Journey Through The Grey: There And Not Quite Back Again

Journey Through The Grey: There And Not Quite Back Again

Author: Ravenwings

Days used to exist when the soft glow of morning peeked through the curtains, straining to make sense of pencil lines and graphite smudges on the once pristine white paper taped to my work desk. When each breath of crisp spring air was as rejuvenating, as the magick of Cerridwin’s cauldron, and the crows would dance and spiral over my path as they escorted me from Union Station to Grant Park. And nights were gentle and serene lying beside my loved one, spending hours talking of the fantastic images waiting to be conjured to life in artistic ritual.

Today the curtains are always closed, secreting me and my art from the light of the sun. Days begin just before noon; often partaking in the nectar of modern day (coffee) and lounging in front of the television watching the lives of strangers fall to ruins before live studio audiences. Most evenings spent watching the same old movies my eyes have seen a hundred times, and then off to bed to begin the same boring routine over again the next day.

So, what is my point, you may be beginning to wonder? Why would anyone care what goes on in my daily life? Things aren’t always so easy to write, and beginning with ‘Hello, my name is…’ isn’t always the way to go.

People, it seems, never write about living in the grey. What I mean to say here is that I have noticed that most people have a tendency to write only after they have come out of the grey, looking back on their experiences and praising that they are no longer at that time in their life. Notice that I have not written: ‘Then one day I awoke to the dismal grey of morning, the sunlight seemingly uninterested in what new puzzle the lines on the white paper purveyed…and that in my heart of hearts I could only begin to guess that something was wrong’?

As of yet there is no happy or unhappy ending, as I am still in the middle of this experience. And to note, I will use my lack of creativity as an example because it is who and what I am, not merely an artist, but a creative. Creativity and imagination are my magicks, not alchemy, or ESP, or clairvoyance…my rituals are of a different nature, my tools of a different sort.

I used to be that sort of creative and imaginative person who had no troubles visioning what few others could, or learning the narratives to unwritten works. And at this time I also had a fancy for the craft, and a fear of it too. Yet I prevailed, working my way up the ranks of written knowledge, learning about Wicca first, and spiraling out from there into other ideals and sects.

And it was at this time that, with the help and assurance of my loved one, began looking into enrolling in college. And yes, things were not so chipper at this time, which I believe was the beginning of walking into the grey. My sister had moved out of state (we were the closest siblings) , my best friend had developed some unsavory habits resulting in the end of our 4yr friendship, my parents had separated just after my graduation (both in their 60’s) , and I had been heartbroken over the end of a long relationship (the first of a grown up relationship who also happened to be the first person I realized I really loved) . And my loyal companion and bedmate (a doxie) had just passed away.

To say that I was deeply depressed would be an understatement. I had no money for school at the time, so I looked for work, and it was there I met my current and forever love who unknowingly began to help me pick up all the little pieces I had lost in the span of a year, and just as unknowingly I had begun to do the same for him. And it was around this time that I began to wane in my creativeness, no longer wanting to make art, yet unable to travel without my seasoned sketchbook. And at home, unable to bear the remains of my former pieces, I slaughtered canvas after canvas, and shredded or burnt the rest of my sculptures and sketchbooks.

Entering into school was hard, as I began to make excuses not to go as the first day neared. I had done a few simple drawings, after my love had discovered what I was and insisted that I draw. And for a time I was happy, but as college approached I began to shrink back into myself. I was timid, but over time I developed a focus and a love for the line and general atmosphere, and great love and respect for my peers and instructors. Things began to look up, and I even helped my love realize that he wasn’t happy in his field of study and gave him the courage to change. We committed and bought a puppy into our lives…a mixture of absolute love and monsterness.

Then my mother, who had been miserable living with my oldest sister, decided to move back home, and within a year of doing so my sister Jo (who had been closest to me) followed suit and returned to the nest (I haven’t yet left) with her dog. With the spiritual head back home, as welcomed as she was accepted back, I could no longer carry on my learning of the craft. I still continued to read into the area, as I still do, but was now unable to practice what was preached.

