New Cape/Old Cape

This is and isn’t the cape I left back in the 70’s. The pace is much faster, while the characters and drama in local politics remain static. Kind of like a remake of an old Hollywood movie, not necessarily any better than the original. Same roles, different names and faces.

It’s interesting how the vision and culture seem to mirror the topography. Thankfully we are surrounded by ocean, sky, and horizon…the broad expanse helps balance the narrow land. Nature imposes a balance on our culture and community one way or another.

The dominant culture here changed dramatically while I was in Vermont. Or perhaps, I had changed? most likely, a little of both. The cape felt more conservative and stifled to me. Gone were the hippies and bohemians of the past, replaced with retirees and nouveau riche. Or so it appeared to me on the surface. According to Ana, I needed to create what I most needed to find here, and she was right. Something I’d done unconsciously in Vermont for years and had to learn to do here. And in discovering that I could do it here, remembering that I’d actually been doing this all my life. I was a military kid used to bases and the unique bonds forged with other military families. We were gypsies, vagabonds and I learned early what Darshan was about even though I didn’t have a name for it then.

I rarely drink coffee, I like my tea just so, and you’d better be an exceptional baker if you’re selling because if I can do it better at home…then I will. I am not your typical consumer. It’s an experience I’m seeking, more than a commodity. And imperfection? I love to tolerate it if you have the Darshan I seek.

The cafe, the garden, the work of art, the library, the bike path, the market or shop? That’s just the vehicle to get me to the experience. It’s the people or the trees, the color, or the thrill of the discovery I encounter when I arrive that matters to me.
It’s what Rumer Godden in “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep” says is a Hindu belief that people will travel miles to see, touch, taste, sense, smell the presence or essence of a person, place or thing, with the belief that they will catch some of its spirit or soul to carry with them – this is what I seek in my journey. Darshan. Connection. The need to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I walk to the Caribbean Market in my downtown neighborhood, I am not just going to buy the ginger tea that reminds me of a place in Amherst from my daughter’s college days. I am also going to hear the musical singsong of Patois speakers, to smell the sharp spices of Jamaican cooking, to pretend I’m in the South Carolina of my birth, to remember my own immigrant grandparents and how hard people work to make a new life for themselves, to create a new home. So, all this being said, I will share with you some of my favorite places on Cape Cod where I experience Darshan. This may include places that aren’t perfect but they always have good people, vision, and the feeling that that place is loved.

This is and isn’t about a place called Cape Cod, how it’s changing, how I’m changing…it’s about home…the home we make for ourselves wherever we are, because it’s about us and the people. It’s my guide to recognizing that home is right where I am.

Sandwich, as in a Place, Not on a Plate

Sandwich was where my Cape Cod life began. Easter 1967, my dad took me for a walk and told me he would be going to Vietnam. He explained Vietnam to me; I asked him why the people who make the wars don’t fight them (some things don’t change). It was his job he said. Pretty much the end of the discussion, other than my fear “will you be killed?” He would be leaving in July. In the meantime, he would have some time with the family. Later that spring he told me we were going on vacation. He was very excited and told me to guess where as he gave me a hint, “Cape…” “Canaveral!” I cried. No, not quite. Cape Cod. Never heard of it. “Where the heck is that?” I asked. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. We took plenty of trips to Massachusetts to visit my Irish family, so Massachusetts wasn’t such a big whoop for a vacation to me, even if it wasn’t at my gran’s.

Millbillies and the Mainstream

 I keep putting off this post but every week that goes by I want to write something for Siobhan. I have never watched American Idol except in occasional blips when my daughter’s had it on telly.
When I have caught it, I find it to be a rather cruel show like many of these competition shows seem to be.

That being said, last week was glorious and sunny, and I decided to finally get out and take photos of all the banners around town supporting Siobhan. At the vet a few weeks ago, my son, John and Susan (our vet and his wife) were reminiscing about the high school days when Anthony would be jamming in the basement with Colin, Rory and Mike, while Siobhan ran around upstairs chasing Colin’s younger brother Miles. Molly came home from school one day in high school and said to me, “remember Anthony’s friend, Rory? you should hear his sister sing — she should be on American Idol.” And so here she is today, a big girl on American Idol. Marching to the beat of her own drum. Which is very hard to do in our culture with more “I don’t get you Simons” out there than “this is who I am Siobhans.”

Perhaps Simon would “get her” if he knew the context of this place called Cape Cod, where Siobhan is from. I left for almost twenty years, and when I came back I felt like Rip Van Winkle. Many of the players were older but they were the same players running the show. And when they weren’t the same, it didn’t matter — it was still the same act, just a different face and name. Sometimes, I feel like an outsider here among the SUV and hydrangea painting fans. But there is an underground offbeat culture that permeates the backside of this peninsula and that is where I feel most at home. I’ve found it through music, dance, nature, offbeat cafes and other venues of creativity. I seek the subculture out as best I can.

There’s a dusky mauve Cape in Marstons Mills with a big banner for Siobhan in the yard — possibly her house, as it looks like a house that has lots of kids and energy (she has about 5 siblings). It’s a burst of magic in the midst of the mediocre. Many years ago, when I first saw her dad at one of the boys’ concerts on the town green, I was thrilled to see a long-haired, tattooed sleeves guy (also a musician). The whole family is a quirky, talented and creative blend of renegade Cape Cod natives, something I’ve sorely missed. It’s good to still find it here.

