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New Things I Did This March
Here’s a list of some things I did this month, with resources on how to try them too.
- I took up smoking cigars. Despite occasionally feeling like a good ol’ boy, a la Winston Churchill or all the cigar-smoking poker players of days olde, the process of using it as a tool for deep communion and ritual with the outdoors has become a weekly touchstone. Also, it’s just kinda fun.
I start around sunset and wait until the sky is blanketed with stars. I speak with the tobacco through smokey exhales. I listen in stillness for its answers. I save a portion at the end, and donate the last of the leaves to a plant in my yard. This week, it was to this tree, which is beginning to bloom for spring.
- Earlier this month I also read Plant Teachers by Jeremy Narby, which helped me align my tobacco practice with the Ayahuasca ceremonies I participated in last fall.
- I built a tent with my husband, then re-built it after weeks of windstorms. We have almost four acres of flat land. I arranged my ceremonial items into an altar at the center, and tied some twigs and lights around the poles. It’s a special space. It smells of incense, always. I meditate or do yoga in there, write, and sit and soak in the desert quiet.
- During a weekend with my two closest friends, we chanted and sang our hearts out under it’s billowy roof. Singing unabashedly with others was nourishing to our souls. Michael shared his first novel with us. (He writes smaller stories as he edits it.) Kendra shared progress on the school she is opening (!!), a daunting and important undertaking. I’m proud of ‘em.
- I also read these books:
- Verity by Colleen Hoover (Quick and moderately intriguing read.)
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (That’s right, I’m on a trashy romance jag.)
- The Fellowship of the River by Joseph Tafur (An incredible dive into plant medicine.)
- Laughed over, cried over, and sat at the edge of my seat over these freaky-good TV shows:
- Severance on Apple TV (A guy’s memories have been surgically divided between his home and work life.)
- Station Eleven on HBO (Genre-defying, feel-good, feel-strange, ode to Art and Shakespeare and Survival.)
- And fell in love with Big Thief’s latest album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You.
- I witnessed my husband’s first ego-death on psychedelics. It was beautiful. I’m eternally grateful for these tools and honored to hold space for those brave enough to navigate their wily depths.
- I briefly dabbled in dried flower arranging.
- I bought a wood burning kit, and found out it was much harder to do than I thought. I’m trying to carve Hymn From a Watermelon Pavilion by Wallace Stevens into the side of my house. In my initial attempts, I think I was mostly just burning the paint off. I’ll try again once the wind dies down.
- I started writing a screenplay with a very talented friend. It’s about a woman who claims to have found Anton Chekhov’s long-lost, secret last play - and convinces a theatre to put it on. This process largely involves writing a Chekhov play. It’s so exhaustive and so fun.
- My husband and I got into The Great British Bake Off. One night, in a half-hypnogogic state, I found myself having unusually pleasant dreams, and I thought to myself, “Yes, this show is very high vibe and good for my rest.”
- I joined a pottery class. So much of my life is spent on a computer. It feels vital to do something messy. And there’s something really lovely about knowing you’re making something with your hands that you, or someone you love, will actually use.
- I got a Masterclass membership, and found out that I really enjoy having a Masterclass membership. I particularly enjoyed Ken Burns’ class on documentary filmmaking, and N.K. Jemesin’s course on Science Fiction.
- And finally, on a walk through my neighborhood I saw a family of quails in someone else’s yard, and upon noticing the dire lack of quails in my own yard (I love quails), I gently asked them to start coming to my house. The very next day, they appeared.
They’ve come every day since. Life is beautiful.