Big Momma and The Piasa

A very Merry Autumn, Gentle Readers, if you are not enjoying the cool breezes and gentle sunlight then may you all in the South East be drying out.

Life right now has been personally stressful and I am blaming the fine whisps of grey hair on it: I’ll call them highlights and ignore my age.  Strange how you can look back one day and it seems like you were just starting to wend your way through the world and had the wind at your back like wings; and another time you look back and can only see the long spiral of time-events that twists to a strange rhythm and has pulled you too far along. I am trying to be mindful that our past has carried us forward to this point but our actions that we create in the Now will prove our future and help define our current worth. I am very drawn to the idea that we are a sum of our ancestors yet able to alter and change our fate, even expected to.  My Beloved has the ability to walk away from a strong and vivid thread of his path and branch away, rather like a streak of lightening across his tapestry of life. While I adore him for this ability I have in the past climbed over every string of warp and weft:  Finally with time and a growing awareness I am making my own bright light.  It is perhaps woven from fine silver and filaments of gold but it is my own lightening bolt.

Our house hold is not afraid of spiders.  Only Black Widows and Brown Recluses may get smacked because they are poisonous in the extreme.  For most of the late Summer and this Autumn we have had a huge, pale Orb Weaver hanging out in the eaves of the outside near the front door but blocking the two steps off of the small porch. Big Mama is our porch mate at night and so we just step off the porch on the side while Sorcha does her cute little leaping run.  And just like Motel 6 “We’ll leave the light on for you.”  While it must look either neighborly or energy wasteful, the front porch light stays on all night to attract as many moths for Big Mama as it can.  For a week or so there were two spiders and we called the new one Wicked Sister; take that gypsy meal moths!  As I had a pantry ruined in NC by those little buggers I do get some satisfaction knowing we are helping to set the buffet for Big Mama.  There is something so ephemeral and provocative about those slender filaments woven night after night, passively gleaming from the eaves.

Illinois is a plethora of karst and fluorite, which is great for fossils but highly so-so for anything else.  We did hear about the small town of Piasa (Pie-sa) and thought we had directions to a stream that was said to have fossils and geodes even worthy of Boy Scout trips.  Whelp, we found Piasa and we found a drool worthy karst formation and then we found the chain link fence.  There were some trails through the small park and public land and I do applaud the bicyclist that wizzed past us ’cause around the corner was one heck of an incline.  We wandered some little side paths to a stream that had some rocks in it and after a round or two of Iron Out my eye for patterned shapes had paid off and I had found a cute calcite sample.  The weather was sublime and the exploration was relaxing and a plus for yours truly was not collapsing back at the car and in finding two geodes that had fallen out of part of a karst formation.  Truthfully the story of the Piasa monster is more exciting than the trip but the caverns were truly yummy to look at; even had fresh flowing water we could hear and see reflected onto the ceiling.


And along a small side hill I found a great vein of Calcite which gave me hope for the stream further along.  Of interest to geologists and rockhound minutia was the geodes we found.  They were solid balls of sediment stone/mud that were thinly separated by fine layers of quartz druzy.  I’m keeping them for the unique place I found them and the intriguing layering.  And yes it is me in the stream finding the cool calcite piece.


Next adventure is Hamilton IL Keokuk Geode Festival and that should be a whirl wind of people, rocks, mud, vendors, dogs, crystals and Keokuk Iowa hospitality.

May some of the inexplicable Heart of the Earth that I experience come to you through this slender post.  May the slight brushing of the Veil bless you.  May the Harvest Moon wrap you and yours gently.

Be Well.



Mud Larks and Mood Swinging

I send the warmest greetings, Gentle Readers,

I am writing to you from the time of the Full Sturgeon Moon and can attest to the clear, bright nights with warm breezes that have come to me from the far away plains of the MidWest’s farms and prairies.  Here in Western Illinois the leafs are already starting to drop yellow on the ground, fluttering through the broken sun light like whispered promises of a warm and constant Autumn.  The Church down the block, the one with the giant pecan tree shading its parking lot, had a Love Festival over the weekend.  I could hear the music and the milling crowds through the neighborhood and even over the sounds of roofers laying down tar paper: Bathing us all in a surreal mix of high heat and  happy people.

Over a week ago I started the search for places to find stones that doesn’t involve parking lot filler.  Near us is the majestic joining of the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers called Chain of Rocks and this has been recommended for my first beach foray.  We poured over local guides and Google maps and chose a quaint little island accessed by a one lane bridge. We found some pull over sites and carefully picked our way through the mud patches to the River’s shore.  There were many early fisherman sitting idly in their folding chairs watching the brown waters go by and listening listlessly to the cicadas sing. Now, Gentle Readers, I hate to decry any one place on first impressions but… Eeewww!  I felt as though I was an old timey Thames River mud-lark searching for lost wallets and dead bodies. The amount of garbage left by past visitors was shameful and the smell of dead fish was impregnated into the mud.  I did find unique pieces of River glass and can supply artists easily with these worn and time muddled pieces.  My treasure was finding a largish, palm sized stromatolite!  If I had never been in the Great Lakes area for five years I would have never recognized the specific stone, and the Great Lakes was definitely where it washed down from. Every piece found was soaked in Oxyclean twice then soaked with a cap full of bleach for good measure.  (A MAGMA member suggested putting the stromatolite in vinegar to bring out the details better. I tentatively dipped an end in and was so surprised at the results I soaked the whole piece!! The lacy look in the first photo is almost all over the stone now!)


As the nights slide by the moon becomes a waning gibbous shape and the shadows grow just a touch deeper and longer through the darkness.  We walk our dog, Sorcha, late at night around eleven or midnight and we have come to the conclusion that while her eye site is just fine by the veterinarian’s opinion, she is an extremely, very, near sited pup.  Any object that appears to stand out in a dark yard must be chased, like water meters, food wrappers, hissing cats, large leaves, and gazing balls.  Our biggest concern at the moment is our discovery of several black, bushy tailed, white striped ‘kitty cats’.  If I turn to Face Book and ask where to get large quantities of tomato juice at midnight you will know what happened. So far Sorcha has not met the new fuzzy play mates in the neighborhood and our good luck and the good luck of our ‘Psycho Potato’ is intact.

Sometimes the world is an overwhelming collage of sounds and thoughts and desires.  Try as one might ya’ can’t block out your own personal stress and fears.  Not until you identify the internal source of these fears and anger can a person get back onto their specific path.  So I, specifically, after having identified the fears, turn to the ground under my feet and the ebb and flow of the unseen and mysterious:  Yep, gettin’ metaphysical here so hang on.  And as Earth-centered as I am I open my Third Eye to the Other Space around me: Then slowly it seeps in; the world unseen or ignored, the shadows and ‘creatures’ of the Other Space which happens to also be right here in the Tangible; on walking paths, grocery stores, around homes, in parks, and slipping and roiling among crowds.  So one tries to incorporate both types of Eyesight and keep life running on an even keel but they intertwine and blend so that seeing and sensing the world becomes a confusing Reality of interactions.  I am trying to keep ‘those blinders off’ which in and of itself is a frightening experience.  To quote a beloved therapist “just lean into the discomfort.  You do not have to take any baby steps just lean into it as much as you can.”  I truly doubt he ever meant for this wisdom to be applied to the Other Space-Reality but it works. For all the artists, introverts, mediums, intuitives, and wanderers:  You are not alone.

Near the end of September comes the Autumnal Equinox and the light becomes less than the darkness and the Winter Season begins in earnest.  May God Keep and Bless you and until the next post: Be well.