Lost in a dream

Time passes slowly up here in the mountains
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains
Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream
Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream

I remember saying to someone a while back that I was considering getting tickets to a Bob Dylan concert and she commented, “Doesn’t that only encourage him to sing?” I woke up with this songworm today, for no apparent reason and considered pulling it out and putting it on the turntable.  But then, I think because of all the lovely condolences about McCloud left by friends on FB, I started mulling over how some of those friends go back such a long way  and we began here in the blogging neighborhood. Time for an update.

I remember when I published this photo of McCloud right after my mother died and it was in the context of his being such a comfort when I was grieving. Yesterday we said our goodbyes to McCloud, splendid cat that he was. He was Rich’s “big-boned” friend (not to be confused with obese, mind you) but in the past 18 months the big bones were becoming more and more apparent as he would ever more slowly lower himself down for a nap. Most recently, his life was one long nap under the deck punctuated with interludes of digestive distress and incontinence. His hearing and vision were seriously impaired. He had taken to coming up to us and tapping us on the leg and when we would look down and ask, “What do you want? You have food. Water. Pats. What? ” and he would give a silent meow. Even his voice had left him, all except the purr. We talked it over and felt that he was confused and uncomfortable enough that he wasn’t sure what he needed but he hoped we could help. In the end, after a feline lifetime of mutual love and affection, we’ve done the best that we could.

When I arrived here at my page after not even looking for a month I found this from Bonnie:

Humbly, Ms. Bennett, I must presently beseech thee:
Compose a new post before mold grows on my French brie.
For you to write something new, must I create a silly poem?
(You’ll drive me to drink wine by the jeraboam!)
Lastly, from me (I can be such a pistol):
For Heaven sakes, Vicki, update, Sistah!

How can I not post? Facebook is making bad bloggers out of a lot of us, as we take the cheap and easy way out with little snappy one liners, but I realized this week as I enjoyed following Mary getting her room together for her first graders that it’s really not fair to simply eavesdrop on your friendships. A big part of what I struggle with is taking the time to sit and communicate with people I can’t see and or hear as we share our stories, but it’s still true that in the debate over “real or virtual” friends, I have meaningful and strong friendships with people I can’t snuffle up live.

Ain’t no reason to go in a wagon to town
Ain’t no reason to go to the fair
Ain’t no reason to go up, ain’t no reason to go down
Ain’t no reason to go anywhere

Here on the mountain, we’ve made new good friends. A day doesn’t pass that we aren’t happily surprised all over again by the good news that we find ourselves in such a beautiful place among such a wonderful group of interesting people. It’s a true neighborhood here. Everyone knows and cares about everyone else but no one’s porch light is hindering your view. We have musicians and artists and woodworkers and authors in our small neighborhood. We have the best farmers in the world, educated and experienced and young and so full of hope they have many beautiful tow-headed babies and children. We have conservationists and environmentalists and educators. Most of all we have new and good friends. We really feel as though we’ve turned around and come down where we need to be.

One my friends, Sydney, works with Molly to raise and milk goats and then turn the milk into soap for Farmer Jane Soap. I work with them now, felting some of the soap for sale at two tailgate markets each week. (Felted soap is extra special, don’t you know, because it’s a loofah and soap all in one with no slime and no waste! When I felt bars of the “itch witch” goat’s milk soap with jewel weed extract it’s the perfect gardener’s soap, kind of like your own Felt Naptha. And so forth and so on, with you getting the idea that I am now thoroughly ensconced in the practical esthetics of life here on the mountain.) Sydney was recently linking to a short film about people choosing to become farmers here in Western North Carolina and she made a comment about why she chose to leave her previous lifestyle to come make goats milk soap. She wrote, “Over time the importance and the beauty of living close to the land and letting go of the things I could not change became my dream.” I can’t imagine a clearer or better articulated statement of how I had been feeling since ending my practice as a psychotherapist. During my professional life I worked with people to affect change but at some point the overwhelming parts of life that I can’t impact started to get to me in a serious way. Narrowing my focus has been a good change; now I’m happy just to be living locally, shrinking our footprints, enjoying the view, helping out in small ways where I can.

Here on the mountain in Sugar Hollow I stay inordinately busy. I grow a large garden. I teach felting. I work at my own feltmaking. I observe the snakes and bears and birds and coyote and insects. Last week I was flipping the lid on the grill and felt something under my finger that I knew in my heart I did not want to be touching. Even before I saw it, I shrieked and jumped back and then, there she was: a wolf spider with her entire brood on her back. To the degree I was working on my arachnophobia, this was a major setback.