** You  might have to click on the collage to see the whole thing…

Searching and Sharing

Been more offline these days than online — my eyes were getting a bit buggy as I was getting too deep in a virtual world again. I crave strong, visceral, real time connection and it is just so damn hard to find these days. I don’t take it personally — I just realize many people are not in the same place I am and aren’t yet ready to make real time connection with people a priority. This is not a criticism either. I haven’t had a steady job for about a year now and when I did it was not pleasant (a synchronistic, supportive boss is huge in the world of work). Work or kids in school or church and so on all provide a social structure in which we can get our people fix. Take away that structure though…and we struggle to find (or create) connection. I haven’t given up on trying to create connection. I’ve been deep in Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do with My Life? and Carol Lloyd’s book Creating a Life Worth Living.

I’ve also gone back to a project I had started before my retreat adventures. It’s a Cape Cod Survival Guide I had started writing — it’s for when the bridge isn’t an option. Many people totally get where I’m coming from with this book as they have experienced the same frustrations living here that I have. Especially, after living in a more open-minded, progressive place (for me Vermont, for someone else Brooklyn, Portland or California, and so on) that can crack the word possibility wide open for those of us who are seekers. I suppose this has nothing to do with the video I’m sharing here today (or perhaps it does, I’m just too lazy to make the connection at the minute). It’s via Laura via Marlene and I love it. As a scribe with an editor’s keen eye, I noticed the typo right away, but I couldn’t let that oversight stop me from sharing the work here.

And besides, isn’t there some sort of philosophy that sports the notion that in every creation there should be one thing slightly wrong or off? So that it’s not perfectly perfect in every way?
Unlike Mary Poppins.


Made a few changes to the retreat which you can find here and here and here. So if you’ve ever thought of creating your own love bomb, everything’s in place for it, just get your group together and we can make it happen!

The BIGGEST changes are:

1. BEDS are NO LONGER SHARED, they are all individual

2. Spots are limited to 12 on-site participants

3. I am considering offering a small number of spots to commuter participants — cost to be determined, and it would include lunch and workshops both Friday and Saturday

4. COST for on-site participants has been reduced to $450. inclusive

** image from here, copyright 2007 Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust (one of my favorite cards in my deck and very apropos for me at this time).

Cougar Crone-icles

…is what I wrote in a letter to myself this morning…craving a certain community of women, some peers…for this tween stage of my life…past the “mommy club” days but nowhere near “done” yet…don’t get me wrong, I miss those years and through my younger friends can enjoy them vicariously…but I know it’s time for me to move on, not hyper-focus on my kids as I once did (and like my mother still does)…and once again, the gift of a younger community that is shutter sisters has given me another gift today…Vision and Verb…I cannot wait to explore it further…Yes!


Listened to Vance Gilbert on WUMB yesterday while driving to get my daughter. He’s doing a show at Club Passim tomorrow night, January 16, 2010. All the proceeds from sales of his CDs at the show will be donated to Partners In Health. When we feel helpless, (or self-absorbed, embarrassed, blessed) sometimes all we got is music.

The Year of the Blog

I came here today to write that I finished the website for the retreat, adding Mia Adams and two more classes for a total of 8 to choose from. It’s a great group of teachers — all unique but also synchronized to a similar vibration.

I am finding that the more I stay open and pay attention to what I encounter along my path, the more synchronicity I find. Synchronicity — Love that word. Thank you Dr. Helen Languth (referred to in this post), and Dr. Carl Jung. Went to Lavender and Limes website today and read of her giveaway. I’d forgotten all about that, I just happen to like her blog, plus she’s only a hop, skip and a jump from where I live. I’d love to catch one of her classes at the Learning Connection this month, but evening classes don’t work well for me, especially if I have to travel far.

So where am I going with all of this? Oh yeah — synchronicity — for me it was Christine writing that this is the year of the blog for her, and setting a minimum of 50 comments to follow through with the giveaway — smart girl! Good for you! I’d love to do some sort of giveaway regarding the retreat, a 20% discount or some such thing, but it is wise to set parameters.

I have a blog goal this year too, pretty much in synch with Christine’s, when she says “…this is the year of the blog for me, I want to spread the word about Lavender and Limes, increase readership and participation, and continue to generate original content. I also want to hear from all of you who visit me but haven’t yet commented…take a minute, introduce yourself. I’m not too scary and I won’t bite, promise!” to which I say “ditto!”

When I was taking the Mondo Beyondo class back in October, I nearly fell off my chair when I checked my blog stats one morning and saw more than 10 visitors! Double digits! I’m laughing now as I write this because for a while there I was checking my stats daily, but I sort of got out of the habit, so now it’s only occasional. Would I like more blog visitors? Hell, yeah! Would I like more comments? Hell, yeah! (except for the rocks, that is.)

** the above photo is what blogs are sometimes about for me — the sharing and connection…Eileen’s one of my longtime friends, Corinne I’ve known since she was two. She’s on her way to Afghanistan via Indiana first, and Eileen’s heartbroken. Please send her some love and prayers.