Thursday, August 30, 2007

Glory Hole

Werebrock has pushed it to another level: hooray! O yeah, finding happiness and meaning in every second of every day, getting initiated in the new old Mystery. Sounds like a lot of hype, as I type it. You might be scoffing at the lack of seemingly-appropriate modesty. Surely it's not as boundlessly wonderful as all that? But Werebrock has taken to wearing a cape on his jogs through the countryside, and hype feels appropriate. Basically, he got turned on at the Gathering with E-Mack, and from there it just kept flowing into a wait and see.

This chapter starts a few months ago. It was Saturday morning, and Werebrock was setting out from the Gardens to find a hellbender. He put on his shoes, for this was to be an epic expedition; you can’t neglect your feet, however lofty or magnanimously low the destination. He took off at a run down the White Oak Creek, which came to meet the South Toe River two miles beyond. “The South Toe is filled with hellbenders.” Werebrock told himself matter of factly. “By comparison to the nightsoiled waters of my beloved Kentucky and Cincinnati rivers, it will be their bit of Paradise. Clear, cold, highly-oxygenated blood, pumping from the heart of the Blacks and Blue Ridge mountains. With the water level so low, what with the dryness of this season, those dinosaur-shaped gummy bears will have nowhere much to hide. If I don’t find one it will be because” That’s as far as his thought train went, for his qi was busy pumping through his legs.

To get to the point of this chapter, the author will brush with broad strokes over that most wonderful, watery day. Werebrock made it to the river without getting abducted by aliens or being hit by a car. He yukked it up with some trout fishermen as he steadied himself at their flowing edge. He got into character (method acting?) by floating down the river for a ways on his back, and after being tipped off by the Granny whose property he crawled out onto, he hitched a ride to the hellbender’s alleged favorite hangout. It was after a lack of success there, in a loch bordering the local Biodynamic farm, that he began to reassess the facts that had played under his earlier enthusiasm. “If my nose were harder and my eyeballs made of steel,” he rhymed tiredly to himself, “I would first have consulted experts, and seen what they’d revealed.” But wandering had been an unstated, secondary goal for the day. No reason to harumph hard.

Werebrock wasn’t left hardly harrumphing for very long, for he ran into the Italian pirate farmer. Everybody loves this guy, you cannot fail to. That day his words were particularly welcome:

“O Yeah, Daddy Bareback is balls-out for hellbenders.” He inclined his head past his cows, and down the road. “He lives just a hop skip and a jump down that way. He has underwater cameras and goggles, and takes his family out to look for the beasts. Sounds like your man.”

Werebrock hopped skipped and jumped in the direction he was pointed. After crossing a small stream, he met the Bareback family in a veggie field, working as one groovy little nuclear unit. They are some cool motheruppers! O, how nice it must be to have your parents and siblings together, merrily cultivating your favorite food plants. Even Bjorn has nothing but kind words for them, and he usually likes to joke about disemboweling the hippies of Celo for their lameness. Turns out Doc Bareback has spent his last ten winters naturalisting on the Bay of Baja, or whatever we’re calling it now that Cortez’s name has been properly disgraced. Werebrock has vacationed in Baja, so besides talking hellbenders, they happily blew hot air about that faraway place, where desert meets the sea.

If Werebrock himself were writing this chapter, without the distance of a third person perspective, he would (he WOULD!) speculate further. The resonations that echoed from the meeting of Doc Bareback and Werebrock would be shown to have sympathetically reverberated into the Otherworlds, to a significant degree. Werebrock has spent some time explaining to his friends that such a fortuitous meeting could only have come to be by the grace of his Hellbender (water) guardian spirit. But if you speak in too much detail of such secrets, they lose their specialness.

Da Bareback’s invited Werebrock on a hellbender exploratory expedition. With eye-bulging jubilation, Werebrock accepted. Months later, after a long drought that brought the water table to record lows, after Werebrock had undergone the emotional healing mentioned in Kyanite Drive, the invitation was ready for fulfillment. What happened next was really what I’ve been wanting to tell y’all about.

Another Bard joins the storyline. On Expedition Day, the old geezer who told a Creation Story to the Permaculture Gathering met Werebrock, partway to the Barebacks, and gave him a ride. It was the pair's first real time together. This elder is approaching authentic maturity in his demeanor and message, and they spoke their observations on the forest scene around them as they sped past the Italian Pirate Farm. They met the Barebacks at their house, and kicked at the manure pile awhile. The call of the mission kept ‘em from dallying long; Werebrock was so excited he started chasing the family’s lone rooster.

