Drumming 1

Ursula was curled up on the couch happily ensconced in the newest Diana Gabaldon time traveling novel, when Charley came into the living room at full speed. “Are we going to drumming tonight?”

“Shit. I forgot. What time is it now? I’ll need to make something for the potluck.”

“It’s almost 5. We’ve got some potatoes and rosemary. How ‘bout scalloped potatoes. I actually liked it when you made it with rice milk recently.”

“You know, that takes a while and we’ll be at the beach. Let’s just roast the potatoes in foil in the fire.”

“Good idea.”

 

“Looks like the weather is good enough for drumming outside tonight,” said Pia happily to Raven gathering things for the evening from their own cozy kitchen. “I’m glad we have Sitka House as a backup but I’m looking forward to one more beach night.”

“Have you been weather witching again, girl?”

“A little – I just put it out there as a low key request. Nothing urgent. Owen did too. There might not be a connection but it looks to be a good night. So yay.”

“It’s a delicate balance knowing when to ask and when to plead and when to let it go, isn’t it? I guess we’re all getting better at that sort of thing.”

“Anyway, I’ve marinated potatoes, mushrooms and zukes for shish-ka-bob. I think Carlos is bringing lamb for the carnivores. So we’ll need to take the grill for the fire. Did you put the drums and my flute in the car?”

“Yep, we’re all set. Are we taking anybody?”

“Arlo said he’d hitch over and carpool with us. I suggested he invite Jay and Fern from here. Oh and their little one. I think we can fit them all in.”

“Here they come now.”

 

“I kinda wanna to the Full Moon drumming tonight,” Uri said to Michael who was working as usual on his laptop. The desk in the house they’d just moved into was already cluttered with papers.

“Mmmm,” responded Michael noncommitally.

“I know it’s not your thing, but I’m shy about going by myself. You know all those people and can help me connect in.”

“You don’t need me.”

“Yes, no, maybe, but I want to spend the evening with you and I’m getting that I need to do this. I’m feeling some important stirrings in the air this night. I’ve got my special vegetable curry rice all ready to go.”

“You and your stirrings. Okay. You know I’m skeptical of all that, but I know the music means a lot to you. Let me get to a stopping place with this report. There probably are some people there I ought to be talking to.”

 

“Golly, Miss Molly, I’m tired,” thought Molly eying the cold wood stove as she took off her work boots in her living room. “Should I really be going out to drum tonight? Yes. It will be good for me to move my body differently. I can pick up some chips at the store. I certainly don’t have the energy to fix anything.”

 

Owen carried an armload of kindling and newspapers down to the beach access just north of the fork in the road beyond Sitka house. The sky was gray but the rain was holding off. His and Pia’s conspiracy seemed to have worked. They were getting better at knowing when and how to judiciously use their weather juju. This had seemed like an important night to gather outside.

There were some burned bits of driftwood in a circle of rocks and he was soon able to scrounge up more. The pickings were slim this time of year after the summer hoards and before the winter storms brought more in. He started to worry whether others would bring some to add, but reminded himself firmly that he could go get more at the house if need be.

He knelt and built a teepee of kindling stuffed with newspaper, and with a prayer for just the right mix of harmony and edgy dissonance in the evening, set the match to it. He had to do a little blowing but it was soon burning merrily. He loved the act of building the fire to call others in.

As he sat by the growing blaze, he noticed an eagle cruising up the beach towards him. He watched it happily, and then his heart soared as it circled low over his head before heading up towards the Mountain.

“Thanks, Eagle, for the gift of your presence. Good happenings tonight, eh? Thank you, Mountain, for your continued…ummm…. sourcing of our process.” He didn’t know quite what he meant by the latter, but certainly the Mountain’s presence was a constant in their lives that brought the Medicine Circles good energy as well as challenges. Full Moon Drumming wasn’t necessarily a Medicine Circle function, but there was a definite overlap of folks who liked this kind of anarchistic hippie thunder drum music with those who were the healers and seekers of his soul tribe. Certainly the bonds forged at these gatherings, usually held at a different people’s homes, helped the community as a whole, both spiritually and with their sustainability “agenda.”

He turned from his musing as some folks he didn’t recognize came up behind him. Newcomers were often a little early, not sure of the protocol.

