Heart Like a Wheel

leavesOne of Thirty

How many days into autumn are we? Seems I started seeing the leaves fall a while ago. Now it’s October. Back when I was falling in love it was before the spring, When the green was starting, but short of the official okay of a date. It wasn’t April 21st then, like it’s not September 21st now. It’s October. We’re past the heat. Then, we were before. Any day I expect to hear the sound of leaf blowers. I think I have a rake in the shop.
Never liked the sound of those blowers. Never liked the harshness of it. At least around my house, things should be done by hand. The leaves that had done their duty should be met with some kind of honor of exertion. Yes, and honestly, I like the feel of the ache in my shoulders as I wade into the effort. I like the feel of the handle in my hands.
These days there’s a good chunk of people who don’t believe in rakes, who don’t believe in love. They’ll point out how it never lasts, how you’re blinded to peoples faults, how childish it is to dream. They’ll say you shouldn’t rely, you shouldn’t give up, you shouldn’t … you shouldn’t. And when the summer comes, they’ll tell you you’re tricked.
Still, you suck up the sun, lay on the beach, open up your arms and let it take you all in. Regardless of what they say, you still do it. It’s because this stodgy goo that is our everyday perception wants to jump. It wants to move and dance and fly, to be away from this sameness, to hunger for the other -and feed.
They’ll say there’s more than one, that it isn’t just the heat of the sun, but the smell of the flowers -just like in the greenhouse – or not the warmth of the day -just like what you can get from the fireplace. They’ll say that to be balanced and healthy you have to enjoy everything.
But more than anything, they’ll say that, once again, you’re wrong. That to be normal and healthy, like everybody else, you have to do what they say. Don’t love.
But These leaves keep falling.
Wrong doesn’t matter. Wrong doesn’t care. Wrong is it’s own kind of glory, like those leaves. They did their duty, with no one telling them it wasn’t worth it. There’s cycles to this. Giving into what you want, letting go of all the should-of-beens, it’s kind of all the same thing. And with each pull of the rake the body remembers.
It’s like those nightmares. Have you ever had those nightmares where you’re falling and there’s nothing there to catch you? The kind where only dying is at the end. And if they last … yeah, I know, crazy. If the terror lasts, right? But if they last, if you let go of the fear and turn in your dreaming eye, … if you can do that, you’ll find
… you’re flying.
And the seasons turn and the wheel creaks. It’s the cycle, it’s the circle of things that we’re made for … not to measure up to someone else’s description of better or best. And the honor and attention that we give to these falling bits of ourselves, and the thrill of the wind tearing it all down in a sudden … all of that required a beginning.
“If you’re brave enough, often enough, you will fall.” – Brene Brown
And the leaves are everywhere.

The Weight of Time

Tolmie on the Salish
Tolmie on the Salish

I’ve been working an effort with a friend that has to do with ancestor healing. How do we heal the scars of the past that go back generations? How do we reach across time?

And I’ve been getting this sense from somewhere deeper down. It’s been coming through over and over “Your problem is with time.” I’ve been writing it just like that. I’ve been hearing it as from a spiritual messenger. And it’s come across as a riddle. I knew I wasn’t quite understanding it, until now.

I’d thought it was about aging. I thought it was about me realizing I didn’t have as much time, that the time in front of me was likely less than the time behind. This morning I realized how wrong I was, why the sense of me not getting it was prevalent.

It isn’t about time that I get.

It’s about the weight of time sitting on me, about me letting it sit on me. Getting older means acquiring wisdom; we all tell each other this. But what we call wisdom can be full of so many things that just aint so. And the weight of all that past knowledge wants to compete with what we’re living right now. Past knowledge wants to rule the roost of who we are now.  It’s time to let the “now” in.

Yesterday we went to Tolmie State Park. We’d started out looking for a beach, and I went quickly through the checklist in my mind before suggesting T – longer shoreline, not so rocky, beach close to drinking water and restrooms, she added. It was awesome, still don’t know why more people don’t go. Oh yeah, very limited parking.

But, I’ve been there so often in my life. Let’s see. First time there I was seventeen, thirty seven years ago. Since then, I’ve walked the loop countless times. Only swam once before yesterday.

These days, I’m enjoying the benefits of lost weight. One of them is looking better. And looking better in swim suit, without my shirt, in the sun. Yes, in the sun. Seems so odd for me, Northwest boy that I am jumping all over that. But I am. There I said it.

The tricky part is not to dwell on past darkness. Yes, I’m getting metaphysical here, slightly. No, it isn’t about depression, or the Seasonal something disorder I’ve heard attributed to us N’rwesters. Might be about Vitamin D. I don’t know. But first off, let’s get out there that much of life, and what goes on around being fully alive, I’m not going to know. I might “get it” briefly, struggle to remember it, but “know”? That takes some work, precisely what this is about.

