On Landscape and The River Is the Path

 

photo Luis chumbe

On Landscape

Texture and Heat. Having been there makes a difference (does it?). (It does).

What I say is: “My body misses Latin America.” What I mean is: After 3 days in Iquitos, my body has recycled most of its water. I am now a living exchange with the air breathed by the Amazon River via the trees. I am made up of madura tierra, dolphins swim my blood, my body re-orients itself as a boat—after all the river is the path (dummy). (Wow, that one took a long time. 10 years maybe.)

As I am re-inhabited by the river, my body re-orients itself as a boat. The river is the path. As many times as I need to hear it and lose it. I lose it again.

Presently my body feels hollow, greedily metabolizing rare sunlight, missing the rainbow-haze droplet filtered quality. The water is life component. The swimming in the water-air component. The each footfall is a blessing communicated to the earth and lifted back up and out through the trees to be reabsorbed component. The roundness of walking as blessing and being blessed by the moisture in the air component. The Softness—if earth can be silty, slip silky, this is the quality applied to air. A warm stone feeling, hand warmed clay as walking environs.

Yesterday someone asked: How could you not miss the forest (la selva)? I miss the forest like I miss my sister, like I miss a birthplace, like I miss knowing where I actually AM.

Well! That was true! And elicited some breaking up of the dam inside of myself. I place myself there inside of it and the river land calls me, immediately, you can come home, you can come home. Yesterday I thought about it as my “spiritual birthplace” and that is not really it. It is the place where I became (and become) re-oriented to myself and to the world. My first and dearest long-term, long-distance relationship—with a river, weaving herself underground. Yes, I’m getting it, I’m hearing it.

Do I have to say, so obviously, the paintings with the black backgrounds are true. They are dreams, map flashes of landscape, they are connections of the human turned back in to communion with/of the larger experience. In the realities of Westernization we have an idea that perhaps were are floating in a kind of void, why we are obsessed with a cold-metallic-alone version of space craft and exploration, instead of an organic, community version. In the forest, I met a tree who is a spaceship. The presence of this craft-self was so obvious that it reminded me to myself, and that is a feeling that no longing for it could match. Coming home. Coming home.

That I will not be returning to this beloved, to this mother, this sister, this homeplace this turn is suddenly present with me. The recognition shuts something down in me, in the relationship, in the dreaming. But perhaps something else is being born in me, some hybrid seed of self that is both river and boat.

And to think–I was trained to feel that weaving myself back in to the dream is lonely. But that’s not true. It is Full To Bursting with Life, Blessing, Purpose, Meaning, and Beauty. It is filled with Truth. It is filled with the Real World.

Blessings on Your Heads,
Ashe
Charlotte

Badger Encounter

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I have been making more poems recently and have filled almost a notebook per month this summer with a variety of writing while traveling through many states and into the Peruvian Amazon, deep heart of my hearts. I am looking forward to some time to sift and edit in the coming months, although my travel clowning season is picking up and is feels about to expand into every month of the year. My heart can only expand with this flow of beautiful work.

In addition to exploding my heart at the Festival de Belen (!), this August I have been working through the SHINE Expansive online course, offered by Jessica Chilton, and have delighted in making watercolor paintings of my experiences in the daily meditations. I have made 6 in the last 10 days, and it has been fun, relaxing, and a gift to myself (my birthday is coming up on the 30th!). Here’s a depiction of the first meeting of this badger within mySelf.

(I am also supplementing my paints with my grandmother Dorothea (Savage) Mitchell’s watercolor paints!)

