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trust the spirit


the moon

Full moon, solstice moon,

you turn the night into an old timey film.

Flickering away, flickering away,

reel after reel,

night after night.


I stare out my winwow,

I stand on my deck,

And I wonder.


mother honey

"It is interesting to consider that the bees preparing for winter have never been through the cold season, nor will the summer foragers be alive when the stores are consumed." –Jason Grace, Napa Valley Bee Co.

And like that, with a casual observation left in the notes from our beekeeper’s “Fall Summary”, my mind was blown wide open.  Working the bees has been a true pleasure.  For me, working is a pretty loose term.  The way it works:  the beekeepers come over and open up the hive, assess each frame, search for pests, and larvae,  and keep notes of the findings.  I generally stand there, ask questions, hold a thing or two, take a sting for the team, and so on.

It’s true magic.

It’s only been half a year since the bees first came to our land, and we had not anticipated tasting any of their honey until the flush of this coming spring.  Unlike the hustle bustle of commercial beekeeping, we do not see the harvesting of honey and replacement with high fructose corn syrup as a fair trade for the bees.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone could think that with even a moment’s consideration, let alone that be the commercial norm. 

Due to the elevation and isolation of our site, and the abundant garden and multiple hundred foot long rosemary hedges which surround the bees, our two colonies are both presently extremely healthy, and most importantly, well "set up" for winter.  As plain of a thing as that may sound, in present day bee world the ability to prepare and survive a winter is anything but guaranteed. 

And then it happened.  Knowing that the bees had healthy stores of honey, and that we would not be causing them much stress, we heated up a knife and sliced a small square out of one of the frames. 

The scorched knife cuts easily through the bee-made wax, with its’ lightly capped honey cells ensconced within.  Pierced, now, and honey bleeds down like a tear of blood--a small bit of attention is drawn to the scene.   Before a moment’s time, it is over, and the hive is closed, our sacred square of wax and dripping honey safely inside the glass jar.  It feels like quartz crystal in my freshly stung hands, throbbing like the cosmos throb.  golden divinity.  

And so each day, for as many as it lasts, her and I have taken minute little tastes of both wax and honey as a morning ritual.  Ecstatic.  Loving.  Eternal.  Magical.  Approaching orgasmic.  These are the adjectives of it’s flavor.  It is truly supreme.  Like nothing I’ve tasted.    

The seasons, and the flow of the sun, the rhythm of the rain—the bloom of the forest.  These things and more are processed through the unique perspective of the bee and the result is god’s honey.   I have said magic a few times throughout this entry, but when it comes to mother honey, I’m not sure what else is even at play.

happy Terra Madre Day 


seed the pasture, feed the soul

It’s as true as time.  Your grandfather’s grandfather didn’t know anything different, and as certain as the leaves are falling out my window the seeds are being sewn in the field.  It’s human nature. 

four guys from two countries, all of similar ages, reached into a bag of seed and touched eternity.  The language barrier vanished as only a veil could do.  it's just us and the field. 

There is almost nothing sweeter, nor nothing more gratifying, then the soft feathering of seeds leaping off your fingertips.  as beautiful as any water cascade you have ever seen—it’s a seedfall.  You can almost make out their joyful cheers as they soar towards the broken earth beneath—it’s a resounding “YEEEEESSSSS!!!!!”

Incredible.  Seeds + water + your humanity = bounty.  Abundance comes from presence.


weekend dissolve

My brother and I traveled many miles to find each other—home at last.  two days and many spirits later, and my world again has a center. 

Enter Raven, enter Hawk, enter Rumi.  Enter Osho, enter Steiner, enter Mother.  Enter the white man, and enter the Native.  Enter Father, enter Squirrel, enter Moon.  Enter Stone, enter Water, enter Soil.  Enter Rattle, enter Drum, enter Floor.  

