Friday, August 14, 2009

The Merlot Meltdown

There she stood in the kitchen finishing off a last serving of cheese dip and chips after having just downed two hot dogs with chilli.

She was me. What? Yes, I've held this piece for a month hesitant about 'going public' because the day prior I had completed the story of lessons learned through Farm-aceuticals, growing and eating my own vegetables. Within 24 hours, I stood in the kitchen betraying my garden, my body and compromising my integrity. Before you jump to judgment, let me explain.

After downloading a boatload of photos for the aforementioned epic blog piece, I decided to get a few photos actually developed at a nearby drugstore. I'm one of those people that still enjoys the feel of a photo as well as a book or newspaper held in my hands.

After realizing I couldn't get the size photo I desired at this particular store, I walked down an aisle not seeking anything in particular but just to experience wandering. I had been focused all day and needed to get out. I don't recall ever in my life just walking down an aisle of a store to be wandering. I think this might be what people who shop actually do. Usually my idea of shopping is entering a store only if I've a predetermined item in mind.

Here I was engaging in one of America's favorite pastimes. One aisle led to another then another. I know you're thinking, 'Uh-oh. She's about to become a shopper.'

I wasn't tempted to buy anything but I was offered assistance by a courteous employee. It was just about this time, that I saw the Burt's Bees products. I wear minimal makeup and sometimes none at all but the one thing I do wear daily is Burt's Bee's lip gloss. The cave woman in me has been known to purchase and store 4-5 tubes at a time so I don't have to buy any for a year. Knowing my supply was low, I thought I'd check the price and possibly replenish my stash. There was raisin, fig and two supposedly great new colors but no, merlot. I stood before a 'new' display or at least that's how the advertising read so I suspected I was in the wrong section of the store and just needed to find the appropriate display since there wasn't even a slot for merlot.

I found the nice employee assisting someone else and waited until she was free in hopes she would direct me to the correct area. When she walked me back to the same display, my radar went into alert mode but was calmed as she offered to order what I wanted. While she scanned the computer, I learned she was somewhat distressed by the upcoming Monday milestones as one of her children entered middle school and her youngest entered kindergarten. The longer she took scanning her computer, the harder it became for me to be empathic to her distress.

Sincere listening turned to faux listening as my internal tension built. My distress couldn't be contained when she said merlot was no longer in stock. I seriously put myself in harms way as I said aloud: "This is why I hate being an times." (I was conscious enough to add 'at times' for safe measure in case confronted by one of those tea party people concerned about my patriotism.)

What was I thinking? I had temporarily forgotten I was in America where everything has to be new, improved and better. I did not want one of two new exciting colors nor did I want raisin or fig, two of the regulars. I had accidentally purchased fig once and it just didn't work. I wanted tried and true merlot. It could not be improved upon. Merlot complemented my skin tone and gray hair. Merlot popped. (I can't believe I'm thinking that phrase, much less writing it, but it's true.)

The young woman was apologetic and wanted me to have a nice day. I quickly pulled myself together as she asked me to pray for her on Monday. I could do that, but in the meantime, I was headed to my nearest big box retailer and to call my own prayer partner of sorts.

I needed an Emotional Sherpa or in this case my friend LJ (See Playing with Pain-Emotional Sherpas for Hire) who although she didn't answer, did have voice mail into which I rambled on mid-meltdown until I arrived at Walmart.

I walked straight to the makeup section where I combed the BB products and discovered here too Merlot was missing. I started that walking thing again, but this time without the energy of a slow wander. I was on a mission. The problem was my mission did not have an item on which I could focus. My mission was to relieve my distress. I made my way through school supplies for old times sake. I had always loved the newness of art supplies, pens, pencils, paper tablets. My distress persisted. I walked through bathrom decor just in case a shower curtain grabbed me. I had been postponing buying a new one. I then prowled my way to the grocery section where I truly needed orange juice. It was what I picked up enroute to orange juice that was so disconcerting. By the time, I found the OJ, I had accumulated cheese dip, chips, hot dogs and canned chilli. My one saving grace is that my bag did not hold the can of vienna sausages I briefly considered.

I needed comfort and regardless of how much I love my little raised bed, squash, green beans, tomatoes and beets just aren't comfort foods at least in my culinary repetoire.....yet.