For more information about Gesundheit! Institute clowning and signing up for a clown trip (!!!) visit: http://www.patchadams.org/global-outreach/

For more information about the SHINE Expansive (I’ve really enjoyed it) visit: http://www.sparkcreativewellness.com/shine-expansive/

C.Savage 8.27.16

Clown as Blessing

 

13669333_10154102273765219_2865742418207126611_ophoto by Atomic Adams, Guatemala City, shelter for community displaced by catastrophic landslide, November 2015

I must say, truly, clowning buoys my days and gives me courage and protection to rebel, love, play, smile, and be ridiculous as an act of peace and hope in the face of the horrors of the world we live in today. The clown gives me a buffer when I am crushed almost to death by the denial, greed, meanness, hatred, and fear in humans, and our wanton destruction of our home planet. We are making things unlivable for ourselves… and only we as individuals can begin to be accountable.

Clowning has given me many gifts– access to places and peoples I would have NEVER known or believed existed, moments or hours of play with people who may not have been looked in the eye or treated like a human in YEARS, it has given me singing–my own voice!, it has given me a deep well of inspiring friends around the globe to believe in and support and be supported by–a bigger community to love, it has given me permission to be odd/to be other…rather, to be MYSELF, because hey, I always have the cover of “well…I’m a clown,” it allows me to CHOOSE to try on the role of the lowest member of society–to be pointed at as the fool in any community– and to see what the view is like from down there.

Clowning has given me a global education in the various ways we treat the lowest members of our societies. I have been met with situations I will never begin to understand, have encountered the wounds of systemic oppression that leave me wanting to lie down and give up, and YET…what else is there to do? but show up and be myself, my individual, tender, in love, bizzarro little self, and witness and give my little heart to the places where people struggle every day to live.

Clowning gives me hope, and purpose on the path of good and love and joy and beauty and friendship and connection in the world, and gives me the tools to stand up and be brave and be a blessing in these desperate times. May I continue to be able to learn from this work and play, to take in the unbelievable and sad and lonely and suffering, may I take in the joy and love of communities and families in their resourcefulness and courageousness, and make of myself an offering of joy, of love, a spark, a light, an odd little possibility…may I be able to give and receive the blessing that I, as a clown, can be in this world.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my sister Lillie for sweeping me up into this way of being, together, to Patch Adams and John Glick for believing in me, to my family for supporting me, and to all of the clown family who believe that clowning is a powerful tool for social care.

C.Savage 7.12.16

Becoming A Mother

992952_10151676189375219_1653747330_nThree years ago, plus a week, I became a mother, and I continue to become a mother every day. It is not a switch that is flipped. For a long time before that I yearned for motherhood in a way that was beyond my understanding. Mother becomes a servant to life. My identity still reels against this. I frequently want to go my own way and realize I cannot, that there is no “my own way,” and really, the gift of this message is, there never was.

I love my son for himself, and for the hard lessons he teaches me, in nearly every hour of every day. We look almost EXACTLY the same, pictures from my childhood are practically identical to his. Even strangers comment on this. My stock response is, “Yea, I wind up chasing myself down a long hallway all day,” and we laugh, and my eyes get a little unfocused, because it IS funny, but it is also more true than someone outside of my life could begin to understand.

My midwife told me that each birth, with unique experiences each time, gives the mother things that she will need to raise that particular child. This (my only) birth showed me how NOT in control I am. Life gave me the gift of a Profound and Holy EGO FUCK. I actually received/hallucinated a “HA HA HAAAA” as Life Force barreled through me while I clung to the sides of a tub. There was no escape from the deep and painful knowledge that “I” am nothing but a vessel for Life. This birth dissolved many ideas I had about myself, and when I remember to remember, the message I got was not to waste time in doubt, of myself or the forces of nature, because if I could go through THAT, I could do anything. I tearfully, and with wonder, said goodbye to my self-critic. With my particular child, I simply don’t have time for that. I must light the way. I must make light to see my own reflection.

I continue to surf the confusion and not-knowing of living and mothering, I am fairly certain I always will, there is a lot to not-know. Though I frequently stumble, my greatest feat in life was being a participant in the birth of this child, this child, who, coming through me, gave me the gift of true respect for life, and for myself as a part of it. Thank you Theo, for allowing me to become your mother. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you dearly.

C. Savage 5.8.2016, Mother’s Day