The practice that I experimented with at Wheaton Labs – of having no expectations – worked so well I decided to add another level when I visited Ithaca NY; be present in every moment and treat each person and being you love; as if you’ll never see them again. It was fascinating to experience the little monkey ego quacking away in my ear, always trying to divert my focus, always attempting to be the center of attention. I slipped up more than once and when I could catch it happening, I’d bring myself back and quietly remember my intention; be present in every moment.

from the roof top the steeple of the catholic church where my parents were married

I kept to the same rest schedule by adjusting to the three hour difference in time and kept one part of my thinking consciously connected to ‘back home’ by thought, one daily phone call and checking the weather in eastern Washington. I held a light touch to the understanding of how many people I would seek out in a ten day period and strove for balance in how that would occur. I paid attention to energies; of the people I was with, of the dwellings I spent time in, and of the general energies of the town(s) I walked around in. I kept my heart open.

roof top gardens at McGraw House

I was in an apartment furnished by the senior housing two of my family members reside in. I had stayed here before, last year in fact, and the energy in the guest apartment seemed wrong, so using the principals of Feng Shui I completely rearranged the furniture and removed several of the objects and placed them in the closet and corrected the energy of the room. It took 15 minutes. My sister and I had a beautiful, easy, relaxed time for the entire weekend. I hadn’t seen her for over ten years. We had fun putting the room back 20 minutes before check-out and no one ever knew (well except for three other people sworn to secrecy).

When it was hot I did my best to absorb it (in preparation for coming back), when it was raining I reveled in it, when it was noisy I observed it, when it was quiet I appreciated it. Until the last hours of the last day I maintained my ‘core’ that I have cultivated back home. It never left – in fact it was strengthened by the visit. Those last hours were probably disturbed by thinking about the airport and TSA.

I was lucky enough to share deep conversations and laugh a lot. In Ithaca it’s hard not to eat completely healthy fantastic food; frozen grapes with peanut butter with my sister, vegan fair at my mother & David’s place, perfectly grilled pork chops at Melissa’s thanks to her son Charles, and ethic restaurant cuisine from anywhere you can think of; salad pie Pizza Roma, spanikopita Athens, veggie super burito Viva Mexicana!, coconut and mango water and spring rolls Thai House, cinnamon ice cream Purity Ice cream.

When I got off the airplane in eastern Washington I was as happy to be home as I was happy to be in Ithaca, no contradictions, no conflicts of ‘wanting’ one more than the other. I am lucky enough to call two places home.

Two days later we whisked Dora to Inland Empire Imaging for an ultrasound and the next night received the images and knew the answer to what we were looking for, not what we wanted to find, but the end of not knowing what was wrong. She has polycystic kidney disease – inherited from Persian/Himalayan/British short hair lines of DNA and has about one more month to live. She is only 4 years old.

Dora in her first year

Her haircut after Ultrasound in typical ‘uptight’ Dora style

The cysts in her kidneys. There are more cysts than kidney tissue.


I am still in the thick of what all this means and don’t want to linger on this for now unless it involves a potential arrest of the cysts. I’ll write more about how we’re working with a conventional DVM and a holistic eastern DVM in another post.

The wild chickens had hatched their eggs and 15 chicks greeted me the day after I returned home. I watched as one of the mothers picked up a chick, slammed it to the ground, picked it up and slammed it to the ground again – so I grabbed the chick, took it inside and treated the head wounds. I did not react, I responded. I have an obligation to treat wounds when I see them. 8 hours later it was obvious this chick did not possess the ability to eat on its own and ‘wobbled’ in a disoriented manner and not from the superficial wounds, this came from something deeper. We euthanized this beautiful creature in a gentle way because I know from the past, when I let this progress, that nothing good for the chick comes out of keeping them alive. The mother knew it too.

We needed to talk with our local vet about Dora’s ultrasound and we needed to get Girl Kittie our feral cat into see Tim because she has been sick for too long. We’ve tried to catch her three times and each time failed. This time the plan was to pick her up, put her in a pillow case, put the cat and case in a cat carrier and rush her over to Tim who would immediately give her a sedative through the pillow case to calm her down. We called him and had 15 minutes to do this. Girl Kittie looks really sick – until you try to contain her.

Will put on full defensive clothing; carhartt jacket (in 90 degree heat), long pants, leather gloves and as he picked her up, I held the pillow case open and he struggled to lower her down into the case then we put her in the carrier. This had taken less than two minutes. Four minutes later as he picked up the cat carrier, she shredded through the case and exploded out of the carrier. We’re feeding her small portions of wet cat food as many as 12x per day to keep her going until we successfully get her in to see Tim.

On Sunday morning we were sitting on the deck quietly drinking coffee when Will asked me if I’d seen Sita the night before or that morning. No. We did not react, we waited. When Sita did not show up, after the heat of the day fell off; we went looking for him. We felt sick but neither one of us wanted to say why.

The grief became difficult to overcome. After looking and knowing he had been gone 24 hours I fell asleep with my work day clothes still on.

Sita had been with Will for 10 years and Sita had been my constant companion and friend every day for six years. I don’t go to a 40 hour work week job. My living is here and we live in a remote place. Sita was partially blind and was delivered to Will to take care of as a kitten. It was conjectured the sight disability and head injury came from being hurled from a moving car by a human and hitting a hard immovable object.

We have often said that Sita is the observer of all’

Many people have perfectly good eyesight and are still incapable of ‘seeing’. Sita watched over all, followed us everywhere and had kind intentions towards all of the other cats, Brody and the chickens.

The following day we searched three more times – thoroughly. There was no fresh coyote scat, no fresh prints, no sign of trouble, but no response to our calling for him. We have no chemicals of any kind, inside or outside the house, that a domestic animal could ingest, sicken and die from and we possess no structures of any kind that could trap or injure a domestic animal  – which places us in a .001% category of households in North America.

We have been facing some extreme heat days here and Sita never left my mind. I calculated, if an animal was injured, how long they could last without food or water until being found and treated. I also know as a scientist who studied canid species that older more mature coyotes do not venture too close – they have been warned over the years with gun shot into the night – but I would need evidence before I consented to losing Sita to coyotes. Last night i said ‘I need to laugh’ meaning ‘find a movie’ and we agreed we would go searching for Sita again before the sun set and after the movie.

If you know the Trickster, you know how powerful the medicine is. I met the Trickster last night, face to face when I least expected him.

In the middle of the movie I walked outside into the heat to turn off the drip irrigation zone across the driveway. As I lowered the stanchion handle I turned and looked into the eyes of a coyote pup not fifty feet from me. He was about five months old, ejected from the pack; young enough not to know that he wasn’t supposed to be here but old enough to be lethal to a cat. I feel like I didn’t breath or move for a very long time. I felt no anger. I felt like I was floating in the breathlessness of a world that seesaws between life and entropic dissolution forever. When our hearts are open, they are open for every living creature no exception.

This is the last picture I took of Sita (July 8th) sitting on the same path I took to turn the water off


We can rail, we can shoot coyotes, we can do terrible things to them, we can do terrible things to each other and none of it will ever fix a single loss.