I'm off again . . . this time for the suburbs of our nation's capitol. Two trainings to do. Much deep breathing. And tonight there is a hotel room with HBO! More on Monday . . .
An altar is a collection of objects whose meanings are used to focus your inner intention in a way to connect your outside life with your inner. Things mean different things to different people, and their effects change as you change. What stimulates meaning one month, appears flat another. In normal people language, an altar is a collection of things you create out of stuff you like.
This is a pic of one of my current altars.
I use it to help me with my spiritual practices, to help me remember who I Am (a gorgeous creature of luscious energy living inside a skinsuit) so I don’t get lost inside of who I’m Not (a whiny, ungrateful pain in the ass for whom nothing is ever enough). Allow me to break it down for you:
There’s a whole Fire theme going on with candles (votives and scented pillars), incense (Nag Champa in a glass filled with quinoa), and in the big shell, sage (white sage and also some lavender twigs) and on the small plate to the right is a braid of sweetgrass. The symbolism for me with fire is about illumination and purification, but its also very much about the yummy smells. Nothing kicks a morning into PRESENT for me like the smell of Nag Champa which was burned at Kripalu round the clock while I lived there. (Yes, yes, Part Three of the story is coming. I swear. Really. I promise.)
Then there is a Stone thing with rocks from places that have meaning for me. There are river rocks and shells and also all sorts of crystals – jasper, quartz, amethyst, fluorite, many that I don’t know the name of but I found beautiful.
Then there are the figurines. There is the wooden goddess that presides over everything from her throne of bark atop my deck of psychic readings cards. In front of her are feathers, a small branch from the pine tree in front of the cabin, and a quartz crystal with lots of points. At her feet sits her Consort, a fat laughing Buddha.
There’s also a pine cone, a frilly stem of grass, bells and small symbols. And the pics above the altar are drawings by my friend's (whose cabin this is) kids, Matt and Rose and depict wolves and dogs which is actually a very fitting metaphor for me right now.
Many of the things on the altar were gifts from people, and that also has significance for me. This altar for me is a living representation of the story of my life, both where I’ve been and where I’m going. I change it often, adding and removing things, moving things around, and always do so with a reason in mind, if nothing more than: it just feels better this way, or this doesn’t look right anymore. As I’m changing things, there is a throughline going on in my head, as if I am both the creator and that which is being recreated.
For some people, an altar is something in a church that doesn’t hold meaning for them three diemsional objects, but an altar is a very personal, moving experience when you place things on it that speak to you. At different times in my life my altars have held: glow in the dark pretend vomit, toys, pictures of loved ones, objects I wanted to purify/raise the energy of, plants, fountains, essential oils, food, letters.
They can be as large or as small as you feel to. They can follow the rules of feng shui elements (fire, water, wood, earth, metal), or be done with no formal knowledge at all. They can be metaphorical or literal. It’s all about you . . .
I usually hate these but this one was a hoot :)
You're Watership Down!
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
I woke up this morning covered in kitties. I slept in late and turned the phone off and did some chi gong, some yoga, a little meditation. It is so good to be home, to be in the soft warm bed, to light the woodstove, to hear the caw of crow, to see the small slice of moon in the starry sky. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Life seems to be moving me again, and again I have no idea where, and again I am surrounded by people who love me, and take care of me in the ways they can, phone calls and emails and cards, aromatherapy mists entitled "All Is Well", a lilac candle, chocolate, a chatty, giggly lunch, a fridge full of food. I feel for the people who are close to me. Being my friend is a bumpy ride.
I spent a week in New York and got multiple confirmations that my life there is over, at least for now, at least for a good long while. It was noisy and fast and intense. 9 out of 20 clubs cancelled for the Saturday gym training. And of the holistic things I had scheduled – 2 workshops, 2 feng shui consults, a half dozen readings and sessions – all cancelled but a last minute reading. And I felt again, the frustration of not being able to control any of it.