Upon walking in the door, I immediately scooped three chips in dip. As the chlli warmed, I ate three more. As I turned on my laptop, I ate three more. I was mindfully and intentionally eating the corn and dairy foods I typically avoid not because I've severe reactions but reaction enough to know I feel better without them.

Instead these processed foods, helped me process my predicament while I also scanned the Burt's Bees site looking for contact info. When that couldn't be found, I hesitantly clicked on 'lip products.' I had avoided this part of the site for fear I'd see "No longer available" by my color. Instead there it was for only $5 a cylinder. I quickly ordered three and keyed in the necessary information until I got to my shipping choices. The cheapest path to my door was $7. What?!

I was pissed off and clicked off. I went from meltdown to mad bypassing gratitude for the fact that I could still find what I wanted. More revealing was how mad took me out of the flow and into struggle which led to stuck.

Stuck is where I've resided for nearly a month, stuck, disconnected and intermittently angry. Angry that things are always changing. I know as Buddhists believe to not be attached. I know that change is inevitable, but it seems in our materialistic world things are constantly changing just to keep us thinking we must have what we don't have. All I wanted was my lip gloss.....without such exhorbitant shipping costs.

In the meantime, it took me three weeks to realize I had been walking around with the writing on the wall as to my predicament, not the literal walls of my home, but metaphorically on the walls of my guts. This too was something I hesitated 'going public' regarding.

I determined I was being presented a beautiful gift. As I railed over our materialistic society and wondered what people were thinking as they bought into buying, I avoided looking in the mirror. As a result, my body became my mirror. I unknowingly blocked my creative flow, not to mention the ordering of merlot, thus my body's flow was blocked. It took three weeks to realize I've this beautiful mirror with or without lip gloss, a mirror within that shows me in not so subtle ways what my issues are, what I'm feeling and doing or in this case not doo-ing.

So what's the message in my meltdown? There's a magic in meltdowns when we allow them and go with the flow.

Meltdowns in our must-stay-in-control society (or at least look like we're in control) are highly underrated alongside naps and wandering. The magic lies in going with the flow even when the flow holds queso and chili. Going with the flow allows the meltdown to be what it is...a temporary reaction to something, at least for me, usually disappointing and beyond my control.

Meltdowns can lead to laughter when you've an emotional sherpa. LJ and I ultimately traded messages. I found comfort in the fact that she could relate a bit to my predicament because a local grocer had quit carrying her coffee. We also pondered whether I was the only person wearing merlot in the world or were there other women and maybe even a few men panicked as I had been.

At times meltdown are sorrowfilled, like my recently coming upon a fawn on the roadside in the country. I had heard there was a doe and two fawns in the area but had not seen them until I found one hit by a car. For sometime after burying it, I felt life was just too hard. Now days later although I feel a sense of honor that we were the ones who got to bury it, I'm still aware of a low level sadness when I remember the feel of the tiny animals beautiful dotted coat. Sometimes life still seems too hard and then the emotional sherpa, in this case my friend Merle, agrees, "Yes, life is harsh." My sorrow finds comfort.

A few mornings later, I awoke with a thought like a shooting star crossing my mind's field. I realized merlot represented everything I take for granted, my family, friends, home, pets and plants. I unknowingly move into auto-pilot forgetting everything truly is temporary on this plane.

In getting back into my flow, I finally ordered Merlot. It arrived within days. I opened a tube and put some on just to see if it was the same. I unfolded the paperwork in the box. Merlot had arrived free of shipping charges. I smiled. I smiled with lips that popped.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'll Take Farm-aceuticals - Lessons from Food (without harmful side effects, co-payments, lobbyists or politicians)

(This is a brief break in the series started on my Havasu Canyon trek. It could be called a commercial break since pharmaceuticals get commercials all the time. I mean all the time. Why not Farm-aceuticals?)

This piece could just have easily been titled "How I Spent My Summer." As a grown up, I couldn't quite write "...My Summer Vacation" like we did in the Sixties with those big pencils and large lined writing pads. But I can happily attest to the fact that I've taken every available opportunity this summer to be in my garden and kitchen.

