down Under

 

We flew from Denver on a Thursday in the Spring and Arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on the following Saturday in the Fall. This is what happens when you go Down Under.  On the way home we left Sydney Australia at 6pm on Sunday and got into San Francisco at 4:30pm on the same day.

There was a lunar eclipse on the evening we flew out and a solar eclipse on the way back.

I had dreamed that I was upside down and could not stand up straight; this did not happen but it made me laugh to think of it.

We used www.airbnb.com  to rent apartments in Auckland and Sydney, they were well appointed as they say, and it provided us with great locations for exploring at a good price with friendly and helpful hosts.ImageImage

Auckland is a beautiful modern city, built on old volcanos, Steep hills, beautiful parks and an international population. We had an apartment across the street from the university and a few blocks from the central business district. The first couple of days we walked and bussed and saw the main city sights. Brothers Brewery was one stop a craft beer pub that also sold 250 beers from around the world including Rogue from Oregon. Did the Hop on Hop off Tour bus ride,  This was a great way to see a bunch of stuff without having to hoof all the hills. One stop was at the Auckland War Museum. We learned that all of the games and toys traditionally played with by Maori children were training for battle.

Third day we booked a tour of the west coast with Terry of Absolute Tours. He was a riot and since it was off season we were his only guests for the day. We explored the Waitakere ranges, hiked to a waterfall, hiked to the top and then down to the pristine black sand beach in Piha. My body loved the moisture and my heart sang with the trees. The Manuka tree or tea tree is the tree of the oil and the honey so popular for healing coming from down under. We ate a bunch, I also got some bee medicine when one of them stung me on the foot.ImageImageImage

New Zealand had its longest drought in 57 years up until 2 weeks before we arrived and everything was a color of green I have never seen before.

We did another solo tour with Terry to the east coast. We left early and drove through a fogged landscape of rolling hills, crowds of cows and scatterings of sheep. Our destination was Coromandel. We stopped for a scenic narrow gage train ride through a property owned by a man who is a potter and naturalist. He has spent the last 35 years building the tracks through his property while hosting a pottery studio and planting over 27,000 native trees. You can go there on retreat to work with clay from his hills. More here at www.drivingcreekrailway.co.nz

Another trek through the bush and we were at Cathedral rock and another amazing clear, clean beach, this one with white sand and towering cliffs and very few people. The New Zealanders call the natural landscape Bush and anything planted by man a forest. They have created a pine they grow for timber and there is logging and replanting of these forests.ImageImageImageImage

David’s conference started and the rain came. Up to this point we had such beautiful weather!

I wandered in and out of the downpours, taking care of our next leg of the journey and had a day tour of Whiheke. This was a wine and food tour although very little food was offered. A sweet day of three wineries and an Olive oil farm and processer. 70 percent of all of the wine and beer made on this Island gets consumed there. This island is a 50 minute ferry ride and I was one of 30 tour guests. A note; this trip is the first time I have ever gone on a tour, and I booked 3!Image

After David’s conference was over we took a 3 hour bus ride north to the Bay of Islands and took a ferry from Paihia to the island of Russell where we stayed in New Zealand’s oldest establishment The Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Quaint, quiet, good bed, good food. We continued our walking about from beach to beach, through bush, up hills, watching the people and birds, stacking stones and enjoying the beautiful water.ImageImage

Russell NZ (38)

Next stop Sydney Australia and Rain Rain Rain. Although it did rain a lot during our few days here we managed to be indoors during most of the deluge. We did our walk about, met up with our former roommate Jorge, and drank local beers. We took a tour of the Opera house, fascinating. We took the ferry to Manley beach and watched the surfers riding the surf in the rain. On the way back David and Jorge got soaked when a rogue wave came over the bow and covered them. David dried out while we explored the Sydney Modern Museum. Our last day there was all about the Botanical gardens and an evening catching beers and snacks while participating in VIVID. http://www.vividsydney.com

What we thought would be our last morning in Sydney , we found breakfast at a place close to our loft room called Kitchen by Mike. Beautiful food in a converted warehouse filled with alternative, reuse, recycled ideas on living and food. Great find. We took the train into downtown to see the inside of Saint Mary’s Cathedral where there is a black Madonna and child.ImageImageImageImage

Long wait, canceled flight, airport hotel, next day walkabout around area of airport, Magdalene chapel, three hour delay and finally on a plane which will hold 300 and there were about 90 of us. Room to lie about.

Home again and still getting our rhythms back.

Amazing time had by both

Big love

Cantrell

And look there’s more

skirt of tears

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.
With love
Cantrell

Grounding

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.

A Smaller Footprint

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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.

Denver, first walk about

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.
BIG CITY
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.

Paris

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.

on the road

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.

shift

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.

Mothers Day

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.

Cantrell

 

Certainly

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.

Cantrell