Major Accomplishment

Morning after bonfire.
(photo R Thompson)

I would like to have us all pat ourselves on the back for getting through the first debate last night. Wow, that’s a major accomplishment! What have we got two to go, yea but who’s counting.

Me, I couldn’t sit down and watch it, haven’t the stomach for it. I crafted a couple of meatloaves and got dinner together in the next room but within hearing range. So, is it meatloaves or meatloafs? Someone help us out here. Somehow in my half baked brain I see a problem there.

I am not trying to down play the importance of this election but somehow it is not the end all be all of life. We have so much work to do outside of this realm. I say we pay it it’s due and move on. Things won’t change til people’s hearts change. Did Pope Francis say that?

Well in the meantime as we have been “watching” the debate the wildfire smoke has been creeping toward us here in Seattle. I think that this is some long plume that went westward over the Pacific and decided to turn back and bother us. Fortunately it is supposed to stay high altitude due to some physics of weather, which we are happy with.

Maybe I’ll wrap it up for now, have an early dump run to do before things start for the day. The truck is running for me so now I have to use it. OK, see you in a day’s time.

high altitude loves, Felipé.

Truck Wrestling

The time of year!
(photo P Volker)

Last night just before dark I got done with the work I was doing on my truck. Three days worth of screwing around and that wore me out. Will be off to Jim and Jen’s to start their job shortly this morning. It’s. Tuesday in late September.

I have been wanting to tell you about a blog that comes out monthly by a friend. Debra who is a minister, chaplain, Caminohead and now blogger. Her blogposts are in the Comma at the website for the University Congregational United Church of Christ. Here is a link:

Heart making link

There is even a new word for us, “heartmaking”, cool! So check that out and maybe leave a comment and say Felipé sent you. She needs some more readership, don’t we all.

Well what’s next Felipé? Oh, tonight is the big Presidential Debate! I suppose I should watch it. Well, I will try it for a while and see how it goes. What kind of tapas do you serve for the watch party? Oh, that’s right we have isolation. I will be so glad to have this election over with. They always seems to take up more space than it deserves.

So, walk this afternoon at 4 at Phil’s Camino. It should be beautiful and no smoke. What more do you need?

what more do you need loves, Felipé.

Slow Start

A Petrichor beer can, only in the Northwest!
(photo P Volker)

Some mornings I just have to stare at the screen for five minutes before I can start. What to blog about? Well, for one one My Rebecca and I had a bang up few days with our anniversary and her birthday. That was sweet! And yesterday Catherine and Dana showed up to walk and have tapas just like old times! I had made hot spicy chicken wings for that because the big Seahawks Football game was happening too. (we won!)

Now it is a quiet and sunny Monday morning. The air is clear and the weather is looking favorable for the week to come. We are blessed. Lots of stuff happening around the ranch as we transition from summer mode to winter mode. So that is happening. Also I am starting a job this week for Jim and Jen working on their house and grounds. They have an outbuilding that they are going to turn into an art studio for Jen. That will be a fun project!

Rebecca is working relentlessly on getting her second novel to the publisher. She is close. It is somewhat of a chore since she really wants to be writing and researching for novel three about the 1918 flu epidemic. This is all fun for me to watch since I don’t really have to do much but occasionally make wisecracks.

Walking momentarily in the wet grass of morning. The tractor is out by the trail pointed toward the corn. I have the mower hooked up so the 2020 crop can be mowed down and put out of it’s misery. Then to till it under in prep for the clover cover crop for the winter and things next year.

And it is time to harvest a few deer. Last year we only got one between the three of us so maybe we can do a little better than that. I think we have five tags so five is possible.

That is a lot of what Fall looks like around here. The seasons march on before us. We do what we can to keep up with it all.

We saw a hot new documentary film entitled something like Octopus My Teacher a film out of South Africa. Here is a hot new word too: petrichor – (n) The pleasant, earthy scent after a heavy rainfall. That may be a word only for the Northwest since Autocorrect is not buying it, anyway…

anyway loves, Felipé.

The Neighborhood Encourager

Spilling the Light.
(photo N Pendergast)

Yesterday I skipped my early morning Bible Guys to catch Annie O’Neil and Terry Hershey for the Pilgrimage in Place Zoom. It was a great meeting and I hope everyone else got as much out of it as I did. It had Camino Dust all over it.

To the best of my knowledge Terry has never walked the Camino but he is a prime candidate for some future adventure in Spain. He lives a few miles from us here on Vashon Island. We’ve been to his place a few times for dinner but have never gotten a tour of his property. One of the things he is known for is his garden which he calls his sanctuary.