If we were the big trees, our journey was the small axe, and my body went dust to dust.  As the last wisps of ego exhausted from of our slack jawed mouths a red tailed hawk appeared as if out of—well, nowhere (or was it everywhere?)—riding our torrent of bliss and joy, wings spread wide, eyes on fire, feathers glistening.  It looked down on us and said, “you’re doing great.” 

like the beads of a raspberry chewed apart from its’ cluster, my individual components mushed from my center outward, my own personal big bang of sorts.  A beginning.  If your conscious ego is constructed from the brainpower of only eight percent of your actual capacity, then upon death you’re actually far more whole than at any point during your physical life.  and with that, I closed my eyes for a day dream.

I awoke briefly in a tree with upward reaching branches.  Cradled firmly in the stiff womb of bark and pine needles, I thought I might never make it out alive.  “am I a branch?” With each breath of wind that softly danced by, and each subtle movement of my trunk, my limbs, my needles, I became certain that the answer must be yes.  Better just go back to sleep, I thought.  I’m sure my brother will come find me soon.

inspired by brother j, paul, and vidya.


great spirit

Spirit of spring mountain I am yours.  O’ raven spirit, vulture spirit, doe spirit, and buck.  The furry ones, the winged ones, the four leggeds, the creepy crawlers.  The stone buddhas, the plant spirits, the star brothers and sisters, and pachamama terra firma—the soil, my beloved.  

We moved here a year ago, and you said, welcome home

Last Fall, on one of our first hikes from your pond to your peak, we were tromping through the woods and I thought aloud to the universe, I can’t wait…I just cant wait until a year from now, or ten years from now, when I’ve climbed this mountain so many times that I no longer even get out of breath.  her and i were hiking with a new friend--an exuberant spirit who has on more than one occasion since this hike exhibited the ability to perform real life acts of magic before our eyes.  He heard my musing and replied, jared, at that point, it won’t be a challenge to climb the mountain because you will be the mountain.  And of course, as the fable goes, I understood not what he prophesized. 

spirit of the mountain, your acorns are plump, while some have already released their grasp from your limbs.  your moss is thirsty, and your turkeys look narrow.  Your douglas fir trees are absolutely busting with pine cones.  The mountain jays and the ravens are announcing—well, everything.  The breeeeeeeeeeze.  If I were a red tailed hawk I would launch off the highest ledge and you would carry me to and fro as steady as time itself.  Nothing is as sure as my flight. 

It’s been months without a single drop of rain and your lush green foliage is still glowing full of life--happily attentive.  Your creeks are dry, and the creepy crawlers and the crayfish down near the pond appear to be pressed for a place to spend the night.  as a result, the skunks have been thriving in your ravines.  the owls appear to be coming out earlier, their breathy vibrato hoo-ing accompanying our late afternoon strolls. the blackberries down by the lake have raisined on the vine wherever they remain standing unpicked.

The branches of your apple trees hang heavy—some are touching the ground!  the grapes hang in the most perfect clusters.  The figs are swollen and deeply hued.  The bees, by the grace of god, appear to be thriving.  The sunflowers are ten feet tall.  The tomatoes are pumping, the eggplants are ripe, and the plums and the pluots are all either ghosts of the garden's future or past.  The thistles have released billions and billions of seeds into the air and onto your surface, and despite the decade of weeding they will cause ahead, I can’t blame them.  Could I experience this feeling you provide a billion times more i would divide myself and launch into the air all the same. 

The song birds have been right all along, singing their songs and tending their nests.  What a joy it is, spring mountain, to be your eager student.  


rookie beekeeper


How to describe the indescribable—an exercise outside of the corpus.  This week I jumped right into the deep end of the honey bowl and there’s no looking back.  About fifty thousand bees live outside my front door now, and I am their keeper.  that happened kind of quickly.  I’ll back up. 

