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Overtures to Thanksgiving

Greetings Gentle Readers,

I feel compelled to share the magnificence of the moon last night. The moon was a perfect half; the night air so sharp and crisp the outline of it was almost tangible. I want to say the moon was glowing, that it was shiny, or that it was luminous but no:  The moon was the perfect combination of abalone, precious Mother of Pearl, and crystal; a direct and intense light nearly brittle in its beauty. And this was not just any crystal, like the kind from a ball room chandelier or from the fringe of a flapper’s dress; this was a crystal of a hardness and entrancement that you had just dug for hours in the red and ocher soil then realized what a perfectly rare creation of the Earth you were holding in your palm.

And what draws one to the Night with such an intensity that prudence and forethought are mere wisps to the mind? Why does the night inspire such energy and dramatic desires?  I suppose the greatest question is why insomnia is such a stultifying experience when it would be more of a relief to be able to flitter about in the dark hours than staring at the carpet in a stupor. Then when the sun just starts to climb, regardless of having gamboled through the night, slept like the innocent, or sat counting bricks in the wall, all the body wants to do is tether the starting sunbeam around oneself and sleep curled in warmth and soothing light.  We can all simply claim, of course,  imagination and subconscious cultural cues but for a simple moment give credit to the sweet siren song of the Night and let us long to sleep in the sun.

And so we come to the days before Thanksgiving and the rush for the Holidays starts.  The past four days have been a soggy and pallid time.  The sky has been grey, the sun has been grey, and the majority of the icy snow has melted into a wet mess of cold puddles and dead leaves.  It is just cold enough to need shoes for long walks but not to need scarves and wool socks, yet regardless of the rather dreary landscape there is a lovely hustle and bustle starting.  I went to The Goshen Market Butchers shop today and I am pleased to say that while I had no idea where I was I didn’t get lost going to the market.  For those that know my ability to get lost in my own house, take this as a sign of a Seasonal Miracle.  The butchers had a stream of people coming in and out picking up pre-orders yet still finding time to open doors for each other and to talk amiably.  Sure, the merits of old time cola and gooseberries for cooking are not earth shatteringly important but the congenial human contact is welcome on grey days and during the Thanksgiving season.  There are those folks , deservedly or not, that have no close family, are ostracized from cousins, or simply alone in their own skin: I truly send you my love and sympathy:  If you are able then perhaps you can gather the Earth and Sky about you and create a pocket of comfort and love;  may there be some human warmth from a local dinner or the open doors of a church if the esoteric is not your frame of mind;  those brilliantly rare people who take solitude as comfort may the rhythm of your own heart beat be a sweet sound.  For my dearest Mother, who will not even know this blog exists, I send out to you “Happy Thanksgiving”; we are staying home so enjoy your dinner at the cafe ’cause you don’t have to cook.

Glad tidings for those that do struggle or have struggled with small business: I had two sales from my Etsy site within nine days of each other!! I am not exactly the best self promoter in the world so to have this happen is exciting.   I sell a creative variety of items, trying to appeal to the odd artist and the vintage jewelry enthusiast while keeping prices reasonable enough.  The chase for a bargain and the thrill of the discovery drives me, truly, and then I have all this jewelry and odd finds slowly taking over my cabochon machine.  I hear stories about treasures found at yard sales and even know a dear friend we can call LH that found a ring with a metal detector when all the rest of us found were pop top tabs.  A bead stringing professional I know, JB, a friend I miss working stones and gem shows with, found a malachite necklace for one dollar at the Goodwill.  And once I found a vintage dress from 1940’s Japan for four dollars at a yard sale.  With a wry chuckle I am still waiting to find a lost Monet or forgotten Faberge.

Tonight is comfortably above thirty degrees and our sweet rescue dog Sorcha is sleeping on her pad.  She snores.  Tonight she snores with little huffy wheezes and at other times we can hear her rumbling while we are in the kitchen. My husband just sighs, and I must admit I am glad I am not the only one that snores in this house.  In our past apartment in Chicago we had, to politely put it, upstair neighbors that were immature:  There were times that my semi-truck-lumberjack snoring was my best revenge on them, unfortunately the Hubby had to listen to me also.  You know it is true love when ya’ offer to sleep on the couch and your Darling says “but I can’t sleep if you’re uncomfortable.”  It is also a true sign when your lover still kisses you first thing in the morning and you could swear a chipmunk died in your mouth.