The changes in my life generally have to do with letting go on all fronts – mentally, emotionally, physically. Life brings me the most amazingly wonderful things, people, situations, opportunities. Then it takes them away. Usually before I’ve had the chance to see things come to a fruition that seems complete to me. Usually its just as I’m beginning to relax and accept that the wonderfully amazingness is genuinely here. Over and over and over and over. And after years of it, I’m finally beginning to not get so swept away when the sparkly things show up and not feel so sad when the sparkly things move on.
There is a fine line between growing up and energetically greying out. It’s tempting to go numb in response to the pain. I’m working very hard not to flatline. I long for shots of tequila, clove cigarettes, junk food binges. And I let that go too. Everyday I find a way to keep stoking the fires of vibrancy inside of me, to encourage the vibrancy in others. I’m tired. But that’s just this moment. The next moment will shift. And the next and then next. Who knows what March or April will bring?
I’ve sent out my usual SOS: SEND HELP I call from inside of me. I send it up and out. I send it deep inside. I send it with love and heart and knowledge that someone, something will be answering the call and that the cavalry is on the way to yet again save me from my living and the big waves of change that I need help surfing.
And for now, I am so so so happy to be home, the home that is home for as long as it is. The Hoon naps beside me, waking ever so often to give me kisses. The woodstove is cooking my lunch potato. I feel the love of my friends as they root for me, even as they navigate their own tsunami waves of money and health and family and relationships. Sending you all big smoochy booches :)
And here are some pics from my trip:
Me, Deb, and DeeDee after yet another one of our hysterical lunches
Spiritual sisters: Winnie, Peg, Dory, Me, Diane, Jackie
The Fabulous Winnie that I adore adore adore
The Lovely Diane
I am posting this from within the confines of a gated community in Syosset out on Long Island. I forgot how freaking luxurious it all is. I went from listening to ads on the radio in Pulaski for mining jobs ("above and below ground!") to ads for "imported Italian marble at rock bottom prices!" I forgot how my friend Barbara pampers me with delicious food and gifts (a house call from a psychic, clothes, the run of her home while she runs out of town for the night) and fabulous conversation and support. She has been such a good friend to me the past few years and she is one of the most generous, beautiful, strong women I know - think Sophia Loren)
Clubs continue to sign up for trainings - over a dozen in the past few days - and so I just keep plugging away. 20 clubs signed up for the training tomorrow and only a few have cancelled so it's all still on.
The psychic reading today was quite amazing. Even as a psychic myself, I find it helpful to get a reading every six months or so. It really helps clear the decks of pointless, untrue mind spins. Charlotte said something so right on that I burst into tears: she named the character in my novel, explained to me why I named him that and how I can finish the book. She spoke about my Great Grandmother Gigi who I feel a strong link to because of our strength and psychic ability. She said things about my ex-boyfriends so right on and hysterically snide that I howled and let go some more. She told me to go back to school and teach (a decision I came to three days ago and have been taking intense action around ever since). She talked about totem animals and spirit guides and all sorts of that type of thing, but mostly she gave lots of practical insight into my issues around money and love and work.
I'm always amazed that more people don't utilize psychics. I know that part of it is that the good ones never tell you what you want to hear, but tell you what you need to know, and that it can be heartbreaking. But I have always been someone who preferred the truth over a mindtwirl and so I have come to appreciate a good reality-spankin reading. I highly recommend them :)
I'm off to raid the fridge . . . and then maybe I'll take myself out for Thai or Indian food . . . or maybe I'll get take out and snuggle on the couch with the remote control . . . Since I don't have a tv up in the cabin, it's all such a luxury . . .
. . . that you go out Right. This. Minute. and go buy Outkast's Speakerboxxx. Do you remember that feeling when you first heard Prince? The wonder? The magic? The Holy F*ck is he really singing about that? And there are a TON of freakin tunes. Two cds with like 18 songs on each one. Freakin fantabulous :) Some highpoints:
"I know you like to think that you shit don't stank but lean a little bit closer and see that roses really smell like poo-poo."
Every line in "Spread for Me"
When he starts to talking to god, a woman of course, and he talks to her about how much he wants a lovely love of his own.
The ads for their pit bull breeding service and kennels and funky op art paintings that are right there in the middle of the cd pull out.
Instead of saying thank you and you're welcome they say stank you and you're smellcome.
