skirt of tears
My last writing was about a full moon ceremony the strongest piece being the letting go of my final bit of Bianca’s ashes. Over the last month Bianca has been showing up over and over again. My friend Jeff B said “She is telling you it was good to let go “
A week after my story my friend in the Netherlands who was like a father to Bianca, still had some of her ashes and decided it was a good time to let them go. He and his two sons took then to the river, broke the ice and said farewell with love.
The second day I was in Ashland I bought a sweater. When I looked at the label it said AquaBianca.
The third day in Ashland I went to a studio opening and saw some quirky skirt things. I was drawn to one with a lime green ruffle, one of Bianca’s favorite colors. When I looked closer I realized it was materials I had donated to a young women I did not personally know. In the center of the piece was a part of a scarf I have had since I was a teenager, Then Bianca owned it, then I gave it away. Only to now have it back with tears of joy.
When I was telling my mom about this she said, “Well she has showed up here also” Turns out my Moms partner has a new heart doc named Bianca. And the same day my Husband said since it is Bianca month I just found her ancestral chart in my things.
Yesterday I was sharing this story with my sister in law Sharon as we were creating a batch of body butter. As I poured in the last of my Young living oil essence called Peace and Calming, I mentioned that this was my main grief essence and how much it had helped me over the years. She smiled and said “well now you need no longer grieve.
I know it is not so simple, but the end of the world as we knew it has happened and now is as good a time as ever to change my perception.
I was called to do a grounding ceremony on the full moon at Cherry Creek Lake. This is the lake that welcomed me with amazing views when I first arrived in the Denver area. I found a place on the shore as far into the water as I could be, with a hoard of neighboring birds.
I lit a candle from Chartres and another from my altar. I forgot a writing implement so I used burnt matches to write on Jas paper, thoughts of releasing and intentions for shift and clarity. I dug a small hole in the wet sand and burned the papers. I added the last of Bianca’s ashes there.
I poured waters from Glastonbury to join the divine feminine here, as a way of grounding in this place at the foot of powerful mountains.
All the while I ate an apple.
The whole time I sat there, a solo Canadian goose was watching. Looking and getting closer and stopping and looking.
When I left this goose came and sniffed around my spot and ate the apple pieces I placed over the buried ashes thanking her for being my witness.
This year so far has been about downsizing.
First, even before I knew we would move I decided to shut down my art studio and devote my time to my music. I had a series of one on one art classes where 9 different people came into my studio at different times and used my stuff to make an assemblage. I found it fascinating to witness so many different processes and was honored to assist with the nuts and bolts of it. Afterwards I sold boxes and boxes of parts on donation to artists around town. It was fun to go to first Friday and see parts I had for years tucked into someone else’s creation.
Two months later when the moving to Denver conversation started I looked around our 2400 square feet home and started having sales. By the end of August half of what we had was now someplace else.
I arrived in Denver a month ago and have spent days and days wandering and driving the neighborhoods. This very large city is a huge change from our 20,000 peopled town of Ashland. There are many different neighborhoods here and a great public transportation system. There are 8 different arts districts, amazing museums and parks everywhere.
Denver is the West. The mountains are a force, standing sentinel along the horizon. I think majestic is the right term for them. And then there is the SUN. Denver is called the Mile High city. To me, sensitive from years in the Sonoran Desert, this sun feels so much closer and hotter and brighter. Sunglasses are a must.
Yesterday we decided on an apartment. We choose a 910 square foot with south facing balcony on the 7th and top floor of a co-op building in the Cheesman neighborhood just east of Capitol Hill. The Botanical garden is two blocks away and all of our daily needs are walking and bicycle distance away. The balcony runs the length of the space and has a view to ease our city shock.
I think there will be more stuff to give away as we move in.
David and I thought we would like to be in a walkable neighborhood, in an apartment with a view.
I was going to start a blog about learning Denver through the farmers markets. Well as it turns out all the markets are in the out laying areas of metro Denver and David and I are not interested in living so far away from the center. So here is a bit of our first excursion into the city itself.
David and I had a great day in the big city.
Ruled some areas out in terms of living and have more to wander.
We parked our car and road the tram from very close to where we are staying in Aurora and walked for hours. First stop we had lunch at a place…called Earls.
