For your reading pleasure

I recently had the honor of having a piece published in the local weekly newspaper, Flag Live!

Here’s a link  – “To the mountain, again and again”

Here are a few images to accompany your reading pleasure.


4 o clocks Cosnino Exit dirt road to peaks distant peaks

Trees or Convenience? We choose

You never know what will change things. For instance, one day the local, long-standing Travelodge, and adjacent restaurant, The Mason Jar, both shaded by huge pine and deciduous trees, was operational. The next day, the whole thing was surrounded by yellow caution tape. Days later the bulldozers and demolition crews moved in to dismantle all standing structures. As time passed I had such fear in my heart that these beautiful trees would also be demolished. But they seemed to be identified as worth saving and spray painted to indicate such and were not torn down. A parcel of barren, bulldozed, land is all that remained, save the seven or eight huge trees.

“Thank God they saved those trees”! I thought.

A couple of months later after the demolition was finished I was dismayed to find a brand spankin’ new Walgreens inserted onto the property. There had been a fully functional one located in a strip mall a couple of miles away, but in the interest of creating a grand gateway to a struggling neighborhood the powers that be decided a poorly designed, hard-to-drive-into-the-parking-lot Walgreens would make a statement. A statement of what, I have no idea. (I would imagine those that wave the banner of private property rights and free markets would applaud this use. I personally think we’re all in this together, that nothing is free in the market, and there is only the illusion of “owning” property.  I am in a minority in this thinking, yet the minority is growing.)

Fast forward a few months and the trees are still standing on the property. That beautiful spot could have been a small park, a neighborhood gathering spot, a refuge from the eyesore next door but instead, I see a new construction fence go up with a sign reading “National Bank coming soon!” Again, I am dismayed but cautiously hopeful – they will keep the trees, right?

How stupid am I? Pretty stupid.

All but two of those trees are gone.

Our high desert town has had many things to mourn the loss of, over the years, and for me those trees are one. For me, it’s the death of ancestors, before their time had come, pure and simple.

Something shifted in me as I mourned the death of those trees, something became clear. The deep desire in me to stand with the underdog, and those in need, came to the forefront. The death of six or seven trees have become my personal canary in a coal mine, saying ‘Danger! Don’t go further down this path of needless expansion and death for profit!’ The convenience of buying cheap drugstore items and a drive through lane at the bank is NOT wealth to me.







Is progress and development and ‘growth’ (economic growth is implied) really what we need on this planet?

From the little I’ve come to know about life, if we don’t value what we have right now, then we won’t know how to value the thing we want, once we get it.  We all know the course the dominant culture is on is insatiable.

But what do we need?

We need unadulterated food, soil, air, water and love.


We may think we need more golf courses, economic development, low-wage chain stores, and McMansions, a raise, a newer car, etc. (Yeah, I know, in the short-term a raise can be life saving – but I’m talking the Big Picture)

Maybe a community’s desire to be self-sufficient is what we really need. A group of people who live in a geographic region who desire to sustain themselves and their neighbors to the best of their ability by their own hands, not the hands of 14 year olds in Bangladesh, or the credit afforded by the Big Banks to amass more trinkets.

If money is a lien against the Earth’s resources (raw earth resources as well as human/animal labor), why do we in this country and others, continue to live in such a way that the debt we incur will never, and can never, be paid off? Nothing can bring back the hundreds of mountaintops removed for coal in the oldest mountain range in the U.S., for instance.


In the little high-desert town that I live in, there is a strong push these days to get the “economy” going at a faster pace.  A push to build more and make more money, and in this currently reigning paradigm that is what is needed.  But it’s not a paradigm I subscribe to.  What if the people in this town, instead of wanting more new businesses to open to provide more jobs, found ways to turn the needs of those who live here into a business?  Creating community kitchens so that those who would like to make a business out of making food for others could do it without having to open a restaurant?  One GREAT thing that Flagstaff just did is open a community workshop – THAT’S what I’m talking about!

Rise up or Die: Some questions

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses.

VIA: Chris Hedges: Rise up or Die –

Having read Chris Hedges book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”, where he and Joe Sacco go to some of the most impoverished parts of the US and report back that yes, what is happening in this country is the same destruction and sickness that we attribute to third world countries, I was happy to see that he is still speaking up and out about our current state of affairs.

What will be the issue(s) that cause you to rise up or die?

Will you wait until your home mortgage is upside down and you have nowhere to go? Or, will you wait to confirm that the cancer you have is definitely caused by GMOs or pesticides, or your shampoo?  Will you wait until, like in Greece, the government that is no longer FOR the people nor BY the people, plan to literally take your money from your accounts?

