Dec 24, 2012

Planning Mountain

A lot has happened since the last entry I posted from Venice. We often put off packing so we could hang out with as many of our wonderful friends and neighbors as we could before we left, we ate at several restaurants we still hadn’t made it to, and met a bunch of amazing new people that were right under our noses the whole time. When you’re in transition its funny how things like that get amplified. In our last couple of weeks in town I met two famous musicians that I'm inspired by. I met Henry Rollins. I listen to his radio show on KCRW while I’m painting, and its one of those LA things that I can bring with me out here via the interweb. It was really a pleasure to meet him in person. I got to thank him for his dedication to sharing his extensive personal music collection in such an entertaining and educating way. I’m grateful to have the memory of our meeting and to be able to think of it while listening to his live show here in the studio at the end of the trail. Jana and I also met Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) through our friend Sunny Bak. The Beastie Boys music has been influential and inspiring to both Jana and I and I always wondered if we’d get to meet any of the Beasties one day. Sunny used to photograph the Beastie Boys back in the day in Brooklyn. Her photo studio was where the Fight for Your Right to Party music video was shot. LA is like that; Venice especially, there are awesome talented people around every corner, some just happen to be celebrities.

Sidebar: As I sit here on the top floor bedroom of the ranch house the wind is starting to pick up big time. It can get up to 80 mph. I have to go check on the wood burning stove to make sure its rockin’ otherwise the wind will blow the smoke back down the pipes and smoke us out. …And as you may imagine, it’s cold outside!

The trip moving all of our stuff was pretty straightforward and uneventful. We did a ton of planning to make it as easy as possible. We hired local movers to load and unload the truck and it was the best money we spent. A synchronicity occurred with the moving help. One of the local Venice movers was a massage therapist and one of the local Flagstaff movers was also a massage therapist. Jana just graduated massage school and is planning to get her business started here. I’d like to see it as a sign that it will work out the way she wants it to. It was actually really fun driving the big truck and communicating via walkie-talkie with Jana while she drove my Mini Cooper that she had full of half of her plants, the fish, (tank bubbler was plugged in to the cigarette lighter) and Patrick the 17-year-old water turtle was in a box of towels.

It looks like the little mini is pulling the whole caravan.
Once we got to the Ranch there were a few little things we had to learn quickly. The first lesson came from the wind and we did indeed get smoked out in the morning after the fire died down in the back room. The trick is that you have to have the fire blasting to keep the wind from pushing down the pipe. Smoke came billowing through the front of the stove and I had to go outside find a big clay pot, transfer the smoking logs from the stove to the pot and set the thing smoldering outside.

View of the road leading to our new home.
We’ve had some issues with the power. The original solar batteries had to be replaced. The owners are really busy with the school since it’s the holidays and they still managed to get us a new set of 4 batteries to replace the old ones. Much love and gratitude to them for getting them installed so quickly! Soon there will be a total of 8 but for now we really have to watch our power use. Even turning on the 10 amp Satellite internet modem sucks a lot of our power and we need to conserve it just to have lights on in the evening.

The new batteries inspired a happy dance. Prior to these beauties
showing up we had to heat up water on the propane stove and blow air into the fishtanks to keep the fish alive.
One of the first chores I picked to do was to chop out the 5" thick ice and scoop
out all of the water from the wood burning hot tub. 
The reason we moved on the 18th instead of waiting for after the Holidays was because we were invited to participate in a Sweat Lodge ceremony here at the ranch on December 21st. I had never done one before and so I didn’t know exactly what the significance was going to be or what the ceremony itself was going to be about. I just knew it was going to be hot in there and cold outside and I was planning for the physical aspects of it more than anything. As it turns out one of the main themes of this ceremony is about planning for the future. The facilitator called the sweat lodge a “Planning Mountain” and emphasized that our group of 8 people and our prayers could make a difference and influence a positive change in the world. During the ceremony we showed our gratitude to Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants, we made statements about our current condition, and prayers asking for help and guidance for humanity to change some of its ways in order to create a better more sustainable world to live in. We literally planned and wished for a brighter future for the Earth, Nature, Human kind, and for our own personal journeys. The 21st has been hyped up as the end of the world. We did our small part to manifest a new beginning. What an auspicious way to begin this next adventure!

The Sweat Lodge the day after with the canvas it was wrapped in taken down. James Turrell's cows knocked over the traditional structure they used to use they had a new frame built made of metal. You can see the Grandfathers (stones in the central ring) and the mats we sat on drying out. The mats we brought were used at the Venice pad to wipe beach sand off of our feet before we got into bed.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous and abundant New Year to all from Bill, Jana, and Patrick. "All my relations".

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