Below is our attention mongering, fur shedding, bacon stealing, absolute lovey of a dog.  And yes I said shedding.

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(I must explain that we are in the middle of reorganizing our books and I normally do not allow my modest collection of Greek and Roman classics to be so disorganized.  Organizing books is a serious activity in this household and thanks to Ikea we finally have more shelving than books.)

Tonight is Thanksgiving Night and here it has finally dried out somewhat into a lovely, clear, forty-five degree night.  The Moon is full and as lovely and crystalline as it was when it was in half. We had our lamb and sweet potatoes and the dog is the happiest of us because she will get lamb drippings on her kibble and asparagus tonight.  I am thankful that tonight I was able to go barefoot again across the outside ground and have the Earth under my feet, if only for a half hour or so.  For all those far away and having any hollow thoughts:  We are under the same Moon.

Thank You, Gentle Readers,

Be Well

 

Gentle Readers, Greetings,

I might as well start this blog out on Halloween night.  The day has been a sublime treat of overcast sky, easy temperatures, and a soft breeze after last night’s midnight-rain.  The Night is quiet and, how shall I say, gentle.  Now the Darkness will be longer than the Light until the blessings of the Winter Solstice come and the Light begins it’s return.  While the leaves are falling into a soft carpet of gold and red the weather is still warm enough to have my bare feet on the ground.  I must give a sigh and a wry chuckle:  We are in the MidWestern Bible Belt but Halloween decorations are all over and the Husband and I were looking forward to gaggles of costumed trick or treaters tonight, but, last night I was laying still in the bedroom with a migraine and my husband had the porch light off: Our city trick-or-treats the night before Samhain and so we still have two huge bags filled with prime candy.

Back down in the South East several MAGMA die hards went to collect fossils at the Pipsico Camp along the James river and their trip was a blazing success. They found tremendous plates of shells and whale bones melded together by time. Video stories a Dearly Adored shared of the deep embankments not only narrated the excitement and awe of fossils but also showed the richness of the trapped strata on the cliff sides. The driftwood was even worthy of picking up for art and home bound decoration. I had to smile seeing the pictures of piles of fossils and ancient whale bones and then the piece of driftwood on the side: These big men who have lifted seemingly tons of stone in their lifetimes, and helped cary many a bucket of mine, were beguiled by fallen branches.  Even the hardiest Lady RockHound fell to the magic of the river worn wood. While I do feel a small pang of loss for not being there I am very happy for my Beloveds.

With the change of seasons our thoughts often focus on family and the need for cozy comforts. So in a maudlin frame of mind I am wondering why Love is a most painful beauty we can have in our lives. You love someone and the site of them across a room makes your heart beat faster, being near them is a poultice for sorrow, and hugging them closely is a cure for pain and grief.  And the thought of never having any of their thoughts of you or their energy around you is terrifying, like fearing a surreal rigor mortis of the soul. Why do we even want Love? Why do we care so strongly when it will only bring pain? Love is terribly similar to Hope: We hope for Love and love to Hope, both leading us onward in a nearly blind trust that what we experience or what we have is meant to be. And yet Love is the most precious gift one can give or receive. Even Agape Love will help one along in times of sorrow and crises. I have never been a loner, have always wanted to be loved, and having found passionate Love I heartedly wish it for others. I can only be in awe of those people that are fiercely single, enveloping themselves in friendships and the pursuit of finding Life.

This is the fourth or fifth day of overcast rain. It’s a chill rain that is dropping the Autumn leaves like a carpet of yellow and bright orange. During the Summer the sun came through the windows here like spears of light and now even the noon day sun light is a soft grey. My work room used to be blazingly bright once the sun passed the mid point but now that there is Winter rain even this room needs a light bulb. I am fighting off the maudlin blues (reference the above paragraph) by cabbing and have finished 15 more cabochons. The ones I have recently completed have not had their bottoms smoothed off yet but they will.  With all the work and polishing my dop pot has been kept pretty and clean only because I forgot to turn it off over night:  Why yes, Gentle Readers, dopping wax can burn to the bottom of the melting pot. With my migraine defunct memory, I am lucky that it can be scraped out fairly easily. But the cabochons are very exciting and have turned out to have amazing patterns once more revealed by polishing. I even have druzy vugs/pockets and varied shapes.  I tend to make a high domed cabochon with a thicker girdle/edge. I simply must share some of the more exciting ones with you while I fix and re-polish about 4 because I am picky.

