Mississippi Moments

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Day After Lughnasaidh

"It is a strange paradox that fulfillment is so much about surrender. We recognize ourselves best when we give our selves fully. It is how we discover what we essentially are, or rather what we have been allowed to become from the gifts that were given us."-----Gunilla Norris, A Mystic Garden

The party continues. Been going on since Tuesday. Been down to the Mountain That Was God (=Tahoma, aka Rainier). That's some mountain. I'm some happy and changed from having had an amazing conversation with Tahoma. And the rivers that roar, grind, crash and splash down the mountain's sides. And listening to the mist. And ravens. And the tall, tall trees. I met "twin flower" for the first time in this real life--linnea borealis (remember that name). Lovely, craptastic ride down---along South Hill and that stretch of highway, the traffic is even worse than from Magnolia to Holy Names and in the middle of the day on a weekday. I don't know how people do it. But I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention: 1. Because I was going to THE MOUNTAIN (My last trip to a mountain at Lughnasaidh was to Lewitt-Mt. St. Helens for a different kind of conversation) and 2. Lisa McLean was in the car and we were sharing about all kinds of things- healing, growing, lessons, life, women and our wisdom, stones, journeys, boys, bodies, Spirit, faith, change, pain, dogs, coffee, camping, fear, courage, letting go, surrender, truth, movies, and junk food. My kind of conversation.

The weather was wet, cold, and nasty. Scott can still cook up an amazing Thai banquet on a campfire with a wok in the storm. We all shared a tent. There is a FANTASTIC invention from Japan called the BIO-TOILET! It uses cedar to purify and stratify the waste while you are sitting on a HEATED SEAT. Right there in the COugar Rock campground. It smells like cedar and you have hot, uncrossed buns. Life is GOOD!

We stayed relatively dry, somewhat warm. Long walks with my dog. Scott's sister, Mo is a ranger down there. She gives amazing presentations for the Junior Rangers and also about their grandmother, Mildred Evans McLean. Which she did at Paradise that second night. What a beautiful historic lodge. And Scott had baked a full apple pie in the Dutch oven over the campfire. We brought this up the the lodge to enjoy before the presentation as the sun was setting and the stars began to dance. Still 12 feet of snow surrounding the lodge. Mildred and her friend climbed all over Mt. Rainier in 1915-Pinnacle Peak, several falls that I can't remember, meadows that lots of people know and hike,across a famous glacier trail that is closed to hikers now because it is too difficult, and to Camp Muir. The women were not allowed to summit because they weren't "STRONG ENOUGH"----so they hung out at CAmp Muir and hiked all over until the boys returned. She and her friend went up with the YW and YM CA. Her actual camera rests on the table as her granddaughter speaks! The photos in the presentation are those Mildred took. The women are in homemade bloomers or split skirts which were totally against the norm and expectation for the times. She also is the one who left a teaching job in Nebraska in 19 ought something when she found out that the only reason she got the job was because her uncle was on the school board. She headed west BY HERSELF to take a teaching job in a one-room schoolhouse in a Finnish logging camp near Ilwaco in a place called Deep River. Mary J. and I have found where Deep River is and will return one day in the not too distant future to explore this spot. Mildred published her memoirs in a book that Scott has shared with us. Mildred continued to come and hike around Tahoma until her late nineties. Her observations and photos did not match the "official" line published later in the YW-A newsletter. Hers are funny, raw (for her day), and real. And her granddaughter who teaches around the world now (next year she is in England) flashes sparks of her love of the Mountain, nature, hiking, and women's power and perspective in the world. Maureen also came and hung out with us. I had heard as much about her as she had of me. It was like meeting a long-lost friend even though we hadn't really up till then. We also had the pleasure of her daughter's company for part of a day. Kara is a chef in Olympia, a graduate of the Celtic studies program and she has three crows with New Testament names tattooed on her ankle.

Squishy is a real trooper. He needs his own raincoat. Sadie's is only half long enough. But it kept him mostly warm and dry. He complements my rhythm. We walked. Grounded. Listened. Jumped logs. Leaned on Stones. Followed rave calls. Dogs aren't allowed on the trails down at Mt. Rainier, but for this time, it was more than enough to walk the campgrounds and small roads, esp. in the early mornings when we like to walk. And then add the Bio-toilet. oohh-la-la.

Back at Fair Isle to dump some more stuff and prepare for Lughnasaidh ritual. Too cold, windy and wet for the outdoor fire. I will admit I am a happy wimp these days.
Lugh(of Lugh-nasaidh), the warrior-hero-god of Celtic myth was "many-gifted"-warrior, poet, builder, harper, runner, smith, champion, fire-keeper, cup-bearer, story-teller, and healer. Before one was allowed in the hall of the King Nuada, one had to prove that one had a special gift to impart---like Top Gun-"The best of the best". Instead of just one, Lugh, in truth, listed ALL of his gifts and summarily proved and bested anyone who challenged him before the king and cohort. This Lughnasaidh in particular is, for me and anyone who cares to join in, about recognizing and stating, in truth, the gifts you have and are and recognizing how they serve community. This also entails awareness and letting go of those things which do not serve the Gifts of the Present and the Use of these Gifts for the Now. Into the fire with these and with the intentions/prayers/gratitudes for what is to be in the days to come. I am so glad the drama of past Lughnasaidhs is no longer alive in me. Or needed. It really is embarrassing. And--oh well. I continue to ask forgiveness where needed and where opportunities present themselves. It really is quite simple. And real. And alive.

We came home to no hot water. No matter. The gas company will be out on Monday. Tried several times myself to get the pilot light on. In between times, I heat water on the stove and use my camp shower--I LOVE SOLVING PROBLEMS with what works for me and mine.
We are off to Pine Lake for more camping. And book group this weekend. And Celtic dance camp this week and Cancer Care scans. And dancing. And sanding, priming,and painting the garage. It's coming along. I also am planning for 2nd grade land. We shall see.

What Gifts sing within you? What Gifts serve you and your community? What Gifts are the most strong, clear, and present when you hold them up to the Light? What do you do with them? What would you like to do with them? What would you like to share and what would say to the King and Cohort about YOUR Gifts?

p.s. The idea for my book solidified--actually came in a brilliant clear flash when I was on the road. I will be explaining more soon and sending out short questionnaires for folks whom I would like to be a part of this project. It is completely, purely an invitation. This will be a book, a compilation of stories, womens' stories---that emulate and reflect archetypal attributes---but these are REAL, NOW, ALIVE. I want to write a chapter for each one who wants to participate. Some of the stories may include those no longer on this plane. We will see. More soon. I have it now. Who knows if it will be published. Doesn't need to be for this to be "my" book. I am going to write it anyway. it has already begun. I am happily blaming Brigie and her wedding and her example of hard work around here. And Coli and her trip to New York. And....


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