"Hey Ya" quite simply makes an ass start shaking on its own volition.
They sing about sex and god and single motherhood and earth ecology and the state of the world and love and being left and grooving and a rap by a two year old D-Boi and there's also a rendition of "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things" that'll make you go: dang.
And as my wheels roll towards NY and then back again you can bet your bippy that I will be boppin along to the grooves pumpin out by my new Atlanta soulmates :)
It seems that somehow my life has gotten very, very fast again. But maybe it just feels that way because I got used to the slow-mo of December and January here on the mountain.
This past weekend I went for a hike in Hanging Rock with my friend.
The weather forecast called for sleet and it was sleet we got. Then we got a snowstorm, about four or five inches . . .
. . . so we got a hotel room and ate bad hotel food, and talked all night, and then it was my birthday.
The next day was about bad diner food and a fabulous movie, 21 Grams. I'd thought it was going to be a drug movie, but it turns out the title speaks to the fact at the moment of death exactly 21 grams, the weight of a hummingbird, the weight of four nickels, leaves the body. It was an intense movie, brilliant and original, and of course I was lost in the mood of it for hours afterward. It made me remember that stupid, terrible things happen and that its okay to mourn, and that we all do the best we can. And also that sometimes we love for reasons beyond our understanding, but that when given the opportunity to love, love we must, even though it leads to things that we understand even less.
I leave for New York day after tomorrow and I'll be back in a week. I have some work to do there, and some friends to see, some errands to run. I've found someone to catsit for the weasels, but that doesn't mean I'll worry about them any less. They are my family, the friends I depend upon the most, and they are used to so much good lovin and furry rubbin that I know that I'll long to get back to them.
I keep on keeping on with booking and calling and faxing around the trainings. The only other choice is to not do these things which absolutely lead to nothing, and so I do the something that I can, knowing that Life is doing Her usual thang with me, and that my job is to stay in action. It's like swimming in molasses though, and I'd much rather lay down and sleep. But I push and push and push and try to remember to breathe. It’s the fear of failure and humiliation that looms, that thing from my childhood: what gives you the right to be here doing what you are doing? who told you you are good enough? and of course there is that old feeling that for some reason Life hates me and is out to destroy the good I've finally managed to create. And yes, I've had a tough time, and so has everyone else. And no, Life hasn't singled me out for a particularly ornery time. If I can just keep reminding myself that I am being led, and that I can just keep making the next step and the next, that I don't have to have it all figured out, just the next step.
The biggest shock of the past few weeks is that I have managed to recreate my NY life. I have changed Chester for Pulaski and there are a few other minute details, but essentially the emotional content is the same. It is both painful and enlightening because I see that the only way to change any of it is to absolutely refuse to believe in any of the negativity, whether its feelings of fear or sadness or anger. It isn't that the situations of my life need to change, its my reaction to them that must shift if I'm to see real change.
The inroads to the well-being inside of me are deeper, though from the outside it must appear that these inroads are unpleasant, but I'll tell you about some of them anyway:
* when I'm feeling any of those unpleasant emotions I don't reach out to talk to anyone about them, just let them roll around.
* I don't rush around looking for a way to stop the "bad" from happening, just let go and let go and let go until what is occurring doesn't appear "bad" anymore.
* I get that there is no one to call, no book to read, no recipe to discover for answers. The answers can't be given to me, only uncovered from within me.
* there is no recipe for well-being, only things I can do with diet and exercise and positivity that set the stage for its possibility.
* it is important to be thankful for everything, especially the things that I don't understand or misunderstand as negativity.
* I control nothing but what actions I can take.
And so I'll try to post from NY but if I don't, I'll see you next week around Thursday or Friday . . .
I refuse to worry. Instead I spend the morning working, organizing the trainings that may or may not take place. Five clubs registered for one or another of the upcoming seven trainings I have scheduled in Virginia, New York, and Georgia. (Do they know yet of the free trainings coming their way in the next few months?) I can either lay down or I can keep on truckin. I choose to motor . . . you know how much I love my wheels to roll . . . :)
After a morning of work, I headed into Blacksburg for a shopping spree at the health food store: chickpea miso! yogurt covered raisins! cilantro and garlic salsa! Then to the movies: 50 First Dates - sort of a Groundhog Day for the new millenium and set in Hawa'ii. When facing my fears around moneyflow, my groove sure does appreciate a tune up, so of course I bought new cds! An Alannis extra outakes, the first Train cd, and the new Outkast. For the past hour I've been dancing with The Hoon in the living room. I love the way he moves. That belly of his sure does shake like a polaroid picture. Is it just me, or do I detect some serious Prince hommage occuring?