The first picture is of several of the cuties together. The second picture shows those patches of metallic shine I find frequently as only speckles in other cabs. Then are two cabs; one with a more boitroidal vug and a B&W with a wicked pattern. The last picture has an oval cabochon with stormy rings of grey and a great ‘button’ cabochon with iron stains like flames that jut up from the edge.

And I also sew!!  Why, yes, my skills are numerous and astounding! (Some tongue in cheek right there, even if my Darling Husband can only agree.) I make thick and very nice jewelry bags from scrap cloth that I get from Freecycle and upholstery stores.  (This silky red back drop above comes from Darn Good Yarn.) Fabric and upholstery book samples are a crafters sweet dream:  The samples are often sorted by color or hue and the squares are all the same size from each book. It is the finding these sample books and upholstery scraps that are a tooth and nail hunt now a days for times have changed and they are no longer given away to the asker. For rainy moments and waiting lines at the DMV, sewing these squares into pouches is a life saver and keeps me off of the phone and computer, well, mostly off of the phone to be honest. It is rather a crafters’ conundrum, though, that I can sew and macrame but wire wrapping just gets my knickers in a twist. Truthfully, I need to try wire wrapping for my cabochons again but I feel rather strongly that any decent pictures will be a while in coming.

And thus I come to the strangeness of success. I have been blessed to become surrounded by talented and artistic friends of many kinds, and their success is from the striving and efforts of entrepreneurs and small business. They have and are pushing hard to be recognized and respected in their chosen fields, and they are accomplishing said task:  Oh how I admire them and am in awe of their abilities. I am told I am talented, artistic, smart, and that my ideas and success will explode (rather like confetti and rainbows together?) yet I am held in stasis like Super Glue to your finger tips. I am in this weary holding pattern due to fear, or course, and identity:  My self identity has been a negative black hole for so long I have trouble identifying as anything else.  There is a real fear of losing ‘who I am’ even though I would be terribly grateful for my self image to improve.  This is the very personal burden I bear:  To live in the now without fearing the unknown future and to see myself as glowingly as my friends do. I share this in the hope that this ‘telling’ will help hold me on my path toward blossoming and to salut with admiration those who are making success part of their reality, part of their life. (And I thank you, oh My Best Beloved, for seeing so much inside of me and wanting it to be outside.)

Some of our mountains have already seen snow while the beaches are still growing citrus; rockhounds in Michigan and Wisconsin are wearing coats and rubber boots while Florida collectors are still river swimming for fossils and coral; artists and crafters all over are turning on lights and warming up basement studios as the glorious Grey grows stronger than the mellow Sun:  Power on and strive my Dearest Ones.

Be Loved and Be Well

 

 

Dearest Gentle Readers,

As one can feel on their faces and hands the Seasons are changing and the Winter chill is just starting.  Often there is a night or perhaps two where the air and world is so quiet and still that the Shadows and the Night itself starts to hum in your blood.  This Autumn, for two weeks now, the hum has almost been a faintly hollow song:  No words just the almost sibilant whispers like a lover stroking your back in the dark.  I am hoping that this is being felt by others and not just in my small piece of the world.  This is a blessing and experience we all must remember in order to survive the coming seasonal crush.  And to have this night after night is awesome if nervously anticipatory as well.

