This is what I look like without a costume…writing on the edge of land.
We’re eight days away from the witchiest night of the year. The Dudes are gathering up the parts to their costumes and fantasizing about intuitively knowing which houses will give full-sized candy bars. They’re sketching out in their heads the designs we’ll paint on pillowcases and have high hopes that those cases will strain under the weight of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, I mean Snickers bars and bags of Skittles.
There’s a town just north of Marin County called Petaluma. Best name ever. It’s a sizable town, must have been raucous back in the 1800s. The epicenter of the 1906 earthquake was 18 miles south in the smudge of a village known as Olema. Somehow Petaluma was largely spared; many buildings from days that make me think of petticoats and flirty glances, manly men and late nights frolicking in hay-filled barns remain.
Old-fashioned parades still snake down the main street. A theater that once hosted vaudeville style performances now hosts rock bands and tribute nights. There’s an ice cream parlor that serves goat milk confections, restaurants with names like Seared and Central Market and Topsy’s Kitchen. What was once the bank in town, a hefty corner presence on the boulevard that runs east west, is now the Seed Bank, a massive retailer of…uh-huh…seeds.
There’s a neighborhood in Petaluma that goes above and beyond the scream of Halloween duty this time of year. The spine of this neighborhood is D Street. Not much of a name, I know. But the street itself is magnificent. Queen Anne Victorians perch next to Italianate mansions that own their deep lawns with the presence of a hulking giant. Chandeliers are visible through long and narrow windows of Stick Victorians, embellished within an inch of their structural integrity. They literally look frosted. It is said that thousands descend on a mile or so of D Street each Halloween to gather candy, but the real draw are the elaborate scenes that unfold on the front lawns of the houses here. Pumpkin-headed campers fishing in a pretend lake on the edge of a campsite, the grill manned by Jack O’Lantern. And Cavity Cove, an inviting pirate paradise, complete with severed heads and the warnings of skulls perched above crossed bones.
D Street will be our destination on Halloween. I’ll be the pirate. The Tall Dude is some kind of HAZMAT protected warrior in a gas mask and The Little Dude will be impossible to spot except for the glowing red eyes, a la Amityville Horror.
I would have been a witch but I wanted to wear a costume.
My footing here in the 3D is precarious. I miss my Mom. I miss my Fairy Godparents who have been in France since May. I don’t have a mountain to train for, which is a lifesaver in some respects because I don’t have the luxury of seven free hours to hike with 50 pounds of kitty liter on my back. Which means that my thighs have gotten soft. And when that happens my little human brain with the super judgmental Ego likes to get all freaked out.
My former spouse preaches to me that manners matter and scolds me with this gem – you forgot the magic word – when I inquired about getting the support check without saying please. He wouldn’t know an offensive statement if it had 36Ds and was wearing a thong. But he sure knows how to speak them. Often.
While I feel like I’m wearing high-heeled crampons on vertical ice, the Universe has lifted the veil this month. Dreams have returned and I actually remember them! Not only that, the meanings in them have been teased out for the Dream Interpreter Impaired. Meaning me.
A black horse trotted out of the fog, his eyes locked on mine as he approached. His mane was a foot long, his chest broad and muscled, his coat glossy and lit from within. He stopped just short of a distance I could have covered with my arm. He didn’t want to be stroked, he wanted to be followed. His long neck bent back toward the hills I couldn’t see. Mist covered the rise of land and the trees that blanketed the slope. The only thing visible was the black horse.
Once inside the fog he stopped and came back around toward me following an imaginary crescent moon shape as he made his way. This time he came closer, right alongside me. I laid my head on his neck and he wrapped it around me protectively.
We stayed like that until I woke. The images in all their sensory details were burned into my consciousness.
That morning, in a house without power, I used my phone to look up the meaning of a black horse, specifically. The color was no accident. And this is what I found:
He represents the intuitive aspect of human nature. He is a symbol of death and rebirth. It signifies the closing of one door and the opening of a new door. His appearance can also signify the need to take a leap of faith, to trust what you know you need to do even if you can’t discern the reason or see the result. Go blindly forth and believe.
Alrighty then. Off I went to pack a lunch The Dudes wouldn’t want to trade away and ponder the continuous presence of the word intuitive with only the sunrise shedding light on my world.
The power in the cottage has been, oh, let’s call it active rather then unreliable. Lights blinking on and off, then fluttering back on only to shut down cold for hours. It would be repaired during the day only to turn off one by one as I walked through the hallway and up the four little stairs that lead to the kitchen. The only light that never went off was an industrial light in a cage of wire that sits way up in the vent over the stove. Every other light abandoned the call of the switch to operate simply when it felt like it.
I got real comfortable being in the dark. And started to believe in that whole Mercury Retrograde thing.
After two weeks of Will There Be Light and visits by numerous electrician types, a determination that (I barely understand what I’m about to type.) the red line is fried and only the black line works. Everything was set to black. And then there was light.
Only now the black is starting to flicker.
