Saturday, January 29, 2005

Silver and White

The entrance to the mine is smaller than I expected; heavy timbers brace the earthen walls and ceiling. Earth under, above and on both sides of me, I walk down the sloping road carrying a pick and a bucket, while stowed in my backpack, are the small items, water bottle, flashlight, whistle and a shallow pan. A mining hat illuminates the way and every fifty feet or so a dim lantern hangs from a spike hammered into the wall and flings shivering shadows out to startle me.

All this talk about finding treasure and discovering El Dorado amuses me--no, that's not quite it, I suppose embarrasses is the better word. Maybe age has something to do with it, I'm sure I'm the oldest one here. I know I'm too old to be dropping down manholes and mineshafts and charging off on romantic quests.

I've set a smaller goal for myself.

It's colder than I thought it would be, a still, eerily silent cold, and I'm a bit out of breath from the long walk. The ground begins to level out--and the narrow corridor I've been following opens into a circular area. I take the rubbing I made of the manhole cover with the compass rose from my pocket and study it. Eight points surround a circle. Seven passages lead out from this location, one for each miner, plus the entrance passage. I hear the sound of digging from two of the passages. I would like company, but this is solitary work--there will be time to talk if I meet someone in the chamber or topside, but not here.

I choose one of the quiet ways and follow until it comes to an abrupt end. I suppose I should continue to lengthen the passageway and wonder if I can dig in a straight line. Lifting my pick, I aim it dead ahead. Dirt rains down and scatters at my feet. I strike again and again until I'm standing in a huge mound. Soon I'll be swimming in dirt and blocking my own exit. I've seen nothing that even hints at gold and I've been digging for hours.

It's time to go. I fill my bucket and gather my equipment.

I return to the chamber and look towards each point, listening intently but I don't hear what I'm seaching for. It must be along the entrance passageway. I wander back, the way I came in and carefully play my flashlight along both walls. All the writing advice I've ever heard has said: use your five senses, see, hear, touch, smell, taste. There's nothing to taste and I am already looking and listening. Wait. The cold feels suddenly less intense--a minute difference, but something has changed. I stop and sniff the air. Nothing can grow down here but I smell the scent of green things. Vegetation. There is a barely discernible movement of air, warm air, and the far-off sound of running water. I find the branch-off I've been seeking deep in the shadow between lanterns, a black hole easily over-looked when following the light from a miner's hat.

The less travelled path is narrower and cramped, the dirt ceiling brushes my hair and pebbles trickle down onto my shoulders and back. I struggle not to turn an ankle on the stones and slippery gravel. There is no light except from my miner's hat and the instant I'm aware of it, it blinks out. I freeze in the blackness, afraid to move and overwhelmed with despair.

Nothing but faith will sustain me now and after a murmured prayer, I stumble ahead feeling the way with my hands, heading for the light that will always exist even in the darkest night. The way narrows again forcing me to crawl and drag the heavy bucket after me until I finally sense, more than see a glimmer of light ahead.

Have I travelled an hour, a lifetime or an eternity? Without a way to measure time or distance I can't tell, but the ground beneath me begins to smooth, the walls widen and I find I can stand again. Warm, soothing air with a sweetness to it I can't identify surrounds me and, with deep gratitude, I pray again, knowing how unworthy I am for what lies ahead.

The gate is rusty but the compass rose design is unmistakable, and after a major push the hinges creak open. Dappled sunlight pours through tall trees and the stream I've been searching for beckons a short distance from where I stand. I had hoped to find Memory's Molten Stream and surely this must be it. I sit down on the bank and dip my hand in the clear, bubbling water. A school of minnows reroute themselves around my fingers and then reform instantly into a tight knot once they have passed. When I remove my hand it is clean and healed.

A white butterfly with silver markings brushes my cheek and I hear the whisper of a question. Mnemosyne!

"What is it you wish?"

"The gift of words," my voice trembles as I answer.

"But you have that already, in your thoughts, in your memory." Her voice is mellow and soft as a summer breeze. She sits, now in her human form, just across the narrow stream and she smiles at me. Dark hair tumbles onto her shoulders and her white and silver gown shimmers in the sunlight.

Her laughters ripples toward me, as she asks, " Too easy? So, shall I set you a task? Would that suit you?"

My heart nearly skips a beat. I know I'll do anything she asks.

"Relax and rest here, by my stream. Let the dreams come and remember them. When you leave, visit the Lemuria garden and take from it what you need. It is all there."

"May I return here?"

"Any time you wish."

"I was digging for gold," I tell her, "to wash in your stream, but there's nothing here to pan." I hold up the empty bucket I struggled so hard to bring.

"Nothing? Are you sure?" Her voice quiets again to the whisper I'd first heard and wings again touch my cheek as she flutters off.

A single grain of pure gold gleams in the bottom of my empty bucket

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Note

Hands ruined by rough hard labor carefully pickup a folded note written on ivory vellum stationary with the initials S G embossed across the top. It was left on a bench in the gardens topside of the Mine. Carefully the rough calloused hands unfold the paper and dark glowing eyes read the following by the light of a setting sun:

To My Fellow Patrons,

One of the Miners has come up from Mines below the Cafe and has taken to strolling through the herb garden I've planted outside my Curiosity Shop.

She comes out just before sunset and walks down the little gravel path edged with Bee Balm; those are the flowers that are red and purple and smell just like honey. If you haven't seen my garden recently ( and I'm hoping some of you will soon ) I've scattered here and there among the Nicotiana my little stone gargoyles that my Aunt Akela gave to me the summer she crashed landed her plane and was nearly killed in a town called Abandon.

What I find interesting is the attention the Miner pays to those little statues. When she picks them up she handles them gently, as if she were holding a kitten or some other small delicate animal. She always puts them back down carefully and I've noticed she'll give them a little pat on the head before she stands back up again.

I've called hello a few times to her and she looks at me with what I can only describe as frank curiosity. Like the look you would be wearing if your cat were to walk up to you and ask how your day went.Then she pulls her shoulders back and moves away from me slowly. When there's some distance between us she simply turns and walks back the way she came.

Her eyes interest me most of all; how would I describe them? Ah, yes...feral. They look very bright and very feral.

I think that the next time I see her I'm going to invite her in to tell me her story.

I hope no one objects.