As promised I went to the Hamilton Geode Festival near the end of September and it was a riot of a time.  We couldn’t get a hotel any where near Hamilton or Keokuk so we stayed in Ft Madison.  The Knight’s Inn in Ft Madison was absolutely lovely and I recommend them to anyone staying near.  This town has graveyards through out, rather like the scattered bones of a disinterred body, and would be a lovely rural trip for cemetarians. There was a profound sadness throughout Ft Madison as though bits and pieces of all the people were slowly being forgotten and the remainders left behind were just pale imitations of their former selfs.  This pall over the town was slowly encroaching into Keokuk and Hamilton as seen by for sale signs on store fronts and homes: giving a farmer twenty bucks for a bucket of geodes was much easier this time.  We pulled up to the Chaney Creek boat access that Friday morning and were worried because there was a noted lack of people and children and dogs: Apparently all it took was one year for us to forget that Friday morning is always more relaxed and empty. The gem club that has faithfully run the Geode Fest since it’s start finally gave up control and this year the Chamber of Commerce was taking the reigns.  The sign up sheets and announcement signs were greatly improved and the food coach that was rather shady was blessedly absent.  The club was smart to give the reigns over because the second dig for Friday and all that Saturday were a mad house of cars and people blocking other cars:  Congratulations Chamber of Commerce the head ache is now yours, I’ll just stand over here and collect geodes.  Our first run was through Barrows Pit and this year was dramatically different.  Last year was on the right side and this year was on the left and goodness gracious what a difference a side can make.  The left  side had geodes coated in black hematite on the inside this year and the most awesome geologic presence in that a very long time ago that side of the field had been crushed and the crystals on football sized and larger geodes had been pushed in then slowly annealed and grown back together by a very thin bridge of quartz.  These may not be the perfect globes most people want but I snagged several just to admire!  Renards was of course a treasure trove on Friday afternoon and the string of cars driving out was like this little chain of colored automobiles with blinking lights pulling its self along side roads and fields.  Age and a failed alarm clock took us out of Saturday mornings’ digging but we easily snagged a place in the way-back of the boat access to park for the afternoon dig. We tried the Cooper farm for the first time and we had great success once I finally just waded in and got knee deep in the water.  Next year if we spend another half hour there I hope to haul in some more of the agate too. We talked to a fellow from last year who had his Husky again and what a difference!  Last year we were all sweating and chugging gatorade and his Husky never left the river, this year we all had jackets on while clutching coffees and the Husky only went in up to his belly.  Another Lady RockHound went in up to her arm pits and had bowling ball sized geodes out of the river. (Understand, that while I vend and craft some stones, this trip is for fun, personal collecting and we really spent no more than one hour at any of the places.  Our efforts were also leisurely.  So any one that tries and tell you that the Keokuk Geode Fest is “all played out” either has no idea what a geode is or is delusional.). Well done Folks of Keokuk, see you next year.

So many of my friends that I love and admire, as well as myself, are vending at Autumn and Winter Festivals that I send you all sincere prayers and hopes for financial as well as reputation success.  Please, Gentle Readers, buy local and buy small business as best you can for the Holidays:  Your purchase is keeping somebodies lights on and dreams alive. Web site:  http://www.bones-of-the-earth.com and Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarthsBones?ref=search_shop_redirect

Today it is half way through October and the weather over all has been gentle and warm for the Mid-west.  My Death Migraine has released enough of it’s hold to allow me to type.  The weather tonight is forecast at 29 degrees and right now the warm sunshine is setting itself into the horizon while a constant bluster of cold wind blows.  We soaked up as much of the late sun as we could today and for this Winter Flower it has been enough. The Orionid meteor shower is at its height tonight and tomorrow and the temperature dip will hopefully keep the night sky clear.  I must say that the moon has been brilliant lately, bringing to life the night shrouded Buckeye trees and yellowing leaves along the darkened sidewalk.

Until the next post may God hold you in his hands and the earth sing in your blood,

Be Well.

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.

 

 

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.

 

Blue Ridge Baby

Gentle Readers, I great you at 4 ‘o’ something in the morning with a brave heart and excited tidings.  I normally wouldn’t be awake at this time but our pup had a bone treat and that means a wee bit of the ‘squirts’.  She was trained fantastically to alert us to potty moments and it was my turn this morning and now I am awake.  The morning birds have started their song heralding a new day:  the grass is dew-soaked and the lights from the nearby community college made a giant nimbus of yellow light in the morning mist.