But what I wanted to get to was… Sorry, I need to digress a moment. I remember from somewhere in my early learning at Buffalo Public School 24 that we writers should never start a sentence with “But”. But I am so glad that I am over that and have now progressed to starting paragraphs with it. I am taking momentary joy in this, thanks. So, what I wanted to get to was that Terry is such an encourager for me and undoubtedly for others. He always says when we part, “Keep spilling the light!”

Keep spilling the light to you too! Right? What a great thing to say and then think about. It sort of implies that you have such an abundance of the darn stuff that people around you can’t help but get some on them. Like Camino Dust it just happens when you are around. “We can’t help ourselves”, as Annie says.

Which gets us back to one of the major lessons of the Camino, that we are here to buoy each other up. That maybe we even exist to buoy each other up. We are not hermits. Although there seems to be a time and place for that too. So, our neighborhood will be kinder and stronger if we can keep this light moving. What was that old Sunday School song about not hiding it under a bushel (a basket).

no bushels loves, Felipé.


Annie and Felipé at the 2019 Veranda.
(photo W Hayes)
Terry Hershey and Felipé, September 2020.
(photo N Pendergast)

Just got off a Zoom with Annie O’Neil and Terry Hershey and that’s all I can think about. What a great hour! This is Annie’s show with the FaceBook group Pilgrimage in Place. You can join that group and get with this weekly interviews with Camino people, authors and other personalities.

I feel so indebted to the Camino and the Camino Spirit. I can’t help myself as Annie says or we can’t help ourselves is more to the point. This is such a powerful commodity that is here for the taking. On the Zoom today there was talk of gardening and the Camino as parallels or as places this spirit can be found. These things are hard to talk about for words only seem to go so far.

Terry has remarkable story and insights. Maybe tune in later at 3:00 Pacific time to catch the second installment of the Annie and Terry show. You may have to join the Pilgrim in Place FaceBook Group to get started.

Ah, so may thoughts streaming through my head after that hour. I can’t seem to settle on one to write about. Over stimulated I think is the term.

I think that I will go for now.

marvelous loves, Felipé.

Very Autumnal Here Today

My paperback copy held together by exactly the right rubber band.
(photo P Volker)

Rain in buckets large and small coming at us as we peer out from under whatever shelter is handy. There will be some nice days yet this Fall but today is not one of them. But it is My Rebecca’s birthday so that puts a good and different spin on it. I am sure Wiley and Henna will be over later for a piece of birthday pie.

Oh, I am off to town to give Jessika a ride. Will be back to finish this exciting episode. Let’s see where did I put my water wings?

OK, back again. Soggy out there. I am supposed to have an archery lesson today but that might be postponed. This is the nature of life in these up, dogging in and out of the weather.

We have a new reader here at Caminoheads who lives in England and comments often. His comments are very deep, far ranging and entertaining. You can find them in our Comments section under Kevan. I don’t think any of us consider these messages private and you can read other people’s mail there. By the way if you do want to communicate something privately to me put it is an email. Anyway, I discovered that he had read an obscure book that I also had read. It is not a favorite book for me but a very memorable one. It was one of the hardest books that I have ever read. It was about a very grueling pilgrimage.

I may have written about this before and if so it was years ago so I will continue. The Long Walk is by and about Slavonic Rawicz. And according to Kevan he resided in Cornwall, England later in life and has now passed away. The story goes that Rawicz was a Polish Officer that was captured by the Russians during World War Two and sentenced to a gulag in Siberia. At some point in his captivity he and several others escaped by walking all the way to India. They started out in winter by the way with nothing just the rags on their backs. They lived off the land and were befriended by backwoods folks along the way, the providence of God.

But the one story of the many in the book that has always stuck in my head was this one. And it is important because we now live with such abundance of physical commodities. We have to continually jettison stuff to survive. These guys and the folks along the way literally had nothing. But the story goes: one day as they were traveling they found a roll of wire that had dropped off a wagon maybe from the army or a survey crew perhaps. Anyway they decide to carry it as trading stock. One of Rawicz’s fellow travelers wore it around his neck. So one day somewhere they were taken in by a man who lived in a cave. The man owned one thing, a cast iron pot which he cooked in. I picture him being a hunter/gatherer who foraged all day to stuff something in the pot to cook each evening. He takes the walkers in, he who has “nothing” also. But he does have that one thing, the pot. And the pot has a place for a handle but never he had never had one. So Rawicz and his buddies fashioned one from the wire that they carried and it was one of the best things that ever happened to this guy!