I also thought the summer vacation title not catchy enough and when you've a blog with a handful of readers, you don't want to loose even two. I opted for Farmaceuticals not because of the present health care debate (if one can actually call it a debate) but due to my first mood altering experience in the garden over three months ago. Come to think of it, maybe instead of town hall meetings and legislative committee sessions, dialogue could be had and policy hammered out in a garden. What's covertly occurring would be visible ie. dirty politics, alongside dirty politicians, dirty lobbyists, dirty corporate players, but something beneficial might result starting with the humor generated by the media photos. I digress.

This morning, I lined up five peaches from the little market in town. I was debating chopping them to put into salsa canned the week prior. I got involved in other things, as I'm prone, until I heard the peaches shout: "Put me in, coach." Okay, the peaches weren't exactly talking audibly, but that is the thought that zipped through my mind. "Put me in, coach."

I smiled. As kids playing kickball or softball in my grandmother's backyard, we would sometimes give one another do-overs, second chances. We can all benefit from do-overs so why not my peach salsa? It was only four days prior that I had made the first batch which tasted fine but needed more peaches. I quartered, peeled and chopped the volunteers, emptied the prior filled jars and stirred.

I cleaned and refilled the jars only to hear a scream: "Not the hot water." A boiling pot awaited my renewed concoction. Blueberries in a jam on a nearby cupboard shelf shouted, "You can do it" having recently survived a similar experience (see the August 2 story). The peaches were learning: Sometimes when you volunteer, you end up in hot water. Most folks make it out.

I now have eight pints of peach salsa with a hint of garlic, jalepeno and lime, sitting on my counter, a testament to do-overs. We all need do-vers, to be on the receiving end of second chances as well as the giving end. This epitomizes grace. This is one of the many reasons I've discovered I love growing things. Canning produce from local farmers as well as tending my little plot most always reveals something of value.

It started with this, a lettuce seed. (It's the speck at which the pen points.) I've planted flowers and two or three tomato plants in my twenties. I even made a seed chart in fifth grade, but there was something magic about planting these speck size seeds and ending up with sprouts, sprouts emerging from darkness, seeking light, finding form.

Thanks to Happy Frog fertilizer (who could resist a fertilizer with a name like that?), a raised bed from Gardener's Supply and a truck load of dirt, my garden took form. This would not qualify as a garden for my grandparents who as we said lived 'on the creek' and had not one but two significant plots that fed them. But this 8 x 4 space became my Farm-acy of sorts where I first realized gardening was good for both my physical, mental and spiritual health.

It was mid-April. I had just cleaned the driveway of twigs and leaves earlier that morning only to walk out and find bags of dirt at varying stages of emptiness strewn about as Jerry planted azaleas. In all fairness, Jerry had no way of knowing I had just cleaned the driveway, yet I went to my default setting of disappointment and silence. I resented 'having' to work in the garden, like this was the garden's fault, yet I had a truckload of dirt to finish layering with Happy Frog and kelp.

In minutes of creating earthen lasagna, my mood completely lifted and shifted. Contrary to the new spandex lifting underwear women are suppose to want, I prefer, "My garden shifts and lifts." I was chuckling over this and of course writing it down, when I realized all my anger and resentment were missing. There truly wasn't a negative feeling in my body. Growing food was good for my mood and my relationship. I was content, unusual for a Gemini. I was present and engaged, unusual for anyone.
This is when I realized I wanted Farm-aceuticals. I'm not referring to corporately grown perfect appearing, chemically covered nutrient depleted vegetables (although that's better for you than fast food.) I'm advocating food birthed in one's own back yard or in pots on the patio and if not there at least from area farmer's markets.
I thought of the depressed multitudes who could benefit from farmaceuticals. So many people are given anti-depressants even when they've a minor funk. Many of these people trade the funk for feeling 'flat,' nothing at all, as often anti-depressants numb experience. Farm-aceuticals are all about experience. I was grateful to have my resentment lifted for chronically held resentment ruins relationships and not only contributes to depression but to a myriad of physical symptoms.
This was also the moment I realized growing something should be mandatory for everyone, especially our representatives and senators. It's got to be harder maintaining ill will and meanspiritedness when you're digging in the dirt. (Okay, I know we can't mandate this but wouldn't it be a hoot when people showed up at their tea parties with signs reading: My government can't make me eat vegetables from my own garden.)