We’ve had lots of our not-so-new good friends come to visit and we enjoy showing them around. This summer, in the course of exploring our area, we’ve discovered some great waterfalls and one of them has a jump off into an ice cold mountain stream. It’s pretty scary, to stand on top of that high shelf contemplating a leap- first and foremost the leap of faith that you won’t end up in a vegetative state by crashing onto the rocks below. I did it, finally, and since then have taken pleasure in goading others. Actually, it felt like quite an achievement; I try not to compare it to the times I kayaked the Inside Passage or scaled the Tetons or hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. Things change.

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight
We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right
Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day
Time passes slowly and fades away

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21 responses to “Lost in a dream

  1. Your well chosen words have brought calm to a hectic and busy week, thanks.

  2. I am so sorry about McCloud. I will give you a hug in person two weeks from tomorrow! You have a beautiful life there on Sugar Hollow. I am blessed to experience it even just on occasion. Love, Cathy

    PS The leap off that waterfall is equivelent to kayaking the Inland Passage. I am sure of it.

  3. How nice to see you hear once again and to read of your new life in the mountains. I know it will be hard to come down.

    Once again, thinking of you during this time.

  4. We are walking mountain trails on different sides of the country. But I sense always that we are walking the same trails. You have snakes bears birds and coyotes. We have lizards butterflies coyotes and fox. The gardens, the watercourse ways, the spiders teaching us something new everyday.

    We teach each other how to say good bye to our furry loved ones. I have never been more enlightened or enriched in my life.

    • Robin, I think of the parallels in our lives frequently as I follow your posts and photos. It’s this sort of kindred spirit thing that convinces me that these virtual friendships are so very real.

  5. All I can say is that this post kicks ass.

    (You know what this means, coming from me.)

  6. So lucky to have stayed with you and Cloudy in your Florida peace nest in 2009. You are all lucky to have had each other. What a blessing our furry friends are to our lives and we to them.

    • It’s nice to be reminded of all the people who had the great good fortune to meet McCloud. That makes me smile. You always make me smile and so do your squares. Think yarn bombing!

  7. Pingback: McCloud | Yarn Dharma – Crochet is my Sanity

  8. Lovely post, Vicki. I applaud you for jumping into the cold water – I could never do it. I’d jump into a hot tub anytime, though. It pleases me to know that you have settled into your new home with such fondness for the area and its people. That means a lot at any age, but it is especially nice as you are growing older.

    • You would, Judy. I’d egg you on mercilessly. I thought of you as I wrote about Cloudy, because I know you lost yours so recently. It is really really hard. I keep thinking I see him out of the corner of my eye and then it’s just a towel or something on the floor. Sophie has started searching for him and yowling. Arghhh.

  9. There is a wonderful sense of peace in your words about where you are in your life now. <3

    • Thanks, Linda. We are glad to be settling in here in what feels like the most permanent way- although we still think about bringing the 35 ft gas guzzling beast down from it’s parking spot in Ann Arbor and doing a little spin around the country. Ha! I get vicarious pleasure out of your travels…

  10. I intended to write a poem for you, but Bonnie is so classy, there’s no way I could compete.

    But I’ve missed you tons, and I’ll love you forever.

    Also, your pictures of the swimming hole make me so envious and look like so much fun, I could jump right into the screen.

  11. Oh, Lady of Cythera, our Aphrodite:
    Your appetite for life, with age, grows more mighty.

    Of trepidation, you know not;
    You embody grace and you’re hot, hot, hot!

    Of love and beauty, you’re the queen;
    And your face, après jumping, is most serene!

    P.S. Jane Goodwin’s in the house, calling me classy?
    She’s a college professor, both brilliant and sassy!

    P.P.S. Jane and Vicki are two of my faves;
    I’m addicted to their pennings which daily I craves.

    P.P.P.S. Penetrating question, for Vicki, with the body of Venus:
    Never mind, I cannot think of a rhyming word to finish my poem.

  12. Oh Vicki, I was so glad to see your post. I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved McCloud. Take care in your beautiful new home in the mountains. Whenever I look at yarn and think of learning to crochet I think of you. A stranger in Michaels thinking of your beautiful yarn on the other side of the country.

  13. “I remember saying to someone a while back that I was considering getting tickets to a Bob Dylan concert and she commented, “Doesn’t that only encourage him to sing?”’

    I like it. My wife and I just got back from a two-week sojourn out west where I vastly underestimated the amount of time we would spend driving (I still don’t fly). We passed the inordinate amount of time in the car listening to the “bridge” channel on Sirius. I tolerated this until they played either two Cat Stevens songs or one Bob Dylan tune.

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