Things in my relationship soured only once, my rock (as I have always seen him) no longer there for me to lean on, I began failing out of school. Distracted and unwilling to work, I came crashing down.

We were able to work things out, and together we got back up on our feet. I would do surprisingly well in school, yet was always lacking that finished touch. I had also quit my former job and after being unemployed for 3 months had finally found another. But unable to pay for the upcoming semester I took a break from school.

What was meant to be a semester off turned into a little over a year off. I had promised myself and my love I would work on my skills, and yet I was still unmotivated to do so. When I was able to go back in, I was no longer on the up and up, no more displays in the hall decorated with my artwork, no more extended discussions on my critiques. ‘You already pinpointed what you need to work on…so why not just do it?’ my instructors would say.

Indeed, why not? I still don’t have an answer. Just a little over a year left until I am a graduate now, and I am still in this grey area.

I see now, that my creative abilities and sense of magick are one and the same, for what I have waned in one area I have waned in the other. I have lost my soul pieces as any shaman would say, and even now I have had no luck in attaining any of them back. Is it merely that I am unmotivated, too lazy to do? Am I fearful? Am I willing?

To this day, I have never been unable to journey anywhere without my seasoned sketchbook…or as I like to imagine, my artistic grimorie. I have never been unable to stop imagining…seeing those awe inspiring images just behind my eyelids…nor unable to unravel the mysterious narratives of things lacking written words to pass along their stories and knowledge. I know that the magicks I have always had are still here…yet I am unable to access them to their full potential.

Despite my lack of want for being artistic I do still try, not always at the insistence of my love. I still imagine, and I still sketch, dance, sing…however I can no longer bring myself to do it daily. This is an obstacle I have now dealt with for the past five and a half years of my being, and is something I do not want to carry over into the rest of my adulthood.

So you see, why there is no resolution yet, and why I have begun this the way that I have? Reading or experiencing this in the now is different from the was. I have a ways to go…and for the moment I feel that this is something I myself am not big enough to get over. The hurtles, so to speak, have gotten higher than I can jump, but I have heart that some day I will be not as I was or am…but slightly off the middle.

….To those of you in the grey,


Homemade Dandelion Syrup

Homemade Dandelion Syrup

posted by Melissa Breyer

I am wild about dandelions. Their greens deliver a fleeting sweetness at the first nod of spring (before succumbing to a load of bitterness) and inspired me to write about harvesting and eating them a few weeks ago, followed by a recipe for Cream of Dandelion Soup. So next up, I thought, I just have to make dandelion wine. I’ve tackled homemade paper and found making butter to be effortless, how hard can dandelion wine be?

Well. After reading about secondary fermentation vessels and yeast varieties and fermentation traps, I thought, uhmm, actually, I think it was dandelion syrup that I wanted to make.

Dandelion syrup can be used in many ways, on top of pancakes or plain yogurt, anywhere you use a sweetener, really, you name it. I started imagining dandelion cocktails come summer; homemade dandelion ice cream sweetened with dandelion syrup and speckled with dandelion petals; dandelion this and dandelion that. Dandelion everything.

In this country, dandelions abound–yet go unloved by most. I will spare you my conspiracy theories about the defamation of the dandelion; this rant includes evil-genius chemical companies, the accidental discovery of phenoxy type herbicides in the 1940s and the need to find a public enemy (that would be the dandelion) to ensure a long and profitable demand for the new herbicidal product.

Anyhow, the Roundup parade isn’t marching around my neck of the woods in Brooklyn. Here, the dandelions earnestly shimmy up through sidewalk cracks and inhabit even the most desolate patches of soil, which is really so heartening. This would all seem a great harbinger for my dandelion syrup endeavor. However, urban foraging has its own set of considerations, which include dogs and their lifted legs, roadside exhaust and the possibility of rodent poison. Which all kind of suck the charm right out of it. As chance would have it though, there is a large lawn at a nearby high school that is wonderfully unruly and thankfully untreated with chemicals. It is being organically planted with vegetable beds by the students, and the grass was rampant with dandelions. I asked, they said, “uhmm yeah, sure lady, take ‘em.” And take I did, 100 of them.

