Rest well, dear friend and mentor, N. Eugene Tester. It’s immeasurable how much better I am for having known you. I fear anything else I could or should convey now will only feel trite and thin, but I feel a need to try…
There is much to say about his work as an educator, as well as his positive impact on me, my life, and helping me to honor, sharpen, and utilize my inherent gifts and abilities. He taught me to dismantle the destructive behavior of anyone who tried to minimize or harm me or a community, via informed intelligence and truth. Rest well, good man. Thank you for reinforcing in me to always keep seeking knowledge and to never cease learning. Thank you for seeing everything everyone was trying to crush out of me and frame as wrong, for the intrinsic gifts they were. I wouldn’t be half the truth teller and perpetual student I am had I not met, been respected by, and learned from you.
(I tried to make an image only post, but this wordpress theme won’t post my image alone so here’s some text…)
It is 1:48 and I’m already back in bed, working from here. (I consider this a huge success.) When I was a child, I wished for bed cars… slow mph beds that you could just steer around so that you didn’t have to leave bed. And when Google and Tesla develop that in a few years, just remember whose mind was cutting that edge way back when.
Today I enthused all over the lady sampling and selling mushroom tinctures at the grocery store until she gave me Paul Stamets’ book of scientific mushroom studies for free (presumably) so that I would go away. Me: “Paul Stamets?! I LOVE HIS WORK. MUSHROOMS ARE GOING TO SAVE US.” Her: “…yes… here take this with you…” (It didn’t really go like that, but I did note that my enthusiasm for getting to talk about mushroom research, mid-day at a grocery store on a run of the mill Tuesday, was pretty vibrant.)
The thing about having this many points and planets in Sagittarius is that when there is no upheaval you are living through, you have all of this available, genuine enthusiasm just effusing all over the place. I feel sorry for people on the street with dogs… I’m going to stop and tell all of you how great they are. ALL OF YOU.
I love when the symbols change, the signals of next and new. Before now, the last few years were thick with birds around me, and constantly finding feathers on the ground, in my bag, on my clothes. Before that, it was years of garter snakes and bees.
Aside from a few found feathers here at this house in late summer, nothing presented itself. Those feathers were almost like a handoff or assurance, a sort of: this is where we leave you.
No birds visit my feeders here. There was the strange fly infestation, constant scout ants, then the two bee stings. Those all seemed to signal a finality, like a firmly placed bookend. Then, there was the eclipse, like the end of a reel of film finishing as a new one rolls out empty length, before the short countdown. In August, one obvious, wonderful moth on my door for several days, but that was all.
Now, here, it’s all spiders, ladybugs, and slugs. I’m so curious about this. A ladybug slowly crawling across my keyboard, another on my doorframe, another on my shirt. They were active and vibrant and just greeting, but due to the season, also sort of urgent.
With the spiders, it feels like the whole house is fully encased outside in cobwebs. It feels protective — many, many webs in every direction. Precise sentries sitting at the center of the crafted traps, waiting. And two nights ago, the one across my jeans, gentle and calm, just sauntering a hello.
And today I got in my car and where a passenger should be, was just an extremely fine and delicate web, from passenger visor to headrest, and the little spring greenish web spinner was hanging from the rearview mirror, like: see? It was gorgeous and she had built it in a little over 14 hours.
Slugs have specific significance for me, and it’s interesting to see them now (if sometimes in the house). Their presence communicates a lot to me, very clearly. Less of a bookend and more of a several page visual break between dense stories in a collection.
I’m curious to see if these will remain turning up. And, if they will perpetuate their significance and messages. While I’m grateful for these (the sudden flies and ants were alarming), I have to say, I miss the birds a bunch. Not having a transparent window over the sink has been a little loss, but gaining immense north facing windows has balanced that out.
Reviewing everything I wrote this summer, it was pretty much just chaining fears about global warming, nuclear war, putting my child through change, and extreme weather. Here’s one in not its worst state.