My excitement comes from having gone on my vacation to The Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of the jeweled city. Asheville.  The club I belong to is MAGMA and still to this day they are an exceptional family of rock hounds and mineral collectors.  As usual my tent was pitched next to RB and his wife C and my dearest friend and adopted aunt, Pat.  One member is truly an unsung and gentle hero who brought his giant  rock saw for our club’s Kentucky Geodes.  That saw ran all week thanks to the watchful volunteering of some members!  All we had to do was line up our stones in order and they would be sliced open or slabbed to request.  It was like a jewel box being opened every half hour or 45 minutes as another breath taking wonder was pulled out.  We even had the marvelous Kay cooking her heart out in the camp kitchen for our dinner.  At five dollars a plate to recoup her grocery costs, the plates were mounded with delicious hot food.  Yours truly baked three cakes to accompany the start of the week and once people learned my golden rule, ‘the uglier it is the better it tastes’, the cake flew off the serving plate.  We had new vendors who were enthusiastic collectors, jewelry makers, and crystal experts.  Uncle Bob’s Rock Cave was there and I was thrilled to finally meet someone that I only knew as an internet pen pall on Face Book.  A fabulous metaphysical merchant had his wares and I watched during the heat of an Appalachian afternoon as he prepared mailing envelopes by the dozen for his Etsy shop.  Die hard diggers turned up with beryl from the Crabtree Mine, thulite and garnet from the Sink Hole Mine, garnets and tremolite/actinolite from the LittlePine Garnet Mine, and of course mineral deposits from the ever surprising road cut for a new highway.  Just being able to visit and talk with fellow enthusiasts who did NOT ignore me for being a woman was thrilling.  A sad truth inline is we all age out and the Saturday Feast was followed by a heart felt toast to fallen member, John D.  I teared up then and am tearing up now.  He was a founding member, a rogue, a veteran rock hound, and above all else well loved by everyone.  For myself who still has the health of a migraine sufferer it was Wonderfull to stay at camp and see the treasures as people came in with their buckets.  Kay even spent a few outings at the abundant thrift stores of Asheville and is a shopping diva; her finds being as wonderful as the rocks found.  One member who I will label S, had been digging in Peru  for 6 months and had thin slices of Peruvian agate that knocked my socks off.  And my wallet even opened for a few slabs, and we all know how terribly thrifty I can be.  Our die hard and veteran leader Rick brought out some stunning pieces the first night and after ten minutes it looked like piranha with dollar bills around him.  I picked up two matching cuts of petrified palm from Camden NC and will somehow find shelf space to proudly display their beauty.  Luther is a quiet and unassuming man but his vending items covered several tables and were as stunning and fun as usual.  Bradley Prospecting showed up and had geodes cut, plates of fossils to sell, and crystals from across the South East and areas between:  only a true lover of this earth could have had such an inventory.

And, well, it also rained every evening four five days straight.  It was that glorious mountain rain shower that creeped in with dark grey clouds then left in the early night to a starry sky and near full moon.  When the moon was full and round dearest TL made a fire and proved once again that he is a modern alchemist and created magic moments for some of us until two in the morning.  Truth be told we are not all young anymore so there were long faces the next morning but the crackling fire and wonderful company was well worth it.  I got to pet and adore some of the best behaved dogs even when some turned into overly playful puppies.  One of our vendors brought a friend who is a massage therapist and she charged a dollar a minute:  I paid for two during the week and am indebted to her for deciding to set up her table in a side room.  Part of Friday and all of Saturday was dry and the Southern heat beat down on us, which was a sweaty day for the diggers but did dry out some of the mud.  Lucky me my tent stayed dry through out although I am now packing an air mattress.  I gladly say goodby to sleeping on a thin foam mat and my sleeping bag: migraines require pampering; and I was well taken care of by members:  A piece of decadent and adorable birthday cake was even held aside for me.  God bless you all for the love.

My Dearly Beloved was my unsung hero because he drove me up and then returned to come get me.  While I would liked to have stayed far longer the Boy Scouts need their camp back.  So a most loving thank you to my husband who made this trip possible.

I wil also sing the praises of Motel 6, inexpensive but clean and at the perfect juncture in the road home:  You have my business now.  And an eternal Thank You to Bob for telling me about the Newport exit!  Darlin’ you really saved us money and time.

