Sunday, July 25, 2010

Plan B. Or something.

So... One of the worries that I didn't mention actually happened. At the end of the first day of dancing at the Sun Dance, I discovered that I had to leave the ceremony. I packed up my camp and left the grounds, and I won't be returning until the tree is taken down tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am in MOON CAMP. Where there are only WOMEN. (I'll wait for a moment while you do the math...)

At first I was so disappointed, even heartbroken. One of the things I love about the HHB Sun Dance is that it feels like everyone is in a community, working together to pray and support each other and cry and laugh together and make good things happen. And I had to leave that community. I cried and cried that night.

But then, as I unpacked my stuff, I discovered that I felt calm, and actually grateful.

Moon Camp has turned out to be a peaceful place for me to pray, to connect to Mother Earth and Spirit, to read and write and nap on a blanket in the sun, to rest and heal, to listen to the dragonflies buzzing around and wind sighing in the pines and horses nickering to each other. Apparently, this is what I needed this year.

And today, two people from the Sun Dance came by (at two different times) to thank us women in Moon Camp for doing the work we're doing there, holding that space, embodying and expressing female energy. That acknowledgement felt really good.

I miss the Sun Dance so much. But I am so grateful to have discovered Moon Camp.

May you be at peace with where you are today!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm on the rez, visiting with friend Steve and driving around with my partner and son. Things are going just fine and dandy.

But I am nervous.

Starting tonight, if everything goes well, I will be staying on the grounds of the Hollow Horn Bear Sun Dance, supporting the dancers at the ceremony through the end of the weekend. We will participate in Tree Day, doing the work to bring in the tree that will stand at the center of the circle. I'll stay there for the dancing while Dexter and Patrick head back up to Grandma & Grandpa's house in Pierre. For four days I'll pray and witness the sacrifice of the dancers, listen to the singing and drumming. It's a beautiful thing, and I've been waiting all year to come back to this.

But I am nervous.

I have been finding myself worrying about various things--what kind of food should I bring? will I be able to sleep out there? The friends I made last year won't be there this year; will I be able to make new friends? Will I feel sick? Will it be too hot? Will it rain? Do I have enough stuff? Do I have too much stuff?

And, deep down, I know that all of these worries are behind one Big Worry, the real source of anxiety around all of this: I am offering myself--my time, my effort, my spirit--to this ceremony and the people who participate in it; will I be enough? Am I enough, just as I am?

Only the week will tell.

May you feel calm today!

P.S. I wrote a post with photos about Mankato, Minnesota, last week but for some reason the photo placement wasn't working AT ALL. I might fiddle with it some more; if it doesn't work, I might post it with the photos in all the wrong places. :P

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Short takes

I've been writing other stuff lately--course syllabi, journal entries, even an essay or two--but I can't seem to come up with a proper blog topic--one that will yield an extended but not-too-long musing on a particular topic. All I seem to come up with are these short bits that aren't related to each other. So I finally decided to gather them together. And inflict them on you.

On the joys of using our solar-powered clothes dryer

Although doing laundry does not generally make me happy, I am impossibly delighted by doing laundry when I can hang the clothes out on the line. Although laundry's not the worst chore in the house, for sure, I don't really look forward to it. But when I hang the clothes on the clothesline, I am genuinely joyful. Nearly giddy.

Why such a huge difference? Maybe because I delight in NOT using electricity to do something that needs to be done. Maybe because I can hear the birds singing and the squirrels chattering to each other (and scolding me because I've come too close to their feeders). Maybe because I'm doing this zen-like process, repetitive and order-creating, and listening to what's around me and feeling part of it. Who knows. But as long as the weather's nice, and as long as we've got dirties that need cleaning, I'll be out in the back yard. I feel sad for those folks who live in places where you're not allowed to have a clothesline. They are missing out!

On bicycles. And obsession.

This is my bike: a one-speed Trek Woody with coaster brakes (i.e., the on-the-pedals kind we all had when we were little), purchased about five (?) years ago after we moved to our little town and bought a house only 1.3 miles from my office. I use it to get to work sometimes, but not often enough, thanks to the complications of coordinating clothes, weather, and errands on roads that are scary on a bike.

I love my bike with a mighty, mighty love. Its one speed is definitely limiting, because any other power has to come out of my legs, and my legs are not as powerful as they used to be! (I am contemplating trading it in for this bike, which has gears but is also styley.) But my bike gets me around under my own steam, and that's very satisfying. Especially when I think about the Gulf of Mexico these days...

Anyhow, I am also a huge fan of the Tour de France, which is on RIGHT NOW. (Here's what I wrote about the Tour last year.) My caring-about-what's-on-teevee level has gone way, way up. My concern about whether the Versus channel will be available as we travel west (very soon!) has gone way up. For goodness sakes, I signed up for Twitter so that I could get all the latest updates about what's going on with the riders. This is a new level of obsession for me. (I'm actually kind of feeling weird about the Twitter thing; I had been feeling fairly smug and superior for not knowing anything about Twitter, and here I am using it to feed my one sport obsession. Not so superior, I guess!)

So there's this guy at the bike shop who's really into professional racing, and I think I'm kind of bewildering to him. I'm interested--very interested--in the Tour, yet I ride this impossibly huge, heavy, one-speed machine. That has a bell on it. I don't ride every day, and I don't subscribe to Velo News, and I wouldn't recognize serious pedals--the kind you fasten yourself into--if you plunked them down in front of me. I barely know how a derailleur works.

Plus: I am a girl.

And yet I love to be around other people who get that the Tour is a big deal. I have opinions on how the race is going, or who's in it this year. (He's over the whole Lance thing, I'm sure, but I am not, even as I root for the younger riders as well.) I know what the word "Tourmalet" means to bike racers, how it inspires awe and terror. As I said last year, it makes no sense. (I thought of another reason it doesn't make sense, at least for me: there are no women in the Tour de France. None whatsoever.) And yet there it is--I'm totally obsessed.

And I love my goofy, non-Tour-ish bike.

On playing with my camera in public.

(Another version of me--taken in D.C. but haunted by S.F.)

When I was on the rez last year, I got into the habit of carrying around my little $100 camera to take pics for the blog so I could show everyone that far-away place. After I came home, at first I thought that probably I didn't need it with me all the time. But then Reya's blog really inspired me. She does these amazing things with images, and she must have her camera with her all the time.

So I began re-thinking my camera use. Lately, this has led to playing with it a little more intentionally and obtrusively than before. I'm not sure my dinner partners are always thrilled by my whipping out my camera in public places, but it has yielded some interesting results...

Clouds above an umbrella over our dinner at a restaurant in early June...

And here is old-fashioned Dexter in sepia tone. Eating a roll, but maybe haunted by pancakes?

Here he is in black and white!

And finally in whatever-it's-called--cyanotype? cyan? anyhow, BLUE.

And here is something I thought I would never be able to catch with my little camera: the moon, in the middle of the night, out our back window...

I was stunned with the beauty of the sky, and just had to try to capture it. I don't think this is exactly what I saw, but I love what these photos do...

May you enjoy the world around you today!

Happy musings,