I’m so grateful for the grey, cool, desperately needed rain. I’m already full-on with making squash and mushroom stews, thick soups, and warm breads. Give me wool, coffee, herbal tea, and excuses to hang out and read, and I’m good for half a year.
And in the past couple months, 3 people have asked me to give them tarot readings. 😍 I haven’t been brave enough to do it yet, but I’m gonna. Because everyone deserves a little extra guidance from the ether now and then.
Earlier this year, for a number of months, I felt like I had chrysanthemums in my hands. It was an odd, sudden sensation one day, both palms full, each with the soft weight of a chrysanthemum in the middle.
I hadn’t ever seen a nice chrysanthemum, just obligatory ones in grocery stores every autumn growing up, with brash harvest colors and struggling, spidery blooms. But the chrysanthemums in my palms were full, generous, neatly feathered. Some days they felt white, and some days they felt light yellow.
Sometimes I loved that they were energetically there, and some days I felt frustrated because I couldn’t understand what they were supposed to mean. Sometimes I would try to shake the sensation from my hands, but they just remained. They felt like being around people who know a lovely surprise that’s coming to you, but it hasn’t arrived yet.
I drafted notes for a poem about it, looked up chrysanthemum meanings, researched what it could possibly mean to energetically feel like you have chrysanthemums unfolding from your palms, and then then slowly, the sensation dissipated.
But today, in a florist shop there they were, my chrysanthemums. Or ones that looked like them. I chanced upon them on a day of my son asking if it was snowing, and having to say no, it’s ashes. He asked, from what. I said, Well, …everything. And then explained that sometimes things have to burn entirely to be renewed.
I can’t take pictures of each one in each of my palms, because I can’t hold the camera and the flowers at the same time.
A bad thing: A strange, extreme outbreak of house flies?! Eclipse energy? Last gasp of a very old, detrimental belief, symbolized? Who knows! But I killed between 70 and 100 in 3 days. I love having superior reflexes; If I were rolled on a stat sheet, I’d have a 19 dexterity (there is that one time on the shuffleboard court…), but only probably like a 7 physical strength so good thing they weren’t flying bears (leave me alone… I’ve been listening to a lot of Critical Role podcast). The pest man could find no reason for them at all. He just foam-sprayed some cracks around the foundation and said good luck. Of course, they seem gone now, after basically a horror film for 3 days.
A good thing: When I sent out a rash of 10 manuscripts earlier in the year, I did so with the hope that at least 2 would come back with a non-form rejection of: “We passed on this, but all really liked it and it went far. Please try us again.” And they did! And even getting that far is really hard! Imagine what would happen if I could really spend time writing and reading! How exciting.
The wildfires grow so that by the end of the day, breathing is difficult. I bolster my lungs. All light is rubbed-raw pink, or beige tinged, like the walls of a smoker’s home. Just ashes falling now.
Dreams and sleep and information have all been wild around this last eclipse. A few nights ago I had an epiphany while watching The West Wing (leave me alone, I’ve never seen it and it was Adam Arkin episode). It was a tremendous shift, posing as a smooth one, like simply rounding a corner in a familiar neighborhood or like stumbling upon an overgrown formal garden and its right amount of concept, and juxtaposed feral growth.
Before sleep I tug at my red grounding to the earth, making sure, clear blocks that look like burnt bricks, comb my green of white threads, frown at my weak yellow; not canary or goldenrod, more a thinned butter. But marvel at the saturated prussian blue, the plum-black purple.
A few weeks ago, in a not-yet-sleep-but-not-still-awake was shown: my own hand pulling a heavy brass knob closed behind me; a thick door closing off the before. My baby on my hip, my dogs at my feet in a new, lit, white and pink, all warm, calm, and possible. A relief and a *finally,* and the space expanding for us to walk in and be now… just this gratefulness, and relief. And promise.
Yesterday, a passing, but somehow it feels like a gift. This is just something else he crafted to share. If I think of Ashbery, all I think of is: permission. His work grants permission. Or at least, it has always granted me permission where I have otherwise not been able to find it. All personal space, and all clouding out, and filling in.