Wednesday, September 19, 2012
since Guilford, CT, where i found a hula hoop on the side of the road, i carry a hula hoop with me wherever i go. the one i carry now was given to me by the folks i spent a night with in Cumberland, Maine.
jana asked me the other day, "why do you bring that hoop everywhere you go?" i explained that it is because people notice it and sometimes brings them joy, or breaks them out of their thought pattern. it is for inspiration!
this day it so happened that a magical little interaction occurred because of the hoop:
jana had to stop on the roadside to use her cell phone. when we stopped i brought the hoop into my right hand and was going to just twirl it around a little, making use of the moment to practice. a boy of perhaps 12 came over, attracted to the hoop, and inquired what i was up to with it. he said he could do this trick with it and when i handed it to him he demonstrated. it was to twirl it on his arm, toss it up, and catch it on his other arm. it brought me joy that he would share this skill with someone he just met on the street. i gave him some encouraging words and accepted the hoop back.
this is the magic of carrying the hoop. i've often talked to people i see with hoops. it always leads to a positive interaction and sometimes helps me find special new friends.
Monday, September 17, 2012
so excited to arrive to my friend jana's in chicago! she has started this bike-a-bee project that i was hoping to learn more about during my visit. the evening i arrived she took alex and i to one of her hives at a nearby community garden.
it was great to have full access to a kitchen to do all the cooking i liked! jana paid for all the food and i cooked (mostly)! we got a sourdough starter from the same woman who i'd gotten it from last time i was in chicago, a manager at the food coop, sharon. i gave her one of the first wonderful loaves. we ground the flour fresh with the kitchen aid mill attachment on jana's mixer. we had all the kale and chard we could eat from local gardens! other wonderful produce, pastured eggs, and raw goat cheese came from the farmer's market. we roasted a chicken and made stock. i was in heaven!
i got some yarn at a thrift store and began to work on the rainbow hoop headband that would become part of my superhero costume. sitting around the apartment working on this was very therapeutic.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
on wednesday i was hanging out at the little farm stand in the song and spirit driveway with the farmer, Crickety Jim. i'd helped harvest some of the fine produce still fourishing in the garden. tomatoes, kale, collards, yellow wax beans, and some of the last summer squash were available. i noticed a young man riding his bike down the sidewalk and i called out to him, "Fresh produce for sale!" he came over and we started chatting. pretty soon i was thinking maybe this is the reason i hung around here so long, so i could meet this guy.
his name is alexander and he is a musician who works at a coffee shop called commonwealth in birmingham, just north of berkley. he lives just a little west of song and spirit and was taking a route he does not normally ride when i spotted him. we immediately reflected the wonder, wisdom, and joy back and forth in such a way that encouraged us to keep connecting. he invited me to go for a bike ride with him. i invited him to join us for dinner.
we sat for dinner late in the evening with a small band of superheroes and a couple guest who had not yet identified themselves as such. EpochAlypse, Laughing Moon, Resilient Heart, and i, Hoop Rider joined hands with our friends around the circular table and said a blessing. there are few things i cherish more than coming together to share nourishing food.
the friend of resilient heart mentioned he is going to school for illustration and i decided to share my zine of drawings with him. this is the one i book called feel here too that i made a few years ago. i was still carrying the last copy so that i could share it with people i meet. this guy really liked the images and asked if i was selling it. i decided that YES i could, and asked for five dollars for it. since he didn't have the money on him alex, our new musician friend, paid for it. it was decided that the book would remain in the song and spirit library. that felt really nice.
through this exchange i made it known that i was in need of funds as i continued traveling. i really don't need much, but i like to have some money around for purchasing food and contributing to fuel costs when i rideshare. epochalypse felt a desire to help, and laid 20 dollars on the table! i then felt inspired to give him one of the hoop bracelets i made. i told him it represents 'the oneness and our responsibility to honor that.' he feels this meaning deeply and he accepted the gift solemnly.
i was going to leave for chicago the morning after our going away dinner, but since i wasn't packed up and ready until 2:30pm i decided to stay another night. this gave me the opportunity to ride over to the place of my new friend alex, who was taking apart a roasted chicken and starting his first ever batch of chicken stock. when he told me about it the night before i was really wishing i could get in on it!
