Our Gentleman Caller Gets a Name

Morning, noon and night our new gentleman caller visits our fruit trees. We hear the crunch of his feet as he passes right in front of the kitchen window on his way from one orchard to another. Our neighbors named him Maurice.

He truly is Maurice, the gangster of love. He has completely stolen our hearts!


And there he goes on his appointed rounds.

MayMay’s Lament

My people miss the obvious. Sometimes they miss eight hundred pounds of obvious.

Take for example a couple of mornings ago. I awoke at the crisp hour of four. I could smell trouble and got one of my people to get up from his warm bed and let me out. Something was afoot out there and its my job to defend the gardens.

After a quick patrol of the perimeter, and a full id of the interloper, I took up my spot in the middle of the main vegetable garden and began my warning howl. In a word, I told that big shaggy creature to BACK OFF.

I continued this for a couple of hours. My people did not appreciate what I was doing. Rousted from their beds before the usual times, they gave me frosty looks and called out to the gardens to me, requesting in no uncertain terms that I cease and desist in my efforts.

Can you imagine? It’s just so hard to be me. Sometimes they so don’t GET what I do.

Finally, four long hours into my defense of the property, one of them came out to see WHY I would not leave my post and spotted the very beast I had been protecting them from since before dawn.

A moose.

It really irked me that when they all ran out into the gardens to look at him, their ruckus got the moose to leave, whereas all my howling had only kept him slightly at bay.

Then they had the nerve to grouse that they hadn’t really gotten a good look. I had been alerting them for what felt like a small eternity that the big guy was stripping all the apple trees of buds. They had hours to get a good look, if only they had LISTENED to me.

Fast forward to the next morning. I smell moose again so I get up for my dawn patrol and set up my howl center in the Cherokee Trail of Tears Garden, as close to the big guy’s razor sharp hoofs as I feel comfortable. My people come out to take a look, but it’s a cursory, careless one. They don’t see the moose. He is the size of a small barn and they miss him. I keep barking until my two people that go to school every day come out to warm up their car.

FINALLY they notice the moose right in the apple trees next to the barn looking for any buds he missed the last few nights. Again, the whole crew comes out to watch him, congratulating themselves as if they have just discovered fire or the electric turbine engine.

What am I? Chopped Liver?

One of them takes a picture of the moose. Not one of them thinks that maybe they should take a picture of me too after my heroic defense of the place.

This morning I am on strike. The moose can eat whatever tree buds are alive out there and I am just going to stay on my couch and let him. How it irks me that my people seem more pleased to see me asleep on the couch this morning than out on duty.

It is no easy gig to be a dog.


A Time of Opportunity

We live in a time of great opportunity, a time in which each day we get to choose whether we are going to identity with our little self or our big self, a time in which we get to take our values and beliefs out for a serious spin, a time in which we can choose to be generous in the face of prevailing cultural pressures to do the opposite.

If life is a drama with the same outcome for all of us, one that ends six feet under, what a blessing to be given this time to be heroic, to be bigger than we imagined ourselves to be, to put our money where our mouths are.

I don’t think this is going to require big gestures so much as a careful choosing about all the little gestures of our every day lives. We need to let each of these small daily choices spring from the heart, not from the mind with its fear mongering and laundry list of worries.

This is going to require discipline about what we listen to, our hearts or the voices around us that want to whip us into a cocktail of frenzy and despair.

It is going to require us to slow down and clear our energy field of run away emotions, before we react in response to their murky demands.

It is going to mean wandering a bit in new territory as we learn a new way or go deeper into the voyage of selflessness that we have already embarked upon.

Now more than ever before in my lifetime, we get a tremendously meaningful opportunity to identify with our oneness not our illusions of separation.

Big tall ideas. Yeah. Yeah. I know, I am always full of them. But no matter how lofty it all sounds, the good news is that every day in our ordinary lives we will get opportunities to live out these ideals.

Recently, I watched a PBS series called Foyle’s War about a British police inspector during World War 2 who spends the war on the home front, dealing with the unethical behavior of his fellow citizens. In my usual somewhat naive way, I had always divided the battles of that war into two more black and white groups. Oddly enough, the show reveals how much more latitude there was for everyone to make small as well as big self choices in England as well as everywhere else. For most everyone, it was a big mess of opportunity going both ways, just like right now. The show gave me a renewed appreciation for the big self choices of the heroes of the war. And these heroes weren’t cut from a different clothe than the rest of us. They were ordinary people often making ordinary choices as well. They reminded me that we all have a hero within us.