Something so simple was something so important! I think about this often actually. Sometimes something so simple can make a huge difference. So, I will put my copy of the Long Walk back on the shelf held together by exactly the right rubber band, nothing to tight that would harm the fragile pages.

some important loves, Felipé.

Starting It With Banana Bread

Homemade banana bread for Felipé.
(photo P Volker)

I am getting my day going with two slices of banana bread baked up by our daughter-in-law Henna. She and Wiley rolled through last evening bearing gifts for us. We got them trained. They also brought three wooden bowls perfect for tapas so you will see those at some point. I trust that there will be tapas on a grand scale in our future!

It has been raining off and on which serves to lessen the fire danger that we were exposed to recently. I don’t know how far south that goes but it is here for us in the Seattle area anyway. One less thing to worry about these days.

Rebecca and I went into Vashon town last evening to treat ourselves to a sit down meal. Boy, town was really dead and there were only two places that offered indoor dining. We chose the Hardware Store Restaurant. And there was one other couple in there to start and then they left and we were the only ones in the whole place. Pretty grim I’d say.

We came home and watched the adventures of Gil Pender in Midnight in Paris. One of my all time favorite movies. I skip the first third with all the introduction to the future in-laws and get to the good part when the bells toll.

Have a walk in a few minutes. Will have to find my rainy day boots which have been put away. It is time to go and buy some sunflower seed for our feathered friends next time I am in town. The seasons are changing. Not too far away we will be walking the afternoon walk half hour earlier when the time changes.

We put up our old hummingbird feeder outside the kitchen table. We haven‘t had it up in two years and it is such a joy. My Rebecca and I bet on how long it would take for them to find it. I said two days and she said one and it was one. They are so quick! Anyway, it is my personal belief that every new cancer patient should receive one of these so it can be set up and enjoyed. It is such cheap entertainment and absolutely no batteries needed.

OK, time to go gear up. I think Jen and Jim will be here for the walk. Not many folks are coming these days and it is like the near empty restaurant in town.

no batteries loves, Felipé.

A Bloggy Morning

Ryck’s bonfire is comforting.
(photo R Thompson)

Oh, the rains have hit the area. It is pitter pattering on the sky lights overhead. The return of good blogging weather! Less distractions in the smaller more compact world of falling water.

Here on the blog we had that special message for us yesterday from Richard Rohr. That was a life preserver thrown to us that are floundering in these stressful times. We love you Richard, thank you!

It is our Wedding Anniversary today! Yea, forty three years ago we had an outdoor wedding in the rain. What else? Oh, forty two years as I double check. My Rebecca is right on top of the math. We are going out to dinner this evening if we can find anything open with indoor dining. And we will have cards for each other and maybe some little gifts. No shiny BMW’s with big bows on their roofs (rooves?) this year.

Well, I have serious homework to do today. A rainy day is a good day for it. Catalina has we reading all the way through the manuscript for the blog book. All the years I am crossing. Starting with 2014 and then 15, 16 and 17. I am in September 2018 at the moment. A year to go as the book is to end with last year’s Veranda. I did have fun in 18 reading my thoughts on my pilgrimage to Lourdes. In some ways it was a long time ago and I forgot my exact words so I get to relive it like any reader.

OK, time to go. Hang in there in the midst of everything going on.

keeping sane loves, Felipé.

It’s Acting Like Summer

A conversation waiting to happen.
(photo P Volker)

Yea, what a beautiful day. Getting to the end of September and we so appreciate the sunshine and the clean air of it lately. Rain on the way maybe tomorrow or the next day. Little tiny shoots of green grass are coming up through the brown thatch of summer. The greening has started.

A couple of friends posted the same blogpost by Richard Rohr on Facebook today. I don’t really know the exact date of his post but it must be “of the instant” as it is about things current. At the moment I am too lazy to look it up but it was about holding the center. It was about remembering what is important and keeping centered in these tumultuous times. Check that out.

We know this stuff but it is a great review and another chance to keep it close. But we have talked around this or of this for years now. But as always have we internalized these the important considerations of life? I have come to realize that the Camino philosophy is centered exactly at the nexus of our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow man. This is where the two timbers of the cross come together. This is where we are. This is our center.

As we have been keeping the flame alive of our Camino experience from maybe years ago we attempt to keep close to this center. That is what we do. This is the place that we can’t stray far from.