i mentioned to alex that i was thinking of asking him if he wanted to take a trip to chicago... as i was looking for a ride. he said he was thinking it might work out to go see his brother. he had a day off work and no plans friday... so it seemed meant to be. amazing!
i found out on the drive over that his brother had actually flown to detroit friday to be there for their other brother's birthday the following day. by the time alex had contacted him he could not refund the ticket. so alex made the trip just to give me a ride and spend the day with me. i am so grateful for this. i gave him money for gas, the salve i still had from greenstring farm, and one of the hoop bracelets. his thoughts about the bracelet, written to me in an e-mail, are very poignant:
"Again, it was such an honor to spend the dying moment with you. It has deepened my love and appreciation for mankind. I personally feel that the bracelet does that. Reminds you that you have always been whole. The reminder and answer is right in front of you. Just look inside the washer and you will see the wholeness of your skin. How deep can you get inside your skin till you see the nothingness which is the wholeness?"
alex encouraged me to start a kickstarter campaign to help me share the story of this HOOP TOUR. he captured some pictures and video with his 'oracle'(i-phone). i've gone back and forth over whether to use kickstarter so many times. i think i am going to do it, when the time is right. that may be when i plant my feet back in washington state.
please check out his story about meditating on 9/11 and look for his upcoming campaign on kickstarter to raise money for his first full-length album
Saturday, September 15, 2012
detroit could be the first city in the United States to go through a transformation to something like a farm-city. i've had this vision of urban transformation for a few years now. i didn't know how real this potential is in detroit until visiting there.
detroit works has been working on some ideas which are being presented for consideration by residents. some of what is said in this article is very exciting to me.
"...neighborhoods that are almost entirely abandoned might be used for reforestation or experimental fields where sunflowers and other plants could be used to detoxify contaminated land."
what if people came from all over the united states to lend their talents and energy to transforming the denuded landscapes of detroit? how many people would it require, and how many years of work, to create a new kind of city that provides for itself? is it possible to create such a city? would the city have to be broken up into smaller, densely organized villages with farmland around them? what parts of our culture would be retained and what would be shed in the transformation? what new cultural wealth could come through it?
if i got a call from my superhero friends there at the heartquarters, on the fringes of detroit, to come join in a convergence of superheroes, rainbow warriors, warriors of the heart, i'd be very compelled to lend myself to the cause.
Friday, September 14, 2012
i returned to song and spirit after my stay at the goldengate restoration project. i arrived to activity in the kitchen, as laughing moon and his friend were preparing dinner. i got right in there and contributed, then we said a blessing and dined together in candle light. i felt a great joy and comfort.
the next day was the Superhero Training Academy open house and i spent much of the day helping prepare for it. the gathering included many local superheroes, including Magma Man, the juggler we'd found in Pontiac. Captain Valor, Knight Shift, and Stream Dancer made it too! there were a couple of ninjas who showed up in their black ninja suits. one of them was the guy who Chris Clark had mistaken me for when we first met. he does look a little like me, with a sharp nose.
i cooked a lot of kale from the garden to contribute to the potluck. we gathered in a circle afterward the meal to meet everyone. then we gathered in the library for presentations and discussion. my favorite part was laughing moon's telling of the history of STA. it is a good story and he tells it well. part of the story is that after being born and developing independently, STA combined forces with the Superhero Bicycle Ride just a few years ago. the first superhero bicycle ride happened twelve years ago and STA was born eight years ago. now they are part of the same coordinated superhero movement. superhero headquarters in missouri, and superhero heartquarters in michigan.
on friday i joined in the shabbat gathering. it was wonderful to sing and pray with everyone in the chapel. i had gone back to the goldengate restoration project to see if i could work with shane on he compost earlier that day. he had gotten some work somewhere else so i offered to help dr. bob. i was glad i got to meet him. he'd been away during my stay. at the cafe, where i was doing some pruning, i met a guy who had stopped in to get some lunch. we chatted when i was on my way out and, getting the feeling he could be an important ally, i invited him to come out to song and spirit for shabbat. he was free and into the idea, so i put my bike in his vehicle and he drove us. it was some kind of cosmic meeting, and i'm curious to see what may come of it.