The dark orange eyes are flare as the Miner looks up into the setting sun and she says with a low laugh, " I certainly hope not ". She folds the paper and places it in the back pocket of her worn blue jeans and she walks up the path to the doorway that is the entrance way to the Curiosity Shop

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Muse of Unorthodox Creative Writing

*breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly, I sit quietly for a moment or three, trying consciously to relax my tense muscles*

Muses are elusive beings; with an ancient wisdom they are arbitrary at times, cryptic, irreverant and have an itinerary all of their own. They don't care if, you the mere mortal, are ready for them or not. They come when they come and inspire you however they wish. Sometimes they are crystal clear, and sometimes they make you work out your own inspiration, leaving you with only a glimpse or hint of what they see.

For more than a week now, I have heard and felt my own Muse calling. While her voice is as gentle and soft as a whisper on the wind drifting toward me, her pull has been quite strong, stirring a desire in my soul to face her, to meet her, to get to know her well for the first time in my life. She has been with me since my discovery and delight in writing my first play as a child. She's fueled my imagination, guided my hand in writing a few poems, inspired me with the right words for essays and led me to places or things that have awakened my creativity.

Such as this mine at Soul Food Cafe. I thank her, this nameless, faceless muse and am lucky to have her as mine. She's been with me for so long, and she has been patient, far longer than I could ever be. Not once has she asked for recognition or sought credit where it was due; not once has she expected a thank you in return or gotten one...till now. She knows I am ready to acknowledge her at last, to invoke her and seek her out. She knows I hear her, feel her and is ready to guide me and be a partner in my endeavors. I believe I was led to the mine, in part, to meet her, that part of this preparation in mining is really a quest to find her, to understand her as well as myself.

And for more than a week now, I have tried answering her call. But I failed each attempt. Well, perhaps not necessarily failed them, but have come across detours instead, blocking off unsafe or caved-in shafts of the mine. I have tried a couple of exercises in preparation, but part way through on each, a detour has directed me either to the left or right. Sometimes I've even had to choose as shafts opened on either side. The exercises will eventually come to light as gold nuggets or gold dust, but for now, I will follow the detours and see where they lead me.

She still calls me, my Muse. She knows of my efforts and knows I'll eventually find her in her magnificent cavern, whether it be underground or in a cave somewhere, or some place totally unexpected. She has the patience (as mentioned before)...and the wisdom to let me find her as I will, following whatever path is necessary. Learning whatever I need to to fully understand her, and myself, so that by the time we come face-to-face I will know her as well as I know myself.

She is a different muse, this one. My personal one, I'd like to think. Not one of the nine born to Mnemoysne, but perhaps a cousin. A daughter of Zeus or Apollo, born to a mortal princess in the Age of Gods and Goddesses. I don't know much about her yet, not her name, not her background or what she looks like, nor even what type of literature she is over. All I know is it's mine. Whatever my forte is. I'm not much of a poet, I can't rhyme. I'm not really lyrical, and I've never written a saga. I'm not an historian either or much of a record keeper, but I love history. And fantasy. I seem to write best when using my inventive imagination or when I write about personal experiences. I'm an unorthodox journalist, who likes painting a full picture for her readers' imaginations, instead of sticking to the bare minimum of details. *wry smile* I guess that would make her the Muse of Unorthodox Creative Writing, yes?

I kinda like that.

What I do know of her I know because of her past gentle influence and help through the years. I know she is kind, intelligent, playful, patient, insistent, fiesty, and for her...nothing is impossible. This is going to be one heck of a quest, and in the end I know we'll be great friends. I can't wait to meet her, my Muse, and have this conversation I know is coming about creativity, about my soul and hers.

I'm coming, Muse. Just keep calling; keep guiding and I'll get there. Eventually.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Unexpected

I have been intrigued by many things in my life---but I can't recall ever giving manhole covers a second thought. Still, it seemed a reasonable starting point for one with no practical mining experience and after looking at photographs from different countries and the artistic quilts and sculptures the covers had inspired I felt my enthusiasm begin to bubble.

The cover I found was a filthy black metal circle in the center of a dead end street, it held no fascination for me only distaste, but wandering around town dodging traffic to find another one to complete a writing assignment was out of the question. It would have to do.

As I squatted down to get a better look, I tried not to think of my ultimate goal, which was to remove the cover and descend into a cramped, dark space. Dried yellow stems and stalks from the previous summer had rooted themselves in every crack and crevice and I began to tug and pull at them. The pain was instantaneous but only after blood began oozing from my fingers and palms did I realize I was dealing with thistles and stinging nettle. I kicked them aside and cursed my stupidity for not bringing heavy gloves.

Blotting my hands with a tissue, I wondered what in the world I had hoped to accomplish. I was dirty and bleeding, my back was already beginning to ache, and this was the easy part!

I heard the sound of purring and then felt something nudge my leg. Oreo had decided to join me. "Aren't you supposed to be a big dog,?" I asked, alluding to the simple prompt I might have tried. My handsome tuxedo cat ignored the implied slur against his species and continued to rub against me.

There's no shame in quitting something you're unfit for," I muttered.

Oreo's motor stopped abruptly and he began to pace the circumference of the manhole as if he'd scented a mouse. In an instant he was digging furiously, kicking up a cloud of dust and pebbles until the taste of it was so thick in my nose and mouth I began to choke.

As quickly as the frenzy began it ended and, shaking the dust from his usually immaculate black and white fur, he sat down and stared at the manhole. He'd removed enough accumulated dirt and grime so that I could see hand holds for lifting the cover and a pattern in the metal that looked vaguely familiar: a circle surrounded with eight points, four large and four short.

Forgetting my injuries, I picked at the dirt in the circle with the only tools I had, my fingernails. Wavy hatch lines appeared near the bottom and what might have been a cloud near the top. My appreciation grew as I saw the care with which an unknown artist had etched the minor elements of the picture and I nearly prayed the center would show what I was now convinced must be there.

Brushing away the debris, I stopped for a rest. My nails were broken and ragged, dried blood stained my filthy hands, which continued to sting from the scratches and punctures I'd received from the vicious thorns. I sat back and took a swallow from a bottle of water and rubbed my aching knees. Oreo came and butted my chin with his head and began to purr again.

"It is there, isn't it?" I asked, almost expecting him to answer. Slowly and meticulously I worked on the center portion of the circle until the bow of a ship was visible and then the stern, sails came next and lastly, faint and exquisite, the rigging lines of a treasure ship.

It was the last image one would expect from a manhole assignment that was itself a preliminary to alluvial mining, but not all gold seekers had traveled to California overland and gold had been transported from Australia and Alaska and California by ship.

The design represented a compass rose, a ship's wheel that provides direction in the middle of an endless sea, a map that would show me first how to navigate beneath the manhole cover and then how to find my way in the depths of the alluvial mine.