Blatant Promoting of Great People

Levi: MoldaviteLife.com. Metaphysical and healing stones, artist/wire wrap, stones, tektites

Beth Huntzinger: ashevillehealer.com. Massages therapy and Reiki

Carol and Mark: Driftwood Silver and Stones,  Marleux1957@gmail.com  Silver Smiths and Gems

Bob: Robert Jordan Photography, Bobsfolkart@gmail.com  Photography and crystals/stones

Bob (the other Bob): Uncle Bob’s Cave, Barnyard Flea Market in Greer, SC (worth the visit!);  Crystals, wire wrap, geodes, stones, slabs, geodes, Amethyst

Tony: Bradley Prospecting, https://www.etsy.com/shop/BradleyProspecting  Also on FB.  Crystals, stones, minerals, geodes, collections

Rick: rick@wncrocks.com, ncpirate.com; bone hunters.net   Author, salvage/restoration, diving, fossils, stone, crystal, private collections

There are many more fine and fantastic people who vend at MAGMA events and shows.  This is one of the finest group of ‘extended family’ anyone could ask for.  I certainly hope that my Gentle Readers have gotten the same ‘warm fuzzies’ from this post as I got seeing my friends and soaking up the stones for a week.

May the Late Summer Sun warm you, the cool breezes bless you, and the path before you always have green grass and clear water,

Be Well.

Dearest, Gentle Reader,  My oh my how time flies when you put things off and then move:  My excuses and I’m sticking to them.

I suspect that we all have had those times when we realize things weren’t quite so bad where we were:  Yep, mea culpa.  Illinois Beach State Park was as naturally marvelous as I wanted it to be.  Edwardsvill, IL really is a surprise jewel but that glorious rock strewn beach is now a five or more hour drive away.  The professional movers, while forgetting to pack the knife drawer, did pack every single rock so I at least have mounds and pounds of Lake rocks to work with… lots and lots of them; I had to port one Rubbermaid tub down to out new basement and did feel a pang of sorrow for our movers.

Western Illinois across from St Louis is a gem stone perched on a bump in the Mississippi River.  The weather here is like a gentle version of my beloved NC but with rolling thunderstorms that power themselves over the River and then empty across the farm land and the old alluvial till.  Edwardsville is criss-crossed by two lane bike trails and 1930’s bungalows:  The bike trails sometimes appear out of no where like a treasure map of asphalt lines and grassy verges.  At night we can hear the coyotes yipping through the adjoining neighborhoods and once or twice the screaming like howl of foxes.  Mourning doves and Robbins nest in our neighbors eves, a mocking bird is nested in the big white Mansion, and a kestrel hunts at night, blending it’s high pitched ‘key’ with the frogs croaking.

Almost two years ago our beloved elderly pup, Moshi, passed.  Simply put she had arthritis in all four paws and back hips, could barely walk, and had internal cysts.  She was in constant pain and was 16 years old.  Her collar is kept with our Scortch’s ashes.  Ever the softy, I pleaded with the husband and after about 15 months we adopted another rescue dog.  I originally named her Sorcha after Tyr Na Sorcha (the Irish’ Land of Light) and she is now nick-named Psycho Potato.  One of her original trainers was thrilled “that she finally found the right people to take a chance on her.”  If anyone from Alive Rescue is a Gentle Reader then know that Sorcha now lives to eat, shed, be pet non stop, and sprint after bunnies; actually any thing that may look like a Chicago bunny: soccer balls, yard gnomes, puffed up cats, clumps of grass, and or cement planters.

Once again I am trying for an herb garden especially after struggling to keep even ficus alive in the window in Chicago.  The soil here is that dark grey and black soil of my Indiana childhood but has quartz chips and chert that come from endless years of the Mississippi flowing through before it skipped it’s channel to where it runs now.  With this garden I have also discovered bunnies, gophers, and deer like my attempt at gardening.  The wormwood hasn’t been touched so I have high hopes for anything medicinal or weird smelling or portulaca.

The moon has been at a bursting three quarters right now and between rolling thunderstorms it lights up the night with a sharp silvered glow and the one star visible above.  Somehow moonlight makes the gutter drains magic portals, the water fountain by the darkened ball field becomes an oasis, and the asphalt road is an obsidian path home.  I would love not to be the only one that night has a profound effect on as though your own personal world has emerged.  Now, to be honest, I have almost no night vision to speak of but all the same the night loves to enchant me while sunbeams mean sleepy time.