my uncle steve lives in Plymouth, MI and when i got in touch with him he offered to come pick me up and take me to the sabbath potluck at his church there. it was really good to see him and his family and learn a little about the 7th day adventist church they are part of. his daughter was so full of love and playfulness. she was disappointed that i did not stay the night at their house.
i did a lot of cooking while at song and spirit. it was a pleasure to have full use of their kitchen and be able to provide that service to the others staying there. it was usually just laughing moon and i eating together, but sometimes brother al would join us. it is their desire to get more coordinated as a household and share more meals. i was invited to stick around for a while and sort of fill the 'mom' role.
i got really regular with my meditation practice and slept long and comfortably on a bed in one of the many vacant rooms. no rides were coming up on craigslist to get me to chicago and i just didn't feel like hitch-biking. so i decided it was a good place to rest and i could have patience for getting to chicago. the right way would come along at the right time if i stayed attentive.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
when the superhero ride continued west of detroit on august 29th i stayed behind. laughing moon also left the ride that day and went back to superhero heartquarters, which is housed at song and spirit institute for peace in berkley, just north of detroit. i stayed several more nights at the home os sofi and nils, some local superheroes, making trips out into the city to continue with some solo superhero work and exploration.
one place i volunteered a couple times is spirit farm. this is where the tearful goodbye circles for me and laughing moon took place. the work i helped a little with that day was in moving wood chips that were being incorporated in a 'will allen style' compost pile. this method is really becoming popular it seems. i went back to spirit farm on two volunteer days in the following week to help out. one day i was paid ten dollars to cut all the grass around the farm and church with a lawn mower. it was meditative work and cool to get paid a little. the man who usually does it was very grateful for the help. other things i helped out with at the farm included watering the compost pile, removing lower leaves of kale and chard and feeding them to the chickens, collecting eggs, spreading wood chips in the hoop house, and harvesting herbs.
on my last day with the superhero ride i teamed up with caroline, who is managing occupy detroit's compost at the michigan ave. site. we layered in a bunch of straw and left it with a thick layer of cover material on top. we used some wonderful, sturdy, dried stems of plants growing nearby in this wild lot to lend more support to the freestanding walls.
at sofi's house i did a lot of cooking and cleaning and maintained the rotating drum compost system. it was a pleasure to get back into making food the way i like to after not having many opportunities during the superhero ride. this is one of my addictions...
on the way to my next destination, in the northern edge of detroit, i noticed an herb garden where a woman was working. i stopped to talk to her and she invited me in to pick some herbs. a whole plastic shopping bag was filled with treats such as sage, oregano, basil, thyme, mint, parsley, tarragon, tomatoes, and a little lemon balm. when i told cheryl about the trip i am on, which i consider to be my mission at this time, she told me that the herb garden is her mission from god. she cares for all these healing plants and increases the size of the beds a little each year. eventually maybe the lawn will be reduced to paths. she was not doing her own composting and i arranged to come back another morning and build her a pile. when i went back with my new friend shane a couple days later she said she had a bunch of errands to run and it wouldn't work to do it that day... oh well. i do hope that shane can form an alliance with her and maybe help her with the composting.
shane is who invited me to the Goldengate Restoration Project. we met at Spirit Farm, where he was part of a permaculture course in the summer and has been volunteering since. living at the restoration project, he has been very active in the garden and other priority projects to help the community towards thriving self-sufficiency. he helped me cook a couple meals and we got to know each other a little bit during my stay. he is a superhero who is strongly supporting positive change in detroit.
|sharpening loppers with a file in the|
fireweed universe-city shop
so i stayed a couple nights at the Goldengate Restoration Project (also the site of what is called Fireweed Universe-City and Dr. Bob's), where a few other superheroes from the ride had stayed before. one drop wrote about it in her blog. four french girls who are part of this exciting project arrived shortly after i did. i went with them on a mission to buy organic foods at the natural food store in nearby Ferndale, then went along with them to avalon, where they were able to use the wifi and we all enjoyed the wholesome community atmosphere of this popular destination for positive people. there i ran into an old friend i'd known briefly several years ago in seattle! it was nice to re-meet after so long. she was visiting with friends and told me about this project they were going to visit called the powerhouse project. the french girls and i proceeded to visit the sites where i'd been working and a couple in addition that were near spirit farm. one of them was the impressive brother nature farm.