Under an inch of dirt, I had unearthed the unexpected and it was as precious to me as gold dust. I grasped the hand-holds and tugged with all my might. Slowly, the cover shifted until I could see a ladder leading down. Light was coming in from above and there also seemed to be a source of light from below. Oreo watched, as I took my first few tentative steps, then climbed confidently onto my shoulder and curled around my neck. We both knew we were ready for whatever adventure lay ahead of us.

The Power of Seven (My First Steps)

Alluvial Miners

Standing in the hot sun, squinting from the gold dust rising up all around my small, unsteady frame one would never guess the job I had come to do. I do not wear heavy soled shoes to protect my feet, but braces to keep them in proper alignment. I have no flashlight to guide my steps, no walking stick to aid my balance, only a walker with two wheels in the front, a basket for collecting pinecones, and a snazzy red horn that glitters in the sun almost as much as the gold dust. It is 1984. I am a seven years old.
Born with Cerebral Palsy, my body hardly seems a sturdy enough vessel to venture deep into a dark mine and chip away tediously at black ore to reach a place few can imagine, but at seven years old it is a place I have seen. I am what many call a trooper. What I lack in physicality I make up for in spirit and idealism. I may not have a miner’s frame but I have a miner’s soul. Born not being able to sit, stand, or walk, I learned very young that many a rock must be lifted, the dust sifted, and the earth moved to reap even the smallest rewards. While other children scored soccer goals and ran laps in Phys Ed., climbing out of the bathtub unaided was my Eldorado. Every milestone, no matter how seemingly small was a huge victory marked by frustration, tears, hard work, resolve and faith. Yes, at seven years old, I am a trooper. Amazingly wise beyond my years, yet full of all of the innocence and hope that lends its strength to children. Our innocence makes us unafraid and undaunted. Standing before the dark mine, with its boards creaking in the wind and the dank smell emanating from its entrance that is how I feel…unafraid and undaunted…eager to explore and uncover…not just hoping but completely believing I will unearth a treasure of great significance. This is the power of unblemished youth, dreams given free reign, and idealism captured in the hope of Eldorado. This is the power and beauty of seven.
Standing in the hot sun, squinting from the gold dust rising up all around my less than perfect i.e. flabby body that has been the subject of more than one New Year’s Resolution, one would hardly guess the job I had come to do. I wear Doc Martens on my feet in the hopes of arriving as well-equipped for the task ahead as I possibly can. It is 2005. I am twenty-six years old, soon to be twenty-seven. My body is still a far cry from the vessel it should be to venture deep into a dark mine and chip away at all the baggage I have collected to reach a place I once could imagine with ease… but my body is now the least of my worries. Having brought new life into this world, worked a 12 hour day with a grueling commute to come home then tackle sight words and show and tell, while concocting something similar to green bean casserole, packing lunches, folding laundry, and still remembering to replace the toilet paper roll in my son’s bathroom, I am confident my body though it may be weary, will hold up just fine. It is my spirit, once my greatest strength that concerns me now. At twenty-six I am not a chipped tea cup or even a badly broken vase, my very being is a mosaic of shattered and mismatched pieces that don’t seem to fit or close the cracks no matter where they’re placed. There is no glue…no brace or orthodic to repair the heart. Standing before the dark mine with its boards creaking in the wind and the dank smell emanating from the entrance. I am intimidated. I am afraid
It’s not so much the monsters that might be lurking waiting to gobble me up from deep beneath that scare me, but rather the thought of emptiness. All my life, through every trial I held to the promise that there was some meaning, some purpose, some divine reason, and even if it could not be seen by the naked mortal eye, surely there was to be a divine reward, a heavenly blessing if one was patient and dedicated. Now at twenty-six I struggle desperately to hold on to that hope. Still wise beyond my years, but also older than I ought to be and not so innocent, Eldorado seems a far away fairy tale that I sometimes chastise myself for dreaming of, as surely it’s a way to escape reality. My path is so littered with broken dreams that to look back is so painful I feel I must physically hold myself together before my mosaic completely flies apart and disintegrates, and all that is me, was me, the power of seven is completely and forever lost. I know I am blessed beyond belief with a wonderful man in my life and a beautiful son, and even blessed with beautiful Hawaii; it makes me feel guilty to hurt sometimes. Just the same sometimes it seems that all I had hoped for, once believed in, my career, my ability to make a difference, the sanctity of marriage and the indestructible bond of devotion, the strength of family, all of this has moved to Eldorado. The place I can no longer see, the place I cannot reach, the place I am now afraid to believe in. For fear there is no reason, no purpose, no divine reward or heavenly blessing…no gold…The one discovery I dread to make is the discovery of nothing. Standing outside the mine in my heavy combat boots, with my tension-ridden shoulders and heavy heart I wrap my arms around myself to keep in the pieces. I close my eyes tight as tears fall and I pray. Dear God, Please give me something to believe in. Let it all mean something. All the sorrow in my life please let it mean something. As I take the first step this is the burden I carry. This is the frailty of twenty-six.
Written By: Beth Clewley

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My Adventure Topside

I received my map and invitation to the gathering on the bluffs for the meeting of the Alluvial Miners. I spend a lot of time in the valleys and mines, so I thought I'd take my motorcycle, which I rarely ride nowadays and take a trip up to visit my new friends.
Of course I got lost, why I haven't ended up on the other side of the world now is a mystery to me! It's all about maps down in the mines and following directions. Did I mention my eyesight is poor too? But really, who needs to see in the dark. You sort of have to feel your way and follow your gut; which is something I CAN do very well, thank you very much.
When I reached the bluff the winds were starting to blow hard and wouldn't you know it? It started to rain a little but that's okay. The little gathering place was above a lookout with a wooden fence to keep you away from the crumbling edge that fell to the Sea and rocks below.
So I hopped up and took a look down.
Very cool.
Do you know that when the tide comes in and bashes up against those black rocks below it looks exactly like the sky on a stormy day?
The trees here aren't lush and green, they're always fighting something off, fog, and winds, whatever ever else that comes up out of the sea and makes for the woods surrounding the cafe. So they're very tall and worn and gray. They remind me of these men who's biker brother died many years ago.
I planned the funeral and right in the middle of the service at this old fashion lovely church I could hear some sort of bottle roll down under the pews and one of them jumped up and yelled, " have some respect you sons of b*&^ we're in church you A&^%@#!
I'm not sure why I should think of those men and those trees as being the same. They're old, tough and defiant I guess. So they are the same.
If you go back away from the bluff, it's a little quieter and the Sea doesn't seem as loud and the wind isn't as insistent.
Someone has made a little garden here in the meeting place, there's some logs they've pulled together in the shape of a square, there's even rosemary planted all over the place and these little flowers that I think are forget- me -nots.
Forget-me-nots are my favorites.
It’s easy to see why people come here to write, to talk and be together. It’s warm and alive and growing and safe.
Then I start to think about the bluffs again and the wooden fence and those trees and all the secrets they've learned from the waters below. I wonder what they've seen? Do yo think if I go back I might walk away with a hint of those memories? I hope so... it's those whispers I love to listen to.
I can hear the others coming up the path now I think about going back to that wildness and I start to loose myself in the stories I could hear in those whispers. Then I hear laughter, real laughter. It's very nice, like when the sun comes out after a storm...plenty of which I've seen. Nothing is like that sight let me tell you.
No, I think I'll stay here for a while and listen to that laughing and talking. I don’t hear much laughter in the place I’I have come from. Maybe I'll even be part of it. So I’ll stay until I get called back. I’ll stay as long as I can.

