Happy 2017! I hope you’re all enjoying the shift from a “9” year of completions into a “1” year of new beginnings. It’s a little more fluid than that due to Mercury Retrograde still in effect until January 8th, and then with its decreasing shadow period for awhile afterwards. As with any external energy influence, you can align your attitude and tasks with the energies in order to create more ease and flow in your own experience. Traditional advice says, “Don’t make contracts or start anything new in a Mercury Retrograde period,” but it all depends on how you embrace or resist those influences. In my own life, I’ve continued tying up loose ends since December 19th, including “tying the Celtic Knot on Yule,” which David and I consciously chose for both the return to light aspect and for the sense of completion at this level of our spiral journey together.
Permaculture Design Certification
Some readers might also recall that I began my Permaculture Design Certification way back in 2015, shortly before the opportunity to rent the house next door appeared. That creative expansion added many exciting and busy months to my completion of Permaculture Education’s excellent online course, including another yard to begin designing and sheet mulching, but I fully planned to finish my coursework and final project by February 2016. I did finish all the coursework, but a commissioned portal painting, house guests, and the sudden and unexpected eight week whirlwind in Pennsylvania caring for my father in his last weeks and then moving my mom into her new life in a new home and getting their old house ready for sale meant another huge delay.
Those two months in Pennsylvania borrowed energy from the next five months, which also coincided with garden season and some much needed getaways with David. We had a lovely summer and fall! I wouldn’t change a thing, but I primarily needed to rest, recharge and renew. Tackling a major left and right brain final project while also gardening, processing bumper crops, and doing intense phone sessions just seemed like it would push me over the edge. I might have been able to complete the project then, but not to my own standards, and it would have felt like a burden rather than an accomplishment. As my June 2016 deadline neared, I requested more time.
Dr. Alan Enzo at http://permacultureeducation.com was kind enough to extend the usual year’s time for course completion due to the exceptional circumstances of my 2016, and I’m so glad I waited until I could again enjoy preparing the final project, as it was a lot of work. I used our yard and both houses as the permaculture project, and I took the opportunity to “stack functions” by beginning to learn the software program Scrivener while writing the text portion of my project. (I’ll do a separate post on Scrivener once I have a better handle on the software, but I found it invaluable for creating and organizing a complex and many-layered recap of all the moving parts and functions of our growing permaculture haven.) I promised myself I would complete this PDC final project in 2016, and I managed to submit both final text and design drawing on New Year’s Eve day:
The actual file is quite large and involved, with over twenty pages of text exploring and explaining the coded drawing, but this 11 x 14″ sketch gives you some idea of the project’s scope. I won’t receive my grade and actual certification for about two more weeks, as a group of people analyze the drawing and text, but along with helping my father peacefully pass into the next world and leveraging my mother into her thriving new life, I consider finishing this PDC course one of my biggest accomplishments of 2016. Right under the wire!
Kalamazoo New Year’s Eve Festival
Later that afternoon, David and I drove up to Kalamazoo, Michigan to for another mini-honeymoon at the downtown Radisson. We love Kalamazoo with its hugely creative populace, ample vegan and vegetarian food options, and the sense of community; however, we had no idea how amazing we’d find their 30th annual New Year’s Eve Festival. The Radisson included buttons to access all the downtown events: concerts across all sorts of venues, food, fun for kids of all ages, fireworks and a ball drop at midnight. Unsure of the weather, we had bought backup tickets to some concerts at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe (a concert venue for the famous Bell’s Brewery), but we were so blown away by the talent and whimsy of the downtown concerts that we only spent about a half hour at Bell’s.
We explored the historic Ladies Library Association, where all the volunteers dressed in Victorian garb amidst stained glass windows and old books. David snapped this shot of me reading a Maurice Sendak book I found on the shelf while awaiting Kalamazoo’s Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra. He’s been playing with filters, so my hair looks much redder than usual — even more than it does in bright sunshine — and my black onyx necklace looks white; however, this photo gives you a sense of the magical storybook feel of the place. My faery combat boots worked well with the Victorian theme!
We learned during the concert that the Kalamazoo Ladies Library Association is the oldest building in the United States continually owned and operated by women — a landmark since 1871. Also, the original Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra had played on that very same stage a hundred years ago, and the library maintains a photo of that event, which made Saturday night’s concert extra special and time warp-y.
Next, we made our way to the Baptist Church, which we had noticed over Thanksgiving weekend on a Kalamazoo trip with my mom. From the outside, the all white and blue building looks more like it belongs in Greece, so David and I were keen to get a look inside. What better opportunity than hearing traditional Irish music on New Year’s Eve? Below, you can see some of the Gothic sanctuary and organ, along with the band, “Whiskey Before Breakfast.” The music was fun, but we both agreed that the best part of the show was a three-year-old audience member jigging and rockin’ out on the balcony. That little guy loved the music even more than I did, and his pure exuberance delighted many:
Another unexpected highlight for us came right after the Irish music that also featured some lovely poetry by (Scottish) Robert Burns. We decided to stay for the next act, a NYC band called “The Founders,” which featured a Kalamazoo native on trumpet and piano, along with a violinist and bassist. They described themselves as eclectic and classically trained, so we had no idea what to expect. Oh. My. Goodness. Were we in for a treat!
We sat spellbound as this talented trio played Bach’s Agnes Dei “as though Bach grew up in New Orleans.” In other songs, the songwriter violinist sang while playing violin, and he also recited Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells” poem very fast, very dramatically to original background music — a Kalamazoo nod and wink to that famous Bell’s we would head to next. They created their own unique fusion covers of the Beatles, Radiohead and more. David and I left the concert in silence, literally stunned by such unusual and delightful talent that brought old to new and back again.
