Cort Cottage Bed and Breakfast a private guest cottage near Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park

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Almanac Archive 2005

Dateline: Sunday, November 6, 2005,
Elsah reporting in for this week
Watching the seasons can seem like a blur, summer one day and winter the next. Today is a blending, changing from hour to hour, totally dependent on rays from the sun and clarity of sky. I see trees outside with golden yellow and pale orange leaves, and a rake comes to push on my mind. I want to start a revolution against leaf raking and just let them rest on the ground like a carpet that makes more sense than ones called berber. How long has it been since you walked barefoot on a fallen leaf carpet?

This sweet bed and breakfast cottage seems to be in transition just like the seasons. Remodeling is postponed for a window of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, for changing of color and tile in the bathroom. I came up with the tub/shower idea for my grandmother so she she could just go down actual steps into the tub and sit on a little stool that was specially cut to fit on the steps. I put blue accent tile there because she loved blue so much. I missed her the other day when my sister showed up with cupcakes decorated like pumpkins, spiders on webs and kitty faces. My grandmother lives on in my sister's cupcake frosting and in the blue tiles in the bathroom which are waiting for some kind of change in December.

So I ramble on here, and wonder why the cottage is not filled with guests for this weekend in November, one that would have been perfect for a kind of soulfullness revisiting or refilling. Are we all somehow wanting to stay close to home? A man on the radio sings, "open up the window and let the bad air out" and another one chants, "the world is what you make it." I need to get up and dance, leaving the click of the keyboard to fend for itself.

All for now..................................

Dateline: Tuesday, October 4, 2005,
Elsah reporting in for this week
It is officially Fall now and the air is crisper and I heard the wind talking when I was walking up the mountain last week in the early morning. The wind uses the dried leaves of the silver barked buckeye tree for it voice. It was not harsh or blowing hard, but just moving in firm gusts through the tops of the trees. If we become still enough, are we meant to be wind-whisperers?

There is this change in seasons that comes to show us how we are changing even when we cannot see change as it moves us. I am not sure about this one. It feels different to me, this fall, this coolness of air. Animals seem to be noticing me first, not me them. There was a doe on my compost pile path yesterday, standing just behind some green chairs I have set up under the hundred year old oak tree in my back yard. When I said, out loud, "You are so beautiful!", she took steps closer to me and not away. I asked her not to eat the lime geranium and took a few more steps toward her and she bolted through the buckbrush up the hill. I felt stingy and small: why could I have not spared her a few more green lush leaves so her beauty would not be gone so fast? Maybe the lime geranium was more than willing to be transformed into so beautiful a creature. Besides, she can come and eat again when I am not here to see her. I miss her now as I write this, as if she were a new friend coming here and I rebuffed her in my old habit pattern of protecting what it is I think I have, what it is I think I own.

The coyote, too, has been coming regularly to the compost pile that does not make compost. And he eats and stays and does not leave when I clap my hands anymore. I hope he has heard my pleas to not go after my cats for food. I want to make a no-cat bargain with him, for eating what he wants that has come out of my refrigerator, forgotten too long for me to eat, but just, exactly right for his, now corrupted, wild appetite. He eats to live, I eat to..... no this is too personal to write about here. The coyote is about hidden wisdom (from Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews), and comes to remind us that anything is possible and not to become too serious. This coyote sang its penetrating song high on a hill as I was coming down from my walk. I saw him from the far distance and when I came closer to his standing place, he was gone from my sight. His song was long, and bold, and powerful, and undaunting. He did not care that I did not understand. He sang for his own life and mine just happened to be walking by.

So, to the cottage and its offerings.....................there are wide openings in the calendar now. Even the three day October holiday weekend is available. The tile job is coming, but the dates are not firm, so call if you feel your bones longing for a taste of wildness or your ears are open for wind whisperings and your heart needs stirring.

All for now.................................

Dateline: Friday, August 26, 2005,
Elsah reporting in for this week

I can sense that Fall is waiting in the wings, and it feels good. The river is still allowing for late summer swimming, unusual for the water to be clear and good at this late date, so summer is not officially ended. A week ago we had a singular, good rain that wet the summer earth and brought down the deeply intoxicating scent of Giant Forest from the mountains. The air is a great communicator with breeze and wind and cloud dancing in the higher air streams.

I must admit, it is hard for me here in the hot summer, and the late afternoon drenching in the river (at a friend's swimmin' hole) is what saves me. I do love how we change our patterns and daily exercises with the seasons. The summer season is critical here, to slow us down, to melt our rigidity into a shade hungering passion with deep respect for sun and sunlight, the energy that fuels us all.

The cottage is not booked for Labor Day weekend, only a week away, another oddity of this year's booking patterns of last minute decisions by guests. It is waiting for exactly the right persons to call, as the cottage somehow seems to know who is needing its healing presence the most, and it stays unbooked until that perfect call comes through. There is a three night minimum for holiday weekends, and you won't regret that extended stay. I have put a new bed in the cottage, complete with space age mattress topper, and now you will find yourself sleeping on a cloud.

This fall brings some remodeling work to the cottage, and the October months maybe limited for reservations. You will have to call me as the time gets closer to see when it is open. I am putting in new tile in the bathroom, with a new sink and fixtures. As it usually happens when you start any renovation project, it may lead to other changes too. I will try not to change it too much so those of you who love to return will still find the little cottage that you have grown to love over all these years. It started out as "Grandma's house" and I always keep that idea in mind when I add things to it. Oh yes, it now has a TV with a DVD player in it. Grandma did not know about DVD's when she lived in it, as we did not have them 20 years ago, but she would have wanted one now.