To get to the secret spot, the submerged Tibetan convent/monastery where Appalachian hellbenders do yoga all day, the group drove over private roads and parked in a homesteader’s driveway. They unloaded snorkels, masks and bodies, and plummeted down a root-secured path to where the river, even during that period of drought, ran swift and fairly deep. It fell rapidly over huge, wavy sections of bedrock that the party was standing on to gear up. These waters and rocks have been lovers for aeons . You may have inferred that, from mention of the steep descent, but it goes beyond the standard elevation gradient. The rocks looked how agitated blobs of water would, should you observe them struggling through outer space: all smooth curves, sinkholes and shrugs. Werebrock practiced his leaping, and chased skinks. When a snorkel ‘came available, he tore into the water like horny pre-pubescent children into a 6th grade romance. You know, us American kids that drink a lot of hormone-laced factory milk and T.V. and kill each other for Nikes? It was intense.

Hellbenders are picky about where they live. They only settle for the most pristine of stretch marks on Momma Earth’s belly. Buoyant and ebullient is all you can be in such a place. Werebrock went to churning his body, like a den of sleepwalking rattlesnakes. His limbs twirled out, to catch onto ledges, and explore crannies; his spine, temporarily released from its sworn oath against gravity, reacquainted itself with a suppleness it had forgotten having. He searched the gummy floor of the river for sign.

There were broken eggsacks clinging to rocks, and a sinkhole with a peculiarly murky complexion. Maybe the quarry was nearby. There was no indication of it below the pitter pattering stream mouth, which one could photograph and use to defend Steiner’s flowforms as naturally sacred geometry. The completely aquatic amphibians may have been sharing space with a giant trout under its equally giant boulder, but there was not enough room for Werebrock to safely get in there and check. He moseyed far over the river bottom, about 8 feet down. The search yielded a smooth white stone that our hero had been on the look out for, all these past 8 months. No hellbenders, though! The discovery of a deep, watery tunnel was promising. Werebrock raised a masked eyebrow and poked his head in. There were no hellbenders in sight. He came up to exclaim the non-discovery to his friends on the bank, then dived for another look.

The waterway must have had abundant oxygen, but it was not readily available to Werebrock's smooth neck. Scary thought, getting trapped down there with no gills. I'm happy to write that that is what this chapter has been building to. Past the outwordly inaudible voice who proffered to him a plunging. "Got any danger around here?" Werebrock giggled inwardly as he went deeper. His feet dissapeared into the glory hole.

The sight was murky- there was light, mud and current in equal amounts. Werebrock lightly plodded over the river bottom, his feet not touching the ground, his hands groping and pulling him forward. And forward... to a dead end? No, towards the light. There was a sharp turn in the passage, upwards and to the left. Werebrock probed the twist with his body, and began to get stuck at the shoulders. "Bad scene, bad scene!" He thrashed and gnashed (his teeth), until he was free and backed out to resurface.

"Hey y'all. I'm scopin' out that tunnel Little Gwion found. For a minute I got afraid up in there, but it's alright."

"I'm gonna go back down there, and go through it. It seems kinda dangerous. I'll be swimming against the current, so the river can help bring me back if I decide to reverse course." Good luck, dude. The Barebacks and the Bard look a tad worried.

Back down there. It's murkier than Leviticus, yet the little bit of light guided Werebrock, down, back and across a threshold of no easy return. He knifed together his double jointed arm sockets, fingers pointing forward, and surged around the troublesome bend. And then, dang it, if his giant hips didn't get stuck than my name is Ferdinand Flagellum! No time for bemoaning the time-sensitive, impulsive decision; there's barely enough time to see if he can ride this wave to shore. "One, two! One, two! And through and through", out Yemaya's snicker snatch. Or you'll be dead, and your head

will never finish the poem.

His hip joints popped through, and the cause for alarm increased. For the river's current rushed over the rocky lip that Werebrock's body was thrust sideways upon. Heave. RAUGH! "You've been down here too long!" Whoever the fuck is talking to Werebrock at this point would better shut up, for the part of him that can hear is draining away. Pull through, pull through. His mind blinks out, and with a squirt of superhuman bendiness, his legs momentarily seem to lose rigidity at the thighs and Werebrock is patting weakly at the water, his feet slip out of the gulf. His head emerges into the thin atmosphere.

Every day since then has been more magical and crazy, more clearheadedly and fully taken on. Werebrock *knows* that was his real death and rebirth as a shaman, and as a fairly impartial observer I cannot but say that his appraisal is apparently accurate. The Hellbender galumphs about in his inner spring, which bubbles up in him like a hopeful spring on the parched savannah.

Editor's Note:

Parts of this story were prematurely published under the title "hellbending pt. 2". That article has been pulled, for it was put out there with innapropriate haphazardness. I wistfully smile back upon it so you don't have to.