Now I will leave you, apologizing for the simple glazing of my circumstances.  My emotions are running a little high tonight and at this point are no place for Gentle Readers to be.

Be Well.

Gentle Readers everywhere,
The Autumnal Equinox has come and gone quietly on our shoulders and October is with us in all the cool weather and Fall splendor. Here in Chicago the temperatures have already dipped to the 40s at night and the slanting, warm sun shine during the day is a welcome friend against the chill winds. Once again the weather stations are calling for a fierce Winter this year and I am in awe of the wonders of seasonal climate change. How amazing it is to have Summers and Winters and Springs and Falls one after the other in a cascade of colors and plants. Also sprouting like yellow and orange leafs on branch tips are the coats, scarves, wraps, ponchos, and hats; suddenly the T shirts and tank tops are gone and the colors of winter gear pop up like the falling leafs themselves.
Coming from the rural South I am missing the Fall festivals and cider presses that herald the change in season. One must travel out of the big city to partake of the small town offerings so my beloved husband bundled the two of us into the car with our dog and drove me to the Hamilton Geode Festival in Hamilton, Illinois. When I rock hound I do not require a glamorous hotel so we had our free breakfast at the Super8 in Keokuck then drove into Hamilton while the sun was rising. Tents and small town vendors ringed the edge of a parking lot that belonged to the local boat ramps while a thin part of the river flowed by in lazy splendor. People had their dogs out and children ran around while the adults signed up and then waited for the drive out to the specific farms. With my fibromyalgia I had to ask for a farm that was not labor intensive. At the back of the path through Renard’s soy bean fields was a line of shady trees and tall grasses by a creek. I must admit I am so used to quarries and at least the presence of a back hoe that I wasn’t sure where to go for the geodes at first but it soon became apparent that the small creek and it’s shallow banks were where the famed keokuck geodes laid. The elderly dog and beloved husband lazily walked around the banks of the creek while I merrily hunted my first geodes and searched for agate balls. If any Gentle Readers ever decide they must have a keokuck geode I will warn you now they are plentiful and easily plucked from farmer’s fields during the festival and yet not all geodes are created equal. I quickly filled my 20 gallon bucket with geodes of potato size and larger plus a piece of sunrise agate. The crazy wonderful thing about the creek was a week ago they had had a flooding storm that washed agates down stream into trees and each other, cracking them open and settling them into the mud. While I am sure that my bucket contains many solid, crystal, cannon balls I found pieces of storm-opened crystal geodes that were passed over by the other hunters because they were not the whole geodes. Once my bucket was filled we piled back into the car and drove back to the festival grounds: booths had popped open offering to crack open geodes for a dollar a geode. Gentle Reader, I am pleased to announce to you that one of my largest, first geodes found was a lovely hallow keokuck geode of tan and brown.
The sun is now setting in pale tones against the buttery yellow bricks of the apartments and the long grey shadows are inside along my living room floor. Dinner will be simple and hearty so I must soon start the potatoes to boiling.
May this new season flow through you with a myriad of blessings and the night kiss your brow gently. Be well.

Greetings Gentle Readers,
Father’s Day has come and gone and now Summer is finally upon us. Allow me, if you will, to give a belated salute to father’s everywhere. I have a dear friend that chose not only to open up his heart a second time but to adopt and become an instant father as well. I can only thank the wonderful men out there who decided that they wanted to be not only a teacher and protector but an example of manhood to a little girl or boy out there. So many men I know help to prove that fatherhood is in the heart and mind if not always from the blood. Thank You Gentlemen!

 
Summer here in Chicagoland has been amazingly gentle and rainy. Solstice was spent near the Bridgeport area collecting Ordivician fossils. While I will admit that fossils are not my most favorite there are aspects that still fascinate and beguile. The ride with the Lizzadro Museum was pleasantly uneventful and as the bus looped its way to the bottom of the quarry I once again was in awe of how one area can be so replete with stone. The day was overcast yet just sunny enough to require sun screen. The quarry piles were filled with fossils and here is the fascination: At one point in the past this area was covered by sea life and aquatic critters to such an extent that even with tides and storms there were yards deep deposited to a sea floor. Climbing to the top of a shifting pile of stones and you feel like the whole small world is yours. Every stone has some sort of fossil from a weathered calcite crystal imprint to snails and clams to the elusive receptoculites. A father was there with his two children and we both managed to find pyrite cubes with calcite and fossils. It warmed my heart to see someone openly sharing the natural world with their children. Even the young girlie girls were exploring the quarry while one young boy decided to tell me about the living creatures that were in the pond. And here I will digress Gentle Reader and admit that I have always wanted to skinny dip in a quarry pond; the thought of all the stone around me with open blue sky above and cool water lapping around my bare legs. But I warn those who are as romantic in vision as I am: Most quarry ponds have a bad ph and will do equally bad things to your skin.

