Monday, August 7, 2017

but I did not die

 When I left  university , I drove to the Mojave desert in my funky little rambler sedan, and went to work and live on a horse training ranch. Loved the vast desert - loved  the horses-the ability to hop on the only horse that would tolerate me and my inexperience, Sunshine . Bareback I could  take off for hours. The freedom was  heaven - that sweet gentle  chestnut mare, humored me -  aware of my limitations , trotting smoothly, making me look like I had been born on a horse. Living on the ranch was a dream, and I had my own bunk, was fed home made pies, made about two dollars BUT it was not about the money was it. My job was simple, to ride Zero , the donkey down the ditches , opening up the valves for irrigation-I was thrown by Zero , many times- but I did not die.

I did a bunch of other stuff after the ranch, and  finally  made my way to England -worked seasonally-  lived in a hop hut, no electricity , no running water, Cooked outside on a fire where I washed clothes and bathed  in a livestock tub. The orchards of Kent, lush, abundant, on a privately owned farm by a creek were  idyllic to be sure, the company was superb- one of  our tribe was a traveler who came back every year to earn enough money to go back to Nepal. He brought Hashish  which we made into a custard to eat on freshly picked apples ,after a  long/hard days work.  Below is the hop hut, me with a kitten named Loki and a hen named Egg.  A wad of Opium offered by my Nepal friend, made me very sick and  dreaming for two or three days , but I did not die...


 The most interesting place I think where I have lived , was aboard a sailboat sailing the sound. No motor, no electricity, a Neptune stove to cook on , which  barely kept us from freezing to death as the bay froze solid! This is a lifestyle I would not want to revisit, It was fun but demanding . I am a land lubber after all. An anchor fell on my foot , caused a huge infection and a foot three times what it ought to have been, the infection was serious...I did not die.

Back on land-  in a cabin in the village, with wood heat, where I grew my own food, canned it, traded it,  smoked a lot of weed, took classes at the U, got a degree- all 
typical of that era and the hippie town in which we lived. 
Earned some cash for travel.
Went places.

For  three months I lived in a haunted house in Melbourne Australia. I am holding a rambunctious puppy, because the ghosts would not leave and the puppy was freaked.
Another adventure I would not want to repeat. The ghosts were depressing and I felt a little bit insane...but I did not die.
Came back to the states-

During summer months on the Olympic Peninsula I lived in a tee pee while working the trails, building foot bridges and clearing fallen timber,  without power equipment , using hand saws , heavy rope, and innovation. On a path below  the tee pee ,  there was an abandoned hot spring, and a  burned down lodge  from the turn of the century, a "danger" zone a "Keep OUT"  worth the risk- the soak in hot spring water after a day of "man" work in the forests, probably saved us. Stabbed myself on a rusty burnt spike,  wounded, did not die...

I've lived off the grid many times, prefer that lifestyle,...  and did not die.
Everyday  an adventure in nature.

And then....  -I joined society- I began to die a little-
the house in which I have lived for the past thirty  has served us well-house of choice for all of the children when Erik was growing up, Lively - easy to clean- predictable ...but 
 It is a sissy and lacks imagination - like a  tomb- children gone  - in an aging neighborhood- this house is trying to kill me with normalcy and central heating.
I may  just die.


  1. What a beautiful post, what an amazing life. Girl, you have HAD some adventures! People have no idea what being a hippie was like. They think it was about dress and love beads, love-ins and free love, patchouli, and incense.
    When really, it was about throwing out the rules and rituals and figuring out life without them.
    Thanks for reminding me of how many times I did not die either.

    1. Didn't we all cram a lot of living into our youth? This is but a fraction and now seems like I must have found the speed rainbow or something! Living the hippie life was about making things work, not answering to "the man" testing limits, being creative. making food! You are right- Throwing out the rules!! We will go back to this,given our broken times now,and we will be ahead of the game I reckon.

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  3. My God, so many lifetimes in one! Does your son have any idea who his mother IS?? You should write your memoir. I understand so we'll the emptiness of a house with the grown children gone. But you're ahead of the game as you say, wanderlust in your blood, art in your hands, memories of how you did not die. I love those pictures of you. I can't wait to see the ones you take on your next adventure. Such a great post!

    1. Thank you Ms. 37Paddington....weren't we all a bit wild? No, My son does not know any of me before I was MOM. Just as well, I would not want to embarrass him further, and it is his life now- that is the focus and a good one at that. As soon as I get my eyes back there will be more adventures- not dead yet!

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  5. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”
    ― Mary Oliver

  6. You lived in Australia?! That's a little tidbit I don't remember ever hearing about!

    Seriously, you have lived an adventurous life so far. And you're continuing to do so, with your forays to London! That house you're in now will not get its way. You're getting the best of it. :)

    1. Yup, damn this house!! and yes, I landed in Perth and hitched across part of the Nullarbor desert, but there was not enough traffic so hopped on a bus. An adventure in itself- first rain fall in the desert for at least a decade and the desert flowers bloomed overnight having been dormant for ten years.

  7. The Mary Oliver quote - I just heard it this morning in a talk by Tara Brach.
    My life is much less of an exciting story (so far!). Bound by a difficult body and a difficult mind. But still, I live it fully. I find the wildness in the little things, all around me. Doesn't prevent me from being a tiny bit jealous... but then I remember I'm here, this is my life and I'm dancing as fast as I can.
    Happy to have found your blog!


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