Monday, August 27, 2007

your choice of stories

grand juries are snatching freedoms like i can shit and pray- they're enjoying it and they do it every day

Tim Boucher is gonna show us how it's done if you don't beat him to it.

sky dragons?

ladies, do some Kegel Exercises, and you can squeeze your boy friends' penises with your pelvis. doing them will also tone and tonify your pelvis, more generally.

why do they always blame the anarchists when there are broken windows and @'s in the recruiter's office? they've got no proof, gawddamnit!

postcivilliesed poetry

Manifesto of the Kindred

Recreate the Garden of Eden,
here on Earth.
Isn't that impractical?

Once you begin to see what is possible,
it becomes impractical to do anything else!

Pray for salvation?
Petition for redress of grievances?

We are already saved,
and to worry about it
is to undo it.

Take it easy,
Leave IT easy.

In This Here Garden

In this here garden
I'm drunk on Sangamon strawberries
and pissing in the compost

In this here garden
I welcome the thriving weeds
and the predatory wasps
(but not the predatory W.A.S.P.s!)
I welcome the Japanese beetles
with their native copper shells
eating weeds
so the crops can ripen

In this here Garden
are enough signs of God
for a second Qur'an
no god except God
open-ended and

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kyanite Drive

This chapter begins on a hot and sunny Thursday afternoon. Werebrock was down near the road, assembling a rack of bamboo, twine and screws. This was for storing Mountain Gardens’ supply of extra giant grass culms. Bjorn was there as well. It was one of those tasks where two hands can be working all the time, and only sometimes a third and fourth are wanted. However, Bjorn’s company was not only giving Werebrock the faculty of Lord Ganesh’s four arms; no, his presence also lent the moral support of said elephantine lover of sweets. Werebrock was surfing on turbulent emotional waters, and on one level he appreciated Bjorn’s company, even as he could not express it.

Werebrock had donned his emotional blank mask. This was common practice, unfortunately, for his real face was unattractively contorted with pain. Besides hating to see that pain, reflected back at him as it would be from the tranquil water of a nearby lotus pond, he hated to subject the rest of the world to it. He grunted, and complained to Bjorn about the laziness of the other interns, as he threw himself into familiarization with appropriate power drill protocol. Drilling holes in tubular bamboo takes some getting used to, and the concentration it took to do so acted as a long-tethered life preserver for his conscious mind. It kept his head above the burbling waves of his inner sea, which were dangerously high, though exactly how high it is impossible to say because the waves were still miles out from the coast. Serpentine shadows danced below his bare feet, the emotions and futures he was failing to manifest. Those of Universal love and personal success were there, but also self-hatred from the fear of being a fuckup. He wanted to let his team of saurians spiral up, burst through the foam, and take him with them. He desperately needed to ride them away, and whip through the air like feathered snakes from the olde Mayan faith. But fear remained. What a shitty life preserver it makes. His cowering snakes got the cold shoulder, as did the mosquitoes drowning in his sweat; as did Bjorn. He avoided hating himself by projecting his problems onto friends, and mostly just stayed in character with his mask. The reader might want to hear that Werebrock has since made amends with these other characters… we’ll see what happens.

When it was time for lunch, Werebrock climbed the driveway and indulged in a bit of spelt bread. Spelt is a gluten-free grain, right? Why does good people propagate such lies?! Our newly realized, gluten-allergic protagonist experienced plummeting energy levels. The rest of the day would be devoted to a class on bamboo construction, and he had already spent weary hours in the field, so decided to take a long nap. As his eyes closed and his lips slowly smacked together, he dropped a silent curse on the grain addiction that had laid him out as surely as a punch in the face. His party animal totem, the Rolling Rock Beer ape, would not have been pleased.


That evening was still. Over the vegetable garden, shards of sunlight overflowed from the tree’s canopies, and the motes they illuminated were full of fairy-looking creatures. These could only be seen plain if you squinted, paid attention to your peripheral vision and kept the lofty intellect’s floodlight respectfully dimmed. Werebrock woke to this laidback twilight vibe, so ideal for contemplating benevolent mischief, and his wretched Greek tragedy mask cracked and started falling off. He was feeling better after napping.

Happiness had not been in the forecast for this evening, as you probably surmised. But in Werebrock’s dreams, the serpents were brushing up against his legs in frustration with his square emotional loop, and they were tickling him and he had to laugh. Now, if he would just accept the mystery in his waking life… but no, he was still in the habit of pushing them away. His tired soul is not responding, and he ignores their frustrated play. To the badger/man’s credit, in some of the dreams and some of his waking hours, too, he’s been clawing through the smokescreens that separate us from the big Whathaveyou; he’s threading his life into the tie-dyed, balaclava-clad fringe of the emerging civilization’s tapestry, and it’s an uphill struggle. He’ll realize he can just hop on the wyrms and fly up the mountain. Soon. Eventually. Maybe. Whatever, El Mundo Bueno is worth all the struggle and heartache it takes to get there.

