You may not see it when it’s sticking to your skin

I’m in my house, and the furniture I ordered to be held until now was delivered. I picked up what Mari’s shipped so far, and told her I’m ready for her to send the cats and the rest of my things. My kitchen and altar items were in the first shipment, so I feel more settled in already. The greenhouse will be put in next week.

I felt a little sad to be leaving the hotel I was staying at. It had gotten to be a thing for the cleaning staff to drop by and check on the status of my needlework; I was working on The Starry Night at the time, and I finished it there. The daily visits led to chatting, and I found out just before I left that they’d started circulating a petition to the Home Office to have me declared a political refugee so I wouldn’t have to worry about being able to stay. I did explain that it doesn’t quite work like that; even though I’m surely a refugee from politics, it’s not the same thing. But who’d be happy about leaving people like that? I know it can be hard to keep friends from situations like that, but I’d like to try.

The agent made sure several times to point out when we came to look at this place “the many lovely country walks all round.” She wasn’t kidding. There are bunches of pathed ones, and infinite opportunities to just wander. When the weather firms up a bit, I’ll have something else to fill my time.

The arrival of my altar items means I can keep my promise to my ancestors. Their space on the altar is simple, but it serves the purpose: Photos of my ancestors — by blood, by marriage, by adoption, and spiritual/creative — and the vessels for offerings to them: A cup for water, another that serves as a candle holder, and a simple wooden incense burner, with a small statue of Maman as Brighid overseeing it all. The daily ritual I do is simple, but I feel the connection to them through it, which hasn’t been an easy thing for me where my blood relations are concerned. It’s a variation on a Vodou ceremony widely disseminated on the internet that you don’t have to be of any particular faith to do; if anyone’s interested, I’ll post details of how I approach it.

As has happened several times, when I’ve found a place to settle down in Scotland, Kuan Yin has come back into my life directly. She does seem fond of this place, and she’s always welcome. My altar is a crowded, but companionable place these days.

I’ve been reestablishing my connection with reiki, which also often comes with Kuan Yin’s return. That isn’t a matter of having to connect with the energy itself again; once you’re attuned, that’s for life. But my personally-felt connection with it has been strained by what’s happened in my life the past few years. I’ve been giving myself daily treatments and rereading Diane Stein’s Essential Reiki; whatever its faults, it gets to the core of what the energy is about.

I feel a little lonely, but it’s all right. I’ve felt that way before; when the cats get here, it will be better. When I’m feeling like this, I often pick up one of my favorite books, The Samurai’s Garden. I’ve probably read it 50 times, and the ending still has the power to make me cry. It wasn’t the ending that struck me most deeply this time, though. It was this: “…life is not just from within, it extends all around you, whether you wish it to or not.”

That’s so. I don’t live far enough out in nowhere to be a true hermit. The village is too small (and the city too close) for there to be any services to draw me out, but I walk there sometimes. I already recognize a few people, the ones who wave to me as I pass. I go to the same places whenever I go shopping in the city, so they’re starting to know me there, too. Mari sent me an enormous care package of Tony’s seasoning, gumbo filé, and five pounds of Community Between Roast. The mailman could tell by the smell that there was coffee in it, and teased me about having it sent so far. I told him I’d have some made for him when he came back the next day, which I did. He turned up the day after with a grin on his face and a cup in his hand. Between Roast is the awesomeness. I make a pot every day anyway, so I schedule it so it’s ready when he comes by. All this — hotel staff, shopkeepers, people who wave, mailman — seems like it happened when I wasn’t looking.

I think I might be bad at hermiting.

(photo: Wikipedia)

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