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Sunday was cool and pleasant enough to have the air conditioning off and the windows open. Somewhere in the neighborhood there was a live band playing perky modern jazz and the music floated across the breeze. At the other side of the apartment a World Cup Party was in progress and one could hear the cheering and exclaiming. Even with a migraine the day was bucolic and pleasant.

 

The cotton wood trees are a new experience for me.  For a week the street was lined with great poofs of fluffy white while the air looked almost silky when the sunbeams cut through the tree branches.  Somehow it was like walking through a fairy tale world and did bring a special feeling to the morning dog walks.  Not as romantic but still as poetic in its own right is the great mulberry plopping that comes after the cottonwood tree seeding.  The same thunder storms that flatten down the white tree fluff now bring down plump purple-black fruits all over the porch and sidewalk.  The ninja squirrels are even more hyper as they feast on the mulberries, running from the seeds at the feeder to the mulberry tree.

 

And because the mulberry plopping tree is outside by the porch that leads to the laundry, I am reminded, Gentle Reader that I need to go and empty the dryer of it’s contents.  So I end this post wishing you gentle winds, glorious rains, and sunny days.

Be Well

Hello, Dearest Readers,

Today is a soft and rainy day in Chicago. Last nights’ storm of steel grey clouds and ominous glow moved out over Lake Michigan and left us with gentle rain. Trees are leafing out and gardens are sprouting crocus, tulips, and daffodils. Down home in North Carolina and across the South they are battening down the hatches and watching for tornadoes while last week parts of the Pacific North West had snow fall. Wherever you are Gentle Reader I hope you are safe and dry.

Mother’s Day is coming and then Father’s Day soon after. While not all of us have reasons to celebrate and love, enough do that I want to celebrate Mothers with you.  For many women motherhood is a choice what with birth control, adoption, and final options.  And I have a Dear Girlfriend who made that choice.  I can’t tell you her whole story for it is hers to tell but here are the parts that count for Mother’s Day: In her thirties she was single and pregnant with no strong family to lean on and a delinquent father of the baby.  She not only gave birth and decided to love and raise the baby but got her bachelors degree then moved to North Carolina to finish her Master’s Degree in biology.  Now any nay sayers may say  “So she is smart.  Should I be impressed?”  My Dear Girlfriend’s intellect is not the purpose of this story.  She chose to be the mother to a wonderful baby girl and not just rest on her laurels.  She chose to ignore the statistics that said she should fail and went on to prove to others and one day to a young girl that mother’s and therefore girls can achieve the proverbial impossible.  I send my salute not only to Dear Girlfriend but to all mothers that try every day to prove to daughters and sons alike that the world is yours if you never give up.

In the interests of spoiling me rotten and gaining more of my undying love, my Beloved Husband has taken me to the Lake Michigan beach and helped me collect stones to my hearts content.  Oh what a delight it was ti hear the surf crashing over and over, to feel the warm sand under my feet and to gaze at a beach made of tumbled stones.  I even managed to find the elusive Lake Michigan agate and those special rocks showing compacted breccia from the glaciers that once flattened the land and dropped these very stones.  For more fantastic stones and rocks try my web site:   http://intartia303.wix.com/bonesofthe-earth

And here are some of those pictures from my beach sojourn.IMG_0300 IMG_0297 IMG_0294 IMG_0293

I never  anticipated so many fossil stones and to even find such a glorious agate, but Mother earth and Mother Ocean came through and my prayer before hand didn’t hurt either.  Yes Dear Reader there are no atheists in fox holes or when collecting rocks.

Blessings of the Sky and Earth and Sun to you, Gentle Readers,

Be Well