We did head to Bell’s for awhile but towards midnight decided to make our way back to Bronson Park to check out the ball drop and fireworks. I have not been to a ball drop on New Year’s Eve since I went to NYC in 1994, so that was another cycle bringing old into new. Normally, fireworks bother me, but between earplugs, a cozy hat with ear flaps and pure joy, I did fine this time. They put on quite a show: we kept saying, “OK, this must be the finale.” But wait … there’s more! In total, the fireworks lasted a little over fifteen minutes, and they were truly spectacular. It was so great to watch such a diverse group of people of all ages having fun and celebrating together.
All those walks through the cold worked up an appetite, since we had finished our veggie sushi dinner over six hours ago. Where, oh where, would we find food we could eat at this hour?! Well, it turned out we found food about 10 feet away at the Gorilla Gourmet food truck, which offered curried carrot soup after midnight. Seriously? Back in my pre-brain-injury sales job days, I used to plan business trips around a chef friend’s curried carrot soup offering on Tuesdays. I’ve not had one that good since. Until this one. Holy yum! David also got a veggie quesadilla (not vegan, but with homemade slaw and total yum), so we settled into 2017 with big smiles, new takes on blasts from the past, and very happy bellies.
New Year’s Day on the Kal-Haven Trail
The next morning, we slept in, checked out, and headed over to The Crow’s Nest, one of our favorite vegan friendly restaurants in Kalamazoo, which just happened to be open on New Year’s Day. (OK, I did a literal happy dance when I found out they were open.) It turned out I was not the only happy dancing would-be eater. The line stretched all the way down the stairs, out the door, and halfway down the block. And that was just to turn in your name to get on the list. After awhile, we noticed people in line drinking coffee and eating bagels and pastries while they waited. As we traced the trail, we discovered a nearby bagel shop, where we got tea and bagels instead. Yum! Plus, we finished within fifteen minutes instead of the estimated hour and a half to two hours for The Crow’s Nest.
We had chosen Kalamazoo for New Year’s as part of our intending for 2017, and we wanted more nature than waiting. After bagels, we drove to the Kal-Haven Trail, covered in deep snow at this time of year, but an actual connection bike route between Kalamazoon and South Haven, right on Lake Michigan. We enjoyed the fresh air, crisp whiteness, as well as all the friendly dog walkers and doggies. David snapped some photos along the way:
Still Revising and Reclaiming in the Tail End of Mercury Retrograde
Yesterday brought several more very long cycles to completion, with the arrival of author Mike Clelland‘s completed draft of the chapter on me to be included in his follow-up book to “The Messengers,” which I reviewed here. This marked the end of a year and a half of story sharing, questions, answers, writing and revisions, and it involves owl synchronicities that go back to 2010, 2006, 2002, and 1998. More than that, Mike’s chapter explores events I have never publicly shared — events dating back to 1987, which completed in this past 29-year Saturn Return Cycle of the 2016 time I spent in Pennsylvania. Tremendous healing occurred through emailing and telling the stories to Mike, as well as in his reworking them into something suitable for a single chapter in a book that explores many other owl synchronicities, UFO’s and paranomal experiences.
Mike Clelland is a rare bird. Probably an owl, LOL, but seriously, if he’s put anywhere near the time, attention and compassionate truth seeking efforts into the other dozen chapters of this new book, it promises to be a quiet and potent tribute to the Mystery with a capital M, as well as a huge catharsis for many healers and experiencers. The back and forth correspondence included so many synchronicities that Mike needed to stop collecting new information and only work with a sliver of the old, but highlights occurred when each draft section arrived as I was either sitting with or on the phone with someone else involved in that part of the story.
Many behind the scenes conversations discussed details of my 2010 divorce, during which owl synchronicities ramped up very high … so I processed the surreal nature of my previous marriage and that magical and Divine intervention divorce time in a deeper, final closure kind of way, just as I was synchronously planning my Winter Solstice marriage to David. Some very cool sync winks that did not make it into the final draft included my friend Karen walking in nature as David and I were getting married and finishing right at my birthday time stamp, and Karen suddenly feeling a powerful sense of love and blessing flow from her and her animal friends to us. Then, she heard a great horned owl hoot at 5:55, which according to Doreen Virtue’s Angel Numbers 101, means “Huge changes are rumbling throughout your entire life!” Hundreds of miles away, David and I also noted the clock at 5:55, as we drove to dinner, expressing our sense of huge change and blessings.
Karen’s text about the owl came through the next morning, right after I sent her the marriage photo of us with my birthday time stamp. Later that afternoon, I got excited texts from my mom about finding beautiful, unusual feathers on her driveway on her way out for a walk. My mom felt certain these were owl feathers and took them as a huge sign of blessing on our marriage. Mike asked for a photo of the feathers so he could definitively identify those, but by the time my mom got back home, the feathers had blown away. She started to doubt herself, but we have both had so many owl synchronicities related to my birthday or to big changes in my life that we figured they “probably” were owl feathers.
The next morning I received a very excited text from my mom that she had been awakened by “unmistakable” and “oh, so comforting” owl hoots that morning. I researched the exact calls she described and found the cry followed by three hoots to be the sounds exchanged between mated male and female great horned owls. This mysterious synchronicity provided such a beautiful and happy ending to a long and winding 29-year journey. As we move through this final week of Mercury Retrograde and into the freshness of a universal “1” year, I feel so grateful, blessed and awed by all that has transpired. I feel my own Neverending Story pulsing through life, and I look forward to the next sequence, tale and characters.
Wishing all of you a magical and mysterious 2017!