Farm-aceuticals is one piece of the answer to our present healthcare challenges. I'm know some people legitimately need drugs to live. I also know I'm not the first person to be offered unneeded drugs by a doctor. For example, several years ago I awakened with a chest pain and called my doctor. She suggested I see a heart specialist with a well respected group practice. I was seen immediately and given an EKG which proved normal. Upon hearing my mother had mitral valve prolapse, the doctor asked me do deep knee bends while he listened to my heart. He heard nothing irregular but said I would end up with this condition. As he wrote the prescription, I asked if I really needed the drug. He said no, but he was certain I would have mitral valve prolapse. (The same drug caused leg paralysis in an older aquaintance.) I said, "No thank you" and walked out. All the way home, I debated entering medical school at mid-life. I was stunned.

Now I'm just grateful that I'm pushing Farm-aceuticals because my garden three weeks after my first mood lift, continued to bring me joy. Everytime I pull bugged leaves, fertilize or plant something new, I experience a felt sense of connection to nature and myself. I know we are so loved by nature yet we don't realize it.

While away for two weeks in May, I missed the garden, wondered what was growing and whether the garlic spikes and black mesh had continued to disuade animals. (On the opposite side of the house, I had planted an animal garden of squash, melons and okra. ) My garden had done fine without me. Happy Frog was obviously sharing its happiness because I've ended up with garden sprawl. I'm surprised my neighbors haven't taken to the yard with"Free the tomatoes" signs.

In the meantime, tending this tiny raised bed is teaching me about love, to give, engage and take time. I feel the joy of engaging as I talk with the plants, thanking them for their presence and encouraging them in their growth. (Hey! This isn't such a bad idea in relation to our congress persons. We could actually thank them for stepping into this healthcare challenge and encourage them to grow past the barriers of fear like the blueberries said to the peach salsa, "You can do it!")

I've witnessed the miracle of growing things (and since people including CEO's, lobbyists and right wing talk show hosts are growing things maybe there's a miracle awaiting there too.) I've seen heart shaped leaves birth green beans and star shaped blossoms grow squash. My tomatoes haven't protested close quarters. I've gotten dozens of cherry tomatoes from my vines and this doesn't count the every other one I've eaten while picking.

I experience the alchemy of seeing plants I've tended over time become nourishment for my body and the tomatoes from a local man nearby become the spaghetti sauce and salsa that we'll enjoy for some time. Every yellow squash, green bean and zuchinni, I've cooked has come from my personal grow-cery.

Farm-aceuticals are packed with nutrients. Pharmaceuticals are packed with chemicals. Farm-aceuticals alter the mood without addiction as a risk. (Okay I admit, I'm already buying seeds for next year and have a lettuce tent in which I hope to grow greens through early winter.) If for some reason you need to find new insurance, the only pre-existing condition related to Farma-ceuticals is a willingness to get dirty. Pre-existing conditions related to pharmaceuticals often results in higher premiums or no coverage.

I would be remiss to not mention side effects of Farm-aceuticals. (This is where you imagine me speaking in that hurried, low and serious tone heard at the conclusion of drug commercials.)
Side effects include most of the following. Time spent in front of the television and computer may decrease. One's home as well as friendships may be neglected. Food may taste different. This does not suggest taste bud disturbance. You are actually discovering how vegetables are suppose to taste. Farmaceuticals may result in random episodes of philosophical wonderings and creative surges. Farmaceuticals carry a risk of heart break due to the interaction of bugs and fungus on growing things. It is advised to engage and enjoy the process without attachment to outcome. If you experience any of the above, do not consult your doctor.

Last but not least you may experience sensations of extreme peace and wholeness especially when saving seed from this years fruit in hopes of giving it a do-over in the coming year.
As for do-overs, my salsa I discovered didn't quite work even the second time around. But that's fine, because it's not about getting it right. As growing Farm-aceuticals has taught me, it's about engaging in the process. So whether you feel more like you've lived life jammed, sauced or salsaed, a do-over is only each graced moment away. And I call that good news.
-Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse -08/14/09

(Speaking of grace...what if an adult son or daughter of of one of those healthcare CEO's evenutally becomes a politician who refuses to take money from pharmaceutical companies and brings about a major alchemical shift in our country where everyone can obtain affordable healthcare? That would be a saving seed, a redemptive seed. That could take some time, but we live in the Garden and growth takes time.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Rocking Chair, The Rabbit & The Stranger

Cliff Notes: Given this is a long one, I've summarized in a paragraph! the story that prefaces my recent hike into Havasu Canyon along with two forthcoming ones. Hopefully you’ll read the entire story and click on the links related to the people I magically encountered as well as passing these links along. (You can always print for bedtime reading.)

