Kristie Dahlia Home
A grove of trees with stones and plants and a shell path winding through
We Are Beloved

Sprawling Through Time

May 7, 2024

Beloved friends,

Between my house and the road lies this grove of trees. In the grove hangs a nut feeder. We've reached a deal with the squirrels: if we keep the nut feeder stocked, they will leave the seed feeder on the deck to the birds. In order to fulfill this agreement without laying a buffet for the raccoons, one of us walks out into the grove each morning to hang the feeder and each evening to bring it in.

James requested a path, so I cleared and opened up an old deer path and lined the front portion with crushed oyster shells. There are several things I love about this path. One is the way the shells shine brightly in this Pacific Northwestern forest. Another is that every one of those oysters was eaten by someone I love while staying as a guest in my home. All winter, when we drove down to Lilliwaup (I will take any excuse to say Lilliwaup) to get fresh delights from Hama Hama for beloved visitors, I stashed the leftover shells in the freezer. Come spring I crushed them with a hammer and laid them out in the grove.

Perhaps the thing I love most about this path is that it will take years to complete. It will be imperfect and partial, an intention in progress, for a long, long time. I could drive in to town (Me, myself; I can drive into town now!) and load up bags of crushed oystershell at the garden shop to lay a path in an afternoon, but that's not what I am after. The way is to drive down along the canal for oysters, eat them with loved ones, crush them with a hammer, and lay down into the soil memories, blessings, thanks, and time. That's what makes it art and spell.

In related news, the dishwasher developed a leak, so we stopped using it months ago. We aim to fix it, but epoxying the door of the dishwasher hasn't called our hearts as much as tromping around on the hillside behind the house to figure out where to cut path back there, painting the bedroom, sewing little eye pillows for the studio, or the zillion other makings we get up to on a weekend. And we've found that we enjoy washing the dishes by hand – it slows things down, sets us up to linger together after a meal, talking, savoring. We did our dishes by hand for years on the boat; here-now we can do them with endless, hot, potable water. Laborious, luxurious, precious.

In our second year back on land we find ourselves relaxing into place and time, the moments lush and alive, our intentions sprawling softly forward. I am so grateful for the tendrils of time, attention, and intention that connect me to you, friend. Thank you for being here.

Dahlia in San Francisco this week

I would be delighted to sink my thumbs and knees into you, talk to you about your heart and life, create a new meditation recording for you to use each day; any of these and more could come about this Saturday May 11 or Monday May 13, when I'll be meeting with folks for private sessions just off Fisherman's Wharf. I'll be at the Hotel Zephyr, and I'd love to see you there! Drop me a line to discuss or simply grab some time on my Calendly.

Schedule Change

It's spring and change is afoot! As of this week the free weekly Meditation Gathering is moving from Thursdays to Tuesdays 8-8:55am Pacific. The Soft Animal Saturday yoga session is now a local class rather than a Zoom class.


What We Prepare For
Because sometimes the internet is full of magic, Elizabeth Davies posted online, "Training for my summer body? Fuck no. I'm training for my old lady body. Dense bones. Strong muscles. A healthy heart. Good balance. Functional independence." and L.E. Bowman used this as the title and inspiration for a magnificent poem.

"I'm training for my old lady body.
Dense bones. Strong muscles. A healthy heart."

You can keep your sapling body; I want to be a mountain.
Live oak limbs and black gum roots.

I want a base ample and unshakeable.
Thick and steady. Storm ready.

I want skin intimate with the wind, the sun, the rain.
Weathered enough to tell stores. A testament to my

I want bones trained to carry.
Veins that flow like rivers to my ocean of
a heart.

You can keep your pre.
You can keep your new.

I want after.
I want profuse.

Chaos Gardening
As you might surmise from reading that my tending to the land involves shells and hammers, this makes my heart sing: "What ‘chaos gardening’ specifically entails depends on who you ask, but every definition is inspired by the unruly growth of nature and a whiff of rebellion against the control and neatness of traditional horticulture. Overall, it is a welcome move towards a more natural style of gardening: an eco-friendly approach that has wildlife in mind and echoes the countryside's informal, unbridled look that is created by plants spreading and mixing unchecked."

The Pleasure of Doing
What Amanda Hess calls busywork I'd prefer to call attending to living, but we agree on the value of these actions. Her article How a Virtual Assistant Taught Me to Appreciate Busywork resonated with the feelings about the value and pleasure of living which I opened with today, particularly in this moment of rush-toward-AI. After spending a few weeks using applications that aim to bring ease, she says, "I realized that much of the busywork claimed by the apps is actually quite personal, often rewarding and occasionally transformative."

How We Love
It's been incredible to watch consensually nonmonogamous relationship structures having a moment in the sun lately! I hope that these culture conversations can help people become clearer within themselves and more honest with one another about what they dream of, what they need, what their limits are, and to help us create structures for loving and living, family and community, which serve us well. Slate had a great article rounding up research on the prevalence of polyamorous or ENM (ethically nonmonogamous) relationships, who engages in them, and what kind of satisfaction people have with them. Some great stereotype-smashing data here. Perhaps you know that my happy, 27 year marriage is not monogamous; I am pansexual and polyamorous and long have offered counsel and kindness around love and relationship.

"According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly." Oh yes, yes. This Eulogy from a Physicist is glorious; thanks to Kirsten for sending it my way. Ram Dass said it like this:

Imagine two waves, a smaller one and a larger one, traveling across the ocean. Suddenly, the larger one sees land approaching, and gets upset. He cries out to the smaller wave, "Oh no! Up ahead – waves are crashing and disappearing! We're going to die!" The smaller wave, somehow, is unperturbed. So the larger wave tries to convince her, to no avail. Finally the smaller wave says, "What would you say if I told you that there are six words, that if you really understood and believed them, you would see that there's no reason to fear." The bigger wave protests, but as the land approaches he becomes desperate. He'll try anything. "Fine, fine, tell me the six words."
"Okay," the small wave says. "You're not a wave; you're water."