1. When my elder son was a baby I moved to an intentional community where the main building was a geodesic dome. Houses did not have plumbing. We shared a showerhouse, flushing toilets, and everything else. We heated with wood and did not have air conditioning. I saw the night sky every single night during the years I lived there because you had to leave your home to pee or to make popcorn (with nutritional yeast and Spike) in the Dome kitchen. One night a mother snake crossed the foot of my bed, trailed by her children. I did not know snakes led each other around like ducklings. I learned a lot about the Earth, fast.
2. If you mention whales (or even whale parts like "baleen") around my children you might trigger traumatic memories of being trapped in epic sessions of the cooperative game Save the Whales. Not unlike its polar opposite Monopoly, this game never ends. You must work with each other to resolve the horrific crisis of whale population attacks, the onslaught of oil spills and other impossible-to-solve and child-unfriendly topics. Players will learn more than they wanted to know about whale reproduction as well as about their own personal competitive drive -- a drive so uncooperative that it longs to slaughter all of the whales everywhere right now if it means freedom from this impossible mission. Survivors of "Save the Whale" will in a few years read Ayn Rand and say "she has a few points."
3. Raising children before the Internet meant hours with the Mothering magazine classified section and the Hearthsong recylced newsprint catalog and on trips to the cozy children's nook at the feminist bookstore to find Earth-friendly, people-positive products. Which we could do because there were feminist bookstores before the Internet killed them as though the Internet is a whaling vessel and feminist bookstores were beautiful, free whales... STOP MAKING ME SAD EARTH DAY.
4. My own public elementary school was almost as cool as my children's independent private creative curriculum schools because almost all of our teachers were Vietnam draft-dodging hippies. Parachute game day was the very best gym day possible. (Second was the non-Earth Day approved bombardment game days. Always watch out for the sturdy girls.)
5. Second child: 10 pounds, 8 ounces, no meds. Stone cold bragging rights.
6. Lesbian community potlucks. We had options in hummus before hummus was cool.
7. I can call the directions at your Equinox celebration, should you need someone to do that for you.
8. Independent school camping trips. So when your kids attend schools where every day is Earth Day in philosophy and in the use of recycled products for everything from art supplies to furnishings, and then the entire school goes camping with parents who include every manor of outdoor sports enthusiast/whole food devotee/alt med practitioner possible, things get real. It's Earth Day to the Sagan degree. Don't pack the wrong sunscreen, for one thing, because that's a label-reading lecture I wouldn't wish on my worst frenemy. Who happened to be on that trip. Also, FYI, crystal deodorant isn't going to happen. Most people try it once and figure that out. But these parents aren't most people. Except for that, I adored those years and miss making school happen with them.
9. I lived through Hurricane Andrew in a Central Florida loblolly pine tree forest. The crack and thud of pine trees all around my relatively tiny cabin is the only Earth Day education I'll ever need.
10. I once was excused from Jury Duty because I had "Love Your Mother" and Grateful Dead bumperstickers. Earnestly applied. I believe the attorneys also asked us about magazine subscriptions, which at the time included Utne Reader. And that's what you call testing out of Earth Day for life.
I've been reading Tarot again. It's been a long time since I played with the cards, and it feels like I've reunited with an old friend.
I love shuffling them, cutting 3 piles, and then turning out a Celtic Cross. I don't read them with any occult aspirations, but to dive into a stream of symbols and inquiry. Less Cher's Dark Lady, more Forever Jung. As the symbols play in their positions and talk to each other across the formation, something knits together. It's meditation plus. It's a way in.
Plus, the cards are so pretty. High Priestess with pomegranates for days. The Moon with her Resting Bitch Face and lobster. The Fool with his impossible flower and his puppy and his red napsack. You don't have to wear a turban, pajamas are fine Tarot-pulling garb. Though there's nothing wrong with turbans, in concept, so if you need an excuse for working a turban into your look? Bam: Tarot. It's not a good look on me, but I bet you could totally rock it.
I silently say the name of the position as I deal and reveal the cards. I ask them questions, talk back to them, argue, welcome, tell them to BRING IT MUTHAFUCKAS.
Now / What Crosses Me /The Past / The Future / Above / Below / Advice / Influences / Hopes & Fears / Outcome
Oh, you again, Devil? What the hell?
(I would mention the Death card, but I figure "Devil" is bad enough. If I'm ever accused of murder, and investigators/Brian Williams comb my Tweets and blog posts, they will be showing this to the jury as evidence of my tendencies, and adding Tarot to the pile that is already mounting means I'll be doomed. It would be a lot to ask of a jury to consider the mythopoetics of supreme endings, right? Of the value of contemplating temptation and earthly distractions via devilish imagery -- and the lyrics to Dark Lady won't help me a bit. I'm doomed. Although, bright side, think of the web traffic I'll get when my Dateline episode comes out! But you can't see Google Analytics in prison, can you, so this is a if-a-tree-falls-n-the-forest-before-you-post-bail-situation for sure. I truly hope I get house arrest, if it comes down to that. When is it "too soon" to post a Kickstarter for one's hypothetical-at-this-point legal fund? Not that I'm premeditating ANYTHING. Hi, Judge Judy!)
And ... centered again. Card. Card. Card. Cups. Swords. Rods. See, I need this practice.
It's the Hopes & Fears spot, that Number 9 card, that is the juiciest, of course. It's hard to ask yourself "what am I really afraid of here?" and maybe even harder "what do I really, really hope for?" Letting passing thoughts sprout monstrous limbs and lungs and fangs in the dark shelter of shhhhhh is one of my specialties. I make crisp beds for things never said, install bunk bed unconscious in utero cots for those unacknowledged siblings of Hope & Fear, hoping the right twin vanishes but fully expecting Fear to win out. It's much better to ask and answer, to call and respond, to let them both have their say and then to let them float away.
If we're at a party or having coffee I might read your cards with you if you want. Bring a moleskine and a pen, and smuggle in a tiny bottle of Amaretto for The Hierophant. Wear four rings for the Queens. Look at them on your hands when you cut the deck into three piles, and then I'll take it from there.
For Throwback Thursday, a few photos from an early work showing I'm pretty much the same person I was decades ago.
EXHIBIT A: Grand goals, recognizing that making a point is more important than pesky facts, apparent disregard for proofreading? Check check check.
EXHIBIT B: Awkward when writing 3rd person bio notes. Still so very true.
EXHIBIT C: Early affinity for social justice topics and a desire to hone somewhat manipulative fundraising copywriting skills. I see.
EXHIBIT D: Concerns about too many teachers but not enough jobs = entrepreneurial leanings. It's all there.
EXHIBIT E: This love poem to Scarlett (I had just read Gone with the Wind) wherein I call her gay and lament the way she changed? Yeah.
Exhibit E, part 2: I tell her off, say "No wonder they all left you" then drop the mic. Ouch. I guess I saw Rhett as my proxy. Can't say I haven't deployed that formula a few times.
....hey, 1970s, get this girl a blog, but teach her how to use ellipses first....