Werebrock peered through the bank of windows that lined his couch. With an air of courage, a woman of regal bearing and a fearsomely built warrior were striding up the herb-lined driveway. They turned out to be Ashevillage’s Cob Princess, and her partner Cuchulain. They were come for the night. ‘Parently, the Princess and the Big Cheese of Mountain Gardens go way back, and she had steered her crew here so she could catch up with him ‘afore the Gathering. “My gawd,” Werebrock thought to himself as he caught site of the Princess’s handmaidens, “I’D like to go way back with these dapper dames! Ummmm ummmmm.” Later, he would have the chance. But as has already been said, tonight he was being tired and unsure of himself. So instead of exerting with the effort to mesh with this new troupe, tattooed and bare-bellied cuties though they were, he flitted into the background and found the rest of the Mountain Gardens Crew, amicably kicking the manure pile. That is to say, they were shooting the shit, focusing on kicking the tires of the cosmos. Which is what they are usually doing. Werebrock joined in the stomp, for a bit, and then crawled back to his sett to sleep some more.

On Friday, our hero’s itinerary increased in density. An annual Gathering, where the local permaculturists can sparkle their souls for each other, was located just three miles away. He got there early with purpose two-fold. Though the festivities would not begin in earnest ‘til the morrow, he felt that politely asserting his right to not pay a bourgeois-priced gate fee shouldn’t be put off. Simple locals do not need the food & tent space being taxed for, he reasoned with the registrars. Also, it was fixing to be a busy weekend, and he wanted to put in some volunteer hours to defray the core group’s stress levels.

This pitching in consisted of a few hours of dishwashing & brushing shoulders with the Cob Princess’s handmaidens. They were versed in the arts of pleasing hippy tummies, while Werebrock was versed in the art of cleaning other people’s dirty tools. It worked out great, and the ladies were o so appreciative. As they chopped seaweed and boiled meaty vegetarian stews, they swayed leaped and sang through the close environment of a culinary stainless steel jungle gym. Golllley, grooving with touchy-feely scullions makes for a damn good time. He would have liked to stay longer than he did, but the pretext for rubbing shoulders with said sudsy coquettes drained away with the dishwater. Plus, he had to beat a hasty jog back to Mountain Gardens if he were to be on time; the estimated arrival hour of his due-in Dadio was fast approaching. O fuck, I forgot to mention! The Elder of the Mackateewa Mackipoo tribe which Werebrock will one day scion, was about to arrive at a dignifiedly late hour. Not too late to go drink elderberry/honey wine and stare at cavepeople T.V. with the Bears, of course. But I was late in the mentioning it. One thousand apologies, dear reader (;

Saturday morning the protagonist rose early, & cooked brown rice, with raisins, spice, pumpkin seeds & shredded coconut. He and E-Mack ate and moseyed amazingly prompt-like, considering their shared heritage of disrespect for clocks, and linear time in general. When they got down to the riverside happening, they found that some Gathering folks were already clamoring to visit Mountain Gardens. E-Mack himself, because of his night time arrival, had had no opportunity for visual appreciation of the grounds. Werebrock was duty-bound to give them a grand tour, so all wishful ogglers piled together in a gasoline-fired chariot and shot back up the mountain.

The shadowy figure of El Queso Grande hovered way up there, where only a trained eye could spot. He was hailed by Werebrock, but refused to come down. He suggested, with as few words as possible, that their newly arrived guests wander his wasteless land awhile. He then fully disappeared, back into his towering shack. Werebrock nudged the bewildered visitors into paradise and sat down for a breather.

After a short spell, the group converged on a patio. Queso G came to, carrying his game face. He explained ‘em around the geography with which they were newly acquainted. Both Mackipoos were inspired, and gurgled to each other in hushed tones of excitement. The stimulation was crashing through their minds, like a flash flood through a dessert canyon, lined by water wheels.

Werebrock: See, these evergreens are left over from the days when Joe paid the bills with a landscaping business. Now they’ve grown up and compartmentalized the garden into more manageable chunks.

E Mack: Hmm, very interesting. Back home, we could plant a couple rows of Christmas trees on our field’s border for privacy & windbreak. At the same time, we can plant a row of fruit trees alongside them. By the time we’d Christmassed the pines to extinction, the fruit trees would be ready to assume their tertiary functions, as well as, well, give fruit.

Werebrock: !

Twas great!


