Far more greenery and biomass composes my living environment now than any time previously, in what I used to call the 'Dying Realms' or the 'Realm of the Dead' in which I was born (the city known as Saint Joseph). San Jose was the first capital of California, and has become the paved bedroom community for its neighboring Silicon Valley. It is at the south point of the San Francisco Bay beneath the fumes and floods of Alviso and north of the olfactory escapade of Gilroy, in the Valley of Saint Claire, the Patron Saint of Television. My family watched Milton Berle and Lucille Ball, and the few remnant orchards in that once world-renowned agricultural region dwindle and by and large become replaced by homes, pavement and shopping malls.
A benefit of living in the ArkaotikA Museum Castle, the centerpiece of a park-like farmstead a few hours north of San Jose, is that more often than not our waking sounds are the PLOP!-scramble-scratch-run of fluffy grey squirrels who make their home in the trees and use the roof of this Victorian house of seven gables for their landing field on the way to locales otherwise unreachable but by the less secure and more tedious terrestrial route. They are furtive, intense beauties, with distinct social boundaries, reinforced with the occasional squinching, and raucus, cat-like face-offs. Their tails are immense and long, and their fur looks dense and soft. At first they sound like birds, but their raspy, repeated, laughing warnings (REH-Reh-reh-re-ruh; REH-Reh-reh-re-ruh) are reminiscent of Meredith's Penguin squawks in "Batman". They squabble when not chasing one another around and around and up and down while planting and eating the nuts and seeds just outside the windows.
Not only are they larger than most birds living in these parts, but they have a mass and energy which no local bird could match and with which not even the speediest of our local possums could keep up. The little hawks which float about during the daytime, and the barn owls which swoop about in the night might rival them for speed on a dive, but it is unlikely adults ever tangle with one another. I haven't seen a raccoon in this Sonoma County unincorporated land for at least a year now, and there is no end in site for local development (the locals have assembled Forestville Planning Association with elections that are imminent, and probably township is just down the road as the population blooms and Highway 116 is being widened to make room for more lanes and correspondingly more casualties).
The delicate lace finery barely opaquing the windows, decorously adorned with realistic-looking vegetation, shields the sleepers on the second-floor little from Sunna's intrusive, magnificent light as She makes Her way in an arc visible out the window at the bed's foot. The occasional squawk from Jays or squeal from a family of local Hawks in nearby trees will certainly compete with any alarm!
The bedside table matches the rest of the antique furniture in the Museum Castle, being of old rich wood of a type catherine fancies. This morning [12/24/04, Christmas Eve Day] it supported 2 books, 2 videocassettes, 2 DVDs, 26 Thothbook Trumps, and 1 Tarotreektys: the books were "The Satanic Bible", by Anton LaVey, "The Tarot of the Magicians", by Oswald Wirth; the vids were 'A Mighty Wind' and a compilation made for us by a friend; the DVDs were a collection of "Have Gun Will Travel" tv series, "The Ghoul" (LChaney, 1934). (note: if you want to see what was on it in the past, click here.
The room has the occasional dust-bunny and cobweb, presents from our arachnid and canine friends who live with us. The bed is strewn all which-way, and slumberers nestle comforted by lacy beddings. A large curly black sleeper keeps an occasional eye out for rousing or arriving humans. She looks like a black sheep crossed with a terrier -- some water dog whose Mongolian heritage is now lost to fishing boats and Portuguese tales of tackle-grabbing and fish-chomping. We call her Sophie, the Doggess of Wisdom. More often than not, my eyes first glimpse a gilded card of Kali on the west wall above the western altar. When the gilding is all that it reflects (off Her jewelry), it forms the shape of a drunken cartoon rabbit, set ablaze in Sunna's gleam, a mad crafty reflection.
Arriving consciousness in the usually cheery, sunbright yellow victorian interior of the ArkaotikA Museum Castle's bedroom, almost always settles first upon the arm or face of the glorious sri catyananda, the Beloved One, the living embodiment of Kali, the Final Prophet, and Wish-Fulfilling Quim, known to the world as catherine yronwode . Her sleeping form, nestled in amongst the soft ivory sheets and pillows, is almost always curled in an adorably-cuddlable position. Her delicious face the only visible part of her, framed by her long, beautiful hair.
On days of unified rhythms, we speak of our dreams and desires, then arise as one and head to the occasional shower and daily prayers. Kneeling upon our mat, we worship God, bowing thricely upon the floor. On Fridays, we inscribe a rose-coloured candle with our names, dress it with magical oils, and burn it on top of a honey jar the day long, sealing it with a kiss.
2/13/04 [a now worn note, two generations old]======================================================
it's a pretty good life.
sometimes there's a cage-trap
with some old peanut butter
out by the big black-magic cabinet,
but it is now put up on a shelf with games.
we never go inside it when it's out.
many of my family went in the cage
and couldn't get out, then disappeared.
I hear owls screeching in the night [and
now, hawks the whole day through!].
lucky we've got the house to protect us,
or we'd be in for it. (whew!)
stories about Kitty Boy Floyd The Outlaw
(a monster from the garden)
are what we used to scare the kids
so they'd keep nearby -- that's what we'd
feared most; now all the kids are gone --
we hoped that the tall one was not feeding
the captives to Kitty Boy
(how horrible to contemplate!).
the tall one hasn't put out the puzzle-cage in
a long time. he probably figures that we've
all gone and started new lives in the fields.
last year we had a box of chocolate mints to chew on.
Jeri said the tall one must have forgotten them,
as he'd never have left them to us like that.
his heart isn't softening, even if he hasn't
moved all of us to the dangerous wild. Mini says
she's heard of gigantic birds that peck at your eyes,
and monster mice cousins twice-removed who walk on
their hind legs and bite boards in half.
we think they're legends.
most of the family has been taken outdoors now
and I'm trying to stay hidden, shifting between
the house and the office and grabbing what leftovers
I can find. the tall one has been leaving food around, but I've not touched it, thinking it must be a trap. far better to hole up while the gettin's good!
small brown [pawprint]
mouse in the castle (and grounds!)
Ville of the Forest,
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