And for my friends who have asked for more visuals, more visuals :)
The Hoonand I maxing and relaxing on a Friday evening:
All gussied up for a daytrip off the mountain:
Dang, I’m having a rough week. I still have all my limbs, I have food and a roof over my head, the weasels are being weaselly and cute while they’re doing it, so I really shouldn’t complain. But dang, I would really like to just lay on the floor and cry for a while.
My work plan is not going to be happening like I thought it would. I had just found a good groove with it all, stressed somewhat, but managing it and turning it into good things. The work plan was going to carry me financially til at least late spring, possibly further, and would allow me to put some money in the bank so that I would have a few more choices come summer. But, as usual, Life was laughing while I made all of these plans and preparations, and chose today to show me what was so dang funny.
It turns out that I am to be replaced by a kit. Instead of gym owners being incredibly excited to have me come to their clubs and teach, they can now order a kit through the corporate offices, and it is free, and then they can get together with other clubs and have someone from the corporate offices come and teach a supplemental class, also for free. And I know that I’m cute and all, and I’m sure that no one can do the colon hula like me, but I can’t compete with free. And so I am watching everything go POOF, watching the emails come in where I’ve been CC’ed to the messages flying amongst gym owners saying: why go to the one where you pay when you can go to one for FREE!
But if I’ve learned nothing else from all of my meditation and chi gong and witnessing and naval gazing it’s that the only two options I have are taking action and dropping the worry. And so I kept making phone calls, kept sending faxes. Seventy of them. All day, all afternoon, all evening. Just kept at it. I had originally planned to split all the calls between today, tomorrow and Saturday, but this morning, when I got the news at a little before 10 a.m., I thought: go for broke.
It actually feels like when I’m facing the driveway of ice and I’m revving my motor, knowing that it’s near about impossible, and its dangerous, but I have to try, and I’ve got big ovaries, and I’m tough, and fear can kiss my heiney, and what the f*ck. And the truth of this is that it’s all just another reminder that I do *not* drive the bus, Life does.
I spent the better part of my hour walk in the snow this afternoon saying over and over: thank you Life for bringing me this even though I don’t understand, thank you for taking such good care of me, because I know that you are - you always have, helpfully removing the things I believe that I need, only to discover later that they were the one things holding me down, back, squeezing the life out of me. I’ve been watching the fear come and go, in waves, and little pellets that lodge in my throat and mind. But I will be fine, and soon enough Life will let me know where I am going next and what I’ll be doing.
My visit with my family is the other part of my Dang experience. On the surface it was a fine and lovely time, but something awful raged underneath. No one yelled or cried or fought, but I spent the better part of the three day visit feeling sick to my stomach, a low level nausea that came and went and made me want to weep with helplessness. This was a feeling I knew well in my childhood, but hadn’t felt for years, and as I drove out of town, I felt nothing but relief.
I used to think that living was about reaching summits, and doing things to remove blocks, and then reaching the summits beyond. Now I see that it’s simply endless spirals of surrender to the winds of change, sometimes providing loft and othertimes blowing me right off the mountain.
I am also feeling an intense gratefulness that wasn't present this morning when I woke up. I look to the chair beside me at the fat weasel all spread out and purring like a lawnmower and I think: I get to be with The Hoon! And I think of the friends that I have that love me so much that they actually feel pain when I get caught up in one of these Life turbines, how much they long for me to soar, how they watch my struggles and know all about my funky junk and keep on keeping on with me.
This weekend I’m going hiking with a friend, and I’m really looking forward to being in nature and being with my friend. Life will keep showing me where She wants me to be. And I will keep showing up and saying: thank you ma’am may I have another?
