My cat Molly has settled back into routine life on Pleasant Mountain. She goes from bed to loft to couch to food bowl, swaggering her 16.5 years of cat experiences around the cabin.
Recently, she joined me on a lengthy Sojourn into the deep south on a quest to study the idea of freedom, inspired by the arguably ambiguous
I just finished pulling out the final artifacts of my solo~plus~one~cool~cat expedition from behind the passenger’s side visor. There was a photocopy of Underground Railroad “safe houses” and routes in Frederick County, Maryland…
“At least 11 crossings in or near the Potomac River…18 miles along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal…25 miles along the B&O Railroad, Postmaster Joshua Michael’s home…a tunnel on Degrange St…an attic on the corner of Bentz and 3rd St…”
I wonder how that worked out for families and friends seeking freedom from bondage. Not a lot of “safe houses” in that list of options.
I journeyed to study my own trappings, places where I cling and lose, over and over again. I wanted perspective on this life I have created. At the same time, I was studying the lives of slaves, slave holders and the brave souls that supported abolition at a time when that was actually against the law.
I was inundated with every aspect of freedom and enslavement I had yet to ponder.
On my final leg of the journey, nearing the Maine border, I had an epiphany. I came to to see that all the ways that I thought I was stuck, trapped, even alone in those particular moments when lonely can creep in so heavily, all of this is nothing but a state of mind. I have come to see that I am free! Right here and now. There is nothing I need to do or not do in order to be free. Its odd how I did not realize this until I did ~~~~
I came back to my cabin with new eyes and ears. Everything seemed different. I felt untethered and open to anything.
Snow came and covered any sign of fall shortly after my return. I went under the “barn”, a favored storage of random items no one ought see, and pulled out 2 big plastic sleds. The sleds are for guests to haul up their stuff to their cabin or yurt they are retreating in. Access in the winter is by foot. Or paw if your a cat.
Amongst the refuge of randomness, I noticed my old toboggan. I inherited it from one, several or 8 older siblings. It had been under the barn for 12 years. Time to get reacquainted with my old friend and show her the light of day.
This toboggan transported me down death~defying mountain trails and roads closed for winter.
As if seeing it for the first time, I stopped for a long while and noticed all the details and stories it held. My father handed it over to me at some point in my evolution, but only after he had gone over every inch of it. Reinforcing, rebuilding, replacing. I became overwhelmed by his efforts.
Look how he added dowels to the end of the ropes, strong raw hide through new eye bolts.
Every screw was replaced.
Dad added stronger rope through his own invention. Something secure to grab hold of.
To keep me in the trajectory of my intended path.
No doubt recycled boot laces born from my Depression~Era father who found a repurposed use for everything.
My father passed away in 1993 which apparently is 23 years ago. Wow. That’s a while ago now. He infuses many of my decisions on the land and I see his hands in mine, but, honestly, he doesn’t come to mind all that much.
Sometimes, I will say out loud, “what would dad do right now?” Or sometimes when I get in a jam and it feels like I need him to intervene or I’m in some kind of physical danger, I shout out to him and it seems he hears me.
Case in point, the other day I had a couple carpenter friends coming by to frame my very own personal composting toilet. (I have arrived.) We were trying to beat the storm. There were two damaged oak trees in the way of the project. Having spent every weekend of my 14th year with my lovely parents getting fire wood, I, of course, was going to fell those trees on my own. I got in a bit of a situation with the chainsaw. I found myself yelling for both ma and dad at this point saying, hey, give me this one. I need some help. Just let me get out of this one without needing an intervention. Thank you! It worked.
On this first day of this new year as I touch and witness dad’s love expressed through a toboggan ~given to his final child, I am overwhelmed with a weepy kind of appreciation that caused much leaking and even a strange noise I had not heard before as my heart softened in recognition of this man’s love for his daughter.
I am grateful to be infusing this appreciation into a different kind of January. I am stepping into deep winter with introspection, space and a creative spirit readying for flight.
I will share as inspired with anyone interested in joining me on a trip into dream time to see what is there. Bring your flashlight.