“Hi, I’m Owen Logan.” He held out his hand.

“We met at Bear Essentials recently,” said the woman. “We’re Jasmine and Gideon Terranova and this is our son, Finch. We don’t have any drums, but Ursula said….”

“There will be plenty,” Owen assured her.

As if in confirmation, Pia and Raven appeared over the dunes carrying a big conga and its stand, followed by Arlo with his djembe. Jay and Fern staggered in with a cooler of their beer between them. Little Anise followed lugging a bag of percussion instruments. Gabe brought two doumbeks and Alex another conga.

Soon there was a goodly crowd of all ages, glowing in the golden light of the magic hour. A table had been improvised on a relatively flat-topped log a little ways from the fire circle. A couple of people were already digging into Cali’s cookies. Pia added her veggie shish kabob sticks on a grill along side the ones Carlos had already laid down. Underneath were Charley’s potatoes pre-wrapped in foil with rosemary and a dollop of butter.

Ursula stood behind them, holding baby Menolly and cooing to the bright-eyed little one who was cooing right back. Pia stood up to admire her. “Such a sweet little Dragon Girl, isn’t she?”

“Always a miracle that she’s here,” Ursula whispered, knowing that Pia understood how much her granddaughter meant to her. Children and dogs raced around them in the sand, a few middle school aged teens wandered down the beach picking up trash, while groups of adults clustered in conversation.

“Pia, I hear from Charley that you’re cooling on the idea of doing the workshop and Re-Treat business,” said Ursula after she’d handed the baby back to Cali to nurse.

“I’m not cooling on the idea, but I realized after talking to you guys the other night that I just don’t have the right energy to do it. My body gives off unhappy vibes whenever I think of making the phone calls to get things rolling.”

“An important sign you need to listen to.” Ursula turned conversationally to the newcomers who were standing at her elbow.

“We’ve been wishing a long time for someone to set up what we’ve been calling a Re-Treat and Re-Creation program to do speaker gigs and workshops here. A form of eco-tourism we could live with. Yoga weekends or visiting shamans and healers who could teach us new stuff, or whatever.”

“It doesn’t even have to be outsiders,” added Pia. “Plenty of folks here might be coaxed into doing a workshop if details like regional PR were handled for them. My partner Raven and I were talking about organizing this effort but now don’t think we’re going to.”

“Where would the workshops be given and where would people stay?” asked Gideon. “There certainly aren’t any big lodges or conference centers here.”

“We think it would work to use places like the community centers in each of the towns and various meeting rooms here and there. The Art Center often has space, for instance, and so do some of the spas. Actually, the vacation rental agencies have the conference room facilities scoped out, but they don’t have time to book groups or handle logistics. Obviously places for people to stay are scattered about – rental houses plus B & B’s. There are several restaurants like Arachne’s Web who do side catering work.“

“Sounds intriguing to do it in a decentralized way,” said Jasmine. “I used to do retreats for a conference center back east. Where would we start if we were to do something like this?”

“Wow,” said Pia. “Not to jump all over you, but you might be the answer to our prayers. I’d be happy to fill you in on what we’ve been thinking. It’s perfect for an economic development grant since it can be pitched as taking advantage of our existing visitor population yet keeps us from filling with T-shirt shops.”

“I love it when you talk ‘dirty’ like this, Pia,” said Molly. “I can just hear those well-oiled wheels in your brain turning.”

“Takes one to know one,” laughed Pia. “I haven’t been able to think of any reason why it wouldn’t be viable…. besides my own lack of energy for it. My wheels aren’t rusty but they’re ready for a different kind of track….”

“Or something like that,” laughed Ursula.

“The Healers Guild will collaborate,” offered Charley who had come over to add his two cents. “That always appeals to funders.”

“Wouldn’t you need non-profit status?” asked Gideon.

“Maybe,” said Charley. “We just happen to have the Cedar ReSource Center’s 501c3 to sponsor projects that are….”

“….moving our River and Mountain community towards sustainability.” Molly and Ursula chanted this last bit in unison with Charley. “Don’t we sound like a grant proposal already?”

“We’re both on the Board,” Molly explained to the Terranovas. “Charley is staff.”

“I’ve been wondering what that was about,” Jasmine said. “It all sounds intriguing.”