Because, most (and I mean all) my life I’ve been overweight and hiding. Rarely going out. Then, if I did, I’d need copious amounts of alcohol to feel like I was blending with my counterparts, my herd. Don’t get me too wrong, here. As I aged, I gained enough confidence in myself to fit into my circles, to be happy. But just happy enough, like just healthy enough.

And if you’re just healthy enough, as you age, that will be taken away early. And if you’re just happy enough, well, that’s the malaise. Right?

Malaise; M-A-L-A-I-S-E: A condition of weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of a disease.  A vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.

It’s often used to describe a slump that other things go through as well, like a country, or a baseball team. So it is somewhat diagnostic, right? One Google link starts to talk about how when feeling this you should sit down on the couch. Yeah, there’s like a prescriptive side to it.

But now, wrap this around a life. Wrap this around your life. Then figure out the way out of that malaise. Seriously, figure, it’s doable. All around us are stories of people who improved their life, improved the lives of others around them too, of the tribe. And they did it in ways that just didn’t mean moving down the street and taking their bullshit into someone else’s space, trying to appropriate health and happiness. They don’t do it that way. I didn’t do it that way. Day by day, we don’t.

But looking back, when you realize, you’re happy, you’re healthy -maybe for the first time. When you look back, it’s too easy to let all of that -All the experience of unhappiness – overshadow.

That’s when I’m glad I’m a witch. That’s when I’m glad that my new love is too. So let’s unpack that a little. Let’s talk about witches enough to take the edge off for some folks.

What we claim, we modern witches (aside from working with unseen forces, which may fall under science as only a spectrum differential), is that we wholeheartedly claim the practical realm of worldly sensations and delights to help us define our spirituality, and we refuse the spiritual highways that are benignly handed down to us by our cast-in-place religious powers. We believe that our gods (or elements, or spirit guides) are with us in each moment. Everybody had this from birth. You get talked out of it. So claim your own spiritual authority, that’s all you need to call yourself a witch. You’ll be burned just for that.

Aside from all that, we work towards another thing: the ability to change our minds at will. When completely stressed and moving into some automatic “fight or flight” mode, when we know we are moving into those realms where we can act out the more destructive parts, we learn to shift. Put simply enough, to take a breath and relax, let our mind pull us away a bit, and relax, to choose happiness and fun. REFRAME. Yes, these are all cognitive habits. And many eastern, and mystical, practices share this with us, the witches.

But, there, ‘nuff said. So some can read on, because I’m glad my love is a witch, a holy woman (Wyna Wanka). That she matches me in this experience of

… having stepped out of the malaise.

Because, shadows can want to follow. Our minds, for years, build neurological pathways. We get used to thinking particular ways, to being a particular way – get this, to being a particular person. Yeah, you can call it personality. And part of personality is nature, as in inherited, or DNA. And part of it is nurture, as in created (and creating every second, like right FUCKING NOW), or RNA. Look it up, DNA, RNA. We’re writing the story of our RNA right now, every single cell of our body is handing on the story of us. To our next selves.

And we can influence that in huge ways. Try not to think of Trump when I say “HUGE ways”. See, I just fucked with your mind a little bit and influenced how you think of this. And we do that to ourselves ALL THE TIME. The cells of our body are taking part in this huge orchestra, that includes our thoughts.

So when I say I’m glad my lover is a witch, it’s because she sees me working with these shadow selves, these past selves to strip away the past old “nurtured” ways. She sees me doing that and joins in, with insight and love, to honor and help. When this is happening those old selves aren’t condemned, they’re set free. We work to give them expression to give them new nutrition (new information about what life can be) and rewire the RNA (let’s say “realized state”) back towards the raw potential of my DNA. Click, click, click. Hear that happening in your head right now? It’s possible.

And I look for ways to dance with hers too. That act gets me out of myself, away from the self consumption. It fires off the mirror nuerons (look it up). There’s this amazing energy loop of attention and healing going on. It’s not always comfortable, but it’s real.

And what’s left right now, as her and I talk, and spell, and sing to each other. What’s left is this shadow work- and the glory of the dance.

Yes, you can’t make the past go away. It has weight. You can’t pretend you’re someone else. I will always be scary in anger. I will always carry my metal plate in my ankle, separated shoulder, and scars of barb wire. But, having taken the steps to get healthy, to leave behind old habits (and in the process, an old body), you can still love and be who you’ve been. I can still be me, Lyle E, Ten Crows, just someone more purely myself.