Once at home, my daughters and I, hands sticky with bright golden pollen, plucked off the petals and had a bowl of the loveliest plant matter: Soft, downy almost, and redolent with the scent of asparagus and carnations. What an oddly endearing base for a syrup.

So, dandelion syrup. I have long been intrigued by it—it’s at once kind of down-home American as well as cool French granny. It is a basic herbal infusion made into a simple syrup. I felt like I didn’t want to boil the bejeezus out of the blossoms, so I just brought them to a simmer and let them soak overnight. The puzzle for me was what sweetener to use. Traditionally white sugar is used, but white sugar lands last on my list of happy sweeteners. So, I played around with some other alternatives as well, all with quite different results.

• White sugar made a syrup with a faint taste of vanilla and very slightly nutty, it was really just mostly sweet and somewhat plain.

• Sucanat, one of my favorite sweeteners, was, as I expected, too heavy in flavor to let the subtle dandelion taste shine through. That said, it was very interesting; like an herbaceous molasses.

• Honey has that smooth edge that became more pronounced after simmering. I used a mild clover honey and the result was like a somewhat spicy and grassy honey.

• Agave syrup worked beautifully because it is such a clean-tasting sweetener—the syrup made with agave was sweet and clean, with bright green undertones.

So pick your dandelions, pick your sweetener and make some syrup. Many recipes call for lemon, which gives it a little kick of citrus. Suit yourself.


100 dandelion flowers, or 1 and 1/2 cups petals
1 cup sweetener (see above)
3 cups water
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

1. Remove the petals from the sepal (the sepal consists of the small tight leaves that extend from the stem and grasp the flower). This takes a while to get the hang of, but gets much quicker as you go along. Be sure to not allow any green into the petals, it will add bitterness to the syrup.

2. Place the petals in a medium pot and cover with 3 cups water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit overnight.

3. Strain dandelion water into a bowl, pressing on the flowers with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.

4. Return water to pot and add sweetener, and lemon juice if using, and simmer over low heat until thickened.

5. Allow to cool, and pour into a clean jar or bottle. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups

Zelda the Witch (“As Told by Zelda’s Familiar, Hemlock the Cat”)

Zelda the Witch (“As Told by Zelda’s Familiar, Hemlock the Cat”)

Author: RainyLane

The sound of clinging glass could be heard from the tiny wooden home occupied by Zelda the witch. Zelda lifted a heavy leather bound book off the table and made her way towards the tiny mirror hanging from the wall. She examined the age that had accumulated on her face, as she had done everyday for the last few years.

Zelda was not always such a vain soul and in her youth enjoyed the attention and praise that often accompanies beauty. But as she began to age, and wrinkles began to plague her once youthful face the compliments from the villagers began to fade and Zelda decided, by Goddess, she was a witch and she would do something about it. For years she had managed to soften times blow by mixing concoctions of toad and bones, lavender and thyme, but these proved to be temporary fixes to an unsolvable problem.

Or was it?

Zelda could remember her mother’s words and a potion she once came across in her childhood. Having no use for the particular potion during her youth, she dismissed it from her memory and for years this spell eluded her thoughts.

As the years passed Zelda became so consumed with her vanity it slowly began turning into desperation and the memory of the potion crept its way into her thoughts once more. Then one night in dream, the spell found its way back into Zelda’s life.

Upon waking the next morning, Zelda scoured her extensive spell collection in an attempt to retrieve the potion. She sat the book back down on the table and began to flip through its aged pages. Flip, flip, flip…nothing. More flipping, more searching and just when Zelda began to think she never really saw the spell at all a loud “ah-ha” rang through the air.

Zelda’s finger halted the next page from landing and quietly she repeated the words before her “Le beau charme de Lune”. Zelda had found the potion! She began to scroll the list of ingredients: Rose hips and sage grounded up fine, with a pinch of moon dust, one can erase time.

To the moon a ladder must be made, from the moon some dust saved. The Beautiful Moon Spell.