Here's the paragraph....

From my rocking chair in the airport, a rabbit sprinted across the tarmac before me. How could I ‘relax and stayed connected’ as the recorded male voice suggested, knowing this bunny was in the flight path of a nearby departing jet? Assuming I was marveling at the plane, a young man expressed amazement at the mechanics of planes. To his surprise, I shared I was blessing a rabbit outside. To my surprise, he shared my concern and a conversation about finding a better way to balance our human lives with nature. My airport acquaintance marveled at the mechanics of planes. I marveled at the mechanics of the unseen planes, the planes of reality holding the many threads of the web connecting us. From meeting a young woman reading “Spiritual Midwifery” whose author helped start The Farm in Summertown, TN the headquarters of Plenty which is connected to the Lakota’s Pine Ridge reservation (from where Karen my hiking partner had just participated in their Sun Dance), to encountering Supai Waters who's grandfather was the last Havsupai Shaman and unexpectedly attending the Hopi Festival where I met spiritual runner/Hopi resident Bucky Preston. Last but not least, thanks to Supai, I returned home to find author and peacemaker Robert Roskind and family, ambassadors of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ who have orchestrated over 80 musical events in Jamaica, the Hopi mesas and Supai, the village into which I had hiked and hold peacemaker gatherings in NY and NC. A personal version of string theory presented itself as the planes of reality revealed threads of the web connecting us.

Here's the story......
The Rocking Chair, The Rabbit and A Stranger

Recently in the San Antonio airport, I wandered about looking for a place to sit during a brief layover. I was meeting a friend in Las Vegas with whom the following morning I’d hike into Havasu Canyon in the Western portion of the Grand Canyon where the Havasupai have lived for over 800 years.

To my surprise, at one end of the small terminal I found rocking chairs from which I had a view of the horizon. I bought a gallon of water to continue hydrating, hike-speak for drinking lots of water since well meaning friends and family reminded me of the myriad of ways I might die from drowning in a flash flood or in my own bodily fluids due to low salt levels, to falling, snake bite, heart attack or heat stroke. It seemed Mother Nature had made it to the top of the terror chart.

My carry-on became my foot rest as I hydrated, read, wrote and enjoyed the sun and sky before me. I was contemplating the possibility of a national campaign mandating rocking chairs in all airports and public spaces when a recorded generic male voice excitedly announced: “We know how important it is to be productive. We’re providing free wi-fi so you can relax and stay connected.”

Momentarily forgetting that our present economy is based on productivity, I immediately wanted to find the man behind this man and ask, “What’s so important about productivity?” and “How on earth does getting connected via the internet where I’m exposed to the latest news promote relaxation?”

Instead I relished rocking non-productively and prepared to read, doze or whatever I felt like doing or not doing. As I settled in, my relaxation was cut short as I saw fifty yards out, a rabbit sprinting across the tarmac. It stopped at a directional sign, the kind meant to point pilots to a certain runway, then raced to another.

Being properly equipped for my upcoming hike, I pulled out my binoculars to ensure I wasn’t seeing things. Sure enough, sitting in the shade of the small runway sign was a rabbit. The longer I watched, the less relaxed I became. I attempted to send it blessings then had an imaginal conversation with a fellow flier in my mind who defensively said, “A rabbit doesn’t belong on a runway” to which I responded, “Maybe the runway doesn’t belong here. This land belonged to the animals long before it ‘belonged’ to us.”
The fact the rabbit had shade offered me little consolation.

My body rocked as my mind turned. I thought, ‘What are we doing? We’re the terrorists, especially to the animals in the world as our growth continues to encroach upon their habitat. Is anyone thinking?’ In the short run, it’s easier to not think which may be where productivity comes in. If I’m busy being productive, then maybe I don’t have to time to connect the dots. Thinking of course can lead to anxiety which leads to anti-anxiety meds and an array of anxiety binding behaviors. I obviously was doing way too much thinking so I rocked. I rocked myself into an even more distressed mood. My mind had no brakes as I wondered, ‘What in the *&$# are we doing?’

