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Shapes In The Clouds:

Loss of Enchantment, Return To Wonder

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

“I cannot believe it, I was seeing shapes in the clouds just now!,” my dear friend Daniel breathlessly exclaimed.  He had a rare tear in his eye, admitting to me “It has been so very long, since I have seen shapes in the clouds…”


To a young child, the world and everything in it almost invariably appears as alive, meaningful and story filled, a matrix of shifting patterns that are constantly revealing new compositions and juxtapositions, songs and designs, whisperings in tree boughs and soft white dragons floating across bright blue skies.  It is only through the programming of disenchanting, conformist public schools and appearance and money focused television that a youngster slowly ripped away from this essential view of reality as wonderfully mysterious, magical and miraculous, conscious and communicative.  A toddler can often be seen staring intently at a flower-licking butterfly, awestruck at a flash of lightning, or tripping-out on something as commonplace as the intersecting circles created by raindrops falling on a puddle in the yard, or fascinated by the intricate weave of their clothes as seen really, really close up.  What a terrible tragedy, when a child gets to a stage of acting like a common acculturated adult, no longer trusting that there is real magic outside of a movie’s special effects, unable to believe in their own capacities to be heroes and heras, wizards or healers participating in a most-purposeful destiny.  How sad to see someone who is running to get out of the rain, oblivious to the puddle’s patterns, unmindful of the shapes and faces formed by the dense clouds overhead.   How do we know when a society, a culture, is impoverished, un-moored, lost to its highest purpose?  When under any conditions, we can go through the years of our life without being captivated by the creations that wind and cloud do make.

What is it, that can stand in the way of our view, of the enchanted view of life unfolding?  What preoccupations and distractions, what prejudices and fears, what habits?  A hurried lifestyle, maybe, no time to look anywhere but directly ahead.  Being self conscious about our engagement and amazement, worried about being seen gazing for long minutes at the sunlit veins in a fallen leaf.  Feeling unworthy of leisure and undeserving of beauty.  Being a “hardened man” or a “career woman”.  Abuse that may have shut us down in this and other ways. Residing mainly in our heads, and thus simply missing, missing, and missing things again.  Or perhaps a soul stifling job or disingenuous or unhealthy marriage, that drapes a heavy wet blanket over every light and spark.

Sometimes it is several of the above, and so it was for the 30-plus year old Daniel, ally of and number-one aide to the Anima Sanctuary.  First, an emotional shutting down as a child, that he is only now overcoming.  Then, the distractions of partying as a teen, the necessity of a job, the responsibilities of becoming a father, and the oppressiveness of a relationship with the mother of that child that for whatever reasons seemed to suck the very air and spirit out of him, draining his creative batteries, sending him ever further into the refuge of silence and withdrawal and his own solitary thoughts.  Only now, hurting from negotiations over child custody but relieved of his relationship, is he finding the world wholly fascinating again.  It is this possibility of lifelong excitement and awe, this insistent joy, that he hopes to ensure in his daughter.

“Will you look at that,” he says, pointing at the clouds over our canyon, a huge smile back on his face… and I gladly turn to see.


(Forward and RePost Freely)

Garden 2011

Aug. 3rd, 2011 01:21 pm
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I haven't really talked a lot here about the garden that me and CD have been working on.  It's actually been coming along very nicely.  Of all the things we planted the Okra, Squash, Corn, Radishes, and Lettuce have certainly come out the best.  We also had a few volunteer Sunflowers which are doing great.  By volunteer I mean that we didn't plant them there, they just sort of grew.  It's been a great mix because it seems like the Sunflowers are distracting the birds from the other stuff we have growing.  With the exception of some Squash Bugs we haven't even had an issue with pests which is really really nice.  It has certainly been a long time coming to get this garden moving.  We talked about having one pretty much right after I moved to Albuquerque four and a half years ago.  We started to slowly get one set up at the older house (we moved a year and three months ago) but barely got the area prepared before we had to move.  Not a seed was planted after three years.  Here at the current residence we rushed things a bit, or rather, I rushed things a bit.  Planning always took up more time than anything else.  As soon as we would have an idea of what we were going to do CD would want to change it, thusly we never planted anything at the old house.  Once we had a plan here I rushed into getting our ditch dug and the area cleared so we could plant right away.  Initially CD wanted to wait until late June to plant so the final frost would be gone and so forth.  I wanted originally to plant in March, but compromised on May before she wanted to extend the planting period.  Finally in May we put seed in the ground and it has sprung up.  I'll add some pictures near the end of the post.

Over the last few days, while things have been wanting to swirl a bit with my own self, I have managed to find some peace and calm with the garden.  It started with a couple of nights of being on the back porch and watching it, occasionally walking through.  During the day I would go out and just look at the plants.  So many of the crops hide underneath overgrowth.  We had one Zucchini which managed to grow bigger than the store bought kind without us even knowing it was there.   The last couple of days or so Sam has been willing to sit out there with me and tour our little garden.  She's also helped a lot with taking some pictures of it.  I guess that she sees a lot of the calming sort of effect that it has, she seems to be more than happy to encourage me spending time out there.

Starting yesterday I've made more of an effort to pull weeds.  In the beginning I was more than hesitant because I didn't know what any of the plants looked like.  Since they hadn't sprung up yet I didn't want to accidentally pull up something we planted mistaking it for a weed.  Now that most everything that's going to grow has come up quite noticeably it's easier.  Since it's monsoon season as well it's easier to pick the more annoying weeds: Goat Heads.  We've always had a problem with Goat Heads at our house.  They seemed to come up out of the ground the second we got the deal to lease because when we came to look at it no one came away with a single Goat Head stuck to their shoe.  We've cleared out a lot of what was here, but there are still enough to be annoying.  Well yesterday and today I was outside pulling up the ones which have taken root with the rains.  There are still a lot out there, but I've put in at least twenty minutes each day so far.  Since I'm waking up earlier in preparation for school I figure it won't be hard to go outside while it's still cool first thing in the morning and devote daily time to ridding us of the Goat Head scourge.  Or at least making it a little more enjoyable to walk around the yard.  

All in all I'm really happy with the garden.  It has helped me with grounding and coming to appreciate some of the smaller things.  I know that I put work into this to make it happen and that I've had to learn a lot for it to work.  More than that I've also had to work together with CD for it to be cohesive.  Of course it's also wonderful to have a past time as simple as watching Corn and Sunflowers sway in the wind to help actually relax me.

Pictures... )


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