I ask myself these same questions. I have risen up on occasion, but I think that what we all know is coming is a mass rising. That said, I do not feel that the rising has to be an “against” rising.  I would love for it to be a “for” rising.

What would you rise for? Are you and I wiling to stand and rise for a sustained period of time or just on the weekends to carry signs in front of passing traffic?  What will finally cause us to coalesce into the powerful billions that we are?

What connection does rising up have to householding?  It has complete connection.  Our planet is our home.  We all collectively hold this earth, as it holds us, and have the power to destroy our ability to live on it or to increase, peacefully, our ability to live on it.

As with householding and homemaking, we have choices. Thank the Gods we still have choices!  We CAN disengage from the current paradigm in many meaningful ways. These are not easy ways in this world, though.  Who wants to disconnect from all the electrical input, for starters? No one.  So, how to continue to be connected but not through a controlled system? How can we have control of our own food if we get 98% of it from a manufacturer? How can we even think of doing these things when we don’t have enough money to make any ends meet? I do believe the answers to these questions are individual and collective. We do what we can and then find like-minded, supportive others to learn, grow and celebrate with.

The great news is that people in your community or location have been doing this type of disengagement for a long time.  Go find those people and talk to them.  Use what you can from what they know and rise up to the occasion of living your life for yourself and the good of your community, not for the profit of a few.

The Fifth Sacred Thing film in development, narrated by Olympia Dukakis.

Reflections on Winter Solstice 2010

The span of time around the  2010 Winter Solstice was very meaningful to me.

First, I participated in a ritual with five other women.  We loosely used earth-based, goddess focused ritual elements to lead us through casting a circle, setting our intention, naming what we wanted to let go of, and what we wanted to welcome into this year, with the return of the Light.

We wrote what we wanted to let go of on strips of paper, then burned them into a bowl.  We wrote what we wanted to bring into this year, and put them into lovingly created paper boxes that were handmade for the ritual.  This process allowed me to completely let go of my father.  Literally, at the end, when I thought of my father I was not triggered emotionally, and had a sense of wishing him well.  This was a huge step for me – one I have been leading up to for some time.

The other major event was a Geobiological Home Clearing by Tess McCabe.  Find out about Tess here!

I have felt an uneasiness in this home since I moved in four years ago.  I thought it might be all of the funky angles, so I worked on getting the feng shui working.  It only minimally helped. Through a series of coincidences, which of course are NEVER coincidences, but synchronicities, I met Tess at the above mentioned ritual.  We planned the Home Clearing to happen on the evening of the Winter Solstice, which was ALSO a Full Moon AND a Lunar Eclipse.

Big Magic!

Lunar Eclipse

The home clearing commenced with my family participating in a small ritual I put together, which consisted of lighting a candle in every room of the house and leaving it burning for the duration. Then, we saged each other, to clear any unwanted thoughts and energies from our aura.  Tess suggested visualizing our home filled with white, golden light – we did.  Then a short writing exercise talking about what we wanted to tell this home, what home means to us, and how we want to view this home from now on.  Tess was working her magic, in her ritual space, the whole time.  I have not had one negative thought concerning this home since then. Tess shared with me that she cleared a number of negative influences, including manipulated black magic, spirits, and underground water influences.

I am a believer in the unseen.  I acknowledge that there are forces that I may or may not be aware of, influencing my life for good and not-so-good.  This clearing really showed me how energy can effect a dwelling/building and I am motivated to learn more about this important service to humanity.  Here is a link to more info about the tools used in this process. Check it out with an open mind.

Water…What’s it worth to you…

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I attended a special Flagstaff City Council Meeting. About 800 of us did. They were going to hear public comments then vote on using reclaimed water to make snow at the local ski place (which is how the contract reads now) or change the contract  and use potable water instead.

During the 3 hours of listening to Council questions and public input, I was struck by how divisive this issue really is.  It seems that there are two very polarized factions.

One group sees the use of water to make snow a boon for Flagstaff because it will bring tourist dollars to our town. (Not to mention millions to the ski lodge owner!) The other group feels using water, specifically potable water, is a misuse of a natural resource and is a very bad idea long term for the continuity of our town. I am in the group that feels that water is sacred.

What I would have like to have seen is a discussion about alternative snow play areas being developed with what little natural snow we might get, as well as the possibility that the ski area could use rain catchment for snow making.

I would have like to have seen a more extensive discussion over the past few years, about what alternatives to skiing this town could come up with to lure tourist dollars.  I would have liked a discussion about local sustainability that doesn’t require so many tourist dollars.  But this town isn’t ready for that yet.  There are so many that believe tourism will be around for a long time.  I don’t think so.