Near the end of my years out on the road giving workshops, I was invited to spend time at a righteous community of ideological purists. Of course they did not bill themselves that way and it isn’t fair of me to describe them like that either. Let’s just say that my life had thrown me so much into the world of gray that I found it quite a shock to immerse myself in an isolated community maintaining all kinds of dietary, ideological, cultural, and moral extremes. I think I have mentioned this place before and how the high point of my time there was when I found one of my kid’s lollipops in my car and sulked in the back seat between my talks, enjoying its sweet and forbidden glory.

Anyways, one particular moment I recall from this time involved me getting into a raging argument with the founders of the community about the movie Shindler’s List. I argued that because Shindler began his hero’s journey from a place of moral grayness, it was possible for him to be a vehicle for much more goodness than if he had started from a place of less moral ambiguity. This outraged the leaders of the commune and there was a lot of screaming involved as they attacked my belief that his flaws were the very reason Shindler saved so many people. Well, they were having none of it and as I have mentioned before, I eventually beat a retreat from this community with a terrible cleanse headache that was only eased by a big mac and fries eaten on my way home.

So my point is?

We don’t have to count ourselves out if we don’t have the bucks of a Bill Gates, or we wanted to throw up when we looked at what happened to our retirement portfolio last year, or we have a fear reaction when we watch the news. Yeah we are all gray. But the great thing is, every day is going to give us the opportunity to make generous and heroic choices and begin again from a new place, no matter what we did or didn’t do the day before. That is one of things I like about dawn. It always marks a new beginning.

One of my challenges is going to be putting aside my own righteousness so I stop ranting about people whom I think make bad choices. That is little self behavior. I need to just get on with my own choices and let them learn what they need to learn their own way. But really…… 18 billion dollars in bonuses for Wall Street executives last year?

And another thing. A lot of people are going to tell you that you are crazy not to worry yourself sick and hold onto every last cent to keep for that rainy day. Thinking about this made me remember how many people told me how wrong I was to not reconcile with my father before he died.

As you may recall if you have been reading this blog for awhile, my father chose to endanger my life and the lives of my kids by aiding and abetting one of my siblings who wanted to kill us. When it was clear that my father was not going to switch gears and come to our aid, I cut my ties with him. It was safer for us, but I also felt that the logical consequence of his endangering us was that we would not want to be in a relationship with him. I felt it was better for his soul and mine for us to part.

I cannot tell you how many people thought I was wrong wrong wrong not to broker some deathbed scene. Phone calls, letters, people I hardly knew, people who knew the story, people who did not. Most everyone told me in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, and that was the gentle description. I had to spend a lot of time going to my heart for the strength to stay the course. It was particularly hard to hear from people who had lost a parent who told me that I would never be able to forgive myself for not reconciling before it was too late. My belief was it was never too late, that my relationship with my father would continue after his death and that it was in the best interest of both our souls for me to listen to my heart, not the voice of anyone’s personality. But this belief was untested and that sometimes left me uneasy.

When I heard he had died, I was weeding in the Rose garden. I have probably mention this before too, but it was a big moment for me because of how at peace I felt. I did not regret my decision and I knew all was well. I had my own goodbye ceremony and was graced with a visit from a white hawk. At the time, I was still so mad at my father that I would not accept this gift was from him, but now I can accept that. Our relationship has moved on.

So my point here is? I suspect these times are going to call for choices that cut across the cultural grain in big ways. And you have my support and my appreciation and my awe for every moment your heart calls you to a choice in opposition to the culture. Let her rip!

My New Best Friends


Yup, that would be the paintbrush and varnish.

Life always manages to throw some unexpected curve balls and the latest one around here is about our gorgeous new labels. Due to some crossed signals with the label company, they put more varnish than we wanted on the labels. What this means is that while the ink goes on the labels okay, it also can be rubbed off by a determined person or simply by traveling the high seas of the mail.

We discovered this after a week or so of sending a sprinkling of the new labels out into the world. In general, we are using the new labels as we run out of the old ones, but a distributor in Hong Kong asked to have her whole order in the new labels and we were so full of excitement about the labels that we proudly sent her order off with all new labels. Shortly thereafter we heard back from her that the writing on the labels had rubbed off onto the box lids in transit. This was exactly what we hoped was not going to happen.

After a lot of research, we settled on solving the problem by varnishing every label after Lynn or me or Polly our new label queen writes the label. Blessedly I like mindless jobs, because varnishing labels certainly qualifies. But my main emotion is relief that we figured out a solution. While a few labels have gone out into the world without this varnish, from here on out everything will be protected and you will be able to sky dive in the Grand Canyon with your Essences in your pocket and the label will look as fresh and legible as the day it was written on. And yahoo for that!

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!