Fish tacos and a goat cheese arugula beet and pear salad. This was on the 16th street mall. Good food even though there were televisions everywhere and the cost of the food reflected the groovy ness of the place. Fun chandeliers and a big monkey which held the napkin rolled silverware.
We then walked and stopped to visit a Da Vinci exhibit of his machines. It is a traveling exhibit put together by a museum in Florence, Italy. Wow what an amazing man! I knew somewhat of his work and life but learned so much more. The museum had created models of many of his drawings.
Walked and walked and walked. We got to see a large group of beautiful gay men parading about, but no parade. Also the Denver beer fest was in its final day and we kept seeing people walking around wearing necklaces of pretzels.
Visited the very cool and complete book store The Tattered Cover. Two floors of all the books, and they have speakers and events every single evening. Will have to get in on that!
Finally we had dinner at The Capitol Grill, an Historic Denver restaurant. Had a great table to watch the Denver mover and shakers come and go. All the women done way way up! And when we walked out of the place the street was all lit up with twinki lights.
I have a practice I do when going on a journey. I start at the beginning and play it out start to finish. Smooth and effortless from plane to plane and here to there and back. This recent trip to Paris worked well. Up early enough for my ride to the Denver airport, short lines through security, even though they always look in my bag. The various musical devices cause them pause. I got some sleep on the long flight and even though there was a strike and the ground transportation was effected, I hooked up with a bunch of Parisians and grabbed a taxi into town.
When I got to my hotel at noon my room was ready, so instead of wandering around until 4pm to check in, I took a shower and slept for two hours before going out for my first cup of espresso. I sat outside in the beautiful autumn sunshine on St. Michel in front of the fountains at the start of the Luxembourg gardens and smiled in gratitude. The evening was a treat starting with a concert at Saint Chapelle listening to a group performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Three violins, a viola, cello and harpsichord had me crying with joy. My two newly met sisters and I then got again on the metro and headed to out dinner reservation at Le Souffle. Oh La La, I think this exclamation was made for a dinner like this. The night was finished with a brisk walk to the river to watch the Eiffel tower do its light display.
Sleep was quick and deep. Tuesday morning I got up and went looking for my friend Joetta. I hung around her hotel lobby across the street for a short while and there she was. SWEET! We went for our morning Espresso and then went in search of a farmers market for some breakfast. Found the most amazing figs I have ever seen. Got some goat cheese, avocados and of course a fresh baguette and wa la, a feast to get me on my way on the train to Chartres. We went back to my room, opened the doors to the small standing balconies and smiled again with gratitude.
I have always loved driving distances. When I was a kid my family would go on Sunday drives, explorations of small places down dirt roads or up winding roads into mountains.
On September 9th I said goodbye to our home of 7 years, every room and every plant in the garden. One of the rose bushes had a small bloom on it. It was the same rose which is in Paris France at the Louve. I took it with me smiling at the timing. One week later I would be in Paris.
My route took me through southern Oregon on highway 66 going east until I got to 140 south. This stretch of road could be called forsaken and I have heard stories from others not inclined to drive it again. I love it. The vistas are stark with horizons into forever. There used to be places with water, a stranded boat rests tilted in a dry cracked bed of silt. The drive takes me up and levels out and again up and again. History in layers of color only the high desert gives away. When I finally come into a city it is Winnemucca Nevada. There is Basque food here and I eat my fill.
The next day is the drive through the Great Salt Lake, through the city, up over a pass where autumn is getting fancy and into Wyoming. There is a smell about it, this long expanse of old lost ocean. Somehow a highway always just above miles of dark colored water edged with white and the reflection all around.
Driving through Wyoming I come over a rise early on a morning and there are giant windmills. There are miles and miles of sage getting ready for winter with herds of antelope doing the same. The mountains come at me slowly fading in and out, always just around the bend. Here the colors are rare soft muted and lovely.
Outside of Laramie, I choose to go a back road into Fort Collins. I have a reason for this, not only is it a wonderful drive through ranches and mountains but it is going to take me to a place where I visited just before deciding to move to Ashland Oregon. Shambala Mountain is the home of the largest Tibetan Stupa in the US. I sang there years ago with a group led by Silvia Nakach. It was a wonder. So, as a way to complete my Ashland Journey I visit and place the Paris rose in the altar for White Tara, the goddess of compassion who led me to Ashland.