Training the Imagination

‘La piedra Degetau’ is a perfect setting for this exercise for it was what came to my mind when reading the “Training the Imagination”. It is place of beauty located in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, on top of a mountain. From which you can see the gorgeous ‘Cordillera’, a group of mountains that cross the center of Puerto Rico. So here it is…

It is in the country side resting on top of a mountain that is sister to a large group of other mountains that salute her from the distance. It is late and night is upon us while the fog is ready to cover us like a soft white blanket. There is a looking post made of wood created for those who wish to look beyond. Around it between beautiful gardens full of native trees, palm trees, bushes, flowers called “Miramelindas”, and a playground there are small cottages scattered trough out the mountain top. These little cottages are the entrance to other worlds and a place for visitors to stay a while and have a rest or maybe a good place to retire from the real world that surrounds the mountain. I see the ‘Miramelindas’ flowers looking gorgeous with their bright colors happy to exist in a magical place like this one. The air is cold but refreshing as it is always during this season. But this place carries something different. It is inspiration! An invitation to come every time your inner writer desires. For inspiration is in everything you see in here. Is every mountain you look from the looking post for in each of them lays the realm of a writer.
So with sadness I depart knowing that I will be back to create a new mountain in that endless chain of ‘La Cordillera’.

Alexandra Román

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dog Active Imagination

A Dog ......
Gives love unconditionally and
loyalty unfailing,they don't object when you hold them tight.
But....they demand attention
disturb your sleep
flatten your garden
leave trails of fur
just everywhere
take over the couch/sofa
the front seat of the car
They always, rush to the door at the jangle of keys,
they pull on the leash in their excitement
they wind themselves around trees and fence posts
They pee in the most inapropriate places
They rush into to the sea,
then roll in the sand
They remind you when it is dinner time
by getting under your feet in the kitchen.
They help you spend your hard earned money at the vets.
- But what would we do without them-.

El Manantial

Today has been a day of impatience. But I think it was more of energy building up for the next thing to come. Since yesterday I have been wondering what I was going to do in the mines tomorrow (that’s today). I think all that thinking got me a little impatient or made me build up energy for me to conjure at the end of the day as I did. I did the rituals we sometimes do in order to be in tune with ourselves and sat in my bed to write after doing some research in the Amethyst Meditation Garden.

El Manantial

As I walked trough the endless corridors of the mine looking for a site to dig I came upon a wooden circular door. A big round iron handle was placed in the middle of the door. Ela, my shadowy muse, and I looked at each other in dismay. What was a door like that doing inside a mine? Well, I suppose that in here, a very different mine, you could find almost anything. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to me that a round door was placed in the Alluvial Mines.

“Should we open it?” –I asked to Ela for she was my companion in this adventure.

“Why not? There’s nothing stopping us.” –she whispered, like always for that’s the way she talks.

“Yes, let’s see what lies beyond that door.”

We walked to the door, took the iron handle, holding it very tight, and pulled with all our strength. It was a heavy door and as it gave way it made a loud noise like screws that have not been oiled for a long time. We opened the door completely and had a look to see what lay inside that room. To our amazement it was not a room but a garden, a gorgeous garden.

We went in to have a closer look and admire its beauty.

“Wow!” –I exclaimed.

Ela was speechless, she was just looking to that enchanted place not believing what her eyes saw. I was in the same state of shock. How would a place like this exist inside a mine? I remember I have read of the existence of this rare gardens and worlds in the book One thousand and one nights. But I thought they were only legends.

There were elegant green trees, flowers of all sorts of colors and shapes. Green pastures and a lake of crystal waters. Willows were caressing the surface of the lake with its branches that fell elegantly down to the ground. The breeze was soothing and perfumed with all the aromas of the flowers.

What caught more my attention was that inside that place instead of being dark it was daylight. You could not see a sun anywhere but as you looked closer to the ceiling you could see that it was filled with clear crystals.

We walked beside the shore of the lake and inside it were fishes of all sorts of colors swimming by as we walked. One of them was very curious and jump trying to grab our attention. We kept walking and the fish, which was a deep red color with golden fins, kept jumping gracefully out of the water.

I was having fun watching him and all of the sudden he smile at us. I froze and immediately said to Ela pointing to the fish:

“I think he smiled at us!”

The fish stick his head out of the water and said:

“I smiled because she smiled.”

I looked at Ela, who had a huge smile on her face, and as I was ready to tell her something I realize the fish talks!

“Do not be rude by commenting that he talks. Just approach him and converse with the lovely fish.” –said Ela catching up with my thoughts.

She was actually right and I didn’t want to be rude. As I was pondering on what to talk about with the fish I sat down near the water. Ela sat down beside me with the same smile as before. I looked at the fish that was just emerging from the water witch I imagine he was just breathing. He looked at me for a while with out saying a word probably waiting for me to speak.

“This place is incredible. What is it doing here?” –said Ela excited.

The fish that looked very happy to have a conversation said cheerfully:

“Well it is very interesting story. Long ago the god Zeus in his battle with the Titans threw one of his most powerful bolts to the earth witch it stroked so hard to the ground that it open a crack and it gave way to a passage to this world. Zeus, after that great battle, came down to relax and have a walk along the great garden that once lay above us.

“He noticed the crack and making himself small enough to fit in it came down and found an enormous cave that extended for miles underground. He felt in love with the clear crystals that are incrusted in the ceiling. So he, there and then, open the crack to let the rays of the sun come down through the crystals so the light could shine inside this cave.”