Monday, September 3, 2012
received this from a friend. a great example of humanity. this relates to the way the superhero bicycle ride goes out into the world and finds places for a large group to stay spontaneously and giving back as it can to communities it pass through.
this is a bright side of the 9/11 story.
Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written
"On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of
Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden the curtains
parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain.
As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look
on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's
main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental
United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest
airport. Advise your destination."
"No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious
situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined
that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic
controller and approval was granted immediately--no questions asked. We
found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our
"While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message
arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New
York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
"We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told
them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at
the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland to have it checked out.
"We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was
much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new! Forty minutes
later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! .... that's
11:00 AM EST.
"There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the
world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S. After we parked
on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and
gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the
same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for
another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the
situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The
captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay
"The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was
allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come
near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around
periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour
or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over
the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.
"Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for
the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade
Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use
their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system
in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian
operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked
"Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center
buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash.
By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to
mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look
out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not
the only ones in this predicament.
"We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes
one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to
deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they
simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to
prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
"Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory
servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical
situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into
her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without
incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
"About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up.
We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through
Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
"After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken
in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We
learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of
10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all
the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at
the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but
not to expect that call for a while.
"We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to
our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
"Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of
Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people."
We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up
having a pretty good time.
"Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport.
Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what
they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.
"Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer
radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other
large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging
areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats
with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
"ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take
care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called
Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high
school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was
arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken
to private homes.
"Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right
across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist
on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the
"Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to
everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion"
trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went
for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh
bread for the guests. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to
the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered
wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash
their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words,
every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
"Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they
were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the
airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The
local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and
every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the
planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully. It was
"When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise.
Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay,
impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to
Atlanta looked li ke a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of
their way. It was mind-boggling. Passengers had totally bonded and were
calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers,
addresses, and email addresses.
"And then a very unusual thing happened. One of our passengers approached me
and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never,
ever allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed
him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had
just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality
they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying
that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of
"He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our
flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college
scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for
donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with
donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and
addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
"The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to
start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would
forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well. As
I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has
assisted 134 students in college education.
"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now.
It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place
were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me
how much good there is in the world."
"In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this
story confirms that there are still a lot of good and Godly people in the
world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
"God Bless our world!"
the man named zoo, who i met when he came by sofi's on the last day i was with the superhero ride told me about a sunday bicycle ride called bike and brunch that he is part of. he encouraged me to come out and i decided it might be fun and could help me fulfill my mission, to observe and be part of positive activity going on and spread awareness.
i arrived a little early for the 1:30pm meeting time. i asked some folks standing near the shop if they were there for
we met up at a cool little bike shop on the river called wheelhouse detroit. this is a nice part of the riverfront near downtown where there are spaces for people to gather and an educational wetland area. this is referred to as RiverWalk.
i arrived a little early for the 1:30pm meeting time. i asked some folks standing near the shop if they were there for Bike and Brunch. they were not, but were gathering with several friends for an informal ride. one of them was from chicago and said he could give me a ride the next day when he returned. this was tempting, but i decided to stay a little longer in detroit.
Bike and Brunch got going than anticipated and decided to go a shorter distance to a restaurant near the center of downtown. i felt relaxed and joyful with these friendly, sincere folks. i got supportive attention as a special guest. everyone else was from detroit and many of them are regulars on this ride. there were three children two children on the ride and zoo's wife joined us at with their daughter for food. there was a wonderful familial atmosphere.
i asked for donations in support of the HOOP TOUR and offered embracelets as thank you gifts. for one small donation i gave a drawing i had just done. on it i wrote 'be a light child' and she commented that her daughter's name means light! funny...
it is so amazing how i continue to get the support i need to keep going on this journey. i'm glad i don't have to rely on sponsors and instead get to rely on generosity from individuals who i can have a meaningful exchange with.
there are so many positive things going on in detroit through the open hearts of it's wonderful citizens!
pictures to come...