The light at the end of tunnel…

We are getting closer and closer to finishing the bus!  The kitchen is close to completion, missing a few essentials, like plumbing and a propane connection!  Coming soon…


The other project I’ve been working on is the girls’ beds – we thought about bunk beds for awhile, but decided it would make their room feel even smaller than it is, and block too much light.  So, instead of that we are going with a trundle bed, but with built-in drawers beneath each bed.  Here are a few pictures of the frames with one of the drawers.  Still have one last drawer to make and install, and drawer fronts to put on, but this is where we are now.


The bus progress is coming along, and after a couple years of this project going on, we have a real deadline – we put our house on the market to sell, and it’s currently in escrow.  Unless something comes up to change the deal, we’ll be moving out of our house by May 15th!  IMG_2462


The Bell Rings

A poem coming to you from Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep.

Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep


Sitting. Still. Mind wandering.

Thoughts come and go, space in-between.

Adjusting form, swishing cloth. A cough.

Stomach gurgling, like a trumpeting crane.

Spine straight, thumbs lightly touching.

Tires crunching gravel, muffled radio from within.

A raven croaks, “Good morning.

I am here. I am awake.”

I am all of this, suchness.

It is all me, ephemera.

Narrow chasms open to wide spaces.

The bell rings and I bow.

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Float On Okay

In loving memory of Jane W. LaFever – February 1, 1948 to November 18, 2012

Her small hand, that was once so tiny, tentatively inches towards the fire holding a slip of notebook paper. If you could zoom in and see what was drawn on the piece of lined paper you would see what appears to be a green light bulb with two small figures inside. And if you could zoom in deeper, into her mind perhaps, you would know that the two figures are her and her Granny sitting in the basket of a hot air balloon. And zooming in still further, into her heart, you would see (or feel perhaps) the love she has for her Granny, a granny she only met a few times when she was so small that she does not remember. She loves her nonetheless, proving that love does not need to come from knowing. Her hand releases the paper and she quickly pulls it away from the heat while the small sheet quickly catches fire, becoming ash.

On November 18th, 2012 my mom passed away at the age of 64. “How do I keep her alive?,” is a question always in my heart. I am loath to admit there are many days that I do not think of her at all which is all too easy because I live on the opposite coast from where I grew up. This place doesn’t speak much of her. This day, however, is not one of those days, but this is not only due to it being the anniversary of her death but also because we intentionally reconnect with her on this day. How do we do that?

The first year after her death, as I struggled to make sense of it and how it related to my life, we started doing a small ceremony which involves writing notes to her and then either speaking them out loud or not and tossing them into a fire. Usually this occurs outside over an open fire where there may or may not be marshmallows involved. Due to tonight’s rain, however, we decided to stay indoors instead and started a fire in our woodstove.

Ceremony is often said to be how we remember to remember and there is something powerful in our simple ceremony. Firstly, it connects us to her because writing her a letter or small note is incredibly ordinary and deeply intimate. It really does feel like we are talking to her, which is something that we always did so easily with her. Secondly, it serves as a way to connect our kids with the granny that they will never really meet. Madeleine was there when she died but quite young and Juniper was not yet born. Tonight as I told Maddie what I was going to do, she asked if she could write something to Granny. It was touching. “Of course,” I said. Thirdly, this ceremony allows us to keep death a part of our life. I know that may sound contradictory but so often we feel deep sadness at the passing of a loved one and then we move on (or not) and never really speak of it again. We seem to want to forget what a big role death plays and that its inevitable. Death is such an important, and mysterious, part of living that I think it’s imperative that we talk about it and live with it. A ceremony like ours is a way to frame it and make it a part of our life. Lastly, it’s cathartic to engage in this ritual because it provides an opportunity to give voice to things deep within and to let them go. For me, this may be in the form of fears or insecurities that I may have. An example of this is that I worry about how I am going to ever explain to my daughters what an extraordinary woman my mom was. Illustrating the power of ceremony, what we do on this night helps me talk with my kids about her allowing me to let go of some of that fear.

I am grateful for this ceremony, both the connection and release that I feel from it. Robin Wall Kimmerer said that, “Ceremony focuses attention so that attention become intention” and I suppose that is really what this ceremony does. By focusing our attention on my mom we remember to remember her and by paying attention to death we remember that it is a part of life.

We watch Maddie’s piece of paper for a moment and suddenly it lifts off the burning wood and floats upwards before falling back into a charred pile. In that moment I knew that Maddie and Granny were up in that hot air balloon and that they were laughing and enjoying the ride!

Posted by David LaFever

Here in the Beginning

Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep

IMG_6266 Top of Jebel Maasker, Eastern High Atlas Mountains, Morocco.

So far inside boundlessness

Beyond words and ideas

Dwelling in wholeness.

Empty of selfhood

Brimming with fullness

Interconnected beyond belief.

Beyond, gone gone way beyond

Emerging spontaneously from silence

Into the cacophony of life.

Equal wholeness of beginning and ending

I merge with oneness and am myself again.

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My Own Disappearance

Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep


Seamless soft sand, a roaring sea

Featureless, smooth sky

Gray fog obscurity.

Godwits in tawny plumage, gulls wrapped in clouds

Forage in the margins, each doing

Their dance with the tide.

Brought in daily from somewhere

Nowhere at all, the ocean’s graveyard

A detrital line of gifts from the sea.

Reminders of our frailty

Here just for a moment

Breathing in the long now.

Following a line of pelicans following waves

I traverse the arc of my own disappearance

And am gone before I know it.

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A Great Tree Once Stood

Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep

GroupPhoto_WiyotWood_mix_070816_tbd Photo by Thomas B. Dunklin

For Ted, Willard and all the others that made last week so great. Thank you for all that you taught.

There was once a great tree that stood in a forest of other great trees, between the mountains and the sea. The great tree stood tall and proud since the beginning of time until one day it was brought down by men who did not understand. But the great tree stayed, refusing to be taken by men who did not understand for it had another purpose, a gift yet to give.

Many salmon came and went and the great tree remained, waiting and watchful. The men who did not understand busied themselves with taking down the great trees as they destroyed forests ancient beyond imagination.

The great tree waited a long time, silent and still, for a people-who-understood to regain the ground upon which it…

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