“But what happens at night when only the moon is up and there is no sunlight to shine upon the crystals?” –I asked full of curiosity.

The fish went down to catch his breath and continued -“The rays of the moon shine upon the crystals and submerge us in a blue magical light. If you stay long enough you might see it and maybe you can see the magic of this place.”

I smiled for I would not miss that opportunity.

“Zeus was so excited with the out come that he, almighty that he was and all, started walking back works looking at the ceiling. The all powerful king of the Olympians Gods stumbled on a rock. That one you see over there.”

He pointed at a big rock that was covered with bright green moss and beautiful ferns grew majestically around it. From it crystal water flowed to the lake.

“The waters of this lake come from the water that flow from that rock.” –said he emerging once again- “You see when Zeus fell down on the rock he opened a small opening and water came out of it. When he tried to get up he cut his hand with a crystal, nothing serious of course, he is a god after all. He washed his hand with the water that flowed from the rock. The combination of these magical waters, called ‘El Manantial’, and that of the blood of Zeus was what this place needed to start life. From the drops of blood that fell in the ground emerge creatures just like yourselves. But with dark black hair and bluish skin, for the blood of Zeus is of a bluish color. These creatures can make things grow out of the simplest things. They live in the farthest corner of the Manantial cave and love their privacy. So do not disturb them. They also pass their days playing with their magic and waiting for the return of Zeus, their father.”

“What happen to Zeus, did he die?” –asked Ela intrigued. She was really paying very close attention to the fish.

“No!” –he exclaimed- “He is a God. He just grew borrowed of this place.”

“So, who built that door?” –asked Ela.

Emerging form the waters the fish answered –“Well the King of the Manantial people. They don’t stay here for they do not like the door. It reminds them that there is a strange world out there that they don’t know and might bring contamination to theirs. That’s why the followed the river down stream, that grew from the lake, where they found another bigger one and settle there.”

He went down once again and continued when he came up –“It’s getting late and I have to go know. It was really good talking to you. I hope to see you tomorrow and we can talk more.”

“Of course, thank you for your help.” –said Ela.

“You welcome.” –said the fish smiling.

“Wait! You haven’t told us your name” –I exclaimed.

“Oh! What clumsy of me. My name is Zep.” –saying that he swam away living us alone.

There was silence as the light became dimmer. Only the sound of flowing water from the ‘El Manantial’ echoed in the cave. The light change rapidly to a blue dim and the crystal of the ceiling sparkled majestically. Sparkling lights came alive when the night finally came and even the rock from witch the ‘Manantial’ flowed sparkled full of magic. Ela took out of my back pack a sleeping bag witch she told me Morpheus had given to her ‘cause he knew I will need it in case I wanted to spend a night inside the mines.

We lay down staring at the sparkling crystals embracing the beauty of that place.

“They look like stars.” –commented Ela.

“Yes.” –I said inhaling the pure air that surrounded us.

“What are we going to do tomorrow? Are we going to stay here or go back to the mines?”

“I do not know Ela. What ever tomorrow brings I know it will be good and full of blessings. Let us, for know, enjoy what we have been blessed with.”

Alexandra Román

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Exercise in Training the Imagination

Imagine a quiet corner of Soul Food on a summer's day
Permit 3 or 4 minutes to build up the picture of it in a garden, in the country, in the mountains, by the sea.
Mentally sketch in every detail, filling in the colours and seeing everything that makes the environment complete.
Now step into the place that has been built; imagine the warmth and the light of the sun, the sound it is filled with and the scent of the air.
Enjoy these for a minute, always maintaining the position of the observer.
Then deliberately withdraw and dismiss the picture - not just when tired of it, say after three minutes and return quietly to your world.

Friday, January 21, 2005

An Abandoned Mining Town

I use to ride dirt bikes and on one of my weekend warrior trips I came across an abandoned mining town. Of course, it was NOT as cool as this. All I found were the foundations of about 3 buildings some glass medicine bottles ( which I still have ) and now scars all over my right shoulder.

Anyway, I was riding around the foundations and cut across a little field when all of the sudden I heard some ripping and popping sounds. I'd never heard sounds like that in my life and decided to open her up and get out of there fast. I'm ashamed to say I panicked and I nearly ditched my bike. I had good reason to be scared though; that sound seemed to be following me.

When I made it to the road I looked back and saw a HUGE hole in the ground. I had ridden right across these wooden platforms or 'caps' over an old mine shaft entrance and the tearing and popping was the sound of the wood breaking apart and collapsing.

There was so much dust and dirt that kicked up that it almost looked like a fire. And, it took a long time before I heard what I thought was the timber hitting the bottom of the shaft. On the other hand, I can't swear to that. I was way to scared and wasn't to sharp at that point.

Being that I was 23 at the time, it didn't occur to me I almost DIED. So after I calmed down I rode around and looked for more building foundations and found some. I also found things like railroad spikes, those little cars they hauled stuff out of the mines in and I spent a lot of time trying to find those helmets miners wore or lanterns but no luck.

I did find signs that trains use to come up here. I found tracks and what looked like and entrance to a tunnel that you couldn't get into because it looked like the entrance had collapsed. I guess the hill just slid right down the hill one day and buried it. In fact, you could see a lot of evidence of some serious landslides all over the place.

Do you know what happens to old railroads tracks? Nothing...and if you're not careful you're liable to ride across some half buried ones like I did and wind up face down in God knows what spewing every cuss word you've ever learned in your entire life.

I spent about a half hour alone up there when it occurred to me no one knew where I was. All of my friends and myself were on the way back to camp and I had stopped to be er, answer the call of nature if you get my drift.

I'd never had claustrophobia in my life, but all of the sudden that's what it felt like. It felt like I was in a little box or something and I couldn't get away from that place fast enough.

And there's this odd twist of memory...

The entire time I was up there I never heard a sound except for the caps collapsing. I never heard a bird, I never heard the wind and I didn't even hear the river until I got away from that little abandoned town

Would I go back? No way, never.

Some things should stay buried, and I think that little town is one of them.

Anita Moscoso

The First Step

I came out of the ‘All important preparations’ land full of energy and ready to start digging in the Alluvial Mines. Before coming out I took a well deserve Japanese Bath/Shower, since I don’t have a bath, and feel invigorated and my whole body relaxed and free from stress or any other distraction that might hurt me or slow me down.