So actually it wasn’t a blog post from Rohr but a letter to his mailing list and I copy it for you:

“Some simple but urgent guidance to get us through these next months.
I awoke on Saturday, September 19, with three sources in my mind for guidance: Etty Hillesum (1914 – 1943), the young Jewish woman who suffered much more injustice in the concentration camp than we are suffering now; Psalm 62, which must have been written in a time of a major oppression of the Jewish people; and the Irish Poet, W.B.Yeats (1965 – 1939), who wrote his “Second Coming” during the horrors of the World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic.
These three sources form the core of my invitation. Read each one slowly as your first practice. Let us begin with Etty:
There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there, too … And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves.
—Etty Hillesum, Westerbork transit camp

Note her second-person usage, talking to “You, God” quite directly and personally. There is a Presence with her, even as she is surrounded by so much suffering.
Then, the perennial classic wisdom of the Psalms:
In God alone is my soul at rest.
God is the source of my hope.
In God I find shelter, my rock, and my safety.
Men are but a puff of wind,
Men who think themselves important are a delusion.
Put them on a scale,
They are gone in a puff of wind.
—Psalm 62:5–9

What could it mean to find rest like this in a world such as ours? Every day more and more people are facing the catastrophe of extreme weather. The neurotic news cycle is increasingly driven by a single narcissistic leader whose words and deeds incite hatred, sow discord, and amplify the daily chaos. The pandemic that seems to be returning in waves continues to wreak suffering and disorder with no end in sight, and there is no guarantee of the future in an economy designed to protect the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and those subsisting at the margins of society.
It’s no wonder the mental and emotional health among a large portion of the American population is in tangible decline! We have wholesale abandoned any sense of truth, objectivity, science or religion in civil conversation; we now recognize we are living with the catastrophic results of several centuries of what philosophers call nihilism or post-modernism (nothing means anything, there are no universal patterns).
We are without doubt in an apocalyptic time (the Latin word apocalypsis refers to an urgent unveiling of an ultimate state of affairs). Yeats’ oft-quoted poem “The Second Coming” then feels like a direct prophecy. See if you do not agree:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Somehow our occupation and vocation as believers in this sad time must be to first restore the Divine Center by holding it and fully occupying it ourselves. If contemplation means anything, it means that we can “safeguard that little piece of You, God,” as Etty Hillesum describes it. What other power do we have now? All else is tearing us apart, inside and out, no matter who wins the election or who is on the Supreme Court. We cannot abide in such a place for any length of time or it will become our prison.
God cannot abide with us in a place of fear.
God cannot abide with us in a place of ill will or hatred.
God cannot abide with us inside a nonstop volley of claim and counterclaim.
God cannot abide with us in an endless flow of online punditry and analysis.
God cannot speak inside of so much angry noise and conscious deceit.
God cannot be found when all sides are so far from “the Falconer.”
God cannot be born except in a womb of Love.
So offer God that womb.
Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.
If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the “really deep well” that Etty Hillesum returned to so often and that held so much vitality and freedom for her.
If you will allow, I recommend for your spiritual practice for the next four months that you impose a moratorium on exactly how much news you are subject to—hopefully not more than an hour a day of television, social media, internet news, magazine and newspaper commentary, and/or political discussions. It will only tear you apart and pull you into the dualistic world of opinion and counter-opinion, not Divine Truth, which is always found in a bigger place.
Instead, I suggest that you use this time for some form of public service, volunteerism, mystical reading from the masters, prayer—or, preferably, all of the above.
You have much to gain now and nothing to lose. Nothing at all.
And the world—with you as a stable center—has nothing to lose.
And everything to gain.”

Richard Rohr, September 19, 2020

More On Healing

A tomato in the heart rocks.
(photo P Volker)

“Perhaps what I have come to understand, finally, is that somehow I have become the one I have always wanted. This is why I do the things that I do. There is a fierce love that wakes me up every morning, that makes me tell my stories, refuses to let me apologize for my being here, blesses me with the capacity to be silent, alone, and grieving when I most need to be. You have to understand that this is what I mean when I say healing.

Healing means we are holding the space for our woundedness and allowing it to open our hearts to the reality that we are not the only people who are hurt, lonely, angry, or frustrated. We must also release the habitual aggression that characterizes our avoidance of trauma or any discomfort. My goal is to befriend my pain, to relate to it intimately as a means to end the suffering of desperately trying to avoid it. Opening our hearts to woundedness helps us to understand that everyone else around us carries around the same woundedness. . .

May all beings be seen, held kindly, and loved. May we all one day surrender to the weight of being healed.“

– Lama Rod Owens 💛💙💜thanks

(Michele McNally had this up on FaceBook and she said it was OK to share with you. We are always interested in more thoughts on healing.)

There is a lot in there to chew on, to gnaw on here. I feel myself stretching as I read these words. Thanks Michele, works on it.

caminoheads loves, Felipé.