The Mackateewa Mackipoos spent the later portion of that day in workshops. E-Mack tackled head-on a demonic pyramid scheme. Nobody had expected to find one there, but somehow a green-clad vampire had latched on the brain of a workshop presenter.

Werebrock went on a “plant walk” with neo-primitive folk-hero Frank Cook. He is a wandering plant guru with much wisdom to share. When you read this blurb from a workshop he did last year, you could see how the two Mack Macks felt they’d experienced the far light and dark sides of da movement:

“October 6-8 Ancient Relations/Abundant Futures: A plant wisdom shindig and alchemical tea party With Chuck Marsh, Patrick Ironwood and Frank Cook

At MoonShadow in SE Tennessee. Contact their website: for more information

This weekend will explore our connections to both wild and cultivated food and medicine plants. Our time together will be an opportunity to deepen your sacred connection to the plant kingdom through neo-shamanic practice, wild plant walks and gathering, plant processing (elixirs and ferments), an exploration of the cultivation and use of common and uncommon food and medicine plants, and strategies for incorporating them into your home and community landscapes. Join us as we celebrate the wondrous connections between plants and people, increase our plant skills and knowledge, and scheme ways toward an abundant future for all life.

Frank, Chuck, And Patrick are intrepid explorers of the many dimensions of the plant/human/ lifetime passion for discovering plant wisdom and cultivating the edges of a nurturing, conscious culture for our times.” (

“Awww, ya know,” drawled E-Mack with a sigh after the failed exorcism, “in the Bible it says ‘Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.’” This prompted Werebrock to relate his thoughts on possible Taoist and Permaculture variations on the proverb. Werebrock was having fun, and he was starting to get into the groove that he had missed out on while making the bamboo rack. A little later, the two settled into the planning group for the fire quadrant of that night’s community-wide ritual

Every year at this Gathering, the participants design a magical rit for communal performance. This year, the grand ceremony would be centered on mourning the loss of hemlock trees. This may warrant explanation, for y’all not living in the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome. You may recall an entry on Noble Savagery from earlier in the season, in which Bjorn and Werebrock hailed one another over the span of a tree. Werebrock had climbed the tree, a hemlock tree, in order to spray soapy water over it’s friendly, awl-shaped needles. This was intended to surround a scad of little white masses that could be seen dotting the boughs, encasing them in bubbles and killing the rampaging insects inside. They are a prolifically fucking aphid species from Japan, which arrived in this country some 40 years ago by the hands of ignorant nursery-workers. The hemlock analogs in Southeast Asia have been dealing with this god-damned “wooly adelgide” for a long time, but our poor hemlocks don’t know what hit ‘em, ‘cept that it hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em where it hurts. The trees are getting their sap supped like Mina Harker by Dracula, and they’re dieing in droves. You can cry now. Yarg! Sniffle.

The fire folks brainstormed, and decided on doing symbolic dance, together with song, and an effigy burning. They considered Rainbow Family songs and Cherokee stomps, Chinese Dragon formations and head banging. Eventually their agreement alighted on a Nigerian dirge with symbolic fire language, together with a generic, lightly choreographed conga line (“Wave around like a flickering flame!”). After going through this routine a few times, the Mack Macks split off to privately reflect on the day. They also did some laundry, and discovered a surprisingly delicious Tex-Mex joint.

Ever since they were reunited, a Zen-tinged synergy grew to easily noticed levels between the son & the father. This report, having been ordinarily rare in the years before, took on a permanent feel. Doing the laundry was a particularly illustrative, outwardly visible symbol of these deeper changes; they were washing out more than mud. On the surface, all that happened was a pilgrimage to the Laundromat in a “campground”, which is actually a trailer park that the proprietors must mislabel, for fear of North Carolina government strictures against heavily stereotyped communities. On deeper levels, bad-smelling emotional sediment was washed from the family’s old, sore wounds, and they offered their hearts, clean, to the fresh air for healing.

Getting back to the Gathering, the Mack Macks joined with their fiery crowd. Trays of cookies were passed around, as one of the Community Elders offered a newly told Creation Myth. People helped the old one along with laughter, and kind, harmless jeering that was part of its telling. When that was done, the whole assembly rose as one and began ascending to the ceremonial glade. All the different groups chanted. At the head of the procession was a giant Wooly Adelgide model, woven from smartly split bamboo strips. The sun had sunk below the Black Mountains, and torches cast flickering shadows on the spectatorless parade.