As a companion I have a shadow who I named Ela. I found her the first day I arrived at this place inside a manhole. Since then we have grow a lot keeping each other company. I talked to her a little about what I knew of the Alluvial Mines and she asked to see the map. I gave it to her and she stared at it for a while. Suddenly Ela smiled like she knew something I did not. She sat beside me and in a whispering voice said to me:

“Look closely and with your index finger look for the gold that is hidden.”

I looked at her and her eyes turn to the map. So I did as she told me. I put my index finger at the beginning of the map and started going down. When my finger touched the beginning point of the vein it glittered like gold under the rays of the sun. I smiled amazed with what I had found so I kept going slowly down the vein. What I found was wonderful. I was discovering digging sites inside the mine; places were I might find gold.

“Thank you!” –I said to Ela.

“You are most welcome.”

“It is time for us to go and meet with The Keeper of the Entrance.”

So we left the ‘All important preparations’ land behind and went to the entrance to start our digging. Once there we found the Keeper dress as always and with a lovely smile on her face.

“I'm so glad to see you again! I see you have found your companion” –she said while looking at Ela. It seems that this woman has a gift of knowing things ahead of time. She might be from the Oracle of Delphi send here to the new haven to keep the miners safe. Or she might have been sent by the muses. Who knows!

“We’re here to go inside the mines” –said I boldly and brave.

“Not just yet I think” –said the Keeper sharply back at me.

“I’m not?” –I said astonished. I didn’t understand for I knew I was ready to start digging and look for gold. How come all of the sudden I’m not!

“Ah, don’t look sad know! You are ready is just that you need a little nap while Ela and I prepare everything you need for your mining.”

“Doesn’t she need to rest too?”

“Ela has been trapped in that manhole of yours for to long. She wants to live every single second she gets her hands on. You, on the other hand, are the one with a mortal body and those needs to rest. So follow me, please, I’ll take you to see Morpheus.”

“Morpheus, the God of Sleep!” –I exclaimed surprised.

“Precisely. Aren’t you a fan of his? I asked because you love to sleep a lot.”

“I guess so” –I said smiling and catching up with her sense of humor.

We left Ela at the entrance smelling a white flower that grew between the roots of an old tree. We walked trough another path but this time surrounded by delicate violet flowers and green grass on our feet. At the end there was a wooden cottage smoke coming out of its chimney. When we entered it a huge black man dress in a velvet cream color robe was in front of the chimney. He walked toward us and said:

“So this is the new miner. She is one of my favorites. She’s a fan.” –he said excited in a sweet voice.

“I know sir” –said the Keeper half smiling- “She will be staying with you for a while. I’ll come back for her when I have finished preparing her instruments.”

“Good!” –exclaimed Morpheus with a big smile in his face- “I have prepared a room for you with a special blanket. Also, I know you like coffee but I have prepared hot chocolate for you.”

“Thank you” –I said a little confused since he knows I like coffee he should know it does not keep me awake. But maybe is just that he likes hot chocolate more than coffee since he is the God of Sleep and coffee has a bad reputation of taking him out of the job.

“There is something important you need to know about the mines” –said the Keeper- “There’s a place called ‘El Dorado’ and is has nothing to do with the Disney movie you like so much. While it has certain similarities to the Latin-American Indian legend, it is very different from what the Spaniards thought they could find there. Some say they still looking for it, poor souls! –said the Keeper in a secretly fashion.

She continued- “This ‘El Dorado’ that resides within the mine is the place you need to find. Know, while you rest think of it and what you might find in it. That is all you need to do for know. Pleasant dreams!”

The Keeper left closing the door behind her. I looked at Morpheus who was standing beside an open door with a cup of hot cocoa in his big hand. I went to him and he said:

“Know sleep well and rest because you will need it.”

He gave me the cup and I entered the room. It looked very cosy with a huge soft bed in the middle. I sat on it and drank my cocoa. Lay down and covered myself with a quilt full of stars and moon.

“What is ‘El Dorado’?” –I though. I keep seeing that movie in my head every time I think of ‘El Dorado’. Let’s see, what kind of place my ‘El Dorado’ might be? Would it be a place full of building made of pure gold?

My thoughts were killing me. I was lost with this thing having no idea of what it was. Only a place I had to look for. Suddenly I felt sleepy and my eyes closed. In the obscure darkness I saw my thoughts in the form of white words. A question emerge “Why did the Spaniards wanted to find ‘El Dorado’?”

In my sleepiness I answered: “To be rich.” Instantly a bright light cover the darkness and the words disappeared. I was left with myself understanding the magnitude of my answer. It was to become richer as a wordsmith, the goal for this digging and the search for ‘El Dorado’. I was not afraid and I was ready to become a miner.

As I felt into a deep sleep I smile proud of myself for I was a step closer to ‘El Dorado’.


The Beginning

The Beginning

When I first heard of the mines I wasn’t that exited to check it out. But something caught my attention reading Heather’s mail about the Alluvial Mines and in that moment I was captivated. There was something like an invisible string that pulled me towards it. A voice, a soothing voice, was calling me also from the far lands that surround the mines. That’s how I found myself in front of the entrance of the Alluvial Mines.

A beautiful woman dress in a sheer blue dress, with golden wavy hair and skin as soft as a feather came out of the mine. She smile and her green eyes shined like stars. She was even more beautiful when she smiled.

‘You have arrived!’ -she said excited. It seems as she was expecting me all this time. Maybe she was the voice I heard calling me, urging me to visit. I didn’t now what to say. What to answer for I was just passing by. I was moved by curiosity to see this place and since I was not interested in a mine I was surely not staying for too long.

She open a wooden box big enough to have sorts of things there. She took a paper out and gave it to me.

‘This is the map to the Alluvial Mines. Look at it very carefully for in it resides secret pathways and extraordinary passages.’

I looked at the map and it seems simple enough. At mere sight I did not see anything extraordinary. I rapidly touch the large vein of the mine that crossed the map and felt like it was empty. So I looked at her in dismay but said nothing.

“You will find your way trough the mine soon enough. But before going in, you have to and must prepare. It is important to prepare ones path before embarking in a new journey. Every traveler knows this, so you must know it too.’

‘What do I have to do?’ –I asked excited and with curiosity in my heart. Curiosity is a special feeling that not only cats, that I’m sure do not die because of it, and children have. Is inside my heart and mind, it is what makes me dare to try new things.

‘What is your name and who are you?’ –asked I

Smiling once again and with cheerfulness in her voice she answered- ‘Well, I’m The Keeper of the Entrance. I welcome new travelers that decide to give a change to their lives and become miners. I help them prepare before entering the mine, as I will do with you.’