My latest drive has taken me to my new home of Denver Colorado.
Ah where to start.
This year has been all about change. It started in January when I decided to close down my art studio and concentrate solely on my music. Soon after David was speaking of a new job and a move to Denver. After 7 years in Ashland, Oregon we were on the move. How light can we get? After 2 moving sales and countless journeys to donate along with an ongoing free pile in the front of the house both of us are feeling the weight of too much stuff. We are now in a temporary townhouse arrangement with a friend in Aurora, Colorado. Two storage lockers full, one in Ashland and one here. For those of you who know, one of my jobs this last 5 years in Ashland is doing estate sales and personal organizing. Well this was very personal. We are now actively searching out an apartment in downtown Denver. I have already started a donate box in the garage.
Yesterday Morning my sister-in Law called and said “I’ve had a vision of you. You are a giant woman with your feet planted in the ground and your arms in the sky and you are singing.
I went to my local Unity church afterwards and was honored to chant behind Gloria Rossi as she spoke in ancient Greek the Homeric poem of Demeter and Persephone.
Then it was off to My dear friends Fabulous home. Cathy DeForest and Leon Pile hosted myself and Jacquelene Ambrose in a Mothers day House concert. It was magic, and I am filled with love.
Thank you everyone who came to listen.
I am not unaware of the strife currently absconding with the hearts of humanity. Nor do I fail to see the fear of our elected bodies’ behaviors. You do not need to tell me of the people immersed in wars and falling victim to violence. I feel this in the very air buffeting my hair as I look across the valley. I know we all have stories traumatic and sad. Continue to attach to them at your own peril.
I choose to spend my precious time and energy stoking the fires of the imaginations of the willing. I choose to see all beings with love and compassion.
I worship the seed of greatness we all hide deep in our chest. I keep a feather always handy to tickle and tease this seed out into the light.
I am breathing in the expansive heart connections of all of my loved ones, all over the world.
With every moment, with every breath, love.
This trip was my 8th visit to the two small villages in the middle of the Nederland’s. I originally went to Marick and Eck en Wiel sixteen years ago with my friend Peter Wrona. We arrived by train and Pietre Stapel picked us up and took us to a party. He said you have arrived with your noses in the butter. My visits there have all been in the butter.
This visit was no exception.
My friend Philippe Pfeiffer and I spent every day playing music and sitting in the garden sharing our life and ideas. I spent 8 days learning one of his songs and then we recorded it in Dutch.
I spent an evening in the magical garden of Riesjart and Mariet Buss, with his giant wooden and metal sculptures all about and the chickens keeping things in order. Riesjart cooked and we drank his apple wine and spoke late into the evening.
I had an evening with The Stapel Panders at La Divina Commedia, an old church which has been renovated into a performance and pension that sleeps up to 26 guests. 15 years ago I went to sing with a group of international artists in a wild 2 week event that lasted 3 months. I stayed on afterwards and cooked with Hilda for the world travelers that came through the pension. Every afternoon we would ride the bikes to the market and return and feed anywhere from 6 to 30 guests.
The house I have stayed in the last 5 or 6 times I have been in the Netherlands is called Villa Zommerlust. My daughter Bianca lived there for a year and pealed wallpaper and then repainted the whole inside of the 1879 building. Selma Dijkland who treated her like a daughter is who I stay with. Selma and I had many adventures. She took me into Utrecht on the train on a hot day and we tracked down a new loop machine, thanks to some help from our friend Cable. Afterwards we drank beers in the square filled with students. We took bike rides all about the dykes and journeyed into towns for treasure hunting. We built a fence and put up an umbrella. Selma sat in the sun and I in the shade. We ate our meals in the garden and drank wine late into the dark. We had a road trip to Dortmund Germany so I could play a house concert; which is another story.
I got to visit my friend Johann Bakker’s concrete factory where Philippe works. Johann is the Opa, (Grandfather) in my song Amelie.
I spent a morning in the ART factory with Pier Stapel Pander. An elder home abandoned and re imagined into a pad for 4 young artists. What a kick!
And for all of these dear friends I sang the chants of Chartres with my new loop machine and every time there was big emotion.
My last evening I spent with Joeri Pfeiffer in Amsterdam. From his tenth floor apartment we looked out across the city and spoke of children and life. He drove me to the airport in the morning we drank coffee and I left for Italy.