lived.

Summer pickins' from the farm 

I'm preparing to teach summer school in two weeks. The theme this year is Ecologia y yo! - (Ecology and me!)  Raising the awareness of digital-addicted kids to seeing themselves as connected and related to everything in this richly diverse universe, and to get them to see this as a pattern that informs everything will take a transformation of consciousness. 

I know, I know, sounds too, too...ambitious. But it occurs to me that a simple starting point is to learn how to see.

My mother gave my sisters and me the gift of deep seeing. Her enthusiasm for the wonders of nature in the tiniest details were our first exposure to pure joy. They were awakening moments. I believe that might be the magic key:  to be startled awake by beauty is transformative. For me it was the spark that ignited a blaze of love for the things of nature that has fueled my whole life. When you love something you naturally care, naturally want to protect, naturally strive to live up to your part in the relationship. This heart-driven ecology feels like it might hit the mark of a true-love marriage between the sciences of the cosmos and evolving human beings, or as we say on the farm: human beans.

I'm not a scientist or an educator. I'm a romantic - a believer that beauty, like love can save the world. It saved me!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Junko's birth-day

Circle Dance

My mother birthed us into this life
Her daughters birthed her into death.
Now she carries us again in her spirit-body,
her wisdom flowering out 
filling the spaces and gaps, closing the arc
begun as a tentative love
 now ripe, stretched,
this time in surrender to the light
the one-longing
hers, mine, ours - since the beginning.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Punkin, Spec, and Wally
Yesterday some men came and stole our mango crop. They penetrated the fence the furthest side from the house into the north orchard where a deer lived a protected life. We don't know what happened, whether they tried to catch the deer or taunted him, but the deer escaped from our refuge by ramming a hole through the wire mesh fence. The terrible force caused internal injuries. We discovered him in the yard at the gate, in shock, bleeding from the nose, his head and horns battered. Our young dog, Punkin was curled up next to him, clearly empathetic. 

This morning the deer was still there, but gone.

My emotions traveled the range of wanting to booby trap the perimeter of the farm to shooting at the feet of the violators, making them dance in terror. I wanted the perpetrators, yesterday, today and tomorrow, to bleed too. But then, in my journeying around hate I came to an impasse.

Blessed are the peacemakers. 

I'm too sad and riled to think of peacemakers as defeated martyrs. I don't want cruelty to make me cruel. I want to be a peace-able, human being to spite cruelty and stupidity. I want to become genuinely free so that in the midst of violation, loss, persecution, whatever - they cannot find me anywhere - whered'd she go?! Talk about liberation! Can a slow distillation of these terrors and turmoils of life turn my journey into one of transformation? 

The wabi sabi is that there is sense to what looks senseless but you have to look and keep looking. We can see the pattern everywhere and in everything in this material, earthly world and even in ourselves:  birth, life, death and then something else. I believe the pattern was incarnated to bring the reality home to us. "I am the resurrection and the life"- it's the same thing! The catalyst is love, the love remains and the love is the spark of what follows. The pattern will continue to unfold ever wider and deeper until, until, until everything is HOME.

One day our grown up deer-seed- huanacaxtle

Wally journeyed his grief by digging a generous, commodious hole. He positioned the deer-seed with a view to the ocean and we covered him with dirt. Wally's words were simple: Go back to the garden...  

He circled the place with rocks and a huge wreath of almond leaves, and planted a young huanacaxtle tree at it's heart. 

Peace -able

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More scenes from my kitchen...

Lucy waiting on lovin in the oven...

It's a surprise to realize I haven't blogged in over a year... Just goes to show that sometimes the current is swift as we allow the river of life to carry us.

Today is baking day - the best day of the week for me. Tomorrow is market day. I put the satellite radio station on the music of Hildegard de Bingen and cross myself, asking the kitchen Virgin to bless these hands as I mix love into the flour and sugar. I'm not waxing poetic, I'm serious. The things I create come from the flow of God. I breathe in God and breathe out cake, or something for art's sake. What a magnificent economy that the Creator would perpetuate creative evolution by making us creators too...that's the flow I try to move in. How can it not be glorious when you throw in butter and chocolate - that feels like cheating.

It's Spring and the iguanas are wooing. The sounds on the roof are dramatic and exciting. Large bodies are scrambling and power-lunging themselves with nary a care of the slope, pitch and slickness of the roof. The sounds make the dogs howl and the chickens jump and squawk. This energy charges the kitchen.
Wooing dragon energy
Re-arrangement for love

When I came up the steps to my kitchen on the third story, an iguana dressed as a dragon flew from the landing to the veranda wall and climbed the coils to the top of my freezer. Oh great, I think as I ponder that enormous tail and the pottery carefully arranged to adorn its top. I get the stepladder and with my face inches from the amorous dragon I remove as many clay pots as possible.  Already, he has swept off a lid and a ceramic ball.  Stuff I'll save for a mosaic or mobile. Even the creatures are making stuff for art.

Where is St Francis when you need him - out mending a hole in the fence to keep the new chicks from becoming food.