The buckeye trees are dressed in their cinnamon leaf drapes and are waiting to whistle at you with wind's help. And soon the dogwood trees up in Giant Forest will be painting their green leaves with crimson and peach colored hues.

Come soon and have a last summer dip in the Ash Mountain swimming hole.

All for now..................................

Dateline: Sunday, July 17, 2005,
Elsah reporting in for this week

Summer is here and it is hot; I find myself wanting to hibernate but it is too boring. So I have been thinking a lot about heat and how we all react to it. I am a part time home health nurse and I visit a lot of low income homes in the county where people don't have any kind of air conditioning or evaporative cooling. It is hard for me to be so hot during these visits, yet these people live with it every day in the summer, like much of world does where people are not as rich as we are. Maybe we need the heat to cook us into new beings and being in air conditioning all the time, where we deny the natural world, we are actually placed in a false setting not conducive for any real growth as human beings. This is heady stuff, and could be discounted as a rambling from an overheated person.

So this afternoon, in the middle of this heat reverie I received an email from a recent bed and breakfast guest who sent me numerous complaints, including one about the heat they experienced when here last week. The cottage has an evaporative cooler which does cool the cottage fairly well, but when it is over 100 degrees like it is for several weeks each summer, then the cottage is not as cool as it would be with air conditioning. The complaints continued about cobwebs in the plants, and that the breakfast was not fancy, and that I did not make beds for them. It was hard to read that they were not happy there, especially after I had actually spent extra time that day vacuuming cobwebs on the high ceilings and extra cleaning of the tile and windows in the bathroom, and bringing in new plants for the pots on the deck. But these guests showed up 30 minutes early and everything was not in place for them. They saw me in my process of getting ready and it was hot and I must not have come across as the experienced, thoughtful bed and breakfast host that I am.

The cottage is a simple place, with special things in it that I have gathered over the last 19 years. It is not a polished place by posh decoration standards, but it is polished in a different way. It is set up for you to feel at home, for you to make it your home, and for you to experience life in a slowed down pace in a place where you can actually hand wash your own dishes and prepare breakfast at your own speed. It is not a place where you are waited on each day but you are considered and served within all the preparation that has been made to create the cottage, to clean it for you, to iron the sheets, to place color and books and dishes and garden and little touches that have been inspired by feng shui (my hourly income for the cottage is below minimum wage).

Please don't come here if you feel you are entitled to have everything exactly like you have at home. Please come here if you want to open yourself to an experience with nature and the natural climate (if it is hot for you, ask me about the swimming hole in the Park behind the Ash Mountain visitor center) and come here if you want to spend time with yourself outside of your normal surroundings. Please come here if you want to rest and relax and make yourself a cup of tea. I'd love to meet you and have a chat about what life is all about.
All for now..................................

Dateline: Tuesday, May 31, 2005,
Elsah reporting in for this week

Summer is on it way, but Spring is not quite ready to relinquish its blossoms around here. Yellow Madia wildflowers are still dotting my hillside meadows below each house. We are supposed to weed eat 30 feet from all structures, I guess this is to increase to 100 feet this year, and I always wait until all the last flowers bloom. There are flowers that bloom at the end of Spring when everything else is dry. One is called Farewell-to-Spring or Herald-to-Summer. These are red wine colored flowers, that a dear friend and wildflower teacher for me, Marion Gray, used to call "wine cups" twenty seven years ago. They are blooming en masse on the hills around Lake Kaweah as you drive into Three Rivers. I don't have too many of them here, I guess my meadows don't get quite dry enough. Then there is the Harvest Brodeaia, dark purple blossom with deep, succulent petals that comes from a bulb, just waiting for the right dryness to show up. Did you know that all the grass we need to weed eat every year, the grass that covers all the California hills, is grass that came over from Europe? It has only been here about 100 years or so, a short sojourn in the natural history life of California.

The grass is an example of how we cause problems for ourselves, problems that can show up big in future times, that we are not aware of when we "sow the seeds." I have been thinking about consciousness lately, actually I have thought about it most of my life. It is just here where I have finally lived for a long time, after growing up as an Army brat, that I can watch and really see changes happening from the same place. Sometimes you can see the most change when you just sit still and watch and notice and admire and feel grateful. Getting your mind still is the key to noticing changes that are happening for you, then you can be the change you want to be instead of just letting changes happen to you seemingly out of the blue.

Have you rented or seen the move, "What the Bleep do we know?" Let me know what you think after you see it. I will eventually put a copy of it in the cottage, after I finally get a DVD player in there (for now the TV with built-in VCR seems to be working just fine, and I tend to wait until thinks break down before I replace them, but who knows, maybe I will splurge and get a new one soon). I have a small crusade of my own, telling people about the Bleep movie. I want us to wake up and use the God-given, God-interwoven, creative power we each have, so that we can co-create lives for ourselves, that in spontaneous time ripple to the entire world, just like what the flowers do each Spring here--show up profusely, dressed to the nines--and let our beauty be who we are and what we do, just because it comes so natural. We need to stop weed eating ourselves so early and so short, and maybe start weeding our non-native grass by hand, strand by strand, so we can see what beauty is waiting for us to discover, hidden in our unconscious grasslands, and bring ourselves out of our own beauty amnesia to blossom as we really are.

All for now..................................

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