Because that old way of being, like an old skin (I’m laughing because this is literal), just falls away. I preen, I compete, I look forward to stepping out now. I dance with my old self, honor these older parts of me, and deal with some of the fears, in order to know it’s all complete, a cycle. Call it growing up, call it karma, enlightenment, call it just wising up, there’s so many words for it. It never stops, like the cycle of breath, or the wheel of the seasons.

The storm is where we came from. And we’re not afraid. Darkness has a story too. It’s full of as much love and meaning as the light of day falling on us right now. Right now has a weight too. NO FEAR.



This could be longer. This could be a long time. I can see us for a long time. Longer.
The words flash by; they slide by. I feel the need to reach out, to touch her.

“Yes.” I know. I feel like I’m becoming visible. I’ve loved her for hundreds of years.

And my mind is catching on something. We’re caught in this ballet, in this sweet chaotic choreography of emotion, like birds in flight. And my mind, lost in the joy of movement, is having a hard time with time.

It’s always so.

I still play poker with guys I’ve known since I was seventeen.

Floyd, our family medicine man, told me last year “you’re the only one who still comes around.”

Time wants to have a battle with me in the badlands. I can feel it waiting in the ache of my bones, in the little heartache I feel when, far away, I wonder if she is okay. I sense it when my siblings, spread to the wind, are blinking on and off in my consciousness like Christmas lights.  Those are the hints on the horizon of that coming fight. Inktomi, the trickster, is there to witness. What time doesn’t know is that the trickster is on my side.

After my cousin’s open heart surgery, I kept flashing back to that time we walked down the street to go see a matinee in Greenwood, hand in hand. I was fourteen, he must’ve been 6 or 7. It was called The Sting.

Thinking of it makes me laugh.

I need to land for a bit, I know. She’s talking about day to day practicalities. She needs me to say something. I’m learning the ebb and flow of our dance.

“Wow”. Longer would be better. Time to heal would be better. No more battles, not for today -my love is here. Let’s make it a river. It’s so fucking me.

Then, I remember, I’m the one who mentioned time.

It’s why we have gods.

It’s a river, baby. “Looking like a big one,” he says with his gap toothed smile.

Darkness Darkness

The moon this morning was still full, the sky so clear, the world seemed cracked open under it’s soft yellow gaze. As I walked with Jake, I felt my body relaxing. This, in so many ways, is how I pray -body first.

Eventually I reached a point where I could stand and see the moon centered on my skyline, the trees opened up, and I stood up straight and reached out with my mind. I prayed some more. I felt the distance and the vastness, I felt that darkness on the far side, and longed for the flight around that far curving arc. That desire to know that space pulls at my heart. And so, feeling her power, I asked for a blessing on my new love.

“You have the legs for it,” I’d told her the other night, her arms wrapped around me in a dark corner of a local pub. She’d said “ I wish these were my legs,” as she aqueezed me. My mind was lost in the softness of that long sweep of her inner thigh.

Like that long line of sky traveling round to the dark side of the soft full moon on this morning. This is my track and my love, and so I pray for us now.

We’re building a web of dark energy to sustain our magic, bar to pub, plant to tree, and watery depths. I know it was fueled by our darkness, our efforts to work out issues so hard and deep these past years, this in such close proximity to each other that our hearts seemed to be breaking from the acceleration.

“Dark matter is the invisible ‘web’ that holds galaxies together; … the even more mysterious force that is pushing the cosmos apart.” – Dark Matter Unveils First Results


Old With Want

I’ve been seeing more of a friend. Not like I’d meant to, only like she stepped into my field of view and said “here I am,” while I was looking at big posters of her, and little remembrances of scary things that’d happened in the past, and weighing so heavily all the things that weren’t her. She stepped up, I asked, and she pulled me through with her lips.
Through to a clearer reality, where we see each other not for what we think, but for what we are shown, and for what we experience together.
She came into view not a whole person or a whole impression in an instance. I had stopped looking at her -I remember. She came in first as eyes, then as a collar bone. I notice this small thing, then that, like my eyes are shy. Then a belly, a soft belly that I love.
That’s how she came into view, and still I don’t know that I see everything. I’m trying to do it with my ears, trying to remember each word.
Her lips fire off old neural networks in microseconds, me awkward, remembering, wanting to shake off this old skin, see and hear and breathe. just breath again.
I try not to think about love, try not to let it break me. Yes, I can say it. I will, and I do. But it’s me that does that. And me, and I, can be a scared moodiness. No, I want to do it with my life. Not wrapped around anyone, no, but drawn out and easy, with plenty of room for attention, dreams and desire. I want to see everything, piece by piece, maybe a whole life someday, but for now the parts of her coming together are plucking at my heart strings slowly, the dust falling.

You would’ve laughed to see me rise up this morning.
The dust, old with want, falling from my eyes.