Thursday, November 20, 2008

Odds & Ends

Our Flood Refuge

My big winter project this year is our “flood refuge” room, a 16x24 structure built on top of an 8-foot-high platform right next to our house. Due to our awkward site (most of our property is floodplain that is unusable for building purposes), we live in a compound – the house and office are separate buildings, all the storage sheds are separate, and the bakery/honey house is separate. So building yet another separate building fits the pre-existing pattern very well. The platform will presumably -- one can only hope – hold the room above the level of any future floods during our lifetime. (Eventually, somewhere down the line, Elephant Butte Dam will fail and Selden Canyon, where I live, will be scoured down to bedrock, but hopefully that’s a story I’ll never have to tell.)

Right now we’re mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow and shoveling it into the forms, and my son Neil is doing the grunt work. It’s all very low tech. Neil is only available one day a week (he’s a college student, living the busy life of all college students), so we pour one 12-foot-long section of form each week. Pouring the foundation is taking us six weeks. Like so much in life, pouring a foundation is a matter of persistence – you set a goal and keep at it until the job is done, no matter how long it takes. It’s hard work, and you don’t have a lot to show for it -- just a piece of concrete on the ground with bolts sticking out of it – but a good foundation is absolutely essential if you expect the rest of the building to be any good. Just like real life.

Next week or the week after, I’ll order the lumber and then we can start building skyward – always the most enjoyable part. I’ve always been a compulsive builder (I find it creative and fun), but had hoped that I could take a permanent break now that I’m older. I’ve driven enough nails in my lifetime; surely I have earned my rest! But tasks keep appearing in front of me, and they need to be done.

I decided to write about The Great Flood of ’06 to set the stage for the necessity of our flood refuge room. But it turned into a full-fledged memoir, which I’m still working on. I’m not used to writing that much detail, and it takes a lot of time to crank out the words. By the time I’m through, it’ll be the longest thing I’ve ever written. It should be a compelling read. But for today, all I have to offer are these odds & ends.

Sylvan Grey

Sylvan Grey plays the kantele, the Finnish folk harp. She put out an album in the 80s, “Ice Flowers Melting,” which is the finest meditational music I have ever heard. She was obviously in a meditational state herself when she recorded the album, and there’s something about the sonic quality of the kantele that transmits a feeling of penetrating peaceful stillness. I find that the music gently picks me up and carries me along... perfect theme music for those times when I just want to enjoy the simple fact of being conscious and alive. She also made another album, “Recurring Dream.” Her CDs and downloads are available on the Internet – just Google “Sylvan Grey.”


One day, the Dalai Lama is in Central Park at lunchtime. He goes up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”

So the hot dog vendor makes one with everything and hands it to the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama hands the hot dog vendor a $20 bill and waits. And waits.

Finally the Dalai Lama asks, “Where’s my change?”

“Change comes from within, “ the hot dog vendor replies.


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Yowza! Congratulations to Miss Laura! I'll be looking forward as well to her blog. When do we get to witness this exciting event?

So you're gonna write the epic tale of the flood of '06 eh? A full-fledged memoir? Sounds intense. Perhaps you'd consider publishing that in episodes, so that those of us over 25 might have a chance(in this lifetime)
to absorb the first few chapters?

Great things coming!

6:43 AM  

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