She was so clean and radiant she looked like she did not belong in a mine.

‘I know what you’re thinking’

‘You are?’

‘I do not look like I belong here. That is because I do not work in the mine that is not my purpose. Besides, a good receptionist must look her best while greeting the new comers. Don’t you think?’

‘Yes’ –I responded a little lost

‘Know, like I said before I’m here to help you prepare. So follow me.’


‘To “All important preparations” land! It is an entrance to all that you need and will require in this new journey in your life as a miner. There you will find all sorts of places and images even a relaxing place to take a warm bath. Witch you may have any time you like. This is a place where you will face and find your inner self and the words with in.’

‘It sounds charming’ –said I smiling

‘Then come on, let’s go!’

She took my hand and show me a path surrounded by lovely trees leaving the entrance to the mine behind. At the end of the path, that was covered with leaves and made a crouching sound while we walked, there was an old iron gate. When we reach it she turned to me, kissed me in the forehead and told me: ‘Now, do as you may and prepare yourself, for the mining is not an easy task and your soul has to be strong. When you are ready to begging mining come out, close the gate behind you and meet me at the entrance were I’ll be waiting for you.’

‘You are not coming with me!’ –I said sadly to her for in this very short time I have spent with her I have become fund of her.

‘No dear this is something you have to do for yourself. Besides you will find company in there.’ –she caressed my chick and continued- ‘I have to go know. New miners are arriving soon and I have to welcome them. So I will see you soon. Be blessed, be loved and be in peace.’

Saying that she left disappearing along the path we came and returning to the entrance of the mine she keeps.

There I was in front of that old iron gate called “All important preparations”. Smiling to myself and full of courage I open it and went in. The first thing I saw was a manhole.


Dog Active Imagination

Relax! Close your eyes and take a few moments to imagine a big dog. Allow a few moments for the image of a big dog to come into your mind and then record what presents itself.

Sham was an Alaskan Malamute I bought when I was 12. I bought him with fifty of my own dollars..which I ran home for and busted into my piggy bank apart for after the man who owned Sham and his ' family' lowered the price to after he said Sham was worth $ 300.00. I remember I almost died right there because I couldn't imagine EVER having that much money. And I loved that puppy, I stopped by their house everyday to play with him on my way home from school. Jake was the man's name and his girlfriend at the time took one look at me and jabbed Jake in the back. He lowered the price to $50.00 and I ran straight home to get it, all of which happened to be in change.

I remember when I came back ten minutes later and held the bag of change up I asked Jake if he wanted to count it and he laughed and said, no he'd trust me.

Sham was an adorable pure bred pup with a black cap, two black diamond shaped marks under each of his eyes and a white lightning bolt that went from his for head all the way to the back of his neck.

I see Sham when I need courage, when I'm not doing well, when I'm lost in the mines. I can see him when I need to be strong and sure of myself. Sometimes when I think of him I think of those carvings and pictures I've seen of soldiers on horses with their war dogs beside them.

I can feel him the most when I'm writing, sometimes I still wake up and swear I can feel him sleeping at the foot of my bed, which is funny because he never did that in life.

Sham was there for me, still alive in and in the prime of his life when I suffered through something terrible at the age of 14. I remember I went into the back yard after I came back from the Doctors and those beautiful orange golden eyes seemed to pull me in and they made me strong.

When I see that dog, I feel strength, I feel dignity, I feel courage, I feel grace.

One year we had a huge windstorm that was so powerful it knocked over trees, it was awful. When we lost power it was gone for almost 3 days. I remember hearing that had we not been between two mountain ranges and been near the water it could have easily reached hurricane strength.

I remember looking out my bedroom window when these powerful winds where snapping trees in half, branches were flying all over the place and Sham was sitting in the backyard, staring straight ahead. I opened up the door and called to him. I remember he turned his head to look at me me and then turned away again. He wouldn't come in, he was out there facing that storm alone. So I went out with him and we watched it together. I put my arm over his giant back and he didn't lean into me the way he usually did.I could feel him straighten himself and brace himself...for me.

He was long dead by the time I started work at the funeral home but he was with me all the same.He was there when I went to services, when I went to homes and hospitals at the worst of times for these families. I remember when I needed to be strong and focused for someone else, I swear I was looking at them through Sham's eyes. He taught me to focus, to be unselfish, to suspend my own wants, needs and self so that I could carry horrible burdens for other people.

I learned that from Sham, not my dog, not my brother. That's how I think of him I guess. My wise old brother. He was never really puppy-ish. He was always a wise older dog.

He was there when I was 12 and realized for the first time I was a person...not a kid, a person. When I was 21 he died and my soul was pulled from my heart. I'd never felt pain like that before in my life. The deaths in my family that followed were just as devastating, but that awful feeling of having my heart torn in two and separated like that, well, I've never felt that again.

Those are some of the things I see when I think of that big dog.
Anita Marie Moscosso

I see a Rotweiller. *smiles softly with memory* Loki Von James. I see a big black puppy, round, stocky little body with big paws and ears. Big black round eyes. The typical tan markings over his eyes and on his muzzle and chest. I see now a grown dog in his prime, all muscle and sturdily built. He is like, yet unlike his Nordic divine counterpart, Loki, the prankster god of mischief and chaos. Loki is a prankster in his own canine right, a big overgrown puppy at heart. He'll try and sit on your lap if you sit in his favorite armchair. Yet he is gentle, patient and loving when it comes to kids. He won't bite, snarl or growl, but will allow a gentle tug-o-war on his ears or fur and with his toys. He loves rough housing and pets. He is no guard dog, however. But...he is man's best friend.


Having slipped into my hooded blue gown I go straight to the manhole cover. Experience has taught me that this portal leads directly to the world of the collective unconscious. The cover is not hard to locate now that we have cleared away the ivy and thorny Cecil Bunner Rose that had entwined its way around it making entry impossible. Now the pathway is clear and it is my daily practice to slip in through this portal.

Dougie, my Blenhim King Charles Cavalier and constant companion, is at my heels.

Instinctively I use the code, listen for the final click and lift the cover. With out hesitation we step purposefully onto the bluestone steps that lead within, stopping to reflect upon what a different place it is today. The old prison has been gutted and completely refurbished like one of those clever warehouse blocks. The foyer is warm and inviting and I head straight for the library.

I open the door to see that my shadow, dressed in a hooded blue gown has been at work for hours. She sits at a table that has the appearance of an alchemists work bench and word filled beakers bubble and ooze ideas. Words and ideas curl amid the vapours that surround her.