In an hour, I leave for a gym training in North Carolina, after which I will be visiting my family. Haven't seen them in six years and it should be a trip. I'm hoping to find a way to post while I'm there but if you don't hear from me til Wednesday, you'll know what the deal is. My wheels, they sure do roll . . .
I have been obsessively taking pictures all day. Some are of farm things that I love or have written about and want to post so that you’ll have a visual. But most have been pics of myself. I know that its terribly self-absorbed behavior, but I don’t think I’ve seen myself in a decade, and its blowing my mind.
The last time I took a good look at myself was in New York City - thin, crazy, sexy, out of control, giving off a sort of aggressively radiant energy that repelled as many people as it seduced. I had a natural look, but did my eyes and wore bold lipstick. My style revolved around my body and how I felt in it, which was luscious, and I wanted others to feel luscious, too. My clothes were about texture, skin, curves, the natural vibrantness of the body.
The past two days I have been seeing a woman that I sort of recognize, but only barely. Her clothes are sensible, her face clean of everything except moisturizer. A smile that used to power small municipalities is now held closed, the lower lip reaching up to hold the upper one in a don’t-you-dare-let-go grip. She often has this blank look, when her hamster wheels of watching are turning intensely. There’s also a look that appears angry, or at least incredibly annoyed, and shows up when she’s got her psychic game face on, when she’s looking beneath the surface into the space beyond this place where the data stream is in images and feelings, where past and present and future are navigated by skating on the filaments that link everything to everyone. She looks guarded, and its taken the better part of two days to get her to open up a little, to relax and smile and find some enjoyment in the watching eye of the camera that she used to love with such abandon.
She’s also older, this woman, and she looks a little worn out, a little sad, and at times, desperate for something. Kindness? Acknowledgment? An explanation? I see loneliness in her eyes. And also strength and willingness. Bravery is there, too, and a look that seems to say: go ahead, let’s see what you’ve got.
I also see shyness. All the years of drugging and drinking and exaggerated emotion were all just a cover up to disguise the fact that she was often, quite simply, painfully shy.
It seems that most people in our culture define themselves by what they do, their careers, their mates, their children. I have always found myself in my writing, and this blog is my attempt to bridge my inner world with the outer one. This new digital camera feels like an extension of that. Why is it that I have no reluctance or issues around writing deeply personal and emotionally revealing information here on DatingGod, but feel intensely embarrassed to be putting up pictures? I feel like I should be apologizing to someone for it.
No matter, because I know that this next phase of blogdom is about pictures, and so I will just keep snapping and keep posting. Here’s today’s latest:
Caution: Big Ovary Crossing
Bigass Deer Track
I just had a surreal experience at Target. I went in for some sparkly makeup and left with a stereo that not only woofs and tweets but has all of these dials that I am *clueless* as to what they do, sparkly hair things, sparkly make-up, and a dang skippy sparkly digital camera! I've been playing with it for an hour and as soon as I figure out how to get the dang pics to squirt through the camera and land here at DatingGod you will get to see The Hoon, the fabulous woodstove, and me, happily squinting in the sun.
I really need to do a post on what its like to be a Nomad in today's times of Homeland Security. Do you remember how difficult it was to get a post office box? Well, getting a Target credit card was like trying for citizenship in New Zealand. Geez. I only wanted the 10% discount . . .
I realized what the main source of my anxiety has been the past week: work. Well, not really the work. The work itself I love, its incredible amount of grief I give myself for "not doing enough" that throws my joy in a blender and hits frappe. The truth is that I am not a type A personality (shocking, no?) and I have no desire to be one. But somehow I feel that I *should* be one, and so I ride my own ass like a two dollar mule.
So, yesterday I was shoulding all over myself, gearing myself up for Tuesday as the day I would "really, really get a lot of things done" when I had a flash of intuition and called Verizon to check on how many minutes I have left on my cellphone before my month runs out on Thursday at midnight. Turns out I only have about a half hour left on my plan after which calls are billed at 40 cents a minute. Which means that since I no longer have a land line, my cell is my work phone. Which means that I can’t make any more work calls til Friday. Which means that I essentially I can’t make more of those dreaded cold calls til Friday. Which means that I essentially have off til Friday!
