Friday, April 29, 2016

Tripping (out) in Abiquiu

There is a place where dogs lay about in the warmth
of November sun. Where a stream catches shards of light
before reflecting them back up into the cottonwoods.
A place where dwellings quietly crumble into the dust of centuries.
Where wooden crosses grow in their Spanish garden.

Where the forbidden welcomes only those who understand.
Where piƱon smoke wafts and curls its way to join
white clouds in a brilliant blue sky. Where the old ones
peer out of soot-darkened corners, their gnarled hands grasping turquoise
like old cedar trees holding together piles of rocks.

There is a place where countless footsteps catch countless more.
Where silent hawks circle high above; their spirals pulling spirit into the sky.
Death is always nearby here. I come here to die, as I have before.
To shed the unnecessary things, to waste away until
the dust swirls by to gather up the pieces of old skin I’ve left behind.

~ D. Stribling

The red clay road leading down to the banks of the Rio Chama River was like quicksand.
The place we wanted to set up camp and call home for three days was impossible to get to that day.
If it wasn't raining, it was hailing. And then it snowed. And snowed. Everything was cold and grey.
About a quarter of a mile down the road we met a jeep full of monks from the monastery. The Christ in the Desert Monastery was just a couple of miles further than our primitive camp site destination. It's a place I had been to before and wanted to show Cathi this peaceful abbey tucked into the mountains, on a river at the end of a red dirt road. I wanted to be there again. It had been calling me to go back.
The brothers warned us, "unless you have a high clearance jeep, you cannot get past."
Reluctantly, I turned my Subaru around with Cathi following behind in her Prius.
We drove to Ghost Ranch to discuss plan B.
We bought books in the gift shop and chatted with the girl behind the counter. She was helpful in suggesting the only other place to camp in the area.
We ended up on a bluff overlooking Abiquiu lake.
The flat topped Mesa called the Pedernal.
Georgia said "It's my private mountain, It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it."
She did make many paintings of it, and her ashes were scattered on top.
We pitched the teepee tent with the flap opening up to Pedernal mountain.
My longtime friend, Cathi. Desert girl. Woman of the Rio Chama.
She drove from Tucson to meet me in Georgia O'Keeffe country.
We spent the majority of our time in the teepee sharing stories, reading, snacking on bread & cheese, fruit, and chocolate. We waited for the weather to change. Cathi would open the canvas flap every now and then...I'd say "what's it doing now?" She'd give me the look..."still snowing."
I was wishing I had a jet boil. You can use those inside a tent, can't you?
On our last night camping in Abiquiu, we decided to go out to eat somewhere. Cabin fever was setting in. We were cold. The temperature was 27 degrees. We were out of Saguaro bread!
At the Abiquiu Inn, we nestled up to the Kiva fireplace and enjoyed a plate of tostadas and hot peppermint tea. We lingered for hours. We even talked about getting a room there! Ha!
But, like brave women of the Rio Chama canyons, we crawled back into our teepee, covered ourselves up in Mexican blankets and giggled ourselves to sleep.
We awoke at sunrise, with the Raven singing a new day and leaving us feathers.
She brought me homemade bread with a Saguaro design.
She is an Animal Medicine card reader. She's been reading my future for twenty-one years.
Based on the signs the natural world sends us and the great wisdom animals give us, readings guide the way to healing the body, emotions, mind and spirit, and provide insight into and understanding of one’s unique purpose.
The first card I picked was the Badger.
If Badger has pushed it's way into your cards today, it may be telling you that you have been too meek in trying to reach some goal. The power of Badger's medicine is aggressiveness and the willingness to fight for what it wants. They do not give up.

I also chose Whale: Acknowledge your mission. Trust your path. Become your chosen destiny.

Dolphin: Breath of life

Buffalo: Prayer and abundance

Earthship community outside Taos.
Boat on an ocean of sage. Before the storm.
Driving back home in a blizzard. But, when I saw this herd of elk I didn't care!
Wild Horse Mesa in southern Colorado

And this band of brothers. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Wild Horses...the song

I was born under this sky
And this is where I'm meant to die
You want to take this away from me and I don't know why...
...Run with the wind, when the chase begins

You round us all up, but you're never gonna win...

Yeah we kick up the dust, everybody gets riled

And we do what we must, 'cuz our spirit is wild...

Wild horses!

My brother has a new inspiration...Wild Horses!
You can download this amazing song right here

Or go to Glenn's website (and download from there) where you can also read about the inspiration of his song, "Wild Horses"

Thank you, to my friends, who have followed my path and journey with Wyoming's wild horses.