As the bunny sat in the shade more than likely unaware of my torment, I was being offered a gift thanks to this dear animal and situation. In the midst of feeling sad and hopeless, I realized I had my heart. From the rocker in the San Antonio airport, I sent love first to the rabbit before me then to the entire animal world upon which our ‘growth and development’ encroaches. I then sent love to all of nature and the earth including us, her two-legged inhabitants. My judgments ceased as I prayed that this animal as well as all animals would find shelter and sustenance in the world.

My blissing and blessing was abruptly stopped as the only plane at my end of the terminal crept from its parked position. A large cart of sorts towed the plane in such a way that the jets were pointed directly at the rabbit at take off.

Leaning forward on the edge of my rocker, I heard: “Isn’t it amazing how they pull planes?”

I looked up to see a young man to whom I bluntly replied: “Actually I’m blessing the bunny and praying for the animals.”

To my surprise, he did not think me off my rocker. He exclaimed: “What? Is there a rabbit out there?”

He saw it too and commented that it was just like a guy to be amazed at something mechanical. He said, “You’re just like my wife. You’re a friend to the animals. You have a soft heart.”

I shared that men had soft hearts too and that neither he nor I was right or wrong.

He shared my concern and inquired as to whether I knew of the New York decision to kill several thousand Canadian geese near the city because they were disturbing flight paths and at times were the cause of plane crashes.

We spoke of the need for balance and how so often growth doesn’t seem to really take into consideration the many facets of our impact on the web of life in the long run.

As this dear young soul walked away, I thought, ‘His wife and I may have soft hearts, but I think of us as having open hearts as well as open minds. Obviously he did too or he wouldn’t have conversed so thoughtfully with me.’

And although we never exchanged names, we parted no longer strangers for the rabbit on the tarmac had given us the unexpected gift of building a bridge by recognizing the heart in the other.

As for the generic man whose message I first debated, I departed San Antonio aware that someone’s productivity created the plane in which I sat while feeling ‘relaxed and connected’ thanks to the rocking chair, the rabbit and the young man with an open mind and heart who was amazed at the mechanics of planes.

As my journey continued, I became amazed at the mechanics of planes, the unseen planes of reality for the gifts of the rabbit and strangers had only just begun.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Blueberries Heroic Journey

In the beginning were the voids, twelve to be exact, little universes unto themselves, content yet alone. They sat atop the counter yearning for something more.

Nearby sat berries, a large tribe of blueberries successfully having made their heroic journey from seed to bush to bowl. Most of them, prepared to meet allies and adversaries on the Road of Trials and Adventures, excitedly anticipated the crossing of another threshold in the journey.
Thanks to the hand that stirs, one summer Saturday, the berries found allies in sugar and pectin. They formed a community. This holy trinity did not forget as on all heroic journeys there were trials to be faced. The first was the trial by fire. Many of the berries balked. They feared loosing their individuality. They recalled the courage and tenacity on which they relied to survive prior adversaries, the birds, bugs and rain that tested them in their earlier life.

In their blueberry souls, they knew to become something greater they had to yield to their circumstances, be changed by the fire. In this bubbling cauldron that was for now their life, they joined with one another as well as their two new allies. In sixty seconds, magic was made. On the firey altar in the kitchen, the berries gave themselves to the sweetness of the sugar while allowing the pectin to change their substance. From thin to thick, they were altered.
The heroic adventure continued as the hand that stirs all poured this newly married mixture into the void. Just as they relaxed thinking the journey was over, they found themselves immersed in an unexpected baptism of sorts. They found themselves in hot water. Some cried
it was unfair to go to a watery grave after such a short life. Little did they know this final hurdle would ensure their longeivity.

After fifteen mintues, that seemed like forever, the hand that stirs all gently lifted each jar from the fire. In gratitude, as the jars cooled each gave a grateful little pop, twelve tiny steel drum sounds signaled completion.

Twelve tribes, all the same, yet used in different ways over the coming months, some to be spread on breads, others to sweeeten meat and some to be given as gifts. Each berry, a boon from the soil, blessing the soul, a lone orb of sweetness, now part of the greater whole. Each jar an alchemical testament to the magic of yielding to the fire. Each void an opportunity to

begin again....- Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse,

(Thanks to Joseph Campbell who so beautifully outlined many years ago the heroic journey in story and myth also applicable to people, communities, the planet, and yes, blueberries.)