Sure, I have some things to do, and I’ll get them done, but the driving-me-like-a-mule part I get to relax around for a few more days. And maybe I’ll just relax around it permanently.
I haven’t enjoyed myself much the past week, and I know the PMS has been pretty intense, and I’ve been eating sugar, and that makes me feel like crap, but the work stuff has just got to go. Better that I do less and enjoy my life more. Better that I let go of the guilt and blog when I feel instead of making myself work instead, knowing that I’ll get everything done workwise that needs to get done.
And I’ve just found out that I can stay here in this beautiful mountain paradise til late spring/ early summer and I have got such happy feet about it! I am sooooooooo looking forward to seeing and feeling and smelling spring perched up here in the middle of nature. Winter and all its brisk, crystally goodness has been very good to me here. What fabulousness will spring bring forth?
I also have two *announcements* for my local NY friends:
A couple of weeks ago I reserved space at Subtle Energies in Sugar Loaf with the idea that I would do a workshop of some sort on February 23rd at 7 p.m. But while talking with the lovely Jackie I realized that instead of the workshop I’d rather have a birthday party! I haven’t had one in over twenty years and dang it, I wanna party! The plan is that we are going to gather and do some meditation and a talking circle and some energy work. And then we are going to eat and dance! I would love for you to come and help me welcome in year number 38. What to bring: yourself and some sort of Fun Food. What to wear: Color and *sparkly* things! No need to RSVP, but if you want to call you can leave a message on my voice mail 845-469-6521, (or call me on my cell) or email me if you need directions.
My friend and hara sister Sabine Sladek is going to be offering a free introduction to Healix Energy Healing and Earth Studies on Saturday February 7, 1:30-3:30 and also on Saturday February 28, 1:30-3:30. This intro is the first course in a branch of the school that I was in with Fiona Whitmore, and the things I learned there are how I am where I am, doing what I do. It’s a wonderful school and Sabine is hands down the most amazing bodywork practitioner I have ever had the delight to give myself over to. She is an accomplished, encouraging teacher and always so willing to engage with people wherever they are. The first part of the intro will cover a few of the subjects being taught through the school: energy matrixes; the mind, the three selves and unweaving the web of confusion; spiritual or intuitive counselling, preparing our body, Healix healing, Qi Gong and energy healing the mind, body, and environment, and much more. The second half of the intro will be hands-on, giving you the opportunity to experience the truth that the gift of healing is within you. A new class for a one, two, or three year certification in Healix Healing and Habitat Healing is forming in February. Sabine can be reached at 845-355-7206. The intros are going to be held at Yoga For Well-Being in Goshen, 845-294-9644.
Ever have one of those days where you can’t escape the undertow no matter what you do? Where the only thing bubbling up from inside of you is funk and so Life happily mirrors it for you everywhere you turn?
I had such a day yesterday. And by 6 p.m. I was so fraught I got out the big guns: Hair that scaled great heights. Body glitter, head to toe. Smoky Mata Hari eyes. Slinky clothes (okay – as slinky as I could make scavenge together from my mountain mama wear). Candles were lit. Incense burned. Buddha Beat cds cranked out there funky latino/arabic house funk from the boombox. The woodstove crackled. The cats stared wide-eyed. I got down with my bad self. I found my groove and it carried me back down deep inside of myself, past all of the funk into the sweetness within.
Then, when I was tired, I called a friend and laughed and then turned on the computer and sent emails and got things off my chest, after which I took a hot, hot mango bath and then climbed in bed with Grandma Booty and fell easily to sleep.
Yesterday I found an interesting way to deal with my PMS. I rented a chainsaw. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
It started out innocently enough, as all of my trips off the beaten path begin. A few weeks ago, I got what is called around these parts a "truck dump" delivery of firewood, where for fifty bucks, a couple of good old boys came by in an enormous, rusted out truck with the back filled with firewood, hit the lever for the hydraulic lift, and dumped the lot of it in front of the woodshed. Anything after that was up to me.
I spent the next hour or so loading it into the woodshed, stacking it all neatly into a pile as tall as me against one wall. It wasn’t til later that evening that I realized that most of the split logs were too large to fit in the small stove. It took me til yesterday to remedy the situation.