Please keep in mind, that Glenn wrote this in honor of all the Mustangs who are treated so unfairly and unkindly, and he joins me in preserving these animals who are native to this land.

*Proceeds of the purchase of this song will benefit The Cloud Foundation.

*****Keep Wild Horses Wild*****


Friday, April 15, 2016


Topanga Beach offered gifts from the sea. I brushed off the sand and jammed them in my pockets.
Being in California was a gift in itself. So, imagine my delight in hearing stories told by my own mother, who will be 90 years young this August, and my father, Guitar Whitey, who turns 95 in May.
True tales of long ago.
It would be impossible to repeat the full account, but some of these stories took place in Liverpool, England. My grandfather was a wheelwright. He had horses and a donkey. One morning while everyone was in church, the donkey in the neighborhood made so much racket hee-hawing, disrupting the sermon, all heads turned and looked at my mother.
I heard about how a carton of cigarettes was a luxury during the war. Everybody smoked.
Then there was a ship named The America sailing to NYC. All of the officers wanted to dance with this sweet girl from Liverpool. Nobody could jitterbug like Joyce!
As newlyweds, my parents drove cross country from NYC to Aspen, Colorado in a '40's Roadster. When they arrived, my father joined the first-ever summer Mintrelsy school. A Folksinger's school! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It was intended to train students in the ancient tradition of being a Minstrel. A man named Richard Dyer-Bennet taught students Spanish guitar, voice and performance techniques.
So, they spent the summer of '48 in Aspen, Colorado.

They rode the old rickety chair lift to the top for a BBQ.

My dad bought my mother a pair of red cowboy boots. She hated them!

The English tea pot he surprised her with one day, she adored!

It was a sunny afternoon. My parents, along with another couple, squeezed into the Roadster. Driving along a dirt road that followed the river, they unexpectedly veered off and went crashing into the river landing upside down. The four of them, crammed like sardines in the front seat (the only seat), walked away unscathed. Nobody was hurt at all.

The worst thing that happened was the Roadster no longer had a windshield.
At the end of the summer, my mother drove with some friends up to San Francisco, while my father followed them in his windowless automobile. (See picture above)
My dad made it to San Francisco, got a terrific sunburn and covered in dust along the way, and as he drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, he was pulled over and issued a ticket for driving without a windshield.
My parents stayed in the city by the bay for a few years. They found a little apartment in Haight-Ashbury.
At that time, it wasn't yet the home base of the hippie subculture, but I would bet that it embraced a beatnik or two. Most certainly a Folksinger or minstrel, singing stories of distant places.
Ha! Haight-Ashbury. Now you know why I am the way I am.
My dad and Chad on the Port San Luis Pier. Walking and talking about everything under the sun.
Playful otters at Morro Bay.
My dear mother knitting me another pair of fingerless mitts.
She knits like she dances.
This lovely beach was just a short drive from the Return To Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, California.
We visited Return To Freedom Wild Horse Santuary where we got to see some fortunate wild horses. They were rescued from the BLM holding pens after a roundup, They must feel like they're in paradise. Or Ireland.
As you know, I cannot stay away from Topanga Canyon.
We spent the night in this very funky cabin. I felt the vibes of Joni Mitchell there.
Waking up and having coffee in The Canyon is something I've always wanted to do.
This big boy is Eclipse. I ride him once a week, learning the forward riding system, that is the basis of hunter/jumper riding. I am learning true horsemanship from my new instructor, Stephanie. Just the other day Eclipse and I did a Flying Lead Change! It's beyond amazing what a rider and her horse can do together.
It's better than yoga.
For obvious reasons, I thought I'd like to read this novel. She's written some wonderful books.
However, in the first chapter of Riding Lessons, the woman jumps her horse, they crash, she breaks her neck and the horse dies. In the very first chapter!!! I seldom read fiction, but I thought I'd give it a go. I never finished it.
I returned the book to the library.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Lucinda Williams. And this is her best CD.
I've not listened to anything else for a week now.
I discovered all kinds of animal tracks and scat last time I was at Red Feather.
I'm going to find out who's been visiting this spring!
Besides the usual Moose.
I often like to take a moment or two and remind myself of how valuable the agreements can be.
A certain sweet kitty wrapped herself up in that blanket.

And that, my friends, is what I've been up to lately.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sunshine & Singing Birds!

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun,

and I say, It's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes