Marshall Street Bridge, Minneapolis, MN

IMGA01011 copywrite 2015 Patricia Stachelski

Prayer for the first day of snow.
Icy streets, slippery bridge, slushy sidewalks for pedestrians. Fill up the bird feeder if you have the means, get ready for the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. Consider how you can make this world a better place for all, for Syrian refugees, for the neighbor who lost her home, for the people who don’t have health insurance, for families who lost someone, for people disowned by their families, for people in transition, people who don’t know where to go. Winter is harder when there isn’t a warm place to retreat to for food and human love. Sunshine in short supply makes us all needier. A need can’t be fulfilled by new products such as a phone or a car, but by human comfort, forgiveness and assistance.

What it Means to Lope

Loping is described as a “3 beat” gate. I find the lope the most challenging because it demands that I sit the horse balanced and go with the rhythm of the horse, to not lean forward or backwards, but straight in the saddle with control, yet fluidity. A rider shares this rhythm in such an intimate way as she sits atop the horse’s back. I believe when the relationship is a good one, that is when it is humane and sensitive to the horse’s needs, horses and riders enjoy the bond they create, enjoy the flow they find together. It is a unique and beautiful occurrence when the rider and horse meld into one being, and this is clearly observable in the lope.


Since it is Halloween or All Souls Day when the veil between this world and other realms is very thin, it is a good time to speak about a spiritual dilemma or should I say, a spiritual conflict. It is Possession, a noun; possessed, a verb, to be owned by something. In possession, a noncarnate takes residence in a living person much like a bloodsucker attaches to a fish or turtle, a flea to a dog or cat. They are extremely dangerous and destructive unsettled souls who have not found rest. With evil machinations, they can drive the human host to a premature death. The antidote to possession by such entities is to clear and cleanse the environment, have hope for a positive change and believe in love. Love is stronger than hate and evil. Love will save a person from falling prey to these noncarnates. You can tell them to go away and leave your body free by praying to God in whatever name you use, the God of love and the love that exists in the universe. These are your allies.

Hmong and Native American cultures are some of the cultures that have published stories about this phenomena. Sometimes through diseases like alcoholism or another addiction, a person undergoes an alteration in personality and physical form. By explaining it as a possession, people are able to separate the loved one from the behaviors. This is a healthy perspective. It also suggests that the person can be cured from this condition by exorcising the noncarnate. How is it possible to exorcise a parasitic incarnate from someone? By calling on the name of Love and the Divine which always has more power than an evil noncarnate. This is the job of shamans or other spiritual wise ones. The possessed person can also call for help in the name of Divine love or by asking for help from the angelic realm, the spiritual helpers.

That the veil is thin should not evoke fear, just awareness that there are other realms with both good and bad energies. The wisdom and confidence to know the difference is useful, and that is why I chose this topic tonight.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Dandelion Wine

The State Fair marks the end of summer and the growing season for tomatoes. I have harvested 2 beautiful Big Boy varieties. Green ones remain on the vine. Once the first frost arrives, it is too late to ejoy them and all their goodness will be ruined. If picked before the first frost, green tomatoes can be pan fried in a little olive oil. It is a way to enjoy some summer freshness and nutrition into the cool weather. Tomatoes originated in South America, most likely Peru. Tomatoes were brought to Europe probably by the Conquistadores and enjoyed in Europe long before they became popular in the United States. In Colonial times of North America it was considered bad luck to eat tomatoes and they were grown for decorative purposes only. Only after waves of European immigrants brought the tomato to the United States did they become popular for cooking and eating here.

The wisdom of place teaches that we can survive best on the plants that grow locally, but local is constantly changing. What was once considered foreign is now considered native. Dandelions, one of the most prolific plants in the world, are believed to have been brought here on the Mayflower. Their value as a medicinal plant dates to the time of the ancient Egyptians. The leaves can be stir-fried in olive oil or eaten raw in a salad. The roots can be made into a tincture for sinus problems. Harvest the plant straight from your garden to make a delicious wine to be served at next summer’s garden party.

Tiny Corn

The tiny corn stirs in me an ancient appreciation for its form. It is only 2 inches long but has pulled away from the stalk. The silk 4 feet above it no longer catches the wind. I had cut it all down. I had given up on ever getting corn from this city garden. Despite my inability to nurture it, corn grew. I picked a tiny ear and held it. As if peering at a newborn baby’s diminutive hands and feet, I admired the full and succulent seeds. I salvaged two more ears from the shredded stalks.

It appeals to my neanderthal origins to pluck and eat something while it still lives. Though precious rains carry toxins from factory stacks and pollute my garden, this corn is mine. I need this nourishment. Tired of putting off what I love, what I yearn for, I eat it raw. I have no regrets that I didn’t toss it into boiling water first. It’s as if I am taking a bite out of the garden, the smells, the bees, the singing birds and digesting them all. I am the bear in the blueberries of spring with stained muddy paws and a snout dripping with juice.

Birds’ English

Birds’ English

starling twitching
yap yee eee eee
red cardinal
what cheer
what cheer
what cheer
wheat wheat wheat

robin cheerily cheer up cheerily cheer up
goldfinch chatter chatter chee chee
nuthatch peep peep
chickadee dee dee
chickadee dee dee
chickadee dee dee
all along

junco chip chip chip
caw caw caw urgent crows
woodpecker tap tap tap tap
tap tap tap
the telephone pole

hummingbird whirs the sun
geese drone

I’m here here here I’m here here here I’m here here here
mourning dove tells all

Smokey becomes Shadow: Kitten Update

Smokey aka Shadow at 6 months

As of last week the beautiful orphan kitten that was found in the garden has a new home. At 6 months of age, he is full of energy and a little too much for our older cat. He liked to ride her like a horse, and this is how he earned the name “Cowboy Smokey Joe.” With all our pets, 2 dogs, 2 adult cats and numerous fish, we decided to place Smokey in another home through Happy Hound Rescue of Minnesota. A great home was found not too far from our neighborhood where he is the king of the house with the run of the roost with everyone waiting on him and a full bowl of food always available! I know it sounds decadent for one small cat, but a happy ending to this story encourages me. I must say I had my doubts with all the kittens, cats and homeless pets turned out and left at shelters, to find a home for our kitten seemed like a huge task. Thank you to Happy Hound Rescue for the great work they do and to the kindhearted woman and her family who took him in. Smokey is now Shadow, so named for his insistence on following his new owner throughout her house.

All posts copyright Trish Stachelski 2013