“The Center helps pull pieces together for new projects. Dreaming. Conjuring. Networking. Manifesting. Even providing technical help sometimes like bookkeeping and grant writing. That’s how the Portland State Locus program landed here,” said Charley.

“Wow, I wonder if I could do this project and write too,” said Jasmine. “But maybe they would kind of feed each other. It would be cool to have the Harner people come to town. I’d really like to learn from such folks….”

“I worked with them training for Soul Retrieval work,” said Owen.

“We figured it could start with all the teachers each of us has had over the years,” said Molly.

“In fact, you could probably get a Locus intern right off the bat,” said Charley.

“It could be musicians too,” mused Finch who had been listening intently to all this.

“The ‘shishes are ready,” called Raven squatting by the fire. One of the young mothers, a two year old clutching her pant leg, began helping the bigger kids roast hot dogs on skewers.

“Let’s have tea together next week and I can give you names and contacts on the local end.”

Ursula and Pia gave each other high fives as the others turned toward the food. “Yesss!”

“I knew they were live ones!

ReBound as a Healing Center

“You did a great job giving the tour, Gabe,” said Molly after the Locus crew left.

“Thanks. It helps that you’ve had me track the monthly numbers recently.”

“I love you doing that. It gives me a little more breathing room to think through the next steps and how to tie them into this proposal we’ve got brewing.”

“Can I ask a question, though? I’ve never known what you mean when you talk about ReBound being a healing center,” ventured Gabe. “I have a feeling it’s more than just the healing of the earth by giving re-useables another shot at life.”

“Aaahh,” Molly breathed aloud. “It’s very subtle. Have you ever noticed how cheerful most folks are when they come here? People going to ordinary dumps are grouchy. My theory is that they feel awful about throwing things away. Maybe not consciously but if they have any sensitivity our culture’s waste has got to eat at them.”

“I remember I hated to see furniture and stuff in dumpsters growing up.”

“Exactly. Not only do we rescue things but our work here is literally healing and cleansing those things we handle by getting rid of the stuck energy in them.”

“How’s that?”

“Stuff comes through here carrying energetic baggage. Some is positive, but some has absorbed sad, tired, cruddy energy. Obviously, anything literally dirty, smelling of cigarette smoke or cat pee goes in the trash. But some things just feel icky. I threw away a perfectly good bedspread the other day that gave me the creeps. Occasionally I give a conscious blessing as I sort, but most things just need a little energy polish that’s somehow more than a swipe with the rag. It’s such an automatic, unconscious process that it took me ages to even realize I was doing it. I think about how pretty or fun an item is – maybe it wasn’t appreciated before. I think about who will want it. Not usually who literally.”

“Although we do that too sometimes,” Gabe pointed out.

“Indeed. We made sure that the herb collecting basket got into Owen’s hands recently and remembered Mrs. Crowe needing a floor lamp. But mostly I assure the item that it will be loved – that it hasn’t been abandoned, but can bring light and love into a new circumstance. As I learned more about psychic energy I began to see what I’d only been vaguely aware of before and to trust my feelings about the things I touch.

“Some people worry about us doing this work,” Molly continued. “June, Chloe and Stella can barely stand to be here or in any second hand store for that matter. They’re acutely attuned to the psychic and get flooded with pictures about what the previous owners have been through. The assault of impressions can be overwhelming. I used to think I wasn’t psychic at all. Now I know it’s just more subtle for me. But at their urging, we have our witchy folk come in to do cleansing now and then, energetically sweeping the place with smudge, fanciful brooms, bells and rattles, and sprinkles of water. It’s a lovely light-giving process that I wish could be done monthly.”

“I knew that was happening,” said Gabe, “but I’ve always stayed clear of it cuz it seemed pretty woo woo to me.”

“It is woo woo certainly but I think it’s effective.”

“Are you sure you aren’t just making all this up?”

“There’s always that possibility. But does it really matter? The stuff comes in and goes out, everyone benefits.”

“I can see how the process of getting things into the right hands performs a kind of healing service.”

“Everyone loves presents and this place is full of cheap thrills – the right flowerpot you didn’t even realize you were looking for, et cetera. Even with my subtle senses, I can feel people’s happiness. Plus the overall success of the mission towards zero waste here warms their hearts – most people really want the right things to be happening for the health of the planet.”

“I can feel both aspects of that. I suppose it is a literal lifting of people’s spirits.”

“ReBound is usually a pretty happy place. Though we’ve had our challenging moments, haven’t we?”

“Like when a freezer full of stinky fish comes in or the time Seth and the car mechanic were duking it out in the parking lot.”

“That Seth! Such unpredictable Coyote energy. He got us into some awful tangles. Not that he was the only one. Plus, of course, there are the periodic gut wrenching disagreements about organization priorities. Inescapable no matter how together folks are. But as long as I keep aware of the overall picture – on the good days that I’m in that mode – then I’m giving off positive energy to everyone as well as every thing that comes through.”

“You do hand out a lot of hugs.”

“And you see me talking a lot to people. Some of that is politics – I have to be conscious that it is the community that helps support this place.”

“Yet there are many ‘nobodies’ who you greet just as warmly. Sometimes it seems they come to you for a hug the same way the dogs beg for their biscuits at the counter.”

Molly laughed. “Don’t tell anyone but I don’t even know the names of some I’ve been hugging for years. But that energy goes out into their day just the same. It’s all about ripples. Like I said to those Locus kids – we attract people from all walks of life. ReBound doesn’t appeal to everyone but it appeals to a cross section of all socio-economic groups. I’m proud of that. Maybe more proud of that than anything. It’s a coming together place for so many different types. And that’s healing too.”

“I never thought of it that way. I’m still skeptical about the mystical energy stuff though.”

“I guess you don’t want to know about the dragon who helps us here.”

“Dragon??”

“Hee hee,” chuckled Molly. “June pointed it out to me a long time ago. I can only see it in occasional glimmers that could easily be my imagination. But I talk to it anyway and thank it and I hear a little ‘you’re welcome’ in my mind. It’s like a guardian for this place.”

“Now you’re getting way too weird.”

“Ah well. Just watch for the emotional energy and play around with it a bit. Notice who responds and who doesn’t and what it takes to change their reaction. That’s an important piece of learning to run this place.”

“Do you think I ever could? Run this place, I mean. I love it here. I’d really like to do this long term.”

“Fabulous. I’ve been getting that it’s time for me to hand over more of the operations to younger folks. But in the past they take off just as I get them trained so I’m a little discouraged on that score. But you seem to have more roots here than most.”

“Fern and I have an agreement that we won’t live more than an hour away from each other to make the constant parental transitions in Anise’s life easier.”

“Far out. Well, keep up the good work and I’ll give you more responsibility. Maybe I’ll show you the bookkeeping one of these days. Oddly enough, it’s hard for me to think about giving that up. It’s such a conjuring process for me. I look at the numbers and imagine how they will come out. Dream and worry and muse…. But it’s a control issue too so I’m open to loosening my grip a bit.”

“Awesome. I’ve got a kickass head for number details.”

“How about you start by taking Satish and the other new intern under your wing.”

“Show them the ropes?”

“Mentor them. They should get tastes of all the different tasks.”

“Who do I call to get them certified on the forklift?”

“Good thinking. It’s in a folder marked “training” in the personnel drawer of the red file cabinet.”

“I’m on it,” he said, heading towards the office.

Molly watched him with a speculative smile and a lightened heart, before turning to put a piece of clear plastic over the exercise bike on display in the yard, protecting it from the light rain that had started to fall. With a shout of joy she saluted the rainbow that arched over the Mountain. It had almost ceased to amaze her how often that bright omen graced moments of right decision in this place. Glory be.

Four in the Hot Tub 1

“This lentil stew is really delish,” said Pia, rubbing her tummy. “I love that it has the kids’ vegetables in it and your own kale. Thanks for making it vegetarian, but I can’t eat another bite. What a treat to share it with us. And it’s so good to get caught up on the details of each others’ last few weeks.”

“Thanks. And don’t worry, I didn’t make any dessert.”

“What?! No more juicy bits about all the people we love to nurture?”

“I’ve been thinking,” Charley spoke up over their giggles, “about new things we could be doing to move things along magically in our community. Now that I’ve got my feet on the ground in the community organizing realm, I’m wondering how to mix a bit more in spirituality.”

“Bravo on the PSU coup, by the way. There were a lot of other communities vying for their adjunct program.”