Zelda’s first few attempts to retrieve the last elusive ingredient of “Le beau charme de Lune” were quite humorous. There was the broomstick attempt, but witches are people too and getting up that high on an enchanted piece of wood wasn’t flying.

After a few more failed attempts, Zelda was on the verge of giving up when the answer came to her, as it does to most witches, in another dream. Children, millions of children under a powerful spell forming a ladder all the way to the moon.

And so the beginning of the end… began.

The spell had been easy to cast over the children, for Zelda was a powerful well-trained witch. Within moments millions of children began to rise from their silent slumber and follow the enchanted sound of Zelda’s voice.

As Zelda sent the last child up the ladder she tilted her head back and took in the night sky. The moon was high harvest and the smell of burning chimneys could tell anyone dead or alive that Beltane was approaching.

“All these years, all this time”, she mumbled under her breath.

Zelda used to imagine what this moment would feel like. The moment where she knew things could now change. No more toads, no more bones, just eternal youth, in her body… forever.

With a sigh of relief and hike of her skirt was revealed a woman who was about to be herself again.

She couldn’t believe how easy it was to climb the children at first; they said nothing, their eyes blank. Now only remained a hollow emptiness where life used to be. Zelda half questioned herself whether or not this would work, but the closer she got to the moon, the more convinced she became that this time, it would work!

And then… “Oh my Goddess!” she screamed as she lost her footing. Zelda felt the a gust of cold Winter’s air brush by the back of her neck and before she knew it she was plummeting to the ground…and then all that could be heard was a massive shock of screams, children screams, piercing the once silent night sky.

The ladder began to give way as millions of children flew through the air, breaking the strong chain they had formed just moments before. Zelda’s concentration had been broken the moment she slipped and the enchantment over the children was no more.

Zelda’s arms flayed, desperately grasping for anything that might save her life, but all she got was cold night air. And with a soft thud, Zelda’s body finally touched the ground.

It was at that moment I ran over desperate to find sign of life in Zelda’s cold body. There were none. Because of the spell’s workings all the children landed safely and softly on the ground. Silently and without question the children found their way back home as I mourned the loss of my companion and friend.

800 years later the story of Zelda the witch is not easily found in books or prose for it is has now become a cautionary tale told in the silent whispers of wizards and witches around a fire in good company. Vanity to mortal and witch alike is no laughing matter and in some cases, like Zelda’s, could cost you your life.

I, Hemlock the cat and Zelda’s beloved familiar, still reflect fondly on the life and memory of Zelda and wish that she had never found “Le beau charme de Lune”. I guess the lesson to be learned here, dear friends, is to beware of vanity, for it can find its way into your hearth, life and sometimes, if you’re not careful, into your craft as well.

Just as is did in the story of Zelda the Witch.

*Dedicated to the spirit and memory of my mother, Wendy, who passed into her next incarnation in February of 2007.

Your Daily Influences for April 22nd

Your Daily Influences
April 22, 2011 

Tarot Influence

Rune Influence

Charm Influence
Three of Pentacles Reversed
Gain is not realized and skills are not mastered.
Mysteries will become known to you. You should be able to see your life’s path clearly at this time. Pethro is often thought of as “Gambler’s Rune.” You are in a lucky period right now. Chance is your ally. Take advantage of it.
The Tusk
Evil influences this aspect. Strengthen or renew your faith to repel the evil which has invaded this aspect.
Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.

Your Charm for April 22nd

Your Charm for Today
The Buckle of Isis
Today’s Meaning:
Someone who will, or has told a lie about you regarding this aspect will be discovered and the truth will come out. They will suffer for their injustice and you shall prevail.General Description:
The blood of Isis, the virtue of Isis, the magic power of Isis, the magic power of the Eye, are protecting this the Great one; they prevent any wrong being done to him. Thus reads a portion of the 156th chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was engraved, often with other invocations, on the Buckle of Isis amulets. Great faith was placed in the magic power of this buckle, or tie. It was believed that the wearer would be protected and guarded from every kind of evil for ever and ever.