I mulled over the possibilities. One of the neighbor guys would probably be willing to take care of it for me, but this was something I felt I should do by myself, not because I wanted to refuse help, but because this was my problem, and I could handle it.
I considered going down to Sears and buying a small chainsaw. Surely they made a LadyChainsaw, sort of like a LadyBic Razor but larger, with lots of whirring blades? Then I thought about all of the rental places around here and made a few phone calls, finding out that not only could I rent a chainsaw, I had a selection: did I want the electric or the gasoline powered one? I spent some time calling around to different rental places til I found one that would not only rent me a chick-sized chainsaw, but give me a lesson on how to use it.
I drove about a half hour up the road and took a look at the electric one, about as long as my leg and at least as big around and just laughed at the mere idea of me hefting that badboy around and not lopping off a body part. The smaller gasoline one seemed to be more my style. I picked it up and waved it around, much to the amusement of the guys up front renting extra equipment for their construction business. I took my chainsaw up to the front and plunked it lightly down on the counter.
"I’ll take it," I said.
The guy behind the counter didn’t even blink, just said, "you must be the gal with the firewood," and finished with the guys ahead of me. He went into the back for a minute, and came back out to fill the gas tank for me, top off the oil. He looked at me with raised eyebrows and when I nodded, he smacked a pack of safety goggles on the counter.
"I have leather work gloves that fit snuggly, I’ll have my hair tied back, jeans on, and my workboots. Anything else I’ll need?"
"Looks like you’re set once we step out front for a minute," he said, and ambled out the door, leaving me to pick up the chainsaw and follow after.
He showed me the choke, the start button, the trigger, the little bar thingy that tripped the blade lock, the pull start, and then let me at it. I was terrified until I mysteriously, effortlessly ran through all of his instructions without missing a beat, and the thing roared to life. Then it was as if I’d been born with a chainsaw held securely in my left paw.
I turned it off. We nodded to one another and I loaded it into my trunk, along with a red metal claw-thing for holding the logs off the ground.
Back at the cabin, I put my gear on and headed out to the shed. It took me a few minutes to get that the log-holding claw-thing was a pointless piece of metal. After playing around with the chainsaw and the wood I discovered that there was one place in the floorboards of the woodshed that had a one inch gap in it, and if I lined up the pieces of wood across the gap, I could make my cut in the logs right above it.
Sweat beads rolled down my nose. My safety goggles fogged up from exertion. The stench of gasoline and motor was at first unbearable and then sort of satisfying. I held the logs down with one foot planted firmly on the logs, the flat part of where they’d been originally split laying flush against the floor for better traction so the saw didn’t spin it out from under me. I applied the blade firmly, no hesitation, going at it hard, allowing the saw to whip through almost to the end before I backed off to let the blade lightly, easily finish separating the two pieces. Holding the roaring saw in my left hand, I used my right to pick up the small pieces and toss them aside, load in a new big piece above the gap and go at it again.
I worked steadily for about an hour, stopping three or four times when the goggles got too foggy to see, when I needed both hands to free large logs from the stack, or once when the motor cut off while I was scooting smaller pieces off to the side and the engine wasn’t revving high enough.
When my hands began to shake a little too much and the saw began to buck in the wood, kicking back towards my leg, and once towards my face, I stopped.
When I took the saw back and Sam asked how it had gone I told him about how I’d quit when I got tired but that I’d had fun.
"Too much fun and you’re not thinking about the chainsaw and what it can do, and too tired is the same thing but on the far side," Sam said. "Important to find the balance between too tired and too much fun."
I nodded, took my receipt, and headed straight for the closest burger joint where I scarfed down a big fat greasy cheeseburger (minus the bun because nothing is worth a wheat allergy reaction) with fries and a coke. Then I went home and had a lovely bath with eucalyptus and lavender oils with mango bubbles because my muscles were so sore that they shook while walking and driving.
Nothing like wielding a chainsaw to make a gal feel capable, strong, competent. It should bring tomorrow’s cold calls to gyms tomorrow morning into perspective . . .