“Don’t forget that consensus building is a spiritual practice.”

“And so is sustainability consciousness…”

“And so is gossip,” added Ursula. “It has a bad rap but I’ve always maintained that the news we exchange about each other and our talk about the others’ problems are ways of checking out our information as well as our gut feelings and energy hits. I really needed confirmation of you-know-who’s subtle icky energy a while back and I welcomed reassurance from others that I was in my own drama about that new massage therapist that pissed me off. Right now, I’ve been noticing Sylvia’s depression. Do you think it’s a long term problem we need to pay attention to or is it a passing thing?”

“Good example – in fact, I am concerned about her too. That no-good boyfriend of hers finally took off but she doesn’t seem to be able to get her feet back on the ground. I’ve tried reaching out but she’s angry at the world.”

“I wonder if….”

“Now wait, you both jumped right over my sincere conversational gambit,” complained Charley.

“Sorry,” said Pia. “We did, and you’re right that it’s time to up the ante again on the magical and intentional content of our activities.”

“Hey – before we’re off and running on all that, let’s get in the hot tub,” interjected Ursula. “You guys have time? That little rain shower seems to be over and there’s a full moon arisin.’ A good time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished and get ready to move forward.”

“That would be lovely. We haven’t done that together in a long time.”

“Just leave the dishes. We’ll get them later,” Charley and Ursula said to Raven as he started to clear.

“Guess you must be sure since you said it in unison. Is it ok if I leave my clothes out here?”

“Sure, I will too,” agreed Charley. “That leaves room for you female types in the bathroom.” The guys stripped down quickly and headed out to the tub through the south facing sliding door, Charley stopping to pee over the railing on the way out.

“I’ll need a hair tie,” said Pia as she and Ursula headed the other direction.

Soon they were all in the hot tub knees not quite touching. They’d only had to apologize to a few autumnal spider webs on the path between house and tub. The moon was indeed just peeking between the trees to the East, having risen behind the Mountain a while ago.

“A-a-a –rooo!! Yip! Yip! Yip!” they all howled, Pia and Ursula adding a vocal belly dance flourish at the end, while Charley yodeled. “Awk. Awk,” called Raven.

“Yip Yip Yip,” echoed a real coyote from across the hollow on the mountainside. They were all silent for a moment taking in the beauty and power of the night.

Charley broke the silence, “I keep getting that we have this opportunity to create the world we want to see. What do we still need to do to move things along? That’s my visionary Aquarian moon talking and being the Virgo sun that I am, I want to stay on task.” He looked at Pia with a twinkle.

“Even in the hot tub,” Ursula chuckled.

“What better place? You’re such a water creature, I know you do some of your best creating here!” said Pia.

“We did a good job of calling in help a few years ago. Look at all that’s been happening,” said Raven. “Damn birds landing everywhere!”

Pia laughed. “We’re enjoying having Arlo around again. Even though he’s living upriver, I love bumping into that sweet son of mine at the Post Office and Natural Foods Store. It was fun to see your Salal and his lovely sweetie at the coffee shop this morning. How long are they here for?”

“We don’t really know. He’s pretty closed mouth with us. But we had a nice supper with them last night. They’re staying down at Cali and Carlos’s. Thank goodness those guys are attracting interesting younguns’ with their farm. And surely the baby is part of the arrivals.”

“You lucky grandparents, you.”

“Salal is one bird who hasn’t landed back here yet, and I’m pretty resigned to the idea that he might not,” said Charley. “Whether or not Marina will is still an open question.”

“On the good days we’re resigned,” laughed Ursula. “And we’re still not sure if Jay is really here to stay. His relationship with Fern is looking solid but you never know. But I’m feeling much better about it all since our Demeter and Persephone ritual.”

“Ariel Lyons is back,” said Charley, taking the heat off the thought of his longing for all his four kids to be around.

“Really? Ariel was one of the early Illahee School kids but her parents divorced and moved away when she was seven,” Pia explained to Raven since he was a relative newcomer, having flown in himself only about ten years ago. Pia had been a single mom during the early Illahee days.

“She’s staying at Sitka House while one of their housemates is in the Amazon and she’s been hired by the Arts Center to develop their teens program – both theater and visual arts. I guess she has an actual degree of some sort.”