My cottage is the only one affected. The rest of the Calmmune glows brightly.
Along with flickering lights my entire digestive system went on the blink. With the regularity of a daily low tide I drop the kids off at the pool. Until it literally just stopped. I could eat a farmstand worth of sautéed onions and spinach, followed by a tanker truck of Metamucil and the only thing that would move was my midsection. Outward. As if I was pregnant.
I started putting these puzzle pieces together. Maybe I’m just understandably stressed by missing my Mom, going to court, not knowing how I would make ends meet should the judge trim the support, dealing with the dense energy of my former spouse, and trying to remain open to love when I felt the need to head back into the woods with the black horse and just out of reach of suitors like Mr. Ellen DeGeneres.
He told me he loves me.
I nearly fell off the dining room chair in his hillside house. I was expressing to him all the battiness that was going on around me – the lights, the dreams, the screams to follow my intuition, develop my intuition. His response? I love you.
Another might have nodded and smiled and blocked my number.
We spoke with total honesty. We mirrored vulnerability, making it okay to stumble over words and pause for minutes to gather thoughts. We held hands so tightly it was gripping not holding as I told him that when I try to conjure up a vision of my relational future I see nothing. I see no one. Not out of fear. I just don’t see anything. Emotionally, I feel drawn to big groups of people, not one person.
Maybe one day I’ll be ready to have a partner, I said, but right now I need lots of alone time to…
I couldn’t figure out what I needed to say.
…to be alone. To intuit. To go as far as I can go inside and out into the Universe to channel the words I need to write, to speak, to large groups of people. That was all I heard. Loud and perfectly clear.
And then my head started itching like crazy.
I get hotter every minute these days. Constipated, bloated…itchy.
When I’m with him I feel like I did when I was with my first love, J, also a very gentle spirit. The memory of telling J that I couldn’t see us married was NOT lost on me as I thought about a future with Mr. Ellen DeGeneres.
I see myself alone.
We concluded that there was no need to explore anything other than fully enjoying time with each other when we can. He gives me the space I need, and I communicate from an open heart so that he feels safe and knows he’s valued. It takes courage on both our parts to be in this kind of relationship. One that is not labeled, has no predictable path, and exists only in the moment.
As long as you aren’t waiting for someone better to come along, he said.
A week later my feet were dangling in the water of a pool that sat just off the living room of a palatial penthouse apartment. Swimming toward me with the wingspan of a Condor was a rugged and powerful man, his muscles straining against the confines of his skin. His eyes made the blue water of the pool look colorless by comparison. He came up from beneath the surface, grabbed the stone that lined the edge and hoisted his body up and out with one move.
With little said between us we dressed for dinner. He paused to admire my dress, to see my shoes. And then he pressed the call button for the elevator that opened into his entryway, a room unto itself.
My entire family was gathered in a private room off the private dining club of this most posh and exclusive private building. But first we stopped by a round table of eight with Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitting in the noon position. The man and she spoke. She gave me a quick hug and went back to her conversation. We moved through the room, opened a door and found ourselves perched on top of a city of lights. My entire family was seated at a long rectangular table that lined a wall of glass twenty feet high. My Mom was seated to the right of the far head of the table, next to an empty seat.
On my way there I found myself standing next to a battered center console fishing boat partially submerged in sand. The tide was low. A man and woman were covered in water and mud, dressed to withstand the elements. They laughed, the grime on their faces making their teeth glow in the twilight.
Aren’t you freezing, I asked.
They laughed. At me.
Back in the private dining room I saw for the first time that the calves of the man were shredded, gaping wounds with ripped out ligaments and torn veins that trailed him as he walked forward. I asked him if it bothered him. Did it hurt? He said he was fine with it, barely acknowledging my question.
I never got to eat that night. But I did get to ask my Mom what she thought of the man. She spoke three words.
Without a soul.
That night I looked up through a skylight, beyond the decorative spire that topped the building and into the night sky. When I woke up I was on my stomach and the sun was throwing purples and oranges across the stirring sky of west Marin.
The scenes and feelings of the dream burned into my psyche forever.
For the first time ever I looked up the ‘totem’ meaning of a body part expecting to find nothing that made sense. I found this:
Calves are how you move forward in life. Your legs, calves and feet store much of your trauma, resentment, jealousy, and emotional pain, both past and present, especially in regard to your family. Problems in this area show a block in the root chakra, which makes you feel fearful of moving forward or making changes. You may be experiencing issues about your self identity. You may not feel any support in your life–as though you are the one supporting everyone else, or as though you cannot support yourself.
That afternoon I swam laps for the first time in weeks. After, I could sense my vibrational energy was roaring. I walked into Whole Foods and a dozen people stopped. I compelled them in some way to stop and stare. And it had nothing to do with my physical looks or the clothes I wore. I could tell the difference.
The puzzle pieces all clicked in and I felt incredible joy, in spite of nothing in my 3D world changing. Yet nothing is the same. I can’t see through the fog but my intuition is powered up and lighting the way.
A witchy month indeed.