At the glade, their Storyteller gave an invocation and, quite excitingly, started a sacred fire by bow drill. Everyone cheered and whooped. Then around the circle, the Wiccan elements- Fire in the South, Water in the West, Earth in the North, Air in the East and Spirit in the Center and throughout- were called up and invited to party. And party they did, as you would have seen had ya been there that night. In Werebrock’s humble opinion, the most beautiful and provoking performance was from the champions of the Earth quadrant. Their people leaped & stomped, & clacked rods together as they flamencoed with the giant, bamboo woolly adelgide effigy, who was illuminated with a strobed flashlight. Some of them were bare-chested, some were masked and some were caped. The Fire Group burnt a Chinese-style bamboo spirit-hut, as offering, which also carried some of their sadness for the hemlocks up in the smoke. After the 5 groups were finished, the circle was opened, and they walked in silent procession to the party glen. One can’t do better than to quote the letter Werebrock wrote immediately following his experience there:

“& this deserves its own paragraph. I just got back from a full on Dionysian frenzy. It was a dance around a big blazing fire, clothes flying off to the rhythm of a whole line of drummers. My Dad’s here for a visit, & I escaped back home with him (to Mountain Gardens) before his amazed in mind exploded,- (he hadn’t imbibed in that big, earthy, Hawaiian phallus/vulva thing ) and before I started screwin’ the nearest person in the mud- next to the fire- like a guppy.”


The eternal present had become the late hours of the following morning when the family woke. They had asserted their right to a good rest. Divine leisure, baby- let everything arise and happen on its own schedule! As soon as the Mack Macks were up and ready to socialize, a neighbor came by to claim a favor. He just needed help getting some special rocks out of a hole he’d dug up in the woods, & Werebrock, you wouldn’t mind coming to help for the 10 or 15 minutes it would take to get it down to my truck? Of course not, good sir, but on the condition that Sancho would accompany. Lonely old bachelor farmers can be creepy to hang out with alone, ya know?

After a fifteen-minute drive, the neighbor’s pickup began struggling up a windy gravel road. It slowly vvvroommmmed, past empty RV hookups and through a wide, freshly mowed parkland. There was short grass and tall trees and no humans to be seen. No wonder, the area had its original charm hacked away. “This damned place,” Werebrock muttered from the back of the auto. He crooned & hummed a joyful tune. Gatherings like that one they’d just experienced, they lift chips off your shoulder even as they fall on you. Also, they are especially good places to charge up your inner boombox.

Then, the car was at the end of the passable road. The neighbor led our Mack Macks half a mile up the mountain. They went through laurel hells, around ground bee nests & past giant holes, dug at random by 200+ years worth of rock hounds. “This place ain’t called Micahville for nothin’” intoned the laborious neighbor. “There are over 200 abandoned Micah mines in Yancey County alone. There are also emeralds, rubies, feldspar…” The dude is passionate about minerals, and this passion drove thee intrepid trio to the highest hole, where two boulders filled with kyanite awaited their robbery.

Somehow or other, the Mack Macks and Neighborino wrestled both boulders down through the forest. The author can’t say how, really. He dabbles in the absurd, but if he tried to tell you that Neighborweenie insisted on boxing up the first boulder and then tying it to a dolly, he would have to admit to being more than a bit silly sounding. And if he confided, that the group packed their semi-precious cargo out through the unsmiling thorns of smilax thickets, & past patches of semen-reeking lobster fungus, it might begin to sound unfortunate, which it was not. Did I mention that a nest of yellow jackets whose larvae had just been eaten by a bear waylaid the troupe? The hurrying humans were made to feel the wrath of these desperately grieving insects. On the second trip up, for the second boulder, the buggy wake was avoided.

Werebrock began to feel that this particular sojourn was a parable on human greed, one he had not intended to be written into. He wanted to make his ancestors proud as he could, under the circumstances, and so he just carried the second, larger boulder in his arms. What’s the point of having the build of a Sasquatch if you don’t enjoy performing such feats on occasion?

As the idiots drove home, Werebrock stared out the window. He was not at all proud of their subdued quarry. The early afternoon rays of Sunday sunlight streamed through a bank of clouds, and the mountains they partially veiled seemed to toss a half-spiteful spit wad at him. The kyanite boulders glittered. Eyes that his soul had borrowed from the Creator wandered down from the resentful mountains, and his gaze fell to a Baptist church as they sped by. It must have finished delivering its daily dose, he thought, for the zombie congregation was pouring onto the driveway. There, a shaggy, black dog, buzzing with shit flies and unanimated as the day before it was born, lay waiting, presumably to be devoured in communion with a certain bloodthirsty sky god. “Well, that’s not a bad omen,” Werebrock thought sarcastically. Somebody would surely be dieing in this story’s next chapter, but only the green and white “Kyanite Dr.” signpost heard his prediction. The pickup turned onto the main road and revved its engine.


Hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have. All of the adventures of “Werebrock”, Badger Johnson’s sometimes alter ego and hero, are fictional. To a degree. Everything illegal that he does is COMPLETELY fictional, embellishment on the life of this law-abiding anarchist. So, if you understood that Werebrock ate some possibly psychedelic mushrooms, the reader is to take it that Badger has been ingesting only shitakes. Eating shitakes is a profound experience. After all, how many other sources of easily grown, near-complete vegetarian protein can you name off the top of your head?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Colin Macleod and GalGael

i want YOU to read this obituary, and then go peruse the GalGael Trust site. when you're done, if you're interested and excited about these topic articles, lemme know so we can cheer and discuss them. bless up. -badger


Colin Macleod

Motorway protester known as the Birdman of Pollok

The Herald. Glasgow (UK): Nov 7, 2005. pg. 16


COLIN Murdo Macleod began life as a far-flung Gael in Sydney, Australia. He was one of the five children of Donald and Josephine Macleod. When he was four, the family came back and settled in the Pollok area of Glasgow.

Gang culture, alcoholism, drug addiction and violence were daily facts of life. Colin saw it all. He could stand his ground among the toughest of them. But what made him so exceptional was his depth of understanding and the tenderness of his heart.

That heart was, throughout childhood, always drawn to the pure wildness of nature that, at the end of the day, sustains and contains the city. And it was given wings by true nature wild - by time spent in wilderness.

"You should be a naturalist, boy, " his grandfather from the Isle of Lewis once said, for at school he'd be always daydreaming out the window, and throughout life the far-seeing eye of his eagle's mind was forever out with the stags on the hill, leaping with the wild salmon in the river and running under sail in a gale - singing heavenwards on the Gaelic ocean wave.

But the Holy Hebrides of his father's family were not his only inspiration. A saving grace of his childhood environment was that all around were the trees and creatures of Pollok Park. Colin spent endless hours there, climbing high in oak and beech trees, hunting for sparrowhawks and wrens, collecting rowan berries and ash keys, finding joy in the smallest Tawny Owl's feather.

Colin's deep connection with this nature, this Creation, inspired him to protect it when it was threatened by the arrival of a motorway. Spending nine days in a 150-year-old beech tree, he became known as the Birdman of Pollok.

It was here that he came to understand that the constant letters he wrote to newspapers, his articles (under the name of Quiet MacLOUD) and even his written poetry, were not sufficiently powerful tools for the unadulterated spiritual force he wanted to convey.

Help came from the fact that before the motorway protest in the early 1990s, he had been inspired to learn to carve stone among the Abenaki tribes of Canada and among the Lakota of South Dakota. Here, he also witnessed an indigenous people's struggle to reclaim their native language and traditions.

On his return to Scotland, he had bought himself a chisel, made a hammer and taught himself to carve - practising Celtic knots and other designs on derelict buildings and beneath railway bridges throughout Glasgow and beyond. And the carvings flew from his chisels thick and fast.

The 1990s became a prolific period of creative energy.

Respect, as a prelude to reverence, was a constant theme in all his work and human relationships. For this man, "work was worship, " as George MacLeod of the Iona Community had once put it. Animal carvings spoke in their own language, especially through an eagle totem pole that became the defining icon of the motorway protest at the prophetically styled Pollok Free State.

In standing his ground at the Free State, Colin was unafraid of derision and ridicule. He had built the necessary spiritual bravery to "hold fast". "I don't go to church, " he was to say in a Radio Scotland Life in Question interview in 2005, "but I do connect very deeply with the foundational Christian values of love and forgiveness. And when I read the Bible and you've got Jesus going to the wilderness for 40 days, I realise you've got a wilderness man, just like in Gaelic culture the songs of river and mountain anchor you."

His greatness lay in the fact that his warriorship was not that of the sword. The sword would have been too blunt an instrument to cut the darknesses that he named, unmasked and engaged. Rather, Colin's way had become the path of the spiritual warrior. He was an artist who integrated head, heart and hand.

Many people, so many people, warmed themselves round the Pollok hearth. The motorway protest became almost incidental. It was a convenient focal point. Indeed, he used to say: "It's simply about fresh air - it's just common sense." But in this world such sense is uncommon.

It has been said that Colin failed to halt the motorway. But while the outward Battle of the Trees was lost, an inner spiritual war was won. Ordinary people found their voice and glimpsed their own greatness.

He deliberately rekindled a sense of peoplehood. This was the birth of GalGael; reconnecting of people with their land and true potential. The name, GalGael, means that there is both a bit of the stranger and a bit of the native in us all. The boat - the Hebridean Birlinn - was a symbol. He set out to build one, he did so, and in May last year it carried them to Ireland where his mother's people had come from.