You see, a few months ago, we found ourselves embedded deeply, as we still currently are, into the thick regulatory stew of efforts required to develop and open up Be Here Now (a budding retreat, farm, and nature sanctuary at our home here in Sonoma).  As winter’s work tinkered on—projects of every imaginable caste and order—we had the increasing itch to get our hands out of these here computers and put them back into this here earth.   All the architecting, engineering, planning, designing, redesigning, consulting—etc—it all became a little rote.    With that in mind, I thought a “pure joy” side endeavor might round out the schedule nicely and picked up the phone to contact the Napa Valley Bee Co—a guy I had read a thing or two about online.  He raises (and teaches people how to raise) bees all around the area using strong, local, healthy genetics.  His bees are not propped up by chemicals and medicine, but rather live simply and naturally (which turns out to be quite the struggle for bees nowadays).  Two months later he called and said my colonies were ready.  That was five days ago, and now here I find myself in a whole new way.   

Jumping off the deep end into the honey bowl, as stated earlier, is actually a perfect analogy for how this feels.  Put yourself there, into a bowl full of honey.  The thick goopy resistance warps your every effort into slow moving, ineffective gestures.  This is how my first day interacting alone with the bees plays back in my memory.  Opening up that hive on that first day by myself stacks up there against all of the most extreme out-of-body experiences I have had in my lifetime—professional and recreational.  I couldn’t control my hands.  I could think about what I wanted them to do, I just couldn’t make them do exactly whatever it was that I had originally wanted.  Certainly not with any grace or expedience anyways—two qualities I was literally praying for inside my head during the moment in question.   

The only thing I could think of was johnny depp’s character in fear and loathing describing the onsets of an ether high:  “Total loss of all basic motor skills. Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue. The mind recoils in horror, unable to communicate with the spinal column. Which is interesting because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can't control it.”

“Yea, that’s about right,” I thought.  So I opened the box, and there’s yesterday’s upside down mason jar—emptied of syrup.  “Just pick it up,” I thought.  Just pick up that mason jar covered in bees, open the top, feed the bees, and leave. 

“Just do it”, my brain seemed to be saying to my hands.    

I can’t really compare this to any other human moment in my experience.  Don’t get me wrong; I have fronted bravado in my lifetime.  I’ve taken on a multitude of new trades over the last three years, and I have tackled them all with confidence, intention, and open mindedness, but something about this just feels a little different (and I’m thinking it’s the terror).  Meanwhile, Rob, my bee guru, just sort of chuckled as I described the cocktail of horror, confusion, and adrenaline that coursed through me as I engaged the bees on my maiden voyage.   His advice was to just stay calm and confident—“you’re the boss,” he said. 

“Okay,” I thought.  But only, okay.  

So Picture this—day one, scene one—napa valley bee company arrives at my home.  The beekeeper and his wife step out of their car dressed finely for what appears to be a dinner party, with their son and a dog asleep across the back seat, a colony of bees sitting in the open cabin trunk, and a small handful of “escaped” bees humming busily around all four of their heads—everything is totally normal. 

This is the procedure that followed:  carry the hive to its’ new stand, pull the screen off the front of the hive, and—wait foooor iiiiit…sprint like a motherfucker.  Yes, that’s right, I said “sprint like a motherfucker.”  Plan A. 

These are your bees now.  Every day, for the next week straight, prepare a simple syrup of 2x sugar and 1x water, open up the top of these boxes (both of which have twenty or thirty thousand bees inside them), and feed the syrup to the bees in an upside down mason jar whose top is punctured with tiny holes.  While we don’t normally feed our bees anything, by practice, we will feed them this week while they orient themselves to their new food shed.   Oh, and no gloves—you’ll need the dexterity. 

“Okay,” is all my brain could come up with—and i’m not sure if it was meant as a statement or a question. 

presently, as I sit hear recalling this week’s new beginning, I can already appreciate the fading newness fondly as a seasoned five-day-old beekeeper.  the terror has been replaced by curiosity, while the confusion and adrenaline remain fully intact.  This process has already been filled with such wonder and amazement, I can’t wait to see what the bees have to teach us next. 

The bee is the reminder to extract the honey of life and to make our lives fertile when the sun shines.  The bee reminds us that no matter how great the dream there is the promise of fulfillment if we pursue it.” from Animal Speak , by Ted Andrews