Your Animal Spirit for April 22nd

Your Animal Spirit for Today
April 22, 2011 

your daily animal spirit for today


Antelope medicine is one of right action. If you were to visit Northern Plains today, you would see groups of antelope scattered about the fields and hills. However they are so quiet and unmoving that (from a distance) they resemble stones. But, get too close and they move like lightening. Antelope asks you: are you being still when you should be moving, or moving when stillness is required?

Today’s Chakra Energy Levels for April 22

The Chakras represent the seven primary energy hubs in the body. Life force energy is constantly flowing in and out of these centers. Just as the cosmos is constantly changing, so too are the levels of energy absorbed and radiated by our Chakra centers. The graph below is a representation of the quantities of Chakra energies available today.


Sahasrara – The Crown Chakra represents energies associated with cosmic consciousness, spirituality, knowledge, wisdom and inner peace.
Ajna – The Third Eye Chakra represents energies focused on both physical and spiritual vision. Psychic powers resonate from the Ajna Chakra, as well as your image of the Cosmos as a whole (the big picture) and the many nuances that make your journey unique.
Vishuddha – Throat Chakra is the energy center associated with communication and creativity. Your energy to express yourself verbally and creatively are derived from the Vishuddha Chakra.
Anahata – The Heart Chakra’s energy is concentrated on issues concerning your emotions. This energy fuels your power to love, feel compassion and maintain balance between disparate aspects of your being.
Manipura – The Power Chakra provides the energy that fuels our strength of will, individuality and sense of self-worth.
Svadhisthana – The Spleen or Sacral Chakra supplies the energy we use emotionally and sexually. This is the energy used to connect to others.
Muladhara – The Root or Base Chakra furnishes the energy used to create and maintain our foundation. This is the energy that keeps us on firm ground and provides us with the basic skills to uphold a place in the world.

The Planets Now for April 22

Position of the planets based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
02° 21′
in Taurus
05° 19′
in Capricorn
12° 54′
in Aries
02° 01′
in Aries
15° 59′
in Aries
20° 18′
in Aries
12° 24′
in Libra
02° 24′
in Aries
00° 40′
in Pisces
07° 10′
in Capricorn
Conjunction: Mars Jupiter 4º
Conjunction: Mercury Jupiter 7º
Conjunction: Mercury Mars 3º
Conjunction: Moon Pluto 1º
Conjunction: Venus Uranus 0º
Opposition: Jupiter Saturn 7º
Opposition: Mars Saturn 3º
Opposition: Mercury Saturn 0º
Semi-Sextile: Sun Uranus 0º
Semi-Sextile: Sun Venus 0º
Semi-Sextile: Uranus Neptune 1º
Semi-Sextile: Venus Neptune 1º
Sextile: Moon Neptune 4º
Sextile: Sun Neptune 1º
Square: Mercury Pluto 5º
Square: Moon Uranus 2º
Square: Moon Venus 3º
Square: Saturn Pluto 5º
Square: Uranus Pluto 4º
Square: Venus Pluto 5º
Trine: Sun Moon 2º
Trine: Sun Pluto 4º
The Sun in Taurus
Tradition, stability and loyalty are strong influences as the Sun travels through Taurus. Generally, taking a practical approach to life is favored at this time. It is likely risks should be avoided at this time. Substantial financial gain can be made while the Sun is in Taurus. This is also a good time to enjoy the good things in life as long as indulgences are not allowed to become excessive. Making headway towards reaching goals could be challenged by a general stubbornness and resistance to change.

Sun Sextile or Trine Moon
Keeping a healthy balance between autonomy and the need for personal relationships is very important at this time. The degree of one’s success may be significantly increased by maintaining healthy relationships with family members and friends.

Sun Sextile or Trine Neptune
Artistic pursuits and mysticism may be very attractive at this time.

Sun Sextile or Trine Pluto
A “head on” approach to life is favored at this time.

Moon In Capricorn
Autonomy is favored in this period. Many will actually view their emotional needs as weaknesses and may neglect them.

Moon Opposition or Square Venus
Passions may run high during this aspect. Many are likely to desire deeper emotional relationships, but have difficulty defining the form they would like these powerful emotional bonds to take.