A legend for the modern day that he envisioned was to see the creation on the Clyde at Govan of a Hogback longhouse and a granite slipway. These would be centres for community skills that would ensure that the people were given back their river, their story.

Colin breathed life into natural materials through his carving, into the Clyde through his boats and into people through his belief in them. He was a poet who wrote his lines in wood and in stone and on our hearts.

Many of us have lost our best friend, Donald and Josie have lost a son, Gehan has lost her anam cara, and Oran Angus, Iona and Tawny have lost their beloved daddy.

He whom we consider to have been our greatest living poet, prophet and chieftain, has now flown this world.

Has Scotland seen many who embodied all three of these qualities, and from such ordinary origins, since the days of Wallace and the early Celtic saints?

He leaves a legacy that lives on in his children, in the people he touched and in his works. He was only 39.

Gus am bris an la, mo ghraidh.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

disappearing for a minute

Friday--the day after tomorrow--Sharqi, Kid Khalila, and I are taking off for Stelle, Illinois, where we'll be attending this permaculture design course, and Khalila will be bonding deeply with her grandparents in the suburbs. I expect we'll be rather incommunicado, busy learning from morning til night, and away from computers most if not all of the time. But we've been enjoying the webinars and we are looking forward to meeting these people in person, observing real patterns on the ground, and learning step by step how to design a site to sustainably meet our needs for food, fuel, fiber, and medicine. Not to mention meeting the guy who translated The One-Straw Revolution.

I think I had a few more things to say but sometimes they slip away. Buckwheat mead is dank.

We just started a few gallons of blackberry wine from local/farmer's market berries.

One of our homework assignments has been to identify ten plants in our area that we're unfamiliar with, and learn their uses. Most that I've looked up are at least somewhat edible, and I'm pleasantly surprised to learn that some can be used for fiber (velvet leaf) or scouring (horsetail) or even latex! (sow thistle)

If the world ends in the meantime, remember the advice a Christian church put in an ad in the paper in the buildup to Y2K: Don't panic, be generous, and trust God.

If the world doesn't end, there's a chance I'll be able to make it to Chicago to see the Taqwa Tour '07.

possum power,



Sunday, August 12, 2007

in case you hadn't heard, there've been a lot of shooting stars the past couple nights. tonight's supposed to be the peak, so get out there and enjoy the Perseids! that story will be out... soon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pop Occulture is talkin' some nift shit. there's a longish (for me) story in the works, should be out by saturday. hope everybody's cool.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

wild green fire

wild green fire

islands of fertility in the urbarrens
patchwork vagabond housing
blue tarps peek out here n there

some of these trees were sprouts
in the 1700s or even 1600s
can you imagine all they've seen?
to cut this up for firewood
will be an act of deep love and respect

after the good-to-the last drop of
light sweet crude is gone
this world's mighty machines
will not come to move the next
set of tremendous trees that fall
on the roads in a storm.

cut for fuel and
or composted in place
for the next hundred years
neighborhood gardeners will
take advantage

the lushness restricted to the yards
will leap into the streets

wild green fire

sure it interferes with traffic
but traffic interferes with this
and traffic won't last much longer
or rather it'll change into a whole new
complex dynamic self-regulating
chaos system

what will traffic be? bare feet bicycles
large grazing mammals & very very small engines
as the roads decay, then what?
Does it all degrade into chunks of gravel?

It's only thru pockets of chaos
that StanCity can survive
as pockets of chaos are the sources of innovation
when surprises come

<3 hakim

Friday, August 03, 2007

seasons change

with my mind cleared of late, i've started noticing some of the many gradual changes that happen around MG. my mood has really effected my perception operating level.

two weeks ago, these little wood finches have been screeching up a storm and darting around our deck, often pausing to cling to the sides of the great tulip poplars. they hang perpendicularly, like acrobats, their bodies just comin' out at a right angle to the massive trunks.

last week, the owls began hooting in earnest- long and loud into the night. my Ma calls it "dueling", since they do a call and response hoot.

this week, there's been some kind of predatory bird making its screeches mid-afternoon. i've seen it flyin' way up there, probly near the top of the mountain, so at least two thousand feet. and then i saw some BIG birds flying up there, too. they were turkeys, by the shape of 'em.

i also continue to notice my problems with gluten, whenever i've indulged. i had some rye/spelt bread, as a tastey experiment, and goodness gracious that was a mistake! (i had to nap in the middle of our bamboo workshop.) but i'm learning, and will be experimenting with different grains. sourdough cornbread, anyone?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Other Power!

this is one helluva website, for those of us who are mechanically gifted and want off the grid power for cheap. so it doesn't quite apply to me, but maybe to you?