”That’s so cool. I wonder where her parents are.”

“I didn’t have the strength to ask about them and we had so much else to talk about. So how do we up the ante again?” Charley wasn’t going to let this one get away.

“We have manifested help for ourselves,” Pia responded. “And if the astrology stuff I follow is to be believed, and I do, then big changes are nigh upon us and we don’t have much calendar time. Now, magical time is another story, as Raven here would say.”

“Awk!”

“The end times predicted by the Mayans so long ago seem to overlap with the notion of the shifting of the ages from the Piscean to the Aquarian. It’s the completion of a 28,000 year cycle. Some say even a 104,000 year cycle. I can hardly grok what that means in time or in practicalities, but it’s of Galactic proportions. And the stuff I’m reading now on the Internet is saying that we’re already well within the window of that cosmic astrological event.”

“We’re hearing that too,” said Ursula. “So many of us are making big changes – doing the deep work – that the New Age is coming to fruition faster than anyone – even the spirits from afar – thought we’d be capable of.”

“Hurray for our side,” said Charley. “Even though sometimes it feels like things are inching one step back for every two steps forward and that the bad guys are still in control.”

“The layoffs and closures just keep happening, plus there’s Global Climate Change….” Ursula’s voice trailed off. “Makes me feel guilty about this luxurious hot tub and all the electricity we are using.”

“I figure as long as we share it and use it for most of our bathing, that we’re doing ok. We’re all still learning to wean ourselves….”

“I wanna dance!” shouted Raven.

“Right now? I mean it is the Full Moon and all but personally, I’m not feeling that jazzed,” said Charley.

“I mean let’s add Ecstatic Dance to our Medicine Group offerings.”

“Trance dance?”

“Yogic dance. Whatever. Pia and I have been using Gabriele Roth’s music most days for at least a little bit.”

“Do tell.” Ursula could feel her energy lift after the dip of the last few minutes.

“When I started doing yoga on my own beyond my usual two classes a week,” said Pia, “the movements kept turning into dance. Slow and stretchy but flowing and intuitive rather than the long held poses of the yoga of our teachers. I love that too. There’s nothing better after a long physical or mental pushing sort of day. But we’ve really been having fun with this extrapolation. When I heard Roth’s music and read up on her Five Rhythms I realized it was just what we needed to add more dimensions to the process. She’s been doing it for years. I can’t believe I never heard of her.”

“I think the young people have been dancing that way in the Barn,” said Ursula. “Sometimes even with live music. Maybe we could set up a regular time at the Community Center. What days would work for you?”

“That’s one of the things I love about you, Ursula,” said Raven. “You just hone right in there on the details to make it happen.”

“It’s her Capricorn moon. You’re so airy you need us administrative types around,” said Pia thinking of her forays into Shamanic Astrology. “I’ve got it too.”

“Don’t I know it,” rejoined Raven. “But I love you anyway. I’ll put together music for the dancing.”

“I’ll bring scarves and things so we can be like little girls…kids, I mean,” said Pia.

“It would definitely improve the playful element around here for us. I just know that’s an important piece of what the New Age is about,” said Raven.

“I agree,” said Charley. “And I predict it will spill over into the healing aspect of what we’re up to for ourselves, the land and the community.”

“Our soul tribe at least. Thank you, Raven, for the idea and for personifying that playful piece,” said Ursula. “You double Gemini you! Even if you make us uncomfortable at times, your teasing Heyoka energy is important to show us who we really are…. Now here’s another idea,” she continued. “It’s not as playful, though it could be. I’ve been getting that it’s time for me to do more active mentoring, starting with teaching a class. It’s about all the things we’ve been exploring together over the years in our Medicine Groups – basic stuff like calling sacred space, smudging, grounding, and moving on to dousing, pendulums, tarot….”

“Kinesiology, hands-on healing,” added Charley.

“Manifesting,” said Pia.

“Speaking of moving things along.”

“Exactly. Thanks to Charley taking over the bulk of the organization work from me and with some new help the store can now afford, I’ll have more time again. We need to be more formally sharing the skills we’ve developed over the years and not just one-on-one like I’ve been doing.”

“Bravo! I’ve been thinking that might be a good next step for you,” said Raven, perching on the side of the tub to cool down.