Moon Opposition or Square Uranus
The need for adventure and risk is likely to be heightened during this aspect. Many will be so influenced by the powers of this aspect that taking on new challenges may become a short term addiction.

Moon Sextile or Trine Neptune
Avoiding chaotic situations is critical to maintaining a healthy balance and moving forward towards one’s goals.

Moon Conjunct Pluto
Usually hidden, fiery passions may scream to be released upon the world.

Mercury In Aries
Mercury in Aries is an influence that does not favor diplomacy. Many will be far more outspoken than usual. Dissension will be prevalent. Traditional approaches to handling challenges are likely to be replaced by new, more affective strategies. The need to be on the cutting edge of things will be strong.

Mercury Conjunct Mars
Debates and analytical thinking are likely. The candid words of some may be so frank that they may be seen as offensive to those on the receiving end.

Mercury Conjunct Jupiter
Seeking the “essence” of things may become a preoccupation. The need and ability to share ideas is strong.

Mercury Opposition or Square Saturn
This aspect provides a favorable window for tackling complex intellectual problems.

Mercury Opposition or Square Pluto
This aspect will influence many to look beyond the obvious to explore the inner-workings of everything. Exploring life’s mysteries will be an irresistible adventure for some.

Venus In Aries
Emotions may be high. The need for love is heightened, as well as the need to fulfill needs of loved ones. Physical desires and sensuality are likely to be very strong.

Venus Conjunct Uranus
The need for personal freedom will be very acute in many, and may cause strain in their personal and professional relationships.

Venus Opposition or Square Pluto
This aspect can bring one’s passions to a boil. The need for both physical and spiritual love may seem almost insatiable in some. In some cases passions may erupt into jealousy, as some will feel the need to be in control of every facet of their relationship to feel secure.

Mars In Aries
Action is the keyword at this time. Those who act quickly and decisively should be favored. Self-sufficiency and the ability to act alone are valuable assets. Many will do well by focusing on short term goals.

Mars Conjunct Jupiter
Success in all arenas is possible. Energy levels and optimism should be relatively high.

Mars Opposition or Square Saturn
This aspect favors launching projects and starting relationships that one intends to commit to for the long term. Substantial progress in ongoing projects is likely as well.

Jupiter In Aries
Self-reliance and optimism are favored at this time. Those who enjoy challenges and competition are favored. Adopting a never surrender attitude is a key component to attaining success.

Jupiter Opposition or Square Saturn
This aspect tends to muddle the distinction between what is real and what one wishes to be real. Setbacks can be experienced due to this nebulous vision of reality.

Saturn In Libra
Intimacy may be more of a chore than a pleasure. Some will find their progress towards strengthening intimate bonds and attaining goals muted by feelings of inadequacy.

Saturn Opposition or Square Pluto
This aspect may make it difficult to commit one’s self to anything beyond the moment at hand. However, those who do take on new goals will put the full force of their nature into achieving them.

Uranus In Aries
The astrological influence of Uranus is measured in increments of 7 years. What this means is that the effects of Uranus influence an entire generation. Day to day the Uranian influence may be imperceptible, but when the period is viewed as a whole the impact of Uranus is likely to be strikingly apparent.

Iconoclasm, independence and self-sufficiency are likely to be major themes during this period. Traditional values will be challenged. Those with a pioneering spirit will flourish.

Uranus Square Pluto
A mental restlessness and the need for complete personal freedom are possible influences of this aspect. In some the need for total autonomy may be so strong that they will challenge any attempt to subdue their independence.

Neptune In Pisces
Because Neptune takes approximately 14 years to move across Pisces its day to day influence may be imperceptible, but when the period is viewed as a whole the impact of Neptune in Pisces is likely to be strikingly apparent.

Gentleness, creativity, and the pursuit of spiritual truth are strong influences at this time. Many may find mysticism and unorthodox religions very attractive.


Pluto In Capricorn
Because Pluto takes approximately 15 years to move across Capricorn its day to day influence may be imperceptible, but when the period is viewed as a whole the impact of Pluto in Capricorn is likely to be strikingly apparent.

