Five days ago we were evacuated from our new home in the hills of Saint Helena….The update is our home still stands and it appears fire danger is less, yet we cannot return yet. Each day I take time to write out how I am feeling and update my community. Thank you for all the prayers, invitations and well wishes. I feel so blessed to be among such kind and wonderful beings on earth! Today I am sharing Day One and Day Five…
Red Thread Letter #819
EVACUATION, an unchosen Rites of Passage
Day One: Evacuation, an unchosen Rites of Passage. You prepare for it in some ways all of your life, yet at that moment you can’t use most of what you have done to get ready. All I could think of as the most priceless thing in my possession is, the irreplaceable art by my Grandmother Eden, my Mother Caron McCloud and a few pieces of Sue Hoya Sellars.
I took this work of art first. This is signed to me, an 11-year-old girl – on the back she says – “A Special Gift for our Special Gift – I love you more than you can ever know” This is from 1981, a Thread Painting by Eden McCloud, my Grandmother. She hand-dyed all the threads. She was a seamstress, pattern maker, carpenter, farmer, herbalist, storyteller and so much more. And she loved me.
I send the image of this beauty out to all beings who are suffering. This kind of Rites of Passage changes you from the inside out. You grow up in places that you were still holding onto from childhood. You realize, yes, what is important is in the heart, yet the sense of a home threatened is a feeling like no other. I know many of you have felt this. This is where our hearts go out to those in migration in a deeper wave of compassion. I think of my ancestors, fleeing to America over 100 years ago, not knowing what they were coming into here.
I feel like I have been on the run for 67,000 years since my mitochondrial DNA left the area of Africa now known as Ethiopia. We just moved into the Saint Helena area two weeks ago, to our forever home after 3 months of remodeling on a 1970ies fixer on the top of a mountain. A few days ago, as I stood in the red dirt, I brought my consciousness back to my motherland of Africa and made a cosmic connection. Letting that land know, I was finally home and my Grandmother’s DNA stops here (since my sister and I had no children). I did a ritual. I completed. I wasn’t going to ever leave my home. Then this. Wowza.
I don’t believe in a punishment and reward kind of Creator, I also don’t believe the Earth is punishing. I do believe we are part of an evolution, and I am every bit a part of it as these fires.
Yes, we are safe. We made a bed in the middle of the MUSEA museum surrounded by art. Yes, we will make it through this together. Yes, prayer helps, mostly us, get through this. Though I do imagine the fire hears us too, and the land. I love the trees and the earth as much as my own body. Magical thinking, sure, I love that. It doesn’t matter if it works, it works for me. Prayer changes the body and field in an instant.
After sleeping 14 hours last night, which has never happened in all my life – I realize how my life-force was extracted a few days ago when we had to leave. All I wanted was the art and my pillow. Well, I did wave goodbye to my wardrobe from the past 30 years, and my roses and plants. As I said goodbye, I stroked the Black Madonna Guadalupe from Mexico and asked her to protect. She was too big to carry out. May she still stand. Today our house still stands, thanks for seeing it in the visual doorbell.
And now I tend to my soul space. The only space I have authority with and real say with. I am fine and not fine. I am strong and not strong. I am love and that love goes on forever. Sue used to say that. Love goes on forever, it never ends. Certainly, I have felt that with her and my Grams, their love never ends.
We will get through this in the best way that we can. I am putting on my Cosmic Cowgirl hat and heading for some good strong coffee with my love, Jonathan. Love you.
Here we are in Florence Italy, 2018.
How I look forward to going back to this beautiful romantic city with my love.
Day Five: Jonathan and I braved going out to dinner last night on a date. Musea, our Museum and School in Sonoma was really smokey and the weather a few towns away promised blue sky. I put on my flowered mask and my turquoise dress and off we went. I had been filming all day and was ready for time with my manz. We have morning cafe every day and what he calls ‘reverse cafe’ every night.
We enjoyed oysters and lobster risotto under a cool blue sky and some Sonoma Coast Pinot. We have been so focused on what is at hand the past 5 days. Evacuating seems short and an eternity when you are checking to be sure your house and town haven’t burnt up. Right now, our house and town are safe, but we haven’t gotten word that we can return.
We have been talking, but not like this. It isn’t survival mode when you are evacuated, but it is something else, I am not sure I have the words for yet. (Besides an episode of twilight zone where the sun is always magenta and it goes on for too long and it is strange and beautiful)
We had real talk ya’ll. About how this evacuation impacts him, after working on the house for over three months, driving an additional 3 hours a day home to me, the devotion and design he put in – as most of the choices were by him, it was/is his art. Here are a couple photos.
We talked about him being a Veteran and what he used to have to do when he was rescuing people in hostile territory. He showed me a video that is circulating where two firefighters are rescued from the fire – finally, I could see what he had done when he was in the military. My husband amazes me. Jonathan was blown out of a helicopter by a grenade, on the way to make a pick up of people in danger….and he was the only person in his crew that lived. So he knows trauma intimately (and has shared about it in our course Apothecary). He teaches me resilience and how to work with it. Even though our house hasn’t been lost – evacuating is a strange trip, so please be kind to all who are experiencing this – of course you would be, but it is a big deal! If you are one who is evacuated, no need to make light of it, this is big emotional territory.
We talked about what we both ‘do’ in order to not get all of our ‘stuff’ on the other person. The modes we go into just to get through the niceties of the day. I felt so honored that we have so much trust between us that we could share so freely.
I realized then, my refuge is work. This work of Intentional Creativity is my focus, as well as making art, almost with a vengeance, but more like an obsession – something big I could put all of myself into. I told Jonathan that I was approaching our business as if every time I worked on it, it was time with God. A devotion, a sacred act, a healing, and a way to navigate the quaking inside. A way to manage the panic and to keep my eye on the tricky ways that PTSD sneaks in when you are buying the toothpaste you forgot, or can’t find clean pants.
Talking with our community this week, already hundreds of you, I am in my full soul space, present, engaged, joyful and ready to serve. How grateful I am to have work I love and to provide this work to others. How being with you is pure joy in my life and makes me stronger, makes me want to show up. And yes I am taking care of myself too – I am good at that actually. Yet, YOU, you are what inspires me to make beauty. I thank you for being my refuge during the times I navigate in my life. The Red Thread is real, quantum love. I feel this. Do you?
Last night when we got back Jonathan worked on making art, he is working on a book of poetry and photos of and for me! And I worked late on my current Artifact painting, the fierce Archetype that is emerging and what she is teaching me….she scares me a little.
This morning when I woke up from our bed on the floor in the middle of the museum, it was very smokey in the Musea building, and the smell sent me into a panic and tears. But I got up and wrote to you instead of succumbing to the fear. As I write to you, sharing my love story and my love with you, I send this love to all beings and creatures who are suffering and in harm’s way. As I write to you I know this is Intentional Creativity in action, and of course, I feel much better than I did when I started.
May this community be a blessing to us all. If we all bless it, so it shall be.
With Love and a Giant Paintbrush,
Lots happening at Musea the next two weeks – check it out to see just how much I get to devote myself to lol. www.musea.org/school
Here is my ARTIFACT painting in process. I would love to see what you are working on in the Red Thread Cafe. Tomorrow is WIP Day – what will you share with us?