Neither of us speak or acknowledge one another.

Silently I slip out of the robe letting it fall with my earthly shape and my soul drifts to unite with hers, ready for another busy day within the Soul Food Cafe.

Dougie positions himself nearby, appearing to sleep peacefully.


Tara, the big dog

As I closed my eyes to see that big dog I found myself lost and confused. All I saw was a black dog bigger than me looking straight at my eyes in a very serious way. So in an act of desperation I open my eyes. This is not right so I will try it againg.

I relax my body and did an excersise I always do when I want to concentrate for a meditation. Closed my eyes once more and my expirience was different. I saw Tara in front of me. She was a pitbull of brown color with a white spot on her chest and long ears and tail that moved very fast as she greeted me.

We bought her in the street when she was only two month old. She was a playfull puppy. Strong, very strong! She did not now her own strength. Tara reminds me so much of myself 'cause I am as playfull as she was.

Tara is lost, she was stolen from our backyard and we could not find her anywhere. Sometimes I wonder what has happened to her. Many times I have asked myself is she a mother? If she's still playfull? Tara was a wonderfull dog always happy to greet you, full of life and curiosity.

Tara is the simbol of my hapiness. When I feel lost I think of her, I have let myself to be stolen, many times, by not taking care of me better. But as she always did, look for a way to make you smile, I will do the exact same thing when I feel lost. Look for a way to smile and give it to others in rememberence of Tara, my big dog.


I was only four years old when I saw my first really big dog up close and personal. My mother had sent me, my sister and baby brother out into the back yard to play. Our favorite red swing set was a source of many hours of fun. We usually enjoyed swinging as high as we could get our tiny legs to push the swings. If we tired of the swings, or something else simply caught our imagination, we'd play chase or build sandcastles in our sand box.

One such day, we were playing as usual and I felt a strange sensation; the hairs on the back of my neck tingling! I was too young to understand this of course, but looking back on it, I guess
this was my very first time I was fearful. I looked around and saw two huge dogs standing in the alleyway, very close to where we sat playing. All three of us just froze, staring at the dogs. They
stared back, tongues hanging out, bodies only moving to pant, saliva dripping to the ground. All at once I felt a strong urgency to RUN! We all did. The dogs started barking ferociously and we just knew we were in danger.

We all made a mad dash to the tiny back porch. I turned the door knob. It wouldn't budge.

"Mommy! Mommy!" we all screamed hysterically.

There was no answer. We all screamed again as the dogs tried to climb over the falling down fence just yards away.

No answer. I started knocking and knocking with my tiny fists as my baby brother and sister bawled their eyes out.

My mother had locked us out of the house! She wouldn't come to the door. The dogs were trying their best to get over the fence and snatch us up. We were all three very frightened little children and
our mother wouldn't come to the rescue.

We cried and cried and called for our mother while we struggled to squeeze in between the screen and door, hoping to hide from the dogs. They weren't fooled. Their paws scratched and pawed the fence.

Suddenly the door opened! My mother lunged at us, pushing us back out onto the porch, promptly locking the screen. We tried to tell her about the dogs. She wouldn't listen! She screamed at the top of her lungs for us to "get out there and play!!"

Our crying finally got the best of her and she stomped out onto the porch, waving a kitchen towel and screamed at the dogs to go away. They did, but we were traumatized. I just knew the big mean dogs
would be back. We still didn't get to come into the house, until much later. We had to sit on the porch, fearful for our lives while our mother finished watching her soap operas with the kids out of the way.

Sharon aka Redlady

I close my eyes to do this exercise and I think of Beethoven, then Lassie, then Toto, and even Old Yeller. I think of my childhood German Shepard Princess, and Sadie and Sondae two other dogs I have
had since leaaving home, but they evoke no special thoughts or emotions. I open my eyes take a deep breath and close them again **starting over** this time I think of Fred, a small frisky Dachshund with a smooth shiny black coat and stumpy legs. I can see our neighbors, Fred's owners in my mind, but at first I can't remember their names. I breathe. I think of his white hanes shirts, and round face and belly. His expression always jovial. Then I remember, his name was Mr. D, or that was what my brother and I called him. To us he was like Santa Claus. When we saw him out in the front yard with Fred my brother and I would come running even in pajamas because we knew where Mr. D and Fred were there were free popsicles. I groan and open my eyes again. This was supposed to
be about the dog...

Take 3...

I close my eyes and think of nothing but blank space. I am listening to the sound of my breathing and the traffic still moving twenty-three stories below. Just when I am certain I have fallen
asleep the blank space gives way to a classroom with a buzzing flourescent light and a sombrero on the wall. I have been transported to 10th grade. I am sitting at a squeaky desk staring intently at college-ruled notebook paper, pencil in hand. The word "Wolf" takes up two lines on my page. I turn around quickly and behind me I see my best guy friend Alex, and to his left is Autumn, the gothic chick with the GI Jane purse that looks more like an ammunition storage facility for the army. Alex and I know that all it really holds is an endless supply of skittles. We talk about her all the time. We joke but we are not rude. Truthfully Autumn fascinates us, and deep inside we are rather fond of her. I turn back to my paper and quickly jot down loyal, leader of the pack, and protective of territory, just as Ms. Franco calls "pencils down." I can hear Alex mutter something about the silly assignment behind me, and I laugh but I too am wondering what this has to do with Spanish.
Mrs. Franco then says the first adjective is how you see yourself, the second adjective is how you want others to see you, and the third is how you really are. I sigh and shrug my shoulders unsatisfied with this, had I known the objective I would have picked much different adjectives, that's for sure. I nudge Alex to see what he put, "A dog" he says. "Loyal, Affectionate, and smart," he beams. I smile at him then roll my eyes to keep the color from flooding into my cheeks. As I turn back around in my desk I am wondering if dogs and wolves could mate. They're close enough in species, right?

Active Imagination

Now I have plenty of material on Active Imagination, which I have told you about, but I would like everyone to google and find out what they can about it. If you can afford to purchase a copy of Robert Johnson's Inner Work that would be wonderful but it is not essential. I will be using it and some other Jungian material I have as reference material as I work out some techniques we need to learn.

To prepare.

Relax! Close your eyes and take a few moments to imagine a big dog.
Allow a few moments for the image of a big dog to come into your mind
and then record what presents itself.

Share what presents itself. You do not have to write an essay - you
can just make some notes.

We will compare how we respond for everyone responds differently.
Some people will literally see a dog while others will think about
one in words.