Strong economic gains can be made during this period. Pluto in Capricorn favors those who are able to make logical decisions and devise pragmatic solutions to the challenges before them.

Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for Today

Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for Today

The Magus

The Magus is the physical embodiment of decisive action based upon knowledge and aimed squarely at specific goals. Thoroughly Yang by nature and firmly set in the material world, he none-the-less has a powerful spiritual connection as well. His knowledge, wisdom and skill are all encompassing. He is complete. His power as a creator is unmatched on our earthly plane. He is self-aware and unafraid to act. His enormous strength gives him the freedom to act as he chooses. However, responsibility comes with that freedom. Because he is not bound to the restraints of others he must choose how to act. The question that always lies before him is should he act morally, or forsake ethics for personal gain.

As a daily card, The Magus suggest you currently possess a tremendous power and freedom to move your life in any direction you choose. In short, you can make things happen. Your true challenge at the moment is to move forward without trampling the dreams of others. Fortunately your moral fiber is strong as well, and will guide you down the right path.

Green Outdoor Weekend Activities

Green Outdoor Weekend Activities

posted by Greennii

Spring has finally arrived here in Northern California and all this sunshine begs for fun things to do outside, which often also happen to be green. I tend to go outside at even the slightest hint of sunshine (then again, I’ve also been known to walk the dog in the rain just for fun), and do whatever it was I was doing inside, out under the sky. For instance, I’m sitting at an old-fashioned school desk, replete with wooden cross-bars under my seat for holding my books, and peeling green paint; outside; half under the Wysteria-covered arbor and half in the sun (the computer screen is oh-so-much easier to see in the shade); occasionally throwing the ball for my dog, who earlier got a little bath during the watering of the lettuce.

As I sit here considering the glistening, black-bottomed pool, I’m also considering the possibilities for the weekend:

1. Plant some organic lettuce. It’s so fun to open up your front door (or back door, or kitchen window) and snip off a few pieces of lettuce for your sandwich, a garnish or your dinner salad. I love lettuce and would have thought it beyond me to grow such a delicate, frilly, easily wilty plant, until my husband forced me to do so by planting a half-dozen little teeny baby lettuce plants and then promptly leaving them in my daily care. Turns out, lettuce is easy! Oh joy! So hop on down to whatever nursery is nearby and pick up a couple of six packs of the lettuce varieties which suit you. Then, rummage around in your backyard, ask your neighbor, scour the garage sales and thrift stores, and find yourself some shallow, wide pots (you could also plant each lettuce in its own pot, which would be very cute, but perhaps space-consuming). Stop by your local ACE and pick up some organic potting soil (or grab some where you get your lettuce). You’re ready to plant! Lettuce wants its little neck sticking out a bit, so don’t plant all the way up to the leaves. Keep the soil moist. Cut leaves from the bottom as soon as the plant starts growing.

2. Visit the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, held the first Sunday of every month, which just so happens to be next Sunday, April 3. Take a list with you of things you were otherwise going to buy brand new and see what you can find. I have not yet been, but I have it from a reliable source (read: friend who loves antiques and has discerning taste) that this is the best show in the Bay Area.

3. Go to any of the local farmer’s markets held all around the Bay Area. Most have food (the kind someone makes for you, not the kind you buy and take home as ingredients) vendors, so you can take your appetite and eat there. Take your refillable coffee mug along and get your morning dose from one of the local coffee shops along the street. Use these guides to find the market closest to you:

4. Unplug your life (and that of your family or a group of friends) and go outside with a picnic made from the organic stuff you bought at the farmer’s market (or at least from a small, local market). If you drive in a group, you’re lowering your carbon footprint, as well as not using all those electronic devices you’d be using if you stayed at home. Check out any of the local beaches, state parks or local parks and enjoy nature. The California State Parks system is vast, and their website has great ideas and guides for getting outdoors:

I’m likely to do at least two of the above, unless I decide to help my husband and our friend finish changing a Land Cruiser from right-hand-drive to left. I’m guessing the beach will win out over that. At least for me and the dog.

-Jocelyn Broyles